Shredded to the spoils by Sam Hill
There’s a tightness to the Nukeproof Mega 275 Factory that makes it easy to pick a line and stick to it. Confident hitting tracks flat out from the get go.
Nukeproof Mega 275 Factory need to know
- Nukeproof’s classic enduro bike gets updated with new geometry and a carbon front end
- Fox Factory level suspension pairs a 170mm suspension fork to the 165mm frame
- Maxxis Double Down casing tyres front and rear reduce the risk of pinch flats
- Available in four frame sizes, with a massive jump up to the XL option to accommodate the tallest riders.
New bike designs tend to be cloaked in secrecy. Non-disclosure agreements are signed in backrooms at tradeshows and all signs of branding are removed from prototypes to throw media bloodhounds off the scent. Real world testing is done well away from prying eyes and it is all very cloak-and-dagger; but to what end? A big reveal on a random Monday morning in the hope of whipping up an internet storm? A storm, that often blows over more quickly that it rolled. Not Nukeproof.
Sam Hill was riding a prototype alloy Nukeproof Mega 275 for all to see at the EWS season opener in Rotorua, New Zealand. With a Metric shock, Boost rear end and a 170mm fork, it was clear that a new bike was on the horizon. What we couldn’t see, however, was that Hill was also testing a carbon version when no one was looking.
Development on the carbon front end started in October last year, as Hill set his sights on the EWS World Championship title. The first carbon prototype was almost 500g lighter than the alloy version, but Hill didn’t make the switch, preferring the extra stiffness and feel of the full alloy frame. So material was added, mostly around the BB area to shore things up and get the acceleration out corners that Hill is most famous for carving. Two versions later the weight saving had been reduced to 320g and Hill made a seamless transition at the EWS in Ireland.
Details of the bike were still thin on the ground but what better way to test your first carbon frame, than underneath one of the fastest gravity racers of all time, on the most demanding and most public of stages, the EWS. Eight stops on a whirlwind tour of the globe that all have one thing in common, brutally demanding racing at the highest level for both bike and rider. In many ways it’s the ultimate proving ground and it culminated in a fairytale ending with Hill taking the EWS overall at the last race in Finale, Italy. Just weeks after Nukeproof officially launched the new range of Mega bikes.
And it’s not just Nukeproof’s launch sequence that changed for its latest enduro ready rocket; the running order of its range is different too. Fox Factory level suspension is normally reserved for the top-end bikes, with RockShox playing second fiddle. Not here. With SRAM sponsoring the Nukeproof team, the flagship bike comes decked out with a RockShox Lyrik fork, Super Deluxe Shock and a 12-speed SRAM Eagle drivetrain. Bar the wheels and tyres, it’s pretty much identical to the bike Hill raced and it retails for £4,599.99. Not bad for a carbon bike that’s already bagged its first EWS series title and almost made the podium at the DH World Championship in Australia.
But that’s not the bike I rode so let’s get back to the Mega 275 Factory and dig a little deeper in the development process. Last year Hill ‘dabbled’ in enduro racing, while transitioning from Downhill and this gave him some insights into what was needed to hit the ground running for his first full season of EWS racing. There were the obvious changes, like switching the rear end from 142x12mm to Boost and adapting the frame to take the latest Metric size shocks. Less apparent is that frame travel increased by 5mm to 165mm and the geometry was revised to run a 170mm fork.
Sizing has also been updated, and again Nukeproof takes an unorthodox approach. Instead of each frame size growing by the same amount, the jumps get bigger as you go up in size. So the difference in the reach measurement on the size S and M is 25mm, while the XL is 45mm longer than the size L, making it a genuinely big bike.
Most brands scrimp on rubber, or try to fit the lightest tyres possible to save weight. On an enduro bike this results in a string of punctures, lost races or tyres that instantly get cut to shreds. So it’s great to see Nukeproof fitting the reinforced Double Down casing Maxxis tyres to all of the new Megas, including the 29ers.
I only got to spend an afternoon in the Forest of Dean on board the new Mega 275 Factory but I instantly gelled with it. All that talk of improved frame stiffness had me worried that the bike would feel wooden and jarring, but it didn’t. Yes, there’s a tightness to the new Mega that makes it easy to pick a line and stick to it, but it doesn’t feel harsh or twitchy. In fact, the bike is very easy to ride and I felt confident hitting tracks flat out from the get go. But it doesn’t really matter what I think, Hill has already proved that this bike won’t hold you back, even on flat pedals.