Review: 2020 Nukeproof Reactor 290c RS

Nov 3, 2019 at 16:44
by Mike Kazimer  



Nukeproof dug into the archives when it came time to name their latest aggressive trail bike. The Reactor used to be an aluminum, linkage-fork-equipped hardtail back in 1996, but the new version bears little in common with that piece of mountain bike history.

The 2020 Reactor is available with either 29” or 27.5” wheels, with 130 or 140 mm of rear travel respectively. There are carbon and aluminum frame options, and there's an RS version for each wheel size, which Nukeproof says is the “hooligan spec option in the range, with a host of upgrades to make it burlier than the rest.”
Reactor 290c RS Details

• Wheel size: 29" (27.5" options available)
• Travel: 130mm rear / 150mm front
• 65- or 65.5 degree head angle
• 440mm chainstays
• 12 x 148mm rear axle spacing
• Price as shown: $5,399 USD
• Weight: 31.1 lb (size large, as shown)
www.nukeproof.com

Highlights of the 290c RS reviewed here include a 150mm RockShox Lyrik Ultimate RCT3 fork, a Super Deluxe Ultimate RCT shock, SRAM X01 12-speed drivetrain, Code brakes, and Mavic Deemax DH wheels with Maxxis Assegai and DHR II EXO+ tires. Yes, the test bike pictured has different wheels and tires – that topic's covered in the Setup section.


bigquotesIt's a highly engaging bike, with enough travel to round off a trail's sharp edges, but not so much that it makes boulder fields feel like sanitized flow trails. Mike Kazimer




2020 Nukeproof Reactor review

Construction and Features

This is Nukeproof's first full carbon frame – previous models used an alloy swingarm – but I'd say that they did a good job giving it a clean, modern look, with tube shapes that help it stand out from other bikes that use a similar design. The top tube is wide but relatively flat, with a ridge on each side that leads the viewer's eyes toward the swingarm.

Most of the little details are in order – there's room for a water bottle inside the front triangle, a threaded bottom bracket, chainslap and downtube protection, and ISCG 05 tabs for riders that want to run a chainguide or bashguard. The Reactor will fit up to a 2.6” rear tire, or you can run something smaller and benefit from even more mud clearance.

There's internal routing through the downtube, but the derailleur and brake line emerge and are then routed underneath the bottom bracket shell, which can be a polarizing design choice. It's quite rare, but that positioning does allow for the possibility of pinching the housing against a rock or root.


2020 Nukeproof Reactor review
The flip chip on the seatstays is used to switch between 'Rail' and 'Trail' mode.
2020 Nukeproof Reactor review
Ridges on each side of the top tube give the Reactor's carbon frame a distinctive shape.



2020 Nukeproof Reactor review

Geometry & Sizing

The RS model of the Reactor gets a 150mm fork, which changes the geometry slightly compared to the non-RS version and its 140mm fork. The headtube angle sits at either 65.5 or 65-degrees, and the seat angle is either 75.1 or 74.6-degrees depending on the position of the seatstay flip chip. 'Rail' is the slacker setting, and 'Trail' is the steeper option.

Reach numbers range from 446mm to 509mm for the 29” model, which is available in only three sizes – M, L, XL, but there is a size small version available in the 27.5” version.



2020 Nukeproof Reactor review

Suspension Design

The Reactor's Horst Link suspension layout is similar to what's found on the Nukeproof Mega, but the kinematics have been altered to suit the Reactor's slightly more pedaling-oriented focus. Anti-squat sits at 92% in the 32/50 gear ratio, but it falls off fairly quickly as the bike goes through its travel in order to allow the suspension to work unimpeded in rougher terrain.

The Reactor has 89% anti-rise at sag, which drops to 32% at full bottom-out. According to Nukeproof, the goal was to allow for some squat while braking hard into a corner, while still offering pressure through the tire to maintain traction.

The Reactor has a 21% leverage ratio change, which is also a bit higher than the Mega. That was done in order to increase the amount of mid-stroke support and end-stroke ramp up – Nukeproof expect this bike to be ridden hard, and wanted to ensure it didn't blow through the moderate amount of travel too quickly.

Specifications
Price $5399
Travel 130mm
Rear Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate RCT, 210 x 50mm
Fork RockShox Lyrik Ultimate Charger 2 RCT3 150mm / 51mm offset
Headset Nukeproof, 44-56 IITS
Cassette SRAM XO1 Eagle 12-Speed
Crankarms SRAM X1 Carbon Eagle 12-Speed, 170mm, 30t
Rear Derailleur SRAM XO1 Eagle 12-Speed
Shifter Pods SRAM XO1 Eagle 12-Speed
Handlebar Nukeproof Horizon Carbon 25mm Rise, 31.8mm diameter
Stem Nukeproof Horizon, 50mm, Black
Grips Nukeproof Sam Hill Signature
Brakes SRAM Code RSC
Wheelset Mavic Deemax DH, 29"
Tires Maxxis Assegai 29”x2.5 WT 3C MaxxTerra/EXO+ / Rear: Maxxis Minion DHR II 29 x 2.4" MaxxTerraEXO+
Seat Nukeproof Horizon SL
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth with 1x Remote, 31.6mm




2020 Nukeproof Reactor review







Test Bike Setup

Like I mentioned earlier, my test bike showed up with a different wheelset and tires than what's listed on the spec sheet due to a lacing issue with an early batch of the Mavic Deemax wheels the bike is supposed to come with. I've spend a fair bit of time on the Michelin Wild Enduro tires, but for most of the test period I ran a 2.5” EXO+ Maxxis Assegai up front and a 2.4” EXO+ DHR II in the rear, which is the stock spec. The DT Swiss wheelset is a little lighter than the Mavic one, but not enough to have enough of an impact to alter my ride impressions.

I ran 82 psi in the 150mm Lyrik, with two tokens installed. The SuperDeluxe shock was set up with 30% sag, one volume spacer, and the low speed compression all the way open.

