Nukeproof Scout 290 Comp review£1,700.00

Efficient mile-eater that rips on the descents

BikeRadar score4/5

The  climb and distance efficiency of the Nukeproof Scout 290 Comp isn’t a surprise, but it’s how it handles the hits and techy descents that really impresses.

Nukeproof Scout 290 Comp frame

While the frame looks simple at first, the down tube has a load of tapers, shapes and swerves going on. It shares a long weld seam with the steeply sloped top tube, which is almost parallel with the round seatstays.

Chunky dropouts carry a Boost axle and post brake mount, and there’s a chainring-dodging plate section on the driveside chainstay.

The Scout has crisp and immediate acceleration
The Scout has crisp and immediate acceleration

The dropper post cable is routed internally, apart from a loop under the bottom bracket. A full-length gear cable outer runs under the top tube, with a neat extra guide block on the down tube to swing it clear of the short tapered head tube.

The Scout has front mech routing too, but the 290 Comp uses an MRP micro chain guide instead, mounted to the ISCG tabs on the threaded bottom-bracket shell. Production bikes will have a set of bottle bosses.

Nukeproof Scout 290 Comp kit

A 130mm RockShox Revelation RC connects to a broad-clamp Nukeproof stem, which holds a super-wide but forgivingly flexy Nukeproof Neutron bar.

Things are less comfy at the far end, where an intrusively narrow own-brand saddle sits on top of a short-stroke but reliable Brand-X dropper with wobbly but functional under-bar remote.

Nukeproof also supplies the Horizon hoops, with 29mm (internal) rims and 28 double-butted spokes in a straight-pull hub. They’re wrapped in top-spec versions of the legendary Maxxis High Roller II.

Shimano SLX provides a lighter shifting action than the SRAM alternative, with a 30t chainring compensating for the relatively limited 11-42t range of the cassette on steep climbs. The SLX brakes are also fine, once you’ve got Shimano’s now traditional initial over-pull fright out of the way.

Nukeproof Scout 290 Comp ride impressions

With a lower wheel and overall weight, as well as narrow tyres and chunky alloy back end, the crisp and immediate acceleration of the Nukeproof was expected. It’s quieter and smoother than most ‘hardcore’ alloy frames and some steel bikes.

The bars and wheels are forgiving rather than hyper-accurate and harsh, so heading over the horizon doesn’t mean returning feeling broken. It can still get choked on lumps and bumps if you’re not careful with your pedal timing or hop-over strategy, though, and you can sense slight twist in the frame when wrestling it around.

It handles hits and techy descents impressively
It handles hits and techy descents impressively

The 50mm stem isn’t as quick to grab balance back as the Sonder’s 35mm number, but 800mm bar leverage means serious power steering. While Nukeproof rightly says there’s room for 27.5x2.8in tyres, the resulting 285mm bottom-bracket height means continual pedal impacts or interruption even with the supplied 170mm cranks, so it’s not really practical.

The low bottom bracket, super-slack 65-degree head angle and wide bar set up a very stable, confident character for descending. That meant initially apprehensive drops into natural downhill tracks at the end of epic night rides soon turned into deliberate dives, because I trusted the Scout’s ability to unzip the most treacherous segments with ease.

What they lack in volume, the Maxxis tyres make up for with their ability to slice through and find and maintain traction. The fact they come set up tubeless is a real help when you’re using that stability to let the Scout 290 run through rock fields, too.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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