After sitting it out for a long time, Nukeproof now join the ebike game. They put a motor on the Mega and came up with the Megawatt 297 202ONE. We’ve taken the new Nukeproof eMTB for a test ride, featuring a Shimano EP8 motor, 630 Wh battery and 170 mm travel, and tell you how it performs on the trail.

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You can find almost everything a mountain biker’s heart desires at Nukeproof. Their portfolio has something for every discipline, from hardtail to full-suspension to full-on downhill bikes, the brand even offer kids and gravel bikes. Now Nukeproof have stepped into the electronic age, presenting the Megawatt 297 202ONE. Actually, development of the new eMTB began over two years ago, at the same time as the new Nukeproof Mega 2021, when Shimano approached Nukeproof with the then unreleased EP8 motor. It’s hardly surprising that the design of the Megawatt 297 202ONE has a lot in common with the analogue Mega.

Nukeproof Megawatt 297 Elite Alloy | Shimano EP8/630 Wh | 170/170 mm (f /r)
24.32 kg in size M | € 7,199 | Manufacturer’s website

The new Nukeproof Megawatt 297 Elite Alloy 202ONE in detail

Like the current Mega, the seat stays of the Megawatt run parallel to the top tube, the rocker link is neatly integrated, wrapping partially around the seat tube, and it uses similar Horst link suspension kinematics, all of which works so well on the Mega. On the Megawatt 297 202ONE, the suspension provides 170 mm travel front and rear. Regarding wheel size, Nukeproof rely on a mullet setup with a 29er up front and 27.5″ wheel on the rear. The 2.5″ wide tire on the rear fits with ease and Nukeproof promise clearance for up to 2.6″ wide tires, measured according to a strict British mud ride standards.

The Mega and the Megawatt were developed in tandem. As such, their rear ends share similar Horst link kinematics.
The forged rocker link neatly hugs the seat tube. The oversized bearings should offer a long service life.
The tire clearance is wider than the English Channel. Nukeproof promise clearance for up to 2.6″ tires, even for muddy conditions such as those on the British Isles.

Regarding the motor, don’t be fooled into taking the Megawatt by its name. The Shimano EP8 achieves an average output of just 0.00025 megawatts. The top half of the motor is neatly integrated into the aluminium frame while the bottom is protected by a hard plastic cover. The speed sensor has been integrated into the dropout and the corresponding magnet sits securely in the brake rotor. Nukeproof got creative with the battery concept: riders have the option of installing either a 630 Wh or a 504 Wh battery in all models. Swapping it is easy if you’ve got a little bit of experience with an Allen key. The top of the battery mount has two positions. To change the position, you simply have to loosen two bolts on the top of the down tube. So, if you want a lighter bike and don’t necessarily need the capacity of the 630 Wh battery, you can save yourself 800 g. With the large 630 Wh battery, the Nukeproof Megawatt 297 Elite Alloy weighs 24.32 kg (in size M) and costs € 7,199.99. The battery gets charged via the charging port in the seat tube. Alternatively, you can also remove the battery, but this takes a little time as you first have to loosen two screws at the bottom of the battery cover and completely remove one at the top before you can remove the cover and get to the battery. The battery doesn’t have a lock and can be removed with the same 4 mm Allen key required to remove the battery cover. The plastic battery cover is only connected to the frame at the top and bottom, sagging slightly in the middle. That creates a gap between the cover and the frame, allowing moisture to creep inside. Nukeproof have already announced that they will be using a revised, stiffer cover on the production models that will sit flush with the frame.

Nukeproof are relying on a Shimano EP8 motor for their first ebike. The battery concept is innovative as it can be adjusted to be compatible with both 630 Wh and 504 Wh batteries.
To remove the battery, you first have to unscrew the cover.
Where there’s light, there’s darkness. The gap on the battery cover is a gateway for moisture. Nukeproof claim to have addressed this issue with a flush sitting battery cover on the production models.
No, these are not bottle cage bosses, they secure the battery mount inside the down tube. If you want to instal a different Shimano battery in the Megawatt, you can adjust the position of the battery mount using these screws.