Testing took place around Bellingham, Washington, on a wide range of terrain, including slower speed, root-filled technical puzzles, smoother, jump and berm filled trails, along with steeper and rockier options that are a good place to find the limits of a bike like the Reactor.



Me.
Mike Kazimer
Location: Bellingham, WA, USA
Age: 37
Height: 5'11" / 180cm
Inseam: 33" / 84cm
Weight: 160 lbs / 72.6 kg
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @mikekazimer

2020 Nukeproof Reactor review


Climbing


The Reactor gets docked a couple of points for not having a steep enough seat angle, a fact that's exacerbated slightly by the 150mm fork on the RS version. 74.6-degrees used to be fairly typical, but it's almost 2020, and we're seeing more and more bikes released with seat tube angles in the 77-degree range. I know it doesn't seem like much, but 2.4-degrees does make a significant difference in how stretched out a bike's seated pedaling position will feel due to the change in the top tube length. For comparison, the Yeti SB130's top tube length is 16mm shorter than the Reactor, even with a 480mm reach vs. the Reactor's 475.

What do all those numbers mean out on the trail? Well, in this case it meant that I ended up slamming the Reactor's seat all the way forward and switching to a 40mm stem in order to get the bike to feel the way I wanted. That's not the end of the world, but it's something to keep in mind, especially for riders who may be between sizes.

Fit-related details aside, the Reactor is what I'd call a 'reliable' climber. It's not a ultralight sprinter, and it's handling is more relaxed than rabid, but it's not easily stymied, no matter what I put in its way. There's minimal unwanted suspension movement during seated climbing, and even when standing I never felt like I needed to reach for that lockout lever. It's there if you need it, but I was perfectly comfortable leaving it alone at all times.

One of my favorite local loops includes a neglected stretch of singletrack that's chock full of technical climbs, many of them featuring off-camber roots, with a decent amount of exposure that makes tipping over something to avoid at any cost. The Reactor ate it all up, and despite the fact that it was dark, gloomy, and pissing rain, I found myself laughing out loud after making it though a few extra-challenging sections without dabbing. The bike possesses a good mix of support and geometry that makes it easy to keep trucking right along even when the chances of cleaning a section seem slim.



2020 Nukeproof Reactor review


Descending

The Reactor doesn't easily fit into one particular category. It's a little beefier than what I'd consider to be a trail bike, and it's not quite an enduro bike, although there's no reason it couldn't be used for the occasional race or two. Aggressive trail? Enduro-lite? All-mountain? Call it what you will, but in any case, it turned out to be very well suited to the terrain around my home in the Pacific Northwest.

It's a highly engaging bike, with enough travel to round off a trail's sharp edges, but not so much that it makes boulder fields feel like sanitized flow trails. There's something to be said about being able to feel a little more of the trail underneath your wheels; as much fun as big squishy bikes are, it's extra satisfying getting down a tricky section of trail with a little less travel.

The Reactor's 130mm of rear travel is very well managed, and there weren't any harsh bottom outs, even on larger drops to relatively flat landings. It doesn't quite have the fluttery suppleness that's present on a bike like the new Trek Fuel EX, but it has a nicely damped feel, similar to what it feels like when switching from lighter casing tires to some thicker, stickier DH rubber. There's plenty of mid-stroke support to push into when pumping through a rolling section of trail or popping off the lip of a jump, although there is a calmness to the Reactor's handling that's more commonly associated with longer travel bikes. It's a little more subdued than the new Kona Process 134 when it comes to snapping through tight turns or hopping over obstacles, likely due to the longer chainstays and slacker head angle, but at higher speeds and in steeper terrain that sense of calm is a welcome trait.

I never felt any reason to switch from the Rail geometry setting to the steeper 'Trail' position, and realistically I think Nukeproof could have gone even slacker. I mean, the new Santa Cruz Tallboy has a 65.5-degree head angle, and that's with 120mm of rear travel and a 130mm fork. It's not that the head angle ever felt too steep – it didn't – it's just that if there's going to be adjustable geometry, I'd rather have the option of making a bike feel too slack rather than too steep.



2020 Nukeproof Reactor review
Nukeproof Reactor // Photo: Nukeproof

2020 Nukeproof Reactor review
Kona Process 134 // Photo: Caleb Smith

How does it compare?

Kona's new Process 134 is another recently released contender in the aggressive trail category. The Reactor and the Process both have a reach of 475mm, but the Process wins the “Who has a steeper seat tube angle contest?” which gives it a shorter effective top tube and a more upright position while climbing. I'd call the uphill suspension performance a draw - both bikes remain calm during seated climbing, with a little bit of suspension movement during out of the saddle efforts.

The Process is spec'd with a 140mm RockShox Pike vs. the Reactor RS's RockShox 150mm Lyrik, and its head angle is a degree steeper. That steeper head angle, combined with those short, 427mm chainstays give it a shot of liveliness, closer to the handling that's typically associated with a trail bike. The Reactor has a burlier trail presence, and for my height the longer chainstays felt more balanced.

Nukeproof wins handily when it comes to price – the Reactor's frame is $2,499, vs. $3,299 for the Kona.



2020 Nukeproof Reactor review
The 50mm stem isn't too out of place, but 40mm would have been better.
2020 Nukeproof Reactor review
RockShox's Lyrik Ultimate RCT3 is spec'd, rather than the more adjustable RC2 version.

Technical Report


RockShox Lrik RCT3: Look closely at the spec sheet and you'll see that the Lyrik on the Reactor has 51mm of offset, which is contrary to the shorter offset trend that's spread like wildfire over the last couple of seasons. I'm of the opinion that on bikes with slacker head angles a 7 millimeter difference in offset doesn't dramatically alter the handling, and that was confirmed when I switched to a fork with 44mm of offset for part of the test period. However, I would still have liked to see a fork with 44mm of offset on the Reactor, if only to improve the potential resale value.

