20140325-Matt Wragg-1348 FINAL
20140325-Matt Wragg-1348 FINAL

Ady needed a bike that could stand up to rigorous day in, day out abuse. As a trail guide he is out on his bike more than most, and whilst his guests’ bikes may fall apart on the trail he needs one that he can rely on… after all, his living is at stake.

DIRT ISSUE  148 - JUNE 2014

Words by Steve Jones. Photos by Matt Wragg

Height: 5’ 11" (180cm)

Weight: 13 stone (kitted up, 82.5kg)

Location: Molini di Triora, Italy

Dirt: What type of riding will you be doing on the  Nukeproof Mega?

Ady: Mostly Alpine style shuttle runs, but we will also be doing a lot of big epic mountain days and point to point tours, so the Nukeproof Mega will not only be doing DH duties it’s going to be needed for more general riding as well.

Do bikes get a beating in Molini and the surrounding areas? Describe the conditions.

Five days a week, 45 weeks a year... about 20,000’ vertical feet a week on long technical trails averaging about 10km each. The bikes get a beasting, the trails here are not only plenty technical they are also fast, and you get sucked into riding them fast, which is hard on gear. A lot of top brands come here to test their equipment, especially when it’s accessible all year round.

Why the Nukeproof Mega?

I have been running the older 2012 Nukeproof Mega for a couple of years now. I was hoping to get the new model, but when 650b was making grounds I decided to wait a little until these were available. My older Mega is still going strong, it’s even on its original bearings after doing two 10 month seasons here in Italy. So I’m hoping the latest Mega will give me the same level of service.>>

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20140325-Matt Wragg-1355 FINAL
20140325-Matt Wragg-1355 FINAL

What would the competition be in your eyes at £3199?

YT Industries Capra, but mail order and if you can find any, and also the Trek Slash 7 that comes in at £2700 has a RockShox Pike fork and 500 notes spare for a dropper and some upgrades. The Kona Process DL is very similar in spec and performs better… but not £800 better.

It's not the lightest 160mm bike at around 33lbs?

No (it’s 32.8lbs), it’s not light and its closest rival, the Kona Process, comes in at roughly the same weight. But for a 160mm travel beast it’s not too bad, you feel it a bit when you want to accelerate hard on the trails or are pushing the pace on the climbs, but it’s a bike that likes to go down, the steeper the better and the weight doesn’t affect this one bit.

Happy with aluminium rather than the trend to go carbon?

I have to admit I am thinking about carbon now as it’s been around a while and proven to be durable, but other than the YT Capra there isn’t much on the market that really interests me as they seem to be more trail bike geometry or hideously expensive! There are plenty of ali’ 160 bikes that come in at around the 28/29lb mark depending on spec.... the Slash again being one of them. So I will stick with ali’ for the time being. I guess with Enduro racing now very popular we will start seeing more carbon bikes with more suitable geometry. I will keep my eye out for a 650b Specialized S–Works Enduro though!


20140325-Matt Wragg-1386 FINAL
20140325-Matt Wragg-1386 FINAL

It all seems right Ady, not really any weakness in components?

Out of the box there is nothing you really need to change, Rockshox’s excellent Pike and Monarch RCT3, RockShox Reverb, full SRAM X9 and Nukeproof’s own stuff is good kit, Maxxis tyres, and good chain retention. The gearing is a tad on the large side with a single 36 tooth chainring.

However you've already swapped out some bits and pieces I see?

I needed to lighten her up a little for the big epic all–mountain days. The main upgrade are the Spike Oozzy wheels, light at 1700g for the pair and have so far held up well in tubeless form. I use the Nukeproof Generator wheels with dual ply’s for the shuttle days as anything lighter will get killed. Some Brake Authority semi floating disks and pads cope with heat better than the stock Avid set–up. I’ve changed the drivetrain with a Blackspire 32 tooth narrow/wide chainring and ditched the Truvativ chainguide, a General Lee 40 tooth cassette adaptor now gives me a good range of gears and quite a weight saving… I haven’t dropped a chain yet either.

I also replaced the 60mm stem with a Spank 50mm to sharpen the steering and a Nukeproof carbon bar which helps with fatigue from constant vibrations of riding every day. All this has dropped the weight to 30.8lbs without pedals, that’s pretty good for a bike like the Mega.

Previously you said the large Mega was too big for you, what's with the change of heart?

I took you and your colleague from another mag’s advice (or gave in to your constant badgering) but it was when I was being chased by you and Toby Pantling down the super enduro trail on a large Kona Process that I ‘got’ what you meant, great stability and cornering which was a lot faster and much less input is required to make the bike work for you. It is far more comfortable climbing too.


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20140325-Matt Wragg-1422 FINAL

All going well so far in terms of reliability?

Pretty much perfect, the Nuke’ has taken some hits but all is straight. The only issue are the Generator wheels that could have been built a little better as the spokes need regular truing. I have had no problems with the Avid Trail 9’s even on the long steep tails such as ‘Faceplant’ and ‘Macho Fantastico.’

Go the distance?

Definitely, the Mega is pretty much the ideal bike for me and the terrain in and around Molini, tough and dependable and likes to go down, which for someone as fortunate as me is great. If I lived in the UK then this would be too much bike, but Nukeproof have the TR version and my partner Jo loves hers… if only it came with a Pike!

Being a guide durability and maintainability are more important than performance and I have no doubts the Mega won’t let me down. The bike is pretty neutral, nothing really stands out, nothing to excite you, and it’s not the best looker. I would sum it up as the back–up car that no one wants to drive in the Top Gear epics, yet that very car makes the journey without hassle when the others are pissing around trying to get their cars going.