Nukeproof Mega 290 Team - Review

Sep 12, 2016
by Mike Kazimer  



Late last year Nukeproof lifted the lid on the next generation of their popular Mega line, revealing that a 29er had been added into the mix, this one with 150mm of travel and an eye towards taming the most challenging terrain around.

While previous versions of the Mega had leaned towards the utilitarian / industrial side of things, the new model has a sleeker, curvier appearance. It still looks like it means business, with lines that bear a strong resemblance to the Pulse, Nukeproof's downhill machine, but it's nowhere as chunky as its predecessor.



Mega 290 Details

• Intended use: all-mountain / enduro
• Rear wheel travel: 150mm
• Wheel size: 29"
• Aluminum frame
• Threaded bottom bracket
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL
• Weight (size L w/o pedals): 30.25 lb (13.72kg)
• MSRP: $5,999 USD, $2,100 frame / shock only
www.nukeproof.com
There are three models in the Mega 290 lineup, the Team, Pro, and Comp. We tested the Team model, which comes equipped with a 150mm RockShox Pike RCT3 fork up front, a SRAM X01 11-speed drivetrain, Guide RSC brakes, and SRAM's Rail 50 wheels shod with a Schwalbe Magic Mary up front and a Nobby Nic in the back. MSRP for the Mega 290 Team is $5,999 USD, and the frame only is available for $2,100 USD.


Nukeproof Mega 290
It's not 27.5+ compatible, but the Mega has plenty of clearance for 29" tires.
Nukeproof Mega 290
The brake, derailleur, and dropper post housing are routed along the top of the downtube.



Frame Details

Nukeproof have yet to release a carbon-framed bike, and the Mega 290 continues that tradition with its 6061 aluminum frame. Carbon fiber may be the must-have frame material these days, but according to Nukeproof's Dale McMullen, “Just having carbon frames for the sake of being carbon is not for us. It has to have a performance gain, or at least in comfort or something.” I'd imagine a carbon fiber bike will emerge in the future, but for now, Nukeproof is sticking with the tried-and-true alloy.

The Mega 290 also eschews Boost spacing, relying instead on 12 x 142mm rear spacing and 15 x 100mm up front. That may be part of the reason for those sprawling 450mm chainstays, or it could also be that the Mega's designers decided to give speed and stability the top priority during the design process.



Nukeproof Mega 290
Nukeproof's distinctive emblem.
Nukeproof Mega 290
A 12x142mm Maxle thru-axle secures the rear wheel.


Other frame details include a threaded bottom bracket, which is always a welcome sight, and ISCG 05 tabs for mounting a chainguide of some sort – e*thirteen's LG-1 handles those duties on the Team version. The bike's derailleur and brake housing are routed neatly atop the down tube, along with the dropper post's housing once it emerges from the seat tube.

The shock position on the Mega 290 means that the only spot for a water bottle is underneath the downtube, which isn't ideal, but it is still better than nothing.



Nukeproof Mega 290
The Mega 290 uses a Horst Link suspension layout for its 150mm of travel.


Suspension Design

The previous version of the Mega used a link-driven single pivot suspension design, but thanks to the expiration of a certain patent, the 290 gets the Horst Link treatment, with the rearmost pivot located on the chainstay, below the rear axle. Initially, the Mega 290 was spec'd with a RockShox Monarch Plus Debonair shock, but after listening to rider feedback, Nukeproof decided to go with a High Volume (HV) air can in order to give the bike a more consistent feel as it went through its 150mm of travel.


Geometry

Nukeproof Mega 290



Specifications
Specifications
Price $5999
Travel 150mm
Rear Shock RockShox Monarch Plus RC3
Fork Rockshox Pike RCT3, 29", Solo Air, Black, 150mm
Cassette SRAM XG-1175, 10-42T
Crankarms SRAM X0-1, Carbon, 170mm, 32T
Chainguide E-13 LG-1
Rear Derailleur SRAM X0-1 11spd
Chain SRAM PC-X1
Stem Nukeproof Warhead, 31.8mm
Grips Nukeproof Element single lock-on
Brakes SRAM Guide RSC, 180mm
Wheelset SRAM Rail 50
Tires Schwalbe Magic Mary, 29", 2.35, TSC, Schwalbe Nobby Nic, 29", 2.35, PSC
Seat Nukeproof Vector AM, CrN-Ti, Black/Yellow
Seatpost Rockshox Reverb Stealth, 150mm

Nukeproof Mega 290








Setup

I set the bike up with 30% sag in the Monarch Plus Shock, and after a few rides decided to add in two volume spacer bands to gain a little more end stroke ramp up. The suspension curve is progressive to begin with, but I wanted a touch more bottom out resistance, which is exactly what those two volume spacers accomplished. It's a quick process, and can be performed without completely removing the shock from the bike – only the rear mounting bolt needs to be removed.

Up front, I added one Bottomless Token to the Pike, bringing the total number installed up to two, again in order to slightly increase the amount of bottom out resistance. Much of my riding took place on trails that had been baked solid by the summer sun, which meant that landings were rougher than usual, and the extra progression helped keep the bike from diving too deep into its travel during hard landings.


Nukeproof Mega 290 review
Whether it's rough and raw backcountry trails or bike park berms, the Mega 290 can handle it all.