Along those same lines, the RC2 damper rather than the RCT3 would have been a better spec choice. The former has adjustable high- and low-speed compression, while the latter has adjustable LSC with a three position lever (that I never used) that can be set at open, pedal, and firm.

Nukeproof stem: As bikes get longer, stems are getting shorter, and while the Nukeproof stem does have a very nice shape to it I can foresee many riders opting for 40mm or 35mm stems - I would have preferred to see an even shorter stem as the stock configuration.

Maxxis Assegai / DHR II tire combo: As I mentioned, I eventually swapped out the Michelin tires for the Assegai / DHR II combination. That's become one of my favorites in recent months, with the slightly more aggressive Assegai edging out the time-tested DHF as my pick for a front tire that can handle just about every condition short of super deep mud.

Cable routing: Rubber cable guides are located on each side of the headtube, but there isn't anything keeping the housing from rattling around in the front triangle. I didn't have any unwanted noise as long as the housing was kept taut, but it'd be nice if there was a way to secure it to the downtube to make sure things stayed quiet.


2020 Nukeproof Reactor review

Pros

+ Solid, ready for anything feel
+ Well equipped for the price and its intentions
+ Doesn't feel much different than an enduro bike

Cons

- Seat tube angle could be steeper
- Cable routing isn't fully refined
- Doesn't feel much different than an enduro bike




Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesSome bikes seem to dictate the type of rides you'll be going on – a lightweight cross-country whip isn't likely to lead you into the bike park, just like you probably won't find yourself at the start of a hill climb competition aboard a DH bike. It's a different story with the Reactor. On multiple occasions I headed out with no clear plan in mind, only to find myself dropping into the most technical trails around. This isn't a bike where you'll be able to use the moderate amount of travel as an excuse for going around a scary move; more than likely, you'll be the one goading your riding buddies to follow by saying, “See, I did it on a trail bike – you'll be fine.”  Mike Kazimer








177 Comments

  • 138 18
 Spoiler alert:
This bike is NOT nukeproof and will NOT survive a nuclear weapon attack. How can they get away with such a lie?
  • 12 2
 Downvoted to below threshold! Not to worry, man. Some people have no sense of humor.
  • 4 0
 @service01: But how do you know for sure?!
  • 3 0
 @hirvi: Let's try it! Got one handy?
  • 3 2
 @bbeak: We could probably send it to North Korea for testning. Twitter Trump and ask if he can drop one of the next time they meet!
  • 5 0
 They sell some Giant bikes in a size small, what's that about?
  • 2 0
 Backcountry.com will probably sue
  • 34 1
 The Assegai is a great tire most grip i've ever had in a tire BUT, I went back to the DHF cuz the Assegai is like dragging an anchor! For the steep loose its great but when it comes to a bike park jumplines its super slow and tiring. So the DHF still stands for me as the best "DO IT ALL" tire. There is a reason its been the #1 selling tire for the last 18 years! Good job Colin Bailey!
  • 5 3
 IMO I found it slow aswel, but the cornering felt better with the DHF interms of predictivility, de assegai had an impressive grip until A point, then it starts dragging very fast.
  • 14 0
 @rockchomper, I’d agree that for bike park usage it’s a bit much, especially if you’re running it front and rear. But it’s a great option up front when the maximum amount of grip is desired, especially when paired with a DHR II. The new Dissector works well as a rear tire if you’re looking for something faster rolling.
  • 5 0
 @mikekazimer: Greetings! Can you give some comparison between Assegai and Wild Enduro Front and between DHR ll and Wild Enduro Rear?
  • 13 0
 @mikekazimer: I think it's a shame that the dissector, advertised as a rear specific tire, isn't available in a hard compound with at least a double down casing
  • 2 0
 @Nikola777: The wild Enduro front has alot of grip almost feels like an Assegai but rolls better. The rear enduro rolls very well and has a decent amount of grip But both wear very fast (ripping knobs). The DHR II rolls very well and has a LOT of grip it doesn't wear out as fast, it actually lasts quite a while! the Assegai has a MASSIVE amount of grip BUT its really slow rolling I would be pedaling in section where my friends were coasting and they were still faster as swapped tires and then I was coasting in those spots too. I like Maxxis over Michelin because of all the different sidewall and compound options Maxxis gives! I started my bike park season on the Michelins front and rear and ended my season on the Assegai front and DHR2 rear rode all these tires @ (snow summit) and found my Favorite combo is still the DHF / DHR 2.
  • 2 0
 I just put a HR2 DD on my rear.... great rear tire as well. It's the only tire I can find in the MaxTerra compound. I find the MaxxGrip wears out too quick and I don't notice any difference in traction. I wish more tires had MT in the DD and DH casing.
  • 2 0
 @jaydawg69: I like maxxgrip up front and maxxterra rear, both DD Casing, I have found that running maxxgrip front and maxxterra rear the tires will wear out at the same rate. Plus Maxxgrip up front is essential!
  • 2 0
 @rockchomper: agreed but I could only get the HR2 in the MaxTerra compound. It would be nice if the Assguy, DHR2 and DHF had MT compound in the DD and DH casing.
  • 2 1
 @jaydawg69: ya I agree, that said how do you run a HR2 up front? that tire put my face in the dirt so many times! it may be bad riding on my part or it just may not work with the Southern California loose over hard, but I had a horrible time with that tire.
  • 2 0
 @rockchomper: I have an Assguy DD up front with MaxxGrip. So slow rolling. I did really like the DHR2 up front. Might go to EXO plus DHR2 MG up front next.
  • 11 1
 The assegai is a complete pig of a tire but I'll be damned if I'll ever run anything else on the enduro bike. I'll happily drag those things up any mountain in return for the dh grip. It's basically cheating for the small trade of burning a few extra watts on the ascents.
  • 2 2
 @jaydawg69: HR2 dd wt mt f+r is the best allround tire for me except the shoulder knobs on the rear tire tear off after 3-5 days of use...
  • 1 0
 @Bobo-the-Clown: I've found it acutally can be very draggy on the descents too if its not steep or loose. On jumpline descents I struggle too keep speed and only with the assegai.
  • 4 0
 @rockchomper: I should have specified, I'm mostly riding steep, loose, chunk. I rarely get to the bike park.
  • 5 4
 I don't get the hype around the Assegai. I swapped between it and my Vigilante 2.5, the Vigilante does much better in soft dirt, loose, or wet conditions, along with being higher volume and an actual 2.5. The Assegai EXO+/3C I ran was a mediocre performer at best and there were a few times I had some scary close calls on the front washing out in comparison to the Vigilante.

