For this instalment of our Staff Bike Check series, we sat down with our Head Suspension Technician, Ady to find out all the details on his 2022 Nukeproof Mega 290 Pro Alloy.
Ady heads up our suspension service centre, TVB Tech, and offers servicing on forks and shocks as well as professional suspension setup and data acquisition using a Motion Instruments logging kit. It should come as no surprise then to find out that Ady’s suspension is far from standard, more on that below. Read on to find out exactly how Ady runs his suspension and what changes he has made as well as everything else about his bike.
TVB: What size is your Mega and what made you choose the 290 over the 297?
Ady: I’m 170cm tall which puts me right in the bracket for a medium frame on Nukeproof’s website so that’s what I went with. I went for the 290 over the 297 frame to give me extra rollover and traction from the bigger rear contact patch, the extra length in the chainstay also calms down the handling and gives me a bit of extra stability. Aluminium frame because I really like the look of it, the colour of this bike is fantastic!
TVB: You’ve obviously got a full Burgtec cockpit. What bar and stem are you using?
Ady: My bars are the RideWide Enduro Alloy which I’ve cut down to 745mm, giving me a total width of around 755mm with the narrower diameter Bartender grips installed. I’ve chosen to use a 31.8mm clamp bar, I’m relatively light at 63kg so I don’t necessarily need the stiffest setup, something I’ve considered on my wheel choice as well. For stem length I went for the 42.5mm option. I’m at the shorter end of the medium frame size bracket so didn’t want to over stretch things with a 50mm stem.
TVB: So compliance is clearly something you’re looking for in your bike. What wheels and tyres are you using?
Ady: I’ve fitted a set of Zipp Moto wheels. They’re a single wall rim which means they’re far more compliant than a traditional box section rim. I also very rarely puncture when I use these wheels which is a big reason I’ve kept using them.
Tyres are a Maxxis Assegai in MaxxGrip compound up front pumped up to 19psi and a DHRII in MaxxTerra out back at 22psi. I’ve gone for a DoubleDown casing on the rear to give me a bit more support in high load turns and that damped feel that a heavier casing tyre gives you. At the front I’m using an EXO+ casing to save weight, add some rolling speed and, again, increase that compliance and save me a bit of fatigue over longer rides. No inserts front or rear.
TVB: Now, we’ve probably delayed the inevitable long enough. Keeping your tyres glued to the trail and making it look like you just float across the trail, your suspension isn’t standard is it? Talk us through what you’ve done to make this bike perform as well as it does.
Ady: So this bike came stock with a Rockshox Zeb Select+ and a Rockshox Super Deluxe Select+ air shock. 2022 Select+ Zebs came with a Charger damper that only has Low speed compression and Rebound adjustment and didn’t give me too much scope to get the exact setup I wanted. I immediately changed the damper for a Charger 2.1 Ultimate with both High and Low speed compression adjustment. After riding that stock damper for a while I found myself wanting more from the fork, so I fitted an NSR High Performance upgrade kit.
TVB: What is an NSR High Performance Upgrade?
Ady: Essentially it’s a totally new rebound piston with a custom shim stack, a custom compression shim stack as well as a few internal damper changes. The end goal of all the changes is to increase oil flow and reduce the inherent damping within the stock unit. This then means the damping can be controlled more finely by the shims instead of being limited by the inherent drag in the stock damper.
TVB: And your shock? These bikes come stock with a Super Deluxe air shock, you’ve clearly swapped it for a coil but I doubt that’s where the modifications end.
Ady: That’s right, I rode this bike with the air shock for a while and it pumped so well, but then I was riding over high frequency chatter, especially on the brakes into turns, the air shock didn’t feel so good.
I changed to a new Rockshox Super Deluxe Ultimate coil with Hydraulic Bottom Out control, to which I fitted a custom High Speed Rebound shim stack and rebled the damper with thinner 3wt oil over the stock 7wt. Similar to the fork modifications, the idea here is to reduce the drag within the system, so I can achieve higher compression and rebound speeds than a stock shock.
The shock rides fantastically well, grip everywhere is massively improved and the bike feels calm when charging over rough ground.
Ady’s Suspension setup:
Fork: HSC Open, LSC 6 Clicks from open, LSR 9 from open, 41 psi 16% seated sag, 2 tokens
Shock: HSC open, LSC 2 clicks (mid setting), HBO Open, LSR 2 from open, 300Lb spring 27% seated sag
TVB: Your Mega sounds like it wants to go fast everywhere, how do you keep that speed in check?
Ady: SRAM Guide RE brakes came stock on this bike with 200mm Centreline rotors front and back. Bled up with an early lever bite and metal pads there is plenty of power and they feel great. I have my levers further inboard than most I think, my finger is resting right on the end of the lever.
TVB: How about drivetrain? What’s powering you back up the hill?
Ady: It’s mainly a GX Eagle drivetrain, a 10-52t cassette except I’ve swapped to a Burgtec 28t chainring. Using the smaller ring lets me use more gears for climbing so I can spread the load across more of the cassette and make it last a bit longer, that’s the theory at least!
TVB: Flat pedals all the time?
Ady: Flat pedals all the time! These Burgtec Penthouse mk.5 are really robust and simple to service. I’ve changed the pins on each corner of the platform from the 10mm standard pins to some 12mm pointed pins to give even more traction.
Ady’s Nukeproof Mega Pro Alloy Spec:
Frame: Nukeproof Mega 290, alloy, medium
Fork: Rockshox Zeb Select+ w/ Charger 2.1 Ultimate damper & NSR Upgrades
Shock: Rockshox Super Deluxe Coil Ulitmate, custom tuned
Wheels: Zipp Moto 3Zero
Tyres: Front: Maxxis Assegai, MaxxGrip, EXO+, 19psi Rear: Maxxis DHRII, MaxxTerra, DoubleDown, 22psi. No inserts.
Handlebar: Burgtec RideWide ALloy, 745mm, 31.8mm clamp, 20mm rise
Grips: Burgtec Bartender
Stem: Burgtec Enduro mk.3, 31.8mm clamp, 42.5mm reach
Brakes: SRAM Guide RE, SRAM Centreline 200mm rotors
Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle, 10-52t cassette, 28t Burgtec chainring
Seatpost: Brand-X Ascend, 150mm drop
Saddle: Nukeproof Horizon Enduro
Ady’s Mega showcases how drastically you can alter the ride of your bike with internal damper modifications and proper suspension setup. Get in touch for more information on setup days or NSR Rockshox damper upgrades.
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