Santa Cruz Nickel All Mountain Full Suspension

4.75/5 (20 Reviews)
MSRP : $2467.00

  • Store Price
    Buy Now

Product Description

The five-inch travel Santa Cruz Nickel X9 2x10 Complete Bike fills the trail bike niche for those of us who appreciate refined manners without unnecessary complexity. What gives the Nickel its respected ride quality is Santa Cruz's APP suspension design, which provides a similar spring curve to the lauded VPP. In this offering, the Nickel is dressed in smart mix of SRAM's X9 and 2013 Easton EA70 components to keep its price reasonable and performance inspiring. The Nickel benefits from Actual Pivot Point (APP) suspension, which is the result of Santa Cruz's efforts to mimic the variable shock rate produced by its Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) suspension ? in a simpler and more cost-effective single-pivot design. What's so special about the VPP shock rate? It makes the first part of the travel plush and ultra-responsive to bumps, and the last part of the travel stiffer to avoid harsh bottom-out. To achieve a similar variable shock rate in the single-pivot Nickel, Santa Cruz added two links connecting the swingarm to the shock. These two links are the crux of the APP design, and they allow the Nickel to offer some of the superior ride characteristics of VPP suspension in a budget-friendly package. Those links ride on 15mm aluminum pivot axles, as does the swingarm, and they're fastened with locking collet heads to reduce any tolerance issues or loosening during use. Adding to the Nickel's durability and precision are smooth angular contact bearings. Controlling the APP is Fox's tried and true Float RL shock, a light and adjustable unit with a lockout and rebound adjustment. Up front, a Fox Float 140 RLC complements the Nickel's rear suspension, offering rebound, compression, and preload adjustments, with a lockout as well for efficient climbing. The Nickel rides on tough, light Easton EA70 XCT wheels with 2.25in Schwalbe Performance Rocket Ron tires. Twisting those wheels is a 2x10 SRAM X9 drivetrain, and stopping them is a set of Avid Elixir 9 hydraulic disc brakes. Easton's 2013 EA70 components comprise the handlebar, stem, and seatpost. A Selle Italia Kit Carbonio saddle provides a solid, comfortable pedaling platform. The Santa Cruz Nickel X9 2x10 Complete Bike is available in Black, Chocolate, Raw, Red, Sea Blue, White, and Yellow. It comes in sizes Small through X-Large.

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating

Reviews 1 - 15 (20 Reviews Total) | Next 15

User Reviews

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Iesurfer a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: August 10, 2015

Strengths:    Solid frame, good climber, nimble in the twisties, easy to pop off jumps, not too expensive!

Weaknesses:    Heavy frame. My 2x10 shimano gearing not the best suited for this bike 38t-26t front ,36-11t rear might have something to do with it.

Bottom Line:   
Such a fun trail bike I built mine up. Scored a frame from Huck n roll before they got bought out.
Specs are float rear,front revelation front dual air 140mm, Easton xc 90 wheels, schwalbe HD front rock razor rear, shimano xt everything, Easton havoc riser bars, Easton stem, reverb seatpost. In retrospect the only thing I wish I done different is bought the butcher for more travel but this Nickel has been good fun I've ridden this for 3yrs and am just now considering an upgrade!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Hilda crooks XC loop with mother DH added

Duration Product Used:   3 years

Price Paid:    $850.00

Purchased At:   Huck n roll

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Killer Peyote a Weekend Warrior

Date Reviewed: February 18, 2014

Strengths:    Great suspension, fast at corners, perfect bike for the twisty fast paced Washington trails. Also, it doesn't accumulates too much mud, which makes it easy to wash. Came originally with a straight bar which I replaced with a riser bar, it made me feel the frame was little shorter than expected and that's why the change.

Weaknesses:    Little heavy, but me being 225 lbs doesn't helps my case. People complain about Avid Elixir 9 brakes, but mine are just fine, a little squeaky at the beginning but eventually just good and quiet.

