Staff Rides: Mike Kazimer's Nukeproof Mega 290

Apr 10, 2018
by Mike Kazimer  


Every year or so I put together a bike that will serve as a rolling laboratory for long-term component testing, a bike that'll get used and abused while I try out everything from forks to grips, and all parts in between. My personal ride tends to be on the burlier side of things, which matches the style of trails I prefer and helps explain why my current build is based on an aluminum Nukeproof Mega 290 frame.

It's not the lightest or even the most exotic option, but it's proven to be a tough and reliable machine, which is exactly what I was looking for. If I were based somewhere with mellower trails and more rolling terrain, I'd certainly be on something a little less hefty, and with less travel, but since I'm lucky enough to have plenty of steep, technical trails at my doorstep, a bike like this makes plenty of sense.

Kazimer's Nukeproof Mega 290

• Intended use: monster trucking, hucking, product testing
• Wheel size: 29"
• Rear wheel travel: 150mm
• Fork: 170mm Marzocchi Z1, 44mm offset
• Archer Components D1x shifter / SRAM Eagle drivetrain
• Maxxis DHF 2.5'' / Goodyear Newton 2.6'' tires
• Weight: 30-something pounds

Nukeproof Mega 290
SKS' Anywhere Mounts allow me to fit a water bottle and cage inside the front triangle.

Frame

When choosing which bikes to get in for testing, I don't discriminate too much when it comes to wheel size – as long as it has two wheels, a chain, and no motor, I'm happy trying out just about anything. However, when it came time to pick my own bike there was no question – 29” wheels for me, please.

I first tested the Nukeproof Mega 290 back in 2016 and ended up impressed with just how fast and stable it was. For 2018, the Mega was updated with a longer reach, a 12 x 148mm rear end, and metric shock spacing. Basically, all of the little issues that kept me from purchasing the previous model were corrected. I'm still hoping for a carbon version to come out sometime in the future, but at least with the alloy frame, I don't need to worry about much if my bike takes a tumble through the woods without me. There's also the fact that all of the housing is externally routed, which makes it easier on me when it's time to switch out parts.

There is still one niggling detail about the Mega 290 frame that hasn't been fixed – the only place to hold a water bottle is on the underside of the downtube, right in the line of fire for the mud kicked up by the front wheel. Luckily, I was able to come up with a solution with the help of SKS' Anywhere Mounts. There's just enough room on my large-sized frame to mount a cage in front of the shock, and then squeeze in a regular water bottle. It's not pretty, but I'd rather have a setup like this versus catching giardia or needing to wear a backpack on every ride.


Nukeproof Mega 290
Nukeproof Mega 290
For now, Archer Components' D1x wireless shifting device is mounted up to SRAM's X01 Eagle derailleur.


Drivetrain

Is that a TV remote strapped to the drive side chainstay? And where's the rest of the rear derailleur cable? Valid questions, but the answer is simple - that's Archer Components' D1x wireless electronic shifter you're looking at. They're a small upstart company out of California that has created one of the first wireless electronic shifting units to hit the mountain bike market.

The device allows you to program how much the derailleur moves between each gear, which makes it possible to mix-and-match cassettes and derailleurs to your heart's content. Want to run a Shimano XTR derailleur with a SRAM Eagle cassette? Go for it – with Archer's app you can set the derailleur to move the correct distance between each cog. The device is powered by two rechargeable AA batteries in the rear unit, one rechargeable AAA in the handlebar mounted remote, and you can check the battery levels via Archer's setup app.

Is it better? Well, I wouldn't go that far. Granted, I'm a bit of a Luddite when it comes to electronics and mountain bikes, and it's tough to beat the simplicity of the old tried-and-true fully cable-actuated drivetrain, but what Archer has created is different, and interesting, which is why I'll be posting up a full review in the near future.

Batteries aside, the rest of my drivetrain consists of SRAM's X01 Eagle gruppo, with a 34-tooth ring up front and a 10-50-tooth cassette out back. I'm still surprised by how many people scoff at having that wide of a gear range. I use the 50-tooth cog all the time, and for anyone that says it's unnecessary, I have a few rides in my neck of the woods for you to try.


Nukeproof
The new Marzocchi Z1 is air-sprung, and uses Fox's FIT GRIP damper to control the rebound and compression.

Suspension

The Mega 290 frame has 150mm of rear travel, and it comes with a RockShox Super Deluxe RC3 shock. I've kept that in place, at least for the time being, although I'm sure I'll end up testing a few other options this season. I wouldn't mind getting a coil shock on there before the Whistler Bike Park opens, but for now, the Super Deluxe hasn't given me any reason to complain. I'm running 177 psi for 30% sag, and have one “Gnar” volume spacer (which equates to 2.5 standard spacers) installed for a little extra ramp up. Plus, who doesn't want more gnar in their life?

