First Ride: Santa Cruz Nomad

Apr 24, 2014
by Mike Kazimer  


Santa Cruz's Nomad Gets a Makeover

Last February, a handful of Santa Cruz Bicycles' employees headed to South America for the Andes Pacifico, a four day enduro race that, as the name suggests, begins in the Andes Mountains and finishes on the shores of the Pacific. They returned home with stories of exciting trails, incredible views, and plentiful pisco sours, so when it came time to choose a spot for the official launch of the new Nomad, Chile was the chosen destination. What better spot to release an all-mountain bike than in a country whose entire eastern border is a mountain range?

The name and the amount of travel may be the same, but this is an entirely different beast than the previous versions, a model that was first introduced all the way back in 2005. The revised Nomad was in the works even before last season's well-received 150mm Bronson, but according to Joe Graney, Santa Cruz's engineering director, “We struggled for a really long time, not trying to actually make the bike, but trying to figure out what the bike was going to be.” Santa Cruz wanted to be sure that the new Nomad existed for a specific reason, rather than rushing to release a warmed-over, 27.5” version of a design that had become a bit long in the tooth.

Details

• 165mm VPP suspension
• Full carbon frame and swingarm in S, M, L & XL sizes
• 27.5” wheels, with new carbon ENVE M70 option
• RockShox Monarch Plus Debonair or Vivid Air RC2 shock
• Frame weight from 6.2 lbs (2.8 kg)
• Complete from 27.1 lbs (12.3kg)
• Colors: aqua/magenta, stealth black
• Pricing from $6,599 USD complete for SRAM X01 build
• $2,999 frame only

Santa Cruz Nomad
Several different aluminum prototypes were created during the design process of the Nomad, including this version that had the shock passing through a split in the seat tube.

Geometry and Frame Design

During the Nomad's development, aluminum-framed test mules were created for both 26” and 27.5” wheels using several different suspension configurations. One mule even used a V10 style linkage, with an interrupted seat tube and the same shock rate as Santa Cruz's World Cup winning DH bike. “We were looking at improving the geometry to make it a more all-round bike. We made a lot of different mules around the 165mm travel amount, and found that if you go beyond 165mm that the leverage ratios get a little weird and there aren't as many shocks available,” said Graney.

According to Nick Anderson, Santa Cruz's senior design engineer, "One of the overarching goals of this project was to really improve the fit of the bike, with a steeper seat tube angle and longer top tube; moving the whole front of the bike forward, but also shortening the chainstays so the bike wasn't this big huge long pig. I think there were some complaints in the industry about the previous Nomad sitting into its travel too far, so we wanted something that rode a little higher, offered more mid-stroke support and had better small bump compliance. The reality of it is because of the steeper seat tube angle and lightweight construction it actually climbs really well - if you take the shock out of the bike the frame weight is more or less the same as the Bronson, but because of the low BB, short chainstays and slack head tube angle it descends a lot better."

Santa Cruz Nomad
The Nomad's lower link has been moved to a higher position in the frame, a change made possible by the decision to do away with the front derailleur. The bike also has internal cable routing, a departure from Santa Cruz's past designs.

The extended development time let the Nomad take full advantage of the new technology that's become available over the last few years, particularly the availability of 1x11 drivetrains. By making the decision to base the bike around a single ring setup, Santa Cruz was able to focus more on geometry numbers without making any of the compromises that finagling in a front derailleur often requires. The lower link of the Nomad has been moved to a higher position, a change that allows the chainstays to be shortened to 433mm, as well as making the linkage less vulnerable to rock strikes. Along with being designed around a 1x11 drivetrain, the Nomad is also meant to be run with a 6 inch dropper post. To accomplish this Santa Cruz switched to a 31.6mm seat tube diameter and altered the rear shock mounting position. Instead of sitting in between two extensions from the frame, the upper link now sits on both sides of the top tube, a change that let Santa Cruz lower the seat tube height for all frame sizes.

Santa Cruz Nomad
The upper link now sits on both sides of the top tube, which allows for a lower seat tube height. The internal carbon tubes used for the cable routing are visible in the cutaway at the bottom right.

Santa Cruz has a strong set of design principles, and they've historically been reluctant to add features simply to fit in with the current trends. Press-fit bottom brackets are one example of this, which is why the Nomad has a threaded bottom bracket as opposed to jumping on the press-fit band wagon. When the idea of internal cable routing was brought up, Santa Cruz's designers wanted to make sure it was executed as perfectly as possible and didn't create any extra hassles that would lead mechanics to fits of rage. The solution they came up with is a continuous carbon tube that runs the length of the frame that's added during the layup process, a tube that ends up becoming a structural component of the frame. The routing has also been altered so that the housing doesn't contact the head tube where it exits the frame, a nice touch to keep the carbon from being scuffed up by housing rub.