The only time the Assegai seemed to do better for me was at bike parks, riding hardpacked trails where the square knobs of the Vigilante didn't stand up as well.
  • 10 1
 @mikekazimer: Came for the bike review.. Stayed for the Maxxis Tire Debate in the comments!! haha Love Me some Maxxis!
  • 3 1
 @shinook: I do wish Maxxis would make they're tires with a true 2.5 width.
  • 3 0
 @rockchomper: they have 2.6 and 2.8 widths.... I find the 2.4 and 2.5 width very nice.
  • 1 0
 @jaydawg69: ya I run the 2.5WT cuz they dont have the 2.6 in DD i really like the size of a true 2.5
  • 1 1
 @mikekazimer: Even better idea... run the Assegai up front and a DHF out back. You can rely much more on braking up front with the Asg so you can use the faster rolling DHF out back (instead of the slightly slower rolling DHR). I dig the slightly bigger 2.5 casing of the DHF vs the 2.4 on the DHR also.
  • 3 0
 @jaydawg69: I just switched to the Dissector rear and the DHR2 WT for the front on my trail bike. Couldn't be happier. I usually just run an Aggressor and DHF on all my bikes but my new combo feels faster, it's not necessarily grippier but feels more controlled.
  • 4 1
 Downhill tires are great and all, but I think something has to be said for the manner in which they've trickled down to be specced on anything bigger than an XC bike.

Trail bikes are supposed to retain a lot of the efficiency of XC bikes whilst being much more capable all-rounders. The fact that so many "trail bikes" are now coming with DHF/DHR combos is over the top. At least some brands are going with something lighter on the rear like an Aggressor or similar.

It does strike me that there doesn't seem to be much in Maxxis' front tyre line up between XC and DHF though. I think the Schwalbe HD2 is an awesome trail tyre that can handle some aggressive TRAIL riding whilst still retaining a lot of efficiency, without having to go all out on a Magic Mary.

Trail bikes are great. Everything need not be "enduro".
  • 2 1
 @Ktron: Michelin Wild AM/Force AM is a great "trail bike" combo.
  • 2 0
 @MikerJ: im only running the assegai up front and even then its still super draggy and very noticeable.
  • 1 0
 @MikerJ: a chipped (transfer knobs away) Assegai maxx terra DD up front and DHF 2.5 or 2.6 DD in the back just beats anything I had ever tried, except for the Shorty / DHF combo. Next time, will go for Shorty maxx grip 2.5 up front and Assegai in the rear, to deal with beloved slippery and slushy autumn/winter conditions.
  • 1 0
 DHR2 front and rear, then shorty front in the winter. The only tyres you'll ever need
  • 1 0
 @Ktron: I got hans dampf for my son's 24". they seem to do alright.
  • 27 10
 Is it just me, or do "trail" bikes really need a 76+ degree seat tube angle?

To me, steeper ST angles make more sense on my enduro bike that is meant to spend more time descending or with the dropper slammed before climbing back up.

I want my trail bike to be fast and fun all day, and on rolling terrain that requires more pedaling with the post in the up position.

74.5 - 75.5 seems perfect for trail riding, as opposed to my 76.8 degree enduro bike.
  • 24 11
 Probably just you. As a tall guy constantly doing wheelies pedaling up big hills, I long for longer RC and steeper STA.
  • 9 0
 As a tall guy I'd agree that not every bike needs a super steep STA. Horses for courses. If your climbs are mostly very steep then the steep STA is great. If you ride more mixed terrain or terrain that is not often super steep then the steep STA can be uncomfortable. It's nice that not every bike is exactly like the other so we have options.
  • 7 2
 I will add this in my personal experience. I am 5'9" and ride a Medium bike. I knew I would get the XL crowd chiming in even though XL bikes are a small minority of sales compared to Med, and Large sizes combined.
  • 5 2
 @westeast: I'm curious, what benefit do you find for a slacker STA?
  • 7 5
 @sheldonuvic: this comment is hilarious , you say "just you" and follow it up with an anecdote about tall guys (a fraction of all riders)
  • 3 1
 @sheldonuvic: When the saddle is low, I prefer to have the saddle a bit more rearward. I feel this is a better position to control it with my legs. My current frame has a slightly steeper seat tube angle than what I had before and I slid the saddle all the way to the back in a seatpost with about an inch setback to get it where I want it. Now my frame still has the seat tube going straight towards the bb but I can imagine on these modern big wheeled bikes that have a bent/kinked seattube and/or offset in front of the bb, this can be even more of an issue.
  • 3 0
 @sheldonuvic: It's not necessarily slacker, it's just a range of saddle setback that allows me to feel comfortable pedaling. Too slack or too steep and the seat feels to far forward or back in relationship to the bb for comfortable and efficient pedaling. I felt really comfortable on the XL nomad 3 with a stock fork. I think that put the STA around 74.2 plus whatever my saddle height and sag added to equation. I could climb some very steep pitches (yes I had to scoot forward some) and I still felt comfortable pedaling flat to moderate sections of trail. My current XL hightower with a 160 fork leaves the STA feeling a little too slack. Multiple factors at play (geometry/rider/terrain/suspension) so basically I disagree with any commenter making a blanket statement about what STA is best.
  • 5 0
 @sheldonuvic: While "hovering" over the saddle or sitting and pedaling or rolling through short technical up and down sections with with the post up makes my 77 degree ST cause the nose of the saddle hit and poke at my thighs vs XC bike geo. The saddle feels too far forward like it is in the way. There is a reason XC bikes are not 77 degress, right?. I like my "trail bike" to feel like a cross between my enduro bike and my XC bike basically. Hence my personal preference of 74.5 - 75.5 ish range for a trail bike.

