The Nukeproof Mega 290C isn’t just consistently one of our favourite bikes in all our group tests, it’s also one of the most successful in the Enduro World Series. We’ve recently spotted the successor to the Mega at the EWS but we’re still testing the current Nukeproof model. Can it keep up with the competition?

In our introduction of the fastest enduro race bike on test you can’t just find our most interesting findings and our overall conclusion, but a good view on all bikes tested.

Nukeproof Mega 290c RS Team Edition | 180/160 mm | 15.62 kg in size L

When you see it standing there, there’s no denying that the Nukeproof Mega 290 on test is a race bike. More precisely, it’s the bike of Kelan Grant, Sam Hill’s teammate. Kelan has obviously been through a lot with the bike because the paintwork is damaged and it’s scratched all over. He relies on a 180 mm travel RockShox Lyrik with no tokens installed. At the rear, you’ll find a RockShox Super Deluxe shock with a MegNeg chamber.

Like everyone in the team, he also relies on Michelin downhill tires. Our bike came with the DH34 front and rear, mounted on a set of Mavic Deemax DH wheels. Despite a dent in the rear rim, the tire stayed inflated without any problems during the course of our test. Another striking feature of the components is the RockShox Reverb dropper post. Instead of the AXS model, you’ll find the hydraulic version on this bike, the reason being that only this version is available with 200 mm stroke for maximum freedom of movement. Stopping is taken care of by SRAM CODE RSC brakes paired with 200 mm rotors. The AVS handguards reveal the origin of Kelan Grant: Guinness, Ireland. Unfortunately, there is no space for a bottle cage in the front triangle of the current Mega. That changes with the bike that was used at the EWS race in Zermatt.

Annoying rattling
The Mega demands an extra layer of tape on the chainstay. The clutch of the AXS derailleur is worn out and no longer able to quiet down the chain and the internally routed cables also rattle.
Extra protection
The AVS hand guards protect your hands and your brake levers. Yes, we know they’re mounted too far inside here.
Pumped up
The RockShox Lyrik is all pumped up. On the one hand, it’s got more travel than the standard model. On the other, Kelan rides it without any tokens, using higher pressures instead.

Nukeproof Mega 290c RS Team Edition

€ 6,199


Fork RockShox Lyrik Ultimate 180 mm
Rear Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate 160 mm
Seatpost RockShox Reverb mm200
Brakes SRAM CODE RSC 200/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM X01 Eagle AXS 32 (10-50)
Stem Nukeproof Sam Hill 40 mm
Handlebar Nukeproof Horizon Carbon 775 mm
Wheelset Mavic Deemax DH
Tires Michelin DH34 2.4"

Technical Data

Size M L XL
Weight 15.62 kg
Wheelsize 29"

Specific Features

Hand Guards

Lots of grip and puncture protection
The Michelin downhill tires have proven themselves in our test, offering great damping, tons of grip and excellent puncture protection
Maximum freedom of movement
Instead of the Reverb AXS, Kelan’s Mega features the classic Reverb dropper. The reason? It’s the only model available with 200 mm travel.
Kelan’s Mega has already been through a lot, as the worn grips testify

Hallelujah for long chainstays – the geometry of the Nukeproof Mega 290C

Nukeproof only offer the 29er version of the Mega from size medium and up. Smaller riders have to resort to the 27.5” version. Kelan rides the bike in size large, which suited us perfectly. The standard 470 mm reach is moderate and it’s a little shorter on this bike due to the longer fork. The head and seat tube angles are balanced. Even on paper, the long 450 mm chainstays are striking and they influence the bike’s handling significantly.

Size M L XL
Seat tube 420 mm 450 mm 480 mm
Top tube 602 mm 620 mm 667 mm
Head tube 100 mm 110 mm 120 mm
Head angle 64.0° 64.0° 64.0°
Seat angle 76.3° 76.3° 76.3°
Chainstays 450 mm 450 mm 450 mm
BB Drop 27 mm 27 mm 27 mm
Wheelbase 1,241 mm 1,260 mm 1,309 mm
Reach 450 mm 465 mm 510 mm
Stack 624 mm 633 mm 642 mm
Helmet Troy Lee D4 | Goggles Smith Squad MTB | Back protection POC VPD System
Jersey Troy Lee Sprint Jersey | Pants Troy Lee Sprint Shorts | Shoes FiveTen Kestrel
Knee protection Troy Lee RAID KNEE GUARD

The Nukeproof seems to stick to the ground and offers tons of traction!

Through rock gardens as if on rails – the Nukeproof Mega on the trail

Stay off the brakes and just let it go! The moment you climb aboard the Nukeproof Mega, your self-confidence goes through the roof. You’ve got a lot of freedom of movement, not least of all thanks to the long dropper post. The reach strikes the perfect balance of providing enough room without making the bike feel cumbersome. Paired with the tall front end, it almost makes you feel indestructible. The bike is very precise through rock gardens and the plush suspension doesn’t just provide plenty of traction, it also keeps the bike calm and composed. Generally, the bike tends to stay lower in its travel but without wallowing or ever feeling vague. If you want to catch air, you compress the suspension, push off and as soon as you land, the bike sucks itself back onto the ground.

They allow the Nukeproof to rail open turns, though it makes flicking through tight corners a little more difficult!

Through corners, the Mega 290 is very balanced and predictable. It rides like it’s on rails, staying on track with minimal input from the rider in almost all situations. The only exception to this rule is in tight spots with quick direction changes. You’ll need to give the bike some encouragement here as it’s always in traction mode and won’t easily slide around corners. The only annoying thing about our test bike was its noisiness. The clutch in the AXS derailleur was already somewhat worn and struggled to cope, resulting in a loud chain. The internally routed cables also made a lot of noise. On the other hand, on this bike too, the Michelin tires deserve a lot of praise.

How does the Nukeproof compare to the competition?

The Nukeproof and the RAAW Madonna V2 are very similar. Both have good suspension, a long rear triangle and are very composed. You have to work the bike a lot more through tight sections than you do the shorter Lapierre or GT. The COMMENCAL META is similarly composed and fast through rock gardens and at high speed but requires a lot more input through open corners.

Differences from the standard bike:

  • prototype Michelin downhill tires
  • Reverb dropper post with 200 mm stroke
  • SRAM AXS drivetrain
  • AVS handguards
  • Slapper tape


The Nukeproof Mega 290C doesn’t just feel super fast and balanced, it is, as its time demonstrated. Thanks to its balanced geometry and plush suspension, the bike makes it very easy for you to ride fast. When things get tight, there are more agile bikes but as a bike for hobby racers, the Nukeproof offers unbeatable value for money. As we’ve all been hoping for, the successor will even take a bottle cage. Let’s just hope it rides as well as the current model.


  • good-natured and balanced handling
  • very easy to ride fast
  • suspension sticks to the ground


  • sluggish in tight sections
  • annoying chain rattling
  • no bottle cage in the front triangle

More information:

The testfield

A lot more mtbs, our findings and the trends for the upcoming saison can be found in our introduction of the fastest enduro race bike on test.

All bikes in test: Canyon Strive CFR Jack Moir Edition (Click for review) | Commencal META AM 29 (Click for review) | GT Force Carbon Pro Martin Maes Edition (Click for review) | Lapierre Spicy Team (Click for review) | Nukeproof Mega 290c RS Team Edition | Raaw Madonna V2 FOX Factory Custom (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Enduro Team Edition (Click for review) | Trek SLASH 9.9 2021 (Click for review) | Yeti SB150 Team (Click for review) | YT CAPRA Elite 29 (Click for review)

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