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2021 Nukeproof Mega 290 RS Bike

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2021 Nukeproof Mega RS
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Blown Away - Nukeproof's New Mega 290 RS Delivers on All Fronts

Vital Review
Blown Away - Nukeproof's New Mega 290 RS Delivers on All Fronts

Nukeproof's Mega line of mountain bikes is named after the original Megavalanche; the mass-start race that has waves of riders careening down snow, only to transition to boulder fields and heinous trails. The Mega was to be the privateer's weapon of choice for the grueling race, meant to be aggressive yet efficient, with a smart spec and thoughtful details for the home mechanic. These days, the Mega is best known for being piloted by Sam f@$king Hill to multiple EWS titles. Sam started on the 27.5-inch wheeled model, later moving to the 29er and continuing with his success.

When you are winning world titles, how can you, as a brand, improve? What could be better? You make the water bottle mounts inside the front triangle. Yes, there are a host of other new refinements to the new Nukeproof Mega but for some riders, this will be the piece that pushes them to click "add to cart" on their browser. Now that you know the big news, let's dig into the finer points of the new Nukeproof Mega.

Nukeproof Mega 290 RS Highlights

  • Carbon and alloy models available
  • 170mm (6.69-inches) Front travel
  • 160mm (6.2-inches) Rear travel via four-bar Horst link design
  • Bottle cage and accessory mount inside front triangle
  • Internal, fully-guided cable routing
  • Threaded 73mm bottom bracket
  • ISCG 05 Tabs
  • Enduro Max bearings throughout
  • Integrated rubber molded frame protection
  • Clear frame protection kit installed/included
  • Michelin Wild Enduro tires front/rear
  • SRAM X01 12-speed drivetrain
  • Mavic DeeMax Pro Sam Hill wheels
  • $5,499 (as tested)
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What's New

While Nukeproof didn't exactly take a ground-up redesign approach for the Mega, the V4 does have a major reworking of the frame's lines with some clear inspiration from the Reactor line. In fact, part of the goal from the Nukeproof team was to make sure the bike still looked like a Mega. One of the tenants of the V4 Mega was a focus on seat angle and what the Nukeproof team is calling saddle offset, which is the relative, lateral distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the center of the seat. Recognizing that taller riders often wind up with slacker than average seat angles, Nukeproof sought to mitigate this through a size-specific geometry approach. The end results are steeper seat angles for all and slightly larger reach numbers. For reference, our size large test bike has a 475mm reach and 78-degree seat angle. In reworking the frame, Nukeproof made the headtube and bottom bracket area markedly more stiff and when all the design work was finished, a water bottle fit. Science!

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The new Mega has revised kinematics to go along with the updated design. Nukeproof's suspension team sought to make the Mega more supple off the top, maintain mid-stroke support and then have the curve taper off to prevent spikes toward the end of the suspension stroke. Overall, the new Mega is, on average, less-progressive than prior iterations (17% vs 22%.)

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Models and Builds

Sam Hill may have made the move to 29-inch wheels and some brands are starting to offer them exclusively on models but fear not, Nukeproof is holding strong and offering the Mega in two complete lines, both 27.5- and 29-inch wheeled versions. Both wheel size offerings also come in full size runs, Small through XX-Large. The Mega comes in five trims, three in carbon and two in alloy, all with strong builds and very-aggressive pricing. The alloy Mega Comp starts off the line at $2,699 and things top out with our test bike, the Mega 290 RS at $5,499 which gave our testers sticker shock of a whole different kind.

More details and head to head comparisons of models can be found in our product guide.

Mega Factory - $4,999
Mega Elite - $3,399
Mega Pro - $3,399
Mega Comp - $2,699

Breaking down our 290 RS spec gives riders a RockShox Zeb Ultimate 170 fork with a RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate RCT for suspension. The drivetrain is a full SRAM X01 Eagle with CODE RSC (with sintered pads) on stopping duties. Wheels are none other than Mavic DeeMax Pro, Sam Hill edition with Michelin Wild Enduro tires. We'll give you a minute to look at the specs on other bikes and compare the dollar to parts ratio here. Like we said, aggressive!

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The numbers all looked on point, the build kit was positively dreamy, how could Nukeproof miss? It was time to get the Mega on trail and find out. Spoiler alert, our testers fell in love right away. In recent months, Vital tester, Kevin Lillywhite, has put the boots to the Trek Slash and Rocky Mountain Altitude Rally, in addition to his own Specialized Enduro. Every one of those bikes is a direct competitor to the Nukeproof Mega 290 RS we tested.

