Field Test: 2021 Santa Cruz Nomad - The Same But Different

Dec 15, 2020
by Mike Kazimer  

PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Santa Cruz Nomad



Words by Mike Kazimer, photography by Tom Richards


This is the fifth generation of the Nomad, a bike that’s been a mainstay in Santa Cruz’s lineup ever since it was introduced back in 2005. Like the previous version, the newest iteration has 170mm of travel front and rear, and 27.5” wheels. It’s received a few geometry and frame updates for 2021, but they’re more subtle than radical.

What’s new? Let’s start with the geometry first. The head angle now sits at 63.7 or 64-degrees depending on the position of the flip chip, roughly a degree slacker than before. The reach has grown, and now sits at 472mm for the size large in the low position, a 16mm increase.
Nomad Details

• Travel: 170mm rear / 170mm front
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Head angle: 63.7 or 64°
• Seat tube angle: 77.5°
• Reach: 472mm (lrg)
• Chainstay length: 436mm (size L)
• Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL
• Weight: 32.6 lb / 14.8 kg
• Price: $7,399 USD
santacruzbicycles.com

With the longer and slacker boxes checked, Santa Cruz significantly steepened the seat tube angle - it now measures 77.5-degrees in the low position, creating a much more upright riding position, and a shorter effective top tube than version 4.0.

When the new 5010 came out earlier this year it had size-specific chainstay lengths, and that trend continues on the Nomad. The length goes up by 5mm for each size, ranging from 426mm on the small up to 441mm on the XL.

Moving onto frame details, the most visible change is the addition of another swingarm upright, which means there’s now a support between the seatstays and chainstays on both sides of the bike. Less visible are the changes to the bike’s kinematics - the leverage curve is straighter, for a more consistent feel as the bike goes through its travel. It’s still compatible with both air and coil shocks, and Santa Cruz offers models with both options.

Other details include internal cable routing done the right way, a threaded bottom bracket, Zerk grease ports on the linkage to keep those bearing running smooth, and two paint jobs, one wild, and the other more mild. There’s a lifetime warranty on the bearings, and on the frame itself.

Prices on complete builds range from $4,499 to $8,699, and a CC frame and shock only is priced at $3,399 USD. The version I tested is the $7,399 XT Reserve, which has a Shimano XT 12-speed drivetrain, XT 4-piston brakes, Reserve carbon wheels, a Fox 38 Performance Elite fork, and a RockShox Super Deluxe Select + shock. All of those goodies added up to 32.6 pounds on my scale.




2021 Santa Cruz Nomad
2021 Santa Cruz Nomad

Climbing

The Nomad’s climbing performance puts it neck and neck with the Propain Spindrift - both bikes feel quick and efficient, and do an excellent job of hiding how much travel is available for the descents. The head angle is slacker than the previous version, but the other geometry changes, especially the seat angle steepening, go a long way towards hiding that. In fact, I’d say that it’s easier and more pleasant to pedal than ever before.

For riders that enjoy technical climbs but don’t want to skimp on travel, the Nomad could be a good option. It seems to have an innate ability to find its way through tricky sections of trail, and it never felt cumbersome or unwieldy. There’s plenty of traction to keep the rear wheel gripping the ground, and the lack of unwanted shock movement meant I never had to use the climb switch.


2021 Santa Cruz Nomad

2021 Santa Cruz Nomad
2021 Santa Cruz Nomad

Descending

The Nomad seems to be mellowing out a little as the years go by, morphing into more of a mild-mannered, do-it-all machine, as opposed to a purely gravity-oriented bike that’s only happy if you’re blasting down the trail as fast as possible. Don’t get me wrong - there’s a time and place for those long and fast speed machines, but it was sort of refreshing to take the Nomad out and not need to work that hard to have fun.

There’s a nimbleness to its handling that makes it well suited for hitting all the little bonus jumps, but when things get rough and rowdy it’s still possible to put your heels down and plow right on through.
Timed Testing

The enduro and freeride bikes were all tested on a section of trail that included a mix of everything you'd expect to find on a race track. There were tight corners, a few drops, some sidehill sections that get trickier the faster you go, along with some higher speed, open corners.

Don't forget that timing is just one of many ways to judge a bike, and fast doesn't always mean it's the best for everyone.


Mike Kazimer: "I had my slowest time on the Nomad, at 2:48, a little over 7 seconds back. That could have been me forgetting I was on a smaller wheeled bike and pushing a little too hard in the corners, causing a couple of slide outs."

My first ride on the Nomad ride took place after a heavy rain storm, which can be a recipe for scary levels of slipperiness, but I didn’t have any issues in my hunt for traction. The shock tune feels perfectly matched to the bike’s intentions - it’s nice and responsive off the top, with a smooth ramp up to avoid any harsh bottom outs.

Who’s the ideal candidate for the Nomad? I’d say it’s the rider who enjoys technical climbs and descents, someone would pick maneuverability over outright speed. Compared to the Norco Shore, the other 27.5” bike in this Field Test, the Nomad is an entirely different beast. The Nomad can eat up the miles without a fuss, and remains engaging even on mellower terrain. The Shore, on the other hand, is a more demanding ride, one that needs a steady diet of gnar to keep it happy.


2021 Santa Cruz Nomad


Pros

+ Great option for someone looking for a long travel bike that excels on a wide range of terrain
+ All the little frame details are taken care of, including size-specific chainstay lengths

Cons

- You need to pay more for a lighter carbon frame, and there's no aluminum option for now
- Those dang rattly XT brake pads.





The 2020 Pinkbike Field Test was made possible with support from Dainese apparel & protection, Sierra Nevada refreshments, and Smith eyewear and helmets. Thanks also to Maxxis, Garmin, Freelap, and Toyota Pacific.





380 Comments

  • 415 11
 At least when Spesh or Trek ask us to pay the kind of money we'd spend on a car, they have the decency to include a glovebox.
  • 81 2
 I love that added utility, even few bolts on the frame somewhere like on Pivots or Salsa would be nice. But lifetime free bearings replacement is not too shabby either.
  • 114 4
 @i-am-lp: the liftetime bearings is a nice thing - especially for the average Santa Cruz rider who sells his frame after 1 or 2 years of use
  • 36 4
 And if you take a look at the "Ask us anything with Santa Cruz" in 2018, when they were asked "Name one feature of another brand that you're a tiny bit envious of that you didn't come up with yourself", Nick Anderson (their head engineer) said that "Two things: The adjustable chainstay length that Norco does, and Specialized's SWAT system—the hatch is cool, but the entire suite of accessories really sets it apart."

Seems like a weird oversight not to go with a hatch here, it's not like they haven't had the time to make it work.
  • 40 82
flag DriverB (Dec 15, 2020 at 5:57) (Below Threshold)
 Happy they don't design it in. Extra complication = extra stuff that can rattle, break, add weight. Also, who needs a flip chip or water bottle cage? Let the down votes proceed!
  • 85 26
 @NotNamed: the lifetime bearings thing is way oversold. When you get them you have to press them out and in yourself, which is not easy, or pay a shop to do it. I ended up just buying a new bearing block (the linkage with the bearings already pressed) for $60ish because it’s easier than removing and pressing bearings and cheaper than having a shop do it.

A bearing kit for most bikes isn’t that expensive, either. I’ve seen people justify SC’s higher prices because of free bearings and that really doesn’t make sense.
  • 32 7
 @rickybobby18: I second that. A full set of bearings is not that expensive and you dont need new ones that often, so why pay a premium for something you usually wont even use?
  • 16 5
 @NotNamed: Agreed. The accessory integration movement that Specialized created with SWAT is a gamechanger. It's not crazy technology pursuing marginal gains that will only be noticed by athletes at the peak of fitness, or people upgrading significantly (5-10 years) outdated equipment, but rather significant small quality of life upgrades that anyone can appreciate.
  • 46 3
 IDK, the Trek Slash frameset is $4,000usd and the Santa Cruz is $3,400. $600 extra for a glove box, crappy bearings, and old school cable routing...
  • 11 3
 @DriverB: I was with you until the flip chip and bottle cage, where do you live, the arctic tundra? Here in Georgia we desperately rely on our bottle cage and 10 inch long bottle.
  • 7 0
 @NotNamed: this, this right here is the only thing about people with santa cruz I never get. THEY ALWAYS GOT CASH FOR THE NEW ONE.
  • 17 0
 @willdavidson9595: The Stumpy EVO Comp (carbon) is $4100 with great specs. For a WHOLE BIKE. Trek is nuts.
  • 14 6
 @rickybobby18: I check the bearings every 6 months and they send you any parts you tell them are worn no questions asked. Done it for over 10 years. Bearings are hard to install? No they are not. 4 Upper pivot bearings installed and riding in 20 minutes. If it wasn't for covid you would buy this for 6250 on sale so I'm not sure any cost complaints are valid either.
  • 10 11
 @shotouthoods: Upper bearings rarely need to be changed. The lowers you have to tap out, and hope the races don't separate. Or you have to heat up the bearing block in the oven to tap them out and get them in. Or you can buy SC's specialized tool for tapping them out and pressing them in.