Climbing

The Mega 290 has a generous reach of 460, and at 5'11” that's pretty close to my limit as far as sizing goes, but thanks to the relatively steep 75.5-degree seat angle I never felt overly stretched out when climbing, and the 760mm Nukeproof bars and 50mm stem put me in a comfortable riding position. If it were up to me, I'd go even wider with the bars and shorter with the stem, but that's a matter of personal preference, and I'm sure plenty of riders will be perfectly happy with the current spec.

There's no denying the fact that this is one long bike, and with a wheelbase of 1224mm for a size large it's approaching the length of some downhill bikes (a large Specialized Demo 8 measures 1228mm). A long wheelbase isn't always a negative attribute, and with the Mega 290 there were plenty of times on both the climbs and descents when that length came in handy. On technical ascents that length allowed the bike to span the distance between obstacles, and as long as I maintained momentum the Mega would keep on trucking up and over whatever roots or rocks appeared in front of it. At slower speeds the length does become more noticeable, but by the same token there's plenty of stability to help prevent any unwanted dabs when you're working your way through a particularly challenging portion of trail.

That yellow and black frame may not be constructed from carbon fiber, but the Mega 290's fighting weight of just over 30 pounds is very respectable for a long-travel 29er, and helped make getting to the top of long fire road grinds feel like less of a chore. It does fall into what I like to call the 'steady roller' category – the Mega 290 doesn't put up too much of a fuss when heading uphill, but you also don't get the sense that it's in a huge rush to get to the top.


Nukeproof Mega 290 review
Dropping. The Mega 290 doesn't shy away from a little air time. Rider: Donny Allison


Descending

The Mega 290 is a decent climber, but that's simply not the reason this bike exists. It was designed with a strong focus on going downhill as fast as possible, and it's on high-speed straightaways that the Mega 290 really shines, like a rocket powered semi-truck barreling down a race track.

I've never gotten a speeding ticket, but that has more to do with my usual choice of vehicle than anything else. If you're driving a car that starts shaking and shuddering at 70mph, it's going to be hard to get into too much trouble. With the Mega 290, the opposite is true – this is a bike that tricks you into going faster and faster due to the amount of stability it possesses. On more than one occasion I beat my personal record on a descent without really trying – the Mega stays so calm at speed that I hadn't realized just how fast I was going. The Mega's 66-degree head angle is quite slack for a 29er, and I have zero complaints about its handling in the steeps, but I could see riders who are looking for an even more formidable downhill machine swapping out the 150mm bike for a 170mm Lyrik to create a truly earth-shaking brute of a bike.

The Mega 290 isn't a one trick enduro pony, though, and it was quite capable on jump-filled trails like Whistler's A-Line or Dirt Merchant, where its length made it especially satisfying to get it sideways in the air. It's definitely closer to a DH rig than a dirt jumper when it comes to getting airborne – it's easier to send it deep into the landing than it is to try and pop upwards as high as possible.


Nukeproof Mega 290 review
bigquotes The Mega 290 was designed with a strong focus on going downhill as fast as possible, and it's on high speed straightaways that it really shines, like a rocket powered semi-truck barreling down a race track.


There is a slight downside to all that straight line stability - on trails with tight turns or slower speed sections the Mega 290 does take more effort to maneuver compared to bikes with less sprawling dimensions. It requires a good amount of muscle to keep it from getting bogged down; if you have an aggressive, take-charge riding style this won't be as much of a detriment, but riders looking for a bike that will effortlessly bob and weave through a slalom course of trees will want to look elsewhere.

There's also the fact that the rear suspension's small bump sensitivity is lacking slightly, and compared to the Yeti SB5.5c or Trek Slash 29 the Mega doesn’t feel quite as supple. However, once it's up to speed there's plenty of support for slapping the back end into berms or charging through rock gardens, and no matter how badly I misjudged a jump or drop there weren't any harsh bottom outs.


Nukeproof Mega 290
There's room for improvement with the Rail 50 wheelset.
Nukeproof Mega 290
Nukeproof's own Vector saddle is sleek and comfortable.

Component Check

•SRAM Rail 50 wheels: On my third ride aboard the Mega 290 the star ratchet mechanism in the Rail 50 wheels failed, and began to pop and slip every time I put any power down onto the pedals. It's a readily available part (DT Swiss manufactures the internals), and I was able to find a replacement quickly, but still, that piece should last years, not days. There's also the fact that the rims measure 23mm internally, which is on the narrow side, especially for a bike that's a prime candidate for big, meaty tires.

• Schwalbe Nobby Nic tire: The Pacestar compound used on the Nobby Nic that's mounted on the Mega's rear wheel has a very plasticky feel, and it's more likely to skid rather than stick on steep rock faces. Sure, it'll last longer than a softer compound tire, but I'd pick traction over longevity any day - a different rear tire is a recommended upgrade.

• Nukeproof Vector saddle: House brand components can be hit-or-miss, but the Vector saddle was surprisingly comfortable, especially given its low profile shape.

• SRAM Reverb Dropper post: I was glad to see that Nukeproof spec'd a 150mm dropper post on the Mega 290. I'm still surprised how many companies are still picking posts with 125mm of drop even when there's plenty of room to run something longer. Props to Nukeproof for doing it right, including orienting the remote on the left-hand side underneath the handlebar.

