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Nukeproof Scout 290 Comp

As the lightest bike on test and a 29er too, the comparative climb and distance efficiency of the Scout isn’t a surprise. It’s how it handles the hits and techy descents that really impresses.

The frame

While the frame looks simple at first, the down tube has a load of tapers, shapes and swerves going on. It shares a long weld seam with the steeply-sloped top tube, which is almost parallel with the round seatstays. Chunky dropouts carry a Boost axle and post brake mount, and there’s a chainring-dodging plate section on the driveside chainstay.

The dropper post cable is routed internally, apart from a loop under the BB. A full-length gear cable outer runs under the top tube, with a neat extra guide block on the down tube to swing it clear of the short tapered head tube. The Scout has front mech routing too, but the 290 Comp uses an MRP micro chain guide instead, mounted to the ISCG tabs on the threaded BB shell. Production bikes will have a set of bottle bosses.

The kit

A 130mm RockShox…

Nukeproof Horizon Race grips

Nukeproof’s Horizon grips come in two compounds. The Endurance versions are made from firmer, harder-wearing rubber, while the softer Race grips we tested offer that bit better damping but are likely to wear faster – though ours are still holding up well after a month of use. They’re made from 15-durometer rubber and use a multi-directional pattern that adds comfort over the rough stuff and gives plenty of purchase when pulling up on the bar. The tapered shape (31.5-33mm) won’t suit everyone though. Twin lock-on collars hold them in place and the integrated end caps do a good job of protecting you from the end of your bar. You’ll need to fiddle around when clamping them on though, to prevent the end caps from rattling. We’re big fans of the inner flange, which is cut away on the underside to ensure plenty of clearance for your controls.

Price $30

Nukeproof Vector AM Comp Cro-Mo saddle

The Vector AM is pretty race focused, with minimal padding. There’s a deep (if narrow) pressurerelief channel to keep the blood flowing where it’s meant to. Used with bib shorts, we found it pretty comfortable for shorter rides and suffered no pain or discomfort in the central region. On steep climbs the slightly downturned nose provides a reasonable forward perch, while the svelte profile and smooth edges make it particularly unobtrusive when moving about on the descents. It’s quite stiff though, and can feel harsh on long rides or bumpy ground. We definitely wouldn’t want to spend much time on it without a chamois. It’s heavier than we’d expect for such a lightly padded perch too. There’s a lighter Pro version with titanium rails for $105, but at 241g it’s only 10g lighter.

Weight 251g

Price $67

Nukeproof Mega 275 Race

Pretty much everyone complimented the Mega on its paintjob and was surprised to hear that it was one of the cheapest bikes on test. While the spec isn’t quite as dazzling as on some of the direct-sales bikes here, it’s seriously well considered and comes together to produce an impressive ride – for the most part, at least.

The Mega’s eagerness to be ridden at speed, combined with the ‘Light’ casing of the WTB Trail Boss back tyre, meant we constantly found ourselves with rear flats. Tougher rubber would be a massively welcome addition. It’s also worth noting that the Nukeproof was the only bike on test to suffer spoke tension issues, with the rear wheel needing some attention after our final few rides together. While the Trail Boss works perfectly well on manmade bike park trails, it soon breaks traction if you venture onto more natural, muddy tracks. Up front, the Vigilante offers a much more aggressive tread, a higher volume – which helps flatten trail ripples – and WTB’s stickier …

Nukeproof Critical Base Jacket

The armour is attached to a comfy wicking baselayer. Along with the lack of backplate, this makes it one of the cooler suits on test.Add the low price and this jacket is ideal for your first uplift day or week in the Alps – though we'd add a separate back protector.

The bulky padding is obvious off the bike. The stretchy fabric and the large size and relatively flat shape of the pads mean they move around a bit too. It’s also a shame that the padding can’t be removed for washing.

Price 75$

Nukeproof Vector AM Pro Ti-Alloy saddle

Apparently taking styling cues from fighter jets, the Vector AM’s padding is pretty minimal and firm, but there’s a deep (if narrow) pressure-relief channel to keep the blood flowing where it’s meant to.

Nukeproof Warhead Carbon handlebar

NUKEPROOF HAVE REDESIGNED their Warhead Carbon riser bar for 2016 and it looks and feels like a highquality bit of kit, especially when you consider it’s one of only a few composite bars to come in on or under the 150$ mark.

Nukeproof Horizon Sam Hill Ti pedals

IF THE STANDARD Horizon Sam Hill flat pedals aren’t quite trick enough for you, then these might be just the ticket. What do you get for the extra 142$ though? Quite simply, these don’t weigh as much, offering a saving of around 75g thanks to the titanium axle.

Nukeproof Critical DH Pro knee pads

NUKEPROOF’S NEW DOWNHILL pads offer a lot of coverage. The kneecup itself is made from preshaped foam with a plastic cap on top, there’s additional padding stretching well over halfway down the shin plus smaller sections of foam on either side of the knee, and the entire front section is covered with tough, abrasion resistant Kevlar.

Nukeproof Electron Evo pedals

Our editor, Jon, is a big fan of these pedals. The high traction, wide platform and low price make it hard to argue with him on this particular occasion. The plastic body (technically a nylon reinforced composite) is not the biggest, but it’s set out from the crank by 15mm effectively widening the pedal, providing a broad and sure-footed platform. It houses 3 fixed plastic pins, along with 7 adjustable bottom-loading alloy ones per side. This allows you to tailor the level of grip to your needs.

Nukeproof Scout Race

In an age where people think more is better, the scout race is a break from the status quo. Nukeproof’s all mountain hardtail sports aggressive geometry that you’d find on a five-inch bike but with the nostalgic, childhood feel of your first mountain bike, if you’re over 25 years old that is.

Sam hill’s – Nukeproof Mega AM

In the world of mountain biking you’ll struggle to find a bigger name than Sam Hill. It may be a few years since he’s won a World Championship title but for a few years there he dominated the sport of downhill like no other, winning World Cups by 10 or 15 seconds when there’s normally fractions of a second separating the top contenders.

Nukeproof OKLO dropper post

THE DROPPER POST has revolutionised how many of us ride, allowing us to switch from climbing to descending without hindrance or hesitation. But with the current market leader, the RockShox Reverb, retailing for 440$, the door has been left open to cheaper alternatives. Enter Nukeproof with the new OKLO.

Nukeproof Zero stem

SO GOOD
This simple, well finished heavy-duty 50mm stem was designed with input from Team CRC-Nukeproof’s 4X racers and has proved more than capable of taking the big hits on an enduro bike too. Where possible, excess material has been shaved away, and the resulting 173g weight is a decent trade-off between gram saving and reassuring substance. The opposing bolts on the steerer clamp help keep tightening forces even.

Nukeproof external bottom bracket

NUKEPROOF'S CARTRIDGE BEARING bottom bracket fits all standard 68mm and 73mm shell frames (there's an 83mm version too) and can be installed using a conventional BB tool.