Bike Check: Ben Cathro's Santa Cruz Megatower is Smaller than You'd Think

Nov 14, 2022 at 14:36
by Ben Cathro  


Hello, I'm Pinkbike Video Presenter Ben Cathro. I'm hopefully familiar to those of you following our Downhill World Cup and How To Bike content. When I'm not presenting videos or racing World Cups I can be found scooting around my local trails in Scotland on this team spec Santa Cruz Megatower. On the surface, there is nothing too surprising going on here, but when you look deeper I've made a few interesting personal choices.

It was originally my intention to race this bike at some National Enduro races in my home nation of the UK, but with a busy schedule this year the bike never got tested against the clock. It's seen plenty of action as my training bike and it's the bike I chose to ride for season two of How To Bike.

Read on for more insights—including why I chose a size smaller than normal.
Ben Cathro
Hometown: Pitlochry Scotland
Age: 34
Height / Weight: 199cm / 6'7", 90kg / 198lb
Team: Pinkbike Racing
Instagram: @ben_cathro


Santacruz Megatower Spec
Frame: Santa Cruz Megatower CC, size XL, low flip chip setting, 170mm travel (230 x 65mm shock)
Shock: Ohlins TTX22 m.2, 65mm stroke, 457lb spring, LSR - 10, LSC - 6, HSC - Position 1
Fork: Ohlins RXF38 m.2, 170mm, 120 PSI, 220 PSI Ramp Chamber, LSR - 7, LSC - 14, HSC - Position 1
Wheels: Santacruz Reserve 30|HD, Industry 9 Hydra, Centrelock Hubs
Tires: Continental Kryptotal DH F + R Supersoft, 24 F / 28 R PSI
Drivetrain: Shimano XTR/XT 12speed, 165mm cranks, 10-51 cassette, 32t Chainring
Pedals: Deity T-Mac
Brakes: Shimano XT 4 pot, metallic pads, 203mm Freeza rotors
Cockpit: Deity Blacklabel bars, 31.8mm diameter, 38mm rise, 780mm width, 50mm Copperhead stem, Supracush grips
Throne: Deity Speedtrap
Dropper Post One Up Components Dropper V2.1, 240mm
Inserts Cushcore Pro R, Cushcore XC F
Protection Ride Wrap Tailored Kit
Mudguard Mudhugger Evo Bolt On
Glovebox Pack of peanuts, multitool, gummy worms

XL rather than XXL

The biggest surprise for a lot of folks is that I chose to ride an XL instead of Santa Cruz's XXL size. The XXL size is a more comfortable bike for me, but as I spent most of the year racing DH I wanted to size down to make my trail bike a bit more unstable, which translates to playful and exciting.

Tall bars for the tall man. Narrow gauge Deity Blacklabel bars in their tallest 38mm rise offering. The most compliant bar they offer paired with their fat grips keeps things comfy.

Spot the spacers. 55mm of spacers raises the stack height and shortens the reach. I'm a fan of a high front end and lots of spacers is the compromise for sizing down the frame and therefore head-tube length.

Big meats.

Continental's new range of tires made a big impression on the World Cup series this year. I run the DH casing with inserts on my trail bike too as I'm a heavy dude and like the stability and security of the heavier tires. This extra protection plus the Cushcore inserts means my Reserve wheels haven't needed any attention at all this year.

Low setting. This isn't for BB or head angle adjustment. It's mainly for a more progressive leverage curve for the coil shock to keep it feeling a bit poppier.

Size-specific chainstays on the mk2 Megatower help to keep things balanced. I'm a Shimano fanboy as well.

The OneUp 240mm dropper was a gamble as I wasn't sure it would fit in the XL frame due to the shock tunnel. Luckily there's room to spare at the height I run the saddle. The noticeably steeper seat tube angle on the mk2 Megatower makes things way comfier on the steep climbs compared to my mk1.

Ideal for autumn stunts in the leaves.

Absolute rig.

As always, huge thanks to the brands who help make Pinkbike Racing and How To Bike happen.

Pinkbike Racing



221 Comments

  • 151 22
 almost as if reach is getting too long these days
  • 84 6
 But how could he size down for more fun if there wasn't a correct size bike to size down from?
  • 11 15
flag FreerideFrank11 (Nov 16, 2022 at 7:23) (Below Threshold)
 @chakaping: "correct"
  • 26 3
 @FreerideFrank11: I didn't write that by accident Wink
  • 35 4
 @chakaping: You can be wrong and go down from there lol. But at 6'7" I think a XXL is correct. It is a little weird that I am seeing smalls with a 450 reach now. Anyone under 5'8" really should not be on a bike that long. You just cannot activate the correct muscle groups as well when you are too stretched out.
  • 27 8
 almost as if you didn't read the article. lol he literally starts with saying it is the incorrect size. He is making it PURPOSEFULLY unstable for fun. I would wager a fair bit of money, that if he were racing Enduro seriously, he would go back to the XXL.
  • 16 4
 It's just too easy to manipulate customers to just create a good geometry and stop there Smile 10 years ago bikes were too short, then around 2018 they got about right, but seat tubes were too slack, however the "longer" hype went on and people just wanted longer and longer so they got it. But until they got it, they were upsizing bikes so suddenly seat tubes were too long for short riders on large frames. Manufacturers just smiled and started making very short seat tubes, so short that on most 29 fs designs they could barely hold a dropper with min insertion. So now we have too long bikes with too short seat tubes (and don't get me started on chainstay lengths...). Hopefully in 5 years bikes will just get normal Smile Or maybe not, because such "evloution" is simply great for bike manufacturers, they can just make bikes longer/shorter every 5 years and people will buy new bikes instantly, becasue those old ones are unrideableSmile
  • 13 0
 @conoat: you have to consider where he lives. He’s from Oban near Fort William so everything he rides is going to be tight, steep and twisty. You wouldn’t want to manhandle a super big bike down those types of trails.
  • 6 2
 @conoat: this is how rumors gets started, nuance matters, that's not what he said:

"It was originally my intention to race this bike at some National Enduro races in my home nation of the UK, but with a busy schedule this year the bike never got tested against the clock"

so he had full intentions of racing this and didn't necessarily think it was slower / faster until timed testing.