Either way it's not easy or quick. I'm just saying a bearing kit is like $30 for any bike. It's no justification for buying from SC over other brands.
  • 11 2
 Where is all the people who were moaning about Pivot's Mach 6 flip chip not doing anything more than a .5 degree adjustment? SC thinks you need even less Razz

Just like everyone complains that all SC's look the same...y'all seen Banshee's lineup?
  • 15 20
flag lastminutetech (Dec 15, 2020 at 10:06) (Below Threshold)
 Right off the top......"this is not radical revision, more of a refinement to keep this bike up to speed"

They are playing the "me too" business model successfully used by automobile manufacturers and other large entities in competitive landscapes. It allows them to keep R&D costs down to offset other costs (like branding) - looks like Loris even felt the pinch.

I know they make decent bikes and "if I dont like it I dont have to buy it" plays well here but the "we are SantaCruz and our Shit Dont Stink" narcissism has long since put them outside the circle of trust.
  • 23 3
 @lastminutetech: "They are playing the "me too" business model"...

They also came out with a 120mm bike with a 65.4° HTA last year. Some people were even bitching about it being too slack. It's the same thing with the colors, people bitch about the colors no matter what color the is. I think people just like to bitch about Santa Cruz.
  • 14 4
 @jeremy3220: Guilty as charged, taking the piss out of SC owners is a national passtime over here.
  • 6 0
 @jeremy3220: Fair comment. I do think they make good bikes and I could care less about colour. I thinks it's the image SC has of themselves, combined with the pricing vs spec that gets people out of joint.

But I see the "me too" in my industry aswell (building envelope) - the larger firms spend on outreach, litigation and lobbying the EPA and Environment Canada to ease global warming restrictions. The smaller, more innovative firms roll out excellent global warming-compliant products then the larger firms follow suit. It's free RnD when you "me too".
  • 2 1
 @rickybobby18: Two of the uppers go for me and give me 10 extra minutes and i can swap the lowers with homemade bearing tools.
  • 3 1
 @chakaping:
Like 50to01 crew?
  • 11 0
 @jeremy3220: ding ding ding.

People love to complain about them, no matter what.

God forbid the person riding the bike likes it
  • 7 0
 @Solorider13: keep making sense and you'll be asked to leave...lol
  • 8 8
 Santa Cruz has been in dentist territory for a while now.
  • 8 3
 @i-am-lp: I'd rather pay a couple thousand less and have to pay for bearings. That is just me though.
  • 2 1
 @jeremy3220: I mean who really wants a bike that is a shade of dirt.
  • 5 0
 @chakaping: says the man who rides a collection of filing cabinets ????
  • 3 2
 @tacklingdummy: since they bought,developed,introduced vpp they have been ahead of much of the industry.
they may not be for everyone but look at the market, various vpp type designs all attempting to build a better mousetrap and yes some are very good.
this review could easily have describe the N1 version, they were revolutionary and set the bar much higher elevating the entire industry.
  • 4 1
 @lifted-d: Not saying SC is a horrible company, but they do charge a lot for their bikes. SC is not quite the same it was several years ago and now since the Pon Holdings bought the company they change more. Since SC bought the patents of the VPP suspension design from Outland Bikes in 1995, they did make improvements for sure. However, those VPP patents expired in 2015, so now it can be used by other bike companies.

mbaction.com/the-return-of-the-virtual-pivot-pointmay-15
  • 2 3
 @rickybobby18: Agreed, I rode my gen 1 nomad from 06-19 and never replaced the bearings. Free bearings are not a game changer for me. That steeper STA is more relevant.
  • 6 1
 @Rusettipasta: Small steps and only one at a time. This is how big brands move (excluding what Specialized is now doing with their Evo models). Guess we'll see SC introduce S(C)WAT eventually, but in fact size specific CS were more pressing point, as was the slack STA.
People like to bitch about all Santa Cruz bikes looking the same now, but in my view they just have the nicest ice cream parlour in the business which should cater to just about everyone's taste of travel and wheel size (now also expanding to electric offerings). They even corrected their ridiculously small sizing from years before.
  • 3 0
 @bikefuturist: Absolutely, shameless fashion victims.
  • 5 3
 @razor: If I can take it then I can give it.
For the benefit of our international comrades - SC make excellent bikes and I have some good friends who own them, but they are a bit of a stereotype here as the option for a certain type of rider who wants "the best bike" and money is no object. Like the Yeti/dentist thing in the US.
It's a bit dated now and the lack of Enve wheels takles the edge off a bit, but there's still a grain of truth there.
  • 7 0
 @chakaping: I'm just yanking your chain, I've owned Orange's too so had to put up with that derision. Just like Orange, SC have selected a design that works for them and are continually refining it, I don't get why there is such an issue with this, much like the 911 analogy (which is a great car by all account, so why try to reinvent it an lose what makes it so good in the first place).

I get bored of the tired of comments section cliches rolled out by people who have probably never ridden certain bikes but form an opinion based on the current media driven herd mentality that has to be longer, lower, slacker, bigger wheels and have some fancy new design to make it relevant. Additionally if a bike is more expensive than a direct to market brand then it seemingly represents bad value for money, lest we forget that 'value' means different things to different people.
  • 1 0
 @willdavidson9595: The Way coming strong for dem Ga boys!!!
  • 1 0
 @razor: Same here, it's just nice to wind up those who take it too seriously.
That said, it's not really the same without #inbeforemike
  • 2 2
 @chakaping: "they are a bit of a stereotype here as the option for a certain type of rider who wants "the best bike" and money is no object"

It's pretty much the same here in California. Fine bikes, to be sure, but desired by (modestly-skilled but brand-conscious) riders way out of proportion to how good they are.
  • 5 0
 @chakaping: Why not just let people ride their bikes in peace?
  • 4 0
 @jwdenver: Because it's easy for people to sink to tribalism for something as dumb as which objects you own to enjoy a healthy activity.
  • 2 0
 @LittleFireCycles: IS THAT THE MAN HIMSELF!
  • 182 38
 That was the mystery bike?? I was expecting something exotic or at least a surprise announcement of a new model.. not a Santa Cruz that looks just like all the other Santa Cruz..bah
  • 67 30
 And that's why they made all this theatre here. The only thing that could attract attention to this bike was a mystery and anticipation. Otherwise - meh. Even the colour is dull. This is a Passat of mountain bikes, so they will sell lots of it, because it just works well.
  • 19 27
flag funkzander (Dec 15, 2020 at 1:37) (Below Threshold)
 @lkubica: the passat 3bg 1,9tdi with 131ps was one of the best cars i ever had but youre right a bit boring but it worked and was cheap on fuel. on the other hand my audi s6c4 20v 5cylinder with 230ps was a beast but expensive in running it. shame the new santas all look the same. colourways are wack.
  • 15 18
 @funkzander: @lkubica I've the Passat estate 140ps 2.0tdi and it is infinitely more exciting than Santa Cruz at the moment. Actually one of my favourite cars that I've driven so far. My Capra fits nicely in the boot too with one wheel still on it!
  • 38 11
 @lkubica: No, this is an Audi A6. It sounds cool, it comes from a company that made cool cars in the past, have some cool ones now but is a disappointingly boring and uninspiring. The Passat is at least honest about what it is. And all Audi sedans now look the same.
  • 13 15
 Honestly, it looks great, I mean, I really like the way it looks.
Rationally, it seems that the Nomad does not know what bike it is anymore and for what purposes it is built. Modern geo with 170mm but not even a mullet...in 2021?, only carbon?, select+ for 7k+ USD?
There are a number of weird-ish choices/decisions made by SC which make the bike look a little undefined.
  • 26 12
 @vid1998: I would go BMW 5 series. Years ago it was a drivers car. Now as part of BMW’s quest to be all things to all people it bloated up and lost its edge. The average person is impressed by the badge on the trunk but the person in the know is more impressed by how nice the dash materials/cable routing is. Great for an old guy who rides slow but not the best for people who really want to go fast.
  • 3 5
 @wibblywobbly: my G.O.D., so much of this.
  • 9 0
 @lkubica: If Nomad is the new Passat, what car is the Reign now?
  • 13 0
 @Jmac888 UH HELLO THE HEAD TUBE IS A DIFFERENT SHAPE
  • 26 0
 @lkubica: Hehe, I must be the most boring person on the planet, owning both a Passat GTE and a Nomad. Never cared about brand image and both get the job done admirably.
  • 4 1
 @wibblywobbly: the E39 M5 is my favorite. Also nearby, there is a 540i wagon near my neighborhood of same Vintage.