• e*thirteen LG-1 chainguide: The LG-1 chainguide has a nifty quick release feature that allows the outer portion of the guide to be rotated upwards, which makes it easy to remove chainrings or cranks. However, on more than one occasion I managed to catch the quick release tab with my foot at some point during a descent, partially opening the guide. If the orientation of the mechanism were reversed, with the latch positioned inboard, towards the frame, this wouldn't be an issue.




Nukeproof Mega 290 review


Pinkbike's Take:

bigquotesThe Mega 290 is an unabashed speed demon that doesn't have time for poking along at a snail's pace. For hard chargers who aren't worried about slow speed handling, the Mega 290 delivers a raucous good time out on the trail. - Mike Kazimer




Visit the high-res gallery for more images from this review




About the Reviewer
Stats: Age: 34 • Height: 5'11” • Inseam: 33" • Weight: 160lb • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Twenty years deep into a mountain biking addiction that began as a way to escape the suburban sprawl of Connecticut, Mike Kazimer is most at home deep the woods, carving his way down steep, technical trails. The decade he spent as a bike mechanic helped create a solid technical background to draw from when reviewing products, and his current location in the Pacific Northwest allows for easy access to the wettest, muddiest conditions imaginable.



141 Comments

  • 94 5
 I like that quote: “Just having carbon frames for the sake of being carbon is not for us. It has to have a performance gain, or at least in comfort or something.” A lot of these new carbon bikes are pushing prices sky high and the weight savings is surprisingly minimal for that cost increase
  • 24 9
 I've seen a few ocasions where they actually wiegh more (mostly on AM and enduro bikes), becuase they have to have super thick carbon walls to ensure that the frames don't shatter (it's the frame equivilent of putting a gallon of stan's in your tires vs just having durable tubes or a thicker casing).
  • 21 3
 they can have thinner walls and still be stronger and there is less risk of shattering a CF frame (exact weight compared) than bending an Alu frame. It's all been thoroughly tested by other industries and well documented. Exact weights compared, the CF frame should be significantly stronger than the aluminum one. It's good when they do add some extra material for added strength, like SC is doing. www.dexcraft.com/articles/carbon-fiber-composites/aluminium-vs-carbon-fiber-comparison-of-materials It's only when you go too thin (cough, yeti, cough) or have a poor layup process, bad QC to control the layup and sequence, or poor materials and process that you have breaking frames these days. Come a long way since the 90s and even the 2000s when it comes to composite manufacturing. WAY ahead.
  • 3 1
 @atrokz: I am sure that's all correct but I have to say this frame is very stiff.....dare I even say almost Banshee like
  • 11 1
 @Travel66: I don't doubt it. shape plays a larger role and you can make an alu frame stiffer than a steel one (a stiffer and stronger material) or a carbon one. All comes down to design.
  • 4 2
 I always think this, what frame design works well with alloy material might not work well in the same design in carbon and vice verser, every manufacture will have different way of making their best bike. I personal prefer an alloy fame for cost reasons with carbon parts to lower overal weight
  • 6 0
 Bike Industry will sell whatever consumer wants to buy. Everybody now seem to praise for a carbon frame and they're willing to pay for it so industry will make it and sell it to you
  • 9 4
 carbon fibre is stiffer as long as you dont bang it or press it into some hard/not so hard object . yesterday I had a rather gently off and pressed downtube of my 2015 CF mtb frame to tree stump and heard some sort of crack noise , I notice there is small chip on the frame , pain is off and can see carbon underneath it . I can assure you it was not very hard hit , i was going slow on a steep section but im fairly heavy rider so must have pushed it with my weight ..
I will definitely not buy another carbon frame bike , dont even want to think of carbon rims , considering price !
  • 7 1
 @pixord: it has more to do with the frame design than the material itself. same weight compared, the alu frame will be damaged long before CF of same weight will be damaged. See this for reference: www.pinkbike.com/news/santa-cruz-bicycles-test-lab.html . It all depends on the thickness and design of your frame, some go super thin to get even more grams out, some, like SC, design them to take impact as well.
  • 4 1
 @atrokz: I guess you are right , anyway I can ride the bike , I really hope there is no bigger damage that it looks ,but at the moment im a bit frustrated , I dont mind having 500 g heavier alu frame as long as I know it will be more durable to direct impacts ...
  • 5 1
 @pixord: Can maybe apply some epoxy and let it soak in? Shame if it's damaged through, but may be able to repair it. I guess this is why a bunch of mfgs add downtube protectors on them.
  • 4 3
 @atrokz: I am sure carbon fibre is stiffer in normal testing conditions but when it comes to real world rides, all im saing is when it happens to hit ur frame directly to rock etc i wont be that strong anymore ! where alu will dent and u keep riding without worrying ..
  • 8 8
 @atrokz: The problem with carbon is on impact. It also happens to be very environment unfriendly.
  • 8 3
 @BedsideCabinet: there's more to that story than meets the eye. Again, weight to weight, high end CF is significantly better at impact testing when ignoring Z direction if using an older layup method. It's when MFGs put silly thin tubes on bikes, some you can even move my thump pressing it. Here's a good article on impact testing composites www.compositesworld.com/articles/impact-testing-of-composite-materials, here's some quantitative testing that you can reference, that illustrates how aluminum is not better at impact resistance: www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1516-14392009000400004. The only reason it seems that way, is alu frames tend to use thicker walls compared to every other material and most old CF frames weren't laid up to prevent impact damage (most still aren't!!).

