Longer, slacker, faster? The new 2022 Santa Cruz Megatower has its roots deep in enduro racing and that’s exactly what it wants to keep doing! For this reason, the second iteration of Santa Cruz’s popular enduro bruiser comes with more travel, a more aggressive geometry and, for the first time in its history, an integrated storage compartment in the frame. For once, we’ll spare you the mega-puns and get straight to business! We recommend wearing your goggles for this review, because it’s gonna be damn fast!

Santa Cruz Megatower GX AXS RSV 2022 | 170/165 mm (f/r) | 15.4 kg (size M) | € 9,199 | manufacture website

Looks like a… Santa Cruz! With most modern bikes, the frame silhouette alone gives away the manufacturer of a bike. The new Megatower is no exception and is distinctly recognisable as a Santa Cruz. While at first glance, the latest incarnation of Santa Cruz’s enduro bruiser looks a lot like other bikes of the Californian manufacturer, behind the distinctive silhouette hides a blend of proven features and practical innovations. Nevertheless, the intended use of the new Megatower is still the same and strongly oriented towards enduro racing. However, Santa Cruz’s typical VPP rear suspension now generates 165 mm travel – 5 mm more than its predecessor – and is paired with a 170 mm fork. The latest Megatower rolls exclusively on 29″ wheels and prices range from € 5,799 up to € 13,999.

The new Santa Cruz Megatower GX AXS RSV 2022 in detail

In typical Santa Cruz fashion, the frame of the 2022 Megatower comes in two versions called C and CC. The frames are built with different carbon layups and specced with different components depending on the price point. The high-end CC frame relies on a larger proportion of higher strength fibres and allows Santa Cruz to achieve the same degree of stiffness at a lower weight.

C or CC frame? The choice depends primarily on the spec of the bike.
Needless to say, the new Megatower reflects Santa Cruz’s outstanding craftsmanship.

As usual, build-quality is top-notch and proven features such as the internal cable routing, seat and chainstay protector, shuttle guard and extended downtube protector are beautifully solved and neatly integrated into the frame. Moreover, a protective film guards the seat and chainstays from scuffs and stray rocks, ensuring a fresh look and quiet ride together with the ribbed chainstay protector. A new addition is the “Glovebox” storage compartment, which hides under the bottle cage and is secured with a special locking system. The latter requires strong fingers but locks the lid securely in place, preventing it from moving and rattling, even with a full water bottle in the holder. Inside the storage compartment, you’ll find two pouches, which are included in the price and allow you to stow away all your trail essentials, including a spare inner tube, tools, snacks and whatever you fancy schlepping around the trail! The pouch also has a waterproof compartment for money and other water-shy objects. An additional wall in the downtube just beneath the shock mount prevents the contents from sliding deep into the meanders of the frame – awesome!

The Glovebox hides under the bottle cage. The lid is firmly secured and doesn’t move or rattle on the trail, even with a full water bottle in the holder.
Inside the storage compartment you’ll find two pouches, which can be used to stow away all your trail essentials and are included in the scope of delivery. The chunky material holds the contents in place and prevents them from rattling or damaging the frame.
There’s enough room in the two pouches to stow away a spare inner tube, a minitool and your snacks. There’s also a waterproof zip-compartment, where you can keep the money for a well-deserved post-ride beer.

The new Santa Cruz Megatower 2022 – Spec variants

The new Megatower is available in two colours and five spec variants, with the R and S models marking the entry-level. When buying one of the spec variants with a GX or X01 drivetrain, you can choose between a coil or air shock and upgrade the wheels to Santa Cruz’s in-house Reserve wheelset for an extra charge. If you opt for the coil-shock setup, Santa Cruz will automatically upgrade the tires, delivering your Megatower with more robust DoubleDown rubber – which also suits the air shock model better. The flagship model features RockShox’s new electronic Flight Attendant suspension, which makes it the first bike in Santa Cruz’s portfolio with the electronic system.

