Staff Bike Check: Mat's Nukeproof Giga Factory 290

Staff Bike Check: Mat's Nukeproof Giga Factory 290

As Head Mechanic here at Tweed Valley Bikes, Mat has a methodical mindset and an eye for detail, something which is reflected in the build of his Nukeproof Giga Factory 290. Meticulously set up, Mat’s bike echoes his workshop standards and constant experimentation with suspension settings, cockpit setup and tyre pressures means Mat is always looking for ways to get more from the bike.

Mat's Nukeproof Giga Factory 290 in size medium on a fireroad

“The Giga was an easy choice for me given the types of trails we have locally. Its progressive suspension design means it’s incredibly plush over smaller trail chatter but still ramps up nicely on harsher impacts and stays composed really well. I opted for the 290 over the 297 for the increased chainstay length which, on my size medium, puts me right between the two wheels and feels very comfortable”

Standing at 178cm tall, Mat sits right between sizes Medium and Large on Nukeproof’s size guide. Riding Medium and Large bikes back to back allowed Mat to feel the differences in the two sizes and informed his decision on what worked best for him. 

OneUp dropper and bronze set clamp on the Giga Factory

 When deciding which size to go for I was initially erring towards the size Large, as the 475mm reach is closer to bikes I’ve ridden in the past. However, the long chainstays and slack head angle meant I felt more comfortable on the Medium. It’s still long enough to feel stable and balanced at speed but not so long that I have to move my body weight around loads to keep both wheels weighted

 Mat’s medium Giga 290 has a reach of 455mm, which when combined with the headangle of 63.5° and chainstay length of 445mm, gives a wheelbase of 1241mm. A suspension design derived from Nukeproof’s DH bike delivers 170mm of progressive, linkage driven single pivot rear suspension. The steep 78° seat tube angle means the Giga pedals comfortably on seated fireroad climbs over long days.

Eccentric main pivot on the Nukeproof Giga in the more progressive setting

The Giga uses an eccentric main pivot, meaning the progression of the rear suspension can be changed trailside with just an 8mm allen key between 25.5% and 29% overall progression. Mat currently has his bike in the most progressive setting, looking for the extra support when he’s deep in the travel. 

 Mat tips the scales at 78kg so has set his 180mm Fox 38 Factory fork at 80psi with 2 volume spacers, balanced with 170psi in his Fox Float X2 Factory, delivering 170mm of rear wheel travel. 

Fox 38 Factory 180mm on the front of Mat's Giga

In keeping with the trails we have on our doorstep, which require a suspension setup that maximises traction over the constant trail chatter, Mat has set his fork up with both high and low speed compression fully open. This allows the fork to move into its travel as quickly as possible to soak up lumps and bumps on the trail. This compression setup is mirrored on the rear shock with Mat, again, leaving his high and low speed compression adjusters wide open. To keep the wheels on the ground as much as possible, and keep the suspension feeling plush, Mat runs his rebound fairly fast front and rear. Up front his high speed rebound is set to 1 click from fully open and 2 from open on low speed rebound. His shock is set with 2 clicks from open on high speed rebound and 1 click from open on low speed rebound. 

Fox Float X2 Factory rear shock

A Burgtec bar and stem steer the way up front, with Mat trimming his bars to 770mm with his Bartender Pro grips fitted. The 30mm rise bar is raised slightly with a 10mm spacer under the 42.5mm reach stem. Mat runs his brake levers fairly close to the bar to help reduce arm pump, and has set the bite point around the middle of the lever throw to reduce the strain on his fingers over long descents. 

Maxxis DHRII rear tyre on Mat's bike

The only contact with the trail, Mat’s tyres are enduro spec Maxxis DoubleDown. An Assegai up front, in the softer MaxxGrip compound and a DHRII in the rear in the longer lasting MaxxTerra compound. Inflated to 22psi in the front and 24psi in the rear, Mat also uses a tyre insert to help give a bit more support to the tyres in high load turns and also increased puncture protection. 

 A full Shimano XT 12 speed drivetrain powers Mat along, with the 10-51t cassette giving ample range when paired with a Burgtec 32t chainring. 170mm cranks keep the wheels turning as Mat winches up for another lap. 

Shimano 170mm XT cranks with a Burgtec 32t chainring in Kash Bronze colour

203mm rotors front and back give the Shimano XT brakes plenty of stopping power, especially when paired with Shimano sintered pads for maximum power and fade resistance. The IceTech rotors fitted to Mat’s bike use an aluminium core, surrounded by a stainless steel braking surface. This allows the rotors to radiate heat away more effectively, keeping the braking system cooler and working more effectively.

OneUp 180mm dropper

A 180mm OneUp dropper gives Mat the most amount of drop for his leg length. A short overall stack height and dropped saddle rails mean he can get his saddle as low as possible while still getting the height he needs for comfortable pedalling. 

“Over the past couple months that I’ve been riding the Giga I’ve been blown away by how well it handles rough and choppy descents, but equally how fun and playful the bike is on more mellow terrain. It’s not a one trick pony in the sense that it only really comes alive on really technical and fast trails, flowy laps of Angry Sheep are just as much fun on the Giga as full runs down Feed the Pony or Repeat Offender.”


Mat’s Giga Factory 290 full spec:

Frame: Nukeproof Giga 290, size medium

Fork: Fox 38 Factory, 180mm, 80psi, 2 tokens, LSC: 0 HSC: 0 HSR: 1 LSR: 2

Shock: Fox Float X2 Factory, 170psi, LSC: 0 HSC: 0 HSR: 2 LSR: 1 

Handlebar: Burgtec RideWide Alloy, 770mm wide, 30mm rise, 35mm clamp

Stem: Burgtec MK3 Enduro, 42.5mm reach, 35mm bore

Tyres: Front - Maxxis Assegai, DoubleDown, MaxxGrip, 22psi, no insert. Rear - Maxxis DHRII, DoubleDown, MaxxTerra, 24psi, insert. 

Wheelset: DT Swiss E1700

Brakes: Shimano XT 4 piston, 203mm rotors, metallic sintered pad

Drivetrain: Shimano XT 12spd, 10-51t cassette, 32t Burgtec chainring, 170mm XT crank

Seatpost: OneUp dropper 180mm with OneUp lever V3

Mat's Nukeproof Giga 290 Factory

To find out more about Gigas, and to learn more about the range, pop into our shop on Innerleithen’s High Street. 

01896 831 429

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