NUKEPROOF DIGGER 1.0
The Digger is Nukeproof’s first attempt at a gravel bike and is new for 2017. Born through necessity when Nukeproof’s top-level mountain-bike athletes needed something to train on, it’s an off-road inspired gravel bike that’s tough-looking, well-specced and surprisingly nippy to ride.
Made from 6061 T6 alu with rear quick release, matched to a carbon fork and steerer with a 15mm bolt thru’ front axle, it weighs 9.49kg for a medium without pedals. Sporting mudguard bosses both front and back, you’re treated to pannier mounts on the rear – it may be called a gravel bike but it’s crying out to be ridden with brazen disregard for its own wellbeing on road.
The aluminium tubing isn’t the prettiest, with slightly ovalised down and top tubes that look a little ungainly in certain lights. It’s more function over form but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Nukeproof have settled for slack and long geometry, and this translates well out on the road. The 71.5° head angle and long 1,030mm wheelbase offers great stability over bumpy terrain, and the bike is confidence inspiring when you pick up speed. The ride is impressively smooth yet stiff when you put the power down. Nukeproof are really on to something with how they’ve set up the frame.
The single 40-tooth front ring paired with SRAM’s 11- to 42-tooth cassette gives plenty of climbing potential but can spin out when closing in on 30mph. SRAM’s Apex offers smooth operation from its DoubleTap shifters but, if you’re not used to how it works, it can take time to acclimatise to. The WTB tyres don’t create too much drag on the flat but aren’t very stable, especially if you’ve got a penchant for leaning over in the bends when it’s wet. We nearly came a cropper a couple of times on turns that we’d normally hit with ease. The brakes offer great power and modulation so you really can stop on a dime without much fuss – but you’d expect this from SRAM’s hydraulic Apex offering.
The Digger’s spec and frame are more than worthy of its price tag, especially when you consider how well the bike rides. If you’re looking for a commuting hack that’ll take more abuse than you can throw at it, this is certainly a top contender.