"I wanted to size down to make my trail bike a bit more unstable, which translates to playful and exciting."

He didn't suggest it would be "unstable" (as you say) but less stable relative....
  • 8 23
flag Tsoxbhk (Nov 16, 2022 at 8:35) (Below Threshold)
 @kokofosho: hahahahaha activate the correct muscle group? I am 5'6" and run 470 reach comfortably.
  • 5 0
 @conoat: how many people in the comments or retail bike buyers are racing enduro seriously?
  • 8 3
 It's almost as if you didn't understand what Ben wrote. He says that the larger frame size fits him better and feels more comfortable but that he chose the smaller frame size regardless, to make the bike feel unstable on purpose. It sounds like he's very clearly of the opinion that the larger XXL frame with the longer reach would have normally been the better choice.
  • 8 3
 @Tsoxbhk: sounds like your bike is probably taking you for a ride. 470 feels long to me at 5'9"
  • 6 11
flag scamp123 (Nov 16, 2022 at 8:58) (Below Threshold)
 @kokofosho: I’m 5”7” and comfortably ride medium SC and Orbea with reach of 455 and have to move saddle back. You couldn’t be more wrong,
  • 8 6
 @jj12jj: absolutely nobody which is what I’ve been saying for ages. The whole mtb industry is marketed around racing, faster = better. Every review is about how fast a bike is when hardly anyone races which has left us in the situation we’re in now where we’ve got a load of boring, cumbersome, gangly, massive bikes that feel slow but are deceptively fast like that matters when you’re just riding for fun? They just need to be honest and admit that 2009 SX Trail is the pinnacle of bike design for the average rider who just wants to blast around the woods at the weekend with their mates. Wink
  • 3 0
 @scamp123: agreed.
5'8" - 450 reach. It couldnt be more perfect.
  • 17 3
 @thenotoriousmic: I'm always confused by this argument. Going fast is fun. The faster I go, the more fun I have. I keep coming across this "going slowly is more fun" argument and I don't get it. What am I missing?
  • 3 4
 @gabriel-mission9: if it feels like you’re going faster ie SX trail then I’m all for it which is why I ride a hardtail most of the time or bmx. It’s when it feels like you’re going slower but you’re actually going faster is the issue unless of course you’re racing which nobody is.
  • 5 4
 @kokofosho: Im a hair under 5'8" riding a small 2018 Banshee Rune with a 402 mm reach and 45 mm stem and its perfect. I think my absoluter max reach would be 425 with a 30-35 mm stem. Any longer and my spine hurts and cxant get my weight back enough when descending steeps. Hope my bike lasts forever becuase pretty soon new bikes that fit me right will not exist-unbless I go XS with too short of a seat tube,
  • 1 3
 @Muscovir: he didn't say it would be "unstable" but more (relatively) unstable, it's important....the bike is perfectly stable, even for top pros going Rude and Moir speed....
  • 2 1
 @conoat: Most buyers don’t race!
  • 4 0
 At 6’-4” I had the XXL and that front end just wanted to push in any corner. Shame cause it climbed, jumped, and smashed better than anything else I’ve ridden. Maybe should’ve switched to the XL but the reach on paper is very short so returned to an s5 enduro instead as it splits the difference between the two. Current enduro is so ahead of it’s time - gives up almost nothing to the current crop IMHO.
  • 4 0
 @kokofosho: 450mm is proportionally to a 5’7” (170cm) person what 520mm is to someone who is 6’6” (198cm) +/-5mm
  • 2 1
 @conoat: probably not, as a more nimble bike is valued more at top level enduro racing than a longer stable bike. Most of the top guys down size.
  • 3 0
 @chakaping:
The XXL is the size down from what he should be riding...
  • 2 0
 @lkubica: Where are these long bikes with super short seatposts? Most XL frames have seat tubes longer than 480mm...
  • 4 0
 @thenotoriousmic: If he has space to lean the bike then it doesn't matter how long the bike is.
  • 1 1
 @jj12jj: define seriously. No, really....because it matters.