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First Ride Impressions

While only a first-look review, Kevin summarized his time thus far on the Mega as a highlight of all those other three bikes. Take the Slash's ability to monster truck anything, the cornering of the Altitude, and the efficient, speed-demon nature of the Enduro and you will have the Mega. The chief, standout trait, of the Mega would be its ability to track and hold any line (especially the inside) out on the trail. Of the four bikes, the Mega 290 RS was his pick as the most well-rounded of the bunch.

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How the Mega will hold up in the long-term has yet to be determined. With plenty of integrated, rubber molded frame protection, an included invisible frame protection kit, single-sided pivot hardware holding Enduro Max bearings throughout the frame; the odds look good for our Nukeproof.

For now, head to Nukeproof.com for more details and stay tuned for updates!

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Specifications

Product Nukeproof Mega 290 RS Bike
Model Year 2021
Riding Type Enduro / All-Mountain, Freeride / Bike Park
Rider Unisex
Sizes and Geometry
S, M, L, XL, XXL View Geometry
Size S M L XL XXL
Top Tube Length 647.71 592.71 610.87 632.79 654.71
Head Tube Angle 64° 64° 64° 64° 64°
Head Tube Length 100 100 120 130 140
Seat Tube Angle 77.5° 77.5° 78° 78° 78°
Seat Tube Length 380 410 440 470 500
Bottom Bracket Height 345 (30) 345 (30) 345 (30) 345 (30) 345 (30)
Chainstay Length 440 440 440 440 440
Wheelbase 1197.48 1222.48 1251.09 1275.39 1299.7
Standover 725.16 724.41 722.92 730.78 736.07
Reach 430 455 475 495 515
Stack 621.16 621.16 639.22 648.24 657.27
* Additional Info All measurements are in mm unless otherwise noted
Wheel Size 29"
Frame Material Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details Full UD carbon fiber T700/800 monocoque
Rear Travel 160mm
Rear Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate, RCT, bearing end, 2 bottomless tokens fitted
Fork RockShox ZEB Ultimate, Charger 2.1 RC2, 44mm offset, DebonAir
Fork Travel 170mm
Head Tube Diameter Tapered
Headset Nukeproof, 44-56 IITS
Handlebar Nukeproof Horizon Carbon V2, 25mm rise, width: 780mm (S-M), 80mm (L-XXL)
Stem Nukeproof Horizon, 50mm
Grips Nukeproof Sam Hill Signature
Brakes SRAM Code RSC, sintered pads, 200mm front/180mm rear SRAM Centerline rotors
Brake Levers SRAM Code RSC
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters SRAM X01 Eagle 12-speed
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur SRAM X01 Eagle 12-speed
ISCG Tabs ISCG 05
Chainguide MRP AMg V2
Cranks SRAM X1 Carbon Eagle 12-speed, 170mm, DUB
Chainrings 30 tooth
Bottom Bracket SRAM DUB, threaded 73mm
Pedals N/A
Chain SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed
Cassette SRAM X01 Eagle 12-speed, 10-50 tooth
Rims Mavic Deemax Pro Sam Hill wheels
Hubs Mavic Deemax Pro Sam Hill wheels, 6-bolt, Boost, XD driver
Spokes Mavic Deemax Pro Sam Hill wheels
Tires Michelin Wild Enduro, 29" x 2.4", GUM-X TS TLR
Saddle Nukeproof Horizon Enduro
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth with 1x remote
Drop x length (size): 125mm x 346mm (S), 150mm x 409mm (M), 175mm x 462mm (L), 200mm x 514.5mm (XL-XXL)
Seatpost Diameter 31.6mm
Seatpost Clamp Single bolt
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 148mm x 12mm Boost
Max. Tire Size 29" x 2.5"
Bottle Cage Mounts Yes, fits a 750mL bottle inside front triangle
Colors Bottle blue
Warranty 5 years for frame
2 years for Nukeproof components (lifetime on carbon handlebars)
Weight 31.8 lb 0 oz (14,424 g)
Miscellaneous
  • Mega V4
  • Box section tubes in key areas help provide stiffness
  • Revised geometry - lower, longer, steeper, and slacker
  • Improved suspension kinematics using a swing link driven 4-bar horst link layout
  • Wide usable sag range (30-35%)
  • Improved front triangle for lateral stiffness
  • Collet main pivot for stiffness and security
  • SRAM UDH hanger
  • Enduro Max bearings throughout
  • User friendly tube-in-tube internal cable routing
  • Gear accessory mount on underside of the top tube
  • 3D contoured rubber frame protection for seatstay, chainstay, and down tube
  • Carbon frames come with a clear paint-protection kit
  • Price $5,499.99
    More Info

    Nukeproof website

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