The new Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory is a true all-rounder in the bike park. The powerful suspension generates insane amounts of traction in almost every situation yet still offers enough support to collect plenty of air miles on big jumps. Together with the robust spec, this makes the Giga a hot candidate for the Best in Test title in our bike park group test. But is it enough to secure victory?

Get an overview of the grouptest here: The best bike park bike of 2021 – 6 models in review

Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory | 180/170 mm (f/r)
15.6 kg in size XL | € 6,999 | Manufacturer’s website

“Made for the toughest trails in the world.” is the most cliched marketing slogan in the entire mountain bike industry. However, the new Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon is one of the few bikers that lives up to it. It can handle everything from the toughest EWS stages to epic bike park sessions. The € 6,999 Giga conveys huge amounts of confidence and never seems to reach its limit. As the name suggests, the Giga 290 Carbon rolls on big 29” wheels. Despite the XL frame size and whopping 180/170 mm travel (f/r), our test bike hits the scales at a very reasonable 15.6 kg. The elegant carbon frame in artichoke green harmonises beautifully with the Factory FOX suspension and the extravagant suspension design underlines the strong character of the bike. Thanks to the linkage-driven single pivot suspension design, the shock is positioned low in the bulky frame. A two-stage flip-chip in the main chainstay pivot allows you to adjust the progression of the rear suspension without changing the geometry of the bike. For the bike park, we recommend using the progressive setting, which corresponds to an extra volume spacer in the shock. The frame of the Giga is packed with even more cool features, like the integrated rear mud guard, massive seat and chainstay protector and the soft TPU plate on the downtube. Furthermore, all models come factory fitted with protective tape covering all critical spots while all the cables are routed neatly inside the frame. However, the plastic inserts that are supposed to clamp down the cables at the ports tend to get dislodged, causing the cables to rattle against the frame. On top of this, the brake line can only be routed on the right side of the down tube.

The spec of the Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory

While the Giga 290 Carbon Factory was primarily specced for racing, the Nukeproof team clearly knew that the Giga would make a hard-hitting bike park machine – and it does! That’s why they declined our offer to tune the bike for our test, sending a stock Giga 290 Carbon Factory into the test instead. The flagship model relies on top-end FOX Factory suspension with a 38 GRIP2 fork and X2 shock. Braking is taken care of by Shimano XT four-piston brakes with 200 mm rotors. The brakes levers are attached to an 800 mm Nukeproof Horizon V2 alloy handlebar with a 31.8 mm clamp diameter. Nukeproof also rely on aluminium for the wheels, pairing a robust DT Swiss EX1700 wheelset with Michelin Wild Enduro tires in the GumX rubber compound. The aggressive profile and soft side lugs cause the Giga to drift on fast, hard-packed bike park turns, but the drifts are easily controlled. The Nukeproof also features a chain guide with a bash guard.

Volume spacers?
The flip-chip is integrated into the main chainstay pivot. This changes the progression curve of the rear suspension, similar to a volume space, and can be adjusted on-the-fly using an 8 mm Allen key.
Down tube protection
The massive TPU plate on the down tube protects the frame against stray rocks.
Just one blemish
This is the only spot where the Nukeproof makes a noise. Unfortunately, the small plastic inserts get dislodged, leaving the cables to rattle against the frame.

Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory

€ 6,999

Specifications

Fork FOX 38 Factory GRIP2 180 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT X2 Factory 170 mm
Seatpost BikeYoke DIVINE 185 mm
Brakes Shimano XT 200/200 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XT 12-Speed 10–51
Stem Nukeproof Horizon 50 mm
Handlebar Nukeproof Horizon V2 25 mm Rise 800 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss EX 1700 29"
Tires Michelin Wild Enduro Front Gum-X3D / Michelin Wild Enduro Rear Gum-X3D 2.4 / 2.4

Technical Data

Size S M L XL XXL
Weight 15.6 kg


Compliance is king
Nukeproof rely on a flexible Horizon V2 alloy cockpit. While this ensures sufficient precision, it allows you to ride long descents without suffering from arm pump.
Better safe than sorry!
Nukeproof deliver the frame with protective tape on all critical spots. This keeps it looking fresh and increases the resale value down the line.
Wild, in berms too
The shoulder knobs of the Michelin Wild Enduro tires are extremely soft. On tight bike park berms, the knobs tend to buckle, causing the wheels to drift. However, that’s easy to control.

The geometry of the Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon

The Giga is available in five sizes from S to XXL, offering a suitable option for riders from 159 to 201 cm tall. Our test bike in XL should suit everyone from 183 to 190 cm tall and combines a 495 mm reach with 640 mm stack. One big advantage of the Nukeproof is its seat tube, which at 460 mm is very short, especially in proportion to the long reach. This allows you to insert the seat post all the way into the frame and ensures excellent freedom of movement. Chainstay length is 445 mm across all sizes which is relatively long, even for our size XL test bike.

Too much traction? No matter how much dust, the Giga makes it easy to manual out of corners without drifting.

