First Impression: Nukeproof Scalp

By Eric McKeegan,

Some of you might remember the name Nukeproof. Part of the high end mountain bike component cottage industry that flourished during the 90’s, the name disappeared from the U.S. market years ago.

The Nukeproof name is still alive and well across the pond though, and as of recently, bikes and parts bearing the Nukeproof name are available in the U.S. again, via Chain Reaction Cycles. Chain Reaction is the world’s largest online bike retailer, based out of Northern Ireland.

Nukeproof caught my eye at this year’s Sea Otter Classic in March, with a tent full of bikes and gear, including this downhill bike, the Scalp. They were kind enough to ship one all the way over to the Colonies and I’ve proceeded to throw my Yankee arse down some mountains while hanging on to this bike.

I’m riding the “Comp” model, which shares a hydroformed aluminum frame with the more spendy Pro model. Being more of a Comp than Pro rider myself, I’ve been perfectly happy with the less expensive parts kits on the Comp. SRAM handles the brakes and drivetrain, along with A RockShox Boxxer RC for and Vivid rear shock. Nukeproof handles everything else with house branded components, and I mean branded, this bike might win an award for most brand name impressions on one bike.

Designed around World Cup level DH racing, the Scalp uses the slack and low geometry that is now commonplace on lift served trails. A 63-degree head angle, 14.16-inch BB height and 17.6-inch chainstays like to go fast and makes for a bike so stable in turns it has laughed off my attempts to find its limits. The rear suspension, a single pivot with a scissors linkage activating the shock, is doing its job with no complaints and pedals better than expected.

I’ll be lining up on this bike for the upcoming Chomolungma Challenge at Snowshoe Resort, an endurance DH race. First to finish 20 laps of the Western Territory (equal to the elevation of Mt. Everest) takes home a real cash purse. I’m pretty well acquainted with the Scalp now, this race should reveal if we will be come true friends.