CHILE - 17 April 2014 - during the 2014 Santa Cruz Bicycles Nomad press launch. Photo by Santa Cruz Bicycles Gary Perkin

Ride Impressions

We were able to get in three days of riding in aboard the Nomad, two of them spent shuttling on the tracks used for the Andes Pacifico near Santiago, and the other day on the course of the Enduro World Series' first stop in Nevados de Chillan, located seven hours to the south. Many of the trails were covered with an ankle-deep layer of fine dust that exploded skyward every time the bike slid into a berm, and the quick direction changes and careful cornering required by those steep and loose trails immediately shone a light on the Nomad's snappy handling. You'd expect a 165mm with a 65 degree head angle to be a handful at slower speeds, but the Nomad is more versatile than the numbers suggest, and its playfulness never faded, no matter how tight and twisty the trail.

Our rides were mainly shuttle assisted, or had climbs that were spent pushing rather than pedaling uphill through deep volcanic soil, so we'll reserve judgement on the Nomad's technical climbing performance until we've spent more time on the bike, but out of the saddle sprints up the short climbs we did come across were rewarded with a satisfying leap forward. The Nomad is one of those bikes that encourages active rider participation, a bike that makes you want to put the hammer down and sprint, rather than coast out of corners and on straightaways. It certainly pedals better than a slack, 165mm bike has any right to - something the light weight helps with, but the VPP suspension design also lends a hand in preventing the bike from feeling like a waterbed on wheels during hard pedaling efforts.

On steeper sections of trail where there were continuous hard impacts during heavy braking the stiffness of the front end was especially noticeable, leading to more arm pump at the end of the run than we would have expected. The combination of a 35mm diameter carbon bar and stiff carbon wheels is probably the culprit here, but once again, we'll need more time on the bike to come to a definitive conclusion. Other than that little extra arm pump, the Nomad sucked up the big hits like a champ, charging forward without getting sucked into the deep ruts and holes that punctuated the trails.

CHILE - 17 April 2014 - during the 2014 Santa Cruz Bicycles Nomad press launch. Photo by Santa Cruz Bicycles Gary Perkin
The Nomad was more than happy to get airborne whenever we wanted room between our wheels and the ground.

Santa Cruz worked closely with RockShox to develop the correct tune for the bike, and is offering the Nomad specc'd with either a Vivid R2C or a Monarch Plus Debonair. We're more accustomed to seeing the Vivid on DH bikes rather than all-mountain rigs, but after spending time with one on the Nomad it was easy to see why it's included as an option. We tried the bike with both shocks, and found that the Monarch Plus gave the bike a little more lively, poppy feel, while the Vivid had better manners on the really nasty bits of trail, allowing for more straightlining through the jagged volcanic rocks that jutted up from the ground. The Monarch Plus's three position compression lever does make it more usable on trails that have multiple ups and downs - in the end, choosing the rear shock will come down to what type of terrain you'll most often be riding the Nomad on. Does your riding mainly consist of fire road climbs with gnarly downhills at the end? Lift served or shuttle riding? Go with the Vivid. Riders looking for more pedaling efficiency will find the Monarch Plus to be a better match.

Our time in Chile left us impressed, both with the Nomad's performance and with the trails we took it on. As fun as the Nomad was to ride, the terrain and the riders we met heightened the experience even further. We managed to bring one back to the Pacific Northwest with us where the volcanic soil of Chile will be replaced for the organic loam in our backyard to evaluate this aqua and magenta ride's long term performance.

CHILE - 17 April 2014 - during the 2014 Santa Cruz Bicycles Nomad press launch. Photo by Santa Cruz Bicycles Gary Perkin
The sun might have set on our Chilean adventure, but we brought the Nomad home for long term testing.