Years ago a local BMW dealership had a charity event, and I got to drive a 540 with 6-speed manual. That car, for as big as it was, was a lot of fun.
  • 3 1
 "Let's see what's in the box! Nothing! Absolutely nothing! STUPID! You're so STU-PIIIIIIIIIIID!"
  • 3 0
 @aschark: pah, my 54 plate accord fits my XL nomad in with both wheels still on Big Grin
  • 4 3
 Yes. I was going to say... a lot of intrigue around this bike that added up to nothing, or at least nothing very interesting. I thought these field tests were for new bikes.
  • 2 1
 @TheR: not very sure why Mike did not want to test/include the Mega without the tower part, the nuclear one. Could have been a top contender.
  • 7 0
 @Konyp: The Giant Reign is a Toyota GT86/86/FRS. Great affordable sports car from one of the big manufacturers. Great overall car by all accounts, but does lack a bit power, just like the new Reign lacks a bit of travel to really keep up with these enduro sleds.
  • 2 1
 @Jmacc888 take a closer look at the color on the website...it is far from boring up close. They also have a kiwi/pink color way
  • 3 0
 @eugenux: They say this every year; the field test is for new bikes, while the changes aren't drastic, the nomad is new and the Mega is not.
  • 7 1
 @tgent: no man, the nuke Mega, not the Megatower. I write "the Mega without the tower in it, the nuclear one". In my native language mind, sounded more intelligible than in actual interwebz english. Sorry for that.
  • 1 0
 @eugenux: Ha gotchya, now worries, ya wasn't sure what you meant by that, now I get it, the Nukeproof would have been an interesting comparison.
  • 2 0
 @digitalsoul: hahahha awesome!!!!. Im guessing with the low up-vote for a solid UHF quote this only resonates with us over 40.
  • 9 2
 All cars are dumb, all bikes are awesome.
  • 2 2
 Glad I'm not the only one feeling this way. Kinda feels like a huge letdown. Yay, a barely changed SC that got the slowest test lap lol. What an exciting day!
  • 1 0
 @Konyp: Golf GTI
  • 2 0
 @SiSandro: equal most boring person on the planet. I'm in the Passat and Nomad club too.
  • 105 3
 If you're really looking for a 'mild-mannered, do-it-all machine', do you really need 170mm of travel and a Fox 38?
  • 209 1
 Do you want to be spotted at the trail centre carpark WITHOUT a Fox 38?
  • 64 3
 How would you impress your colleagues with a brown 27.5 bike otherwise?
  • 13 2
 @lkubica: Hehe, but it is not brown, it is blood sausage red, yummy Smile
  • 5 13
flag lkubica (Dec 15, 2020 at 3:05) (Below Threshold)
 @2pi: but you know that sausage is food, not a colour, right? Wink
  • 41 4
 @lkubica: if you want to impress strangers in a car-park, you'd better have a black sausage, not a brown one.
  • 9 0
 @2pi: I must admit that looking at Vital review, this colour is awesome. But sending bike with this colour to people in BC who apparently see no sunshine in Autumn was a major fail from SC.
  • 13 1
 If they put a 36 on it you would be complaining about that.

Why wouldn’t they put the newest tech on it?
  • 1 0
 @TommyNunchuck: absolutely not !
  • 1 1
 @lkubica: Mine would be impressed simply by the fact it was 27.5. Those 'in the know'.
  • 1 0
 @lkubica: as I excitingly hop on my brown and orange altitude ... :/ haha.
  • 9 0
 @TommyNunchuck: Thanks to Covid nobody second-guesses the mask I wear to hide my shame about the 34 on my bike.
  • 1 0
 @eugenux: black before the ride, brown after.
  • 89 15
 So it does what the Spindrift does bot not quite good like that Spindrift, costs more with way weaker components.
Why do people still want that?
  • 68 2
 Because it says Santa Cruz on the frame.
  • 75 5
 No idea but it might have something to do with lifetime warranty VS tech support barely speaking english.
  • 24 1
 Propain is sexier and it might be better, but Santa Cruz has the best warranty and resale value. Having said that, I d buy neither...
  • 30 1
 The Spindrift Kaz tested is $1k more in the US. The top tier specs are pretty much even price and component wise. With the SC you get their famously excellent customer service and warranty. I think the Spindrift is rad, but it's not silly to see why someone would go with the Nomad.
  • 2 0
 The new Propain design really appeals to me as does the ActoFive but I think I just like kooky things. But they seem to be great too.

I think what Santa Cruz has going for it is that it is every detail has been thought of (based on @mikekazimer review). And maybe that is overkill on bikes but when you are paying thousands of dollars don't you want the details?

My big question is what brand is the worst value? I'm always surprised with brands that have no entry level models. I think Transition and Pivot start at about $5,000. But maybe you could get a Salsa that is 90% of a Transition for 50% of the price or an Ibis is 90% of a Pivot. Just speculating. No personal experience.
  • 5 3
 @withdignityifnotalacrity:
Not here in the EU, price is almost even, still the Nomad is a bit more expensive but the components are one weight class lower. Drivetrain, suspension, brake's and dropper are a higher grade on that Spindrift. If you go all in on the Nomad, it gets the x01 and that cost 9k and you still have only the 350 DT Swiss hubs and no AXS ofc.

What Pinkbike not mentioned is that the Spindrift is ready for DC so this bike can do much more. 5 years warranty is enough for me because well, I don't keep bikes 5 years other then my commuter.
  • 12 1
 @Serpentras: So your complaint is region specific. It's not surprising that a German brand is less expensive in Germany, while an American brand is less expensive in the US. Without riding both bikes, it's really hard to compare, but SC has stellar rep for their customer support and lots of local bike shops carry them so it starts to make sense. I'm sure an EU publication would have more focus on local conditions over there.
  • 8 0
 The Spindrift was a 29 as tested. Not exactly comparing apples to apples, especially when you consider the Mikes prefer 29ers.
  • 4 2
 @Serpentras: You'll likely need to replace bearings over those 5 years, though, won't you? That can easily set you back well over 50€ + shipping, possibly couple times, and it's covered by SC lifetime warranty. This is obscure detail but this is what makes a difference in customer journey. Another example would be Commencal and their incredible webstore where you can find pretty much any spare part including those bearing kits for some models from 5 years back.

In the meantime all I can find on Propain website is rear hanger and... pedals.
  • 4 1
 @Toutacoup: Transition does this too. You go on the website, have a full exploded frame detail for all their models ever and can get replacement parts right from the website. It freaking rules so hard.
  • 1 0
 @Toutacoup: The second product on Spare Parts page is Bearingkits (www.propain-bikes.com/en/product/parts/spareparts/bearingkits). But it's quite hidden between all the hangers.
  • 1 0
 @Toutacoup: And not all models are covered. Not sure why tho.
  • 1 7
flag lastminutetech (Dec 15, 2020 at 11:00) (Below Threshold)
 for the same reason most people buy luxury cars. They need people to revere them. Too bad SC doesnt allow you to get a personalized license plate to really stoke the insecurity!
  • 2 3
 I wonder how much of an overlap there is between Santa Cruz riders and iPhone users.
  • 1 0
 @DylanH93:...the local Starbucks
  • 1 2
 @lastminutetech: And for a very expensive carbon frame it's a super heavy bike, My downhill bike in 2002 was 32lbs hahaha
  • 8 0
 @Toutacoup: bahahah, I don't need that. Most German brands use DIN ISO certified standard bearings.
You know what that means?
You don't even need an LBS to get bearings for your Bikes.
I have at least 5 riding buddies with SC Nomads and holly shieet, the supplier here in Germany must be bad because most of them had to wait for their bearings some weeks some even a month.
I never ever have to wait for a standard bearing. I also don't need to pay extra for bearings because I can get the good stuff straight from the factory without a relabe sticker to it.
You also buy BB bearings from you BB manufacturer? Same stuff here except for SRAM dub.
  • 3 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity:
Isn't it the same with your answer that it is region specific?
Even if the SD cost 1k more in the US the parts are less expensive on that topend SC. The SD is still less expensive. The only part to argue are the rims on the Nomad who are better.
  • 2 0
 @Serpentras: Look, I think the SD is rad. But as a value proposition, it and the SC seem about even, while SC is generally regarded as a premium brand, with a long history of building great riding bikes. If you're dropping $8k on a bike, just get whatever tickles your pickle better, IDC. Just seems like a strange thing to get hung up on.
  • 95 37
 Why is the fork crown backwards???

How can we take the review seriously when that's not addressed in the article?
  • 13 2
 At first I thought it just had zero offset, but you're right, it really is backwards! I've checked other images of the 38, and that picture really looks wrong!
  • 2 5
 @mountainsofsussex: yeah I've gone and had a look too. I don't understand what's going on.

I've gone through the video and can't work out if it's backwards on the clips of it being ridden. Too hard to tell on my phone.

So any number of things could have happened - arrived wrong, was serviced midway through and put together wrong, maybe it was intentionally switched to try a reduced offset...
  • 9 0
 @mikekazimer: what's going on?
  • 6 1
 there's no room to compensate for shorter offset at the wheel axle, so the only way to do that is at the crown. Less than 40mm offset forks tend to look like that. I don't like the looks as wellSmile
  • 4 1
 @2pi: if you look at the other Santa Cruz story on the front page this morning, it looks correct for the white background photos, but back to front in the image with trees behind. I've no idea if it's possible to build a 38 back to front - you couldn't do it on a Lyrik, for example
  • 6 1
 @2pi: This seems like the most obvious answer - a really weird optical illusion.

Particularly that second link. It's very weird though and not something I've noticed on any other picture of a bike with a 38.
  • 4 1
 Probably an optical illusion, as mentioned. Possibly the eye is drawn to the head tube and comparing the fork crown to that?
Looks same on this review bike too: singletrackworld.com/2020/12/review-brand-new-santa-cruz-nomad-v5
  • 10 2
 Okay, so I went and looked at the Propain article, for the similar photo with the 38.

That photo has a little more angle on it but I think you can see that it would look the same (backwards) if the photo was taken at the same angle.

