AM The temporary blood nut

yuley95

Likes Bikes and Dirt
Not sure where to start with this… It’s been a traumatic couple of months after my absolute favourite bike ever in the world and universe till the end of time was stolen by a massive shit head. My insurance claim became a little complicated and 8 weeks later i still don’t have my money but we have at least now agreed on a settlement and it’s coming.

I’ve known all along that a replacement bike is months away so while my insurance claim was dragging on with no resolution in sight, I started hatching a crazy plan to buy a good but basic bike to get me through then sell it when what I really want becomes available. I’ve also been really lucky to be able to borrow an awesome trail bike from that top bloke @moorey . He had a Banshee Spitfire sitting around that needed a thrashing so Iagreed to do him a favour and ride it for a few weeks . As much as it’s a great bike, I’m not quite hitting the trails I love to ride on it as it’s more trail bike than all mountain and I would hate to bend it the wrong way.

So… Chain Reaction had 20% off (when was the last time bikes were actually on sale?)… and there was an XL… and I reckon I can mostly recoup my costs after a few months riding it… and its pretty sexy and red…

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Frame - Nukeproof Mega 290 XL
Rear shock - Rockshox Super Deluxe Select +
Front shock/fork - Rockshox Zeb Select +
Handlebars - Nukeproof Horizon 800mm
Stem - Nukeproof Neutron
Headset - Dunno. Nukeproof I guess
Grips - Says ‘Sam Hill’ on them
Saddle - Nukeproof
Seatpost - Brand X 200mm
Front brake - SRAM Guide RE
Rear brake - SRAM Guide RE
Cranks - SRAM Descendent 7K
Chainguide - Nukeproof top guide
Chain - SRAM GX
Pedals - DMR V-twin
Rear derailleur - SRAM GX
Rear shifter - SRAM GX
Cassette - SRAM GX
Front wheel - Nukeproof Neutron
Rear wheel - Nukeproof Neutron
Tyres - Maxxis Assegai 2.5WT DD 3C Maxx Gripp and Maxxis Minion DHR II 2.5WT DD 3C Maxx Terra
Tubes - I think so…
Total weight - 17kg

I just got it this morning (only a week from purchase to turning up at my door!) and built it up so haven’t had much time on it yet.

From reading a bit about the experience of buying a bike from Canyon or other online retailers, I would say the Nukeproof experience is pretty ‘no frills’. That said, it turned up well built and all i had to do was open the box, take of the protective wrap from a few areas, attach the bar and i was done. Gears are well tuned, tyres inflated ands Wheels running true.

Had to adjust the controls a bit to my preference and can’t quite get the rear brake and dropper to line up exactly where I want them but theit not too far off.

Ride report soon…
 

yuley95

Likes Bikes and Dirt
Sorry this next post is way too long but it’s my thoughts on buying experience, build spec and ride report…

Buying a bike in a box - the Nukeproof experience

I’ve never bought a fully built bike from an online retailer before so was interested to see how Nukeproof/Chain Reaction went about it.

When it turned up, I was surprised how big the box was. Turns out they try and limit how much you can fuck it up by fully building it and only taking the handlebars off to pack. Both wheels were attached and air in tyres and everything.

As mentioned before, it’s pretty ‘no frills’ though. Just a big cardboard box (not a re-useable bike box that some companies use) but you do get a basic multi tool (as a promo from lifeline components) pedal spanner and plastic pedals. You also get a box full of reflectors and bells to meet Australian standards.

What you don’t get is any sort of owners manual from Nukeproof or setup guide for the fork or shock which would have been handy…

I took off all the protective wrap and bolted on the bars then checked over it with a torque wrench and it was all good. Pretty quick and easy.

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Build spec

I bought this as something to get me through for a few months but I didn’t want anything too low level - I needed something with a really solid spec that could handle shuttles at Bright and jumps at Eatons and that I could sell later and recoup some cost.

At 20% off when I bought this, it came in at just a touch over $5K and you get a solid alloy frame, Zeb fork, Super Deluxe shock SRAM running gear and a lot of in-house Nukeproof parts.

Canyon or Polygon are probably the only companies that rival the value but neither had anything relevant in stock for months…

Good

The thing I appreciate most about the build spec is it seems they spent money on suspension first then built the rest to a budget. The Zeb Select + is the 2022 version with the Charger 2.1 damper and misses out on air relief valves but seems like it should be a good fork.

The other area they prioritised was tyres with Maxxis Assegai and DHR II front and back. Both 2.5WT Double Down versions with the Assegai in 3C Maxx Grip and the DHR in 3C Maxx Terra.

My other highlight after a short time is the Brand-X dropper. Obviously a budget option but it has 200mm drop and is very smooth out the box with no play. Pretty impressed.

Bad/not so good

Nothing glaringly bad in the spec. All the house brand stuff is solid but probably heavy. Wheels are the lower spec in the Nukeproof range but stiff have nice looking rims with 28mm internal width and a solid feeling freehub with just 10 degree engagement.

As good as the dropper is, the remote is a little bit crap (being a bit picky here). It’s a bit too big/long and I can’t quite get the spacing right with the brake lever clamp and dropper clamp hard up against each other.

The most glaring issue so far though is the cable routing/cable management. Everything is internal but nothing is clamped and seems not to have any foam around the cables so they rattle like a spray can as you hammer through rocks and roots. I’ll have to try and find a fix for it.