To achieve longer ranges – regardless of battery size – the developers at Nukeproof have tuned the profile settings of the Shimano motor. The Megawatt 297 202ONE comes preconfigured with a Power and a Range profile. In the Power profile, the eMTB uses the full 85 Nm of the Shimano motor and unleashes its power a little earlier across all support modes. In the Range profile, the tuning of the motor is somewhat dampened, reducing the torque by 7 Nm overall, giving you 27 Nm in Eco mode, 63 Nm in Trail mode and 78 Nm in Boost mode. You can find all the details about the customisation options of the Shimano EP8 motor here.

There is enough room in the front triangle to accommodate a 500 ml water bottle. If you use the special Nukeproof adapter, you can even squeeze in a 620 ml bottle.
You’ll find additional bosses for a gear strap on the underside of the top tube

There is enough room for a 500 ml water bottle under the shock, which occupies much of the front triangle. Nukeproof include a bottle cage adapter to make even better use of the limited space in the frame, allowing you to fit up to a 620 ml water bottle. There are more bosses located on the underside of the top tube. However, there is no space for a second water bottle, reserving these bosses for tools or a spare tube. Thanks to the oversized bearings and the universal SRAM UDH derailleur hanger, the Megawatt promises to be low on maintenance and spares are readily available. To eliminate chain slap, the drive side chainstay and seat stay are covered in generously sized protectors. Nukeproof were equally generous with the chain guide, which completely encloses the chain and can be adjusted. The Megawatt is only available in aluminium and Nukeproof won’t be offering a carbon version in the near future. You will have to learn to live with the fat weld seams, such as those on the head and seat tube. The massive down tube with its almost square cross-section also looks outdated and doesn’t match the remaining proportions of the Megawatt.

The chainstay protector is generously dimensioned, extending far forward and intended to protect the frame from chain slap and keep the bike quiet. The seat stay also has a rubber protector.
There’s an additional rubber patch stuck to the down tube between the motor and battery cover to protect the otherwise bare area from flying stones and the elements.
Aluminium instead of carbon – the new Nukeproof Megawatt 297 202ONE will initially only be available in metal. The weld seams are part of the package.

All internally routed cables enter the frame via an Acros headset. The cables in front of the cockpit are held in place by plastic clips and cable ties, though they could have been routed even more neatly along the handlebar to refine the look. Unfortunately, the cable routing at the rear end isn’t without its issues either. The brake and gear cables protrude noticeably as they exit the bottom bracket area instead of running close to the frame or through the chainstays. In addition, they’re connected by another cable clamp, spanning from one side to the other which is defenceless against mud and dirt from the rear wheel.

All cables from the cockpit enter the frame via the Acros headset. This helps neaten the cockpit up to some extent.
At the rear end, the brake and gear cables form a wide arc as they exit the frame and are joined together by a clamp, which is completely exposed to dirt from the rear wheel.

The components of the Nukeproof Megawatt 297 Elite Alloy 202ONE

Nukeproof are known for developing bikes with a heavy focus on downhill performance. According to Nukeproof, the intended use of the Megawatt is the same as their super capable Mega and Giga enduro bikes, which is noticeable in the components they chose. The eMTB is available in three builds, all of which come equipped with robust and performance-oriented components. Our test bike, the Nukeproof Megawatt 297 Elite 202ONE, is the mid-range build and available for € 7,199.99. It comes with FOX suspension consisting of a FOX 38 Performance Elite fork featuring the excellent GRIP2 damper up front and an X2 Performance shock at the rear. The drivetrain and brakes are taken care of by a Shimano SLX groupset, paired with 200 mm rotors front and rear. The Brand-X Ascend dropper post offers 150 mm travel in size M. It’s a shame since the short seat tube offers enough insertion depth to accommodate a 170 mm dropper post. A longer dropper post would give you more freedom of movement on the descents.

Nukeproof rely on the first-class and easily adjustable suspension performance of the FOX 38 GRIP2 fork on the Megawatt 297 Elite.
The FOX X2 shock sits vertically in the frame and controls 170 mm travel.
The Brand-X Ascend dropper post offers 150 mm travel on the M frame. There’s room for improvement here. Despite the short seat tube, the frame can accommodate a longer dropper post. You’ll be able to upgrade if you want more freedom of movement on the descents.

You can look forward to well-damped Nukeproof Sam Hill Signature Edition grips on all builds. For the tires, Nukeproof’s product managers opted for the heavier, though significantly more puncture-proof Doubledown casing from MAXXIS, both for the front and the rear. Up front, the soft MaxxGrip compound of the MAXXIS ASSEGAI ensures plenty of grip, deciding to go for the faster-rolling HighRoller II in the durable MaxxTerra compound on the rear. Excellent choice!

Instead of saving weight, Nukeproof rely on the robust Doubledown casing from MAXXIS, allowing you to keep your tire pressure low. The MAXXIS ASSEGAI up front uses the grippy MaxxGrip compound…
… and you’ve got the faster rolling HighRoller II in the durable MaxxTerra compound on the rear. They’re an excellent choice and Nukeproof have them fitted tubeless out of the box.
Nukeproof’s first ebike comes fitted with their well-damped Sam Hill Signature Edition grips.

Nukeproof Megawatt 297 Elite Alloy

€ 7,200

Specifications

Motor Shimano EP8 85 Nm
Battery Shimano BT-E8036 630 Wh
Display Shimano SC-EM800
Fork FOX 38 Performance Elite GRIP2 170 mm
Rear Shock FOX Float X2 Performance 170 mm
Seatpost Brand X Ascend 125 – 170 mm
Brakes Shimano SLX M7120 200/200 mm
Drivetrain Shimano SLX 1x12
Stem Nukeproof Horizon 50 mm
Handlebar Nukeproof Horizon V2 780 – 800 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss H1900 29"/27.5"
Tires MAXXIS ASSEGAI/High Roller II DD 2.5"

Technical Data

Size S M L XL XXL
Weight 24.32 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 120 kg
Trailer approval no
Kickstand mount no

The Nukeproof Megawatt 297 Comp Alloy marks the entry to the line-up, going for € 5,999.99. It comes with RockShox suspension and a Shimano DEORE groupset. You have to cut back on the battery capacity since the entry-level version comes with the smaller 504 Wh battery. The € 8,199.99 Megawatt 297 Factory Alloy is the flagship model of the range. Nukeproof’s signature olive green paintwork harmonises perfectly with the golden accents of the FOX Factory suspension. The drivetrain and brakes are also taken care of by Shimano, though here you get to enjoy the performance of the XT groupset.

Nukeproof Megawatt 297 Comp Alloy

€ 6,000

Specifications

Motor Shimano EP8 85 Nm
Battery Shimano BT-E8035 504 Wh
Display Shimano SC-EM800
Fork RockShox ZEB Select 170 mm
Rear Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Select R 170 mm
Seatpost Brand X Ascend 125 – 170 mm
Brakes Shimano Deore M6120 200/200 mm
Drivetrain Shimano Deore 1x12
Stem Nukeproof Neutron Am 45 mm
Handlebar Nukeproof Neutron V2 780 – 800 mm
Wheelset Sun-Ringle Duroc SD37 29"/27.5"
Tires MAXXIS ASSEGAI/High Roller II DD 2.5"

Technical Data

Size S M L XL XXL
Weight 23.4 kg (manufacturer`s info)
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 120 kg
Trailer approval no
Kickstand mount no

Nukeproof Megawatt 297 Factory Alloy

€ 8,200

Specifications

Motor Shimano EP8 85 Nm
Battery Shimano BT-E8036 630 Wh
Display Shimano SC-EM800
Fork FOX 38 Factory GRIP2 170 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLoat X2 Factory 170 mm
Seatpost BikeYoke DIVINE 125 – 185 mm
Brakes Shimano XT M8120 200/200 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XT 1x12
Stem Nukeproof Horizon 50 mm
Handlebar Nukeproof Horizon V2 780 – 800 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss H1700 29"/27.5"
Tires MAXXIS ASSEGAI/High Roller II DD 2.5"

Technical Data

Size S M L XL XXL
Weight 23.9 kg (manufacturer`s info)
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 120 kg
Trailer approval no
Kickstand mount no

The geometry of the new Megawatt 297 202ONE

The eMTB is available in five sizes from S to XXL. It grows evenly across the sizes, not making any large jumps from one size to the next and should be suitable for riders from 1.59 m to 2.10 m. The head angle is slack at 64° and the seat tube is short. On our size M test bike, it measures just 410 mm. This should allow you to decide between two frame sizes based on your preferred handling and not on the length of your legs. However, the 150 mm dropper post on the size M limits the choice in size for many riders. As such, it isn’t always possible to simply reach for the next larger or smaller frame size. The 442 mm chainstays are on the shorter side of things and the reach is compact at 455 mm.

Size S M L XL XXL
Top tube 577 mm 597 mm 612 mm 634 mm 656 mm
Seat tube 380 mm 410 mm 440 mm 470 mm 500 mm
Head tube 115 mm 115 mm 120 mm 130 mm 140 mm
Head angle 64° 64° 64° 64° 64°
Seat tube angle 77.5° 77.5° 78° 78° 78°
Bottom bracket height 345 mm 345 mm 345 mm 345mm 345 mm
Chainstay 442 mm 442 mm 442 mm 442 mm 442 mm
Wheelbase 1,222 mm 1,242 mm 1,264 mm 1,288 mm 1,312 mm
Reach 435 mm 455 mm 475 mm 495 mm 515 mm
Stack 641 mm 641 mm 645 mm 654 mm 663 mm

First ride review – Test riding the new Nukeproof Megawatt 297 202ONE

Charge the battery and hit the trail. You will immediately notice the compact riding position on the Nukeproof in size M. With the seat post fully extended, the kink in the seat tube positions you far over the rear wheel. On flat terrain, the riding position on the Megawatt is relaxed, distributing your weight evenly between the grips and saddle. If you’ve only got fire road climbs to reach the trailhead, there’s hardly any reason to complain either. The riding position is good and the suspension offers lots of comfort. However, on demanding trails and steep climbs, the suspension bogs down, further slackening the seat tube angle and pushing your weight back. As a result, you must actively weigh down the front of the Megawatt on steep climbs to keep the front wheel planted. The short chainstays also add to this. Unfortunately, the Megawatt isn’t a great climber!

As soon you head downhill, you will realise what this eMTB is made for. The suspension responds sensitively and offers lots of reserves to absorb big hits and misjudged landings. The only noise you’ll hear is the infamous rattling of the Shimano EP8 motor since the generously sized chainstay protector effectively dampens the chain. The traction offered by the excellent choice in tires, which are perfect for rough terrain with their Doubledown casing, and the active and plush suspension is top notch. That said, the Megawatt lacks the composure necessary to plough through rough terrain at full speed. Here it becomes clear that the Megawatt’s suspension doesn’t quite match the character of the bike, sabotaging rather than supporting it.

You benefit from the agile and playful character through tight corners, not least thanks to the short chainstays. However, the lack of mid-stroke support offered by the rear suspension results in sluggish handling, not just dampening the hits but also the fun. When pumping through rollers and berms, the suspension absorbs your input rather than allowing you to generate speed. The potential freedom of movement offered by the short seat tube of the Megawatt is also lost to the short travel seat post fitted on the size M frame.

Conclusion

The Megawatt isn’t just very late to the eMTB party, it doesn’t add any more life to it either! Apart from the seat post, the bike is well specced, the pricing is competitive and the compatibility with two different batteries is a nice party trick. However, the frame lacks the level of finesse that other brands have now reached over several generations of ebikes. The Megawatt is yet to find its character, the concept needs refining – possibly with the next generation. We know Nukeproof can build brilliant bikes, as they have proven many times before!


For more info, visit nukeproof.com


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Words & Photos: Rudolf Fischer

About the author

Rudolf Fischer

In his previous life Rudolf was a dab hand at promoting innovation, putting his brain behind big-ticket patent assessments that easily ran into six-or-seven-plus figures. These days, the self-confessed data nerd’s role as editor at DOWNTOWN and E-MOUNTAINBIKE is no less exciting. Given his specialism in connectivity, Rudolf’s often placed on the front line of future mobility conversations, but he’s also big into testing new bikes–both on the daily as a committed commuter and intensively for our group tests. The business economist graduate is as versatile as a Swiss penknife, and that’s no hyperbole. Away from two wheels, his background in parkour means he’s a master of front, side and backflips, plus he speaks German, English, French, Russian and a touch of Esperanto. Japanese remains woefully unmastered, despite his best home-learning attempts. Good to know: Rudolf’s sharp tongue has made him a figure of fear in the office, where he’s got a reputation for flexing a dry wittiness à la Ricky Gervais... interestingly, he's usually the one laughing hardest.