The electric feeling of riding the ragged edge

Anyone got a Sharpie? The stealth black looks are interrupted by Michelin’s loud tire logos, but their performance more than makes up for any lost style points.


The brand Nukeproof needs no introduction for riders of the ’90s era, most of which likely lusted for its bonded carbon shell hubs. The brand also made other components and even frames before fading in popularity. Then in 2004, northern Irish downhill racer Michael Cowan acquired the trademarks, developing components and then bikes, eventually leading to the sponsorship of the Chain Reaction Cycles team. On this team is multi-time downhill World Cup, world champion and EWS enduro series winner Sam Hill, who has been a force to be reckoned with on the EWS enduro circuit. Nukeproof bikes have only been available through a couple of shops in North America in recent years, but that is all about to change with a new distribution system and growing dealer network. Mountain Bike Action’s reintroduction to the brand comes in the form of its Megawatt eMTB, an electric-assist version of its EWS-winning Mega enduro bike.


Nukeproof chose Shimano’s EP8 drive unit to power the Megawatt. With 250 watts of power and 85 N/m of torque, it’s on par with most other full-powered systems currently on the market. Its electricity is stored in Shimano’s E8036, 630Wh battery. On the bars are Shimano’s EM800 color display and the clean EM800-L toggle switch. Shimano’s drive units are customizable through its E-Tube phone app where you can change power characteristics in each mode and update system firmware.


The Megawatt’s frame is made entirely of custom triple-butted and hydroformed 6061-T6 aluminum and includes a few forged aluminum parts. It features internal cable routing that enters through the headset, Boost rear-axle spacing and Enduro pivot bearings. The bike also comes with a side-entry bottle cage that’s mounted below the shock on the downtube with an aluminum spacer to get the angle just right.

The geometry is enduro-focused with a 64-degree head angle, 475mm reach (large), 345mm bottom bracket height and 78-degree effective seat tube angle. In fact, these numbers are identical to the pedal-powered Mega 297, except for the Megawatt’s 7mm-longer chainstay length that comes in at 442mm across the size range. Geometry is adjustable, but not in the form of flip chips. Instead, Nukeproof relies on shock-sag adjustments from 30–35 percent for subtle attitude changes.

The Megawatt comes with a nice side loading carbon cage but there is just barely enough room for a standard size bottle.



Nukeproof offers four different models of the Megawatt, starting at $6,099 for the Comp (with a Deore drivetrain and a smaller 502Wh battery) to the RS build we tested, topping out at $9,599.Highlights of this top-drawer spec include a larger 630Wh battery, SRAM’s X01 AXS wireless drivetrain, Code RSC brakes, Bikeyoke Revive dropper post with Triggy 1x remote, and a Nukeproof Horizon cockpit with Sam Hill Series grips. Most models see Maxxis Assegai tires, but this one gets Michelin’s DH22 treads instead—a wrecking crew favorite.


There is nothing extraordinary about the Megawatt’s 170mm-travel suspension design. It’s a tried-and-true, Horst-link style four-bar system. The rocker link is unique in the way it wraps around the seat tube, giving the overall bike an above-average clean look to it. This system is paired to a RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate RCT coil shock with adjustable low-speed compression, rebound and a firming climb switch. Up front Nukeproof specs a 170mm-travel RockShox Zeb Ultimate with a Charger 2.1 RC2 damper.


For such a big bike, the Megawatt climbs surprisingly well. So well, in fact, that test riders purposely sought technical climbs on this bike. Its Michelin tires are exceptionally grippy, and the suspension is supple and tractable. The only fly in the ointment is a low bottom bracket that had us pedal striking more than normal, so riders had to be very careful of their foot placement. Most of us on the wrecking crew will take a sweet-handling bike with a low BB over a tall, awkwardly handling one any day of the week, so we are okay with this.

A steep seat angle and seemingly high levels of anti-squat boosted the efficient feel of the bike, but the motor had to be on, because the tires have a lot of drag and resistance. Climbing without the assist is a real workout since it feels like you’re pedaling through wet cement. As a result, we tuned the assist output a touch lower in Eco to get a workout without killing ourselves, left Trail alone and maxed out Boost.


Wrecking crew test riders all had visions of Sam Hill’s loose riding style while flying down the descents on the Megawatt, and the bike certainly let us hang it out. It has a “sit in” feel that puts your weight low on the bike, instilling confidence everywhere it’s pointed. This feel translates exceptionally well in the corners where the bike is simply on rails. Fast, slow, rough or smooth, there is no corner that this bike could not charge with speed. The Michelin tires that stick to seemingly everything like glue are not hurting this feel. The only place the tires show weakness is on rock-hard blue groove hardpack, and even then they’re very decent.

ON THE RIDER: Lazer Jackal Kineticore helmet ($220), 100% Eastcraft glasses ($225), Manzur Race Air jersey ($38), Race Air short ($47), Race Face Covert knee pad ($100), Ride Concepts Hellion Clip shoes ($150)

Another feather in the Megawatt’s descending cap is its superb suspension. The rear end is plush and active without feeling wallowy or vague. It can still pump rollers and push off jump faces without feeling like it’s stuck to the ground with a tractor beam. The coil shock’s small-bump compliance combined with the bike’s cornering prowess had us attacking off-camber corners that we often tip-toe through on other bikes. RockShox’s ZEB continues to impress us with amazing action and the ability to isolate the rider from chatter like few others. We experimented with different sag settings, but found 30–32.5-percent range offered the best overall feel and handling.

Oddly enough, we even got along reasonably well with the SRAM Code brakes on this bike. The exact same setup that we glazed and overheated on other bikes didn’t give us the same problems on this one. Speculations included the smaller 27.5-inch rear wheel being easier on the 200mm rotor, but it’s more than likely just being off the brakes and charging more.


Deft handling and above-average suspension performance are standouts on the Megawatt. Other highlights include the Bikeyoke dropper, which is quickly on its way to becoming a staff favorite. One of the biggest revelations has to be the incredible overall performance of the Michelin DH22 tires. They might roll slowly, but the traction more than makes up for it. This is also a very quiet bicycle overall. We could hear the EP8’s signature rattle slightly, but even that seemed muted in comparison to other bikes.


We love water and the fact that you can put a bottle inside the front triangle of the Megawatt. However, we could just barely fit a 22-ounce size and wished for more room. While the cable routing looks very clean, especially with the wireless shifting setup, we are also not thrilled about yet another bike with routing through the headset. Even while testing in bone-dry conditions we found dirt and sand in the unsealed ports that feed down directly into the frame. It only complicates service, too.


Few brands evoked excitement for test riders like this Nukeproof. Between the “Sam Hill influence” and seeing him race his Nukeproofs on the ragged edge for years, and the X factor of not really seeing the brand on home soil very often, expectations were at an all-time high with this bike. It didn’t disappoint. The Megawatt is every bit of the awesome enduro weapon that we had hoped it would be and then some.


CATEGORY: Electric enduro

WHEEL SIZE: 27.5″/29″

SUSPENSION: 170mm (front), 170mm (rear


Price: $9,599

Weight: 54.8 pounds (without pedals)

Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL



Head tube angle: 64°

Effective seat tube angle: 78°

Reach: 475mm (18.7”)

Bottom bracket height: 345mm (13.6”)

Chainstay length: 442mm (17.4”)

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