Home Road Cycling [Tested] Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory
Road Cycling

[Tested] Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory

This Summer I had the pleasure of testing my very first Nukeproof. When in the day, as a kid racing navigate country on the East Coast, the Michigan brand’s mythical hubs were something I unchangingly lusted without but never managed to attain. Fast forward a couple decades and they are now a massive consumer uncontrived model velocipede manufacturer hailing from the British Isles offering up upper value propositions ranging from beginner to factory race levels. It was only just in the last year that the trademark came home, so to speak, and began distributing their bikes wideness the US out of Salt Lake City, Utah. For the last few months I’ve been riding the long legged Giga 290 Carbon Factory, which lands in the “Super Enduro” category. Read on to see how it’s been working out…

Details

  • Carbon webbing frame
  • 29″ front and rear
  • 180mm front travel / 170mm rear travel
  • 2.5″ rear tire clearance
  • 200mm uncontrived post mount rear brake
  • UDH compatible
  • Fully vinyl wrap pre-installed
  • S-XXL sizing
  • 35 lbs. 6 oz. (no pedals / as tested, with vinyl wrap, rear fender, snifter muzzle and sealant)
  • $6,899 – currently on sale for $5,174 USD

Starting with suspension, this velocipede sees Factory level Fox front and rear. Up front the 38 speaks for itself. For a few years now it has been the weightier fork in its category in my opinion. Four way willowy damping, an spanking-new chassis with sunny fender integration and transude valves all hover on 180mm of travel. Out when is the Float X2, a shock which has had a mixed reputation to put it lightly. When it’s operating properly, these units are truly spanking-new but they do have a tendency to aerate/cavitate and need servicing prematurely. The 205mm X 60mm stroke trunnion mount shown whilom has four way willowy damping and a lockout for the climbs.

This model has a full Shimano XT drivetrain. A 30T chainring paired with a 10-51T rear cassette offers plenty of range for big days in the saddle racing or otherwise. To alimony things concise, widely speaking I think it’s pearly to typify Shimano drivetrains as largest at shifting under power and tending to be a little increasingly durable than SRAM, while drivetrains from SRAM have a increasingly crisp, positive finger when unquestionably shifting and often weight slightly less given price points. In any case, I had no problems whatsoever with the XT line and found it to be a workhorse drivetrain that can take a beating.

Props to Nukeproof for speccing heavy duty “Double Down” casings on both the front and rear of this bike. Given the Giga’s travel and want for rowdy terrain, this is an towardly undeniability and is something worth validness in mind when judging the well-constructed bike’s weight. I found the 2.5″ Maxxis Assegai front / 2.4″ DHR2 rear philharmonic to be a highly predictable and versatile combo. I’ve ridden this setup many times surpassing and have no complaints with it. Lastly, props to Nukeproof for utilizing a softer Maxxgrip recipe up front and a increasingly durable Maxxterra out back.

Another setup that I have had plenty of time testing over the years is the DT Swiss EX1700 Wheelset. It’s been virtually for a few years now and there is a reason that dozens of velocipede companies spec these wheels on mid to long travel offerings as a go to upper value option. They’re relatively light, plenty strong and easy to service. All in all they’re a unconfined no frills product that you won’t have to stress about.

In wing to stuff entrusted to handling shifting, Shimano is moreover in tuition of stopping with 200mm, four piston XT brakes. My wits with this brakeset has been nothing short of perfect. The power, lever feel, modulation and welding have all been excellent.

The front portion of the cockpit is completely comprised of Nukeproof’s in house parts – many of which are Sam Hill signature pieces. I quite liked the 45mm length stem and in fact have the same one on a personal bike. While I wasn’t much of a fan of the grips, I’m sure some people may get withal with them. They’re low profile and grabby but a little nonflexible for my tastes. Regarding the handlebar, it felt like a Renthal Fatbar – a good thing – but with increasingly backsweep.

On the topic of in house parts, props to Nukeproof for including their full coverage chainguide. It’s tidy and works great.

