As the longest travel single crown bike in Nukeproof’s lineup, the intentions of the Giga are clear; to compete and win at the pointy end of international enduro racing. With such a single minded approach to the design of the bike, is the Giga a one trick pony, or is it more than the sledgehammer it might appear to be at first glance?
Over the past 9 months our Guide, Tomy, has been riding his Giga day in day out on the enduro trails here in the Tweed Valley, as well as big mountain riding in the Cairngorms and up to Torridon, putting his Giga to the test on terrain outside of the race stages it was designed to excel on.
Borrowing its suspension design from Nukeproof’s downhill bike, the Dissent, gives the Giga an immediately purposeful stance. Chunky tubing, aggressive angles and a low standover all add to the drama surrounding this bike. Look closer though and you’ll notice plenty of well thought out details; the scalloped downtube has plenty of space for even a 750ml water bottle, under the top tube are mounts for an accessory strap and the suspension kinematics can be changed at the side of the trail with only an 8mm Allen key. Internally, fully sleeved cable routing makes servicing simple and keeps cable rattle to a bare minimum on trail.
With two settings to alter the rear suspension’s rate of progression, each giving a distinct ride feel, the Giga can be set up to suit most riders with either an air or coil shock. Setting 1 gives an overall progression of 25.5% and Setting 2 raises that to an overall progression of 29% giving a more supple initial stroke and ramping up harder in the last 50% of travel. The higher progression setting is designed to work best, according to Nukeproof, with a coil shock and in wet conditions. Given that this bike comes stock with a Rockshox Super Deluxe Ultimate coil shock, and that this is Scotland, most of the riding time was spent in Setting 2, but both settings were tested to feel the difference in ride characteristic between the two.
The size Large frame has a 475mm reach which, with its 435mm chainstay length and 63.5° head angle, gives a wheelbase of 1255mm. Standing at 188cm tall, and weighing 85kg, I’m squarely between the Large and X-Large frame sizes. After a lot of debate, I opted for the Large for its increased maneuverability, thinking it would better suit the trails here in the Tweed Valley. The RS spec Giga is built around Rockshox suspension, SRAM brakes and drivetrain, and finished with Nukeproof wheels. For a closer look at Tomy’s bike, check out his bike check article HERE.
Looking at the suspension kinematics, it’s clear the Giga was designed with confidence on the descents in mind. Complementing its relatively high rate of progression is an anti-rise figure sitting at almost bang on 100% at sag. This will mean that the Giga should remain relatively neutral when you’re hard on the brakes, with minimal squat into the rear travel. A bike with over 100% anti-rise will squat into its travel under braking, and a bike with under 100% will extend its rear suspension under hard braking.
Riding the Giga
With a steep seat tube angle, wide range drivetrain and long stroke dropper spinning the Giga back up the Golfie fireroad for another lap is as enjoyable as it could be for a bike of this type. Heavy casing tyres and sticky compound rubber mean it’s not fast, but it’s a comfortable place to sit and spin and isn’t overly fatiguing on long fireroad climbs. Flick the climb switch to tune out some of the pedal bob and it’s as efficient feeling as you could expect a bike like this to be.
Where the Giga falls down a bit is when the climb gets technical. Comparatively low anti-squat figures give the Giga an active ride when you unlock the shock to ascend more technical terrain. For the most part this is totally manageable but on bigger moves the bike has a tendency to feel like you’re compressing the suspension more than actually driving the bike forward. In my testing this was only ever really a problem on the big mountain riding up in Torridon, where big power moves are needed across technical features to keep your momentum going.
All in all, for the riding I find myself doing 99% of the time, the Giga handles long climbs with ease. I’m not overly fatigued at the top, with no sore spots from a poor seated pedalling position and even with heavy duty tyres fitted I can sit and spin all day happily. For the 1% of my time where I’m taking on very technical climbing, perhaps the Giga isn’t the ideal bike, but its shortcomings here are more than made up for on the descents.
Point the Giga down hill and it feels like everything falls into place, the DH inspired geometry is immediately noticeable and gives the Giga incredible stability and composure over rough terrain. Coupled with the progressive rear suspension and coil shock, the initial stroke of the Giga is supple and responds quickly to the small trail chatter leaving you feeling relatively isolated from the trail and able to focus on the next major feature. With the progressive nature of the Giga’s suspension comes a need to drive the bike into the trail and ‘ride heavy’. When ridden in this manner the Giga comes alive, rewarding every confident move with a calmness at speed that breeds confident and assertive riding.