Up front is where things get a little different. I've started to put the miles in on the new Marzocchi Z1 (you can read more about it here), in this case the 170mm model with 44mm of offset. With a 160mm fork, the Nukeproof's head angle sits at 66-degrees, and it measures roughly 65.5-degrees with the 170mm fork. Going with the reduced offset was done for the sake of experimentation, and also because I didn't want to increase the Nukeproof's wheelbase any further – with 450mm chainstays and a 470mm reach it's already a pretty long bike.

When I first got the Mega 290,was I did try it with a -1.5-degree angle set, which slackened the head angle to 64.5-degrees. For me, that made the bike feel more sluggish than I wanted – it was great on the fast straightaways, but it felt too choppered out on mellower terrain for me to keep it on for more than a few rides. Going slacker isn't always the solution, but it is fun trying out different geometry configurations.


Nukeproof
Nukeproof
That's right, Goodyear is entering the world of mountain bike tires.


Wheels / Tires

Yes, I have a mismatched wheelset and mismatched tires in the photos, but that's just how it goes sometimes. In this case, my focus was on trying out the new tires that Goodyear had sent over (you can read all the details on that new rubber here). I'd already ridden the bike a handful of times with them installed front and rear, but for this ride, I decided to see how a 2.5” Minion DHF worked when paired with the 2.6" Newton in the back. The Newton's width is nearly identical to the 2.5" Minion, so the two tires worked well together. I usually prefer to run a 2.5" tire up front, and then something a little narrower, in the 2.4'' - 2.3" realm, in the rear.

My local trails tend to have more roots than rocks, and they're usually wet, or at least semi-damp. Those conditions allow me to run relatively low pressures – I'll typically go with 20-21 psi up front, and 22-23 in the back when I'm using rims that measure around 30mm wide internally. The soft conditions and lack of super-sharp rocks mean that I don't need to use full-DH rubber, à la Paul Aston – if anything, I'll run a single ply tire up front, and then something with a Double-Down style casing in the rear for a little extra protection.

One of the carbon wheels on my bike is from Bontrager, the Line 30 Pro, and the other is a Race Face Next R. The two wheelsets have held up very well, surviving nearly a year of trail smashing without any issues. I do like how a good carbon wheelset rides, but by no means do I think that carbon wheels are the answer for everyone. For one thing, there are some wheelsets out there that are ridiculously overpriced – I have yet to ride a set of carbon wheels that would even get me to consider coughing up $2,500 or $3,000 for them. Bontrager's Line 30 wheels are a step in the right direction, and while they're not cheap, they're also in the realm of what a high-end alloy wheelset would cost.

If I were building up my own wheels, I'd likely snag a set of nice DT Swiss aluminum rims, lace them to DT Swiss or Hope hubs with 32-holes, three-cross pattern, and call it good.


Nukeproof
ODI Elite Pro grips.
Nukeproof
Race Face's Turbine R stem and Next R handlebar.

Other Bits and Pieces

Grips: ODI's Elite Pro grips are my go-to these days, and even though the set on the Nukeproof are worn smooth from all the hours I've spent grabbing onto them, I'll probably keep rocking them until the plastic underneath really starts showing through.

Bar / Stem: I'm running Race Face's Next R carbon handlebar, trimmed down to 780mm, paired with a 40mm stem. I ran these parts on a different bike all last summer with zero issues, so they made their way onto the Nukeproof.

Kona Wah Wah II Aluminum Pedals: I regularly switch back and forth between clipless and flat pedals, but this bike almost always has flat pedals on it, since I prefer flats for the really technical stuff. As far as pedal shape, I like a wide, concave platform, one that's not too thick, but that also doesn't have any weird lumps or bulges underfoot. Kona's new Wah Wah pedals tick those boxes, and are available with either a plastic or aluminum platform. I had good luck with the plastic ones, so now it's time to see if that luck holds with the alloy version.


Nukeproof Mega 290
Kona's new alloy Wah Wah II pedals.
Nukeproof Mega 290
There aren't any tubes in the tires, but a Backcountry Research Motherload strap attaches one to the frame.

SRAM Code Brakes: A big bike should have powerful stoppers to match, and SRAM's Code make the grade. Metallic pads and a 203mm rotor up front provide plenty of bite to help keep things under control.

Backcountry Research Mutherload strap: I rarely flat (knock on wood), but if I do there's a spare tube strapped securely to the downtube with Backcountry Research's simple-but-effective Mutherload strap.


Nukeproof Mega 290
WTB Koda saddle.
Nukeproof Mega 290
KA Engineering's aftermarket aluminum pulley wheels.


WTB Koda seat: Steeper seat tubes angles mean that your saddle is a little more forward, even when the dropper post is all the way down. That's part of the reason I've been running the Koda saddle – it's a little shorter, which means the nose is less likely to get hung up on my shorts. It's also extremely comfortable, the main reason it's earned a spot on this bike.