Should also note, the DDG1000 (google it) uses CF construction with hybrid materials for the deckhouse, and we (my work) were contracted to make a CF hangar door. Projectile and blast protection were part of the requirements. So the tech has made the material more impact resistance. Not like the days of old.
  • 18 5
 And frankly the environment claim doesn't hold water when you consider the extremely low volume cycling makes up in it, the fact that nobody 'recycles' their aluminum frames (has anyone here? I never have, they go on the wall), and the fact that we are using rubber tires that need to be replaced. There's better areas to focus on for environmental impact, namely what we eat plays a bigger role. And lol at the props. Guess some people prefer nonsense over fact and experience. Ludites.
  • 6 10
flag nismo325 (Sep 12, 2016 at 12:44) (Below Threshold)
 @atrokz: The real world is a different thing all together. I've seen soooooooo many chipped and cracked carbon parts compared to alu parts. You can show all the articles you want but anyone who has used carbon parts know they don't take rock strikes and such very well. if carbon is so strong and good at taking strikes why do most carbon bars come with a full page of warnings? never seen that with alu bars lol
  • 13 11
 @nismo325: I work in the real world. Ever fly in a modern jet? that's where my work gets put. Where's yours? Hence why I get paid to work in the real world (aerospace, former naval defence) and you're chirping on PB about shit you know nothing about, making anecdotal evidence your claim. Brilliant. it was also clearly mentioned that it all depends on design, where one mfg can make something weak and another strong using the exact same material. Can you grasp that, or do you need to join me at a real world engineering job to get a clue? Really now, the irony in your post......

The answer is simple: it depends on what the mfg is intending. A SC frame is significantly stronger than their old alu frames, and they weigh less. You can make a CF bar that weighs more than an alu one, and it will never break but will feel like crap. You have to use the material right according to the requirement and some do, some don't. thats the point. I'm just pointing out the facts behind the statement on the materials, not each specific frame or bar design.
  • 5 2
 @atrokz: I totally agree. The volume of frames hitting junkpiles regardless of material is minuscule. It's a nearly non-existent impact. And nobody recycles AL frames either. They end up on a wall, as you say, or in a heap of old parts in the garage.

BTW, if you do any work with CF and the wind power blade industry, feel free to PM me. I'm a researcher in the area
  • 10 2
 @atrokz: Finally someone who understands CF and can school these CF nay-sayers... Big Grin
It's dumbfounding how people automatically reach for the pitchforks and torches when CF is mentioned... :-/
  • 8 13
flag nismo325 (Sep 12, 2016 at 15:19) (Below Threshold)
 @atrokz: we all work in the real world bud :O mind blowing I know. You can throw all the credentials you want out there doesn't change the fact that carbon bike parts don't tend to take hard impacts like rocks very well. Maybe thats changing with new manufacturing tech but ATM its still seems like a problem, ask yeti and sram haha anyway maybe instead of trying show off your work life on pinkbike you should use that big old douche bag brain of yours to make some carbon parts that can take a rock strike.
  • 9 8
 Don't get me wrong tho carbon is strong as f*ck in some applications but telling me carbon bike parts take rock strikes better than Alu is for the most part BS as a ton of people in the MTB community can vouch for.
  • 2 0
 @bridgermurray: Can you give an example or two of a bike whose carbon version weighs more than the aluminium?
  • 1 0
 "like a rocket powered semi-truck barreling down a race track." I like this!
  • 2 0
 @atrokz: my ridding buddie works in an aluminium recycling plant, and they recycle lots of frames.
  • 1 0
 @atrokz: Aluminium? I prefer steel.
  • 1 0
 @BedsideCabinet: steel is good on my hardtail, but the weight of this puppy in steel would be insane
  • 1 0
 @BedsideCabinet: depends on what bike. I prefer a material I can manipulate more for a full suspension bike, but for a hardtail it's hard to beat steel. Just throw some oil spray protection inside! learned that the hard way a while back. for a susser, steel limits the design considerably.
  • 2 0
 @AznKiDrew: watched the vid and was thinking "and?" Then they twated it against the concrete. Well that's me proved wrong!
  • 1 0
 @nismo325: you're right dude. Carbon can't be trusted in real world applications. Stick to alloys.
  • 35 0
 I was just writing a rant on how overpriced this is and I guess CRC got the memo. This bike is listed on their site for $3519 shipped to 'Murica...not $5999 (down from the $4400 list). (www.chainreactioncycles.com/us/en/nukeproof-mega-290-team-bike-2016/rp-prod135664) Now that's a deal!
  • 3 2
 I was going to make comment on the over prized compare to carbon enduro frame.
if it is at 3519$ it is an affordable package.
  • 12 1
 Been very happy with my Pro save the shock issue. Make no mistake it is definitely a gnar charger and not an XC 29er. The speed thing is true, it is incredibly stable at speed on straights and through turns...it doesn't really require muscling IMO just a clear lean/steernamd it is very easy to control at speeds and surprised me at Hamsterly DH track.
The longer chain stays are great for bigger guys...it feels so well balanced.
None of the models have wide enough rims so you need to build that in the budget. I'm keeping the SRAM wheels for narrower winter tyres though as they are very stiff. Not had a ratchet problem myself.

