Bike Check: Sam Hill's Bare Aluminum Nukeproof Mega

Jun 28, 2019
by Richard Cunningham  



Sam Hill's riding a new 29er this weekend at the Val Di Fassa EWS, and it's a stunner. The aluminum frame of his prototype Nukeproof Mega is polished and decked out with silver graphics. Almost every component has his signature on it, including a pair of sharp-looking AVS hand-guards - maybe the nicest on the EWS circuit. Reportedly, the front triangle is totally new, based upon a longer shock and revised kinematics, while the swingarm remains unchanged from this year's 29-inch wheel Mega. Geometry has been updated too, with more reach, a steeper seat tube angle and a slacker head tube angle.


Linkage and the front triangle have been redesigned to work with a longer shock that boosts the 29" wheel chassis to 165mm of rear-wheel travel. The bulge in his RockShox Super Deluxe RC3 damper is the MegNeg negative spring booster.

Exactly what those numbers are will be revealed soon. We've been told that it's a preview of what the 2020 Mega 29er will be featuring when it is released later this fall. Will Nukeproof offer a limited-production polished Sam Hill replica? No telling, but if they do, they're sure to sell out in less time than it takes Hill to complete an EWS stage.

Silver decals to match the frame. Reportedly, Sam's new ride has a RockShox 170mm-stroke Lyrik fork. Hill requested the same travel as his previous, 27.5" wheel Mega.

Sam runs his suspension lighter than many, with 85 psi in the fork and 175psi in the shock, and the same goes for his tire pressures. Hill is running Michelin DH 22 tires on both ends with 23psi up front and 28psi in the rear, mounted to Mavic Deemax wheels.

Personalized and tricked out AVS racing hand guards.

AXS wireless 170mm Reverb dropper post...
...And wireless AXS SRAM Eagle shifting.

Reportedly, Hill is the only EWS rider using SRAM's AXS wireless electronic shifting and Reverb dropper posts. Hill took a while to warm up to the new shift pattern, but says he likes it now. Beyond the one-touch, no effort controls, building up the bike without the internal hoses and cables (beyond the brakes) has to make it easier for his mechanic during crunch times.

Predictably, Hill has modified the paddles of his AXS shifters.

Signature Nukeproof pedals with Ti axles...
...and the pins cranked all the way up.

OneUp EDC tool system in the steerer tube. Sam Hill aluminum bars.

Modest-sized, 30-tooth chainring.
Trimmed fender. Zip ties are good enough for Hill.





149 Comments

  • 277 5
 This one rootin tootin 30t handguarded electro operated 29er over sprung under inflated alu non coil bottle cage lacking son of a pink bike hating gun
  • 82 1
 30t? we have something in common! where are all the dorkweeds on here telling him to get fitter?
  • 27 9
 Wireless shifter and dropper! Pretty much an ebike! :-)
  • 12 1
 @powderturns: hahaha no shit man! All the flat land riders.
  • 4 0
 @powderturns: I'm impressed you aren't running a 28t or 26t being from Nelson. That place is steep!
  • 9 0
 OOOHH I hate that rabbit!
  • 8 0
 @powderturns: When Sam Hill was racing DH, I remember that he would run the smallest size chainring possible for clearance with a very low BB.
  • 6 0
 @powderturns: i think on 30's he can climb a wall and dont get tired...
30t for me im dead in 15min hahahahah
  • 8 10
 @gnarnaimo: I'm in Nelson and ride a 32/42 11 speed. It's fine.
  • 1 0
 @makripper: To be fair I haven't ridden there in a few years. I do remember it being a steep place though.
  • 74 0
 No water bottle mount? Do you really want Sam to drink from someone's bottle?
  • 7 2
 @chyu: Too soon!
  • 2 0
 @powderturns: LOL I run 24t
  • 2 1
 I can’t see any of that PST those godawful tyre graphics...
  • 4 1
 @makripper: if you ride a 29er and push a 32x42, I'd suggest that you're fitter and stronger than average...
  • 2 6
flag squarewheel (Jun 29, 2019 at 13:50) (Below Threshold)
 @makripper: 27.5 because the article is about the Mega 29er. really?
  • 4 0
 @squarewheel: we are talking about biking in Nelson. Really??!!!
  • 3 0
 I think Yosemite Sam should do all bike checks from now on
  • 1 0
 @powderturns: I hope you are running your 30t on a 29"er
  • 141 4
 Carbon is great and all, but nothing looks as good to me as raw aluminum.
  • 18 1
 I like it RAW, too!
  • 40 3
 Rainbow welds on steel frames are still king
  • 21 27
flag rivercitycycles Plus (Jun 28, 2019 at 15:39) (Below Threshold)
 @NotNamed: rainbow colored welds or HAZ could me a contaminated weld process and the weld will not achieve the designed integrity.
  • 11 8
 @schofell84: Any metallic materials that are heated to a temperature that it’s alloy and base elements react to the heat, environment and/or atmosphere. In the factory, I work in we use thousands of pounds of wire a year welding A36 and alloy steels. Both manual welding and robotic weld cells. We do a lot of weld joint destructive testing to validate our processes.
  • 8 1
 @sebmx: shimmy shimmy ya
  • 22 4
 @rivercitycycles: Not looking for a lecture from the weld inspector at work, just stating I love Ti welds.
  • 18 3
 @schofell84: sorry for that.....no lecture intended just passionate about welding and machining.
  • 13 4
 @rivercitycycles:

Like a cop that pulls you over for speeding and tells you he likes to protect and serve...hahahahahaha....all in fun ...
  • 5 1
 Where the welders at? Usually expect a “state your profession” opening line followed by a positive or negative armchair review of said and pictured product
  • 1 0
 Yes!
  • 1 0
 Is that a proto nukeproof saddle or still a specialised power?
  • 1 0
 @jaame: looks proto to me. Never seen a power saddle with that colour of base and the shape looks different at the rear.
  • 1 0
 @dhrideruk: that’s what I thought. Nukeproof is said to be coming out with a better saddle that’s similar to the Power saddles. Unfortunately I just bought two Power Arcs for £170.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: oh really, where’d you hear that from?

Sounds interesting!
  • 1 0
 @dhrideruk: On tis very website, not long ago, there was a Sam Hill bike check. It did not mention or have any close ups of the saddle, which was believed to be a Specialized Power saddle. Obviously Sam was still using that from his Specialized days, despite having his own Nukeproof branded saddle. I had that saddle at the time, the Vector DH, because it was very light and cheap at £40. Good looking too. f*ck was it uncomfortable though.
In the comments thread, Nukeproof got involved and I asked them if there was going to be a Nukeproof saddle similar in shape to the Specialized Power saddle - to which they replied "Watch this space!"
I always wanted a saddle like the Power or Power arc, but I felt they were too expensive. Anyway I got tired of waiting on Nukeproof so I borrowed a demo saddle from Specialized and loved it. Then I bought one at full whack. Then I bought another online. Then this article happened. I guess I've probably wasted £100.
  • 2 0
 @jaame: Here's an idea... How about buy a product that works for your anatomy & let your money do the talking?
  • 1 0
 Isn't that what you've done?
  • 2 1
 @bngofast: I would have preferred to have spent a lot less money on something that suits my anatomy, and at the same time not bought Specialized (on ethical grounds)
  • 1 0
 @jaame: Its probably made by Velo or WTB anyways.
  • 40 0
 Matt Delorme wins for the bike stand. Just perfect.
  • 31 0
 The use of that statue for a bike stand is pretty great.
  • 15 0
 Those pins are scary long! Eek
  • 11 0
 He must literally go through the soles of his shoes in one race with pins like that...
  • 16 7
 Please change the suspension layout to accommodate a water bottle so I can buy one.
  • 3 0
 I've ghetto zip tied a side entry zee cage on the upper shock mount and down tube on mine. Ugly but works. Won't work on a carbon frame though - first world problems and all that.
  • 1 1
 Looks like you could fit a cage and good size bottle on the underside of the top tube, couple of zip ties (or rivnuts) and good to go.
  • 10 0
 .....just heading to hardware shop to get paint stripper for the frame.
  • 14 0
 If you juggle some of your words around you get a sentence I can no longer post.
  • 6 0
 I wasn’t aware that RockShox took @vorsprungsuspension ‘s Corset and ran with it?!
I bloody loved my Corset enhanced DPX2!
  • 4 0
 It totally validates vorsprung’s skillz as being legit
  • 1 0
 the meg neg has volume spacers for the neg chamber though
  • 6 0
 I’d like to see an article about crank length among the EWS riders.
  • 3 0
 I agree. I’ve seen studies that claim that crank length has little effect on power output which I still find difficult to believe. Would like to know what the pros think of the matter
  • 3 0
 Here is an interesting article on crank length: www.bikesmithdesign.com/Short_Cranks/crank-length-and-power.html
  • 3 1
 Most interested in the new kinematic. I've been sightly worried that Sam wasn't dominating this season because of his move to the 290. I had one myself and found it a bit of a soggy pedaler and didn't carry speed well on flatter trails. This weekend's trails look right up Sam's street so hopefully we'll see him back on the top step.
  • 4 0
 I cannot go as fast as those tires would dictate someone should but I want those tires. Billboard and all.
  • 2 0
 WHAT KIND OF TIRES ARE THOSE ?
  • 2 1
 @B650wagon: michelin dh22, they've been on pro bikes for years now and haven't been released yet.
  • 4 0
 gotta fig out the 11110101110101011 to wireless shift my buddys gears on them
  • 3 2
 It wouldn't be binary. It would most likely be either discrete or analog or mix of both. Too basic for binary system.
  • 3 2
 @makripper: For pairing, configurability, security (or at the very least, the possibility of running two sets close to each other), I’m pretty sure it is going to be binary. The configuration stuff is certainly done over Bluetooth and I doubt they’d want two different rf systems, so the mechs are probably BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy).
  • 1 0
 @azureblue: depends on how it's packaged..it doesn't need to be binary. Blue tooth doesn't care what's in the data or what type of data. I've gone modbus and profibus over Bluetooth, even straight up words.
  • 3 0
 @makripper: I’m wondering whether we’ve got a terminology problem here. modbus, profibus or raw data words (or whatever packet framing stuff Bluetooth does) are all going to boil down to a series of 1s and 0s before hitting the physical layer. I’d describe all of them as binary, wouldn’t you?
  • 4 0
 This guy is one of the coolest mountain bikers out there he doesn't stop, good job Sam Hill you really rock.
  • 2 0
 May have found my next bike, but still no bottle cage mount, and longer reach? the XL is already massive (515mm) hopefully they do a xxL size for that and make an XL with closer to 500mm
  • 1 0
 It’s longer reach on Sam’s size - a medium - not across the size range, necessarily. The medium Mega has always seemed slightly short on reach compared to the bigger sizes - 435 versus 515 for an XL. Most bikes are nearer 450 in reach for a medium now.

