The Nukeproof Mega comes with either 27.5″ or 29″ wheels. So far, Sam Hill has been relying exclusively on the smaller wheels. After reviewing the Mega 290 Factory, we have to ask ourselves: why?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: Love at first sight – 8 enduro bikes under € 4,500 in Review

Nukeproof Mega 290 Factory | 14.80 kg | € 3,800

One reason for Sam Hill’s decision could be that Nukeproof currently offers the Mega 290 in aluminium only. The frame is remarkably slim, almost exuding the slender flair of a steel frame – especially in the area around the top tube. Everything on the Mega 290 looks practical. The cables are routed on the outside, and the bottom bracket is threaded. In speccing the € 3,800 bike, Nukeproof opted for FOX Factory suspension and high-quality DT Swiss E1700 SPLINE wheels. We particularly like the RockShox Reverb with a full 170 mm adjustment range!

The Shimano XT brakes offer sufficient braking power, and the XT drivetrain is robust and reliable. We weren’t quite as happy with the cassette: the 11-42T option doesn’t provide a wide enough gear range. However, Nukeproof has already announced that they plan on sorting this out. The MAXXIS High Roller II convinces with good grip on dry forest trails, but in wet conditions and on loamy ground they lose grip very suddenly – albeit consistently.

  The Mega 290 is extremely fast and super fun at the same time – it’s a mystery to us why Sam doesn’t ride it in the EWS.

Helmet POC Tectal Race | Glasses Oakley Jawbreaker | Shirt Mons Royale Icon T-Shirt | Shorts iXS ASPER SHORTS

The Nukeproof Mega 290 Factory in detail

Fork Fox 36 Float Factory 160 mm
Shock Fox X2 Float Factory 155 mm
Brakes Shimano XT 200/180 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XT
Seatpost RockShock Reverb 170 mm
Stem Nukeproof Neutron 50 mm
Lenker Nukeproof Horizon AL 800 mm
Handlebar Maxxis Highroller II 2,3″
Wheels DT Swiss E 1700 Spline
Weight 14.80 kg
Price € 3,800

Oldschool
The slim tubing reminds us of a steel frame and gives the bike a unique look
Suboptimal
Unfortunately, a bottle cage can only be mounted on the underside of the downtube, where it is constantly exposed to mud and grime
Sensitive
The FOX Factory chassis is super sensitive and very defined. Excellent!
Brilliant
The RockShox Reverb uses the old remote lever, but it offers a full 170 mm of adjustment and can be completely inserted into the frame
Low
The 11-42 cassette in combination with the 32-tooth chainring in the front turns long, steep climbs into a fest of pain. Upgrading is recommended.

The geometry of the Nukeproof Mega 290 Factory

Size S M L XL
Top tube 570 mm 595 mm 632 mm 678 mm
Seat tube 381 mm 420 mm 458 mm 508 mm
Head tube 100 mm 100 mm 105 mm 110 mm
Head angle 66° 66° 66° 66°
Seat angle 75.5° 75.5° 75.5° 75.5°
Chainstays 450 mm 450 mm 450 mm 450 mm
BB Drop 30 mm 30 mm mm 30 mm 30 mm
Wheelbase 1172 mm 1197 mm 1236 mm 1283 mm
Reach 410 mm 435 mm 470 mm 515 mm

The seating position on the Nukeproof Mega 290 is spot on. Your weight is placed very centrally, and even on steep climbs you never feel like you’ve got too much weight over the back wheel. On top of that, the rear linkage remains unaffected by pedalling. The only thing holding you back on the climbs is the gearing of the 32/42 setup. If you think the Mega 290 rides like a bus because of the 450 mm long chainstays, you’re wrong. On the contrary: the balance between the wheels is perfect, giving you loads of grip through corners as well as predictable handling. Adding to the bikes agile feeling is the support offered by the rear end. It makes the bike feel dynamic and lively, and you can generate a lot of speed by pumping it through rollers and berms, yet it remains sensitive to small bumps. The only point of criticism is that it stiffens noticeably when braking. The low bottom bracket ensures that your centre of gravity is low on the bike. However, when pedalling in technical terrain, you’ve got to be careful not to snag the pedals. The long front triangle gives you a lot of room to throw your weight around, which supercharges confidence in steep, high-speed terrain. In combination with the potent rear end, the bike feels very composed and stable, and even the toughest tracks start to look effortless.

  Tuningtips:
– Install Shimano 11-46 cassette
– Replace front tyre with Minion DHR II

Conclusion

The Nukeproof Mega 290 Factory convinced all of our test riders. Its long geometry ensures calm, predictable handling. It provides a perfect mix of agility and stability and scores with its excellent suspension and a sensible choice of components. Despite a small issue with the drivetrain, the Mega 290 secures our Best Value tip! If you’re shopping for a bike with a unique look as well as outstanding handling at a fair price, this is it!

Strenghts

+ very balanced handling
+ lots of room to move on the bike
+ potent rear end

Weaknesses

– low gear range
– sudden loss of grip on the tyres

Uphill Downhill Stability Agility Value for money 


For more information head to: chainreactioncycles.com

The test fleet

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: Love at first sight – 8 enduro bikes under € 4,500 in Review

All bikes in test: COMMENCAL META AM 29 Team Replica | CUBE Stereo 150 C:68 TM 29 | Giant Reign SX | Norco Range C3 29 | ROSE Pikes Peak 2 EN | Trek Slash 9.7 | YT CAPRA 29 CF PRO


This article is from ENDURO issue #034

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Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer

About the author

Christoph Bayer

When work doesn't feel like work, then you've probably done everything right. Luckily, that’s exactly what Christoph did. He loves biking and the tech talk surrounding it (to the detriment of his girlfriend Toni), photography and travelling the world. He has been with ENDURO almost from the start and as editor-in-chief, he's responsible for making ENDURO the most progressive and exciting magazine in the industry. Of course, he still writes a lot of content himself, reviews almost 100 bikes a year and rides his bike almost every day. The alpine trails around his hometown serve as the perfect testing grounds. He doesn't have a classic 9 to 5 routine – sometimes he's in the office, sometimes he'll take his laptop to sit in the garden and sometimes you'll even find him working remotely from his van parked at one the best riding spots in the world. For Christoph, work-life boundaries are fluid and he likes it that way.