www.santacruzbikes.com


199 Comments

  • + 352
 I cant even afford the wheels
  • + 27
 Ditto that.
  • + 48
 LOL, Its comments like this that make me scroll down before I even read the article.
  • + 20
 I can only take it as wallpaper on my desktop!
  • + 9
 Enve wheels are a very nice option for the bike, but not standard... if you're sending out a bike for people to test, might as well send the best you've got though, right?
  • + 29
 Yea if there was an aluminum version around $3500 I would be all about it
  • + 25
 CG's manual probably the best ad for Nomad.
  • + 4
 @somismtb the raw aluminum prototype looks even better than the hipster 80's colors.
  • + 0
 ^ Indeed!
  • + 2
 hey at least it's ALOT cheaper, i mean less expensive, than the Enduro s-works!
  • + 9
 Ye but there at least there are base models of the Enduro for around 3500
  • + 25
 my nomad will be a yt capra
  • + 20
 rasch your nomad could be 3 YT Capras!
  • + 4
 Just wait. The AL working man's version will be here soon enough.
  • + 6
 I don't care if I have to sell a Kidney. I want that bike!... Or a Capra.
  • + 2
 I kinda like the hipster colors. I dont know how much staying power they have but they look kewl right now
  • + 7
 i cant even afford the grips
  • - 12
flag Rocky-Urban (Apr 24, 2014 at 16:43) (Below Threshold)
 Hmmm, close to 7 grand for this bike? or get a brand new motorbike for about the same price? Tough decision lol
  • + 9
 are people just copy-pasting the comments section from the s-works enduro29 article?
  • + 39
 are people just copy-pasting the comments section from the s-works enduro29 article?
  • - 2
 holy shit that prototype is retarded!
  • + 8
 Don't like it? Move on… Cant afford it? Move on…
Plenty of bikes in the sea people.
I couldn't afford it either but after saving and budgeting, I made it happen(you can too)!
  • + 5
 Just let me tell you guys, I work at a shop and we just got three of these in but in the all black color scheme and it is the best looking and best feeling bike on earth, it's too nice to be real
  • + 2
 Cuban-b - Hahahaha - thanks for a good portion of laughing
  • + 1
 @panzer103 If I spend $6.5k for a bike i'd like it to look cool for more than two seasons. In two years you'd be looking at it and asking "what the hell was I thinking?"
  • + 1
 ^ l totally agree:-)
  • + 1
 Have a black on black enves on the way, so glad I waited
  • + 0
 With those colors it really should say Juliana on the side
  • + 4
 Guys, mountain biking is supposed to be fun, you can ride colors!
No need to go all black, chances you ride your MTB to a funeral are fairly low!

And by the way, chances are people who buy bikes for 7-10 grand like to have the best and newest.
They probably will switch it for a new ride after a season or two anyway and hardly ever experience the problem of "what the hell was I thinking?"
  • + 1
 Hahahaha! Good one!
  • + 1
 If you want a Capra, you will have to wait until November or something, not ideal......
  • + 2
 depends on the size and which one you want. the cheapest seems completely sold out. but i never buy anything from the first production year, no bike, car, playstation, toaster or whatever. most products are way better when the production line was running for at least a few months and they had time to adjust after fails and customer feedback. no guarantee that this works on everything, but one can always hope.
  • + 76
 finally a bike that does not look like someone took way to much linkage and spread it over the bike in the ugliest way possible, props for making a clean looking bike Santa Cruz!
  • + 2
 agree but the paint job its a little girly
  • + 24
 yea but it also comes in a stealth black I think
  • + 10
 SC has been using the same VPP technology for several years, all of their bikes look really clean.
  • - 16
flag Extremmist (Apr 24, 2014 at 13:27) (Below Threshold)
 @luchof I agree if "little girly" means "for little girls". Although it's still better than another lime green bike.
  • + 2
 Pink or no pink, I want one. Don't need it but still want it.
  • + 2
 aww extremmist, no Irish love for the green???
  • - 1
 I like lime green, I just don't like the fact that in last 2-3 years it's used on half of the bikes, too much is too much. Btw I'm not a native Irish.
  • + 73
 Before everyone starts complaining about the price: Please realize this is a top of the line bike. This is equivalent to the Ferrari you had on your bedroom wall as a kid. When road and track reviews a Ferrari, would you complain about the price? No! It's a dream bike, so just enjoy the ride impressions, and learn something about the cutting edge of bike technology. I'm sick of hearing people complain about pricing. You didn't take up mountain biking because it's a thrifty hobby.
  • + 8
 I hear you but this is a production bike with no affordable version. Usually you'll see the top of the line tested and then the entry level version price listed. I loved my old Nomad but cant get on board with Santa Cruz's new trend elite level builds and pricing.
  • + 30
 So don't get on board. Buy a cheaper brand.
  • - 13
flag partusa (Apr 24, 2014 at 12:46) (Below Threshold)
 You are the master of BS!
  • + 8
 I did!
  • + 17
 Kichu182: glad somebody finally said that.... the whole two expensive thing in this forum gets even more annoying than enduro or 27.5 discussion.
Its two wheeled Ferrari's and Aston Martins that I want to see and read about.... The boring Prius's I can see on the trail and in my LBS every day anyway...
  • - 1
 K-D-M: buy a Heckler, obviously not the same as far as suspension goes, but if you can't afford top of the line tech then buy what you can afford.
  • + 2
 I need this bike in my life! perhaps the Mortgage/House can wait? ha ha.
  • + 4
 Props @ Kichu, the bike is awesome. I imagine everyone reading this article would buy one if it was $200, but nice things cost money. It's how capitalism works comrades.
  • + 6
 Actually, I did take up mountain biking because i *thought* it was a thrifty hobby. Of course, back then I was riding a $450 Trek 4300 (v-brakes FTW!), and I was comparing the cost of that bike to my other, seemingly more expensive habit, skiing. $93 a lift ticket seemed absurd; riding a bike is free!