Like I said I am fine with my 77 ST on my enduro bike, as I am not usually riding XC or trail riding on that bike.
  • 3 0
 Also tall guy here. Steeper seat tuned are great for us lanky dudes...sorta. My totally uneducated opinion is that for every degree of steepness on the seat tube, the reach and top tube have to lengthen by 20-30mm. Otherwise when seated pedaling the cockpit feels super cramped and smaller than bikes from 5+ years ago even though they're way longer in comparison.
  • 5 1
 @gbeaks33: So the question now becomes, when will bike manufacturers design bikes with seat tube angles dependent on frame size instead of leave it fixed throughout all sizes? I'm afraid we won't see it before the 2022 line up but if you tall riders remain vocal, you may finally get it after that model year.
  • 7 0
 @vinay: I'm going to guess 2019. The new Norco Sight has an effective seat tube angle that is a degree steeper in XL than S with the other sizes stepped between that.
  • 6 0
 Radness begins at no less than 90 degrees.
  • 4 0
 @MarcusBrody: Norco is typically ahead of the others. They also size the chainstay along with the frame size whereas other manufacturers ignore this. Norco hails from the future so ehrm, they're still late.
  • 3 1
 @OzarkBike: Interesting. I'm not sure why with a modern dropper you wouldn't just lower the seat out of the way? (unless you are and I am reading that wrong?)

@vinay: What size is your dropper? I would imagine that slamming your seat down with a long travel dropper would negate this?

That is the biggest thing that I have noticed in the current crop of steep STA 130-150mm bikes I have been demoing. If they are spec'd with a 150mm dropper, the seat does get in the way more than my current bike, but when I have demo'd bikes with 200mm+ drop, I have found this isn't an issue in the slightest.

I think ultimately, the industry probably needs to move away from the one size fits all approach. (Though I do think we are starting to see more of that now)
  • 1 0
 @DGWW: I guess its a good thing I clarified my comment with the preceding "probably"?
  • 5 0
 @sheldonuvic: In much of the U.S. the trails are not specific gravity trails. A lot of the local trails I ride have lots of pedaling. Many of the sections I approach are multiple pedaling rock garden or heavy roots that are only 5ft to 30ft sections that you just hit at speed. By the time you lower and raise the post you are already through the section and back on the pedals. IE rolling fast singletrack basically.
  • 1 0
 @sheldonuvic: I agree 100%. It took only a few times out with my Ripley 4 to realise you need to use your dropper way more often. Now I couldn't imagine not having a steep SA on my short or long travel bike.

I'm only 5'11" and I had my LBS switch to Bike Yoke 185 dropper right away as well.
  • 2 0
 The 75 degree seat angle (actual or effective? effective at what saddle height?) isn't the perfect part, it's the effective top tube (or more precisely the saddle to bar distance) is what is perfect for you.
  • 2 0
 @westeast: A steep actual seat angle can still be useful for tall riders because it keeps the effective seat angle at those taller seat heights in a more useful range. Some of the bent seat tube designs that claim 75 degree effective (at some unknown seat height) have actual angles closer to 65, so when taller rider (or just someone at the top of a size's height range) sets the seat up very high, the effective seat tube angle gets very slack. This might work for you on rolling terrain, but not for someone shorter who likes steeps, even though it's the same bike...
  • 3 0
 @gbeaks33: seat angle has little to do with reach. Reach is BB to headset (or BB to bars once you add in stem, spacers, and bar sweep), and relates to standing up on the pedals. The seat angle can change all over the place, shortening and lengthening the effective top tube and not effecting reach at all. The only way seat tube angle would effect reach is if you stipulated that effective tube tube did NOT change... which is very weird.
  • 2 0
 @vinay: Norco actually did that with the new sight. m.pinkbike.com/news/first-look-2020-norco-sight.html
  • 2 0
 Bike sizing and intended use are all reasons for varying STAs in my opinion. The only steep STA bike I rode on tame, rolling terrain where I was seated 75% of the time felt like I had my weight too far forward; felt a bit sketchy. Take that bike on some nearby trails that are "Climb for 30 mins, Descend for 10" and I bet it would have felt great. My inseam is only 30.5" also, so I don't have the issue of my ass halfway over the rear tire with the seat up. Hence why maybe a mid-travel bike may need a 77* STA in XL but only 75* in Medium.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Bingo !
  • 1 0
 @just6979: I agree, but it all depends. I have long femurs and a fairly long inseam. I've had bikes with too slack of a STA and it can make climbing steep tech miserable or near impossible. My whole point is there are many factors so listing a 74.6 degree STA as a negative seems off. Maybe mention it as something to consider, but to me that sounds about perfect unless the suspension likes to sag a ton or the CS is extremely short. Also, as you say the "actual STA" may be totally different as well so... go test ride I guess.
  • 3 0
 @OzarkBike: That's true we are a small minority but that is why it is great that there is a company like Norco that scales their bikes for each size. Sure a 5'8"/ 75 kg rider on a medium might not think anything negative about a 430mm chain stay and a 74º seat tube angle but a 6'2"/ 88kg rider on a L/ XL is really going to appreciate that 440mm chain stay and 76-78º seat tube angle. The whole short back end is great for short arses and manual junkies but longer chain stays and steeper seat tube angles (to a point) really help centre the taller/ larger rider and assist with natural fore-aft balance on a bike whether it is being ridden uphill or down hill.
  • 2 0
 The lower you can get when climbing the more you use the glutes and hamstrings. This is why guys climbing on road bikes are far back on the saddle and hunched over. I'm not saying to use your mountain bike that extremely, but the mechanics are the same. Steep sta interferes with this.
  • 1 0
 @JohanG: You mean the further back not lower? If you google triathlon bike vs road bike you will see that triathlon bikes have steeper sta and longer front centers (like new geo mtb bikes) and use more quad muscles with a triathlon bike.

