Estimated reading time: 14 minutes
It was only a matter of time before Nukeproof produced an eMTB but the question was would their first eeb be a GigaWatt or a Nukeproof MegaWatt?
Just recently I was out on a ride, enjoying a scenic climb and revelling in my time away from the laptop. My mind began to wander and I started to think about this year’s Singletrack Readers Awards and how we should probably rejig some of the categories due to the ongoing shortages and difficulties getting parts and bikes. I thought, perhaps we should have a ‘Brand’ category, an option for riders to choose their top brands of the year (or the past couple of years) based on a criteria of customer service, product design, component quality maybe even brand image and racing pedigree. At the top of the climb, I looked down at my bike noted the Nukeproof handlebar, Nukeproof stem, Nukeproof pedals, and Nukeproof chain guide and figured “but if we chose brands surely Nukeproof would win?”. Then I jumped back on my bike in my Nukeproof riding gear and hit a rocky downhill knowing that if I had a puncture I have a Nukeproof tubeless repair kit in my bag.
Over the past few years, Nukeproof have been absolutely nailing it. Their components look great and last, their riding kit the same, and this is before we start talking about their excellent bikes, and EWS racing prowess.
So when I heard rumours that Nukeproof were planning to release an eMTB, I knew it was going to be something very good.
The Nukeproof Mega was the full-suspension bike that put the company back on the map when the brand was relaunched, and over the years it has become a popular choice of trail centre riders, bike park slayers, and EWS athletes around the world.
Mountain Biking - The untold British story
With a little less travel than the Giga Super Enduro bike, the Mega is seen as more of an all-rounder, which is why their first ebike is based on the OG. Nukeproof sees the Megawatt is a bike that will cater for all-mountain, enduro and super-enduro riders. The numbers certainly back this up with the Megawatt boasting 170mm of front and rear wheel travel, modern geometry and a mixed wheel package all tied together in an all-alloy package.
The Megawatt is exactly what you expect a Nukeproof eMTB to look like. It’s no-nonsense, looks the part, is available in great colours and is built up with a quality kit. It’s not going to rock the world in terms of technology, gizmos or gadgets, nor does it need to because this bike does its talking on the trail.
Nukeproof Megawatt Design
If you liked fat Thor in the Avengers, then you’re going to love the Megawatt. It has all the great features, kinematics etc of the Mega, but with a little beer belly to house the internal Shimano battery pack.
The frame is only available in aluminium with a matching alloy rear end, with all the tubes shaped to hide the electronic components away as best as possible. Housing a 630Wh battery in an alloy downtube, and bolting an 85Nm motor to a one-piece cast alloy housing is never going to result in something as slim as a Kenevo SL, but in comparison to some alloy ebikes the Megawatt is a very neat looking bike.
Nukeproof has left an opening on the downtube so that riders can easily remove their battery if they wish. This is one of those features we all say we want but I have honestly never needed to remove a BT8036 battery from an eMTB, but then again I can charge my battery in the bike at home and I know not everyone is able to. A removable battery also gives you the option of carrying a spare if you wanted a really big day out, and it should mean easier replacement many many years in the future.
Keep in mind though that only the Megawatt Elite and Factory build bikes get the larger 630Wh battery, the most affordable Comp spec runs a 504Wh hour battery instead. The frame uses adjustable battery mounts so that riders can swap from the BT8035 to the BT8036 battery depending on range, or weight. It’s a good feature we hope more brands will use.
Whichever model of Megawatt you pick up you’ll enjoy the power of the latest generation Shimano EP8 motor packing 85Nm of Torque. The EP8 is a smaller, lighter power unit compared to the E8000. If also has less drag, is more efficient in Eco mode and can be tuned via the Shimano ETube application. Riders then also have the option to load 2 profiles onto their Megawatt, one for range another for power for example, giving you on trail turning on the trail.
Like its non-powered brother, the Megawatt has its rear shock located inside the mainframe with one end connected to the downtube and the other end located to a rocker link via long-lasting Enduro bearings. The Kinematic provides a slightly lower anti-squat to the Mega with good mid-stroke support for better climbing efficiency. Anti-squat drops off when descending so that it doesn’t interfere with rough trail performance.
Despite the large downtube and the position of the piggyback shock, there is still room in the Megawatts mainframe for a 500ml water bottle with cage (620ml direct mount when the included adapter is used) and even a trail tool mount beneath the top-tube.
Being an eMTB and having that large access panel for the battery makes internal cable and hose routing super easy to live with. All the cables run neatly through the bike and Nukeproof has been careful to design enough space in the seat tube so that a long travel dropper can be slammed into the frame without any issues. At the same time, the seat tubes are short across the range for improved standover.
Moving to the rear end of the bike and the Megawatt receives enough tyre clearance for 2.6in 27.5in tyres, an SRAM UDH rear mech hanger, more Enduro bearings and plenty of chainstay protection for silent running.
Nukeproof Megawatt Geometry
Nukeproof is producing the Megawatt in a full 5 sizes ranging from small to XXL. Reach figure range from 435mm to 515mm with our medium-sized test bike measuring in at 455mm with an effective top-tube length of 597.05mm. Small and medium-size bikes get an effective seat tube angle of 77.5 whereas L,XL and XXL steepen up by half a degree to 78-degrees. Each size bike has the same 64-degree head angle and 442mm chainstay length.