I would wager that the number of people in the comments and/or retail buyers of full suspension bikes over 140mm of rear travel, that *identify* as "serious enduro riders/racers" is likely around 25-30%. thats from my experience in the MTB industry.
  • 2 2
 @Muscovir: or they are a sponsor and you can’t just say there bikes are too fuggin big even for a giant.
  • 2 0
 @gabriel-mission9: It depends on what you enjoy. For me most the time, popping of every roots and generally dicking around is more fun then going as fast as absolutely possible. So people like to have fun as you do, some people like to have fun as I do, some people want to smash out the miles and some are just happy to cruise along and enjoy being outside. IMO it seems like 90% of mtb industry only focuses on the first group of people.
  • 69 0
 I knew Ben was a giant but 6'7!? Jeeeeeesus
  • 69 5
 One man's "playful and exciting" is another man 's "utterly terrifying".
  • 42 4
 That's what it comes down to. Yes I know what size Jack Moir and Richie Rude ride. No I can't ride like Jack Moir and Richie Rude.
  • 7 0
 @jdejace: and then there's Yoann Barelli. Been in a frenzy the past two weeks after ordering a new bike. Went same "size" but it has 25mm more reach, but about 2.2deg steeper STA. Been on two rides and seems fine, but there's that nagging would it be better sized down where the reach would be 5mm less than the bike its replacing. The forum rabbit holes I've been going down are giving me nightmares and massive doubt
  • 16 3
 @jdejace: absolutely. My last bike was a little small for me, which was great until I became tired (which happened quite often because I don’t have Richie Rude levels of fitness) or ran out of talent (which happened quite often because I don’t have Richie Rude levels of skill), at which point it would try to kill me.
  • 2 1
 @jdejace: two sides to that coin, be careful, you / me / us ride slower so certainly don't need to all out stability the bigger bikes apparently offer...
  • 8 0
 @FaahkEet: username does not check out
  • 5 0
 @FaahkEet: just say your username 3 times out loud and go ride Wink
  • 8 1
 @BarneyStinson: yeah Pros make sacrifices because they know they have the skills to compensate. Riding fast with a bike too small is harder but when you get stuck or make a mistake it can save you a lot of seconds. For us mere mortals having a bike the right size allows us to go faster than we ever could and in a consistent manner and if we blow it it's not like a smaller bike would allow us to save a potential podium. Sometimes I like to go back on some old bikes and it is fun but any type of speed becomes gnarly and any type of real gnar becomes ... gnarlier ? lol To everyone their own, but I am glad we finally have the option for stable and fast bikes, there are already truckloads of twitchy bikes on the market, new or used.
  • 3 0
 @Balgaroth: Yeah, and pros are looking to be “on it” the whole time that they’re riding, rather than the rest of us who use the easy bits to recover.
  • 41 4
 Oh gawd :-) Don't feed the internet "size down" mob Ben! Soon we'll be talking about RAD and the big bike sizing conspiracy again.

I'm intrigued by your 55mm of spacers. Both Fox and RS don't recommend more than 30mm I believe. I always figured it was for their lawyers, but if Ben Cathro can run 55mm and not break the thing I feel pretty good about cutting my next fork a bit longer.
  • 11 5
 Small = Fun
  • 9 3
 Somehow it doesn't really look like it's 55.
Could it be a typo? Or maybe Ben got lost in translation to metric units.
To my eye it looks like there is only a 20mm and a 10mm spacer.
  • 58 1
 @FreerideFrank11: Can you have a word with my GF please
  • 3 0
 He damn neared sized down twice with 55mm of spacers!
  • 9 1
 It's pretty comical that most bikers know the geo of their bike but don't know the dimensions of their own body. There is more to bike fit than how tall you are.

Not a fan of RAD's sizing recommendations but I like the concept of actually measuring yourself (beyond height) to determine bike fit.
  • 2 1
 @FreerideFrank11: That's not what she said.
  • 2 1
 I saw this too but looking at it there is now way that is 55mm of spacers.
  • 3 1
 Just get a high rise bar, already. Big people need longer reaches, higher bars....
  • 1 0
 @mafflin: The top spacer looks like it is a larger OD than the others. Makes it look like it is part of the stem but it is another spacer.
  • 1 0
 @rcrocha: yeah, that's the 10mm one I'm talking about.
  • 1 0
 @rcrocha: I see that but still doesn’t look like 55mm. Also the stem is the Diety which is only a 33mm stack so it’s effectively about 4mm lower than a typical 40mm stacked stem.
  • 35 1
 Everyone complaining about sizing down... 5'10" riders have been sizing down since day 1... Large = too big, Medium = too small. Specialized S3 = you have to ride a Specialized. You can't win.
  • 23 0
 5'10 gang always getting shafted smh
  • 4 0
 Preach! I've been there my entire riding life. Thankfully Chromag offers a M/L so that's where I'm at. (Trek does too, but I like a steel hardtail)
  • 4 0
 it doesn't stop at bikes either, clothes are a nightmare, too big, too small and what clothing does fit properly is out of stock because every other average bloke is on the same hustle.
  • 19 0
 Same for us 6'2" folks - stuck smack between L and XL. Either too stretched out on the downs or too cramped on the climbs. Seems like all brands make a 485 and 515 in all the interesting bikes these days. Where's the 500 reach bikes?!?

A few brands would kill it if they split the difference between the follow-the-sheep sizing that everyone seems to be doing.
  • 2 0
 @JustinVP: 100% spot on and agree
  • 2 1
 @blackjack88: lol, first world problems.
I get it though, I am often on the brink of L and XL
  • 1 0
 @JustinVP: 2021 and newer stumpjumper has 500mm reach in S5. maybe not interesting, but its a great bike.
  • 5 4
 @JustinVP: at 6’2” 485 is ample. Unless your seat tube is 78 plus deg. Get an L
  • 1 2
 @rookie100: agreed I’m slightly taller and 480mm on a full suspension and 460mm on a hardtail is perfect for me.
  • 2 1
 I'm 5-10 and the answer for me is a 460 reach and a 50 stem. 760 bars. That's a medium for transition, and I have a scout and spire built to fit the same. The bikes feel the right size for anything from tight single track to wide open chunky sections. I race so agility and speed is important, but I'm mid pack so I need something stable too. I am now at peace. I have owned bikes with a 450 reach and it felt a bit too small, and 475 and it felt too big. I also can't get along with 40 stems, or 60 stems. Bars feel weird any longer or shorter too. But I'm glad I've finally reached my happy place after much trial and error.
  • 1 0
 @rookie100: We're all built/shaped differently. Tried a bunch of sizes, 500-ish is my happy place. Shorter and my back really starts hurting on long rides (aka normal rides).
  • 2 0
 @Benjamin97: At least as compensation, we get our own shoe brand
  • 1 0
 @JustinVP: go check transition bikes Wink
  • 17 0
 I wish there was a photo of him just sitting on the bike so we could see how the proportions look.
  • 21 4
 "made in china"
  • 13 0
 SC are great bike, but pricing like made in Ferrari's shop.
  • 9 0
 @bman33: They are "good" bikes when you take into consideration price and value lol. Ride great but that price is just out of control.
  • 2 3
 @bman33: someone has to pay for Minnaar & co salary. If their bikes were cheaper, they would not have a team or a much smaller team
  • 4 0
 @gooral: on the other hand nobody would be paying those prices for their bikes if it weren't for the syndicate, 50:01 etc.

That being said, if higher unit prices meant more racers why doesn't Yeti have a bigger Enduro or a DH team? Commencal bikes are more affordable per unit but they had so many race teams I can't even keep track.
  • 1 0
 @mtb-thetown: You make a good point. It would be good to understand what drives/what are the reasons for companies to set prices how they set them
  • 11 0
 I'm of two minds:

1) The pursuit of the perfect fit is just another excuse to blame our gear. There's a reasonably large window of bike size we can adapt to and still have fun out there.

But 2) when a bike handles exactly how we want and expect it to, it helps us enter the flow state... Which is kind of the whole point of the whole MTB exercise.
  • 2 1
 I think it’s worth looking at when we change bikes?
  • 1 0
 @BarneyStinson: yeah, 100%. Other times, maybe it contributes to dissatisfaction with the current bike.
  • 1 0
 Definitely the second one.

From experience I’d say that my bike feeling perfectly dialed (as opposed to even just good) makes a big difference to my riding.

If it feels just right, I’m comfortable and in control and thus I’m riding with confidence.
  • 10 0
 Third last pic - where exactly did he take off from?

Cool bike check though. Always helpful to know how other tall riders set things up.
  • 3 0
 Thought the same... Mega bunnyhop to motohwip??
  • 5 0
 My guess is that tree stump that's behind him? Pretty impressive to be that sideways on what looks in the camera like a flat trail
  • 6 0
 @ben-cathro thanks for the bike check!

Re sizing down: I’m 6’8” and used to ride 510mm reach (longest I could find available at the time). I noticed my lower back would really start to tighten up, especially on trails that require a lot of pumping/active riding. For me, sizing UP to a frame with 528mm reach has mostly resolved that issue.

Curious if you’ve had any height related discomfort with different frames/sizes.
  • 6 0
 I'm only 6-4 but yeah...high rise bars dude. Enve M9 50mm rise should be something you try out.
  • 2 0
 @Svinyard: thanks for the tip! I’ve got 75mm rise bars from Spank. Always love to learn about more products made for big people though.

I should add, I did change more than one variable at a time. Reach went up, stack went up too. I’m using the same bars as I was on my old frame, but I have more spacers under the stem now (new fork, longer steerer). I also started doing Jefferson curls once or twice per week to work on building some strength in the posterior chain.

Anyway, my grips are roughly level with the saddle now (with dropper fully extended) whereas on my old setup they were an inch or two below. Although in one of the pictures in this article, it looks like Ben’s grips are waaaaay below the saddle!
  • 5 0
 Reach means nothing without accounting for stack height. You need to factor in bars, spacers and stem as well to arrive at your effective reach and stack.

At 6'8", I would recommend you try raising the handlebar height dramatically (as much rise as you can get given your height).
  • 3 0
 @haen: Thanks, I understand. I know that adding stem spacers increases stack but decreases reach, I know how to calculate spread etc.

When I read this article, I was surprised, and also curious, to see that someone very close to my height has setup their bike with what appears to be a dramatically lower stack AND significantly shorter reach than what seems to work for me. My personal experience suggests that if I were to try to ride Ben’s bike, even in very moderate or mild terrain, I would be in physical pain!
  • 4 0
 I had same issue as you. Just bought a YT Izzo in XXL with a 515 reach, at 6'6" what a difference. I am way faster at my local trails. It is also so comfy. Unfortunately the bike industry does not do a great job tall people. I have a hard time finding shoes, jerseys, and shorts that fit. I feel we have to experiment more with our set ups. But I do love being tall.
  • 2 0
 @Esmond: I just bought an XXL Izzo myself. I'm 6'5" with long limbs. I put 38mm rise bars and swapped the stem to one with 6 degrees of rise. Needed the taller stack. Loving the bike and I certainly feel faster and more confident on it than ever.
  • 3 0
 I'm 6'7 on an XXL v2 sentinel, with 30mm spacers under my stem, 50mm 10deg rise stem, and 50mm rise bars. This ends up taking my reach from 521 stock to about 505, and I get the same back tightening issue. Just purchased a set of 76mm rise bars and a 60mm 0deg rise stem to keep the same bar height but get some more reach out of it. We'll see how it goes. My hardtail with a 535mm reach feels much better
  • 3 0
 @whiteranger3: I've had the tight low back issue too on previous smaller bikes. Lower back pain can have many many causes of course. But I do believe I've found that both a reach that is too short or too long will give me low back pain. I've found that the distance from my seat tip to my bar clamp should be about 24" for the least low back discomfort. If that distance is 23" or 25", I will get low back tightness. And as someone else commented on this thread, I would take greater comfort and less pain over a more nimble ride any day.
  • 3 0
 I just want to know where he gets long enough riding trousers from
  • 1 0
 @DC1988: I have a pair of Planett pants that fit ok. I have a 38” inseam, the cuffs end up maybe 2 or 3 inches above the tops of my shoes.
  • 2 0
 @Scnelson1: absolutely. Most of my choices in equipment recently have been motivated by what I can do to ride more often, not faster or with more “nimbility”. And then, you know, more time on the trails results in more fitness and skill, and I end up a little faster anyway.
  • 2 0
 Im short 6’1”
5mm Shorter cranks solved back pain from riding
Opens up pelvic angle or something
  • 1 0
 @DC1988: His pants are custom made by Dharco.
  • 1 0
 @aaron-415: damn i wish they weren't custom, i need a pair of riding pants that will fit my 36" inseam
  • 2 0
 @whiteranger3: Wrangler ATG Joggers work great. 29.99$ on Amazon (sale). The 34" inseam will likely be great as I'm a 34" and the 32" worked well. I don't like having janky gear but these work awesome and are a solid hiker pant as well. And you can go dig in them too without worrying about destroying a 120$ pair of bike brand pants (its just pants guys).
  • 1 0
 @Svinyard: nice i'll check them out, thanks!
  • 8 2
 6’6 here.