This is more than a straight line blunt instrument however, the Giga responds to direction changes quickly and tips into tight turns with ease, this is especially noticeable on the 297 version with the shorter 435mm chainstay (445mm on the 290). Supported turns are a breeze and are met with the usual unflappable nature of the bike. Enter the turn low on the bike, drive your weight through the turn, and the Giga stays planted and predictable, accelerating you out the otherside. Take the support away entering a flat turn, or off camber section, and the Giga holds a line well. A good balance of lateral stiffness means the Giga is stiff enough to react quickly to direction changes initiated by the rider, but not so stiff that the bike gets deflected off trail obstacles.
The fit of the Large frame (475mm reach) felt immediately comfortable for my 188cm height, without feeling stretched out, or cramped, my neutral position put me right in the middle of the bike. This central riding position allows you to weight both tyres equally, giving maximum traction and letting the bike move freely underneath you.
If there is one word to sum up how the Giga handles technical terrain it would be “confident”. On everything I’ve ridden it’s been fantastic; whether that’s battering down the Golfie, or hunting for rideable lines in Torridon, the Giga has always handled itself on the descents with poise and predictability letting me worry less about how my bike is going to handle itself and focus more on what’s in front of me.
Long Term Parts Report
Frame: In the 9 months I have been riding the Giga it’s been out at least 2-3 times every week, during the summer it got even more use. In this time I have had to change the frame bearings a couple of times, which I think is totally normal for this amount of use. Outside of that the frame has been bang on, there are a few battle scars but mechanically it’s been great.
Suspension: I’ve played around with my setup a lot over the past 9 months, so the Rockshox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate has been on and off the bike plenty of times to change springs. After plenty of back and forth I’ve settled on a 400lb spring, for now, with the compression damping wound fully off and 1 click from fully open on rebound. In the time I’ve been riding the bike I haven't serviced the shock and it’s still feeling silky smooth and stays consistent on long descents.
The Rockshox Zeb Ultimate is also performing faultlessly, with only a simple lower leg service halfway through the summer, it’s still smooth enough to bob a touch as I pedal along flat tarmac paths. I’m sure another lower leg service would improve the performance even more!
Wheels: Nukeproof’s Horizon V2 is a relatively simple wheelset and has been totally fit for purpose for my riding. The aluminium rims have held up great with no flat spots, even after some poorly judged gaps, the thicker sidewall on the rear wheel adds a bit of extra strength for the wheel that sees the most abuse.
All I’ve done is give them the odd true and check the spoke tension every few weeks, it’s always been tight and even so no complaints here. The hub bearings are still rolling smooth with no side to side play
Drivetrain: The SRAM X01 AXS drivetrain has been pretty solid. With tight trails and deep ruts the mech has seen its fair share of action, impacting tree stumps and the sides of gullies all around the Tweed Valley, and still shifts impressively well. I’ve been really impressed by how tough this rear mech is. It’s been scraped down trails, bashed off rocks and jet washed without mercy and everything still works just fine. Battery life for me has been great too. I’ll easily go a week or two without remembering to charge the battery, I have even started a number of rides with the battery indicator showing red, and it has never fully run out of charge.
Before I’d really ridden the AXS system I was sceptical about how much of a performance benefit it might bring. Having spent the past 9 months using it I can say I’ve never shifted gears so much. The light, short paddle shift on the AXS remote encourages you to shift more than you might do with a regular shifter, meaning you’re in a more optimal gear for more of the time.
Brakes: I was a big fan of SRAM’s Code RSCs before I got this bike, loving them for their easy bleed, consistent feel and ability to get them to feel exactly how you want with the Bite Adjust. These have been no exception, with one good bleed out of the box all I have done since is lubricate the pistons every time I change the pads.
The SRAM HS2 rotors are a big improvement over the outgoing Centrelines, with noticeably more power, and heat management so good I’ve had to spend longer bedding in new brake pads.
Over the past 9 months I’ve really become very comfortable on the Giga, it’s a bike that always has your back and urges you to improve your riding with a sense of endless capability and confidence. Outside of regular maintenance, the ownership experience for me has been great with no missed rides or unexpected failures.
If you’re on the lookout for a new enduro bike, the Giga should absolutely be on your shortlist.
Interested in trying a Giga yourself? Get in touch on 01896 831 429 to book a demo ride!