Size S M L XL XXL
Seat tube 380 mm 410 mm 440 mm 460 mm 480 mm
Top tube 565 mm 590 mm 609 mm 631 mm 653 mm
Head tube 100 mm 100 mm 110 mm 120 mm 130 mm
Head angle 63.5° 63.5° 63.5° 63.5° 63.5°
Seat angle 72.0° 72.0° 72.5° 72.5° 72.5°
Chainstays 445 mm 445 mm 445 mm 445 mm 445 mm
BB Drop 25 mm 25 mm 25 mm 25 mm 25 mm
Wheelbase 1,216 mm 1,241 mm 1,266 mm 1,290 mm 1,314 mm
Reach 430 mm 455 mm 475 mm 495 mm 515 mm
Stack 622 mm 622 mm 631 mm 640 mm 649 mm
Helmet Troy Lee Designs D4 Carbon Stealth | Goggle Fox Vue Pyre – Mirrored
Jersey Fox Defend Jersey Black | Shorts ION Scrub Shorts
Kneepad Chromag Rift | Shoes Giro Chamber 2 | Socks Dissent Supercrew Comp Nano

The bike park test – The Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory on the trail

Unchallenged? Yes! But still fast as hell and real fun! Although the Nukeproof Giga remains unimpressed by easy and flat flowing trails, the excellent suspension and soft tires generate infinite amounts of grip, especially in open corners. Onboard the Giga, you feel like Sam Hill on the inside line! With the suspension tuned uncompromisingly for traction, the Giga is harder to pull into the air than the YT Capra and Specialized Status 160 over small rollers and jumps. In direct comparison, bikes like the Norco Shore and Propain Spindrift offer similar reserves but stick to the ground more. The slightly front-heavy position means the Giga conveys a racy feel and ensures a balanced weight distribution, making for intuitive and predictable handling. Only the Specialized Status and YT Capra are more fun on easy trails.

The Nukeproof Giga offers enough reserves to deal with huck-to-flats. Of course we couldn’t resist.

Tuning tips: if you only ride bike park you should choose a tire with a different tread | clamp down the cables at the ports

Stay calm
Even on loose terrain, the Giga impresses with great braking traction and grip.

On very big jumps, massive drops and tall berms, the Giga inspires huge amounts of confidence, integrating its rider deep into the frame in a central riding positioning. Furthermore, The Giga offers sufficient reserves for botched landings and still provides enough support to pull into the air after big compressions. Here it feels a bit like the Propain Spindrift, which is a smidge nimbler in the air but doesn’t inspire as much confidence. That being said, both bikes encourage you to commit to stylish tricks.

The Giga plays out its strengths on technical trails, where it pulls past its opponents at Mach 10 while feeling reassuringly composed. With its confidence-inspiring handling and mind-boggling traction, the Giga invites you to keep your finger off the brakes and to pop off roots and tree stumps, even on really steep terrain. On near-vertical descents, the central riding position distributes your weight evenly between the front and rear wheel, generating good traction on both ends but never threatening to throw you over the bars. The Nukeproof Giga knows well that it’s far from its limits and always strikes an excellent balance between speed and safety.

Conclusion

The Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory secures the coveted Best in Test in our bike park group test. As a hard-hitting descending machine, it’s less suitable for easy trails and beginners. But that’s not what we’re looking for here. In this test, no other bike was able to generate as much speed and at the same time inspire as much confidence as the Giga, while still offering a robust and potent spec straight out of the box. The awesome suspension generates endless traction through corners and at the same time provides huge amounts of reserves, making the Giga your best option for fast bike park laps with huge jumps.

Tops

  • strong suspension with infinite traction and reserves
  • confidence inspiring
  • extremely fast and precise on technical terrain
  • perfect spec without upgrades necessary
  • frame protection fitted from factory

Flops

  • bored on flat and flowing trails
  • cable routing not ideal and noisy

You can find out more about at nukeproof.com

The testfield

Get an overview of the grouptest here: The best bike park bike of 2021 – 6 models in review

All Bikes in this group test: Canyon Torque:ON 9 (Click for review) | Norco Shore 1 (Click for review) | Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory | Propain Spindrift CF Mix (Click for review) | Specialized Status 160 (Click for review) | YT CAPRA 29 CORE 4 (Click for review)

Words: Peter Walker Photos: Robin Schmitt

About the author

Peter Walker

As a technical editor, Peter is as much a man of action as he is of words. This expert, screw-driver-flexing two wheeled-whizz has many envy-inducing characteristics, including a background in motocross, several EWS race plates to his name, and more than 150 recorded days at Whistler Bike Park. However complex the bike and however steep the trail, he’s probably already nailed it, twice. Oh, and he can do it all on skinny tyres too. When it comes to guiding consumers, Peter cut his teeth at Vancouver’s oldest bike shop and now puts pen to paper on the daily translating this know-how into our editorial plan. When not tearing up Stuttgart’s local trails while testing bikes, he loves nothing more than loading up his self-renovated VW T5 and hitting the road. The fact that he’s a trained paramedic gives his colleagues reassurance out on the trails. So far we haven’t had to call him by his alias ‘Sani Peter’, so here’s hoping he keeps it right side up for the rest of his time here!