It’s time for another bike check! Today we’re casting our eyes over Dan Booker’s Nukeproof Dissent downhill bike which he raced at the recent UCI Downhill World Cup in Fort William, Scotland. The young Australian has been with Nukeproof for just over a year now, joining the Enduro and Downhill team after a recommendation from none other than Downhill and Enduro legend Sam Hill. Dan is a pretty versatile rider and is able to move with ease from the Downhill track to the multi-stage format of Enduro through to the bike park where it’s immediately obvious that he’s as comfortable in the air as he is on the ground. It’s no wonder he’s so skilled on the bike; when you delve a little deeper into Dan’s background you find he’s been racing since he was only 8 years old and now spends most of his time away from the racetrack working and riding at the legendary Maydena Bike Park in Tasmania.
Fast forward to 2022 and Dan, racing his second season for Nukeproof headed to the infamous Fort William Downhill World Cup in the West Highlands of Scotland to take on difficult racing conditions on a track that is famed for being particularly demanding on bike and body. On a course that features a fast, pedally top half with washed-out rocky turns combined with a steeper, more wooded and consequently more muddy lower half of the course good bike setup is key; thankfully for Dan and the Nukeproof race team the Dissent is particularly versatile when it comes to tunning the bike to suit the demands of the course. The Dissent features an adjustable main pivot flip chip giving 4 separate main pivot positions allowing each rider to tune how the suspension works for them. There’s also a 3 position adjustable chainstay dropout with 3 different inserts (435, 440, 445mm) allowing Dan to fine tune the wheelbase of the Dissent by 5-10mm.
Dan’s Nukeproof Dissent 297 features a 29er wheel upfront combined with a smaller-diameter 27.5″ wheel out back.
Dan is a pretty tall rider and is running an XL size frame, giving him plenty of room to move around the bike and throw his weight over the bike as the terrain and pitch of slope underneath him continuously changes. Like many seasoned campaigners Dan has chosen to run the dissent in a mullet wheel configuration with a larger diameter 29” wheel up front and a smaller, more compact 27.5” wheel out back, hence the model name Dissent 297. Some riders at the Fort William round of the World Cup had made the change from running their usual mullet setup to a double 29er configuration for the weekend in an effort to carry more speed on the upper half of the course but there was no such adaptation from Dan.
In another slight difference to what the majority of riders were running we noticed that Dan was running an air shock rather than a coil shock like that majority of racers. Being such a versatile rider, who is capable of shifting seamlessly between Downhill, Enduro and Bike Park we get the impression that Dan is able to adapt easily and probably spends less time focusing on bike-setup per course than maybe some of his fellow competitors focused solely on Downhill Racing. Looking at the bike it seems it’s very much a case of ‘run what ya brung’ for Dan.
Dan Booker’s Dissent 297 is ready for World Cup downhill duties.
In another nod to his more relaxed approach to riding and his bike park background it’s interesting to see that Booker is running flat pedals rather than clip-in’s. Just like Sam Hill, the fellow Aussie who helped ensure that he got a ride with Nukeproof, Dan is more comfortable riding flats. On a course that really requires you to put the power down at the top of the course and on ‘motorway section’ on the very lower slopes it makes more sense to be clipped in at Fort Bill, but just like Sam Hill did during his entire World Cup Downhill racing career it appears that Dan is sticking to his roots.
Special thanks again to our regular freelance photographer James Vincent for braving the elements during a wet weekend in Scotland and for bringing us back the goods! Check out all of his brilliant photos below…
The Dissent 297 is constructed from Hydroformed 6061-T6 triple-butted aluminium.
Big lad Dan Booker rides an XL frame to give him plenty of room to move around the bike.
A confidence-inspiring 63° head angle means the Dissent 297 remains stable at speed.
In a sea of coil shocks it was unusual to see this RockShox air shock on the Dissent 297 at the Fort Bill World Cup.
A pair of RockShox Boxxer Ultimate forks handles the unique demands of the Fort William downhill track.
The Nukeproof Dissent 297 features a no-nonsense 7-Speed drivetrain, with an MRP chain device keeping the chain safely located.
The 7-speed SRAM XO rear derailleur is a firm favourite with the world’s best downhill racers.
The positive gear selection of a SRAM XO trigger shifter makes it ideal for Downhill, with no potential for fluffed gear-shifts.
With SRAM spec’d through the bike it’s no surprise to see Dan running Code RSC hydraulic brakes.
Powerful 4-pot SRAM RSC calipers combined with large-diameter disc rotors means that scrubbing speed off is quick and effective.
Standard alloy Nukeproof Horizon rims are built to handle all that’s thrown at them.
Smooth-rolling Horizon hubs are durable too, standing up well to all that Scottish rain and mud.
Nukeproof have been running Michelin tyres for a good few seasons now; there’s a 27.5″ Wild on the rear.
Tyre choice is tricky for Fort William, with a hard-pack upper track and a more muddy lower track; the Wild coped well with both.
Upfront on the larger 29″ wheel there’s a Michelin DH22 providing plenty of grip on loose corners thanks to those aggressive side-knobs.
There’s plenty of Nukeproof branded components of Dan’s Dissent; he runs a Horizon direct mount stem and Sam Hill Series riser bars.
A pair of Nukeproof Sam Hill Series lock-on grips are well-worn; perhaps Dan likes to run grips that are as slim as possible.
It’s rather fitting that someone who was brought to Nukeproof’s attention by Sam Hill would themselves favour flats.
Dan Booker airs into the finishing arena at the Fort William World Cup.
Written by Johnny Dodgin
Photos by James Vincent
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