Nukeproof announced a refresh of its signature Nukeproof Mega 275 bike series and added to its growing list of components with a unique foam tire insert and lightweight steel shock spring.
For 2019 the Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon, which began in 2009 with a stab at the “perfect bike” for the Megavalanche downhill race across French Alps snow and rock fields, gets some subtle spec tweaks, accenting its longer-reach treatment in a stiffer, updated chassis. Geometry follows current trends with 64.5-degree head and 75.5-degree seat angles built around a 170mm fork and 165mm of rear travel. A 1x dedicated drivetrain, longer top tube, and taller head tube help fill out the equation.
Two additions to the line include the Nukeproof Mega 275c Pro and the Mega 275c RS, the latter a near replica of two-time defending Enduro World Series overall winner Sam Hill’s bike.
Different builds are offered with Fox or RockShox suspension and SRAM or Shimano drivetrains, but pricing across the line is strikingly affordable, ranging from $3900 to $4600 in carbon and $2400 to $3400 in alloy.
There are also alloy-only 29er builds that run from $2400 to $3700. Credit for the affordable pricing in part goes to nearly all Nukeproof-branded components, right down to Sam Hill Signature grips. Pedals aren’t included, but Nukeproof makes top-rated flat and clipless models if you’re so inclined.
Mtbr had the chance to briefly test ride a 2019 Nukeproof Mega 275 on Whistler’s famed Cut Yer Bars trail. While first impressions are just that, we came away surprised at its climbing prowess, especially over those nasty B.C. squared-off rock step-ups and twisty roots, considering its long wheelbase (1227mm size L) and not particularly svelte weight.
As expected, the Mega had no issue descending Whistler’s gnarly drops and rock slabs. This is done with a fairly traditional Horst Link suspension that offered good support and suppleness without a lot of pedal feedback.
The new Megas also come with goodies like newly upgraded fiber composites, boost spacing, a threaded BB, and metric shock sizing accommodating both air and coil. We’d like to have seen 180mm post mounts standard instead of 160mm, and wider tire clearance than 2.4 (though to be fair, the stock Michelin Wild Enduros pack a lot of tread and traction). And so far the carbon Mega is limited to 27.5, with no 29er option.
In other news, Nukeproof also will offer its Super Light Steel Enduro Spring, a 40% lighter spring for 2.25-2.5” shocks (encompassing most of the market). Weights start at 257 grams for 350 pounds to a still-skimpy 427 grams at 600 pounds in 25-pound increments.
Rounding out its all-enduro-all-the-time rollout, Nukeproof has come up with a distinctly different tire liner, the ARD (for Advance Rim Defense). Bright yellow and shaped like a baby’s head with huge ears, the liner is said to protect against both rim damage and punctures. Addressing standard insert gotchas, ARD features a modified valve for ease of inflation and deflation, its closed-cell foam won’t absorb sealant, and the insert shrinks slightly as the tire is inflated for easier installation and a more secure fit.
Nukeproof says no tools are required for mounting the ARD liner. And at 130 grams, it weighs around the same as an inner tube and about half of some competing inserts. ARD will be available in both 27.5 and 29er configurations for 19mm to 35mm (internal) rims. Our guess is that without the weight penalty and installation hassles, ARD will persuade skeptics to give inserts a whirl especially when terrain turns steep and unforgiving.
Also refreshed for 2019 is Nukeproof’s Scout hardtail, which will take 2.6 tires in its 27.5 configuration (2.35 in the 29er), and its fully rigid, drop-barred, gravel-oriented, multiple-personality Digger, which will take everything from 700c to 27.5 wheels (even a 29er wheel with a narrow 2.1” tire).
And Nukeproof isn’t done yet — more as-yet-undisclosed products are on the way, they say.
So what’s up with Nukeproof — a brand that longtime mountain bikers recall fondly for its distinctive radiation logo, eye-catching machining, and hammerhead reliability. What began life in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1990 and disappeared in the turn of the century’s economic downturn has been resuscitated as a Belfast, Ireland-based outfit that was rescued by a guy named Michael Cowan (who also happens to be a director for mega on-line retailer Chain Reaction Cycles).
Read more about the impressive Chain Reaction Cycles operation.
Nukeproof has been a pet project of Cowan’s, with the bike brand’s initial philosophy being born from its sponsored team’s need to modify their bikes for the Megavalanche — an enduro-style race before the category existed. “It’s kind of a selfish approach, but in a good way,” admits global marketing manager Rob Sherratt. “We create bikes and components we want to ride and race ourselves.”
Besides Hill, the team includes veterans Nigel Page, Matti Lehikoinen, and young guns like Elliott Heap, all pushing the limits further and further, says Sherratt. “It’s been awesome for us to go to a bike park, trail center or a race and see our pedals, ride wear, and bikes being ridden and used by riders,” he said. “It still gives us a buzz to see riders have spent their hard earned money on our brand, we’re very proud to have them as part of Nukeproof and enjoying what we are doing.”
The updated Mega series is available for ordering now. The Scout is expected in mid-November and the Digger on December 10. Dates for the spring and inserts have yet to be set.
To see full component specs and geometry charts head over to nukeproof.com.