Nukeproof Mega 290 Factory - Dirty Dozen - Dirt

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Trail and Enduro Bikes

Nukeproof Mega 290 Factory – Dirty Dozen

29" Irish flying machine

The 2018 Nukeproof Mega 290 is the most recent adaptation to the 29” segment of their range. with the previous bike being a two year Dirt 100 pick there is no doubting this bike’s credentials.

Nukeproof have had some serious success with the 650b Mega in the hands of Sam Hill after he won the 2017 overall EWS title. The brand is on the up and, with a new revision of the Mega 290, it’s all to play for.

Some of the key changes for the new bike come from the chassis, with the addition of ‘single ring only’ upfront (1x transmission) across all models. This allows Nukeproof to utilise the space required for a front derailleur to increase the width of the main pivot bearing placement ensuring greater stiffness.

Fox dampers as an original equipment specification have also been a major part of the 2018 range, with the top models having a 36 Factory fork and X2 float unit at the rear. This will expand the market to the customers that are loyal to these brands having the choice of either Fox or RockShox on the suspension platform.

With four frame sizes on offer from small to extra large all of the bases have really been covered. The extra large we rode is suited for riders well over the the 6 foot mark with some serious reach numbers of 515mm.

Nukeproof also offer three build kits for the 2018 Mega 290 from the £3799 Factory build with all the bells and whistles and really is a bargain down to the affordable RockShox equipped Comp coming in at £2399. Our test bike for the Dirty Dozen review was the Factory Mega 290 with the specification below.

Specification

Frame Mega 290 Aluminium.

Fork Fox 36 Float Factory 160mm, FIT, Kashima

Shock Fox Float X2 Factory Kashima, 2 Pos lever, 210×55

Wheels DT Swiss E1700, Spline, 30mm, 29″ rims, Boost Fr/Rr.

Tyres Maxxis High Roller II, 29″ x 2.3, 3C Maxx Terra, 3C/TR/DD

Crankset Shimano XT M8000, 11 Speed, 170mm, 32t, B148, 53mm CL

Drivetrain Shimano XT M8000, 11 SpeedSGS, Shadow Plus

Chain Guide MRP 1x CS, 28-34t, ISCG-05, Black

Brakes Shimano XT M8000, Resin W/Fin

Rotors Shimano RT86 180R / 203

Handlebars Nukeproof Horizon AL 800mm, 25mm

Stem Nukeproof Neutron AM, 50mm, Black

Saddle Nukeproof Vector AM, Orange

Seatpost Rockshox Reverb Stealth, 125mm/170mm, 390mm/480mm, (SM+MD / LG+XL)

Headset Nukeproof Warhead, 44-56 IITS

Opinion: Ieuan Williams

Nukeproof have come a long way in a few years but it’s the 650b Mega that’s caught all the headlines. Sam Hill took the smaller wheeled model to success this year with the EWS overall title and not forgetting the 6th at World Champs.

The Mega 29 on the other hand is the well-established bike in the Dirt 100 and, with the new model now being equipped with some goodness from Fox, it should come out fighting.

Sizing has been something that Nukeproof have always done a good job with. The new Mega 29 is bang on – the size Large reach measures in 470mm and 1236mm wheelbase are numbers very closely matched to the Intense Carbine that was considered to have one of the best shapes in the mix of bikes tested. This, mixed with the super low stand over and short seat tower, brings it bang up to date. If these numbers are not to your liking and you are more around the 6’4 mark then the XL Mega 290 has a whopping 515mm reach.  

The shape of the Mega 290 Factory really has almost been placed in the middle of the road with a 66° head angle. This gives plenty of stability when descending whilst being in a great place when getting involved with a technical ascent and is combined with a seat angle coming in at 75.5°, so very close to the impressive Orbea Rallon, with that test coming very soon.

The ride is where the Mega seemed to be coming up a bit lacking. While undoubtedly fast, there was a very numb feeling to the ride from a damping point of view. This could be due to the Fox platform being new for this brand and the tune on these units will most definitely get better with time. This feeling of harshness resonates throughout the chassis. When you get involved in a long, rough descent it does start to take its toll on the body. Fatigue is therefore fairly high on this bike as a standard out of the box build and setup. Here at Dirt we really feel that some thought needs to be placed on builds and setup here.

On the other hand we’ll be getting the chance to ride a RockShox bike in the near future, hopefully this will be the better option as there has been more development time put into the pairing. This test will be updated as and when this happens.

When you look at the details here you really do get an awful lot for the money though. There are not many bikes that you can get with a premium Fox suspension platform and a faultless DT Swiss wheel set for under £3,800…

With everything looked at the Nukeproof Mega 290 has some real potential but needs a little tweaking to get the full out of the bike. 

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