I just dropped $2600 on a frame and shock last week. What an idiot.
  • + 1
 I dropped £3100 on a 2014 full Carbon Cube late last year. Very good value for money. Not enough bike tokens for a Santa Cruz or Intense. lol Was after 27.5" Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Evo, but good ole Specialized weren't listening to the crowd. So hard earned tokens went to Cube. ^__^
  • + 30
 Why doesn't the fork have internal hose routing!? That's it, i'm not buying this crap.
  • + 20
 so the bronson is now pointless
  • + 10
 Depends on how well the Nomad climbs. I haven't seen anybody pedal one uphill yet.
  • + 18
 I wouldn't say it's pointless. It's like the Specialized Enduro and Stumpjumper Evo...kinda the same, but different.
  • - 4
flag treesmoker (Apr 24, 2014 at 13:29) (Below Threshold)
 Cause absolutely no one bougjt blur lts.
  • + 18
 Honestly Bronson is the right bike for 85% of the riding population. Its 150mm travel is super capable, and the steeper headangle and longer chainstay will make it a better climber. Plus it comes in alloy and cheaper build kits to negate the "its too expensive" arguments about the Nomad. I predict Bronson will still outsell Nomad. The Tallboy has been their bestseller to date, keep in mind that the MTB market is mainly XC and trail riders. Bronson is plenty of bike for most folks.
  • + 10
 I had the opportunity to ride the Nomad last weekend, along with a Bronson etc... The Bronson definitely climbs better, however when you point the Nomad downhill you're taken to heaven. Having owned the past two Nomads I can say this bike is an absolute beast, 5x better than the first, 10x better than the second gen Nomad. But to be honest I was pleasantly surprised with the way the new Nomad climbs, it succeeded my expectations for a slack, 165mm travel bike. It climbs a lot better than the previous two Nomads (Maybe down to 650B rolling, not really sure). Overall both the Nomad and Bronson are very different bikes to ride and I think it would probably be down to personal preference in the end, especially with both bikes being as capable as they are... The Nomad is maybe just a little more fun!
  • + 1
 I have a V10c, it's a beast, but it's surprising how well it can be ridden up hills set at 8.5" travel. It's a lot of bike, but I take to Demo Forest all the time.
  • + 3
 You ride a v10 at Demo? Forgot about that 3 mile climb out?
  • + 2
 Steve Jones made a great point in their test of Stumpy Evo 275. If a modern 170mm bike like YT Capra can be built just as light as 120mm-140mm bike and climbs pretty much as well as those shorter travel buddies, while being almost as close to DH bike on downhills as a non-DH bike has ever been - then why bother? I must say I am greatly disappinted with my switch from 08 Nomad with pushed shock to Blur TRc with CTD. Maybe it's a matter of shock but I don't feel any more efficient, and I definitely can't ride downhills as well. The only single improvement I feel with Blur is that it pumps terrain better, I get more feedback and reward from my "pumping" efforts, where as on Nomad every pump disappeared into mid travel.
  • + 1
 Waki, I couldn't agree more having the same bikes....wait...what did I just say??
  • + 1
 bkbroiler - better tell me if switching to CCDBAirCShGlsekIsLL2Sm made any siginificant difference to how TRc rides
  • + 1
 @gotshovel...it keeps this old dog in shape haha
  • + 1
 @waki, I have the new CCBD air w/ CS on my NomadC, I'm now a Bieberliver! Haha call up Cane Creek, they'd be happy to send you a shock to demo.
  • + 1
 I don't know what to get, its between bronson carbon with x01 or the nomad!!! I have been working and saving a long time so I want to make the right choice!!
  • + 1
 I'd wait for the PB extended review of the NomadC, but you really can't go wrong with it!
  • + 1
 I agree, I feel like the Bronson would be better all around climbing descending handling right stuff and the nomad is more of a dh sled
  • + 1
 @ MCMbiker. You have to be honest with yourself about the kind of riding you do and where you do it. I think a lot of riders get more bike than they really need for the trails they ride. I bet the Bronson is a better bike for 90% of the people choosing between the two. If you are truly riding Black Diamond DH trails on your regular rides but don't or can't shuttle them then the nomad is the bike for you.
Havering said that, If I could have TWO bikes.....
  • + 1
 ^^If you could have two bikes you gotta go Solo and Nomad
  • + 2
 I bet that if you could afford to have both Solo and Nomad, you'd have at least 4 more bikes... aaand you'd pay sht loads for their maintenance at bike shop ooor you'd need sht loads of time to miantain them yourself... Actualy owning 4 bikes at a time made me realize that whatever it is about in life, More is not neccesarily better - a little of best is what counts Big Grin
  • + 15
 I will wait for the steel or wooden versions to come out
  • + 14
 I can't afford this shit I'm just gonna buy a kona
  • + 7
 Did, done, and happy. At my riding level guys that are buying $5k+ bikes are usually in my way anyway. (which is to say I'm slow, but they're slower)
  • + 2
 I wanted to buy a Kona Process 153 DL. Awesome bike with a great kit on it. Good luck finding one. Sold out for the year. Ended up getting a Bronson C for $1500 more. Wasn't gonna wait for the end of summer to get my new ride.
  • + 3
 I went the other direction - built a 2013 Process (26") for less than $2500. Older suspension design, but rips like mad. Was the Bronson worth the extra dough?
  • + 0
 If it's between this and a Cannondale Super-V I'll take the Super-V in a Heartbeat. Oh yeah, to make it an even competition the Super-V option comes with a used Ducati.
  • + 1
 You have fun with that there buddy. Why you would actually want a Ducati is beyond me though.....
  • + 9
 Not that I could write any better but I felt this first ride write up rather lack lustre. You got sent to Chile to test ride the New Nomad and give some insight as only a few people have ridden it but we are left with a rehash of stuff that was already reported on this site. Then three days of riding in some of arguably the best riding around on one of the more capable bikes available, we are left with it was pretty cool with two shock options one of which is more DH oriented and it's color scheme. Slow clap for the obvious. Looking forward to the full review can't wait to read again how they developed it again and the cable routing. Did they copy and paste it from the previous write up? Lame. Give me that job I'll teach myself sentence structure and grammar. This writer is obviously not to stoked. Sorry you had to go to chile to ride a new bike buddy. First world problems.
  • + 1
 Mike Was sent to Chile for the EWS, look at the past weeks articals...

