If you want to keep a new bike secret, the last thing you should do it is to give it to Sam Hill to ride in the EWS and World DH Champs. The lack of welds on Sam’s various race bikes was a dead giveaway to sharp eyes in the pits – a Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon was coming. It was the classified bike that everyone knew about, and now it’s here.

Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon
The highlight of the 2018 Nukeproof lineup is a new carbon fibre Mega 275. Boasting increased stiffness and performance, at a lighter weight.

Before we get onto the new carbon models, let’s have a quick look at the changes coming to the rest of the range for 2018. With the popularity and respect the Nukeproof Mega has earned in the sector it’s perhaps no surprise to see that Nukeproof have not tried to re-invent the wheel – and with the exception of the carbon models – their 2018 range represents more of a revision that full-on revolution. The geometry has been tweaked across the range, a small addition here and there. Headtubes have been made 5 mm longer to give a slightly higher stack height and a more capable cockpit, and top-tubes have been stretched a little, between 10 – 35 mm in the L and XL models to give a greater separation of sizes and accommodate taller riders more effectively. Handlebars have grown a little wider and where possible a longer dropper has been squeezed in. When it comes to the frame designs, Nukeproof have sensibly opted for dedicated 1x drivetrain so there is now no provision for a double. This has meant that Nukeproof has been able to fit a bigger main pivot placement for increased stiffness. As expected the entire range has been pushed up to Boost in the front and rear for maximum performance and all have good tyres – hallelujah.

Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon
All 2018 bikes now feature Boost front and rear. The carbon models still feature an alloy swingarm as Nukeproof prefer to use aluminium in the high impact area.
Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon
The guys at Nukeproof ride hard, and they know the importance of good tyres, that’s why all models will be fitted with proper rubber.
Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon
With 165 mm of rear travel and a new wider 25 x 8 mm front shock mount and rocker mounted bearing system, durabilty should be improved.
Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon
With Sam Hill lighting up the EWS, we can be sure to see many more Nukeproof logos on the startlines.

The new Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon models.

We were lucky enough to get an exclusive look at the new £4199.99 Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon Factory and had the opportunity for some secret laps on our home trails in Scotland. The new carbon fibre model features identical geometry as the aluminum model – no bad thing at all – but is a little lighter and stiffer, for riders who want that little bit extra. Nukeproof are keen to stress that they have not gone overboard with the stiffness but have tried to engineer in a ride that will not be unfamiliar to owners of the aluminum models, but through using carbon fibre strength and reliability has been improved for hard-charging riders. Cable routing is very well worked out, and not forgetting the mechanics, Nukeproof have incorporated an access window to help with cable access. We like that Nukeproof have stuck with an aluminum rear triangle, it seems befitting of the bike’s intent and will suit riders who regularly hammer into the terrain.

Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon
For 2018, the Mega 275 range will be stepping upto 170 mm of travel in the front

Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon Factory in detail

Fork: FOX Float 36 Factory 170 mm
Rear shock: FOX Float Factory X2 Kashima
Drivetrain: Shimano XT M8000
Brakes: Shimano XT M8000
Handlebar: Nukeproof Horizon AL 800 mm
Stem: Nukeproof Neutron AM 50 mm
Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
Wheels: Boost DT Swiss E1700 Spline 30 mm
Tires: MAXXIS Highroller II 2.3 3C Maxx Terra / DD

Geometry of the Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 381 mm 420 mm 458 mm 508 mm
Top tube 560 mm 585 mm 622 mm 668 mm
BB Drop 10 mm 10 mm 10 mm 10 mm
Head angle 65° 65° 65° 65°
Seat angle 75.8° 75.8° 75.8° 75.8°
Chainstays 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm 435 mm
Wheelbase 1162 mm 1187 mm 1226 mm 1273 mm
Reach 410 mm 435 mm 470 mm 515 mm
Stack 591 mm 591 mm 600 mm 604 mm

The full Nukeproof Mega 2018 Range

As well as the Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon Factory ridden here, there will also be a £4599.99 Nukeproof Mega RS spec in the carbon, complete with a Rockshox Lyrik RCT3 170 mm fork and Super Deluxe RC3 shock. The RS also features a SRAM X01 12-speed Eagle drivetrain, SRAM Code R brakes, DT Swiss XM1501 wheels and 780 mm Nukeproof Horizon Carbon bars.

In the aluminum models, prices start at £2399.99 for the Nukeproof Mega Comp in both 27.5 and 29 inch. The popular Comp comes with a 170 mm Rockshox Yari, Super Deluxe R shock, Nukeproof Neutron wheels, a Shimano SLX 11-speed drivetrain and Shimano Deore brakes. It’s great to see that Nukeproof have not skimped on tyres in their more affordable models and have stuck with the Maxxis High Roller II options in 3C/DD throughout the range.

Finally, hitting that all-important middle ground is the £3349.99 Nukeproof Mega Pro, again available with both 27.5 and 29″ wheels, complete with a 170 mm Rockshox Lyrik RCT3 fork, Super Deluxe shock, Mavic XA Elite wheels, SRAM GX-1 12-speed Eagle drivetrain, SRAM Guide RE brakes and 800 mm Nukeproof Horizon AL bars, a great build for hard-hitting trail action. Nukeproof will still be offering both the carbon and aluminum frames as a frame-only option for £2199.99 and £1599.99 respectively.

First ride impressions of the Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon Factory

Moving to carbon is a big step for Nukeproof, but the change has allowed them to exploit the material to bring some new benefits. We had the opportunity to spend some time riding the new Nukeproof 275 Carbon on some of our steepest home trails in Scotland. While not enough time for a full review, we did get the chance to draw some first ride impressions. Firstly and most importantly the feedback-rich, and racy ride that made the 2017 Nukeproof Mega so much fun have been retained in the new longer travel carbon model. There is no flabby laziness about the ride, it feels sharp and muscular like a racehorse, punching up hills with vigor and rewarding an aggressive and confident riding style on the way down. The increase in top-tube length is welcomed, creating more distinction between the sizes which previously were very close.

Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon
The progressive and racy ride make the Mega effortless to loft in the air, roots are no problem if you dont ride over them.

While back to back testing against the old Mega would be needed to see if the stiffness has been increased, charging through rock gardens felt damn good, the 170 mm Fox Factory 36 and Fox X2 pairing holds a line exceptionally well and chews through hard terrain with ease. In our short test, with the wide 800 mm bars and short stem, the new Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon proved effortlessly easy to ride, inspiring confidence and pushing us to full speed within a few minutes. With a balanced ride and race proven credentials, we can see the new Mega being the hot ticket on the 2018 grass-roots racing scene.

Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon
We are pleased to see that the well-loved handling of the original Mega has been retained, hard-charging and aggressive
Nukeproof Mega 275 Carbon
On very steep terrain, the increased reach gave us a little more room to move

Conclusion

Although too short a test to draw any solid conclusions, we can surmise that the revisions to the 2018 Mega all make a lot of sense on the trail. Shifting to Boost front and rear can only improve the already excellent ride and we are pleased to see proper tyres fitted right across the range. We will bring a full review very soon, but with a range of models to suit all budgets and with Sam Hill lighting up the EWS circuit, we can be sure to see many more Megas taking to the startlines in 2018.

For more information check out the Nukeproof website

Words & Photos: Trev Worsey