The new Santa Cruz Megatower X01 AXS RSV 2022 in Trans Blue

Our test bike: The new Santa Cruz Megatower GX AXS RSV 2022

Like many of Santa Cruz’s bikes, the new Megatower pairs suspension components from FOX and RockShox. The FOX 38 Performance Elite fork features the high-quality GRIP2 damper, allowing for countless adjustment options. While the fork may not have the lustrous Kashima coating, it offers the same excellent performance as its high-end counterpart on the trail. At the rear, a RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ shock controls 165 mm travel. Unlike its high-end Ultimate counterpart, the Select+ version doesn’t feature an external low speed compression damping adjustment.

Santa Cruz pair a FOX 38 Performance Elite fork…
…and RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ shock.

SRAM Code RSC four-piston brakes with 200 mm rotors front and rear provide powerful and reliable deceleration. The RSC levers feature tool-free reach adjust, contact point adjustment and SwingLink technology, which provides increased control while minimising deadband and thus helping prevent arm pump. A wireless SRAM GX AXS drivetrain ensures smooth and precise shifting. The Megatower also features a small chain guide with bash guard and a special UDH mech-hanger, which was developed specifically for this bike. The latter is supposed to be more robust and can be replaced with a conventional UHD hanger if needed.

Wireless and effortless – The GX AXS drivetrain ensures smooth shifting and a clean look.
Ups… the in-house UDH mech hanger on our test bike fell victim to a fast berm.

On our XL test bike, the RockShox Reverb dropper post has a whopping 200 mm travel and can be inserted all the way into the frame. For the wheels, Santa Cruz rely on an in-house 30 mm Reserve wheelset with Industry Nine hubs and Maxxis tires, combining a 2.5” ASSEGAI with soft MaxxGrip rubber compound at the front and a 2.4” Minion DHR2 with MaxxTerra compound at the rear. UNFORTUNATELY, both tires come in the new EXO+ casing – and the uppercase letters aren’t a typing mistake! More robust tires with tougher casing, like MAXXIS’ DoubleDown, would suit the racing-oriented character of the Megatower better, protecting the carbon rims against nasty impacts and allowing you to run lower air pressures for more traction and better cushioning. The cockpit consists of Santa Cruz’s in-house 800 mm carbon handlebars and an elegant Burgtec stem and is extremely tidy thanks to the electronic drivetrain.

The Santa Cruz Reserve carbon wheelset upgrade will set you back an additional € 1,200.
The new Maxxis EXO+ casing doesn’t do justice to the character and potential of the Megatower and is a constant threat to its expensive carbon rims. We recommend upgrading to more robust tires with tough casing.

Santa Cruz Megatower GX AXS RSV 2022


Fork FOX 38 Performance GRIP2 170 mm
Rear Shock RockShox Superdeluxe Select+ 165 mm
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth 200 mm
Brakes SRAM Code RSC 200/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM GX AXS 1x12
Stem Burgtec 40 mm
Handlebar Santa Cruz 35 Carbon 800 mm
Wheelset Santa Cruz Reserve 30 29"
Tires MAXXIS Assegai MaxxGrip EXO+/Minion DHRll MaxxTerra EXO+ 2.5"/2.4"

Technical Data


Specific Features

Flip Chip
storage compartment

The geometry of the new Santa Cruz Megatower 2022

The new Megatower is available in five sizes, S to XXL. A flip chip in the shock mount allows you to adjust the reach, head and seat angles, stack height, bottom bracket height as well as the wheelbase of the Megatower. In the low geometry setting, our XL test bike has 492 mm reach, which is average for this size. The 458 mm stack height ensures a high front end while the short 460 mm seat tube ensures sufficient freedom of movement on the trail. Chainstay length increases as the frame-size grows, providing consistent handling across all sizes.