and read the last line "The sun might have set on our Chilean adventure, but we brought the Nomad home for long term testing"

He will be rippin' the PNW up on that bike.
  • + 0
 @BurkeW - It's important to keep in mind that this is a first ride report, not a comprehensive review. I think statements like, "You'd expect a 165mm with a 65 degree head angle to be a handful at slower speeds, but the Nomad is more versatile than the numbers suggest, and its playfulness never faded, no matter how tight and twisty the trail," "The Nomad sucked up the big hits like a champ, charging forward without getting sucked into the deep ruts and holes that punctuated the trails," and "Our time in Chile left us impressed, both with the Nomad's performance and with the trails we took it on. As fun as the Nomad was to ride, the terrain and the riders we met heightened the experience even further" make it pretty clear that that I enjoyed my time on the bike and in Chile.
  • + 5
 I looked at the past articles and have been following the Nomad since April First where 80% of your write up is from. Just repeating what is already known. Granted people may not have read that article. I read the above article three times now and sorry but it sounds very generic your time on the bike. Even in your retort to me you are copying and pasting. Again Im no writer. But they changed a lot of things on this bike such as the really long TT... How did that feel? Did the large feel right for you? Are you a larger guy or a tiny guy and how did that effect it. Those sorts of things you notice hmmm right away like on a first ride... Just felt lacking in any feeling more or less sounded like a thesaurus on passed reviews/first rides.
How did it feel compared to? I look forward to full review and dont mean to bust any balls or hurt anyones feelings. Im stoked in this bike and just thought there would be some more input and just general more of write for 3 days worth of riding and shuttling for two of em.
  • + 12
 At $6,599 the bikes includes the stick for the photos?
  • + 7
 built in stick stand .The stick is carbon fiber.
  • + 2
 Don't forget the little rock on the r ear tire. It's titanium
  • + 1
 so true
  • + 9
 My buddy demoed one the other day and had personal best times while climbing and descending.. That's impressive for a first ride. Oh man, I want one.
  • + 10
 Interesting to see them migrate away from using Fox for shock duties.
  • + 7
 Likely to try to match the Monarch with it's Rapid Recovery to the Pike.... theoretically a better combo....theoretically
  • + 1
 Better still, buy the frame and kit it with Bos - best dampening you can get.
  • + 5
 You mean damping, not dampening. Meh, that monarch is sick but I would go with the db air. Customer service from Cane Creek is amazing!
  • + 3
 Bos is not the be all and end all,so many average reports on performance and down right lousy reports on quality/parts/service.

