The Nukeproof Mega is built for all-mountain riding, aimed squarely at the new breed of gravity-based Enduro events. It was designed as the perfect bike on which to ride the annual race of the same name, with Michael Cowan, from Chain Reaction Cycles, racing the first generation prototype at the Megavalanche in Alpe d’Huez back in 2009.
With 150mm of travel, the Mega frame sits in the middle of a Nukeproof range that includes the DH-specific Scalp (209mm travel), and a 4X hardtail race machine dubbed the Snap. All three models are bred for speed and have benefited greatly from feedback given by the successful Chain Reaction Cycles race team.
But you don’t need to be sponsored rider, or a racer, to own one. At £899, the Mega frame is competitively priced, and 2012 sees Nukeproof offer two separate full-build packages, both sporting own-brand finishing kit. Target prices are £2,000 for a SRAM X9-spec Comp model, with a RockShox Lyrik R fork, and £3,000 for a SRAM X0-clad Pro version, with a Lyrik RC2L. The cheaper model gets a 2X10 drivetrain, while the Pro version sports a race-ready 1X10 set-up. Both bikes will be assembled in the UK, and available early 2012.
The 6061-series aluminium chassis uses the versatile 44mm head tube standard, which accommodates any fork steerer size, with the appropriate headset fitted. Recommended fork travel on the Mega is 150-170mm.
Both the down tube and top tube are kinked, for fork crown and increased standover clearance respectively, and come with cable guides to run a (31.6mm size) remote dropper post. The uninterrupted seat tube is crimped at the bottom bracket to accommodate the chainstay yoke, while the asymmetric stays themselves terminate at the rear dropouts with a 12x135mm bolt-thru DT Swiss RWS axle.
Overall, the Mega is long and low, but the sizing is a tad on the short size in the actual cockpit compared to some competitors – the large size perhaps more akin to a medium. Claimed weight for a medium frame is 3.1kg (without the approx 215g shock). Finishes available are gloss black anodised, team yellow and silver anodised.
One of the major construction features of the Mega is a one-piece CNC-machined BB and main pivot assembly, claimed to improve alignment and stiffness.
Nukeproof uses a single-pivot suspension design with main pivot location optimised around a 36t front chainring. The seatstays drive the dog-legged ‘Erosion’ link, and coupled with the RockShox Monarch RT3 shock the Mega delivers a tad over 150mm of travel.
The 200/57mm Solo Air Monarch shock fitted comes with an updated Air can for 2011 (with claimed reduced breakaway and lower friction seals), and we found it both extremely supple and supportive. The Solo Air spring means one valve fills both positive and negative chambers equally, and the ‘T3’ denotes three pre-defined stages of Floodgate compression threshold to tune the suspension for climbing.
The Mega has seen some serious mileage since it turned up at the mbr office – usually a good sign that it’s a well regarded bike. Our bike was built geared towards the burlier end of the all-mountain spectrum, with a RockShox 170mm Lyrik RC2 DH fork (using the same Mission Control DH damper as a Boxxer WC fork).
Geometry wise, a 65º head angle with the long-travel Solo Air Lyrik and a lengthy 1,174mm wheelbase, means the Mega is stable and confident at speed. The frame feels very stiff, especially around the BB and rear triangle, and rides well planted, even in really rough terrain. Longer chainstays keep the bike grounded but do make it a bit difficult to manual or get it off the ground. It is perfectly capable of shredding gnarly tracks in the Alps in the hands of a confident rider.
The impressive suspension rides tight and poppy even with around 35 per cent sag, with no harsh bottom-out in compressions or slamming bermed corners, while still having the sensation of offering a fair bit more than the six inches of travel advertised.
A steep seat angle means you can get yourself up to the summit quite effectively too, and the Mega pedals and climbs well even with the shock fully open.
Overall, we’ve had no issues with anything on the bike, except for the Maxle Lite on the Lyrik fork continually coming undone.
The Mega sits at the more aggressive end of the all-mountain category, and Nukeproof has delivered an excellent, well balanced and attractively priced machine – particularly when it’s pointed downhill. The fact that the frame is slightly heavier than some of its rivals would be one of our only potential concerns but you really can’t argue with the price.
Angle finder (170mm fork)
Head angle: 65º/ seat angle: 74.6º/ down tube: 674mm/ front centre: 725mm/ wheelbase: 1,174mm/ chainstay: 443mm/ bottom bracket: 352mm
Frame: Nukeproof 6061 Aluminium/ Rear Shock: RockShox Monarch RT3/ Fork: RockShox Lyrik RC2 DH/ Headset: Nukeproof/ Rear derailleur: SRAM X9/ Chain Device: E-Thirteen/ Shifters Shimano: XT/ Cassette Shimano: XT/ Cranks Shimano: XT/ Brakes Formula: R1/ Wheelset: Nukeproof Generator/ Tyres: Maxxis High Roller II/ Stem: Nukeproof Warhead/ Bars: Nukeproof Warhead/ Seatpost: Nukeproof/ Saddle: Nukeproof