The geometry of the new Santa Cruz Megatower 2022 in the low setting

size S M L XL XXL
Top tube 570 mm 594 mm 613 mm 637 mm 666 mm
Seat tube 380 mm 405 mm 430 mm 460 mm 500 mm
Head tube 90 mm 100 mm 110 mm 120 mm 120 mm
Head angle 63.5° 63.5° 63.5° 63.5° 63.5°
Seat angle 77.0° 77.2° 77.5° 77.5° 77.5°
BB Drop 30 mm 30 mm 30 mm 30 mm 30 mm
Chainstay 437 mm 438 mm 441 mm 444 mm 448 mm
Wheelbase 1206 mm 1237 mm 1266 mm 1298 mm 1334 mm
Reach 427 mm 452 mm 472 mm 492 mm 517 mm
Stack 618 mm 627 mm 640 mm 658 mm 672 mm
Helmet Troy Lee Designs D4 | Goggle 100% Armega | Jersey Patagonia FITZ ROY HORIZON RSPN | Pants NF DP3 | Shoes Crankbrothers Mallet Lace | Socks Stance Boys Staple

The new Santa Cruz Megatower GX AXS RSV 2022 – Our first riding impression

On the way to the trail head, the Megatower convinces with a comfortable pedalling position and the sensitive rear suspension swallows up the irregularities on the trail, while always keeping composed, even with larger unexpected impacts. However, the Megatower isn’t your weapon of choice for second-shaving KOM hunts uphill and reaching for the climb switch will save you a significant amount of energy. On steep climbs, the front wheel remains planted on the trail, allowing you to change direction without knocking out your teeth on the stem in the process.

The new Megatower has one drawback… while queueing up for the next uplift, it begs you to perform irresponsible car-park tricks.

When gravity takes over, the Megatower draws a massive smile on your face, inspiring tons of confidence with its high front and encouraging you to play with the trail, no matter how steep it is. The weight is evenly distributed between the front and rear wheel, allowing you to move the bike with ease and generate traction without shifting your weight too much. Even after a long day in the saddle, you’ll get to the car park safe and sound, although your brain is already at the pub. When paired with the RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ shock, the rear suspension of the Megatower sticks to the ground and generates plenty of grip, even in open corners and with abrupt braking manoeuvres. With the FOX X2 FACTORY air shock, you’ll get a similar amount of traction, albeit with a little more support. While the air spring makes it easier to pop into the air, it passes on more feedback from the trail, requiring a more vigilant riding style.

That’s where our UDH mech-hanger got offended…

If you’re not too fussed about air miles and prefer a plush rear suspension to ploughs through nasty rock gardens and root carpets, we recommend choosing one of the models with RockShox shock, which marks the entry-level of the Megatower range. However, if you’re hunting for KOMs on your local descents and love spending time in the air, you should take a closer look at the models with the FOX shock.

Our conclusions on the new Santa Cruz Megatower 2022

While at first glance, the new Santa Cruz Megatower 2022 looks a lot like its predecessor, behind the familiar silhouette hide a few cool new features, with the Glovebox being the most striking one! As usual, build quality is incredibly high, and so the price! On the trail, the new Megatower inspires huge amounts of confidence and generates plenty of traction. Whether you’re hunting for KOMs on your local trails, clocking laps at the bike park or shrugging off the stress of everyday life on a post-work ride, the Megatower is an excellent companion for every situation!


  • reflects Santa Cruz’s excellent build quality and workmanship
  • Glovebox storage compartment is cool and nicely integrated into the bike
  • conveys tons of confidence on steep and rough terrain
  • intuitive handling and plenty of traction


  • puncture-prone tires don’t do justice to the character and intended use of the bike
  • rear suspension bobs on climbs

For more information about the new Megatower, visit the Santa Cruz website.

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Words: Peter Walker Photos: Max Schumann, Peter Walker

About the author

Peter Walker

As editor-in-chief, Peter is as much a man of action as he is of words. This expert, screw-driver-flexing two wheeled-whizz has many envy-inducing characteristics, including a background in motocross, several EWS race plates to his name, and more than 150 recorded days at Whistler Bike Park. However complex the bike and however steep the trail, he’s probably already nailed it, twice. Oh, and he can do it all on skinny tyres too. When it comes to guiding consumers, Peter cut his teeth at Vancouver’s oldest bike shop and now puts pen to paper on the daily translating this know-how into our editorial plan. When not tearing up Stuttgart’s local trails while testing bikes, he loves nothing more than loading up his self-renovated VW T5 and hitting the road. The fact that he’s a trained paramedic gives his colleagues reassurance out on the trails. So far we haven’t had to call him by his alias ‘Sani Peter’, so here’s hoping he keeps it right side up for the rest of his time here!