Nukeproof Mega 290 Pro AL: Ridden and reviewed

If you are a regular follower of my site and social media channels, you will probably know that I am a big fan of Nukeproof mountain bikes. I managed to get my hands on the 2019 Nukeproof Mega 290 AL Pro to give it a spin around the mountain. Needless to say I loved it, so I decided to write a full review of this new 29″ wheeled Nukeproof Mega.

Pros

  • Climbing is super easy
  • Value for money
  • Smooth
  • Fantastic components

Cons

  • Can’t think of any

Verdict

5/5

For the money, you would be hard pushed to find a better bike than a Nukeproof Mega. This mountain bike rolls over rocks and roots with ease and tackles descents brilliantly. Climbing is “easy”. As much as I loved the 290, 29″ wheels doing suit me as well as 27.5″ wheels. This is down to my build, as I’m not the tallest guy in the world. Therefore, I just bought a Nukeproof Mega 275 Pro this morning!!

Features and Specifications

  • Frame: Nukeproof Mega 290 Alloy, custom triple butted hydro-formed tube set, custom tuned rear shock configuration, internal dropper seatpost cable routing, threaded bottom bracket, boost 148mm rear axle spacing, 3D contoured frame protection
  • Fork: RockShox Lyrik Charger 2 RC 160mm, 51mm Offset, Debonair, Diffusion Black
  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe RC3 ML1S 210x55mm (Comes with 2x bottomless tokens fitted so you have them if needed)
  • Front Wheel: Mavic Deemax Elite, 29″, 15x110mm
  • Rear Wheel: Mavic Deemax Elite, 29″, XD, 148x12mm
  • Tyres: Michelin Wild Enduro 29″ x 2.4, Gum -X TS TLR
  • Crankset: SRAM Descendant 7K Alloy Eagle 12-Speed, 170mm, 30T, B148, DUB
  • Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle 12-Speed
  • Chain Guide: MRP AMg V2, 26-32T, ISCG-05, black
  • Brakes: SRAM Guide RE
  • Front Rotor: SRAM Centreline, 200mm
  • Rear Rotor: SRAM Centreline, 180mm
  • Handlebars: Nukeproof Horizon AL 800mm, 25mm
  • Stem: Nukeproof Horizon, 50mm, 31.8mm Clamp, black
  • Saddle: Nukeproof Horizon SL, Black
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth; S: 390mm length, 125mm drop; M: 440mm length, 150mm drop; L/XL: 480mm length, 170mm drop
  • Headset: Nukeproof Warhead, 44-56 IITS
  • Grips: Nukeproof Sam Hill Signature

Climbing

I rode this Nukeproof Mega during the interseaon in Morzine. This means that the lifts were not running, so I had to go up the hard way. But, I have to say, as pedalling up a mountain goes, the Nukeproof Mega was great. I started on the tarmac road that winds its way up the Pleney side of the valley, before getting on to the gravel and dirt 4X4 track to the top. There are two major things that make you climb like a mountain goat:

  • The SRAM GX Eagle 12 speed drive train. This allowed me to pedal up inclines that I have never been able to get up on bikes without it.
  • The adjustable RockShox Super Deluxe RC3 shock. This has three settings to change how firm the rear shock is. Putting it in its firmest setting, reduces the bounce making pedalling more efficient.

SRAM Eagle GX drivetrain lets you climb like a mountain goat 

The RockShox Super Deluxe RC3 ML1S is very progressive and does a great job of soaking up bumps. It also firms up with the flick of a switch to make climbing easier

Descending and Cornering

When I started to ride back down the mountain, it was a little tricky to get in to a flow. Not because of the bike, but due to the amount of fallen trees along the trail. But, when I could see clear sections of trail, I could let it go. With this being a 29″ wheeled Nukeproof Mega, I found it needed some getting used to. This is because of my build and I am used to riding a 26″ bike (my 27’5″ Nukeproof Mega was ordered this morning :)). It still felt nimble, thanks to the modern geometry, but not as “whippy” as smaller wheeled bikes. To me 29ers feel very grown up and capable of coping with whatever you put them through, but are not as playful as 27.5″ bikes. This is just my opinion, but don’t get me wrong, this is a really fun bike.

This Nukeproof Mega takes everything in its stride and rolls over ruts, roots rocks and fallen branches very easily. Which is helped by that larger wheel size and its excellent suspension set up. The RockShox Super Deluxe RC3 shock is one of the most popular shocks for modern enduro bikes and for good reason. This shock is very sensitive and responsive. It has good amounts of support and resistance as well as a well-tuned damping setting. At the front you will find the fantastic RockShox Lyric 2 Charger RC with 160mm. This is supple, supportive and adjustable. It was billed as the ultimate enduro fork by BikeRadar.