Touching on a few frame details – there is a nice rear fender tucked into the rear end which offers good coverage and didn’t make any noise. We’ve had a rather dry Summer, so I can’t speak to its effectiveness that much, but it seems like it would be helpful in the slop. The downtube has a rugged rubber baby-sit that offers a wholesale wrap. Lastly, the molded rubber protection on the seat and chainstay worked quite nicely as well, keeping things very quiet out back.

Going over some other aspects of the Giga’s frame features, we’ll see an whatsit mount under the downtube – which is the next weightier thing to internal storage. On the downtube, Nukeproof got real creative with the tubeset in order to unbend a full size water bottle, but it is worth noting that only their (included) muzzle works on this model. Lastly, on the right you can get a good squint at some of the included full vinyl wrap. This is something that normally can forfeit a few hundred dollars, expressly if you’re paying for the installation, and it protects your investment very nicely, so it’s unconfined to see it included for free. Lastly, as far as subscription routing goes the velocipede features a fully sleeved internal routing but I must point out that my velocipede had the rear derailleur subscription routed where the rear restriction would be routed on a velocipede specced for a left/rear and right/front restriction setup. This is the first time that I’ve understood the pain that some Europeans finger when ownership American bikes!

The Giga features a progression welding at the main linkage which can easily be adjusted trailside via a single 8mm allen key. As my velocipede came with an air shock I left it in the increasingly linear setting that is virtually 24% progression. Having the option to switch to an increased 29% progression is perfect for anyone considering a whorl shock.

I had no issues whatsoever with the BikeYoke dropper. In fact I really liked it. 185mm of travel was a treat for my long legs and I love that it can be reset/bled with a 4mm allen key and a quick trundling of the travel. That said, the dropper lever from the ironically named Brand-X was pretty terrible and uncomfortable to use. If this was my personal velocipede it’d be the first thing that I’d change.

Geometry

An overview of the geometry shows a velocipede that is very well thought out. My size Large Giga features a steep seat tube angle, a moderately slack throne tube wile and a nice wastefulness between the reach and chainstay lengths. If there was one minor unorthodoxy to pick it could be that this velocipede doesn’t full-length size scaled chainstay lengths as many bikes do now. With that in mind, I think the 445mm number is perfect for the Medium – XL frames, but could be a little long on the S and a little short on the XXL models. This is not a big deal, but worth noting and – all told – the numbers on this velocipede are really good.

On the trail

Starting with climbing, a 77.75º seat wile meant that despite how heavy duty this velocipede is, if you have the patience and the legs you could get it when up some pretty good sized climbs without destroying yourself. As a velocipede gets increasingly “long in the tooth” it becomes increasingly increasingly important to be worldly-wise to shift your soul forward into the right position when climbing it when uphill and Nukeproof nailed this aspect. As for kinematics this velocipede is quite wifely as well. Realizing full well that a 180mm/170mm velocipede can only climb so efficiently, this wasn’t a velocipede where input seemed to be wasted on sloppy suspension. Rather, it got withal quite nicely and didn’t walkout much wallowing. It’s unscratched to say that weight is probably the biggest setback in terms of climbing. However, that should be contextualized mindfully as the velocipede features Double Lanugo tire casings, a full coverage chainguide, and a vinyl wrap. These are all very popular items that many brands don’t include and end up costing consumers a few hundred dollars post purchase while moreover subtracting some weight.

In terms of descending, without my first few rides I was trying to put a finger on which other velocipede the Giga reminded me of, then it finally struck me. In many ways it was reminiscent of the current Specialized Enduro – mainly in regards to suspension and geometry. It has a very similar rate of progression and the geometry is moreover quite close, while they share the same stereotype leverage rate (2.83:1). The Nukeproof has a steeper seat wile and UDH compatibility while the Specialized has internal storage and perhaps a slightly livelier layup. Anyhow, I found this velocipede to be extremely calm, and stable. I would plane venture to say it seemed a bit desensitized to speed and was unchangingly begging for increasingly no matter how nonflexible I pushed it. The flip side of that forge is that when the going got slow it needed a bit increasingly rider input due to its stature and weight. With that in mind, this is still a very nimble rig in the grand scheme of things and I really enjoyed my time on it in tight, twisty terrain. Additionally, one could consider bumping lanugo to a 170mm front air spring to liven things up a bit if that makes sense given your local terrain. However, if you are commonly riding rugged and ragged trails the Giga isn’t too far from DH velocipede level capabilities and is extremely surefooted and confident in stock form.