My sincere apologies to @mikekazimer
  • 1 1
 @samfr1000: oh yeah, it is the same on the Propain - crown goes backwards from the bottom of the head tube, or at least looks like it does. Maybe with short offsets and big stanchions we'll end up with a really big crown offset and the axle behind the stanchion... Trek wouldn't need a knock block either!
  • 2 0
 Kinda looks like fork offset is backwards even in the riding photos?
  • 1 0
 I was going to say the same thing lol
  • 5 1
 It does look backwards, but the damper dial is on the correct side. Is it some wild offset crown they had to flip and swap the damper to the opposite side, just to have a nomad for pinkbike???
  • 4 7
 It’s not backward, unless the fork is a Manitou (it’s not). The reinforcement bridge is facing forward, as it should. What you’re seeing is the left fork leg slightly behind the right. It’s an optical illusion.
  • 41 2
 Because it's not backwards... The oversized headtube and the angle of the fork are causing an optical illusion. If it had gotten flipped around somehow you'd see a serial number on the front, and there would be a notch just under the headtube for crown race removal.
  • 1 0
 @TheR: I think the illusion is because the front of the fork crown under the headset is in the light, so kind of disappears against the background more, whereas the back is all black, so it has more visual weight against the background. At 1:25 in the video, you get a really clear look at it. Still looks really odd, mind.
  • 1 0
 The crown definitely looks funny - but it's because of the huge stanchions, the crown needs less offset than a fork with smaller stanchions to achieve the same offset at the axle.
  • 4 0
 @samfr1000: We're all used to seeing Manitou forks so when we finally see a front-facing Fox crown it looks weird.
  • 4 1
 That does look odd. It appears like the 37mm offset version has very little offset in the crown (maybe 3mm?), so the race seat area of the crown actually protrudes past the plane of the stanchions....making it look reversed? My guess is that the castings have ~34mm of offset, and the two crown options thus have 3 and 10mm of offset.
  • 1 0
 @NoahColorado: it looks very similar to the 37 offset CSU on my 36. Definitely different that what we’re used to, but it’s just geometry.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: that was fun, cheers Mike.
  • 1 2
 Can pinkbike please, please, please do a stand-alone PSA on 37mmm forks so there comments in other 27.5 reviews don't get cluttered with stupidity like this
  • 37 0
 I just want to see a huck video. Don’t care about “to flat”. Just go off a lot of big stuff.
  • 21 0
 ‘Just go off a lot of big stuff’ that’s gonna be my standard weekend response at work from now on

“What you up to this weekend?”
“Probs just gonna go off a lot of big stuff really, you? Bit of shopping?”
  • 11 0
 Yes. I want to see that drop from all 10 bikes. Then I want to see a section where the suspension is working overtime from all 10 bikes. Looks like they filmed all the riding on the same trails with @mikelevy on the trail bikes and some mysterious stig like character (uncredited as far as I can tell) on the Enduro/Freeride machines. I realize video editing is time consuming but it would be really cool to see.
  • 5 0
 I just wanna know which bike will make up for my lack of balls to hit that 3 meter drop...
  • 2 0
 @unrooted: lol either none of them or all of them my friendWink
  • 4 0
 +1

Anyone can ride those trails on any bike. The reason I will get a 170mm over a 150mm bike is to hit some big features. I would really like to see how these bikes handle them.
  • 33 0
 How times have changed. Of the Nomad 4, you guys said 'if you dream of cleaning technical uphill sections more than you do about boosting off big jumps and pinballing through rock gardens there are better options out there'. Here we are in 2020 and a longer, lower, slacker Nomad is now for 'the rider who enjoys technical climbs and descents, someone would pick maneuverability over outright speed'. Having owned a Pole Evolink for a short time, I really believe a steep seat angle goes a long way to making a lot of burlier bikes pedal so much better than they used to. In fact, I'd go so far to say that it has more of a bearing on pedal performance than an increase in anti-squat.
  • 17 0
 why was your evolink ownership duration short?
  • 5 0
 It is strange.

I guess a couple factors:
1) They have made some changes to the nomad, perhaps the changes to leverage curves, anti squat and seatpost angle have improved the climbing significantly.
2) The goalposts have perhaps moved. 170mm on 27.5 was a huge bike 5 years ago. Now we have a lot of bikes 170 and 180 travel and 29 wheels - so this 170 27.5 doesn't seem so unmanageable any more, particularly with a light build and carbon wheels.
  • 11 1
 @GumptionZA: I'm a self confessed serial bike changer!

The Evolink was a great bike and truth be told I really do miss the steep seat angle now I'm on a 2018 Hightower LT. It isn't that the Hightower is bad, just that a SA of I would say, 76 or above just puts you in a much much better position for pedalling.

I do also think that longer chainstays - or at least size specific stays - are a good thing. Was it Norco I think, quite some years ago did this. It never really caught on so interesting to see it coming back to the fore again.

A takeway from riding the Pole for me though is balance - its the first and only bike I've ridden where I felt right in the centre of the bike and that not only helps with confident descending but also climbing traction.
  • 2 0
 Yeah, I thought that was funny too. This should be the best descending nomad ever.. well, I mean, about the same as the last one, but still
  • 3 0
 One thing addresses your observation IMO: Market changes. When the N4 came out 3 years ago, it was a brute with 170mm of travel and more travel than most other bikes on the market. It did climb worse than it's competition because it's competition was still 150-160 travel less aggressive bikes. Since the N4 came out, you have a big influx of long travel 160mm+ free ride and super enduro bikes that surpassed the Nomad in aggressiveness and travel.

Now that it's being compared to other 170mm+ travel big bikes, the N5 (with I'm sure some small improvements to climbing over the N4) does climb pretty well and leans a bit more all mountain than it's competitors, because the competitors are all new.
  • 4 0
 Vital seems to like it better...
  • 1 0
 @tom666: I think you're right with regard to the goal posts being moved.

Just like short travel bikes have become more capable downhill as geo has evolved... so too have long travel bikes become more capable climbers and do-it-all bikes.

This has led me to pass on the trail bike category all together.
  • 36 0
 I don’t like seeing bloopers of Kaz. It gives off the impression that he is human
  • 47 0
 It’s part of a new program to help robots fit in with regular society.
  • 33 1
 I don't understand this build kit, a top end 38, with Grip 2 damper, XT components, and ... Select shox ?
How do people making assemblies don't understand that EVERYBODY would rather like SLX components and a shox with compression tune ?
At more than 7k, people would not even complain about adding 100£ to get this better shox anyway...
  • 3 0
 totally agree
  • 4 0
 This is also true for their alu frames.
  • 2 0
 It is seriously the dumbest thing about shopping for bikes. And so may companies are clearly doing it on purpose, when they have at least one build with all the right components. If you want to fool me, put the shitty shock on every build.
  • 2 0
 Exactly. I would love to see companies kitting their bikes with properly ideal specs. I wouldn't mind gx/slx drivetrain, if i could get full factory/ultimate suspension, high end brakes and a decent cockpit.
  • 1 1
 When the actual Bronson came out, I asked my LBS owner if I could buy a Bronson frame with a Fox X2 instead of the standard RS shock. I would've paid CHF 200 extra. So that's not too bad, isn't it?
For me, I've decided to buy frames 2nd hand and build them up with the parts I already own and some new goodies. The only way to not have to deal with shitty parts such as Reverbs and low level Sram brakes.
  • 34 6
 Norco Sight called and wants its 2020 colorway back.
Does SC put name tags onto the frames now to tell them appart ?
  • 4 17
flag CircusMaximus (Dec 15, 2020 at 0:22) (Below Threshold)
 You’re kidding, right?
  • 4 0
 then look at the 2nd frame colour: Adder Green and Magenta
very nice
not Norco-like
  • 5 0
 Transition Sentinel 2019 had the Ron Burgundy before that...
  • 3 9
flag unrooted (Dec 15, 2020 at 7:09) (Below Threshold)
 @vhdh666: a color only a euro would want!
  • 3 0
 @unrooted: that's discrimination
  • 25 2
 Wow - I don't think I've read such a collection of moaning comments about such a positive bike review!

Ok - its expensive, nothing new there. All the main players are too bloody expensive! At least its not loaded with their own brand mediocre kit, like Spesh and Trek et al roll out. I've had a good number of them at some point in the last 20 years. Crappy own brand seat posts (At least I can rebuild that Reverb when it goes bouncy - and it will, but they all do), own brand crap lightweight tyres, wheels, seats, grips, their own tune suspension = usually a cheap model damper etc etc but they still want premium prices...

Its a 170mm front AND rear, none of this miss-matched crap 147mm rear end with 170mm front end odd balls I see popping up all too common, which simply says to me - "We couldn't engineer matching rear end travel - but hey, we matched the tune of the rear shock with the front fork to perfection..." Utter BS.

Its 32 lb - that pretty light nowadays especially for 170mm ALL round big hitter.

You want some radically different model every year. Whenever I see a radical departure from the previous design, that immediately makes me sit-up for all the wrong reasons. So does that mean the last model was either crap, or too expensive to make and you've found a cheaper way to make the frame but charge me more? (e.g. no APP on a Trek, or knock block headset, because really its cheaper not to kink the down tube. Or lets drop one of the pivots on a Horst link design - Spesh. Press fit BB... etc etc. ) but didn't you bike manufactures tell me last year it was the best design - EVER! Porsche, seem to have hit on a good thing, get the design right and and keep evolving.

Its got a lifetime warranty on the frame, the wheels, the frame bearings, and your still winging - FFS! All this on a bike you should be absolutely beasting, so there's a high chance your going to damage that frame or wheels and I for one welcome any manufacturer offering me a genuine lifetime warranty - it screams volumes about the confidence in their product.

But what really matters to me now after 20 years of broken / cracked bike frames or parts, is how a company deals with an issue when something goes wrong. And something is going to go wrong if you ride your bike as fast as you can and regularly, like you should, foe something costing over £2.5k, never mind £7K! Now what matters more to me is how quickly and fairly a company with fix an issue and I have to say when I owned a 26" Nomad and Blur, Santa Cruz in the UK (AKA Stiff Cycles) were pretty good. They typically held stock of all the parts even spare frame parts. I would get them in a week. In contrast, I moved to Trek - cracked a chainstay on the then current Trek Slash - waited 3 months for a replacement! Cracked an S-works Enduro. Spesh - not interested after 5 years old. Canyon Strive - "Oops you cracked a seat stay! No problem sir, we will rip you off by only offering you a whole new frame at the not so heavily discounted crash replacement price of £1800! Same experience with YT.

Wow - reading all this moaning about what is clearly a great bike is catching, as you've obviously triggered a nerve with me. I'll put it down to hormoanes.... Note to self; must not read and reply to drivel with drivel....
  • 4 0
 Glad somebody is on the same page as me. If you have a problem with Santa Cruz don’t buy it. They have a killer warranty department if that holds any merit with people. I don’t need a bike to hold my energy bar for me. The gripes seem petty. They addressed everything people wanted, minus a glove box, to make a better all arounder. No I’m not a dentist but saw mine yesterday.
  • 2 0
 I hear you. I know everyone is disappointed that it's not the radically new-looking bike they thought it would be, but reading all the comments, you wouldn't know this was actually a positive review about a pretty solid bike. You would at least think the 27.5 guys would be happy about it.
  • 4 0
 @TheR: Hard to make a radical design change on a great bike. Small tweaks go along way.
  • 4 0
 I’m 100% with you on this. A load of people moaning about price but nobody has a gun to their head to buy and as far as I can tell ‘frame only’ prices are in line with the rest of the industry.

I’m on a V3 Bronson coming from a V2, had an early Superlight back in the day. When the bearings developed play on my V2 a simple email had new bearings at my door within three days. A threaded frame insert stripped on friends friends V3 Nomad they replaced it with a V4 frame. I’ve seen Reserve rims replaced with zero quibble in double quick time. If you have to pay a little more to get through the door to customer service like that then so be it. But if you would rather take your money elsewhere then that’s your choice. No point in ragging on something you don’t intend to buy, unless of course the truth is that you really want one but it’s out of reach.

As for design changes surely we are at the point of marginal gains in bike design by now!? I’d not expect huge step changes in design. Look at F1 for example. Each year the teams come with new cars with lots of small changes but to the untrained eye they look like the same car. How about the road bikes? How does last years top of the line Trek differ from this years, or the one from five years ago? Again, marginal gains.

The bike looks great, I’d have mine in green.
  • 1 0
 @Golich I have no problems with this bike just wanted to reply to your comment. "Mis-matched" can be great! I don't feel like a bike needs to have the same travel front and rear. Hardtails exist, think of those mismatched bikes as scaled up hardtails, it can make for a really fun bike (not everyone races).
  • 4 0
 @GregorFuk: Just picked mine up today. The changes are small but totally different. Just sitting on it feels great overall. Totally stoked on this bike and in my opinion you can’t go wrong with either color, took me awhile to decide.
,
  • 1 0
 @Knotty253: Great stuff. How is seated pedalling? That’s where my only reservation around the V5 lies. I ride a med V3 Bronson and if you look at the effective top tube length of a med V5 Nomad it is 17mm shorter and that is before you take account of the 40mm stem as apposed to the 50mm on the Bronson. That makes it a full 27mm shorter when seated. Wondering if it feels cramped.
  • 2 0
 @GregorFuk: To me it feels great. Feels very efficient. I am 5’8. Coming off my 19 Nomad it definitely addresses the issues with the V4. V4 is a great bike don’t get me wrong. I ran a 35mm stem on my V4
  • 25 0
 4500 for NX should be a crime
  • 25 4
 Yep, that's a bicycle
  • 17 1
 Love the green color
  • 5 0
 More bike than I ride these days, but that matte green makes me want to try! Happy to see a bolder option in paint from SC again.
  • 3 2
 Kermit color and Piggy letters? Thankfully it's easy to get "Santa Cruz" decals because that green has a lot of potential with something else.
  • 20 5
 Anticlimax
  • 5 1
 what would be an appropriate climax?
  • 11 4
 @ShortJeffsyOwner: something that looks remotely different
  • 9 1
 @ShortJeffsyOwner: the long travel high pivot forbidden (presumably) dreadnought
  • 4 0
 @Herrdok: I would be very disappointed if Forbidden didn't stick with the mystical naming/marketing theme they set with the Druid when they release their new bike
  • 1 0
 @shreddie-eddie: i would prefer that too, just read here in another post that they recently registered that name, so we all assumed it will be called that, we'll see...
  • 14 0
 Doesn't make my Nomad 4 seem old and outdated. I'm a bit disappointed!
  • 13 0
 Thought the same first, but look at all the moneys you save by not having to upgrade!
  • 4 0
 @stobimax: I've already bought another bike...saving was never my strongpoint!
  • 1 0
 It’s so they can make the next version 63.4/63.7 hta and 479mm reach
  • 3 0
 My past two Hightower's have left nothing undesired by the new models. I think people are forgetting that incremental changes don't completely outdate older versions! These frames are keepers in my opinion, new doesn't always mean better.
  • 5 1
 The good thing with santa cruz is that there warranty is one of the best out there. Keep riding your nomad 4 and if anything happens you will probs get a v5 frame. They don't charge that much for a crash replacement either, not compared to other brands anyway. Enjoy the v4 man
  • 1 0
 If... I had a V4, I would be so disappointed in this other than the ox blood color. As a V3 owner who is still stupid happy with his bike, this may make a V4 a little more affordable next season. That is only if people want to sell their V4 or if anybody can actually get their hands on a V5
  • 2 0
 It’s nice that my v4 isn’t a flying turd , but also I still want that watermelon
  • 1 0
 @nige-dh: hey there, im interested how you know what their crash replacement is,... i did get offer for one from one company, did not feel cheap at all,... if new frame is like 3400,... what it will be for crash replacement you think?
  • 13 0
 Somebody at SC owned a ZX-7 in the late 90’s. Props for bringing back the green/pink.
  • 8 0
 That green is fucking sweet, not sure what people are complaining about.
  • 10 1
 Why is nobody talking about that massive 165mm head tube on the XL, really interesting they seem to be the only ones really pushing geometry in other areas than just longer and sacker. Always found it weird that reach increases by a much bigger number than stack putting small riders in a much more upright position than taller riders, makes sense to have bigger variation in headtubes, just a shame big head tube are so ugly!
Side note does the varying chainstay lengths mean the small is shorter travel than the XL? Is so by how much?
  • 3 0
 The seatube seems to be a touch steeper on the smaller sizes, presumably makes room for full travel?
  • 1 0
 Mojo HD5 is 158. XL stack height is frequently in the range of 640-650 as of late. Nothing new here really.
  • 2 1
 @DHhack: I would still say it’s a minority doing this, stack is also a function of fork travel, wheel size, head tube length, head angle and bb drop, I was just looking at just head tube length and if we take this field test in XL sizes 2 bikes are 125mm, other 2 are 140 and 145mm then the nomad is 165mm, it’s definitely an outlier.
  • 11 0
 I know that bike is way too much bike for what I ride 90% of the time.... but after watching this review I want one.
  • 10 2
 "The Nomad seems to be mellowing out a little as the years go by, morphing into more of a mild-mannered, do-it-all machine, as opposed to a purely gravity-oriented bike that’s only happy if you’re blasting down the trail as fast as possible."

