Close Up Look at Matti Lehikoinen’s ‘Hero Bike’.

It’s always great to see a rider recover from injury, and Nukeproof’s Matti Lehikoinen has had his fair share of smashes. Back on the enduro circuit, taking in the EWS, Megavalanche and Trans Provence, it’s great to see the Finn back at the races. We take a look at his custom Nukeproof Mega 275.

We take a closer look at Matti’s Nukeproof Mega 275, custom sprayed to remember the life of his hero Jarno Saarinen and celebrate the life of his friend and former team mate, Stevie Smith.Nukeproof Mega 275 Megavalanche Matti Lehikoinen Enduro World Series Trans Provence Wideopenmag Stevie Smith Jarno Saarinen

Every child grows up with a hero. Someone to look up to and inspire you. Here at Nukeproof we have an incredible roster of riders that we hope are helping inspire the next generation of mountain bike riders.

As a downhill World Cup winner racing for the legendary Honda program and our longest serving pro athlete, Matti has been heavily involved with much of the development behind our products. Matti’s skills, drive, determination and personality is a great reflection of our brand attitude. Now in his 5th year with Nukeproof, Matti is focusing on racing his Mega 275 in the Enduro World Series and other adventure races, including the Megavalanche. For 2016 we wanted to return to the spiritual home of the Mega with our latest generation of our all mountain frame, it seemed a fitting to launch this special project at the same time.

As a rider hailing from an area covered in snow for over 6 months of the year and in a relatively flat area of Finland, who was it that inspired Matti to ride? As with many racers Matti is a huge moto fan, be it Supercross, MX, rally or cruising round on his Harley, Matti loves speed! Growing up around speed his hero is Finnish bike racing legend Jarno Saarinen (1945-1973).Nukeproof Mega 275 Megavalanche Matti Lehikoinen Enduro World Series Trans Provence Wideopenmag Stevie Smith Jarno Saarinen

Jarno “The Flying Finn” Saarinen is Finland’s only moto road racing World Champion, winning the 250cc title in 1972. Racing against the sporting legends of Agostini and Barry Sheene, he looked set to repeat his success in 1973 in the 250cc and 500cc class, but tragically lost his life in an accident at the Monza race. He was a factory Yamaha rider and rode to glory aboard his custom red, white and blue Yamaha. We took this colour scheme as inspiration for Matti’s Mega 275.

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Earlier this year Matti’s team mate from the 2009 Stevie Smith tragically passed away. He will ride this one off frame as a gesture to his hero Jarno Saarinen and also his friend and former team mate Stevie.  At the end of the season we will auctioning/ raffling this unique frame, with all proceeds going to the Stevie Smith Legacy Fund.


Thanks to Elite Re-finishers  for the paint and to Invisiframe for the protective kit .

Photos: Laurence Crossman-Emms