Nukeproof Mega Pro £3399.99

Lightweight downhill blaster

BikeRadar score 4/5

For a burly bike, the frame itself is surprisingly skinny up front. The 44mm head tube uses an oversized bottom cup for tapered fork compatibility, but the neck junction onto the high-set main tubes – and those tubes themselves – are slimmer than on most bikes in the Mega Pro’s class. It’s rated for up to a 170mm travel fork though, and the CNC machined bottom bracket and main pivot block is a serious structural piece.

Ride and handling: Built for all-mountain aggression

While the spec of the bike is certainly a big draw for aspirational riders, it’s the angles and geometry that will put a big grin on the faces of fearless DH types.

A 66-degree head angle pushes the front wheel out in front for self-correcting stability. A super-steep, 75-degree seat angle keeps rider weight forward when you’re sat, though, to keep the front wheel down when climbing. It also makes it easy to drop behind the saddle when you’re pushing back on a steep or suicidally fast descent. The mid-length chainstays also create a kite tail stabilising effect as well as stretching the wheelbase out to downhill style lengths.

This all fits into the Megavalanche Alpine racing intent of the bike, and once we’d sorted out the overtight rear bushings (the bearings themselves are remarkably free and smooth moving) so does the suspension. The fixed travel Lyrik is one of our favourite all-mountain forks and noticeably more progressive and controlled than the travel adjust fork on the Scott. The more open valving map in the Mission Control DH damper means it gulps down serious slams without coughing up confident connection and feedback.

The Monarch rear definitely tends towards a firmer race tune over small bumps and it can pack down and slow down when you’re slapping through a succession of square-edged blocks.

There’s a firm carving platform for you to really press your feet into as you reach for the big Maxxis side knobs, though, and there’s no wallow or over-travel on single seismic hits or big landings, enabling you to get back on the power and make the most of the lightweight build in acceleration terms. The low weight and generous cockpit length make it fine for trail riding or filling the gaps between the best bits.

Once you’ve learned to stop punching trees the super-wide bars are perfect for working the tyres from edge to edge and surfing any slides you want to provoke. The flex from the skinny frame does start to get obvious when you push hard or plough head on into a string of boulders though. It never gets too far out of line and always gets to the far side of rock gardens roughly in the right place. It’s not as visceral as other all-mountain bikes, though, and the longer wheelbase and back end also make it harder to snap and slice through tighter slow speed technical sections.

Frame and equipment: Quality kit for the money

The asymmetric rear stays are chunky enough, with a 135x12mm screw-through Maxle axle set into heavily machined open web dropouts. The lack of a hub supporting ‘ledge’ to hold the wheel while you slide the axle in or out makes wheel removal/installation more of a faff than it needs to be.

The 150mm travel wheelpath is a simple mid-level swingarm arc, stiffened laterally by the hanging Erosion H linkage that drives the Monarch RT3 shock. The shock bushings and bolts on our sample were way too tight initially, though, which made the damper feel very wooden and constipated until we slackened them off slightly.

While the cheaper Mega AM Comp option comes in at £2,400, another grand gets you this properly Pro version, which is dripping with a genuine factory rider spec. RockShox’s Lyrik RC2 DH fork has high- and low-speed compression adjustment and increased oil flow for big hits. Truvativ’s new X.0 chainguide and skid plate wrap round the super-light carbon fibre-armed X.0 DH cranks in a 170mm length for clearance.

An X.0 rear mech and single shifter deliver very snappy shifts, and carbon levered X.0 brakes shave a bit more weight without compromising control. The RockShox Reverb post gives perfect saddle positioning for pedalling or plummeting at the press of the handlebar-mounted hydraulic plunger. 

Nukeproof themselves supply the saddle and the monster-width Warhead bars and stubby stem. The hubs are Nukeproof’s Generator units, while Mavic’s XM819 UST tubeless rims are set up with LUST versions of Maxxis’s High Roller all-rounders for maximum impact survival despite a relatively skinny width for a 2.35in labelled tyre. Spoke tension needs watching though.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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