Are you confusing the Nomad with the VP-Free? The first Nomad (~2010) was precisely the "mild-mannered, do-it-all machine".
  • 6 0
 @i-am-lp: first gen was the shizzle
  • 2 1
 At the time, the first gen Nomad was certainly not a "mild mannered, do-it-all machine" IMO. It was one of the most aggressive, longest travel trail bikes you could buy. By todays standards it's obviously not, but times have changed.
  • 1 3
 @tgent: yet the average rider on the trails seems slower... funny how that works.
  • 3 1
 @atrokz: Not sure exactly what you are getting at, but if you took any rider, put them against the clock on any downhill trail on this bike then had them do it again on an original Nomad and I'd bet my money they are faster 99% of the time on the new bike.
  • 1 2
 @tgent: what I'm getting at is that the average rider isn't better than before. Yet the bikes are.
  • 1 2
 @tgent: as in, technology got better but it didn't make people any faster. Thats all.
  • 8 0
 Another review found the high-gloss paint to be very delicate. After only two days of riding, it was already showing lots of scuffs and scrapes:
fotos.mtb-news.de/p/2529450
  • 12 0
 That semi-transparent wine colored paint with the gold lettering and carbon layup visible is painfully pretty to look at. I can hear the cash registers spinning up at 3M, Ride Wrap, etc for frame protection now.
  • 3 1
 Helps hide the orange peel in the clear coat
  • 1 0
 My 2019 Nomad paint is delicate. I think they lay it on thin to save weight. My 2012 COVE STD hit the ground many times and I don't remember the paint easily chipping away.
  • 13 6
 Well when Kazimer tested the sb165 he got he got his fastest time in the field test. Now he tests the similar Nomad he gets his slowest time in it's field test. This can only mean two things, either the sb165 is outright the better bike or Pinkbikes 'testing' is all over the show and doean't mean anything meaningful... Make up your own mind
  • 26 0
 Keep in mind they were tested on completely different tracks in different conditions. Nobody should be basing their purchasing decisions off of the timed lap results - think of those more as a fun foot note rather than anything to be taken super seriously.
  • 2 1
 @mikekazimer: in the round up, you will compare them with the 2020 Spez Enduro?, or it will be a separate clip/video/article/etc..?
  • 1 5
flag patryka (Dec 15, 2020 at 8:38) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: still you pinkbike are almost a bible to us if new very expensive bike is the slowest ..... well .... i do NOT buy it.
  • 7 0
 @eugenux, yes, I talk about how the Enduro would have fared against these bikes in the roundtable.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: thx, looking forward seeing it.
  • 6 0
 those times mean pretty close to nothing IMO. I ride the same trail many times and my times are all over the map. on the same bike. with the same trail conditions. there are way too many variables to conclude that the bike is making much of a difference.
  • 1 0
 @sooner518: i am not so sure. Santa recently come slower in many test similar to that. Watch Megatower speed test in UK magazine. I love SC and had many but now thinking of Nukeproof and others. For me speed is fun. And i do not do trics just cannot do. So like speed and stability. Yeti often come the fastest and now Rocky Mountain or Nukeproof so this makes me thinging maybe the suspension of the bikes is better for speed.
  • 2 0
 @patryka: youve got the writer of the article/review saying the timed results shouldnt be taken that seriously. if youre really wanting to maximize your speed, dialing in your suspension setup will probably yield more fruitful results than buying a new bike because it was 5 seconds faster on one timed run of a reviewer
  • 1 0
 @sooner518: I know that and you are writing good point. Still though when those similar results come in many tests you think about that, don't you? Ha!
Like here www.youtube.com/watch?v=wL7PJ9ro1LU&list=PLpFl7okrctbuE0Irhue44UmGS7i25W0cI&index=30&t=109s
  • 9 9
 @mikekazimer: That is a completely fair point if you didn't put in highlighted text the following.. "I had my slowest time on the Nomad, at 2:48, a little over 7 seconds back. That could have been me forgetting I was on a smaller wheeled bike and pushing a little too hard in the corners, causing a couple of slide outs.". You haven't said this time shouldn't be taken seriously, you have stated the 27.5 wheels held you back, basically trying to use the 27.5 vs 29 argument as your reasons for going slower, yet if this is the case it wasn't with the sb165 so again this means two things, one this comment is meaningless or two like you say wheel size ect is terrain specific in which case testing bikes on only one trail type then ranking them is completely pointless. On paper the sb165 is near enough the same bike as the Nomad v5 give or take a few mm here or there. I understand you are just going off your feelings and what comes into your mind at the time of writing but I'm sure you know your reviews have an impact on bike sales, you guys should stick to the facts like German magazines and maybe put in your personal opinion too, but getting things like slower times or mechanical issues with parts that are also fitted to other bikes you have reviewed and had no issues is just completely biasing the review, you can't blame a set of XT brakes for example that are malfunctioning on the bike you are reviewing yet on another bike the same brakes work on it's a non issue and then put that as negatives in the review, if that is the case then the same negative comment applies to every other bike with the same brakes fitted or you had a faulty set in which case this isn't a true reflection of what most users will get anyway. I guess what I'm saying is you should be less like X is bad because of Y like it's verbatim and realise there is a lot ambiguity here in these reviews.
  • 3 2
 @Danzzz88: the Shore has also 27.5" wheels and it was faster than the V5. Did Mike overstep on both bikes or it was just a polite way to say they are slower than the 29ers.
  • 6 1
 @patryka: i guess ive just taken enough statistics classes to know that comparing one run of Bike A versus one run of Bike B has zero statistical validity. especially with different tires, different suspension setups, etc.... but if you want to pick the Yeti based on it being 2.5 seconds faster than the Megatower on that video....go for it.
  • 2 1
 @sooner518: I do not. However you have lots criteria. Some people even chose by color.
If customer wants fast bike defenitely it is a good hint. Not the greatest and I agree with you that after proper suspension tuning you can have different result but all bikes can have the tuning and we are talking about stock bikes. Any better hint to buy fast bikes? Yeah, test it yourself si it will be the best for you but it often impossible.
EWS? O no, they have tuned suspension and some great rider like Sam Hill could be fast on any proper bike.
So, yes, I believe those kind of test like this in UK Magazine is a good hint.
  • 2 1
 @mikekazimer: Great review Mike, do you think it will be possible to do two laps on each bike instead of one to get and average. Thank for the fun videos, i am a robot......
  • 8 1
 Hopefully they hooked up the new bikes with 165 mm Cranks. Nowhere in the review or on Santa Cruz as webpage can you find the crank length. I don’t know why Enduro bikes come out on anything but 165. Maybe I’m the only fat ass who experiences pedal strikes with 170 mm Cranks on these enduro type bikes and just need to lay off the gummies
  • 10 0
 I love to see 27.5" bikes! I love how they accelerate quickly and handle tight corners. Keep 'em coming!
  • 7 0
 The guy riding the bikes in this field test on the photos and in the video does not look like mike kazimer or am I wrong?
  • 11 0
 You’re right - that’s Aidan Oliver, who filled in as my riding stunt double for the video due to the border closure.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: I was just about to ask the same thing. Mostly because the brake setup in the riding shots is different from the brake setup behind you in the video.
  • 11 0
 @andwrong, yep, he runs his brakes the wrong way.
  • 4 0
 This bike gets the KKD, Kazimer Kiss of Death, I guess? According to him the bike looks great, rides great, and is a ton of fun. No real negatives that I could see. Santa Cruz makes rock solid well tested and refined bikes, they charge accordingly, and run a great company.
  • 9 1
 That color is on point
  • 5 0
 Wait, so it’s longer and slacker than ever but also a mild mannered do it all bike now, with the same travel as the previous versions?

I don’t understand bikes
  • 1 0
 I think it's a combination of expectations and seat tube angles. The latter really do a lot for keeping a long, slack bike manageable on more technical climbs.
  • 5 2
 Disappointed! Am I the only one expecting that Nomad new model, would be MX like Bullit??
P.S.:
As an owner of a '19 model, I can trully tell you that, my MX set up with 160mm fork ( 565mm axle to crown length), on low BB setting works perfectly and I'm super happy!
  • 3 0
 At 6:09 @mikekazimer mentions a harsh feel on "previous VPP suspension designs", and then specifically calls out the shock tune on the Megatower @ 7:10, saying "if I could have the Megatower with this rear shock tune I'd be super happy"

Aside from the extra 10mm travel, does the Nomad's suspension improve on the Megatower's in any respect, or is it simply a matter of shock tunes on the respective bikes?
  • 4 0
 The apparent success of Cascade Components suggests otherwise. Will we see a Nomad.5 linkage?
  • 3 0
 Surprising to hear that maneuverability is a premium over outright speed on the Nomad. It seems like the Nomad was always SC's smash now ask questions later bike. I guess that void is now filled by the Megatower.
  • 2 0
 honestly, i was worried they would make this version even MORE downhill-specific. i ride an N3 as my one do-it-all bike and honestly, this description kind of makes me think i would like this bike
  • 2 0
 @sooner518: I was kinda thinking the same thing. The last Nomad was too much bike for me and the Megatower is waaaaaaaaay overkill for normal daily riding. This nomad looks pretty attractive.
  • 7 2
 Well, at least it looks balanced with parallel head tube and actual seat tube angles....
  • 6 4
 you have a strange notion of parallelism.
  • 1 2
 @opignonlibre: \ \ - looks parallel to me?
  • 4 5
 @Caza1232:

• Head angle: 63.7 or 64°
• Seat tube angle: 77.5°

Not sure how they calculate their seat tube angle, if that is a virtual angle for a given saddle height or the real actual angle at which the seatpost is exiting the tube and if it under no weight or at a given sag level.