I’m on a XL as well because the trails just are not built for such long ass bikes. It’s a struggle to get around some of the tight corners on the shore on an XL already. The only thing that I’m lacking is enough stack height as my bike came with too short of a steerer tube.
  • 1 1
 Really nice looking bike. Have you tried a high rise bar? Like the Josh bryceland 50mm or the Sam hill 40mm bars?
  • 2 0
 @thenotoriousmic: I ordered the deity high side 50mm today after looking into it. Will see how it does!
  • 1 0
 @danielomeara: Enve M9 50mm rise. They are 810mm wide too which will fit you. I have the diety too and they are nice.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: I'm right there with ya at 6'6 on an XL (well S5) for the shore.
  • 7 2
 I'm a tall guy (6-4), my buddy is a tall guy of the same height. We were talking about Bikes getting longer etc (he's on Ripmo). He had an interesting thought to it. He said "maybe all these small MTB dudes are just trying to get the wheelbase/stability similar to what we have. Maybe there are diminishing returns for taller guys simply because the wheelbase is already longer for us by default and that maybe there isn't as much of a relationship between human height and wheelbase/stability needs. Maybe a bike is just more or less stable based on its length and not the rider size. The switch backs don't get wider just because I'm tall too."

I wonder if there's any truth to that. Like does a size Large feel just as stable for a 6-2 guy as it does for a 5-9 guy mostly? Its not like I can get that KTM450 in 4 different wheelbases based on my size, only the seat height can be changed.
  • 2 1
 I'm on a Stumpjumper Evo, one of the advantages of which is that I can adjust the wheelbase between six different settings. When I've got it in the longer setting it does feel more stable at speed, and harder in tight turns. However there is much more to bike fit than wheelbase. If you're on a bike that is too small for you, your position on the bike is inherently unstable, because of the position that your arms are in. Up to a point that does make it easier for your to shift your bodyweight around relative to the bike, but it also makes it harder for you to resist the forces acting on you, which means that you're more likely to go OTB.
  • 1 1
 I'd agree with that statement. A unit of measurement is a unit of measurement, they are not relative. For me, between 1,250 mm and 1,280 mm is the perfect wheel base for a balance between stability and manouverability with chainstays between 440 and 450 mm. Anything less than that can feel a bit twitchy and anything more feels combersome in the tighter stuff or not as sharp in the corners.
  • 1 0
 I’m not sure how it applies to shorter people but we are at the point of diminishing returns on XXL bikes. No doubt at 6’5” these bikes fit me better but I’ve made wheelbase a major point in new bike purchases. Anything over 1300 becomes extremely difficult on my local trails and even though they are stable, it’s a big downside. Whenever a trail has tighter turns or switchbacks I fall behind. It’s all a give and take but there’s some previous times I can’t touch on the downhills with these new bigger bikes. I’ve been considering going the Cathro path but this article doesn’t sell me.
  • 1 1
 I've said the same thing in other comment sections before but the long brigade never jumped in, I even used the moto example too. Jesse Melemed riding a short bike has plenty of stability, if a tall person rides same said bike would it be less stable? It won't likely fit, but I'd argue "stability" wise, it's probably just fine!

To your point, motos come it 1 size, you can adjust the bars fore/aft 25mm, and up down say ~25mm, footpegs up down 10mm, seat up down 30mm....so we are talking an INCH here or there....they are stable for guys 5-5 (many top MX guys) and guys like David Knight and Pole Tarres (6-4+) with those very basic tweaks....
  • 2 0
 @Gobstopper1: 6’4” and same. ~500-510mm reach and 1300mm wheelbase seems like the sweet spot.
  • 1 1
 @Blownoutrides: I'm the same height and I like 470-480....
  • 2 1
 @RadBartTaylor: I’m 5” shorter than you and like the same reach?
  • 2 0
 @BarneyStinson: If it works for ya it works for ya...for me I've experimented a LOT, longer, shorter, bars up, bars down, rotated, stem length...etc
  • 1 0
 @aly-14: Your statement does not make sense, if you do not tell us how tall you are. Metric or illogical units, don't care, just give us a point of reference;-)
  • 1 0
 @gooral: 187 cm
  • 2 1
 Stability does decrease with rider height as endo and loopout angles are determined by not just wheelbase but center of mass. In other words we all know a vehicle's stability decreases as CoM increases and with bicycles the rider contributes the most mass to the system. A rider can compensate to some degree by getting lower on the bike in certain situations. So yeah there's definitely some decrease in stability for taller riders.
  • 1 0
 @jeremy3220: I don't see the parallel between vehicle COM / stability and a biker....very different systems and I don't see how they are comparable.