I don't feel the wheel size is an issue at all. It's just steering a very long frame (I have the 1248mm WB XL) that requires skill/care.
I cannot explain why but a 40mm stem seems to do something very fundamentally positive to the steering and the feel of the fork (is it because it's shorter than the offset?)
The Nobby Nic doesn't last 5 mins on abrasive rock.
  • 2 0
 What is the shock issue you refer to?
  • 2 1
 How tall are you? I am 183 (6 ft) and consider to order a XL.
  • 3 0
 @chize: the early shocks have Debonair and a different tune...might suit some but they changed it for good reason...am waiting for mine to be changed...
  • 2 0
 @gpgalanis: 6'2...very long legs...shoulders and arms a bit longer/wider than average.
  • 2 0
 @Travel66: the HV isn't much better. Got 6 bottomless rings in mine. It'll be going for a tune when my wallet recovers.
  • 2 0
 @ThomDawson: the ones they fit now have an M/L tune you probably have L/L
  • 1 0
 @ThomDawson: it admit just the can they changed
  • 2 0
 @Travel66: noh it's a m/l. I'm a tiny little person though, that might be something. 62kgs
  • 1 0
 @ThomDawson: whats the hv? New super deluxe?
  • 2 0
 @jrocksdh: just the non debonair. Its the HV can vs. the debinair can.
  • 2 0
 @jrocksdh: HV=high volume air can. As @inverted180 says it's just the standard can, same as debonair only it doesn't have the extra negative spring volume that the debonair has.
  • 11 0
 Has anyone actually blasted this bike with a nuclear weapon to see if it actually is nuke proof? I question the legitimacy of it's name.
  • 1 0
 It's Duke Nukem's ride, that's proof enough.
  • 8 0
 So it's a big 'ol beast for going fast on then. Guess I'll have to save up and buy one, so I can pretend I go fast sometimes...
  • 4 0
 Don't do it. What excuse will you have left, going slow with this bike? I have a 1x big chainring, nobody's ever dared to say how fat I am when I push my bike uphill
  • 6 0
 @Uuno: Pff excuses, I'm lazy and cowardly, don't need no excuses and you'd all be too far in front to hear them anyway.
  • 8 2
 Agree 99% with the review, it is easily the fastest straight line single crown bike I have ridden (and thats quite a few)

Few things to add

Positive: the bikes linkages are incredibly well made - resulting in a really nicely stiff frame - no flex in the rear swing arm.

Positive: Its incredibly well made and takes nukeproof from diy garage build to high end aluminium quality

negative: although the long wheelbase and chainsays create class leading high speed stability, it does take a lot more effort to huck off stuff and pull the front out and over holes. Once you get used to this though its not a problem, just takes 3-4 rides.
  • 6 0
 I got a frame and built one myself (see album if bothered) a couple of opinions and one fact.
Fact: your frame / full build should come with a plastic moulded chainstay protector that the pros like Sam hill and the nukeproof staff had at megavalanche. These were left off of the frames from the factory by mistake but nukeproof have loads waiting for dealers to claim for your bike. So call your dealer and pester them.

Opinions: even with the HV / m/l tune shock it does like to sag big so a couple of spacers probably are a must.

I reckon you could go 160mm on the fork without changing anything but lowering the stem on the head tube. If your trying to preserve your bb height you could fit one - maybe 2 offset bushings but check your stroke so the tyre don't burn the frame.

I regularly hit the rear tyre off mah bum going off drops which is probably a result of the long rear end and me trying to lever up the front.

