Review: Santa Cruz Megatower CC XX1 AXS Reserve

2020 Santa Cruz Megatower CC XX1

The 2020 Santa Cruz Megatower is an enduro lover’s dream. I have been on this bike all of the 2019 season and it absolutely rips; the bike I was riding is a CC carbon frame, XX1 AXS reserve build. Equipped with 160 mm of travel front and rear, this bike can handle almost anything you throw at it. In my opinion, the Megatower is best suited to technical downhill riding, such as what you might see down in southern Utah or and endure run at Deer Valley bike park.

 The lower-linked VPP suspension helps lower the center of gravity on the bike to help it track the ground exceptionally well (I recommend using the flip chip in the low setting to really reap the benefits of this bike). I opted for a wider 2.6” front tire than what comes stock to get some extra traction in loose sections of trail. As far as pedaling goes, the Megatower feels just like you would expect a 160 mm travel bike to perform on the uphill. For the most part it feels a bit sluggish and the slackened geometry puts you in a less than ideal pedaling position. However, I have done several long climbs on this bike and though it feels slow going uphill at first, once you settle into a groove you barely even notice that you are on a long travel bike.

 If you are looking for a bike that is well suited for the trails around Salt Lake City, the Megatower is probably not the bike for you. On most sections of single track the 160mm of travel is just overkill, and it I feel like it takes away from the maneuverability of the bike most of the time. On the other hand, if you’re the type of rider who likes to lap the bike park or takes several Moab trips a year, you likely won’t mind pedaling around this beefier bike on your local rides.

 

-       Devin Keefe

Review: Trek Fuel EX 9.8

2020 Trek Fuel EX 9.8 

 

I have put about 200 miles on the new 2020 Trek Fuel EX and the experience has been quite positive. The bike is equipped with fast 29in wheels alongside a 140mm Fox 36 up front and a 130mm Fox Float Re:Aktiv shock in the rear.  The Fox 36 feels as good as you would expect from Fox, smooth and plush all around, and the Re:aktiv rear shock feels nice and firm when pedaling and plush on the descents. The Fuel operates well on a wide variety of trails so far, from easy going XC rides to more testing downhill runs. Without hesitation the bike has handled everything that I’ve thrown at.  If you are looking for one bike to do all, the 2020 Fuel EX should be on the short list. 

 

Pros 

Carbon bar

GX 12 speed paired with Shimano brakes

Full carbon frame 

Fox suspension

 

Cons 

Bontragar 2.6 tires are a bit wide much for my liking 

Not many after-market rear shocks compatible with this bike

Saddle and grips aren’t that comfy 

Bontrager dropper Post is a bit slow but the new lever is well designed. 

 

Cheap Upgrades I’d recommend 

Grips gotta color pop the bike 

3 more pawls in the rear hub for better engagement 

Adding 10mm to front fork to slacken and beef up the front end. 

    - Tyler Callister