Final thing to mention is probably the brakes. A bit like the dropper, they are a budget option but perform quite well. SRAM Guide RE are the old Code callipers with Guide levers. I like the feel of SRAM levers and they seem to have good power. You just have to reef on the levers a bit harder to get it. I spent time bedding them in but the front may hag become contaminated in the build as it’s squealing when cold and feels like it’s lacking just a touch of outright power.

I’m coming off the greatest brakes ever though - Shigura’s with Trickstuff pads - so it’s hard to live up to that standard…

Early ride report

Took it out to the Youies yesterday and went a bit easy to get used to everything.

For those that don't know, I loved my Transition Sentinel but it was stolen. I bought the Mega as it is ridiculously close in terms of geometry and I was confident it would fit and perform well.

Turns out I was right. Feels very familiar when sitting on it. There are some differences in the way it rides though.

The bike is HEAVY at the moment at 17kg and it feels like it. It’s also a bit softer in the back end (that’s what she said) than the Sentinel so not quite as active or poppy at this stage but I’m hoping to tune that in a little.

When setting it up, I took some pressure out of the fork to get about 25% sag. It’s amazing how low pressure the Zeb is. I’m running about 52PSI and just one click of compression and rebound. So far it feels pretty good but will play around a bit.

The shock is at about 27% sag at the moment and I couldn’t find any clear advice on a recommended sag so went with it for now. I have since read that Nukeproof suggest something in the range of 30-35% which I’ll be interested to play with but to be honest, it already blows through travel quicker than i expected and is a little unbalanced with the front - often using full travel while the fork still has 20-25mm left.

The impact of the soft rear end (compared to the Tranny) is also felt on the climbs. If I don't use the climb switch, it sinks back into it’s travel as I ride up a slope and slackens everything out more. Makes the climb switch a bit of a must.

I am pretty light at 72kg or so and generally get away with Exo casings front and back (with a Rimpact on the back) so Double Down is a new experience for me. To be honest, they are probably too much tyre for me and I would like the weight back (300gm heavier than Exo for each tyre) but they do seem to have a really nice damped feel that mutes some of the trail.

At the other end of the spectrum is the bar and stem combo. They are 35mm diameter an quite solid. They seem to transmit a lot of small/high frequency buzz which I’m not a fan of. Was running 31.8mm previously with a Vibrocore bar and prefer the feel of that set up.

Overall, bike is great though. Jumps well, corners well and is solid. Just need to tune the suspension a bit and see if I can lose weight without spending money at this stage (actually took the tubes out last night and saved almost 700gm!)

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yuley95

Likes Bikes and Dirt
Turns out this bike is pretty sweet! Took it out to Eatons today and turned the wick up a little. It’s a much better test for a bike like this and to compare against the Sentinel. Short story is it compares well. Longer story is…

Conditions were damp which means good grip on 75% of the trails with some sloppy bits and some boggy bits. Eatons runs fast and dusty/sandy when dry but a bit slower and grippier when damp. With that in mind I squibed a couple of the bigger gaps that i normally hit but still hit a few and hit all of the drops/step downs which are pretty substantial out there.

The biggest thing i noticed was the extra squish compared to the Sentinel and the ‘softer’ or less damped feel to both the shock and the fork. Not sure yet if that softer feels is better or worse but for today, in the damp, it was good. Might need to dial some compression damping in to the fork for drier, faster trails like Bright or Buller but the shock doesn’t have any compression adjustment so out of luck there…

I’m running rebound quite open on both and it feels about right. The upshot is that even though there is a soft feel, both the shock and fork push back nicely if you preload into a lip. I was actually quite surprised how well it ‘popped’. Landing is where you notice the extra squish. I found myself pushing into the landings and expecting to find a firm platform but there was just more squish… Not a problem - just need to adjust my riding.

While there are a number of things i would tinker with and upgrade if this was my long term ride - there is nothing that needs upgrading. Brakes worked fine today, drivetrain is sweet, forks are working well and very solid and so on. Only real issue remains the cables rattling but i have some foam tubes on the way to fix that.

Basically, if your looking for a sweet all mountain/enduro rig and find this on sale for just over $5K - bargain.

Oh yeah, two other things. I applied frame protection during the week and i used all the travel today :D

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yuley95

Likes Bikes and Dirt
I’ve had more time on this and it continues to shine. I hit Eatons in drier (but still damp) conditions and the extra speed did demand a couple of extra clicks of compression damping in the zeb. The whole bike was running sweet over 90% of the trails but there are a couple of big hits that had me bottoming out.
Ideally, I would like to add some volume spacers to both the shock and the fork. Dialling in compression on the fork helped general tracking but as there is no high speed adjustment, it didn’t seem to help on the big hits.
it’s a small downside that both the fork and the shock rely on tuning the spring to avoid bottom out rather than having a combination of spring and compression to work with.
Brakes are impressing me more and more and it’s only on some of the slower, more tech trails that the lack of initial bite is apparent. On all the faster trails the brakes just do their thing and do it without fuss.
Gotta mention the tyres. I’m generally on Minion DHF or Michelin Wild Enduro up front and run a variety of tyres out back. Never run the Ass-guy before but man he is good. Especially in max grip compound and rolling on damp soil at red hill. Killer combo for the conditions.
I'm up at Bright for a few days now and will check out how she handles alpine rocks and pine root carpets. I actually think these are the conditions that will suit the zeb best.
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