Lastly this bike is literally a weapon. And totally destroys inners/ golfy/ any and anything you throw at it. It's not a jumper but you could ride at a 4 ft wall and it would monster-truck over it. Chris Akrigg would just be riding around seat up looking at the view on this on the trails in his vids.
  • 5 0
 @Travel66 No matter how many spacers you run, the debon air will ALWAYS give you more midstroke support. Because of the trick with the larger negative volume. What most people don't recognize: The debon air provides more progression than the standard HV (pos. chambers should have about the same volume). My understanding is, that to equalize the bigger neg chamber you need more pos pressure and more pressure means more air in the same volume. This more air behaves more progressively then. So you need less spacers to achieve the same progression.
In the end debon air is nothing else then a more coil-like spring. At the beginning AND in the midstroke. Plus a nice progression, of course. And who doesn't wanna run coil, because in a lot of frames (not all though) it feels so much better?
  • 4 0
 This really makes me curious what this bike would run like with an Ohlins TTX coil shock, and a Fox36, Lyrik, AVA worked Yari, or RXF-36 out front. The full-Ohlins wouldn't be cheap, but it would run about the same as a carbon bike with more ordinarily priced suspension.
  • 2 0
 Thanks for answering my question and I think I get the point on the way debonair works.
Thing is isnt this about the combination of a different sleeve AND different compression tune? Isn't the bottom line that the compression is just too soft to start with? Given what you say it would appear the HV has been put on to offset partly the change to a Medium tune?
  • 9 5
 I've said it before and I'll say it again: the Debonair doesn't work well with most frames. The bikes that its intended for are all tuned to run normal air spring curves, and the debonair just causes your rear to wallow and forces you to run insane (300+ on my enduro) pressures. It also amplifies the "notch" right where the air champers equalize- you can definitely feel it.
  • 4 1
 Works like a dream on my bike
  • 4 1
 Works amazing on the evil following...
  • 5 0
 @Richt2000: thats such a good bike that a fox float from 2005 would work great
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: ha ha too true ;-)
  • 6 0
 You have to run insane pressures because your enduro has an very high leverage rate. Most bikes don't.
  • 1 0
 @acali: I'm confused....I thought a low leverage ratio requires a higher pressure?
@mikekazimer help?
  • 3 1
 actually, the debonair is as perfect as it gets for the top swing linkage bikes, which generally have a regressive stretch in the beginning of the stroke. the large negative spring offsets the low-leverage firm section in the first inch or two of travel. see what @acali said about your particular complaints about the enduro, which has way too high of a leverage ratio. you probably have a M compression tune right? that bike would need a H compression to minimize wallow, and that's not debonair's fault.
  • 1 0
 @b26-4-Life: This. So much this.
On regressive-linear-progressive bikes (Rocky Mountain Instinct/Altitude, Mega290/Mega275, Transition Patrol/Smuggler for example) the resulting feel is remarkably sorted overall, and running a bit more sag (30-35%) also brings it past that equalization point, not to mention reduces some of the need to run insane air spring pressures.
It think this is why RockShox has gone very specifically to 'Solo Air' nomenclature on the Deluxe/SuperDeluxe shocks, so that bikes which benefit from a smaller air can volume (Niner, RIP9 for example) don't seem like they're running an inferior setup in acronym accumulation terms - it's just a different setup.
  • 1 2
 @b26-4-Life: Yes, its an M/M tune, which should be H, but thats only part of the issue. It doesn't really feel any smoother off the top than a traditional airspring, and has that annoying notch right where the air chambers equalize. I've heard other people with the same complaints on other frames. It would appear that Nukeproof agrees with me, since they dumped it after "listening to rider feedback".
  • 2 0
 @tehllama: I'm listening....so bottom line is the regressive early stroke element may as well be ignored.

What I don't get is the very active mid stroke that seems to lack support I felt (along with many others)....if this was the intended nature ( @ArturoBandini basically describes it as synthesising a spring shock) then why didn't Nukeproof stick to their guns and not change the shock set-up?

I got so concerned about blowing through I reduced the sag and put 6 Bands in. Im sure if I hadn't I would have repeatedly bottomed out on medium gnar and broken it.
  • 2 0
 @tehllama: acronym accumulation : the modern day crying wolf, so good
  • 2 0
 @Travel66: Regressive early actually helps make air sprung setups not require such absurd air pressure to hit a specific sag setting - meaning less air pressure plus addition volume spacers becomes an increasingly viable solution.
I think where RS went with the DebonAir was to make it as coil-like as possible, as that was the selling point. More air spring volume, especially on the negative side, coupled with a bit less high-speed compression was probably the best way to achieve that. Unsurprisingly, by all indications there will be some more HSC on every tune for the Deluxe/SuperDeluxe setup.
My suspicion is that Nukeproof was originally pretty happy with the slightly more stable (if a touch numb) setup possible with the M/L tune, as their original design dossier was probably 'make a 29er that rides like a DH bike', and for that use it's arguably better. Seeing as it became a popular bike, people wanted a more all-mountain setup, so that wallowy mid-stroke became a much bigger perceived liability -- in reality running the heavier weight oil found in the Monarch in the Monarch+ and taking a couple clicks of rebound out would probably get that setup really close to right on the money, but not for expected reasons (more viscous oil would make it a fair bit more firm-platform into regressive-feeling, but help with any spiky sensations)... but that's not a good mainstream solution.
  • 1 0
 @tehllama: good food for thought
  • 4 0
 @tehllama: this would not be the first time Nukeproof have delivered a less than satisfactory shock tune...for whatever reason they seem to be great at everything else but stumble over the shock tune. When I rode the Debonair (almost certainly without any bottomless rings) the demo guy was setting them up with 20% sag to counter the poor tune (even then it was very wallowy), I tried it at 30% and it was really quite awful. Good job the rest of the bike is on point!!
  • 2 0
 @ThomDawson: I guess its understanding their aim and the tune selection. Maybe Nukeproof could issue some guidance on what approach to take for optimal set-up for different uses.