I also found that the Nukeproof Mega was very easy to get the front wheel in the air. This was particularly useful when encountering larger branches lying on the trail and ruts created by forestry machinery in the mud.

 

All the bikes in the Nukeproof Mega range come with Michelin Wild Enduro tyres. This was the first time I have tried these and I can say I am very happy with them. They cut through the deepish wet mud and still gave me good grip in the snowy patches I had to negotiate. They offer loads of grip and great stopping power when you pull on the SRAM Guide RE brakes.

The SRAM Guide RE brakes were originally designed for electric mountain bikes. With the 200mm rotor on the front and the 180mm rotor on the back, they provide great stopping power. They feel very progressive and are easy to modulate. Speaking to my local bike shop, they are reliable and very serviceable too, which important when they have had some use.

Value for Money

The Nukeproof Mega 290 Pro is a good value for money bike. It comes with some really great components and build quality. My wife Carolyn has had her 2012 Nukeproof Mega for years and it has been an absolute bargain. Mainly, because it has barely gone wrong, other than expected wear and tear.

New Verses Old

As Carolyn still rides her Nukeproof Mega, we thought it would be cool to compare new with old. Putting the aesthetics aside, the first thing you notice is the geometry. The new version is definitely slacker than the old one. This means that it is more stable on descents. It also feels more “roomy”, this is thanks to a slightly longer top tube length. The wider bars help with this feeling too. Your chest is opened up a bit more, which helps you to suck more air in on climbs and gives you more control on descents.

The biggest difference you feel is how smooth the new bike is in comparison to the old one. Obviously, new components will feel tighter and have more advanced technology, but it felt very plush and almost luxurious in comparison. This gives you confidence in the bike and you will be able to tackle more technical terrain and ride faster.

What do you think of the Nukeproof Mega, would you buy one? If so which one and why. Please let me know in the comments section below.

8 Comments

  1. Peter hanley

    I enjoy the well-framed Bike journey through the mountains with these trail rides and Bike experience.
    As a casual rider, it provides enthusiasm to try something a bit different with some good background Knowledge.
    The site is easy to read with some good links to new purchases.
    The only thing that worried me was my ability to climb the mountain the hard way. LOL

    Peter H

    Reply
    1. Tom Fortune

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for your comment. If you want to make life easier for yourself, why not try an electric mountain bike? These assist your peddling, and allow you to get to terrain that you wouldn’t normally get to. Have a look at my articles on electric mountain bikes.

      Reply
  2. Sherry

    This is a great informative and exhaustive review of the Nukeproof Mega 290 Pro AL. Those who have had a nukeproof prior or are new to nukeproof, they will leave well informed to make a decision. I love being outdoors personally and have wanted to get into biking. Is this a bike you recommend for a beginner? (In the sense that I’ve barely rdden since grade school lol). Also, height of bikes have always been a pain for me. At 5’5″, which version would you recommend? Thanks so much!

    Reply
    1. Tom Fortune

      Hi Sherry,

      It would be fine for a beginner, but you would probably be better to start off with a hardtail mountain bike. They are a lot cheaper, easier to look after and they are good for building skills. Have a look at my guide to buying a Hardtail mountain bike.

      Reply
  3. Adrian Holland

    Thanks for a great article.

    Nukeproof is a make that until now I hadn’t even heard of. needless to say that is something that i intend to put right through a bout of intense research. That can only be caused because of your fantastic and down to earth review style.

    I found your writing style, and un-bias review both refreshing and captivating, and you may just have changed the direction in which I go for my new machine.

    Kind Regards

    Adrian.

    Reply
    1. Tom Fortune

      Hi Adrian,

      Thanks for your comment. It is a great bike, used on the Enduro World Series. It has taken a bit of getting used to, as it has completely different geometry, tyres and wheel size to my old bike. Now I have got to grips with it, I now have to tweak the suspension to get the rebound perfect.

      Reply
  4. Gomer

    I want to share some praise for this Nukeproof Mega 290 Pro as I recently bought mine early this year. 

    The bike is designed for the toughest enduro tracks, and I have proven it many times that it lives to the claim of the brand. The gravity focused specification is designed to descend fast but maintaining the pedal efficiency so that’s one big factor to me why I like it so much. The chassis looks very durable, although I have not tested it with an accident. And last but not the least, I like its metric shock sizing. It adds stiffness to the chassis, while not pushing excessive pressure to my backbone which recently was diagnosed with Scoliosis. 

    All in all, it’s a good buy!

    Reply
    1. Tom Fortune

      Hi Gomer,

      I can confirm that it handles accidents well, just a small fall at the weekend 🙂

      Thanks for your comment.

      Reply

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