Gold pulley wheels: Ok, I'll admit it – I'm sort of a sucker for shiny anodized parts, likely due to the fact that I started mountain biking in the 90s, right around the peak of the anodize-everything movement. These aluminum pulley wheels are made in Ukraine by KA Engineering – they also make chainrings in just about every color imaginable. A winter of riding through the slop has worn some of the anodizing off the teeth, but otherwise they're still spinning smoothly.


Nukeproof Mega 290

bigquotesThere you have it – all the details on my current personal ride. It'll probably look completely different next week, but for the moment, this is what I'll be aboard when I'm not riding the other bikes that come in for review. A tough job, I know, but someone's got to do it. Mike Kazimer



215 Comments

  • + 235
 You might have out-weirded me with this abomination. Nice.
  • + 75
 What are the chances you immediately started searching for a linkage fork bike with two Tioga saddles mounted back-to-back as some sort of motorcycle seat to shorten up your reach for climbs?
  • + 19
 Purpose built rigs also have a nice appeal to me. Sort of like comparing a "factory-born" offroading rig next to a customized rig tailored for the driver to knows what is needed. Can't argue with someone who knows what they want.
  • + 48
 @brianpark: I feel attacked.
  • + 6
 It's beautiful
  • + 7
 @macross87:
yeah whenever i see prebuilds there is always something that i would change

so i would rather just build it myself
  • + 15
 @brianpark: Flat pedals and Nukeproof Megas wins med...........just saying.
  • + 49
 This is the only review of a bike that i just didnt skip down to the conclusion.
This is MUCH more interesting than a "factory" bike review.
  • + 16
 @brianpark: “as long as it has two wheels, a chain and no motor” mic drop
  • - 11
flag donpinpon29 (Apr 10, 2018 at 13:38) (Below Threshold)
 @brianpark: actually its annoying trying to climb that steep hill seating on your saddle so far forward that anal sex is about to become real, sooner than reaching the top of the hill!
  • + 3
 If he strapped a donut or two to the frame instead of a tube, would you feel the same way?
  • + 12
 @brianpark - we all deal with hemmorhoids differently. I run Selle Italia SLR Super Flow to decrease irriation and for cooling effect, Mike Levy finds relief by scratching it against his Tioga grater...
  • + 4
 Nice tight welds on that Nukie.
  • - 6
flag High-Life (Apr 10, 2018 at 17:57) (Below Threshold)
 When you don't want to pay for a full Pinkbike Review, you can share a frankenbike Review with several other companies. This is amazing.
  • + 6
 My OCD is raging into full-on Schizophrenia.
  • + 4
 @High-Life: If he ran 2 different brakes I could rationalize taking a zanex.
  • + 5
 @Asmodai: im happy to pay the extra for a bike I built myself purely for the fun of putting it together.
  • + 2
 @dirtmiester: often its not even paying extra if you are not in a hurry i bought nukeproof mega for 60% off because it was last xxl frame in stock (still a bit too small tho) like a year before i started building it up

but yeah in general i still would pay more for picking parts and building myself
  • + 8
 If you wanna read about stuff that matches, buy Vogue.
  • + 0
 @MikeAzBS: Not sure what a zanex is, but I run different brakes front and rear. Different tyres, rims, spokes, hubs... Recently switched to similar grips left and right and my left and right crank are the same type now too. On my next build my front and rear wheels will be of the same type and I also plan to use the same type of brakes, though both will use a different type of brake hose.
  • + 4
 @vinay: its xanax for the "f*ck spelling" crew
  • - 1
 @BenPea: hahahahahah, you know how to break the heart of a bloke who bought a bike for 10k and then spent additional 5k on components to make an avantgarde color scheme Big Grin
  • + 0
 @BenPea: Alright, I could try to do an internet search to figure out what xanax is, but it sounds like it would result in some targeted advertisements.

Either way, as for my brakes currently. I run a 2006 Louise (green master) with a 190mm rotor in the front and a 2007 Marta with 160mm rotor in the rear. It seems to me front and rear brakes have very different tasks so it may result in different brakes too. On my next build I plan to take the 2008 Louise brakes from my fully so that'll be matched. But the rear brake has a steel braided hose (and the front the standard nylon hose). Because it is longer, the stiffer hose makes them feel equally firm.

