Brings top level performance to more competitive price point
MBR Editor’s Choice 2019: Nukeproof Mega 275C Pro, £4299.99
Black enduro bikes are cool, but it’s easy to produce one. Designing a bike that can win back-to-back Enduro World Series titles is much harder to do. So difficult in fact, no one else other than Nukeproof has managed to achieve it.
It definitely helps having Sam Hill tucked in behind his signature handlebar, but credit where credit is due, the small design team behind the Mega 275C delivered a world-class race bike that made those victories possible.
With 165mm of rock-taming travel, slack self-steering geometry that keeps the 170mm RockShox Lyrik pointing forward when everything else is going sideways, the carbon Mega 275 ticks all of the boxes for riding roughshod over the most demanding terrain. Drop your heels, squeeze the soft Sam Hill signature grips and let the bike do all of the work.
There’s a lighter side to this stealthy assassin though. Push though the pedals to preload the suspension and the Nukeproof Mega 275 can be picked up at a moments notice and positioned with pinpoint accuracy on the trail. No blunt instrument then, even though the carbon front triangle has smooth, perfectly formed radii that make it easy on the eye.
It’s an incredibly easy bike to set up too, and even easier to ride fast, so you don’t need a team mechanic in your corner to eek out race winning performance.
One change we would recommend though, is to get the softer Magi-X compound Michelin front tyre as the standard version can be a touch unpredictable when the temperature drops – a move that Nukeproof has already implemented for 2020.
What’s new for 2020?
Bar the subtle graphics, the latest Mega 275C Pro frame looks identical to the one we tested eleven months ago. Scratch away at the gloss black finish though and you’ll find Enduro pivot bearings for increased reliability. Out go the Mavic wheels, in come DT Swiss E1700s and Nukeproof has also expanded the size range to include a medium/large, increasing the number of options to five. There’s also a 29er option, with the same frame that took Sam Hill to his third EWS title.
Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon Pro review
The combination of the race tuned geometry, floaty suspension and functional build kit, makes the Nukeproof Mega 275c Pro an extremely capable bike.
The latest addition to the Nukeproof family is the entry-level Mega 275c Pro. Launched just a few months back it shares the same carbon frame that took Sam Hill to two consecutive Enduro World Series world titles. It even says as much on the top tube.
Nukeproof Mega 275c Pro review
The only difference between the Mega 275c Pro and Hill’s race bike is the specification. In fact, it’s the SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain and some smart component choices, like the excellent SRAM Guide RE brakes, that made this new lower price point Mega 275c a reality.
In terms of geometry and sizing the Mega is the most progressive bike in test. The size L has a generous 470mm reach measurement and the shorter seat tube allows for a 170mm RockShox Reverb post, 20mm more drop than the other bikes here.
At 64.1° the Mega also has the slackest head angle and this helps give it the longest wheelbase. It’s a big bike then, designed for taking on the biggest challenges, just like the race it was named after.
The Mega also has the most suspension in this test. It’s sporting a 170mm RockShox Lyrik RC fork, which houses a Charger II damper cartridge. It’s not quite as effective on big square edge hits as RockShox’s RCT3 or RC2 damper units, but it offers good grip and a buttery smooth ride on everything else. Also the range of rebound adjustment is more usable than on the Fox 36.
Out back the RockShox Super Deluxe RCT shock is pumping out 165mm of travel. And it’s the exact same shock that comes on the top-end bike. This is super important, as the frame linkage and shock work in tandem, and by keeping the shock specification unchanged Nukeproof can guarantee the exact same level of performance and maintain ride characteristics on both models. It’s so fundamental, we’ve never understood why so many bike brands fit different shocks to every single model.
One small change for 2019 that’s made a huge difference is that Nukeproof has ditched the hard, skinny grips for softer, fatter Sam Hill signature lock-ons on all Mega models. The fatter collars rob you of 10mm per side on the handlebar. Thankfully, the Nukeproof gets an 800mm wide bar, so this isn’t really an issue.
In fact, the only hiccup with the build kit was the Michelin Wild Enduro Gum-X front tyre. The profile is too square profile and the rubber too condition specific so you don’t always have the confidence really load it up in root littered turns. Swapping to our Maxxis control tyres fixed that though.
Confidence is a big part of riding, especially when trying to go fast. And it was immediately apparent at Bikepark Wales that the Nukeproof Mega 275c Pro allows us to attack the trails with extra vigour.
That partly because the riding position on the Mega puts you in complete control, the bar height is spot on relative to the pedals, and the weight distribution between both wheels feels perfectly balanced.
Which means you don’t need to adapt to the bike by putting yourself in a compromised riding position. It’s a very neutral without ever fleeing dull, and you can really lay it into turns, which makes it at total blast to ride.
The way the rear suspension works makes a big difference too. You tend to float in a pocket of the suspension that boost grip and control, with ultimately results in a more composed ride than either a Canyon Spectral CF or GT Force Carbon, and not simply because it has more travel.
With the three-position threshold lever on the Super Deluxe shock it’s easy to firm things up on the Mega for climbing, but there’s no avoiding the extra weight, so it will drain your energy faster than the Canyon on the climbs. Still, you’ll have that number 1 tag on the top tube to focus on so there really is no excuse.