@krisrayner I've seen a few running new fox 36 plus the float x.this will be the combo I'll be running.
  • + 5
 Thanks Dual Dave you win today's spelling bee!
  • + 1
 A Fox Flot X would be sweet too
  • + 2
 Have a DB air CS on my 5010, I been pretty blown away by it so far. Best rear shock on the market! Would love to have a Nomad with one for a park bike this summer.
  • + 0
 I would guess they wanted the best fork, which is the pike, and then got a sweet deal from Sram if they spec the shocks too. I've got personal experience of the Monarch Plus' shitty DH ability and damping fade, I would go for the Vivid... but if I bought this bike I'd put a coil on it probably. It looks great, but just doesn't make financial sense against a YT Capra.
  • + 1
 Personally it's gonna be a 2 shock bike. Monarch debonair is a good all round aggressive trail shock that I'll upgrade to a float x but on uplift/solid Dh days I'll prolly put a coil on. Don't think the vivid is worth the £250 extra cost.
  • + 6
 Will this be the EWS choice over the Bronson? Sounds like the EWS trend is going towards more downhill oriented frame and suspension choices as quoted on the NSMB review of the new GT Sanction (also 165mm rear wheel travel, plus option of 170mm Fox 36 fork). This Nomad looks too sick. I'll start looking for used Bronsons now!
  • + 5
 I say it depends on the climbing efficiency, and how Enduro tracks evolve. This thing looks like a lightweight/short travel V10 to me.
  • - 3
 its nothing like a V10?
  • + 17
 Bronson = All Mountain
Nomad = Enduro Racing and heavier DH duties, but can still climb.