Stuff that matches too well hurts my eyes though. That 2017 FMD outfit or the current Trek Factory DH (Atherton) racing kit, it isn't quite for me.
  • + 1
 @vinay: I was on that crap for a month. No thank you, ever again... I feel fine even in most depressive moments as soon as I remember the drug selection and dosage phase of the "treatment". If someone wants to put me on controlled dosage of ephedrine, please, I am listening.
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: Alright, but what matters here is, does it help with dealing with two different brakes? I can't believe I've been riding with different brakes and no medication.
  • + 4
 @vinay: it must help OCD for sure. You stop giving a fk and you get numb. Your personality dissolves. Thus Xanax can be administered to mitigate the two-different-brakes-on-one-bike related stress and anxiety. At higher dosage it may even allow you to accept mounting Schwalbe Rock Razor in the front - backwards - and then Minion DHF in the back. Backwards as well. You won't even know tyre logo and valve stem can be aligned. It will never cross your mind. However unlike with weed you will remain puzzled.
  • + 1
 @Boardlife69: The capability of the pilot just might have something to do with the medal part.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Well I'm pretty damn puzzled right now.
@vinay: duckduckgo for your dodgy web search needs. I fully endorse your mismatched brake tendencies. I run my hardtail's levers upside down (left on the right, etc.) so I can get my shifters in the right place. Self-bespoking: unmarketable and therefore good.
  • + 1
 2.6 Goodyear is the same as a 2.5 Maxxis. Sooo... that is about a 2.3"
Great, more under-sized and more importantly, misrepresented rubber.
  • + 3
 @b1k35c13nt15t, no, not exactly. The new WT Maxxis tires measure more true to size than the previous versions.
  • + 69
 Nice looking rig, but just one thing, I see loads of people mounting tubes onto the frame. It's a great idea but why does no one put them in a simple zip lock bag before strapping them to the frame. The amount of times I have seen tubes which are covered in mud and grime, this is the last thing you need if you want to use it. Put it in a bag and it will always be fresh should you need it.
  • + 53
 You made me feel so stupid, fucking awesome. Patent enduro bag
  • + 29
 “Put it in a bag and it will always be fresh should you need it.”

...right along with the PNW trail weed safety kit.
  • + 6
 Calling Trojan...new product extension/opportunity...
  • + 5
 @bicycle019: Trojan? What if you have a...29+ tire?
  • + 3
 @YouHadMeAtDrugs: Magnums of course, they'll fit the biggest 29"+...
  • + 2
 I put mine inside an old inner tube for extra protection and keeping the crap off it. Say that I have never had to use my spare and hopefully that will continue. Also I have a little bottle of Stans in my hip pack just in case.
  • + 5
 @fartymarty: you put a tube in a tube?
  • + 7
 The tube on frame is there as a mere symbol like a enduro racer honour mark, my tyres don't fail.
  • + 3
 Durex might be the next company entering the bike industry after Good Year.
  • + 2
 I know the SAS carry frangers with them on ops, and if they need a drink put said frangers inside socks to offer more strength. I bet an inner tube could be stretched inside a franger. Keep it clean and well lubed enough to slide right up in the tyre if needed.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: I put it in a cut up DH tube bent in half and zip tied at the end to keep crap out. That was in autumn when it wasnt so shitty and wet. I got sick of mud collecting around it so it went in my hip pack after that.

The last thing you want is a hole in the tube that you are putting in to replace the hole in your tubeless. I think I would give up on life if that ever happened.

I have only thankfully had to put a tube on once and it was such a messy ballache that I would rather try and fix the tubeless (more Stans / tyre plugs) than go thru that again.
  • + 1
 @fartymarty: nobody wants a messy balache. Thanks for clarifying, guess you need a mighty fat tube though.
  • + 1
 @BenPea: damn straight you don't want a messy ballache. I think I used a biggish 26" DH tube, maybe even an old 26x3" tube from my Gazzalodi days.
  • + 1
 I do that, or plastic wrap.
  • + 40
 I struggle to understand the current pb obsession with water bottles. Why is a hydration pack perceived as such a burden?
Puts everything you need in one place with back protection to boot. Properly chosen and adjusted they do not affect your ride.

If it's a sweaty back thing I'm not sure what to say to that because my back gets sweaty on any ride.

don't drink the levyade Wink
  • + 20
 I fractured some vertebrae a number of years ago, and my back gets angry at me if I ride for too long with too much weight on it. Switching to a hip pack and strapping things to the frame means that I'm a lot more comfortable at the end of a big ride.
  • + 57
 I just wear my fanny pack cause I like how it looks
  • + 8
 Two hour or less ride... Don't need no stinking drink. The hydrate or die mantra needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Three hours in the desert heat, yes, bring water. Otherwise slug a liter at the trail head and you are good to go for lesser rides.
  • + 10
 I struggle real hard to understand why guys carry duffel bags all around the gym as they work out. Why are these people so damned attached to packs of different sorts when they clearly are not needed?
  • + 2
 Hydration pack in a hip pack. Winner winner chicken dinner.
  • + 2
 @MikerJ: I kinda agree. 1 hour rides I would go without water but drink lots before going. 2 hours I generally take water. Its also useful to get ride if the puke flavour once you have hulked up a bug you just swallowed.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: like e-bikes, great for the physically impaired
  • + 3
 Agreed - back protection is another good reason. Almost every time I have been out on a short - "I wont need any tools" kind of ride, I end up needing a multi-tool or my pump....
  • + 3
 @MikerJ: 1 hour in the heat here in the Middle East is enough to definitely need a drink mid ride. I usually go through a litre whilst getting my bike out the car in summer!
  • + 3
 Some people just don't like the hydration pack. Even if I'm riding with a backpack I use it without the bladder and have a bottle instead. It's not a burden it's just a personal preference and nothing wrong with either in my opinion. Frames with bottle cage mount give me the choice to use a bottle if I want no need to hack it like on this Nukeproof...
  • + 10
 Now that more pack manufacturers place the water bladder low, the preference of the hip pack over the backpack gets a bit odd. Especially now that we're seeing hip packs with straps that go over the shoulder to stabilize them. That sounds a bit like trying too hard.