Maybe all manufacturers should do that so that we can enjoy our bikes more (and sooner after purchase)
  • 3 0
 @Travel66: they should have at least provided some bottomless rings but I don't think they had a 'tune selection' as such. I think they were offered a load of shocks and just said 'yeah ok'. Historically shock tune isn't one of their strong points, it's not just a different set up, it's not a setup at all. Maybe the bike rips so hard that it felt alright with the full volume debonair to their testers or more likely in my mind the shock selection was rushed and they went with the must have 'debonair' thinking it'd help em sell them. Then they rushed again and changed to the HV which made little to no difference. From what I understand they could have achieved a better tune if they had stuck with the Debonair and actually tuned it. Regardless of why and how (though it is disappointing) the bike is incredible. If anybody figures out a good tune that would be very helpful to the rest of the Mega 290 riders! I'm gonna try a debonair can and see what I can do with some volume adjustments.
  • 3 0
 @ThomDawson:
I think any manufacturer can give some guidance....on what the outcome of different sag and volume bands would do and be good for.

At this point I think the issue is the compression tune........It probably needs to be firmer (M vs L). The fact that we both have the same issue despite vastly different body weights is noteworthy.

Ignoring all the other factors I have found the Debonair very supple. I had the normal sleeve on the Capra (they don't make a debonair for that massive size RC3) and it was slow to move meaning small bump sensitivity wasn't great. Given the way the Debonair works maybe it is the best sleeve but just doesn't work well with such a soft compression tune.

I'm not sure how much different suspension simulations (for HV and Deb) can show us if they also don't take into account the different tunes. @ArturoBandini did the analysis include this difference?
  • 5 0
 ....I forgot to say I quite like it not being carbon despite having gone that way on my recent bikes. Now that must be blasphemy!
  • 3 0
 Review sums it up fairly well, it is a friggin weapon, love it.
Concerning the shock issue (air can changed for production, less supple now): Check my discussion with Antonio, I personally strongly disagree with nukeproof's "rider feedback", debon air works wonders and fixes the issues. The accumulated curve of shock + linkage gets way more linear or "consistent", as this is the word chosen at the beginning of the review and you can feel that. Standard HV makes everything worse.
linkagedesign.blogspot.de/2016/04/nukeproof-mega-290-2016.html
  • 1 0
 Thanks for posting that up...I had been searching for that analysis so I could understand it.

So you have found that 4 bands for positive and 2 for negative with a Debonair gives you enough mid-travel support?

I'm confused as to why you had 7 spacers with the HV can (which has less air volume already)....can you illuminate me?
  • 1 0
 @Travel66: Agreed, thanks for posting @ArturoBandini
I've ridden both the Debonair and the HV on this bike and I was really disappointed that the HV felt more or less as bad as the Debonair was on my demo ride. I didn't get to play with the volumes on the debonair but you have me very intrigued to try. Currently have 6 in the HV and it still doesn't ride the way I'd like.
  • 1 0
 Anyone know whether the debonair can from a monarch rt3 is the same as for a monarch+?
  • 1 0
 @Travel66: thanks dude, that's what I thought! As far as I can tell they're the same but the stroke lengths have specific sized cans...? The shop lisitings I've found specify B1 (monarch plus) and C1 (inline monarch) compatibility.
  • 2 0
 Loved my demo ride on this. Insanely quick down rough straight line decents!! Loved it which is a shame as I'd already bought a Capra - wishing I'd gone slack 29er ever since!

My only criticism is the wheels were way too flexi - something I've never really had issues with before. Then I'm 200lbs+ riding an XL. I can understand why boost now exists!
  • 3 0
 At least it looks like a Capra!
  • 3 0
 In don't think it was the wheels, it's the wide schwalbe rolling on a thin rim....at least that was my experience....now rocking some 30mm ID wheels and different tyres and I'm not getting that.
  • 1 0
 Yah, I am 110kg with an XL frame Pro and the wheels are the one part that I am going to change for sure. I find it to be a complete rocket ship. Well capable of going faster than I am able to!
  • 1 0
 I can well imagine that this thing is a missile, along with most long travel 29ers. A ton of fun.

I bought a Radon Slide 130 10HD (actually 140mm!) 29er last year - similar geo. Very fast, monster-trucks everything, but I do have to put some real effort in on DH switchbacks to get things pulled around!
  • 1 0
 I demo-ed one of this up Aston Hill back in the spring. Easily the most impressive and quickest bikes on the day. Pointing it downhill it became an absolute hoon of a bike. The only downside was that I found it cumbersome to get airborne flick it about. That said, if you like keeping rubber on the ground then you probably won't be disappointed giving this a go.
  • 3 0
 I think most of us would want to know how it differs to the new Slash and Enduro in general terms. And does an additional 15mm of travel matters?
  • 1 0
 Im interested in this too.
  • 3 0
 nobby nic is such a CRAP tyre, usually put on bikes to bring overall weight down. No good for a charger like this!!...(skinny rims too)
  • 1 0
 Awesome bike. I almost bought one. It was just pipped by the Nomad C. I would love to try one. Next bike maybe... when the carbon one comes out. Just don't mention it to the wife.
  • 2 0
 anyone wanna see the suspension automation?
Its basic with estimated values.
sorry for said values in the way, oh and also the watermark...

sendvid.com/wkvjxeai
  • 1 0
 @felinefinemeow - cheers for that!
  • 3 1
 aluminum, 29" and more than 120mm travel?

