FRAME AND FEATURES
Featuring a Shimano STEPS EP8 motor and 630Wh battery, the Nukeproof MegaWatt 297 is available in four spec levels, which all share the same triple butted 6061-T6 frame with a cast motor mount. The MegaWatt frame has internally routed cables in the downtube, entering through the top cup of the Block Lock headset (or in the side of the downtube in the case of our test bike), which prevents the steerer from turning enough to damage the cables. The suspension pivots run on Enduro bearings to provide a longer lifespan. Reducing the effects of chain slap are 3D contoured rubber frame protectors on the chainstay and seatstay. Around the motor is a 3D contoured protector to prevent damage to the casing, and the battery has an integrated downtube protector built in. The rear mech mounts to SRAM’s universal derailleur hanger (UDH) to make sourcing spares easier. Nukeproof includes a five-year warranty for the original owner in case something unfortunate happens.
DRIVE UNIT AND ELECTRONICS
All of Nukeproof’s MegaWatt 297 models use the Shimano STEPS EP8 motor, with the entry level Comp spec featuring a 504Wh Shimano battery, and the three higher spec levels coming equipped with a 630Wh battery. These batteries are of the removable integrated type, and the battery sizes can be interchanged thanks to the easy to switch battery mount. The STEPS EP8 motor is one of the most common on the market, and featured on seven of our 13 bikes in this year’s shootout. Producing 85Nm of torque for its 5.7lbs (2.6kg) weight, the Shimano motor has proved to be a solid offering. Mounted to the bars is the EM800 display and the fairly compact EM-800L assist switch to control the different modes. These modes are ECO, TRAIL and BOOST; and their assistance can be adjusted using the Shimano E-TUBE PROJECT app with two customizable profiles.
The geometry of the Nukeproof MegaWatt is very well rounded, with no stand-out figures aside from a fairly low bottom bracket and an overall handling that was comfortable and intuitive across the spectrum of conditions.
The MegaWatt 297 shares a lot of similarities in the geometry to their analogue Mega enduro bike, including their “saddle offset” philosophy, which gives different seat tube angles to each size to optimize the seating position of the typical height rider on each of the sizes – the effective seat tube angle is either 77.5 or 78 degrees. There is a wide S-XXL size range, which should fit riders from 159cm-201cm (5’2”-6’7”). The reach on these increases by 20mm for each size, with the size Large tested coming in at the Drew-favorite 475mm figure which is paired to a 645mm stack height. Consistent across sizes are the 64-degree head tube angle, 442mm chainstay length and 20mm BB drop (average). The wheelbase on the size large totals 1,264mm, in line with many of the other enduro eBikes in the shootout. Rift Zone E shares a lot of the geometry concepts from the analog Marin Rift Zone trail bike. There’s a 65-degree head tube angle; 77-degree effective seat tube angle; 32mm BB drop and 440mm chainstays across the S-XL size range. The size large tested had a 485mm reach, fairly low 625mm stack, and wheelbase totaling 1,246mm.
The Nukeproof MegaWatt 297 Elite is the second most affordable spec in the MegaWatt lineup, with a price tag of $7,799 and weight of 54.9bs. Other models in the range go from the $6,099 Comp, to the $9,599 RS. The Elite is spec’d with a Fox suspension package, with the 170mm travel 38 Float Performance Elite paired with a custom tuned Float X2 Performance series shock with 2-position lever. There’s a full Shimano SLX groupset, with their 4-pot M7120 brakes with 220mm/200mm rotors, and the HYPERGLIDE+ 12spd groupset with 10-51T cassette. A 165mm Shimano EM600 crank drives the EP8 motor with a 34t chainring. Brand X supplies an Ascend dropper, with size-specific lengths from 125mm to 200mm. Nukeproof uses their in-house components for most of the remainder, with a Horizon V2 handlebar and Horizon stem, Nukeproof Saddle and a Horizon V2 wheelset.
As standard, these bikes come with a pair of Maxxis Assegai DD tires, but for the fifth shootout running we equipped all of the bikes with a pair of Schwalbe tires to give a fair comparison across of the bikes: a Schwalbe Magic Mary Soft Super Gravity up front, with a Big Betty Soft Super Gravity in the rear.