As mentioned earlier, the progression welding is a unconfined touch and I felt that the suspension had the right mix that most riders are looking for: light off the top, forgiving yet supportive in the middle and well resistant to harsh marrow outs at the end. On the topic of end stroke, I never once felt full bottom, although my sag ring indicated that I reached full travel a few times. Using it all, but not feeling the very end is quite ideal. The rear shock came spec’d with a single volume reducer so you could play with the lines by removing it or subtracting flipside to tailor to your liking. I moreover appreciated the cartridge validness lower shock eyelet, but I did have some bad news on the rear shock front. This Float X2 model did fall prey to the dreaded and same aeration problem. From my understanding, Fox is addressing this issue by either fixing the rear shocks or replacing them with updated 2024 models, so while it is an inconvenience it is not the end of the world and it’s not worth writing the shock itself off as the performance is spanking-new and very well tuned to the Giga when it is working properly.

In terms of some of the other handling aspects I found the Giga to have a very neutral ride. It didn’t seem to walkout much pedal feedback and I couldn’t snift any suspension interference under heavy braking. The frame itself was plenty stiff and sturdy, so it tracked very nicely in the corners with the bonus of widow stability at speed due to its low part-way of mass. Throughout all of my testing I didn’t have a single piece of hardware when out or come loose and all of the situation are running smooth as can be. Admittedly I got a bit nostalgic looking at the shock’s linkage considering its layout is the same – conceptually speaking – as one of my first downhill bikes, a 2000 Turner DHR. In any specimen this tintinnabulate zombie style linkage has proven the test of time and was worry free.

As far as the components are concerned, most of that is covered fairly well under the Details section above. Widely speaking however I found many of the in house products to be quite good and the mix of Shimano XT and flagship Fox was mostly excellent, with the exception of the rear shock. I’ll imbricate the overall value speciality increasingly in the summary, but all in all this velocipede has a unconfined spec.

Touching on some of the bike’s features, I did have an worrying little bit of subscription noise which took me some time to strop in on. However, when I zip tied the two cables together where they exited the downtube, it went away, so that was an easy fix. All of the bike’s protective elements worked a treat and Nukeproof deserves upper praise for including the full vinyl wrap. Lastly, while I appreciated the relatively upper rise handlebar and /-5mm stem, I prefer a fairly tall front end and it still felt slightly low to me with just four 5mm spacers. Including six spacers would be a nice touch and gives the end user increasingly adjustability. In the grand scheme of things however, this is a minor detail that could be remedied with a taller handlebar.

Overall

At the end of the day I got withal very well with this velocipede – so much so that I’ve pondered towers one up for velocipede park season next year. It’s a unconfined all virtually gravity rig for someone who would want a velocipede park ripper that’s moreover up for frequent enduro racing. It’s capable unbearable that it might have you questioning the utility in owning a downhill bike, outside of racing perhaps. All of that aside, it was the frame itself that won me over, which is a good thing as it’s the cadre investment in a bike. This model features flagship suspension, and spanking-new brakes. The tried and true drivetrain and wheelset go a long ways. It’s nice that Nukeproof covers all the details and doesn’t leave you hanging – duty towardly tire casings, protective wrap and things like the whatsit mount and willowy progression go a long ways. The suspension layout and geometry are both winners all virtually in my mind as well. All in all, I’m a big fan of this velocipede and I think that at $6,899 it offers unconfined value. That it’s on sale in limited quantities and sizes for just $5,174 (at the time of writing this article) is plane better.

www.nukeproof.com

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