Back protection is actually one of the main reasons I'm sticking to riding with a backpack. I just really don't like back injury, paralysis etc, but that may just be me. I think the water bladder saved me more than a few times though that isn't even certified protection. I now ride with the Ergon BE1. It gives me CE certified back protection, 1.5l water in a low bladder and some room in the higher compartment for small bits, bobs and food. Yes, it still makes my back sweaty (mostly due to the protection). My helmet makes my head sweaty, riding my bike hard makes me sweat in the first place. It is a matter of setting priorities. I like riding my bike, I appreciate the protection and the water and I don't mind taking a shower and doing my laundry.
  • + 1
 @vinay: From experience, it doesn't do shit when you land on your head and shatter your neck.
  • + 5
 In tropical countries, we ride in temperatures in the high 30's. I sweat a LOT. I love my hydration pack but I want to be able to spread out the fluids. I sometimes put electrolyte tabs in my water bottle since I don't want to contaminate my hydration bladder so being able to put one in is a great bonus. Putting all 3 liters in the backpack makes it pretty heavy.
  • + 3
 @Rubberelli: Cuz we can't have purses.....yet.
  • + 1
 @Rubberelli: Not sure what point you are making. I'm not attached (emotionally, at least) to my pack. It fills a "need" of carrying stuff I like to have on a ride. If you prefer to ride light, no problem. I just prefer to be more prepared and not strap 5 lbs to my bike. IMO the benefits easily outweigh the negatives.
  • + 1
 @FarmeR57: 24 oz of water with the bottle are 1.5lbs. But I have no doubt your pack will be 5lb. So what exactly are the benefits of having 3x as much weight centered much higher over the bike? Obviously, you cant say epic rides, because contrary to Jenson's marketing claim, every ride is not epic. Most are short spins through a local trail by your house.
  • + 28
 That thing is basically a test mule. You've got all sorts of mismatched parts for testing. Personally I could only test one part at a time, no way I could keep track of shifting, tires, and suspension products simultaneously.
  • + 20
 Science!
  • + 7
 @macross87: Has failed
  • + 1
 @ThomDawson: Science has failed our mother earth.
  • + 2
 He gets Levy to change the parts for him, silly.
  • + 2
 @headshot: How dare you bomb a perfect S.O.A.D. tribute!
  • + 29
 Kazis - would you and your bike take a free 250W if you could. Well would you?
  • + 42
 Of course. And if I woke up one day and could fly I'd be pretty excited about that too.
  • + 7
 Another 'yes' vote for the most critical click bait poll in internet history.
  • + 30
 @mikekazimer: Cheater
  • + 1
 ????@mikekazimer:
  • + 20
 @mikelevy, if I’m granted superpowers that’s not cheating - it’s called good luck.
  • + 1
 Lol !
  • + 12
 @mikekazimer: flying isnt that complicated. It simply involves throwing yourself at the ground and missing. Okay the latter can be a challenge
  • + 14
 Bonty and RaceFace rims, Goodyear and Maxxis tires, Deleted Photo.... I could have sworn I took my medication today.
  • + 7
 I'm curious about the Deleted Photo> .. they could have simply left a blank space there and no one would have known the difference... Mike is trying to tell us something...
  • + 23
 @laxguy: *grabs tinfoil hat*
  • + 3
 @macross87: wheres the rest of your suit?!?! its dangerous out here!
  • + 3
 @macross87: OH NO!!! THE ARTICLE HAS BEEN MODIFIEDTHEYREONTOUSRUN!!!!
  • + 3
 @laxguy: How do I know if I had a bad enough crash that I need to replace my tinfoil hat?
  • + 11
 Bluetooth shifter -- sweet. How long you think 'till some Russian kid p0wns your drivetrain?
  • + 2
 I want a bluetooth drivetrain what says Blyat whenever I shift gears
  • + 10
 that bomber looks sexy as fook!
  • + 5
 Love the arch looking like a giant "M"
  • + 29
 I think you mean sexy as fork. #punsforlyfe
  • + 1
 well...its more like a Fomber...Big Grin
  • + 4
 Ive had 2 bikes with the bottle on the underside of the downtube and dont see where the big problem comes. Sure it gets abit muddy, but I gennerally just took the lid off and drank from the bit that stayed clean. Its not ideal.. but its not exactly too hard to live with either.
  • + 19
 just like wearing a backpack or a hip pack with a bottle holder isn't that hard to live with either #firstworldproblems
  • + 5
 Cholera
  • + 9
 @Teej687t: leave the First Lady out of this man. Jesus. Can’t read one post on PB without someone ragging on the whitehouse.
  • + 3
 @Teej687t: This just in.....Science has developed a technological advancement by way of a water bottle with a cap on it!
  • + 1
 I can live with a little cholera but underside bottles suck because they fall off or the cage or bottle get mangled.
  • + 5
 Dam! I was hoping you were either testing the new 12 speed Shimano XTR with a new freehub/10-45 cassette OR SRAM's eagle wireless and would let the cat out of the bag by accident.
  • + 7
 That water bottle is hilarious.
  • + 4
 These articles are cool. I had a bike with a Marzocchi Bomber *way* back in the day. That fork was smooth like butter. And had maybe 80mm of travel? No clue, memory purged. But it was dope.
  • + 3
 Definitely one of the coolest articles yet!!I would love to see one every week, more non bias interviews about Riders bikes and why they choose the parts they do. anybody from regular Riders to guys in the industry that either A. not sponsored or B.NOT working directly for said brand
  • + 3
 Am getting old or should more people be fired up on that Z1! I swear, I had a 08 Z1, and have been chasing that fork feel since! Buttery suppleness with a nice ping every time I bottomed it out which was often
  • + 4
 id be more excited if it was a real zocchi, made in italy like they once were, not a rebranded fox damper.
  • + 4
 Am I the only person who uses electrical tape to tape spare tube to my bike. Cheap and cheerful, never comes loose until you want it to!
  • + 1
 thats what I do. cheap, totally reliable and easy to rip off when you actually need the tube.
  • + 1
 Same here but I use Gorilla tape as it sticks much better. I also do a few extra wraps so that I have some tape to use for emergencies, repairs, etc.
  • + 2
 Mike

