First off, the climbing was good but not amazing. The seat angle keeps the rider on top of the pedals for seated efforts, while out of the saddle climbs left me on top of the bars and feeling a bit cramped. On steep slow climbs the front end has a tendency to wander due to the slack head angle, but that is a small price to pay for the descending prowess of this bike. Keeping momentum up was key, as it would just roll up anything in front of it with enough speed. For a full aluminum build coming in right over 30lbs, the bike does not feel overly heavy or sluggish when putting the power down.
This bike goes fast in the steep and straight. The long rear end lends loads of high-speed confidence, while the big wheels add to the terrain eating capabilities. That aggressive DNA has a down side though, since turns at slower speeds take more body English. If you live in an area with lots of slower speed or techy terrain be prepared to give a little extra effort, like Happy Gilmore’s golf coach Chubbs said, “It’s all in the hips, baby.” Get the Mega up to speed however, and she’ll reward you with traction and confidence. The bike is a lot of fun to ride once you open it up.
The combo of the short stem and top tube left the cockpit cramped when in a neutral descending position but that wasn’t always bad. Taking to the air felt natural on the 290, but it lacked some pop of lighter more agile bikes with shorter stays. Once the bike was back on the ground, it picked up speed and carried momentum as good as any bike I have been on this year. Even the gnarliest of chutes and steeps felt tame aboard the Mega.
Aluminum doesn’t carry the same illustrious appeal as carbon, but this bike proves it can still go head to head with the plastic bikes. Aggressive riders that aren’t afraid to open up and let a bike run will only benefit from the long and stable ride of the Mega 290. Once up to speed, it can run corners down all day but on tight and technical trails, it will require some extra input. With such a solid build and top shelf suspension, this would be my budget pick for 2017. Performance doesn’t have to come with a price and Nukeproof proves that with their Mega 290 Pro.