Fi Berry, one of our Dirt School coaches, has been riding her Nukeproof Mega 297 Elite for the past four months and even in that relatively short space of time has put a serious amount of mileage on the bike. As a Dirt School Coach, Fi rides week in, week out, throughout the year and needs a bike that’s dependable and simple to maintain, while still performing to the highest standards to take on the toughest trails in the Tweed Valley.
While the bike has remained fairly close to stock, there are a few choice changes, some obvious and some less so, that Fi has made to get the bike riding exactly as she likes it.
Let’s take a closer look at the bike, its setup and the rider below.
TVB: So, you have a Mega 297 Elite in size small. You’ve ridden both 29 and MX bikes, what made you choose MX wheels on this Mega?
Fi: Fundamentally it comes down to my size. Being a smaller rider I just get more range of motion across my bike, which is key for progressing my riding. I find that an MX wheeled bike corners better and I find it more controllable and enjoyable to ride.
TVB: What changes have you made to your bike since you’ve got it?
Fi: The most obvious change is probably the brakes. I’ve been a fan of Hope brakes for years now so when I saw the new Tech 4’s I knew I’d have to get a set for the Mega. Safe to say I’m not disappointed, lots of power and modulation. Other than that, I've shortened the stem from the 45mm that’s fitted stock to a 35mm Burgtec one and fitted some slightly higher rise bars, just to get the cockpit feeling really comfy. The bars are cut to 730mm and the bike feels like it fits spot on.
Less easy to spot is the shock retune. I felt the stock tune was slightly too damped for my riding style and weight, a lighter tune has allowed me to regain use of the rebound and compression settings and has made the ride of the bike much smoother, giving me a supple beginning stroke and still plenty of ramp up.
TVB: Do you change your bike setup at all for big coaching sessions?
Fi: I keep my bike unchanged whether I’m coaching, guiding or riding for fun. Keeping a consistent setup keeps things simple and predictable. We also coach to a very high level so I need my bike to be set up properly and performing at its best.
TVB: What component are you most picky about?
Fi: It’s hard to pin it down to just one! It’s mainly the contact points so brakes, grips and pedals. I like to run my brakes with the reach very close and the lever biting just off the bar, so a good bleed is crucial to get that feeling right. Obviously a tonne of power and control too. Grips wise, I use Burgtec Bartender grips , which are narrow and more comfortable for my smaller hands. Pedals are key too, I need as much traction as I can possibly get but also a pedal that doesn’t need servicing every few rides. The Burgtec mk.5 Penthouses fit the bill perfectly.
Other than those, I do like to have my suspension set just how I like it, soft and fast!
TVB: What’s your process for suspension setup?
Fi: I’ll start by setting the spring rate based on my static sag, then move onto rebound and compression settings. I’m a lighter rider so I run both my shock and fork with the compression and rebound dials wound fully open. After that, I’ll add or remove volume spacers as I need to based on how much travel I’m using.
TVB: What are your tyre pressures?
Fi: I run 18psi up front and 22psi in the rear. I might be able to run less but then I increase the likelihood of a puncture and start to feel the tyres squirm in high load corners.
TVB: What’s your favourite thing about your Mega?
Fi: How well rounded it is as a bike. It’s obviously incredibly competent descending, but it’s also very comfortable to climb for long periods and go out for long days in the hills. It’s definitely not just a bike for smashing Golfie laps on, it’s far more versatile than that.
Frame: Nukeproof Mega 297 size Small
Fork: Fox 38 Performance Elite (45psi)
Shock: Fox Float X2 Performance (97psi)
Wheels: Nukeproof Horizon V2
Tyres: WTB Verdict 29x2.5 front (18psi) WTB Judge 27.5x2.4 rear (22psi)
Handlebar: Burgtec RideWide Enduro Carbon bar (30mm rise, 730m wide)
Stem: Burgtec mk.3 Enduro stem 35mm reach
Grips: Burgtec Bartender
Brakes: Hope Tech 4 lever with Hope E4 caliper on 203mm rotors
Cassette: Shimano SLX 12spd (10-51t)
Chain: Shimano SLX 12spd
Shifter: Shimano SLX 12spd
Rear mech: Shimano SLX 12spd
Chainring: Burgtec 30t
Pedals: Burgtec Penthouse mk.5 flats
Dropper: Brand X Ascend 125mm drop
Saddle: Nukeproof Sam Hill Enduro Saddle
As a coach for Dirt School, Fi finds herself riding her Mega on everything from blue and red trails at Glentress all the way to the steepest chutes up at the Golfie. If you have any other questions about Fi’s bike, leave a comment below, or if you’re interested in a Mega for yourself, give us a call on 01896 831 429.