"I use the 50-tooth cog all the time, and for anyone that says it's unnecessary, I have a few rides in my neck of the woods for you to try. "

Well, with a 34 up front, i'm sure you wouldn't have it any other way! You must have tree trunks for legs...
I run a 30x42 and wish I had a 50 some times...
  • + 16
 That's my summer chainring... I usually run a 32 in the winter time.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: Ok. Not hating, or judging or anything like that. Truly curious.

I live in Montana, and I have to earn a good deal of my descents. We have some quite steep and technical climbing around me, and some that isn't so steep but is veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry long. I have been running a single ring setup for years, first with 9 speed, then 10, and finally 11 (no eagle for me). I have always found that my low gearing stays about the same. I ran a 32 with the 9 speed, a 34 with the 10, and now run a 36 with 11. I tried running a 32 with the 11 and either couldn't keep from spinning out on the technical steep stuff or was moving at a glacial pace on the long climbs. With the slightly taller gearing I can do just fine, so I don't think it's down to tire/suspension set up.

Is that just down to a difference in technique (I also used to ride a single speed mtb) or is your terrain THAT much different and harder that the low gears are warranted?
  • + 8
 @MortifiedPenguin, I used to ride a singlespeed a bunch when I lived in Colorado (and when they were a thing), but where I live now there are a lot of really steep logging roads, steeper than almost anything I encountered in Colorado.
  • + 2
 @MortifiedPenguin: Sweet Splinter Cell reference
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer: I encounter a lot of steep fire road climbs myself. I have quite long legs, so leverage is on my side but I just never saw the need for such low gearing. Whenever I ride with friends I find I am constantly waiting up, because of gearing not necessarily ability or strength. I guess I just got used to going a little faster to compensate for the higher gearing.
  • + 4
 @MortifiedPenguin: what size wheels? I could get a 32x32 up just about everything when I was on 26"...
  • + 1
 @JaredHarzan: 26 for the 1x9/10 and now 29.
  • + 5
 @MortifiedPenguin: I ride near Seattle and BC and put in long days in the mountains and live for the tech climb, and recently gave in to running an Eagle setup from being a die hard 2* (frame mfg aren't leaving me much choice). On a 29'er I am running a 26t up front ! Before that it was a 22/42 setup. Same gear inches. It is used for very very steep slopes with tech, recovering on steep slopes between super tech aerobic redline punch sections, and for very steeps after 3+ hours of riding. People scoff sometimes and then they go riding with me and they end up walking so I guess it just depends.
  • - 2
 @mikekazimer - can’t wait. DH tyres, 650B 160of travel, 15kg bike, 34t-40t. But these have to be climbs where cycling is actually faster than walking. I don’t play in I climb because I’m too proud to push, even if geriatric hikers pass me on the way up. I rode with such people on such trails. No thank you.
  • + 10
 @WAKIdesigns: pushing up climbs is not hiking or losing, its freeriding... at least that’s what I tell myself every time I push up a steep firetrail
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: probably logging road I squamish? I'm going this summer hope I'll be OK with my 32f 40r or should I bring a 30? cumberland is my home trails
  • + 4
 @BrianRichards:
I hate walking because it is harder than pedaling! Not only are you walking up some steep pitch, but you are dragging your bike along too. Barf. I'd rather catch my breath and then start again. I don't always get to do that, but its less miserable!
  • + 6
 Some people forget or don't realize that there are two different kinds of pedalers. There are high cadence (majority) and also low cadence riders. The low cadence riders will be able to run a a higher gear with a bigger chainring. I'm a low cadence rider and always have ran a bigger chainring and a higher gear. It's not really anything to talk about, everyone is different.
  • + 1
 @ybsurf: I'd say the steepness is comparable to Cumby (anecdotally the routes I ride in Cumby feature steeper roads than the ones I ride in Squam)
  • + 2
 @MortifiedPenguin: Yup, welcome to BC. I rode in Colorado too, and it is nothing like some of the areas of this province. I use a 28t with a 42 on the rear of my 29er. We regularly fracture the bearings on hope xd drivers and crack ratchet rings in dt swiss hubs with the heavy loading from the extended, steep climbs.
  • + 3
 @dualsuspensiondave: Diesel or Petrol - pick one and be a dick about it????. I'm def a diesel and grunt out a 32/36 on 29. I also use a 42 but its generally a bailout when I want to ride at a slower pace.