The 290 has never been the pick of the range - I guess these updates should make it feel more like the smaller wheeled Mega, (which I own, incidentally).

JP
  • 3 0
 Sam should read the comment section so he knows what a crappy drivetrain he is riding.
  • 3 1
 Aluminum frames should either be raw or bead blasted and anodized a color. Paint is for carpet fiber bikes. This Nukeproof makes me happy.
  • 2 0
 @squiffybiker I hear ya. Man, it is cyclic. I remember when this was the rage in the early-mid nineties. I had a raw w/ purple anodized parts, it was super cool!
  • 1 1
 Sooooo.... who needs to go back to layout and design school for placing letters all over Matt Delorme's photo? Just saying. Is this a new trend in design? Different color letters and blend into the background to show compete bike. Just kidding....but seriously....
  • 1 0
 This does not show up on phone App. Those colorful boxes that people complained about. I clicked onto the yellow Enduro box. All the articles pertaining to Enduro bikes popped up. Neat ! I like it.
  • 1 0
 I can’t stand wearing gloves, so as goofy as they look those brush guards are kind of appealing. Now that it’s summer my knuckles pretty much constantly look like I’ve just been in a bar brawl.
  • 1 0
 Thank you for calling the back half of this 2 wheeled locomotion a swing arm. That’s what is. It’s not a rear triangle since contemporary MTB aren’t made up of 2 triangles.
  • 5 2
 It’s not the bike , It’s the rider..
  • 2 0
 Ti pedal spindles? Brave choice for enduro. Good luck (seriously, not snarkily).
  • 1 0
 Sam has always use Ti axles
  • 3 0
 For what it’s worth, I think Sam Hill knows a thing or two about pedals.
  • 2 0
 Sam reduces the wear and tear on his pedals by only using the outer one in each corner
  • 2 0
 It is bare and raw, therefore it is sexy. Normal.

