Nukeproof hasn’t rushed the design process of its debut electric mountain bike in a hurried attempt to perfect it from the get-go – and this approach has certainly paid off.
The MegaWatt shares many design cues with the brand’s latest Mega enduro bike, and in fact, it was designed alongside the alloy version of the Mega.
Nukeproof has opted for Shimano’s latest EP8 drive unit, which offers 85Nm of torque. The battery is housed neatly inside the box-section down tube, and on this Factory build, it has a 630Wh capacity.
In terms of suspension layout, the MegaWatt and Mega share almost identical lines, with the same four-bar Horst link platform delivering 170mm of rear-wheel travel.
The MegaWatt doesn’t have quite as much anti-squat in the lower gears, the idea being that the help of the motor should negate the loss in pedalling efficiency. The pay-off is increased suspension sensitivity and improved traction when climbing.
Using a smaller 650b rear wheel means better bum clearance for shorter riders, and has also enabled the design team to keep the chainstay length a little more compact, at 442mm.
Reach on the medium size is a generous 455mm (the same as on the Mega). The head angle is a suitably slack 63.8 degrees, while the seat tube angle is decently steep at 77.5 degrees and increases as you go up through the five frame sizes. At 342mm off the ground, the bottom bracket is also low.
Cables feed through the Acros upper headset cup – an unusual touch – and are routed internally for the most part.
There’s enough room in the front triangle for a 500ml bottle, plenty of rubberised protection to quieten chain slap, and sufficient space in the rear triangle to squeeze in a 2.6in tyre.
Nukeproof uses the now-common SRAM Universal Derailleur Hanger, so finding spares should be easy.
Nukeproof MegaWatt 297 Factory kit
Nukeproof’s direct-sale model means you get a great spec for the price.
Highlights include the stout Fox 38 Factory fork, which boasts 170mm of travel and uses the brand’s highly tunable GRIP2 damper, and matching Float X2 shock.
Shimano provides its 12-speed XT M8100 drivetrain and four-piston XT brakes, which grip onto 203mm rotors. DT Swiss H 1700 wheels are wrapped in Maxxis rubber – the formidable combination of an Assegai 3C MaxxGrip up front and a High Roller II 3C MaxxTerra at the rear, both with the brand’s tough DoubleDown casing.
BikeYoke supplies a DIVINE dropper post, which, on the medium and large frames, offers 160mm of drop, while the cockpit is all decent own-brand Nukeproof kit.
Nukeproof MegaWatt 297 Factory ride
Looking at the MegaWatt’s 24.3kg weight might make you think it’s yet another cumbersome e-MTB that’s going to be tough to throw around, but unleash it on the trail and it’s a different story entirely.
Nukeproof’s proven Mega geometry, coupled with the superbly-tuned suspension, makes for a seriously exciting ride.
While the additional weight over a regular bike is still noticeable, there’s no getting away from the spring in the MegaWatt’s step.
There’s a tonne of traction on tap thanks to the super-supple suspension, but still enough pop and support due to its lively feel. This means that, even on mellow sections, the MegaWatt can be hopped about with less effort than many of its rivals.
Steeper, twisty tracks further highlight some of the MegaWatt’s most impressive traits. The active, sensitive suspension does a grand job of tracking the trail and keeping the tyres gripping through the turns or under braking while you navigate particularly tricky sections.
This bike is also far more flickable and fun than the scales might suggest – the well-proportioned frame (along with the smaller rear wheel) make for sharp, agile handling as you quickly link turns together.
In the really rough stuff, the Fox suspension helps it absorb the hits in a very composed manner. You may well hear the distinctive EP8 motor rattle here, but that’s something we can easily overlook.
When it comes to the climbs, while there’s a bit of suspension-induced bob under power, it doesn’t detract from the MegaWatt’s ascending ability.
Power from the EP8 motor is delivered smoothly and, thanks to all that traction as well as the steep seat tube angle and raked-out front end, I was able to claw my way up some ridiculously steep, technical inclines with balance and control.
Overall, the MegaWatt is hard to fault, thanks to its balanced geometry, impressive suspension and surprisingly agile handling. I’m a big fan.
Stay tuned for a full review of the MegaWatt in early 2022.
Nukeproof MegaWatt 297 Factory geometry
|Seat angle (degrees)||77.5||77.5||78||78||78|
|Head angle (degrees)||64||64||64||64||64|
|Seat tube (mm)||380||410||440||470||500|
|Top tube (mm)||577.05||597.05||612.15||634.06||663.21|
|Head tube (mm)||115||115||120||130||140|
|Fork offset (mm)||44||44||44||44||44|
|Bottom bracket height (mm)||345||345||345||345||345|
|Price||EUR €8200.00GBP £7000.00|
|Weight||24.3kg (M) – without pedals|
|Available sizes||S, M, L, XL, XXL|
|Brakes||Shimano Deore XT M8120, 203mm rotors|
|Cassette||Shimano XT M8100-12|
|Chain||Shimano XT M8100 HG 12-speed|
|Fork||Fox 38 Factory GRIP2, 170mm (6.7in) travel|
|Frame||Triple-butted, hydroformed aluminium alloy, 170mm (6.7in) travel|
|Handlebar||Nukeproof Horizon V2, 780mm|
|Motor||Shimano STEPS EP8 250W motor with 630Wh battery|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano XT M8100, SGS 12-Speed, Shadow Plus|
|Rear Shocks||Fox Float X2 Factory|
|Saddle||Nukeproof Horizon Enduro|
|Seatpost||BikeYoke DIVINE, 160mm|
|Shifter||Shimano XT M8100-R, 12-speed Rapidfire Plus|
|Stem||Nukeproof Horizon, 50mm|
|Tyres||Maxxis Assegai 3C MaxxGrip DD 29x2.5in WT (f) and Maxxis High Roller II 3C MaxxTerra DD 27.5x2.5in (r)|
|Wheels||DT Swiss H 1700 Spline 30 wheels|