Bike Check: Nigel Page’s 2021 Nukeproof Mega 290 Carbon

At the first race of the 2020 Enduro World Serie in Zermatt, Nukeproof caused a stir with their new Mega 290 Carbon – and their top rider Sam Hill wasn’t even there! While back then, the successor of the winning bike of the 2019 EWS had not yet been released, we were allowed to take a close look.

Nigel Page’s race steed: the 2021 Nukeproof Mega 290 Carbon in size M with 170/160 mm travel and 29″ wheels

The new Nukeproof Mega 290 Carbon in detail

The winning bike of the 2019 EWS: Sam Hill took his third-consecutive EWS elite title onboard the Nukeproof Mega 290 Carbon, the predecessor of the 2021 model.
The EWS racing team had a decisive influence on the development of the new Nukeproof Mega 290 Carbon. We’re pretty sure that this makes it not only more stylish but also faster.
A striking feature: The new Mega has space for a bottle cage inside its front triangle.

The long chainstays which made its predecessor so balanced have been shrunk by 10 mm, to 440 mm across all five sizes. Nukeproof claim that the changes were made due to direct feedback from their racers, in an attempt to make the bike more agile in tight sections without compromising its overall balance and high-speed prowess. While the new Mega still relies on a swing-link activated 4-bar Horst suspension design, it has a revised rocker link. To make it attractive to even more riders, Nukeproof offer the new Mega in more configurations and sizes than ever before. Both 29” and 27.5” models are available in aluminium and carbon and come in five sizes, from S to XXL. Both wheel sizes are specced with a 170 mm fork up front, but their rear travel varies by 5 mm, with the bigger-wheeled Mega 290 boasting 160 mm rear travel, and the 27.5” option packing 165 mm.

The new Nukeproof Mega 290 RS 2021 is the latest incarnation of one of the best enduro bikes available on the market. And we’ve already tested one for you!

Who’s Nigel Page?

Nigel Page | Born in 1972 | Nationality: English | Height 1,80 m | Weight 80 kg

As the CRC/Nukeproof team manager, former downhill, four cross and BMX racer Nigel Page has helped Sam Hill to secure three consecutive elite EWS titles. Apart from that, Nigel competes in the Masters-series of the Enduro World Series himself, where he managed to finish the 2017 season in second overall. At the EWS 2020 in Zermatt, Nigel rode his new 2021 Nukeproof Mega 290c right to the top step of the podium. While he raced the 29″ version, his team riders Elliot Heap and Kelan Grant used a mullet setup, with a 29″ wheel at the front and a 27.5″ wheel out back. Are you intrigued by mixed-wheel setups? Read our “Should I mullet my mountain bike?” article to find out everything you need to know about mullet bikes.

In Zermatt, Nigel secured the overall victory of the EWS Masters category with race plate n. 159.
Although Sam Hill couldn’t make it to the EWS race in Zermatt due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was as if he were there. Almost all components of the Nukeproof Mega 290 were from Sam Hill’s signature series.
Sam Hill’s 780 mm signature Nukeproof alloy handlebars come with a 25 mm rise. The wireless drivetrain and dropper make for a minimalist and very tidy cockpit.
The Nukeproof Sam Hill signature Horizon stem is 50 mm long
The AVS Racing handguards protect Nigels hands and also his brake levers from nasty impacts.
As most components, the grips are from Sam’s signature series.
At the front, a 170 mm RockShox Lyrik Ultimate fork takes care of the rough stuff. For the Zermatt race, it was set up with 87 psi (6 bar) to handle Nigel’s 80 kg. The front tire is a Michelin DH 22 downhill with soft Magi-X compound inflated at 24 psi (1.6 bar) – a perfect match for the slippery
conditions of this year’s EWS in Zermatt!
A RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate controls 160 mm travel at the rear. In Zermatt Nigel set up the shock with 170 psi (11.7 bar).
In Zermatt, Nigel combined a 170 mm SRAM X01 carbon crank with a small 32 t chainring and used a MRP chain guide, which is the same you get with the production bike. The crank comes in the DUB standard which makes them compatible with any frame. Read this article to find out everything about the DUB system.
While the massive 10-52 cassette of the SRAM X01 drivetrain takes the edge of nasty climbs and steep ramps, the wireless AXS shifting system provides fast and precise gear shifts. Read our 13 good reasons why electronic components on bikes are the future” to find out all the advantages of electronic components.
The Mavic Deemax Pro Sam Hill wheels are the same of the top-spec Nukeproof Mega 290 RS production model, laced on a set of hubs from the same series on Nigel’s bike
A SRAM CODE RSC brake takes care of the braking, both front and rear
While Nukeproof deliver the production bike with a 180 mm rear-rotor, Nigel prefers to use 200 mm rotors front and rear. Nigel’s tipp: swap the smaller 180 mm rotor with a bigger 200mm disc and get rowdy!
Nigel uses a 170 mm RockShox Reverb AXS dropper to lower his Nukeproof Sam Hill enduro saddle.
The new frame of the Nukeproof Mega 290 takes a water bottle. The graphics on the Mavic Deemax wheels are inspired by the Dia de los Muertos.
Flat pedals win medals! Alongside his team rider Sam Hill, Nigel is one of the few EWS riders to use platform pedals instead of clipless. And like Sam, he wins races on them too. Particularly striking are the extremely long pins of the Nukeproof Horizon pedals.

Except for a few small differences in the spec, Nigel’s official EWS race bike is almost identical to the new Mega RS 2021 production top-end model. The tuning tip from our test: replace the 180 mm rear-rotor with a bigger 200 mm disc and get rowdy!

Once again, Zermatt will be one of the venues of the 2021 Enduro World Series. We can’t wait to take more pictures of the majestic Matterhorn overlooking the race track.

We wish Nigel and his team all the best for the 2021 EWS season!

Did you enjoy this article? If so, we would be stoked if you decide to support us with a monthly contribution. By becoming a supporter of ENDURO, you will help secure a sustainable future for high-quality mountain bike journalism. Click here to learn more.

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!