Nukeproof’s first downhill bike, the Pulse, launched in 2010 and boasted some top kit for not much cash. This made it a top-performing privateer favourite on the race scene. The Pulse’s last outing was in 2018, when it was discontinued, and it’s taken Nukeproof until late 2019 to replace it with a new bike, the Dissent.
Will this updated platform, with new levels of adjustability and a choice of 650b or 29in wheels, hit the sweet spot for the next wave of downhill hopefuls?
Nukeproof Dissent 290 Comp frame
The Comp is the cheapest Dissent available. Steve Behr
Nukeproof offers tons of adjustability on the new Dissent. Flip-chips on the chainstays let you modify their length from 445mm to 455mm, in 5mm increments.
It’s also replaced the old Fallout Linkage with a new linkage-actuated single-pivot system that saves weight and incorporates another flip-chip, in the main pivot. This lets you add more suspension progression – varying from 17 per cent in the most linear setting to 30 per cent in the most progressive – to suit different tracks, riding styles and riders.
Nukeproof claims the new linkage has let it shed weight from the bike’s frame. Steve Behr
Nukeproof claims that changing between the four positions doesn’t affect the bike’s geometry or travel, and only alters sag by 1 per cent, so you shouldn’t need to change the spring rate.
The large bike I tested had a 63-degree head angle, 460mm reach and lengthy 1,284mm wheelbase. I opted to run it in the middle 450mm chainstay setting.
Nukeproof Dissent 290 Comp kit
I love the Guide RE brakes. Steve Behr
The Dissent is well-equipped with kit, mostly from the SRAM stable. This includes an air-sprung RockShox BoXXer Select fork with the Charger damper and DebonAir spring, paired with a Super Deluxe coil shock.
The SRAM GX 7-speed drivetrain works well. Steve Behr
Shifting is taken care of by SRAM’s excellent downhill-specific, 7-speed GX DH drivetrain. Nukeproof has also specced SRAM Guide RE brakes, which keep costs down while still offering great performance.
The bike’s topped off with Nukeproof finishing kit. Steve Behr
Unsurprisingly, Nukeproof takes care of the finishing kit with its well-received Neutron components, including the bar, stem, saddle, seatpost and grips. The 29in SUNringlé wheels are fitted with Maxxis Assegai DH rubber.
Nukeproof Dissent 290 Comp ride impressions
Whether you’re jumping or squashing it, the Dissent is at home going fast. Steve Behr
Those 29er wheels mean the Dissent picks up pace the second gravity’s on your side. The rear suspension isn’t the most supple, but it doesn’t seem to matter too much, especially when riding at full chat, because the Nukeproof prefers to brush over the top of bumps rather than track the ground with laser-like accuracy.
Great mid-stroke support means the bike is incredibly stable and confidence-inspiring, even when the tracks are particularly gnarly and rowdy. The speed it carries can catch you off guard though, so it’s a good job the Guide RE brakes are powerful enough to stop you on a dime.
The extra speed you can carry with 29er wheels means that your braking points before turns change. Steve Behr
Geometry-wise, the Dissent is bang on the money. With a 460mm reach, lengthy 1,284mm wheelbase and 450mm long chainstays the bike has all the right, modern numbers. At 450mm, I didn’t feel the need to either shorten or lengthen the chainstays using the adjustable chips either, the setting felt spot-on.
It’s particularly good at holding lines too, and I didn’t experience any off-course pinging or unwanted trajectory changes, even when it was really rough.
It feels very stable in the air. Steve Behr
The big rear wheel did hit my backside occasionally when the bike pitched forward or the track was especially steep. Although this problem is more pronounced with 29in wheels, it isn’t exclusive to them.
The Assegai tyres are a fantastic match with the big wheels and their grip increases the amount of speed you can hit the turns with. It’s a shame they’re not set up tubeless from the factory though, because doing that at home can be quite a task. Although tubeless valves are supplied with the bike and the supplying bike shop should be able to get the tyres set up for you if asked.
Maxxis Assegai tyres are specced on the bike and they perform exceptionally well. Steve Behr
The rest of the spec performs well too, my only gripe being the double-lockring Sam Hill edition grips, which don’t absorb vibrations all that well.
All in all, the Dissent is a serious bit of kit that rewards you by maintaining its speed while remaining composed over tricky terrain. Its spec is perfectly solid for budding or even seasoned downhill racers, with only the grips and tubed tyres crying out to be immediately upgraded.
I didn’t get on with the Sam Hill grips — they’re too stiff and don’t absorb vibrations because they’ve got two lock-on collars. Steve Behr
Nukeproof Dissent 290 Comp geometry
Seat angle: 76 degrees
Head angle: 63 degrees
Chainstay: 45cm / 17.72in (middle setting)
Seat tube: 40.5cm / 15.94in
Top tube: 61cm / 24.02in
Head tube: 11cm / 4.33in
Fork offset: 4.6cm / 1.81in
Bottom bracket drop: 2cm / 0.79in
Bottom bracket height: 35.75cm / 14.07in
Wheelbase: 1,284mm / 50.55in
Stack: 63.1cm / 24.48in
Reach: 46cm / 18.11in