The Nukeproof Scout is considered an “aggressive hardtail,” a burgeoning category of hardtail mountain bikes with increasingly slack geometry and equipped with longer travel suspension forks. With a head tube angle of 65 degrees and 150mm of travel, the Scout 275 (2021 “Pro” spec) is a capable hardtail that can conquer just about any technical trail a comparable dual suspension model can.
- 65º Head angle, 73º Seat angle
- Equipped with 140mm fork (Pro edition features 150mm fork)
- 435mm chainstay length
- BB drop -50
Parts Spec Highlights: 2021 Brushed Alloy Pro edition, size Small
- Rockshox Lyrik Select Charger RC 150mm
- DT Swiss M1900 Spline with Shimano Microspline driver, boost
- Shimano SLX 12-speed drive train and 4-piston disk brakes
- Brand X dropper post
Why go hardtail?
The old mountain biker mantra that everyone needs a hardtail in their quiver might seem dated, but that’s exactly what I had going through my mind last winter when I acquired my first hardtail in years. Back home on the cross-country trails of Minnesota, riders swore by their trusty hardtail. However, since moving to the Pacific Northwest, I’d been living the dual suspension MTB life. After all, there’s no place for hardtails in modern mountain biking, right? That’s what I naively thought, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
With the capable fork and tires, the Scout is a confident descender on local Portland area trails. I found the bike climbs well too — especially in comparison to my Trek Slash Enduro trail rig. As with any hardtail, the power generated from your pedal stroke is transferred directly to the bike, as opposed to a full squish, where energy is lost through rear shock movement. In addition, the Scout feels balanced when climbing. I haven’t experienced much rear wheel slippage and don’t find that I have to stand up or throw weight forward to keep the front tire grounded. As a result, the Scout feels super responsive, making it a great bike to hone cornering and pumping skills.
I’ve taken it down some of Portland’s local, enduro-style trails and, every time, the Scout holds its own. Its only limitations are those that your own body imposes. (I try to avoid large drops, for example, because I find that they tend to lead to lower back pain. Then again, that’s an issue one encounters on any hardtail.)
A hardtail offers a lot of value for skills development. Building up a quiver of bikes can be costly and I can’t justify owning a dirt jump bike specifically for skills building. With 27.5″ wheels, the Scout does the job – it’s fun on jump lines and even fun on paved pump tracks at the local bike park.
Why the Scout
Why did I choose the Scout over similar bikes? For multiple reasons. First, it’s available in two versions and personalities: one with 29” wheels and the other designed to run 27.5”. The Scout with 27.5″ wheels is a great option for shorter riders. At only 5’3”, I struggle to find bikes with suitable standover heights, but Nukeproof’s size small Scout has a standover of just 671mm, or 26.4”. And let’s not forget the wheel size. While my trail bike is equipped with 29″ wheels, I’m not entirely sold on running the bigger wheels full-time. (I’ve been researching mullet options for my next ride) The short standover height and 27.5″ wheels help provide a nimble feel under my small frame. I feel like I can whip it around, allowing me to control the bike easily, as opposed to larger, bulkier bikes that I simply struggle to handle. The Scout also comes with great components, despite its competitive price.
Other models I considered were the Kona Honzo and Norco Torrent; however, the smaller wheel option of the 27.5″ Scout offered more versatility for my needs.
Thus far, I’ve retained most of the stock components, only opting to swap out the grips and pedals. The Rockshox Lyric Select+ 150mm fork has performed without complaints, allowing me to ride more aggressive terrain than a traditional HT typically would. The Shimano SLX 12-speed drivetrain shifts like smoothly and reliably, and the 203mm front and corresponding 180mm rear rotors provide more than ample stopping power in all conditions. The Brand X dropper post was a variable I was unsure of, as it was unfamiliar to me, but it’s proved reliable thus far. The trigger toggles easily, and the seat raises and lowers smoothly in the post.
The Scout came with a voluminous, 2.6” Maxxis Assegai in the front and an equally wide Maxxis Dissector in the rear. For my intent to use the Scout as both a winter steed and to hone my bike handling skills, the stock tires have sufficed. Though I might swap out the Dissector for a wet-weather specific tire come winter.
If you would’ve asked me a year ago if I believed in a do-it-all bike, I would’ve said no. After a season riding the Nukeproof Scout, perspective has shifted. The Scout feels at home on steep, technical trails and holds its own on the climbs. It’s playful, snappy, and responsive, making it fun at both the bike park and winter rides on mellower trails. Throw some frame bags on and I bet it’d make a great backcountry overnighter as well (more on this – I’m still exploring this function). Would I consider only owning one bike for all the types of riding I enjoy doing? Probably not. But could I? Yeah, I like to think I could.