I'm with @waki I would push if it's quicker.
  • + 2
 @dualsuspensiondave: Stop being rational, Dave. The web runs on subjective opinions alone.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: Hills get steeper in the winter time? Wink
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer

Yeah, but how does it ride, Mike? I'd also like to see a carbonium version come out.

Does this fit into the "mobster" 29er category like the 160mil bikes or is it as versatile as the HTLT, Genius, Ripmo, 5.5 crowd?

Mobsters only on a good all rounder with the right build?
  • + 3
 It's on the monster truck side of the spectrum - it's a trail smashing machine. At higher speeds and on steeper terrain are where it excels; this wouldn't be my pick for mellower XC laps. The HTLT, Genius, etc... fit better into the all-rounder category.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer:

Got it, thanks!

Hey are you digging the slightly longer chainstay than norm? I imagine this fits better with the intention/personality of the bike.
  • + 3
 @WasatchEnduro, yep, it makes sense for the terrain I typically ride on this thing. Long chainstays aren't automatically the answer, just like short chainstays aren't, but they work well on this bike. It might not be the easiest to manual, but for speeding downhill it's a wicked fun ride.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: I must say that your review of the Mega ( www.pinkbike.com/news/nukeproof-mega-290-review-2016.html) totally undersold how much you liked this bike. In fact, I was about to get the pro version and didn't because you really made it seeem like it was a one trick pony, and I already have a monster truck that that can technically be pedalled up.
  • + 2
 @Rubberelli, well, like I said, it was the changes that were made for 2018 that swayed me - that review was from two seasons ago.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: so, now that I'm considering the 290 again, do you prefer the reduced offset fork? I see that Nukeproof especially recommends a regular offset for this bike.
  • + 1
 Quote but at least with the alloy frame, I don't need to worry about much if my bike takes a tumble through the woods without me. Thank you for your this statement. No need of any further discussion about alloy vs carbon for me...
  • + 1
 That is a sick looking rig, I think I actually like it better knowing it is freaking out all the OCD dentists who say it doesn't match, isn't functional,l etc. I also think the relocation of the water bottle is ideal, nice work... happy shredding!
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer

Dig the bike and h2o solution.

Have you spent any time on a Transition Sentinel? I'm curious how the Mega 290 compares.

Right now I have '18 Enduro 29 pro, alloy Transition Sentinel and last years SB5.5. The Enduro has felt great sometimes but I've had an issue with front wheel traction or lack thereof. Going to try a 44mm offset on the Fox 36 I have on there and increase stem length from 35mm to 45 and hoping that helps. Picked up the Sentinel as I was very curious and it was a good used deal. So far it's been a riot of a bike and is surprisingly playful. I take it dirt jumping all the time.

Mega 290 is one of the other bikes I've been pretty curious about. My main intention for whatever bike I end up keeping is enduro race bike for BME series and whatever else and then general trail bike priorities after that.
  • + 3
 Nice! I also love my Mega 290, but i'm happy to run the water bottle under the frame. I use the Camelback Podium bottles, if you squeeze them to squirt, no dirt.
  • + 2
 I got mud inside the nozzle of my Podium bottle yesterday, and even wasting water on a pre-squirt didn't get it all out. And that's with my bottle inside the front triangle!
  • + 1
 Can Not Wait for the review on that electronic shifting!
The biggest reason is. I cannot and have never had good shifter ergonomics. (especially meshing with good brake lever positions) I must have odd hands or stubby thumbs or something but, I allways find myself having to pull my thumb way back an out, almost hook around to reach the down shift lever. Loosening grip on the bars when I'm down shifting going into a tech section is far from ideal or comfortable.
I'm dreaming of a system where both up & down shifts are directly, effortlessly under my thumb ????
  • + 1
 Tried taking the indicator off the shifter to get it closer to the brake lever in terms of angle on the bar?
  • + 3
 Did you notice any difference with the 44 offset fork? Good or bad
@mikekazimer
  • + 1
 This is a cool bike. The Archer shifter is an interesting idea, which I really wanted to exist 7 years ago when I had bikes with exposed cables and was always messing around with Sram flak jackets.
  • + 1
 How does the Koda compare with the Devo? My girlfriend and I run Devos on all of our bikes, and now scour eBay for a fresh one when we need it (Deva is too squishy).