Choose a discapline and be a dick about it!
  • + 0
 You should get that on a T shirt Smile
  • + 6
 Looing forward to the alloy version next year (hopefully they will actually make one). Dream bike for sure though, ticks all the boxes, and sounds like a hell of a lot of fun to ride.
  • + 4
 Took the nomad out last weekend for a few hours at a demo day. Although it wasnt the best climber it definitely made it up on the downhill. Especially with the 27.5 inch wheels meaning its rolling was a lot smoother. I have to say that the 27.5 makes a great difference compared to the old 26 overall. Unfortunately I do not have enough pennies to buy one Frown haha
  • + 7
 It's a shame they don't have a trade-in option.
You know. Trade-in-a-kidney option Razz
  • + 3
 The YT Industries Capra is a serious rival, without doubt. In the current german "Mountainbike Magazin" is a test of it with labour analysis (germans love numbers) an the so called steering head stiffness is 60 Nm per mm. A critically low figure according to the magazin and the worst figure of all "Enduro" bikes they've tested. And the frame is also a lot heavier in real live: 3200 Grams with shock.
You get certainly more for the money with the capra, but from all review I've read the new Nomad is the better frame. I still drive my US-made 2008 Nomad and love it - the new Nomad is the first bike after the Banshee Rune II which I think is a save choice to replace my old friend. $3000 for the frame is ok but $8000 for SRAM XX1 without ENVE wheels?: $1000 for RS Pike, $1000 for SRAM XX1, $500 for Brakes, $500 for wheelset, $400 for Reverb, $400 for stem&bar ... $3800 + $3000 Frame = 6800 ... Where are the other $1000?
  • + 5
 I want an aluminum version I can afford and no the Bronson isn't pointless the Bronson is more of a trail/all mountain bike the Nomad is more of a park/all mountain bike
  • + 5
 Mike can you share some info on sizing?
I think a lot of riders are unsure about frame size because of the long wheel base and reach.
what size did you tested?
  • + 5
 I'm 5'11" and was comfortable on a large. I'd say that the sizing chart on Santa Cruz's website is pretty accurate - they recommend a large for riders 5'10" to 6'2".
  • + 1
 Thanks!
  • + 1
 Thanks Mike, Large it is
  • + 11
 Ditto 5'11" and large is spot on. Just to be that guy, I have the stealth frame with enve's on order. Sorry.
  • + 2
 Strange how sc considers 24" tt large to be "long". Or I guess its longer than prev., but that's def not a modern geo compared to kona, gt, yeti, yt, mondraker, etc
  • + 4
 Dear Santa Cruz, I was hoping to buy a Heckler this year but I would gladly take the Nomad test mule off your hands. Thank you.
  • + 2
 Got this bike last week and its awsome!!!! got it in the "girly colour's" as some of you put it, but then some of us are man enough to get away with it. It climbs like a champ as well. I was going to get a Bronson but everyone and their dog has one.
  • + 3
 Dam nice bike SC well done, props to not following BS trends that dick mechanics pro and the home variety, u get my vote and you know how to route cables properly, inclu in price! No roadie BS here, move along!
  • + 1
 I'm just curious I see all these new carbon bikes coming out and I wonder it they can take the crashes that aluminum frames can. Any feedback would be appreciated. I love the looks of the carbon frames and want one I just wanna do some research first
  • + 3
 This bike: no front derailleur option. New Jekyl: no FD option. That Mondraker foxy: no FD option. Shimano, you screwed up.
  • + 1
 I don't mind this color combo. A little bit of pink on baby blue won't damage our manliness, will def garner more attention on the trails. No doubt the stealth black would be the hotcakes though. Clean bike, must be one hellova ride.
  • + 2
 I had a vp free 10 yrs ago and it was amazing. Was wondering why sc hadn't brought out a new version..would sell shed loads. Guess this would be that bike. Sadly outa my price Range But My Capra PRO Will Do Me Smile
  • + 1
 What did you guys run for psi and rebound in the suspension? I have a new Nomad and have been struggling to get the suspension feel right. It always seems as though I am using travel too quickly despite having the correct or less than advised amount of sag.
  • + 4
 If you're wondering what the frame design evolved from, look up Santa Cruz VP Free.
  • + 2
 Cool..so rather than selling a limb I'll keep rocking the 08' VPFree!
  • + 4
 the wheels are worth more than my kona stinky
  • + 6
 I bet that fork is worth more then your stinky too haha
  • + 0
 Wow... Way to go Pinkbike.. You managed to write a complete review on a bike without ONCE mentioning WHAT FORK COMES ON THE DAMN THING!. One would think you'd kinda figure that you readership just might wanna know how well the front suspension works on the thing, but even if you missed that boat ENTIRELY, at least MENTIONING which fork comes on the fricken thing should be considered MANDATORY. The sad part about this is, typically a hack writes the article, then at LEAST one editor reads it to make sure it covers everything it should. If no less that TWO people read this before you published it, then you have ZERO excuse for such a b.s. omission.
  • + 5
 NO PISCO NO DISCO
  • + 4
 If you don't like the price... DONT BUY IT! Simple as that.
  • + 1
 Bam! True story! If you want a nice bike either save your money or stop complaining!
  • + 1
 I'm tired of seeing the top comment of these bike reviews being about the price... People need to realized that it's just a review, and you don't HAVE to buy it!
  • + 4
 Thats a sick looking bike. But damnnn .....£££££$$$$$$
  • + 4
 Come on, don't be cheap! It's only a casual $3000 frame..
  • + 5
 Haha i would make do with the frame, just go and look at it when im feeling sad.
  • + 2
 I just pre ordered in black. Comes in two weeks and I couldn't be more excited! Doesn't anyone remember that feeling?! Stop whining about price and just enjoy what you do!
  • + 0
 One of the things that I really liked about the previous VPP designs was the easily accessible grease ports and just how easy it all looked to wash. It'll be interesting to see how that is handled with that recessed lower link, and how the aluminium version copes with that. Personally I think that the Al mule pictured looks a little busy compared to SC's recent designs. I wonder if Ratboy will be riding one of these bad boys instead of the 5010 in the Enduro series this year?
  • + 4
 There is no aluminum version.
  • + 5
 I predict that nobody will be able to make out what ratboy is saying, and he'll be ripping whatever he wants to ride that day.
  • - 1
 @kimbers. Ratboy shortens his top tube reach by running ck buzzline headset round the other way to Minnaar and Peaty.
  • + 3
 The aluminum version is called a Banshee Rune !!
  • + 3
 So no word on how it climbs..... nice review pb
  • + 1
 I would have bought a dozen if this was a 26" platform, but sadly I'm done buying bikes from any manufacturer who no longer support 26" bikes!
  • + 1
 Gotta say it's a bit normal looking. I miss the "shitting dog" look of the radically curved top tube from previous generations.