This is like doing leg presses at the gym, putting your feet higher up (more hamstrings and glutes ) vs having them low (more quads). Hamstrings and glutes are more powerful muscle groups and with your feet higher can generate more power.
  • 1 0
 @in2falling: Tri athletes are trying to use different muscle groups than they use during their running stages. It has nothing to do with actual efficiency on the bike.
  • 11 0
 "It doesn't feel much different from an enduro bike"

That's a comment I hear a lot about this kind of bike. Then you look at the build and indeed they are enduro bikes, from tyres (well, almost) to fork.
That's just me, but I'd build it a little bit lighter or simply go for... an enduro bike.
  • 4 0
 Its basicly an enduro bike with a shorter shock.
I bet if you (could) overshock this to 155mm travel, it would ride just like an enduro bike.
  • 4 1
 Process 153 CR DL FTW. Why anything less.
  • 1 0
 I honestly would never buy one, because I like to have longer travel, so that I can do stupid jibs and tricks, and not get punished.
  • 5 1
 @SlipperySEAL: Maybe because of the pedalling performance ?
  • 2 1
 @DGWW: Maybe, but it's heavy, with heavy wheels and draggy tires so it will be sluggish on flowy trails anyway and the climbing will still not be that good regardless of kinematics. And when you get to burlier terrain the lack of travel will limit it as well.
  • 1 0
 @Ferisko: exactly
  • 3 0
 @Ferisko: How do heavy wheels slow you down on a flow trail? Isn't point of flow trails that you can just go (like, with the flow, and stuff) and it's not a lot of stops & starts... And heavy wheels don't really hurt anything in those kind of momentum situations.

Hell, it's often touted as a good thing when comparing 27 to 29 inch wheels, the way the big ones carry momentum and help with "flow"?
  • 1 0
 @Ferisko: the collect was for the process
  • 9 0
 @mikekazimer: Given that you list that the seat angle could be steeper and that it doesn't feel that much different from an enduro bike in the cons, it seems like it might have been worthwhile to give it a ride in the "Trail" setting. Esp. as you attribute it's more subdued feeling handling vs. the Kona to the slacker HTA.

The low setting seems like the most likely choice for people who want one bike to do it all, but the high setting (and the shorter fork) might be of interest to those who are looking at this as a complement to a longer travel bike.

Thanks for the review! This is one of the bikes I'm very interested in, but given the sales model won't be able to demo.
  • 11 0
 Damn that's a lot of bike for $5400
  • 9 0
 The Factory build with Fox/XT drivetrain for 4900 is also killer.
  • 8 5
 Those 51mm CSUs and RCT3s had to go somewhere
  • 5 23
flag Shafferd912 (Nov 5, 2019 at 10:53) (Below Threshold)
 You know whats a lot of bike for around $5k? The YT Capra CF Pro Race.
  • 1 1
 @Shafferd912: why 15 people downvoted this
  • 10 0
 Could well be the best Nukeproof bike to date.
  • 3 0
 Agreed. Wish they had this last year when I bought a bike. But I did buy a vitus which I believe is manufactured by the same company?
  • 6 1
 Love this! Still riding a Mega TR275 which has the same travel at both ends, albeit on 27.5" wheels, and a very similar horst link. If I was in the market this would be right up there as a replacement, even the colour is nearly the same!

31.1lbs seems quite porky for a carbon bike though; in fact it's virtually the same published weight as my overbuilt aluminium monster! Where did all the weight savings go, the cassette and wheels?
  • 2 1
 Don't look at Devincis line up then. Their carbon bikes are in the 32-34lb range.
  • 3 0
 Nevermind I may have been wrong there. I remembered them being heavier than they are.
  • 11 0
 The Reactor are built for aggressive trails right out the box. Easy to drop a few LB’s with things like thin wall tyres etc. But then you may only have to spend money on tyres that actually work on trails you ride on.
  • 1 0
 @Nukeproofinternational: what is the frame weight please of the 275 and 29 versions in medium, also you missed of the standover in the GEO.
  • 1 0
 @sostokedaboutthat:
Frame weight of a 27.5 Large frame with shock, axle and headset cups is 7.9lb, if that helps.
  • 1 0
 @Nukeproofinternational: those Michelin Wild Enduro tires are pretty flimsy for a rear tire. I kept poking holes through the casing.
  • 1 0
 @jaydawg69: The rear tire was almost impossible for me to put on the rim it was so stiff. Albeit I run 27.5x2.8 Wild Enduros GUMX compound. Rear tire weighs 300 grams more than the front (1000gr front 2.8 and 1300 rear 2.Cool . Weird you're having issues with it.
  • 1 0
 @Ryan2949: 29 x 2.4 for me. Mounted tubeless pretty easy.
  • 1 0
 @Ryan2949: I do remember them being very heavy as well 7-8lb carbon frames . They do seem to build their stuff to be very tough though (and some alloy models are even built in Canada with Canadian aluminum !)
  • 1 0
 Love my MegaTR 275. So much fun. I put a longer travel fork on it and the thing is ready to party for sure.
  • 4 0
 I have to disagree with the wheels in spec and also the setup comment that the weight difference of EX1501 did not change the ride impressions. Those Mavic Deemax DH's are heavy. They are not only "slightly heavier" than the EX1501, they are even heavier than DT's lower end E1700. And all that while their rims have narrower ID... I could see the reason for them being on the Mega, but putting them on a trail bike is just silly. To me, wheel weight has significant impact on bikes agility and how it climbs. What is the point of the bike if the weight and geo is in the ball park of the full bred enduro bikes? Might as well get the bike with the extra travel if there is no weight or geo penalty.
  • 3 0
 And I mean it sincerely when I say as much as I like how you guys write... why not just include the leverage curves? It's just as, if not more valuable, than the hyperbole and pedantic nitpicking included in the reviews and 100s of follow up comments.
  • 4 0
 That's some faint praise, but you can take a look at the leverage ratios: www.pinkbike.com/photo/17947620.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Do you do this for every review? I never see it. I recall you planned on having a series diving into this a few months back, but nothing in a while.

