WOW. This is Nuke Proof's entry into the competitive DH bike category and although I've yet to ride it, the Scalp certainly looks like it should be competitive once it hits the production line. This is only prototype number 2, expect the finished version to weigh in at well under 10 lbs. Geometry is finalized and must have been decided on by someone who knows what makes a fast bike fast: a slack 63 degree head angle should keep advanced riders and shredders who frequent steep terrain happy, and a low 13 3/4 bottom bracket height will have the Scalp turning on rails. Rear wheel travel measures 209 mm. There is no denying that it looks promising.
A great bike must have both dialed geometry and first rate suspension. It may be a bit hard to spot, but the Scalp uses a linkage system to control the bike's suspension rate. Nearly hidden from view are the pull links that activate the suspension. We were told that the pull link suspension requires less material that if they had used a more common pushing system. Nuke Proof has also designed the bike to hold it's weight as low and as central as possible. The Scalp is designed to have a supple early stroke that progresses into a predictable mid-stroke and firm resistance to bottom out. Take note that all pivot hardware uses torx bits to lessen the chance of damage during maintenance.
A better look at the Scalp's enclosed rear triangle. Maximum stiffness was the design goal and it looks like this bike could and should be as rigid anyone would want. A bolt on brace just ahead of the seat tube further increases the bike's strength. While the frame should come in at a more than reasonable weight, you can see the trend here: stiffness and strength are key for a reliable and fast bike.
"I've got big balls. And they're such big balls." Leave it to AC/DC when at a loss for words. The Scalp uses massive 44 mm sealed pivot bearings and a 24 mm aluminum pivot axle to tie everything together.
The lower portion of the seat tube is actually an I-beam member, with the swinglink pivoting off of the top of it. The small links that pull to activate the suspension will be able to be swapped out in order to tweak the geometry. The Scalp's head angle sits at a pro-friendly 63 degrees, but you'll be able to steepen it up by installing different length links. By going this route, as opposed to using different shock mounting holes, the bike maintains the same leverage ratio despite changing it's angles.
Shapely top tube detail on the Scalp. There will be two color options to pick from, this catching raw version, and a brighter yellow option for those who don't want to be missed. I'm a huge fan of raw bikes, having removed the paint from many of my own rides over the years, and am stoked to see more companies offering this from the factory. No matter how rough you treat her or how many times she falls out of the back of the truck, a paintless finish will always look dialed down the road. Plus you look like a factory rider!
The front of the Scalp uses a full length 1.5" head tube that not only uses a mega low stack headset, but can also accept a Cane Creek AngleSet that will allow you to further tweak the bike's handling. Best head tube badge ever?
The rear of the bike uses standard 12 x 150 mm spacing and a traditional thru-axle. I like the burly, but tidy looking dropouts that are complete with countersunk brake adapter mounting holes. The frame has a scheduled release date of February 2011 and will come in at a very reasonable planned MSRP of approximately $2000 USD. The stock shock will be Rock Shox's coil sprung Vivid, but they are plans afoot to also offer the Cane Creek Double Barrel for a sensible upcharge.