I think a better example would be a dirtbike where you have a single platform, single wheelbase and you put riders of all heights on them, they are all stable regardless of rider height.
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: I wonder how much of it is impacted by a larger rider having the weight somewhat spread out further between the front and rear.
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: The actual endo and loop out angles (fore aft stability) are mathematically based on wheelbase and com height. It's stability of the system that matters not the bike alone. This is why it's easier to loop out on a climb with your seat at full height than slammed. It's the same reason you lower your Cg while braking.

youtu.be/P18SutYYL5I

"Though longitudinally stable when stationary, a bike may become longitudinally unstable under sufficient acceleration or deceleration, and Euler's second law can be used to analyze the ground reaction forces generated.[86] For example, the normal (vertical) ground reaction forces at the wheels for a bike with a wheelbase {\displaystyle L}L and a center of mass at height {\displaystyle h}h and at a distance {\displaystyle b}b in front of the rear wheel hub, and for simplicity, with both wheels locked, can be expressed as:[9]..."

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_and_motorcycle_dynamics
  • 1 0
 @jeremy3220: I get it but just don't see how it relates with so many variables in play...taller riders have the ability to get weight further foward and backward to counter-act some of that stuff.

It's part of the reason a good moto suspension technician puts stiffer springs on a moto for taller riders, they can shift weight further forward and backwards.
  • 1 0
 @jeremy3220: Here's the key tho, Matt Beer rips through a chunky section on two different bikes. One he says is more stable than the others. No one went over the bars. One of them was just less jarring, more calm or whatever terms to use. Stable.

That kind of Stability isn't the same user experience as going over the bars. Probably should use different term for the OTB hangup. While going OTB might be related to stability...they aren't inherently the same thing.

I think wheelbase (not reach) and stability are of course related...and *perhaps* somewhat unrelated to the height of the rider. Aka the moto world doesn't care if you are all or not wrt to wheelbase. They just get the cockpit adjusted and the seat and bobs your uncle.
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: Tall riders HAVE to move their weight around more to counteract those forces. The ability to move around does not mean the system is more stable, it often means the opposite.

Remember we're talking about bicycles where most of the system mass is the rider. Motorcycles are the opposite so rider height doesn't often system CoM as much.
  • 1 0
 @Svinyard: They are inherently the same thing. The torque (force x height) exerted by the rider's CoM is what causes the stability/endo angle to change. They're the same thing because you have to remain in balance and the ease at which you are knocked off balance is instability. Think about why a lower BB height increases stability (lower CoM).

The moto world unlike the bicycle world has most of the mass in the bike so CoM is less affected by rider height.
  • 1 0
 @jeremy3220: you brought 'vehicles' into this, I assume cars, motos are a better analogy though...

Using that logic, if a taller rider can use height and weight to control any real or perceived stability issues AND have a more maneuverable bike....seems like that would be the right thing to do, best of both worlds?

And I think we need to be careful about using terms like "unstable"....reality is, even if a shorter bike is "less stable" or as Ben says "more unstable" doesn't mean it's an unstable platform....
  • 1 0
 @RadBartTaylor: Yes, CoM affects stability of all vehicles. Again, depending on the mass of the vehicle rider height may or may not change CoM much. So yes, in Moto lowering CoM increases stability and that would primarily be done by lowering the ride height of the bike. Hence why every high speed road racing vehicle is very low to the ground.


"Using that logic, if a taller rider can use height and weight to control any real or perceived stability issues"

They can't though. This is why even Greg Minnaar crashes sometimes.
  • 1 0
 @jeremy3220: Define "stability" a bit more please.
  • 8 1
 i don't understand how anyone can be comfortable with their hands a foot below the saddle
  • 1 0
 Some of us don't have a choice. Mine isn't quite this bad, but I have long legs 35" and a short torso at 6' tall (therefore shortish reach). On a large Norco Optic, but my bars when my saddle at full height is are at least 3 inches lower.
  • 1 0
 @bmied31: are you running the factory 20mm rise handlebars? There are a few 75mm models available (eg Spank).
  • 1 0
 @jdejace: 30mm OneUps, I don't mind it, i have more drop on my gravel hike, just looks goofy
  • 9 2
 Am I the only one who likes bikes with fully retracted seat posts more?
  • 22 3
 droppers are like dicks: you want it at full extension if you're taking a picture.
  • 6 2
 @kcy4130: dick pics NEVER end well.
  • 4 1
 @kcy4130: don't forget camera angle and lighting....all about the composition.
  • 5 1
 @kcy4130: in pictures, dick should always be at stem height.
  • 2 0
 @kcy4130: i just love pb comments hahaha
  • 4 0
 @woofer2609: *unsolicited ones
  • 5 2
 I'm the same height. I tried an S6 Stumpy Evo for the season. It was a great fit for me, but the wheelbase ruined the nimblity for my local tight n twisty trails, so I got the Evo in S5. It's way more fun
  • 10 0
 “Nimblity” - not a word, but should be!
  • 2 1
 @BarneyStinson: or just use nimbleness, a word that does exists Smile
  • 1 1
 @BarneyStinson: nimbility is a word though.
  • 2 0
 Gotta ask @ben-cathro, how are you running such a light spring at your weight? Does the MK2 make it possible?
I’m on a MK1 XXL at 6’4” 190lbs sitting on the TTX22m with 30% sag 571lb spring. Doesn’t seem possible to run anything lighter.
  • 1 0
 I’m guessing the slightly longer than stock stroke might make it a bit more progressive, not sure though. Seems light
  • 1 0
 Also wondering the same.
  • 5 2
 I feel that we could push the boundaries again for the giants out there. Whos up for a 30.5 inch front wheel for xl and bigger bikes? Super mullet!
  • 2 0
 Would love to see a bike like that haha
  • 3 0
 30.5 would be pretty sick for xl and above
  • 4 0
 Ben, thinking of putting the TTX rear coil on my Scor 4060 LT. I hear nothing but good things about it.
  • 3 0
 Do it
I have the shock and it’s phenomenal on a Tallboy and my wife rides a scor 4060 and I think it would pair with it very well
  • 2 0
 I don't hear much on the topic of arm length and reach. I'm 74" arm span - 2" longer than height of 6'0" (72") - and a 510mm reach fits OK, although I'd like to try 490mm but maintain a ~638mm stack
  • 2 0
 Hello fellow Norco Optic rider Smile
  • 1 0
 @ben-cathro: How do you like the 165 cranks? I'm building an enduro this winter and am unsure if I should get 170mm or 165mm cranks. I need every advantage for LONG days of climbing, but have only ridden 175mm cranks. Will I notice much difference?
  • 1 0
 Go 165. I don’t really notice a power difference but they helped with fit for me.
  • 3 0
 As a normal Sasquatch sized homeboy myself… im here just for the “im sortta 6’6”+ also” comments.