Is this a legit replacement?
  • + 1
 It's been working well for me - you can read a little more about it here: www.pinkbike.com/news/wtb-koda-saddle-review.html. I'd say it's a little shorter than the Devo, and offers a little more padding, but it's not overly squishy.
  • + 2
 Noticed you said you opted for shorter offset on the fork, does that mean the z1 will have offset options? doesnt say so in the release post.
  • + 2
 I don’t care if it’s wireless SRAM, that ugly is not mounting on my bike! Di2 still wins!
  • + 2
 The price is amazing obviously, it's an incredible product, allows you to use a mechanical derailleur! Di2 or E tap is a rip off now haha
  • + 3
 i see the tube - air is in your pack?
  • + 4
 Yep, I usually carry a hip pack of some sort, like this: www.pinkbike.com/news/bontrager-rapid-pack-review.html.
  • + 3
 Nice bike. Ya really wanted that water bottle in there eh Mike?
  • + 2
 Needs volume spacers in an air shock, but want to try a coil... I guess you'll have fun bottoming it out at Whistler.
  • + 1
 Well, it could be harsh as all hell. That's the downfall of the push system...springs rate is most likely a sacrifice.
  • + 3
 Like it, love it. Nice work Kazimer!
  • + 1
 I dig this so hard. I love Mike Kazimer reviews of things. The language is so no-nonsense and the dude rips. So rad to see a personal setup.
  • + 1
 That's just the bottle mounts I've been looking for. Love my Pivot but the lack of bottle cage is annoying. I just placed my order for an SKS today!
  • + 3
 Look. . . Where you put. . . Your water bottle cage. . . Jk
  • + 3
 I can’t fit a bottle cage on my bike!?! Hold my beer!
  • + 2
 That weld on the bottom of the seat tube though... Ugh :'(
  • + 1
 That is eeeexactly the bike I am planning to have minus the fork. Nice review, Mike !
  • + 2
 My question is, how do you get that water bottle out while riding?
  • + 3
 Left handed cage. Guessing you just reach down and grab it. Guessing people that winch and plummet don't need to drink on the go, just take a swig when you get to the top.
  • - 1
 it is not a left handed cage and the mounting system ( i have it) it is not very stable either.
  • + 4
 @RedRedRe, umm, it most certainly is a left side loading cage - it's a Specialized Zee cage.
  • + 0
 What’s the point of having a water bottle if it is not easy to pull in and out?
Placed up there may also affect weight balance.
Dig the bike otherwise.
  • + 2
 Nice recap bike "first look'' of the week
  • + 1
 had a bomber mz comp 02, monster t 01, junior t 03.... monster was the best, weight be damned
  • + 2
 its like its from outer space
  • + 1
 MY GOD you just solved the Mega 290's one and most significant problem for me: the water bottle. Thank you. Next bike.
  • + 1
 Well.. This is my dream job!
  • + 1
 What a monster truck. I like it tup
  • + 1
 170mm/150mm and 29'r?? Does it even feel like a bike anymore?
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer any plans to try it with a coilover ??
  • + 1
 That bottle cage adapter is sexy AF!
  • + 1
 How tal are you and what size frame is that?
  • + 1
 5'11", size large frame.
  • + 1
 No water bottle mount-make one.
  • + 1
 #MakeBottleMountsGreatAgain
  • + 1
 next up, wireless breaking Smile )))))
  • + 1
 Cool read, more of this type of stuff would be good.
  • + 2
 perfect
  • + 0
 And the water bottle’s tip in the fanny pack never gets dirty I’m guessing....
  • + 1
 Pretty wonky water bottle mount? Is that side-access?
  • + 1
 155mm rear travel, 5mm makes all the difference
  • + 1
 How tall are you @mikekazimer?
  • + 2
 5'11" with a 33" inseam.
  • + 1
 @mikekazimer: I bet you have a helluva time shopping at Kohls.
  • + 1
 Well...umm...a... the pedals are cool.
  • - 1
 @mikekazimer: Buy direct from Chain Reaction? Times getting tough in the bike industry.
  • + 1
 I like this bike Smile
  • + 1
 neat
  • + 1
 MEGA
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