And yes, I meant it slightly tongue in cheek as I think providing the leverage, AS, AR, etc curves are extremely useful for each of us to make our own conclusions and would really add to the content provided...

I really do enjoy both your and Levy's prose. I think you guys do a great job. It's hard not to be hyperbolic, bikes are so good these days. You have to go to the extreme to discriminate between them at times.
  • 3 0
 I would like to see reviewers try using the flip chips instead of just always whatever the slackest setting is then not touching it, why not see how it goes and letting us know, and if it's easy to do trail side or more of an at home set it and forget it kinda thing.
  • 1 0
 It’s easy to do trail side, just two bolts
  • 3 0
 My frame came with foam tubes for the cable routing so that checks that off the frame is protected nice and the seat angle is great imo very nice bike with very nice lines and very nice frame protection good job Nukeproof
  • 9 5
 Is there a bike out there that does make boulders seem like sanitized flow trails? a bit hyperbolic, no?
  • 47 0
 Bike reviews would be pretty dull reading if a little poetic license wasn’t allowed once in a while.
  • 2 1
 @mikekazimer: fair point
  • 4 0
 The real question is, why is smoothing out or muting the trail features not such a good thing when it's extra travel doing the smoothing, but when it's 29 inch wheels doing the smoothing (because this rollover effect is always touted as a pro for big wheels), it's perfectly ok?
  • 3 2
 "The difference is very noticeable", says Kazimer in 2017, comparing fork offsets on a bike with 64 degree head angle and 475mm reach.

"I'm of the opinion that on bikes with slacker head angles a 7 millimeter difference in offset doesn't make a dramatic difference in handling", says Kazimer in 2019, on a bike with a 65.5 (less slack!) head angle and the same reach.

Which is it?

Note: 2017 review is here: www.pinkbike.com/news/transition-sentinel-review-2017.html
  • 6 1
 Good memory. My point here was that it's not worth getting too hung up on whether a bike has a 44 or 51mm offset fork. As you'll remember, in 2017 I also wrote, "I timed all of my runs, but the numbers didn't end up indicating any statistically significant difference between the two offsets; I felt like I was able to adapt my riding style fairly quickly to both forks."
  • 2 1
 @mikekazimer: Memory, hah! I looked it up, just had a feeling that I recalled someone at PB actually found offset noticeable in the feels dept.

And or course you find the part I left out to make my query seem better, haha.

Still don't like the idea of being able to adapt riding styles to the differences as being proof that the difference is negligible. If you have to adapt to each offset, then each offset does in fact actually work better with a given style.
  • 1 0
 @just6979, the thing is, you'll only notice the difference if you're swapping back and forth between forks, which isn't something most people do, and even then it doesn't exactly smack you over the head the way doing something like going from a 70mm to a 40mm stem would.
  • 1 0
 My personal experience is that shorter offset climbs noticeably better, but I can't tell much of a difference on the descents or at high speed. However, I've only swapped back-to-back on a single bike, and I'm sure other frames react differently.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Nailed it. The stem analogy is great.
  • 1 0
 "Anti-squat sits at 92% in the 32/50 gear ratio, but it falls off fairly quickly as the bike goes through its travel in order to allow the suspension to work unimpeded in rougher terrain." So if you're pedaling through chunk, it sucks you down. This is more of a ride up a smooth road then coast down type of bike. Not a technical pedaling bike.
  • 1 0
 Slamming the seat forward and a shorter stem. Sounds like this bike was too big for you for seated pedaling. Trail bike sizing isn’t the same as downhill bike sizing.

Personally I would much rather read a review based on how the bike is shipped stock. Leave the complaints for the comparison to other bike(s) or the conclusion.
  • 1 0
 I hate the under bb cable routing and definitely don't agree with the offset comments. I feel the offset is selected to work with the overall design... If it was slacker I could see going 44-42, not just for resale... That's just wack. The sta is by design not because it's almost 2020 and all the cool kids are doing it... Overall looks like a winner bike, nice work NP. Next time run this cables out the top a la Commencal.
  • 4 0
 Finally, one bike to rule them all and do everything...
  • 8 1
 that new norco sight seems to be a contender as well
  • 3 1
 like a santa cruz 5010
  • 3 0
 Would love to see a comparison of this and the new Norco once that has been tested!
  • 4 0
 Waiting for new 2020 Mega 290 review !!!!!!!! Smile
  • 2 2
 Anybody else thinking this is a direct competitor to the Evil Calling? Both are bikes meant to make you rethink how a “short” travel bike can handle. Nukeproof with 150/140 in 27.5 and the evil with 150/131 in 27.5. Both bikes are very consistent and controlled. They both aim to let the rider have the confidence of a longer travel rig but the slashing and carving ability of a trail bike. They both seem to blur the line between categories. With very similar personalities, they seem to be the companies answers to a one bike quiver. Would love to see a shootout between these two one day
  • 2 0
 I think I've heard of these kinds of bikes, at one time they called them Mountain Bikes... you just had the one and used it for everything... Smile
  • 1 1
 Hate under bb cable routing. Offset is selected to work with the overall design... If it was slacker I could see going 44-42, not just for resale... That's just wack. The sta also by design not because it's almost 2020 and all the cool kids are doing it...wack Overall looks like a winner bike, nice work NP. Next time run this cables out the top a la Commencal.
  • 1 1
 Offset is selected to work with the overall design... If it was slacker I could see going 44-42, not just for resale... That's just wack. The sta also by design not because it's almost 2020 and all the cool kids are doing it... Overall looks like a winner bike, nice work NP. Next time run this cables out the top a la Commencal.
  • 3 0
 it looks like a bike for ratboy or that style of riding
  • 8 4
 Ratboy has moved on to Cannondale and e-bikes.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer what pedal set up did you run? Can't tell from the pics. thanks homie.
  • 5 0
 It depends on the day. I think in these photos I’m running Chromag’s Dagga pedals, and other times I clipped into a set of Shimano XTR pedals.
  • 3 0
 @mikekazimer: thank you brother.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: how do you like the Daggas?
Do you have any specific criteria for choosing to ride flats or clips?
  • 4 0
 @Arierep, I only have a few rides in on the Daggas so far - look for a full write up in the coming months. But if you're in search of the maximum amount of grip they're a solid option.

