Nukeproof Pulse Comp review£3,000.00

A downhill bike that's ready to go

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Nukeproof’s parts list rivals that of the online-only Commencal Furious Essential that I also had on test, but you could buy a Pulse from your local bike shop and you’d be well-equipped to race the gnarliest tracks almost straight away.

The Pulse’s single-pivot rear end drives Nukeproof’s ‘Fallout Linkage’, which produces a spring curve that’s progressive at the very start and very end, in order to improve beginning-stroke sensitivity and bottom-out resistance. There’s 200mm of travel on tap, controlled by a metric-length RockShox Super Deluxe coil shock.

The Nukeproof is a well-kitted-out bike coming with SRAM’s GX DH drivetrain, Guide RE brakes and Charger-damped BoXXer Team fork, which are all stellar.

I got on well with the Nukeproof finishing kit too, especially the high-rise bar and adjustable-length (47mm or 52mm) direct-mount stem. The own-brand wheels and SRAM Descendant cranks aren’t light, but there’s nothing that really holds it back on the track.

SRAM GX DH, Guide RE brakes and a Charger-damped BoXXer Team fork
SRAM GX DH, Guide RE brakes and a Charger-damped BoXXer Team fork

Nukeproof Pulse Comp ride impressions

The Pulse's slack head angle (62 degrees with the fork at full extension, as I ran it) and tall bar make it at home in the steepest and roughest terrain. The fairly low bottom bracket and long wheelbase contribute to a confident feel at speed, especially when the going gets rough and rocks conspire to deflect you off-line.

But it’s not a one-trick wonder. On flatter sections the Pulse pedals relatively well, accelerating out of turns.

The rear suspension isn’t quite as plush and forgiving as the Specialized Demo 8 that was tested alongside the Pulse too, and there’s a bit more pedal kickback through the chain, but it’s much more resistant to bottoming out and still offers great traction.

Nukeproof’s ‘Fallout Linkage’ suspension is essentially a single-pivot design, but with a linkage to help it resist bottoming out
Nukeproof’s ‘Fallout Linkage’ suspension is essentially a single-pivot design, but with a linkage to help it resist bottoming out

Its supple beginning stroke gives a nicely stuck-down feel. The Super Deluxe R shock has no external compression damping adjustment, but I never felt the need to change it — the stock tune offers a good balance of suppleness and support.

The Nukeproof's slack head angle boosts confidence and control when piling into steep chutes. On flatter stuff, the length of the Pulse’s chainstays and its supportive suspension help it carve turns with superb front wheel traction.

The long back end helps the front end bite better, though this may be less pronounced on smaller frame sizes than on my XL test bike. That option to adjust stem length to suit different tracks is handy, too. I set the stem to its shorter 47mm setting for the most part, because this offered better steep-terrain control.

The Pulse carries amazing speed through corners, even on shallow gradients. While the triple-compound Maxxis tyres offer decent grip, cornering bite got even better when I swapped to the Specialized’s stickier rubber.

When the back wheel does break loose, it feels predictable and easy to manage. You don’t need to consciously weight the front wheel in flat turns, and it’s forgiving and stable on long descents. The frame doesn’t feel particularly stiff or accurate, but that helps it remain calm-feeling and forgiving at speed. I do think the reach could be a bit longer on the XL size, though.

To sum up, the Nukeproof is good on steep, technical terrain as well as flatter, more pedally tracks. It’s a well-balanced bike, with great handling and suspension performance in almost every situation I threw at it. You could compete on it virtually as stock and still be left with very few excuses at the finish line.

Seb Stott

Technical Writer, UK
Seb is a geeky technical writer for BikeRadar, as well as MBUK and What Mountain Bike magazines. Seb's background in experimental physics allows him to pick apart what's really going on with mountain bike components. Years of racing downhill, cross-country and enduro have honed a fast and aggressive riding style, so he can really put gear to the test on the trails, too.
  • Age: 24
  • Height: 192cm/6'3"
  • Weight: 85Kg/187 lbs
  • Waist: 86cm / 34in
  • Chest: 107cm / 44in
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Steep!
  • Current Bikes: Focus Sam 3.0, Kona Process 111, Specialized Enduro 29 Elite
  • Dream Bike: Mondraker Crafty with Boost 29" wheels, a 160mm fork and offset bushings for maximum slackness.
  • Beer of Choice: Buckfast ('Bucky' for short)
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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