+ the bike is cool!
  • 1 0
 I'm 5'11 and on a 490mm reach Enduro S4. I prefer another 5 or 10 mm of reach and the XL Megatower at 495mm might be perfect. I go faster on a more stable bike and have no trouble turning it when I'm on my game. However it does seem odd that I would like the same size frame as someone 8 in taller than I am. I do have long arms and legs but still.
  • 1 0
 EARTH SHATTERING NEWS:

"Bike Check: Ben Cathro's Santa Cruz Megatower is Smaller than You'd Think"

His reported height is 199cm.

The reach on his size XL Megatower is 495mm

This matches almost exactly the RideLogic height multiplier for target frame reach.

Details in the book Dialed at at www.llbmtb.com.
  • 1 0
 In another interview Ben Cathro said that he chose the XL to have a more familiar handling to his V10. Interestingly there are YouTube videos where even he looks stretched on his XXL Tallboy.

I am 198cm/~6’6” and have the XXL Megatower 1 and the XXL Hightower 1, which has virtually the same Reach as the new XL Megatower once the stem is brought up to proper height. The Megatower is a BIG big for me and especially after a full day riding and getting tired it pretty much rides me. On the other hand, the with the Hightower I definitely get better through EasCoast tech chunk, but it’s tiring in its own way. For me personally, I’d immediately jump on a slightly(!) shorter Reach bike, BUT with the same high Stack - which is where Santa Cruz shines for tall people and allow downsizing better than others.

Others’ “long” bikes show up with a 520 or whatnot Reach, but on paper have a 630 Rise. ROFL. That works for shorter people that want to size up, but not vice versa. Look at those new Specialized or Yetis (that now offer XXL options too), that show up with a 120mm or what steerer and supposedly are OK for folks up to 210cm. Once the stem is at proper height, you’ll have a 490 or so Reach and a 4-5cm spacer tower. LOL. That is actually pretty small.
  • 1 0
 I am 198cm tall and have a Hightower 1 in XXL which is virtually the exact same front triangle size once you bring it up to the same stack!! That bike rides perfectly fine to me and back then recommended to people up to 6’7”!! Under today’s Santa Cruz standard that would be only good up to 193cm. Forget their sizing! The new (oh those long) Yetis that just came out are at the same (stacked) reach just 3mm longer and recommended for folks up to 201cm. Same thing with other XL out there, they overlap (measured at the same stack!) and most of them go to 198cm recommended. Just for reference… The only ting that makes the XL considerably smaller is the shortened top tube. But who at our size rides with the saddle at head tube height anyways… that actual ~69 seat tube fully extended at 750-800mm saddle height makes that top tube bot thaat short anymore.

I also have the Megatower 1, that I ride with a 30mm stem. That thing is almost too long for tech riding here in the Northeast. If I had to buy an MK2, I would downsize too - unless I’d live in the alps with all the highspeed/brain off riding that they have there. 1310+ mm in wheelbase is a no-go for me personally.
  • 1 0
 Keep in mind that back then in 2016 or what when the Hightower came out, their biggest size initially was XL, which by today’s front triangle standards would be a Large, the Santa Cruz sizing recommendation was up to 6’6” or even 6’7”!! The XXL was only added about a year after initial release. Now THAT is too small for someone in that size ballpark, but proofs you shouldn’t rely on the manufacturers’ size recommendations too much. Santa Cruz kept the same front triangle in the Hightower and LT until basically the lower linkage bikes came out and they shortened the bikes’ top tubes by a size (I am purposefully not saying stretched the front out a size!) and the sizing remained the same, considering fully based on TTL.

They build good bikes? But their sizing communication is for the trashcan.
  • 3 0
 And what's the weight of this beauty? At least those metal ladies don't mind me asking lol
  • 4 0
 I'll take comfortable and pain free over playful and exciting!
  • 13 0
 This. I'm tall and I remember a time when I basically couldn't get ANY bike that would fit me without feeling cramped.

