Nukeproof Scout Race review£1,300.00

Raw-framed riot bike is a sawn-off shotgun ride

BikeRadar score3/5

This new addition to the Nukeproof line-up is as raw to ride as the naked frame and big welds suggest, so it’s definitely best suited to riders who want to go big, not long.

  • So good: Tough, hardcore riding-ready frameset; quality, high control tubeless-ready wheelset and cockpit kit
  • No good: Fork is too long, affecting geometry and confidence; unforgiving back end

Frame and equipment: high-value kit draping a roughneck chassis

Nukeproof’s reputation for bikes as sturdy as its brand name promises isn’t likely to be dented by the Scout frame. The tapered head tube backs onto a long double-barrel seam connecting the low-slung top tube and curved down tube, which end at an extended, buttressed seat tube with straight line seatstays that blend into the top tube/seat tube junction.

The forged chainstay yoke gives masses of mud room and the conventional BB has ISCG mounts. Big thickset forged dropouts carry a 142x12mm through-axle for maximum rear wheel security. There’s routing for a ‘stealth’ dropper post cable/hose run too. The gear and brake cables can knock your knees when out of the saddle though.

The naked frame is a thing of brutal beauty: the naked frame is a thing of brutal beauty
The naked frame is a thing of brutal beauty: the naked frame is a thing of brutal beauty

The naked frame is a thing of brutal beauty

Nukeproof has done a great, value for money job of kitting out the Scout Race. The wheels are particularly good – Novatec hubs give a longevity bonus while tubeless-ready WTB i23 rims add useful width to the already chunky Schwalbe Hans Dampfs they're shod with, which are faster rolling than you’d expect for reliably grippy all-rounders.

The Shimano Deore and SLX transmission mix is a byword for smoothly functional reliability and the Deore brakes get finned pads to reduce heat buildup and improve bite. Nukeproof provides the well-shaped big-bar cockpit and seating. The RockShox Sektor RL fork is impressively smooth over rock heaps or down steppy, staccato descents, though stretching its travel to 150mm (5.9in) definitely reduces steering precision and accurate tyre feedback compared with the shorter-travel versions.

Ride and handling: an unforgiving blast – and a bit tall

The Scout’s tall bottom bracket and slack seat tube suggest a bike that’s been jacked up higher than originally intended by the 150mm fork too.

At slower speeds, with reduced sideways or frontal impact loading, everything is fine. The raked-out 65.5-degree head angle (the slackest on test), wide 760mm bar and short 60mm stem give a stable, self-correcting steering feel that naturally wants to keep you on line and in control. With properly grippy rubber at both ends and the ‘power steering’ leverage of the big Nukeproof bar you can pick doubtful lines and place the Scout accurately on sketchy surfaces.

Deore brakes get finned pads to reduce heat buildup and improve bite : deore brakes get finned pads to reduce heat buildup and improve bite
Deore brakes get finned pads to reduce heat buildup and improve bite : deore brakes get finned pads to reduce heat buildup and improve bite

Deore brakes get finned pads to reduce heat buildup and improve bite

The extra fork travel helps smooth out speed-killing blocks and holes, and the Sektor sucks up big single hits well too as long as you nose in rather than touching the rigid rear end down first. The drivetrain stiffness offsets the bike's heft on short, smooth power climbs or when you’re kicking out of corners on a groomed trail.

As the speed and torque being created by the trail or rider increase though things aren’t so convincing. There’s a significant amount of flex through the extended fork legs and long double-barrelled section at the front of the frame.

The Scout still normally comes out of sketchy situations the right side up and roughly where you wanted to exit but the moments of uncertainty can be unnerving. The tall bottom bracket also makes it more perched and precarious than the long wheelbase and slack angles would suggest when you’re trying to force it low and hard through long, curving turns. Again it’ll generally get the job done, but not as predictably and convincingly as a shorter-travel bike would, which makes dropping the fork travel by 20mm a tempting and relatively simple alteration.

Sketchy terrain can deliver a few pant-threatening moments aboard the Scout

The stiffness of the rear end doesn’t help in ragged-edge moments either because it makes it more likely to kick and jolt around, scattering traction, rather than smoothing the rear wheel onto the ground. You’ll certainly know if you leave your backside too near the saddle when the back end is kicking around and even on relatively tame trails there’s a lot of rattle and hammer through feet or seat that rapidly gets tiring. That makes the Scout an unforgiving place to spend a lot of time and we’d definitely recommend adding valves and rim strips and turning the wheels tubeless as soon as possible.

There’s a lot to like about the Nukeproof in terms of snappy power delivery, high-grip tread on quality wheels, and the big-hit eating capability of the 150mm fork. Unfortunately that same long fork jacks the bike up high and adds flex at the front, undermining its stability at exactly the moments you need it most. The rock-solid back end rapidly gets tiring too, making the Scout a short blast special rather than an extended adventure accomplice.

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

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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