This is a bike for the short list.
  • 3 0
 Rode one of these at a demo day at Aston Hill. Seriously good fun.
  • 2 2
 Sold my 26' Mega TR for a Mega 290

1/ the rear bobs significantly during climbs
2/ the rear Monarch bottoms out too easily (no extra spacers provided)
3/ it's really fast when pointed downwards
  • 2 0
 Which sleeve and tune does your monarch have?
  • 1 1
 @Travel66: I bought it off CRC, believe it came with the current Monarch+ HV

www.sram.com/rockshox/products/monarch-plus-rc3

Having said that, im very happy with the bike
  • 3 0
 @Lurch-ECD: check what's actually on it.
Have you tried volume reducer bands?
  • 1 1
 @Travel66: my LBS don't have them in stock. I'll probably get them spacers off the Internet.
  • 2 1
 @Lurch-ECD: you may need to send the shock to TF-tuned, but the question is how much pressure are you using already. Monarch+ is known for sucking arse because of using too much pressure as a part of its design. If the shock has less than 60mm of stroke for that 150mm of travel then you may be fkd and need a different damper.
  • 3 0
 @WAKIdesigns: it's 200x57..... OMFG I need a new shock!
  • 2 1
 I am no specialist in that area, give TF Tuned a call. There's been many folks in various dark places of the internet complaining about Monarch+ for running so much pressure that no rebound and compression valving can keep up with. Including Team Robot, and he of many, actually can know what he is talking about.
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I'm considering 2 options. Getting extra spacers for the Monarch or just getting a Dvo topaz. I didn't have this problem on my Mega TR previously (also a Monarch+)
  • 2 0
 @Lurch-ECD: i have a full dvo set on my 290..... the bike is total into speed a little clumzy on the slow section
the review is very accurate
  • 1 0
 @loolilon: a question, can u reuse the existing rear Shox hardware/spacers for the dvo topaz?
  • 4 3
 So annoyed they didn't put water bottle bosses above the downtube on this bike. And don't tell me to wear a pack. #facepalm #fail
  • 7 0
 you don't like cow pies on your bottle spout?
  • 2 1
 Sorry Duuuuude...Hydration Bottles are NOT enduro. Wink Razz
  • 1 0
 They wouldn't have been much use above the downtube Razz
  • 2 0
 There will be room if you take the shock out...
  • 2 0
 No Boost? I can't believe this thing made it down the hill...or just waiting for Mega-Boost?
  • 2 0
 Coming off an Enduro 29er, how does this bike compare? Particularly the rear end, is it as plush?
  • 1 0
 it's definitely very plush compared to the Enduro I tried
  • 2 0
 Such a good looking bike.
  • 2 0
 Seriously nice looking bike for a 29er
  • 2 1
 Short version: This bike has big wheels, is slack and long and rides just as expected.
  • 1 0
 I feel like this bike would be like riding a magic carpet over the trail. Big wheels and big travel.
  • 2 3
 Missed the mark with such long chain stays. If specialized can pull of 16.9" CS on their Enduro 29 with a Horst link layout, then why can't nukeproof? 17.3 would be just fine but 17.7! Cmon.
  • 3 0
 Stability at speed. Plain and simple, longer chainstays make it more stable at speed, and more reliably able to clean technical slimbs. The tradeoff is maneuverability and ease of bringing up the front, but for such a beastly bike, I'm glad they went with long chainstays, as going shorter would limit what the bike can do.
  • 3 0
 Some of us need longer CS for climbing and for a balanced bike! Fine, make the small/medium with shorter CS but not the L/XL.... I loved my Capra but in the end I got pissed off not being able to keep the front end down when climbing and at high speed feeling like I was standing on the rear axle.

It's noteworthy that YT (a budget direct brand arguably) learned from this and vary the CS length on their newest model, the Jeffsy., by size.....and their XL isn't even that big.
  • 1 0
 I have already forgotten when the new bike came out with another wheel size....
  • 2 0
 I want this sooooo bad @devon607
  • 3 3
 This review should read... " If it's good enough for Sam Hill then it's good enough for you. End of review "
  • 11 0
 Except he rides the 275....
  • 3 3
 @Richt2000: Just a wheel size... means nothing anyway Big Grin
  • 1 0
 I have to know where I can buy those shorts the rider is wearing.
  • 1 0
 They are Troy lee Ruckus Shorts - Possibly last years model tho so you may struggle to get them instock anywhere - www.chainreactioncycles.com/troy-lee-designs-ruckus-shorts-ops-desert/rp-prod150590
  • 3 0
 You will never see them for sale anywhere - i mean they are for sale, but you will never see them
  • 1 0
 EBAY
  • 2 0
 @pigman65: they are camouflage
  • 1 0
 @browner: yeah, camo moto's on the us site, near enough lol
  • 3 3
 If yours haven't cracked you didn't have one: www.pinkbike.com/photo/13455732
  • 1 0
 How did that happen?
  • 2 2
 @Lurch-ECD: no idea, just found it like that one day when i was checking the pivot bolts for usual creaking. I had xc bikes that were ridden harder and never broke. Did i mention it happened 10 days after the warranty and NP refused to help me when it was clearly a manufacturing error!
  • 1 0
 @brigand: That's not a Mega 275 or 290 is it? Its the old Mega?
  • 2 2
 @Travel66: Mega AM 2013/2014. New Mega but the old company. People are having new Pulses crack btw.
  • 1 0
 Sexi bike
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