Oops, he did it again! After a dramatic showdown in the last race of the 2019 Enduro World Series at the TRAILLOVE Festival in Zermatt, Sam Hill takes second place and secures the overall EWS title for the third time in a row. Of course, we were there and took a closer look at the fastest Enduro Bike of 2019.

Nukeproof Mega 290c

In his third EWS season, Team Chain Reaction Cycles Mavic rider Sam Hill secured his third consecutive EWS title on his 2020 Nukeproof Mega 290c. Once again, the Australian multiple downhill World Champion enters the annals of mountain biking history.
At the eighth race of the 2019 Enduro World Series in Zermatt, with the mighty Matterhorn as backdrop, the crowds experienced a real showdown between Frenchman Florian Nicolai (Canyon Factory Team) and the eight-year older Sam Hill. Whilst Florian started the race with a 60-point lead over the reigning champion, he only managed to land a fifth place over the 5 stages and take 390 points. Sam on the other hand, landed in second position right behind Martin Maes, and bagged a total of 450 points. At this point of the race, Sam and Martin were in a tie – not for long though! Sam Hill dominated the Queen stage and finished 8 seconds ahead of Martin Maes, taking an extra 40 points and thus securing the overall title on the last stage of the day. Only Quentin Tarantino could come up with a more dramatic finish!

Sam Hill | born: 1985 | Australian | Height 175 cm | Weight 75 kg

Of course we were dying to know more about Sam’s bike. We managed to hook up with Sam’s trusted mechanic Jacy Shumilack and talk about the Nukepoof Mega 290c in detail.

‘Ride, eat, sleep… repeat’… is the mantra of Jacy Shumilack, Sam’s trusted mechanic.
As the reigning EWS champion Sam Hill started the Zermatt race with the coveted number 1 plate. Also his AVS hand guards bear his name and the number 1.
Sam’s 750 mm signature Nukeproof bars with 20 mm rise and the Nukeproof Horzion stem. Did Sam read our ‘How to choose the right bar rise’ article?
The modified right-hand shifter of Sam’s wireless Eagle AXS groupset, where the “round thumb” was removed.
The wireless remote of the RockShox AXS allows Sam to drop his saddle by 170 mm and make for plenty of room for movement.
Sam runs a HOPE stem and stores a OneUp Components EDC mini tool inside his headset. Since the wireless SRAM AXS groupset doesn’t rely on cables, the cable port remains unused.
…Sam also has his own signature Nukeproof grips

Unlike most of his EWS pro-mates, Sam uses platform pedals instead of clipless ones. And the new Nukeproof Sam Hill Edition Flat Pedal is even better than its predecessor.

In Zermatt Sam showed up with a prototype of his signature Nukeproof flat pedal.

In Zermatt Sam rode a prototype of his signature Nukeproof platform pedal. Unlike the production model, the new prototype is slightly concave, which prevents the pedal from getting jammed in obstacles.
The new prototype…
… and the previous production model
Whilst a 180 mm RockShox Lyrik Ultimate fork with 85 psi takes care of the front-end, the SRAM CODE RSC brakes with 200 mm rotor provide Sam with plenty of braking-power.
And a 165 mm RockShox Super Deluxe shock with 170 psi provides tons of traction
Sam’s Bike features SRAM’s new Eagle AXS groupset, which in our first test convinced us with way more than just wireless technology
To tackle the steep climbs of Zermatt, Sam combined a 30mm chainring with a 170 mm SRAM X01 Eagle DUB crank. In the past, Sam has also used 165 mm cranks.
The combination of a MRP AMg/G4 chain guide and bash guard stops the chain from dropping and prevents the chainring from getting damaged – especially on the technical trails of Zermatt.
In Zermatt Sam used Mavic Deemax Sam Hill Signature rims with Michelin DH 22 downhill tires front and rear – without a tire insert. In the rear wheel he was running a pressure of 28 psi. Find out more about Michelin’s Enduro tires in our ‘best mountain bike tire’ group test.
In the front Sam was running 23 psi and a Mudhugger mudguard to protect himself from mud and flying debris.
According to Sam’s mechanic, a fast bike needs to be quiet… which explains the rubber pads on the frame…
Click here to find out how to make your bike faster.
Jacy came up with an interesting construction to protect the delicate presta- valves from impacts.

After Sam’s dramatic victory in a nail-biting final at the last stage of the Enduro World Series 2019 in Zermatt, we are looking forward to the coming season and will keep our fingers crossed for him!

Here you’ll find our review of the 27.5″ version: Nukeproof Mega 275C RS in review

Sam Hill just moments before the beginning of the last EWS race in Zermatt, exactly 38 minutes before taking his third EWS Champion title.

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Words & Photos: Manne Schmitt

About the author

Manne Schmitt

As the proud father of Robin and Max-Philip, Manne has been there from the start and is the wise elder of the editorial team. He won his first cycling race in elementary school at a school sports day. After less successful attempts at football, he found his passion for cycling via endurance racing in 1989! The world of racing still consumes him and no one in the team knows the EWS pros better than Manne. As a former head analyst of a state agency, he knows how to do proper research and finds exclusive news that no one else has. He supports his sons in day-to-day business dealings as the authorised signatory for 41 Publishing – viva la familia!