And no carbon fancy except for the crank... well done Smile
  • 3 0
 Rock out with your frame out
  • 3 0
 Prototype pedals?
  • 2 2
 delete
  • 4 1
 Oooh baby I like it raw!
  • 3 0
 Shimmy shimmy ya
  • 2 0
 What happened to the purple and yellow one?
  • 1 0
 For sale in a Perth bike shop I believe.
  • 1 0
 @sethius: Yes, was on one of the local buy and sell Facebook sites a week or so ago.
  • 1 0
 @Treadly: empire cycles perth has it
  • 1 0
 Anyone know how that Garmin is mounted? Thought you couldn't do a stem mount Garmin with the EDC tool.
  • 1 0
 That kind of mount acts as a stem spacer so it goes around the EDC. Lots of options on Amazon for "stem garmin mount".
  • 3 1
 Oh look Aluminum rims. Aluminum frame. Flat pedals. Works for Sam.
  • 2 0
 How much would it cost to get my frame done up like this?
  • 1 0
 I think they would just scrape your paint off then polish it.... I wouldn't imagine it completely breaking the bank. But maybe I'm wrong....
  • 2 0
 Man I wish more companies ran with raw finishes, this thing is a beauty.
  • 1 0
 So sam hills bike is longer than a pole? Guess that geo is the next big thing then.
  • 1 0
 I would do sick and nasty things for that mega. I'd even rock the hand guards 4 life.
  • 1 0
 Raw always looks banging, The Mega has always had great looks but those hand guards just look ridiculous
  • 1 0
 @yoannbarelli uses AXS as well. Well, probably not that much for the rest of this season...but he already did.
  • 2 0
 Rrrraaaaaaawwwwww!!!
  • 1 0
 Liking those hand-guards. I could of used those on a previous ride.
  • 1 0
 I guess thats what they call tricked out
  • 1 0
 Awesome bike!!! Hill knows how to trick out his ride!!!
  • 1 0
 Slammed stem, what rise on the bars?
  • 2 1
 Reach
  • 2 0
 I'd tap that .
  • 1 0
 When are those tires going to be available?
  • 1 0
 Never
  • 1 0
 Pressures aren’t that low...
  • 1 0
 Haha, I thought the same thing. That is the recommended fork spring rate for a 200lb bloke...
  • 0 1
 Sram must have paid a shitload to get him to run battery operated junk. Too bad it will probably cause a mechanical failure while racing.
  • 1 0
 OneUp EDC tool system; nice. Probably my favourite bicycle innovation.
  • 1 0
 Heads to the garage with nitromors
  • 1 0
 Is he running any tire inserts (ARD perhaps)?
  • 1 0
 Now that's a purty bike, right there.
  • 1 0
 HOT DAMN
  • 1 1
 its a 65mm stroke shock that (it says on it) that`s standard for a mega.
  • 3 0
 The 27.5 Mega uses a 230x65 but the 29 Mega is using a 210x55 (I went and checked the MY19 user manual).
  • 1 0
 Can still be a longer eye to eye shock
  • 1 0
 @shirk-007: ive got a mega 27.5 and was sure they used the same shock whoops my bad.
  • 1 1
 I never understood why they always used a shorter shock on the 29er. Shorter travel yes, but you could run the same length shock and have lower leverage for lower pressure and better sensitivity. I guessed it was so they could use the same rocker between both frames. It's a shame, because the 210 shock really looks too small.
  • 3 0
 @jaame: why is lower leverage more sensitive? I thought higher leverage is better as seal/pivot friction and stiction contribute less to the overall "resistance", and higher percent of the force is absorbed by actual spring... genuinly curious. Thanks.
  • 1 0
 @jaame: Higher leverage, or whatever it is is better sensitivity, but is a pain in the dick because it works the damper harder and have to run max pressure if you are in the heavier side.
  • 1 0
 @zyoungson: sorry yes. The damper gets an easier time and is easier to tune, and you can run a lower pressure for the same stiffness at the wheel, which I would guess would make the shock more sensitive no?
  • 1 1
 @jaame: wrong.
  • 1 1
 When I first saw that bike my reaction was "what in Sam Hill?"
  • 1 0
 Looks like mixed wheels!
  • 2 2
 running 30t on Eagle? sam is gettin old... Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Goat bike for sure
  • 1 0
 I love it!
  • 1 0
 Want!!
  • 1 3
 Raw dawging it this weekend, bike looks sick!
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