A great package let down by a poor suspension tune
Launched just a few months ago, the Nukeproof Mega 275 Team is the newest breed of enduro bikes. As such, the sizing is bang up to date. Sporting a 460mm reach measurement, the size large Mega can lay claim to being the longest bike here, even if it only exceeds the Giant by the thickness of a gear cable.
Nukeproof one-ups Giant in the sizing stakes though, as it also offers an XL option for riders over 6ft tall. There’s even a 29er version of the Mega for anyone who just wants to go fast and isn’t bothered about looking cool or being on-trend.
With hydroformed tubes and a neat wrap-around shock linkage, the new Mega has a more refined profile than its predecessor. It’s not simply had the rough edges smoothed out though; the suspension layout has changed too.
Gone is the trusty old single-pivot design, replaced instead by a new four-bar linkage. With a pivot just in front of the rear axle, and a counter-rotating upper shock link, it’s similar in concept to Lapierre’s longstanding OST design.
Like other brands, Nukeproof has settled on 160mm travel for its onslaught on the enduro race circuit, with RockShox taking care of suspension duties. Unlike other brands, Nukeproof has bucked the trend for internal brake and gear routing, and guess what? There’s not the slightest bit of cable rattle!
Based on feedback received at the launch, Nukeproof has since increased the compression tune on the RockShox Monarch Plus shock to offer more support. This subtle change allows you to run lower shock pressures without the bike ripping through its 160mm travel in a heartbeat. And an added bonus being that you can run more sag — typically 40 per cent using the shock markings — as the bike tended to ride too high in the travel previously.
Given that the Mega is pretty long and slack, there’s less weight on the front tyre. As such, we ran the 160mm Pike Solo Air slightly softer. Not only did this improve grip and steering control, by making it easier to load the front tyre, it felt more in tune with the amount of sag we were running at the rear.
Grips are easy to change, but they are also your first point of contact with a bike, so they need to be dialled. We found the Nukeproof ones a little hard, and we’d have preferred more rubber between the palms of our hands and the bar.
There’s no faulting the 150mm drop Reverb, however, as it allows you to slam the saddle all the way down on the steepest descents and totally eliminates the need for a quick-release. With that in mind, all frames should use the bigger 31.6mm seat tube that the 150mm Reverb requires.
Handlebar width really alters your perception of sizing. So even though the Mega is a long bike on paper, the 760mm bar made it feel shorter. To confuse matters further, the steeper seat angle, that makes climbs that much more bearable, eats into top tube length too.
Out of the saddle, bombing descents on the Mega 275 Team, those thoughts couldn’t be further from your mind. Still, given that Nukeproof actually makes an 800mm version of the Warhead bar, it seems crazy that it doesn’t fit it as standard. Such a simple change would open up the cockpit and give you more room to manoeuvre, and if you find it’s too wide for your local tree spacing, it can always be trimmed down to suit.
Traction on the Mega feels really good when trying to get the power down on rough, slippery trails, and it’s probably a result of running so much sag on the rear. In that respect it’s more neutral than the Giant Reign under power. The flipside is that the Nukeproof doesn’t feel anything like as manoeuvrable as the Giant, even though they are so close in terms of length.
Nukeproof has done an amazing job with the new Mega. With clean lines, good geometry and an appropriate size range it’s transforming something of an ugly duckling into a gracious swan. It’s a bike that you know you could instantly be competitive on, in any style of enduro race. To give riders a real competitive edge though, Nukeproof needs to get the shock tune totally dialled. At present you have to run the rear suspension quite soft to prevent the BB from riding high, which in turn makes the bike less manoeuvrable and too easily unsettled under braking.