Words | Photos – Ian Linton
In 2016 Nukeproof released the all-new Mega 275 and we loved that bike, so when the new 2017 model arrived at HQ late last year the stoke levels went into over drive again. I was like a kid at Christmas unboxing the bike chomping at the bit to get it built up for the first ride.
So what’s new for 2017?
The frame and sram wheel set are unchanged for the new 2017 model which is no real surprise for a bike that was such a success when released last year. For the Shimano lovers out there the Pro model is now kitted out with the reliable work horse XT 1×11 drive train and Shimano XT brakes. For a bike that just loves to be pointed down a hill I’d have liked to see a 200mm rotor up front as it lacks bite hitting steep stuff regularly in the valley. Nice to also see a MRP chain guide included this year, no biggy you’d think but for the money you pay for a top end bike that’s aimed at racing it’s an essential piece of kit. Up front this year it’s now shod with the bigger hitting 160mm RockShox Lyrik’s. This pleased me no end as I thought overall it was lacking a little last year with the Pikes, not a lot in it but the Lyrik’s provide more small bump sensitivity along with that added stiffness. Also new is the very nice stealthy copper/black paint scheme for the Pro. Better add that the mudhugger isn’t standard it was fitted due to the amount of winter slop that’s plaguing the valley at the moment.
I’m really getting into this increasingly slack, downhill-bike-style head angles on these long travel all-mountain bike/enduro or whatever fashionable names folk choose to call them this month. Yeah once you take up a 20 – 30mm sag the low BB is something you just have to deal with, you soon realise that you can’t pedal out the corner when your still cranked over, luckily the bike carries corner speed very well. Even by current standards when you sit on this beast it genuinely feels slacker than a slack thing. It does say it’s a 65° head angle but when you sit down into the sag it feels and looks slacker. This I have to say doesn’t seem to affect its ability to climb, click the Rockshox Monarch Plus R3 into pedal mode and it behaves impeccably. I think Nukeproof have managed to strike the perfect seat tube angle married up with the slack head angle that would be ideal for long days in the saddle. Ah the saddle, the Nukeproof Vector AM for me took a little getting used to as for the first few rides it felt a bit harsh. This is a personal thing as are the 760mm wide bars which felt narrow at first being used to 780 – 800mm.
I spent a few months riding the 2016 model last summer so racking my memory I tried a few suspension settings I dialled in last year. I had to tweak them a bit as the new Lyrik’s are slightly different beasts to the pikes but not a huge change. After a couple of rides it was obvious to me that something wasn’t quite the same – oh yeah it’s winter now and the dry trails of last summer are a long and distant memory.
This said the Magic Mary trailstar tyre up front paired with the same compound Nobby Nic out rear are not ideal for the winter riding but certainly not the worst combo and still provided ample grip for some decent drifting. Trying to find a compromise is difficult as straight out the box the Rockshox Monarch Plus RC3 is a bit soggy and easy to bottom out. I played around with a number of air pressure, compression, rebound, and volume spacer configurations before I found a sweet spot. The forks however were a tad easier to setup needing one token that I managed to blag locally, this was enough to get the feel that I was looking for.
No your not seeing double, the bike furthest away is the 290 model which we bumped into on a lap of the local trails. I will say during the 2 months I’ve been riding this beast I’ve bumped into 4 290 versions in the valley, all owners are stoked with how their bikes perform.
After riding the bike through the winter for a couple of months now I can safely say I’m still amazed at how it performs. In a world of carbon this and that the alloy Mega gives you that stiff and taught feel when it comes to throwing it down some of the rougher steeper descents. Once you have tweaked the suspension and added a volume reducer or 2 the the rear Monarch it feels planted, almost rooted to the trail. The bike just gives you so much confidence to throw it into a corner as it feels so sure footed and stable, way past the tyres ability to hold the corner speed as I found out on a few occasions.
When we said we tested the bike we really meant it no matter what the weather, mind when it looks like this where else would you rather be.
Nukeproof have produced a bike that just loves to be pointed down a hill, looking back I believe its actually pushed me to go further out my comfort zone and bring back some excitement to my riding. That’s a bold statement I hear you say but sometimes you don’t realise how stale and safe your riding gets. It’s not bike specific as I’ve found that jumping onto my old personal bike I’ve found myself pushing harder and enjoying the ride on a whole new level. The Mega 275 is as near a perfect package, it’s stiff, responsive, and an incredibly stable bike that relishes any downhill trail you point it at, and every bit as happy to climb back up the hill to the next descent. To me that’s a big deal for a long slack angled bike. Right now if I was in the market for a new bike this or the 290 version would be my first call and not only for the fact it’s a great bike to ride but priced at a very competitive:
RRP – £3399.99