But even visually you need to see an optometrist if you still see them as parallels
  • 2 0
 @opignonlibre: they tend to state the effective angle at a given (usually hidden) height. Sussex an I were noting the actual angle of the seat post.
The old phone against the monitor puts that at about 68*, so no, not exactly parallel Wink
  • 6 0
 Bro science measurements from photoshop:

Head angle measurement for reference: 63.5

Actual seat tube angle: 68

Effective seat tube angle to the middle of seat clamp at the press photos seat height: 75.5
  • 5 1
 I really wanted my next bike to be a Santa Cruz again but apprently they don't want average people buying their bikes anymore, no more Aluminum 27,5" bikes..
  • 5 0
 They've been launching with carbon frames and rolling out aluminum frames a few months later for a while now. I would be shocked if they didn't introduce an aluminum Nomad before next summer.
  • 3 0
 @BlackVR: on the other hand they said there will not be an aluminum 5010 and the hightower didn’t get an aluminum version either.
  • 3 0
 @waldo-jpg: Think you meant Megatowe as the HT is available in alu.
  • 1 0
 @dennis72: yes haha
  • 1 0
 @BlackVR: only alu bikes left in their line up are Bronson, Hightower and Tallboy,.. if im correct thats the three oldest in current form so they still bother to make them alu, pretty sure with every new model released there will be no more alu. Ill be actually surprised if you can still even order alu with the situation as is.
  • 2 0
 Hey all you engineers!..... you get that the seat moves back when it moves up at such an angle, right? Am I the only one that would rather be pushed forward on my bike as I attack a steep uphill? Or should I be weighing the back down more?
  • 4 0
 You need to consider the geometry of the human body. Too steep a seat tube angle will make for a very odd pedalling sensation though unicyclists would feel right at home.
  • 3 2
 How quiet is the rest of the bike and trail if you notice brake pad rattle? I have ridden both single piston XT's and dual piston Zee's and never once noticed this. I did notice a lot of other noises. Are the new XT's more rattly than Zee's or is Mike just hyper sensitive to brake pad rattle and immune to chain/suspension/tyre/etc noises?
  • 11 0
 When you get a rattly set of pads you will know it, I promise you. Makes you think your frame bolts have come loose.
  • 2 1
 @chakaping: but is it the specific batch of pads or the brake model? With probably 10 different sets of Shimano brakes with all kinds of pads, none of my friends have ever experienced this. And the dual piston XT's seem very similar to the Zee ones.
  • 6 0
 @Mac1987: I dunno, I've only had the issue with one pair of finned pads but it was most distressing.
  • 4 0
 @chakaping: same, first ride noticed it right away on 4p SLXs. Panicked until I located the rattle at the pads. Was relieved to learn it was normal.
  • 7 2
 That’s why you guys need I9 hubs. If my brakes are rattling, I haven’t noticed due to the sound of buzzing bees. I hear any number of sounds on the trail, but my pads ain’t one of them.
  • 3 0
 @TheR: I had both the i9 and XT's and the rattle was still crazy loud. I ended up swapping them out for the non-finned ones. No more rattle.
  • 2 0
 @zarban: You need more chain slap, then. Or external cables. Maybe I'm just going deaf.
  • 3 0
 That oxblood colorway is amazing....reminds me of the pinot noir alloy sentinel v1. I think that oxblood would look UNREAL when complemented by a full deity bronze kit.
  • 5 0
 i like green, i throw my green at it
  • 3 0
 I was really hoping the surprise was a 'rowdy hardtail'. Kazimer would be all about that I think! He sure does love them hardtails on the podcast.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer Hi Mike, how did you find the sizing of the new large Nomad? We're almost identical in size (I am maybe +0.5" taller and 5lbs heavier!?) and I currently ride a large v4 and feel it could be longer but think the jump to the ~500mm XL would be a bit much. Any thoughts would be appreciated! Cheers
  • 4 0
 I got along well with the fit. If you're coming off the V4, the V5's cockpit will actually feel a little smaller due to the steeper seat tube angle, but there's more length to work with on the descents, which could be just what you're looking for.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: Awesome thanks Mike!
  • 3 0
 That NX kit should have been Diore, A lot better for the money!! Would had sell like hot cakes, i have a feeling they still will.
  • 4 0
 There are so many expert opinions in these comments that I'm not sure which one to believe.
  • 3 0
 Why is it an issue that their bikes look similar? Do these people have so many SC bikes in their garage that they get them mixed up? Sounds like a “you” problem.
  • 2 0
 I think they are a great brand! This nomad looks mint. They are pricey but always have been!Ive owned yeti ,Intense, trek,giant ,gt ,Scott and Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is the only frame I’ve never broken!
  • 9 4
 No Alu no buy!
  • 4 0
 I was really hoping for in-frame storage from Santa Cruz
  • 3 0
 Wish we could have the new Nukeproof Mega 290 in this years field test... A Last Tarvo or Coal would be cool too.
  • 5 1
 Why are big brands so scared of offering a winning/mullet option?
  • 3 0
 What bike of the Field Test is the Most "All Mountain" or a one-bike-quiver? #BringAllMountainBack!!!
  • 5 0
 The Salsa is the most "All Mountain" IMO. Otherwise you might wanna check out the Norco Sight, Trek Remedy and SC Bronson. Best examples for "All Mountain" IMO.
  • 2 0
 @HeyBaumeister:

I thought about a Bronson when I was looking at the v4 nomad. With the v4 being as good as it is it didn’t make that much sense to get the Bronson over it.

I also have a 5010, so have a 130/140 bike and a 150/160 bike also seems sillier than a 130/140 and 170/170 .

Either way the v4 is amazing everywhere I take it , the v5 seems to just make everything better without changing the whole bike.
  • 3 0
 Lifetime warranty on carbon and no alloy - says something about the durability of carbon.
  • 1 0
 Where did you read this?
  • 1 0
 @HeyBaumeister: Ha ha, it's a bit of a dig at what was said about the Norco in this test group. Basically it was suggested that the Norco is in alloy for durability.
  • 2 0
 Why they always hang up the bikes on half-extended seatposts? I guess you shouldn't do that - unless you use a Vecnum seat post...
  • 2 0
 Why did I have to go to Vital to see what color this bike actually is? It's beautiful but you wouldn't know that from this review. It looks like crap in most pictures.
  • 1 1
 If you did go to vital, you were also welcomed by a nice little advertorial for the new Nomad #thankyouSantaCruzbikes for the "opportunity" Wink
  • 6 7
 "I had my slowest time on the Nomad, at 2:48, a little over 7 seconds back. That could have been me forgetting I was on a smaller wheeled bike and pushing a little too hard in the corners, causing a couple of slide outs."

No thats because the size large has a 472mm reach and 820mm Front Centre in low setting with a 436mm Rear Centre giving a FC:RC ratio of ca.1.9. The bike would feel like a limo. Chainstay would need to be 450mm to get that working well IMO.
  • 12 0
 Really goes to show the timed test means nothing. If they're doing one lap, the times have much more to do with Mike's riding than the actual bike performance. "Oops I kinda f*cked up a couple times on that lap, guess this bike is the slowest."
  • 3 1
 I'd agree. And a high FC:RC ratio makes for a fatiguing bike to ride.

Edit: I'd rate confidence in front wheel grip very highly in factors that influence fast riding.
  • 4 1
 What are these?? Droppers for ants??
  • 2 0
 And if you are super talented like Luke Cryer, a 5010 can keep up with it !!!
  • 1 0
 Over 7k with XT. That's not a lot of bike for a lot of money. So many better options now days. Especially with all the German companies offering such good deals.
  • 4 0
 I will never trust YT or Canyon again - I'm so pissed off with them. Great bikes until you damage the frame then its +£1500 even if you break a £375 chainstay. They will both only sell you a complete frame.

Then there's the months of waiting for YT to answer you're bloody email!

I found cracks in my wife's top of the line Capra seatstay. She's 53 years old, its safe to say that bike has an easy life. They won't sell me a replacement seatstay as YT have decided they'll only sell you a complete discontinued frame for £1500 and its the totally wrong colour so non of the parts would match.

Buy cheap you buy twice.....

PS £7500 is about the same as all the other main players - they've all lost the plot!
  • 2 0
 Am I the only one who is wondering who’s the guy riding the longer travel bikes? It’s certainly not @mikekazimer!
  • 2 0
 Where would the Super Trolls live if it wasn't for Pinkbike ?.... Me thinkst these people are sad.
  • 1 0
 the see-thru red is dang beautiful! would make a nice addition to my 2017 5010, which is a very capable bike already on its own.
  • 1 2
 I realize the Nomad is new, but if PB is doing a comparison review, shouldn't they have reviewed the Megatower? Same goes for the Shore -- not Norco's enduro bike. Makes this whole exercise rather useless. More of a promo for the new releases than a genuine head to head comparison.
  • 1 0
 Kinda a tease though. Just went into my lbs and couldn't order a small CC X01 build in oxblood, sold out till next model year when they change colorway.
  • 3 1
 Can't wait to see this thing in the huck to flat video.
  • 2 0
 This should have been something like a Geometron G1
  • 1 0
 Geometron is GREAT!!!
  • 2 0
 Are you sure this Nomad is new?
  • 1 0
 A sigh of relief from everyone who bought the last version recently and was waiting to see if they should have waited
  • 7 8
 I don't understand a bike review that states that there's no aluminum version as a con, that's like Top Gear testing a Audi R8 and saying it's not an Audi A1. Stick to reviewing the bike between you're legs.
  • 5 0
 @ApostrophePedant: my head is hanging in shame.
  • 1 0
 Anyone else think the top secret 27.5" test bike was going to be the Pivot?
  • 3 3
 No extra small? I guess my wife is stuck riding with a trail bike at the bike park for the rest of her life. No love for petite riders these days.
  • 3 0
 Hey duke! Agree with this! My gf is same size as your wife and it's tough to find anything XS!
  • 1 0
 @HeyBaumeister:

Juliana Strega came in xs I think. Probably a good deal out there for one.

