20 years/ 20 questions - Nukeproof
Bawdy bikes from Belfast
TO CELEBRATE THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY OF DIRT WE’RE SPEAKING TO THE BRANDS AND RIDERS THAT HAVE SUPPORTED US THROUGHOUT THE YEARS. WE’LL BE ASKING 20 QUESTIONS ON THE PAST PRESENT AND FUTURE OF MOUNTAIN BIKING TO THOSE WHO ARE TRULY IN THE KNOW. CHECK OUT OUR 20TH ANNIVERSARY BOOK THAT’S AVAILABLE TO PRE-ORDER HERE.
Nukeproof only really been pumping out bikes for the past few years but they've been a components company far longer. In fact, they're even older than us at Dirt!
They are now winners in downhill and enduro thanks to the indomitable and inimitable Sam Hill - not bad for a bunch of blokes from Belfast.
We had a chat with Rob Sherrat, the global marketing manager, about the past, present and future of mountain biking.
20 Questions - Nukeproof
What achievement of the company are you most proud of?
“It was a great moment for the whole of the Nukeproof office to see Sam Hill on top of both Downhill World Cup and Enduro World Series podium's. It's a huge pay back for the huge belief and effort that the whole office, race team and Sam has put in to developing world class product".
What has been you biggest product development?
“The evolution over the years of the Nukeproof Mega. The current bike started of life with an idea in 1997 and came to life in 1999. It has evolved constantly over the years to today's model. It's always a huge project for us, everyone has an invested interest in the Mega.
We are all emotional involvement in the development as we all will be riding one, be it the frame design, colour or logo placement. It's not always the best way to do "business", but it's our way. I hope people can see that in our designs, these bikes are designed by a person that cares and rides themselves".
What was the brand working on 20 years ago?
“Nuke Proof was creating the crème of bike components and Ti frames. 20 years ago they had released some truly innovative new hubs: The Atom bomb and Bombshell hubs. These hubs were like a work of art with Carbon Shells and titanium rear axles. The sort of components that a product geek like me would have on a shelf just because they look pretty".
What is the direction of the company setting up for the next 20 years?
“I'm Sure there will be 100's of changes over the next year let alone the 1000's that will happen in 20 years. Our plan is to keep creating innovative products, stay passionate about what we do and stay true to our customers, if we do all that we will still be smiling".
What influence has Dirt had on your company?
“Huge! They helped shape and educate many of our team. Our own Product manager, Mr Ali Beckett (Dirt-Norco team 2010-2013). Who can forget classics like "how to cover up your leprechaun""
What has been the biggest lesson the company has learnt in the industry?
“Listen to your customers. It's all too easy to get whipped up in a frenzy of industry hype and types, but take head of the industry, but listen to what the customers actually want!"
What do you dislike about working in the bike industry?
“There are days where it's frustrating, people that may irritate and things go wrong. But, I very much appreciate my job and the fact I am able to work with creative, talented people who all share my passion for mountain biking".
Give us a story from your wildest moment in mountain biking?
“No, I must protect the guilty, anyway Pager is the best for mountain bike related stories, but many (all) are un printable"
Your favourite or most memorable Dirt Cover?"
"Dirt covers were always epic. A really moment of “you’ve made it" for any rider/ brand gracing the cover, so for that reason issue 155 with Sam on the front for Nukeproof’s first cover (and sentimental reasons Issue 141 #longlivechainsaw)".
What would you like to see from Dirt over the next 20 years?
“More features that make me want to stop reading the computer and get out and ride my bike. I miss the old Dirt TV programs too. Also a glossy Magazines dropping through the letter box again would be welcome too"
How were you first introduced to Dirt?
“Probably in a trail car park after a ride when me and a group of mates used to swap MTB magazines. We use to read them cover to cover then swap to the next one (Sorry didn't help your sales figures, but times were tough)"
What has Dirt taught you over the years?
“Mixing business with pleasure is a fine cocktail for a better life".
What would be the first question you would ask Dirt?
“Is this really your HQ? When you're nervous and fresh faced to the mountain bike industry turning up to the Monmouth office expecting to see the huge glossy epic Dirt Manor, you’re confronted with that office... It's amazing- particularly keen of the life size Britney Spears you have in there currently!
Press releases or journalism?
“Time and a place for both. With the readers gluttonous desire for content and news, it’s difficult for you to have a 100% journalist written pieces. Some brands are also producing some amazing Press releases too"
Who have been your favourite riders of the past 20 years?
“I have to say Dirt cover star (Issue 20) Nigel Page, he may get embarrassed, but working with him I see he’s a true legend, stupidly fast on a bike and so much passion. Not only his riding, but all the riders he works with.
He has brought through and inspired so many athletes and is the reason that we have been able to have the calibre of athletes on our products over the years. You go for a pint at the end of a race weekend with Pager and you will end up in the best party too".
What Rider has most pushed the boundaries over the past 20years?
“For me it's got to be Shaun Palmer pushed every boundary to the limit and beyond, he’s inspired a generation, one of the reasons why mountain biking has the attitude it does today. Also, got to say Sam Hill pushed and continues to take the art of riding fast to a whole new level".
What has been your favourite or most memorable race?
“Fort William every year is special, but this year’s Valberg EWS was special. Witnessing Sam Hill win our first EWS on the Nukeproof Mega was just incredible. Seeing Sam and Jacy work first hand to create the win is just incredible".
What does the next 20 years bring for Mountain biking?
“More riding- Riding is becoming so much more accessible for everyone, as long as people are enjoying riding on whatever bike they have then the sport is in a good place".
What life lessons has Mountain biking taught you?
“Works not hard work if you're enjoying it. it's cliché but find a job you love and it makes work easier and life much more enjoyable".
What’s been the most questionable thing to come out of Mountain biking
“Pagey’s stories- some of them are just F***ing disturbing"
Who doesn’t get the credit they deserve in the industry?
“The Trail Builders- no amount of credit could be too much for them, they are the life blood of mountain biking - Be it the organised trail crews creating bike parks or individuals that create the unmarked gems in your local woods they all deserve massive credit.
We may have become accustomed to turning up to groomed trail and riding but are fortunate to have such an amazing network in the UK of official and un-official trails thanks to the builders".