Nukeproof Megawatt Climbing
Getting hold of a bike this year has been a little trickier, so while I would have probably chosen a large-sized frame with a reach of 475mm and a slightly steeper seat tube angle (similar to the bikes I currently run in my fleet) I can still happily ride the medium size Megawatt. The slightly shorter reach makes it easier to change direction and the low-standover height is much appreciated, but as the medium has a dropper post with just 150mm rather than 170mm on the larger bikes, I do need to run the post extended quite a bit to get to the right seated position.
With the saddle adjusted to where I prefer it the seated position feels compact on the medium-sized bike when seated. I’m 178cm and would feel more comfortable on the large bike for seated climbing, but my initial feeling that the bike felt small quickly faded as I scooted up my local trails.
The designers at Nukeproof certainly know how to make a bike pedal well, this was evident with the Giga which climbs amazingly, and the same can be said for the Megawatt. Sure you have a motor to assist you on the climb, but there is no unwanted bob or wallow and even in Boost the suspension platform remains planted without unnecessary squat.
With the Shimano EP8 bolted to the alloy frameset, you very rarely need to take the system out of ECO for most climbs, which is perfect for riders wanting to make the most of their battery and cover as much distance as possible. Even those times you do kick it up to Trail or Boost the rear suspension easily handles the extra speed, soaking up rocks and bumps that you would normally be crawling overs so you aren’t bucked off the saddle.
Nukeproof Megawatt Descending
Let’s be honest though, even with a motor and battery, there’s really only one reason why anyone would buy a 170mm travel eMTB and that’s to go downhill as often as possible and as fast as possible.
Again, I cannot praise the rear suspension of the Megawatt enough. I can’t compare it to the standard Mega as I haven’t ridden a modern version, but like the Giga the Megawatt is happiest at full throttle charging through the harshest, most rocky conditions you can find. The Kinematics of the suspension allows the Anti-Squat to drop off while descending so that the firm platform is able to effectively absorb heavy repeated shocks and drops. The fact that our Factory test bike has top of the range Fox Factory suspension doesn’t hurt, but enduro bearing in the backend and on the rear shock mount surely help to free up the initial movement and keeping everything smooth and solid.
Out of the saddle the slightly shorter reach of the medium bike meant I was able to chuck the weighty Megawatt with more gusto than I perhaps might on a large, and even the fastest of local downhills wasn’t enough to push the Megawatt off-line.
The powerful 4 piston XT brakes are on hand to keep speed in check, but once off the anchors, this Mega Mullet picks up speed quickly. My only complaint in terms of downhill performance comes from the tyres. Even this top of the range Factory build comes with white label OEM Maxxis rubber and it simply isn’t strong enough for a 24kg eMTB. I managed to pinch flat the tubeless 3C Maxxtera DD RR rear tyre multiple times on rock gardens.
Things that could be better
- The white label Maxxis tyres are not strong enough for an eMTB and I suffered many punctures.
- Quite heavy when compared to some of the current ebikes.
Things that we love
- Large battery + huge torque = zero range anxiety and lots of fun.
- Amazing rear suspension. Simply incredible! Performs just as Nukeproof says it should.
- Adjustable battery mounts. This gives Comp owners the option to upgrade, or Factory owners to save a little weight.
Nukeproof Megawatt Overall
The first wave of electric mountain bikes that came with the initial eMTB boom was a mixed bag. We had a few that were pretty good, and a few that were just terrible, and it was clear which brands had rushed a product to market. I’m happy that Nukeproof didn’t rush the Megawatt. They took their sweet time developing an eMTB that compliments their range and performs just as well as its non-assisted models. Performance is second to none, the quality of the build is excellent, the specification is exceptional considering the price.
The Factory build of the Megawatt cost £6999.99 which is almost half the cost of some electric mountain bikes released lately but ships with a more powerful motor, bigger battery and offers more range. It’s not a cheap, bike but considering the build it’s impressive. The Megawatt Comp starts at just £4999.99 and the Elite £5999.99.
Nukeproof Megawatt Factory Specifications
- Frame // Hydroformed triple butted 6061 with 170mm rear-wheel travel. Adjustable battery mounts for 8035 and 8036 battery.
- Battery // Shimano BT8036 630Wh
- Motor // Shimano EP8 85Nm
- Display // Shimano EM800
- Assist Switch // Shimano EM800-L
- Shock // Fox Float X2 Factory
- Fork // Fox 38 Float 29 Factory Grip 2
- Chainset // Shimano EM8150 XT, 34t
- Rear Mech // Shimano XT 12-speed
- Shifter // Shimano XT 12-speed
- Brakes // Shimano XT M8120 4 piston
- Handlebar // Nukeproof Horizon V2 25mm
- Stem // Nukeproof Horizon 50mm black
- Headset // Acros
- Grips // Nukeproof Sam Hill Signature
- Wheels // DT Swiss H1700 Spline 30
- Tyres // Front Maxxis Assegai 2.5 WT 3C Maxxgrip/DD/TR Rear Maxxis High Roller II 2.5WT 3C Maxxterra/DD/TR
- Weight // 23.9kg
- Price // £6999.99
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|Tested:||by Andi Sykes for 2 months|