Last year I picked my wife up an xx1 reserve for 5k ish on pros closet, the deals are out there!
  • 3 0
 @Solorider13: Deals aren't the issue. The size is. Extra Smalls are next to impossible to find. Can't find an XS Nomad or Strega anywhere, and now they even stopped making them. My wife's 4'11 but they keep making bikes bigger and bigger, with 29 wheels, and no XS option. Sure, there are some XS trail bikes. But we need something more aggressive because she loves big drops and riding park. Her Spectral can only handle so much. If it ever snaps, we're screwed.
  • 1 0
 fox heard Kazimer say that they felt good with rockshox and immediatly went to change everything about their suspension.
  • 3 1
 Wrong wheel size and no high pivot witchcraft. Miss me with that.
  • 2 0
 The paint on that is unreal. Love to see the carbon weave.
  • 3 1
 Still like the looks of the previous Nomad vs this one.
  • 2 0
 Looks very nice! Changes from previous model seem to be just right.
  • 2 1
 Not really liking how “lifetime free bearing replacement,” is now “lifetime warranty” on bearings.
  • 1 3
 I would also argue that the bike used in the field test, as it is built, is not worth $7300. I wouldn't shell out more than maybe $6500 for that. It would need a more compelling carbon wheelset, XTR or Saint drivetrain, or Grip2 Fox Suspension to command that pricepoint IMO. Not flashy enough for $7300. They need to sweeten the deal of the $5500 option, as that is going to be the volume seller for the new Nomad. It's not competitive enough with other options on the market. I'm also inclined to agree with Kaz's sentiment about putting the Nomad shock on the Megatower. That probably would make the Megatower quite awesome.
  • 4 0
 They gonna sell just fine.
  • 1 1
 @bulletbassman: Maybe the lower level kit. I'm not so sure about the $7300 bike. There's only so many dentists to go around, and I don't think this is GUCCI enough for that crowd and versions that are fancy enough just seem overpriced for what they offer which might detract that crowd.
  • 5 0
 @SuperHighBeam: dude I cook for a living and can swing a 6 grand bike every few years. I generally go for lower builds or used, but it’s not like this bike is totally unreachable but any means.
  • 2 0
 @bulletbassman:
Seriously, I’m a mechanic (cars) and can do the same.

Not saying they aren’t expensive, but the barrier to entry seems to be the willingness to spend that much with most people I see on the trails.

Everyone is in a different situation and has different priorities , but you definitely don’t need a 6 figure salary to be buying these bikes.
  • 2 0
 @bulletbassman: Yes under the right circumstances. I could too if biking was my only activity of interest. Instead I'm invested in at least 5 high-cost to entry activities. I'd love to add/turnover bicycles every few years but at $5000+ per, and having to support a family of five in an area with a high cost living on a low six figure salary this all becomes untenable quickly.
  • 2 0
 @Solorider13: A $7300 price tag though makes pursuits for equipment for other activities harder. We live in a multi-sport age, and virtually every action sport requires at least a $1000 investment, and I would even argue to stay in those sports and up with trends requires reinvestment every five years. That gets quite expensive quite quickly. Factor in kids partaking in the sports too and yikes $$$ in gear. I struggle to agree with the concept of any bicycle being worth more than $7000. Compared to all of the other items in life that fetch that price tag, it just doesn't make sense. You may not need a 6 figure salary to own one of these bikes, but I think you do if you want to live a well rounded lifestyle full of neat experiences that you can do with said bicycle (or other gear).
  • 3 0
 @SuperHighBeam: the price tag isn’t the problem , over extending your resources is. If the reason your bashing a bike for being expensive is because you’ve spent all your money elsewhere .

You don’t get to say that something isn’t aloud to be as expensive as it is simply because you can’t purchase it , especially when it’s not a lack of income but an excess of spending.

Your complaining about your lifestyle and blaming it on the price of a bike.
  • 1 0
 @Solorider13: Yes and no. Yes I want things to be less expensive so that I can continue to partake in a multitude of activities. No, I'm not bashing the price of the bike strictly in light of my last statement, I agree that is not a good justification for why the price is perceived to be too high. I'm bashing the price because I do not agree that this bike is worth $7300. For that price I would expect a better build kit. I would also say for that to live a multisport lifestyle and live on a high 5 figure income or a 6 figure income that the sweet spot for a mountain bike is between $4000-$5500, but there are also discernable expectations of build quality even at that price. Perhaps a little higher if you're entertaining an Enduro, Freeride, or DH rig.
  • 1 0
 Where are you seeing that the performance elite doesn’t have grip2?
  • 1 0
 @Shartriloquist: Don't all Fox Performance line forks come with the FiT4 damper by default along with black anodized stations? Whereas the Fox Factory line gives Kashima and the choice of FiT4 or Grip2? It is possible Fox has shifted it's offerings around since 2018 when I last bought Fox equipment.
  • 2 0
 @Shartriloquist: It appears I am mistaken in how Fox is packaging the 38 fork. I stand corrected, the performance elite does have the GRIP2, so that does improve the value proposition of this $7400 rig, but I still that is too high. For those unaware Performance=Grip damper+black anodized stantions, Performance Elite= Grip2 damper+black anodized stantions, and Factory= Grip2+Kashima, at least for the Fox 38 fork. Can't speak to the others.
  • 1 0
 @SuperHighBeam:
You aren’t required to pay 7,300 for the build though, you pay 6,199.

They have the optional carbon wheels on this bike, which they also warranty no questions asked.

Santa Cruz is literally known for their build quality so..

All of the top tier bike brands are expensive any way you cut it. I just don’t see the “price gouging “ that everyone seems to scream about with Santa Cruz. I also don’t understand why people think that having a lifetime warranty doesn’t add value. ESPECIALLY coming from the people who buy a bike every year or two, those people are wasting SO much more money than someone buying a Santa Cruz over “x bike brand”
  • 1 0
 @Solorider13: Was not aware of this "You aren’t required to pay 7,300 for the build though, you pay 6,199". I know what Santa Cruz is known for, I used to own one of their rigs. Perhaps I misstated my complaint. I don't think the overall bike kit presented is worth $7300. That is not a diss on quality of the frame, or of the components themselves. It is the price requested for the whole package. I think you should get higher tier components for that price. Lots of companies offer a lifetime warranty on the frame, but you have to be the registered owner to have access to that. Second and third hand owners don't get to reap the benefits of the warranty. That is my understanding of how that is managed. Plus they are only warranted against defects. Scratches, dents, chips, damage from crashes, no love from the bike maker via the warranty. So yeah, the warranty has limited value.
  • 1 0
 Had to go check my Norco Sight. For a second, I thought someone stole the paint off the frame!
  • 2 0
 Julio Lopez would have approved!!!
  • 2 0
 Watermelon color
  • 9 10
 The mistery reveals! Heavy bike for the price! I m sure it’s a good bike, but there’s so many great options! Personally, not my choice in this group test.
  • 17 0
 It’s a 170 mm bike and you think 32 lbs is heavy?
  • 2 11
flag CM999 (Dec 15, 2020 at 8:40) (Below Threshold)
  • 1 0
 @CM999: you funny
  • 1 1
 @CircusMaximus: i wrote it is heavy for the money it costs, not for the travel it has. Hey, you think is cheap? You buy it dude
  • 2 0
 nomad vs clash? :-)
  • 5 0
 Clash. Linkage driven single pivot with Al frame is perfect for a rowdy 27.5 park bike and you get better spec for your money.
  • 9 7
 Not an ebike, don't care
  • 2 1
 No aluminum version!!?? I'm out!
  • 1 0
 I hear that SCB is out of the aluminum game from now until the end of time.
  • 3 1
 Umm...... ya, nothing.
  • 3 1
 Its a Bromad
  • 1 0
 #2021NomadCC with some M&Ms = Mullet Master
  • 1 1
 Now I'm getting all that waiting, it was too slow to make it to review earlier
  • 1 1
 You'd think after all these years they would have figured out how to route cables properly.
  • 1 1
 This review by the lone wolf was very interesting.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKzZORaLMkY
  • 1 0
 When did SC change their head tube logo?
  • 1 2
 $7400 for a Deluxe+ and Performance Elite without Grip2 hahaha. Worst value bikes in the industry but people still snap em up.
  • 1 0
 Where are you seeing that the performance elite doesn’t have grip2?
  • 2 0
 You are incorrect, the performance elite has a grip2. I’d strongly advise anyone making bold assertions at least do a readily available fact check before doing so, lest you appear... well, uninformed
  • 2 0
 You have to remember this package came with the optional carbon reserve wheels. 1200 upgrade for badass wheels. XT package is a solid group and a Fox 38 with Grip2(minus kashima, which most people can’t tell the difference). Keep the aluminum wheels and you have a nice rig for the price.
  • 2 0
 Make it high Pivot.
  • 1 0
 I always thought then Nomad was long, low and slack enough.
  • 1 1
 Well, i do not know. Great looking but still the slowest Frown
  • 6 6
 ah, the new Santacruz BronNomTallTowerTower50
  • 1 0
 GREASE ZERKS!!!
  • 1 3
 Looks like about as much fun to climb as wearing a fullface uphill ;0
  • 1 4
 If any other bike brand came out with the same looking stuff year after year, they'd be crucified.
  • 11 0
 Don’t you sort of think SCB gets way more flak than most for using a common design language throughout their lineup? Yeti, Revel, Giant, Ibis to an extent, Trek (ignoring the Supercaliber), Transition (though they seem to be midway thru shifting from one look to another), probably many others I’m forgetting—it just doesn’t seem so crazy or worthy of critique to me that Santa Cruz wants their bikes to look like Santa Cruz bikes.
  • 3 0
 Literally every single brand does this.
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