Anyone with me?
  • + 2
 Ah. I really have to try that bike. Sounds just the perfect improvement compared to the old Nomad.
  • + 0
 new wheel size, tapered steerer and 11 speed.....this means i need an entire bike not just a frame.................not. Too bad cause if it had a front mech I'd be on it like white on rice.
  • - 1
 Have Santa Cruz finally made a bike with a decent length top tube ?
Even peaty and ratboy are forced to run custom Chris king headsets that extend the reach
If they could just shorten the chainstays it would be almost as good as my Kona Process 153 ;-)
  • + 1
 Peat and Minaar do, not Ratboy.
" He [Peat] and Greg run theirs the same way, while Ratboy has his set in reverse to shorten the reach."
  • + 2
 I'm just hoping kona makes a carbon process next year......
  • + 1
 the 134 C has already been spotted in the wild under kona testers, im guessing the 153 (and 111) are on their way too
  • + 1
 27 pounds for a 6by6 bike. sweet! It comes in stealth black if your not into the day glo circus look. Needs a bigger fork up front.
  • + 1
 in another news (at least for me), and im not trying to deviate the topic, has anyone seen the new Mondraker Foxy XR?? Holy crap its nice!!!
  • + 1
 Really interested in how it will climb, my 2012 nomad climbs ok but seeing it more slacked out looks like it will be better for shuttling. Bet its fast sub 30 rig
  • + 1
 Got the all Black one. It's the best around bike I have ever ridden. Worth every penny!
  • + 2
 Is Not Ugly an available color?
  • + 1
 Oops just brought a frame set with the vivid, had to sell beg and steal to get it though lol
  • + 2
 If this is "expensive " then what's an s-works Enduro?
  • + 2
 Wish bronson came with a rockshox option.
  • + 2
 Wouldn't doubt them building one for you. You could always sell the fox and buy whatever you want. Got a db air cs on mine, and couldn't be happier with Santa Cruz and Cane Creek.
  • + 1
 Yawn. I knew the top comment would be 'too expensive' / i cant afford it moan before I even opened the page.
  • + 2
 How much for the 26" test mule?
  • + 1
 Looking forward to long term review from Pacific Northwest esp. how it performs vs Bronson and Intense Tracer 275c
  • + 2
 wow....so many comments have been removed!!!
  • + 1
 Mike Kazimer- caption for the 3rd photo cluster- a typo: "...Nomad's lower link has been move***D*** to a higher..."
  • + 3
 Thanks - fixed.
  • + 4
 Nice write up Mike. We're all super jealous of you, of course. Flying to far-off mystical places, getting to ride dream bikes, and write about how awesome it all is. Sick life!

Spotted another, somewhat ironic and humorous, editing item: "One of the *overreaching* goals of this project was to really improve the fit of the bike..." pretty sure you meant overarching.

Keep up the good work and hope to see you out shredding the bike at your hometown "Enduro of Subdued Excitement" in a few weeks (assuming you're going).

Peace.
  • + 4
 Who needs a copy editor when I've got you guys? Thanks Matt - that's been corrected too.
  • + 1
 I might start charging soon tho...
  • + 1
 yes..at least i can keep the picture..
bike technology is getting crazier now...Frown
  • + 1
 This is one bike that I would (almost) be happy to trade in my Brooklyn Machine Works for...
  • + 2
 Considering what this bike costs, it looks rather cheap.
  • + 1
 I like it and I would buy it in that colour. First time I am saying this about a carbon frame by the way.....
  • + 1
 Sort of OT, but why does the stiffness of the front end cause arm pump?
  • + 1
 Bikes!! Can't afford any of that but daym…
  • - 1
 WHERE'S WEIR?!

The man the Nomad gene line owes it's existence to. Stick some coils on it and a 38t front ring on it. Weir needs to be here.
  • + 1
 The feeling of a new whip!!yaaaahoooooo!!!
  • + 1
 Hideous color combo for such an expensive bike.
  • + 1
 Beautiful bike. Too bad only few will be able to afford it.
  • + 0
 Kindof sad to see this... Sounds like they have killed off their classic and much loved Nomad to build another Bronson
  • + 0
 3rd consecutive year worst paint job award in the industry. Whats up with that SC???
  • + 1
 Doesn't seem to hurt sales any.
  • + 3
 Best looking bike and paint job on the market.
  • + 1
 Does anyone know of arrival dates for Canada west coast?
  • + 1
 Steed has a boxed one on their instagram
  • + 1
 Colour scheme looks gay!
  • + 5
 not if you ride it properly Smile
  • - 1
 It looks great, but is extremely expensive. Santa Cruz should pay attention to their loyal buyers and make more accessible products.
  • + 1
 Why you riding a girls bike bro?
  • - 1
 Could I trade my razor scooter in for this? It has a wheelie bar!
  • + 4
 Don't worry, i got the funny side of this….
  • + 4
 Its ok, I've moved onFrown The sting is real though....
  • - 2
 How much is the fish?
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