Ladies and gents, the brand new and redesigned 2021 Nukeproof Mega has arrived.
Here’s a deep-dive into everything you need to know about the latest (and hopefully greatest) iteration of the iconic bike.
You guys should be no strangers to the mighty Nukeproof Mega.
It took Sam Hill to World Enduro Champ status in 2017, 2018 and 2019 and Elliot Heap to U21 World Enduro Champ glory in 2018.
Our own team have raced them since V1 and, now in its 4th generation, it looks set to be another winner.
We’re going to explain, in our own words, what we understand Nukeproof have done behind the scenes to develop the new bike. If you’d prefer to go full-bore and dive right into the detailed info for yourself, you can download the full press release here.
The new Mega is available in carbon or alloy with 27.5″ and 29″ versions of both.
Carbon is full carbon and alloy is full alloy. No more mixing and matching carbon front ends with alloy swing arms.
The 27.5″ version has 165mm rear travel and 170mm front. Max 2.6″ tyre clearance.
The 29″ version has 160mm rear travel and 170mm front. Max 2.5″ tyre clearance.
The carbon frame without shock weights 2.8kg.
All frames have been designed with shorter, steeper seat tubes and for maximum seat post insertion – allowing riders to more easily ride larger frames.
Frames also feature a ‘tube in tube’ internal pipe to make internal cable routing super easy.
And yep, it takes a water bottle at last!
Kinematics (and Hydration) First
The new Nukeproof Mega is, like each generation before it, a complete redesign from the ground up.
Nukeproof have obviously had loads of success on V3 but felt the design was reaching the limits of performance. Useful or significant improvements were no longer possible through simply altering geometry or subtle tweaks.
As an example, Sam Hill tested a V3 Medium front triangle with a V3 Large rear triangle. The pairing caused problems with suspension performance, harshening the shock ‘feel’. They found that the longer swingarm wasn’t providing the right leverage through the shock and their options were limited to make big changes to the size and shape of the bike.
For V4, Nukeproof started with suspension design and set themselves two golden rules.
First, it had to look like a Mega.
Second, it had to have a water bottle inside the frame without compromise to performance.
Reach Your Bum (AKA Saddle Offset)
Nukeproof admit that the outgoing version of the bike, version 3, had some “quirks” with sizing.
A big issue was seat position at full seat-post extension. As the seat goes up, it moves upwards and backwards and extends your seated cockpit position. This wasn’t an issue on the smaller frames but created an uncomfortable position for the bigger bikes.
Alongside an uncomfortable saddle position for taller guys, this also meant the bikes weren’t consistent.
A Medium Mega wouldn’t ride or feel like an XL Mega.
The Nukeproof designers wanted every size bike to ride and feel the same and for the quality of ride to be consistent across the board.
The team came up with the idea of ‘Bum Reach’ but quickly switched to the more sensible name ‘Saddle Offset’. That is, they say, “a new reach measurement for your bum” and is “the optimum saddle position in each size. (ie. The distance behind your bottom bracket at a given saddle height)”.
“The result is slightly steeper seat angles across the board, but especially on the bigger sizes to optimise weight distribution for larger riders. This, in turn, results in longer reach figures to ensure a sensible cockpit fit on each size”.
Geometry and Sizing
And, of course, the numbers you’ve all been waiting for, the geo charts.
Essentially, the Mega is now longer, lower, slacker and (in places) steeper. Work has also been done on sizing. There are 5 sizes from Small to XXL with a wider range of sizes and a bit of overlap to allow riders to go up or down if they fancy. That’s helped by shorter seat tubes and the ability to run droppers fully slammed on all sizes.
Sizes are also evenly spaced meaning no weird jumps between medium and large (we’re looking at you Nukeproof Reactor!).
2021 Nukeproof Mega 290 geometry chart:
2021 Nukeproof Mega 275 geometry chart:
The new Nukeproof Mega is, we’re told, a complete redesign from scratch.
For the fine detail on the suspension, we’re going to lean straight on Nukeproof for their own explanation:
“The Mk.4 features the same 4 bar horst link layout but an all-new kinematic. Designed to be more subtle off the top, whilst remaining supportive and progressive though the rest of the range. It has a higher average ratio to improve sensitivity and reduce the forces required for breakaway movement.
It has stronger mid-stroke support for better cornering, pumping and pedalling performance. Another key feature is a reduced overall progression from sag allowing the new Mk.4 to be much more tuneable for the rider with the use of volume spacers etc”
“The forces chart” Nukeproof go on to say “shows that the Mega Mk. 4 has lower forces before sag and higher forces afterwards. (Compared to the Mega Mk. 3) This increases the sensitivity at the start and provides more mid-stroke support to better suit hard and aggressive riding”.
Last but not least, anti-squat. “Applying the same principles as the Nukeproof Reactor (trail bike), where low anti-squat, but good mid-stroke support is the winning combo for climbing traction. However, anti-squat should never prevent suspension from working well over rough terrain.
This is why it is designed with higher levels of anti-squat in climbing gears (However still relatively low) that drops off in descending gears to give you a bike that behaves itself on the climbs yet provides ultimate suspension performance on the way back down.
Finally, the Mk.4 is also slightly more active under braking with lower anti-rise figures compared to the Mk. 3”.
Comp, Pro, Elite, Factory, RS
There are UD T700/800 carbon and 6061-T6 alloy version, both available with 27.5″ and 29″ wheels.
The Nukeproof RS, Factory and Elite models will be carbon.
The Nukeproof Pro and Comp models will be alloy.
And, that’s it, you can learn more about the Nukeproof Bikes Mega here at Nukeproof.com