I tend to clip in for longer trail rides, and I'll usually run flats for bike park / DH riding. I'm comfortable with either setup, though, and a lot of it just depends on what needs to be reviewed.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: How do they compare to the Chromag Scarabs? I'm currently running the Scarabs, but would like a little extra grip for the DH park days, and I prefer flats over clipless
  • 1 0
 @matt-15: I'm running Diety Black Kats. They have some concave shaping to them, and are super grippy!!
  • 4 2
 I fail to see how 7mm in the offset can make such a huge difference. 7mm FFS. Marketing ploy.
  • 2 2
 especially on a six inch telescoping fork. with a spinning squishy tire on the end of it. on dirt. and rocks and roots and more dirt.
  • 2 1
 I have just switched from 51mm offset (Fox 36 RC2) to 42mm offset (Lyrik Ultimate) both in 150 mm 29'er length and you can feel the difference. Is it stopping me riding anything that I could ride before? No. But there is a definite sensation of twitchiness, especially in slower, downhill tech trails as the contact patch of the tyre rolls over the edge of something or off a rock or root, especially if the trail contact is narrow itself. The wheel feels as if it wants to turn slightly more or quicker than it should rather than track straight. 2020 bikes that are evolutions or revisions of 2019 models that have switched from 51mm offset to 42mm offset have also had their head angles slackened to factor this into their over all balanced handling.
  • 1 0
 @andrewbikeguide: You are saying that the shorter offset felt twitchier ? Offset continues to confuse me because the shorter offset is supposed to increase trail which should make it feel more stable which is what some reviews say as well. Although when I put a shorter offset fork on a bike with fairly steep HA it did feel twitchier in the sense that it felt like it would "crab over" in tight turns.
  • 1 0
 @preston67: They are both correct. Shortening the offset increases trail, increasing stability, but it also decreases the wheelbase, which might be responsible for the added twitchiness. If the bike is designed with a shorter offset fork, the wheelbase can be adjusted during the design process to the correct length and then you could feel the added stability.
  • 2 0
 what does the RS stand for? rally sport? really sick? rad stuff? raked & slack?
  • 1 0
 Race Spec
  • 4 0
 Rock Shox?, I see "Factory" listed as other option on their lineup, and is full of Fox...
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer : - where does the Reactor stands in between the Bronson V3 and the 5010 from SC ? Is it more towards the Bronson V3 ?


Thanks
  • 3 1
 I love a 150mm fork and 29er wheels is now a "little playful bike". That would have been an enduro bike two years ago.
  • 2 0
 Dang... My next bike but aluminum frame..
  • 2 1
 Sadly frame is sold out already.
  • 2 0
 @motard5: I found out they haven't shipped them yet. Only carbon available right now
  • 3 2
 Sounds like it doesn't climb any better than the NP enduro bike, so I don't see what the point is.
  • 10 1
 It holds a water bottle?
  • 1 1
 @mikekazimer: bb height?,they don’t mention it any more why?maybe to low ?,cause some manufacturers are getting a little silly in that department,and real terrain don’t accept that low bb’s,when you want to charge after leaving a very rough terrain and then when you want to charge on a fairly roughly one it’s just ,oh no smack ,ground you will or you get the fear of pedaling on that situation,so sad ,cause 165 crancks or even 170 is just a little short?
  • 1 0
 Maybe you like to get into the firmer part of the suspension just a bit sooner, to be able to put more energy into the bike for poppiness and general fun time having, instead of monster trucking everything.

Although in that case, why aren't you on a similar travel 27er with some volume reducers in the shock and/or decent progression in the kinematics?
  • 2 0
 So when are the pinkbike field tests?
  • 1 0
 This is cool but if it cost around 3k with NX and al frame that would be really cool
  • 6 5
 Some say it doesn't feel that much different than an enduro bike
  • 1 1
 Was into this (27.5 alu version) as a replacement for my Surge but the carbon stay puts me off
  • 1 0
 Would the model with the aluminium front triangle still come with a carbon rear end then?
  • 1 0
 @vinay: yeah carbon seat stay
  • 1 0
 I'm not a roadie
  • 1 1
 There was a few reasons behind this, mainly performance Vs cost savings for the unsparing weight. also the way we designed the rear seat stays to do away with the rear bridge and wrap around the seat tube simply wasn’t effective to re design in alloy (ie. value, extra weight, not as aesthetic and reduced clearance). Whilst we appreciate and are fans of the “full” alloy bike, we don’t see any negatives for riders and just positives in doing this. The Reactors a pretty rad fun vessel and we hope you like it!
  • 1 0
 Its like reading a product catalog.
  • 1 0
 Got a big old knick on that stanchion
  • 1 0
 Try again with a -2 head angle.
  • 1 0
 Scott is dat u?
  • 2 3
 looks like scott spark 2014
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