All these weirdos on their "bikes are getting too long!!!"-crusade literally don't even know how good they have it. If you don't like the reach number of a frame, just size down and be done with it. But let tall people have their XL!
  • 2 0
 @Muscovir: Right????
  • 1 0
 Its kinda funny that everyone is so concerned about the reach and length of their mountain bike relative to their height. Next are (adult) dirtbikes are going to come in different sizes???
  • 4 0
 do you pedal a dirtbike?
  • 2 0
 @HeatedRotor: I dont believe so
  • 1 0
 @mel22b: exactly.
  • 1 0
 You don’t need to almost fully extend your leg on a dirt bike to get the right saddle height. If you are talking about pumping and going DH then yes, your dirt bike analogy works but not when pedaling uphill.
  • 3 1
 would you run a larger trail bike if Santa Cruz made a V10 that had a longer reach than 490?
  • 1 0
 @ben-cathro leading the way for the taller lads. Definitely need to get a bigger bike, I’m the same height and riding a large Remedy!
  • 2 0
 Holy $hit I don’t realize you were 6’7. That’s just showing off if you ask me.
  • 2 0
 It's apparent that Ben doesn't like the aesthetics of numerous air bubbles in his ride wrap like me.
  • 1 0
 Ben's size down is my "oh god they make bikes that big?" size.

Would be hilarious to see his bike on the same lift chair as my GF's XS Patrol.
  • 1 0
 I like the front brake on the right! At 5'3" I am running 165mm cranks now, maybe I need to think about shorter for my stubby legs.
  • 1 0
 if thats the seat height, that thing looks unstable with the seat up perched so high like that, need a longer wb to regain the stability
  • 1 0
 Nice bike. Looks like he went for the long stroke option 65mm rear which I believe is 176mm travel (that’s what I did).
62.5mm is stock at 165mm
  • 1 0
 Is it safe to run 65mm stroke without any other modifications. I mean using stock links etc and is there tyre rub on the seat stay. Also isn’t it unbalanced with the from 170 if out back it makes 176mm?
  • 4 2
 10 clicks of rebound on a ttx coil shock? Are you sure? @ben-cathro
  • 4 3
 Lol, who neg propped that? What on earth is there to neg prop here?
  • 2 0
 I think mine only has 6 total. I don't remember.
  • 3 2
 @gabriel-mission9: what is a negative prop and why would you care? Assume something to do with approval, mate, are you 5? Most people are idiots and sheep anyway, middle finger and go your own way
  • 2 1
 @gooral: Lol, there's no way to get this across believably online, but I'm not at all bothered by the little score on the right. I was just interested in this instance as to how my question could possibly have upset anyone lol
  • 2 1
 I'm curious why so many spacers when Diety makes 50mm rise bars that would let you run less spacers?
  • 1 0
 How are the kryptotal Fand R? Do they clear mud without issue like the michelin DH22?
  • 2 1
 super low bar height. bar height should always be compared to seat height. No mention on how often he climbs with this bike.
  • 1 0
 Depends on inseam vs torso/arm length.
  • 1 0
 Nice bike ,so it’s ok when your tires have X marks on the side’s,i tough they mean not enough air on them ?
  • 1 0
 These tires actually have that pattern moulded into the sidewalls! On some other tires it does happens at low pressures. It doesn't always mean there's not enough air. That depends on your trail conditions, riding style, and the size of the tire.
  • 1 0
 Thing is you're gunna be going the same speed on either one whereas ones gunna be a little more work/fun in my opinion.
  • 1 0
 Another thing does your one up dropper sags?my next bike will be coil front and air back
  • 2 0
 One-up dropper in 240mm, thats availabikeable?
  • 2 1
 At 6’5” my S4 enduro is no less stable than my S5 was. S5 was definitely way less maneuverable though
  • 1 0
 Hey Ben how are you running 170mm with a 65mm stroked shock? Stock setup on the mega tower is 165mm with a 62.5 shock.
  • 3 1
 Throne: Deity Speedtrap
  • 2 2
 Here it comes, the bike industry trending toward "sizing down" for another wave of bike sales. Industry being industry.
  • 1 0
 @ben-cathro thanks! You running 2.4 or 2.6 tires, and why?
  • 1 0
 He says he runs DH supersoft, they only make them in 2.4
  • 1 0
 @gooral: thanks my guy
  • 2 0
 now this is a bike check
  • 1 0
 only had to grow 1 centimeter he would be 200 cm tall Smile
  • 1 0
 Dude's inseam is like 45" and he's running 165mm cranks!
  • 1 0
 I believe jack moir also races a bike thats shorts than is recommended.
  • 1 0
 That is true, but that is also irrelevant to most of us, as we do not ride at that speed and do not possess that skill level. Same as Cathro.
  • 1 0
 Are bike sizes actually growing proportionally with body sizes?
  • 1 0
 If so (which pretty much seems to be the case for the Megatower) his 492mm reach (XL) would be like 418mm for a 5’7” (170cm) person which is way short
  • 1 0
 ...anyone else find it odd that they don't have a suspension sponsor?
  • 1 0
 Ohlins is their sponsor last I checked. But I guess that could have changed.
  • 3 3
 Once again: long bikes feel good to bad riders.

Sums up most of the comments on PB
  • 1 0
 pretty sure their xxl isn't even big enough for someone 6'7
  • 1 0
 Even at 6’7”, how in the world do you weigh 198lbs?!?!?
  • 1 0
 90kg, 457lb spring, seems very light ?
  • 1 0
 Nice try, this is not the new Ohlins TTX22M
  • 1 0
 Speed and Power setup
  • 1 0
 Loooks pretty goood
  • 5 6
 6'7" @ 198 lbs. bruh you need to eat.
  • 15 1
 Us lanky ones refer to it as “all dick and ribs”
  • 3 0
 90kg is not that bad. Some are just in general of lankier stature. I am the same size and around 110kg. For me, it feels like you get considerably less nimble when breaching that magic 100kg line. Am not saying there are no other influeces though...
  • 4 0
 That places him at a BMI of 22 - that's a good weight IMO.
  • 5 1
 Spoken like a true citizen of USA :-)
A healthy weight to the rest of the world
  • 1 3
 Don't say that to one of these geotron people...





You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2023. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv42 0.032642
Mobile Version of Website