Nukeproof’s Scalp has been one of the most anticipated downhill bikes of recent years. We managed to get our hands on one for a blast on the hillside.
Ride & handling: Thoroughbred downhill speed machine
As with all bikes equipped with Cane Creek Double Barrel shocks, suspension shock setup wasn’t super-fast on the Scalp, but after a couple of runs we hit the sweet spot and didn’t touch the damper again. Once we had the Cane Creek dialled in, the Scalp really came alive – the rear end reacting well to big hits, and retaining great small-bump sensitivity. There was barely any pedal kickback when you really put the power down on the rough stuff.
The 590mm top tube on our medium size test bike felt great, and the low-slung frame meant we could throw the bike around in the air without it getting in the way. The 63-degree head angle felt spot-on and, with the RockShox Boxxer World Cup fork attached, the bike felt really well balanced and handled our rough, rocky secret test track with ease.
The 350.5mm (13.8in) bottom bracket height proved to be low though, with numerous bashring clanging moments through rock gardens as the bike sat deep into the travel eating up the terrain. But it was all for a worthwhile cause – the Scalp turns on rails, with a real conﬁdence-inspiring dark side, and persuades you to stay off the brakes into the next corner and let the bike do what it was made for.
Frame & equipment: Quality chassis decked with top-notch kit
The Scalp is made from 6061 T6 aluminium and the weld quality is second to none, with strong double-welded joints. Suspension wise, 209mm (8.2in) of travel is delivered through a linkage-actuated single pivot system. A 63-degree head angle, 350.5mm (13.8in) bottom bracket height, and 1,194mm (47in) wheelbase give you an idea of what this bike is about – long, low and slack – it’s a thoroughbred downhill beast.
The 1.5in head tube gives some scope for angle adjustment, through adjustable headset cups. The Scalp is only available as a frameset at the moment, but you do get a choice of shock – the Cane Creek Double Barrel, as on the sample we’ve ridden here, or you can go for the RockShox Vivid, for £300 less. Our test bike came with a top-end downhill race build, including e*thirteen downhill cranks and SRS+ chain device, and Shimano’s Saint mech and shifter ﬁnished things off nicely.
Formula’s Mega brakes took care of slowing down, while Nukeproof’s own Generator wheelset kept wheel weight and strength in check. The rest of the ﬁnishing kit came from Nukeproof too – Warhead bars and direct mount stem, seatpost and Team saddle. This build is similar to the one that should be available to the public next year.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine.