Today Nukeproof launches their new 2021 Reactor trail bike range. A whole host of mountain bikes to suit all pockets and those with either 27.5" or 29er wheel size preferences. The carbon and alloy bikes get spec updates, plus the shorter travel ST model joins the range full time.
First launched this time last year, the Nukeproof Reactor is a short travel trail bike with either 130mm or 140mm travel, wheel size dependant. The Reactor name wasn’t new though it used to be an old school hardtail from 20 years ago. The modern day Reactor gets well sorted with modern geometry, a flip-chip for angle adjustment and carbon seat stays on alloy bikes to reduce unsprung weight. We got to ride the new ST (short travel) version ahead of the launch.
As this is a small makeover with the major addition to the range being the ST version, its probably easier to tell you what's the same:
- The bike is still available in 27.5" and 29er version, both in carbon and alloy
- 27.5" bikes get 140mm of rear travel and it's 130mm for the 29er
- The flip chip adjustable geometry (Rail vs Trail) is still there
- All bikes still use carbon in the rear seat stays
- There longer travel RS version stays. It has +10mm more travel on the front and rear
- You can fit 2.6” tyres on both the wheel sizes
- Chainslap protector returns
The big news for this year aside from the spec and colour updates to each model is the addition of the short travel version full time. Previously this was released as a limited edition with a short run of bikes. The ST is a 29er with 125mm of rear travel and a 130mm fork.
A regular 290 Rector gets a 451mm reach, a head angle of 65.5 degrees and a wheelbase for 1205mm with chainstays of 440mm and an effective seat angle of 75 degrees, the ST I have here is slightly steeper in the low position at 66 degree head angle and a 75.5 degree seat angle.
The flip chip to adjusts the geometry from what Nukeproof are calling “Trail” or “Rail mode”. Trail, they say is best suited to trail riding, for those riding both uphill and downhill. The Rail mode of the ST slackens the head angle and the effective seat tube angles by half a degree to 65.5 and 75 degrees, it also lowers the bottom bracket by 6mm to 330mm to maximise the descending capability of the bike.
Nukeproof say this was originally conceived for Sam Hill to race XC during the offseason, it's designed as a fast hooligan for epic adventures. It also looks like the nearest thing in the lineup to a down country bike, a short travel ripper that is good downhill whilst bring a little more sprightliness and efficiency to the table using shorter travel.
New range specs
Our ST Factory bike here gets a 130mm Fox 34 Float Factory fork with Grip 2 Damper and a Fox Float DPS, shock. Shimano takes care of the gears and the braking too with XT two-piston brakes, and XT 12 speed drivetrain. The wheels on this bike is a DT Swiss XR1700 SPLINE 25 set, with slightly faster rolling tyres than the rest of the range with a Maxxis Minion DHF and a Maxxis Aggressor 2.3 tyres. Elsewhere there is a Nukeproof cockpit a Bike yoke dropper post and Sam Hill grips. All that comes in at £4,300.
That longer travel carbon framed RS bike costs £5,500 and gets a Rockshox Lyrik fork, a Super deluxe Ultimate RCT shock, SRAM X1 drivetrain and Code RSC brakes.
The next bike in the line up is the Factory bike, also carbon, this one is a Fox and Shimano set up. It gets Fox 36 Factory forks with a DPX2 Factory shock and Shimano XT all round. The Factory price tops the RS at £4,900.
The Elite version of the bike and gets Fox 36 performance fork, a DPX2 Performance Elite shock and Shimano SLX 12 speed with four piston brakes. Slightly cheaper, the Elite version costs £4,000 but a penny.
Next up is the Pro model, an aluminium bike and back to Rockshox and SRAM gear, this bike has a Pike Select Plus fork and a Super Deluxe Select Plus shock, plus SRAM GX Eagle and Guide RE brakes. Like all the above bikes the tyres are pretty rowdy, they all get Maxxis Assegai WT 3C MaxxTerra/EXO and a Maxxis Dissector WT 3C MaxxTerra/EXO+/TR on the rear. This alloy bike starts at £3,400.
Last but not least, the Comp is the base spec alloy bike, there’s a Marzocchi Bomber Z2 and a Super Deluxe Select R shock, plus the new Deore 12 speed drivetrain and four piston Deore brakes. Not forgetting that capable tyre line up. Comp bikes in both sizes cost £2,700, again but a penny.
What can I expect from the ride?
This is a shorter travel version of the trail bike appears to have quite a different character to the regular bike, with the finishing kit having an effect on the terrain the bike is happy to take on. The 125mm of travel at the rear makes this bike feel lively and responsive to ride which is great on flowy flatter trails where you feel loads of feedback from the trail. You quickly know too when the bike is getting out of its depth too, but that’s no bad thing – its what makes this bike different to the longer travel burlier version. The Fox 34 is more easily overwhelmed when the going is steep than an equivalent 36 fork would be.
The rear suspension is pretty compliant early in the travel, it’s active and you could be quick to forget you are on a short travel bike. This is in part due to the pretty balanced geometry which with a more supportive fork and winter worthy tyres I’d be keen to ride the 130mm 29er bike on my normal trails.
This bike is for longer miles and adventure, it’s relatively light at 30lbs and with the shock locked out or in the medium setting for firmness, it cancelled out some of the bobbing I felt and made the bike a lot more efficient uphill.
The Reactor range has something for everyone, from this down country spec bike to a brawler of bike in the RS spec which looks keen for some trouble, just take your pick based on your style of riding – winch and plummet or smiles for miles on this ST version.
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