Bottom Line:   
It was a great deal for me. I got the full 10 speed X9 package from Competitive Cyclist with a Fox float 32 CDT and Easton wheels, seat post, stem and handlebar. Payed $2,350.- !!!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   River Runs Through it

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $2350.00

Purchased At:   Competitive Cyclist

Similar Products Used:   Specialized FSR XC Expert

Bike Setup:   X9 10 Speed Components including Avid Elixir 9 brakes.
Easton XC 70 Wheelset
Fox Float 32 CDT for with 15mm front hub
WTB Silverado Saddle
Flox Float RL rear shock
Easton handlebar, stem and seatpost

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by NigeldMTB a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: October 1, 2013

Strengths:    Corners great, climbs like a hardtail, suspension feels endless even with big hits, frame is super durable( feels rock solid), and I think it looks cool.

Weaknesses:    Paint chips and rubs very easily, slightly heavy but not noticeable when riding

Bottom Line:   
I didn't get the kit but built my 2012 SC Nickel from the frame up. It was worth every penny I put into it. This is the best example I've seen of a do-anything bike. I'm a heavier rider and I am very rough on my toys, this bike has held up perfectly to everything I can throw at it.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Chet

Date Reviewed: February 21, 2013

Strengths:    Rides great, climbs like my old hard tail (sc chameleon) and descends like a beast. I hadnt any harsh botteming out even jumping and doing some drops. Just smooth.

Weaknesses:    Maybe the weight, but that could be just my build. You don't feel the weight when climbing.

Bottom Line:   
I got the rp23 version of the frame for 800ish so for what I paid for its in awesome value. I couldn't be more pleased. To bad they discontinued it.

Overall Rating:4
Value Rating:4
Submitted by mwestaway1 a Cross Country Rider

Date Reviewed: May 12, 2012

Strengths:    Cannot think of any, maybe weight?

Weaknesses:    Avid Elixer 5 Brakes.

Bottom Line:   
When I am not complaining about the brakes, ( Which have been solved BTW by changing the rotors from Avid BR1 to Cleansweep G2 .) Otherwise I love this bike. It has not been completely trouble free going back into the shop for creaks from pivots. But hopefully this is all sorted out now. But a very capable climber and awesome decender.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Port Hills, Christchurch

Price Paid:    $5700.00

Purchased At:   Basic

Bike Setup:   Fox shocks (RP32& ,36 Float 160 FIT RLC.) (15 QR) 10SSLX, XT, Avid Elixer 5. Maxxis Crossmark rear, Bontreger ST front, WTB SST 00 ti saddle, XTR pedals.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ramy Kastel a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: May 12, 2012

Strengths:    close to the ground. very safe in the singles. very light. (fork 140)

Weaknesses:    none

Bottom Line:   
very much match my needs

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by ChampionSleeper a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: April 23, 2012

Strengths:    Incredibly fun to ride. Climbs as strong as any bike I've ever ridden and feels solid descending. I've taken this shuttling on chunky dh trails and not felt out of place. No negative squishy traits to speak of (bob, jack, etc). Also a very reasonably price framed.

Weaknesses:    By the numbers, the frame is slightly heavy. But I can't feel it riding.

Bottom Line:   
Get it!

Expand full review >>

Price Paid:    $1200.00

Purchased At:   Frame Only

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Ryan a All Mountain Rider

Date Reviewed: April 23, 2012

Strengths:    awesome geometry, looks cool, pedals great, feels stable in's a santa cruz, duh.

Weaknesses:    not sure

Bottom Line:   
I should wait to review this bike because I have only ridden it one time. Although I can tell from my 3 hour ride how amazing the bike is. I'm not sure I've ever owned a bike that I've smiled as much when riding it. It pedals great, it rails corners (and feels stable through the corner), the build kit is really good. I bought this bike on a Sunday morning, and by Sunday afternoon was riding. I will review later when I have put more time on it, but for now it's a winner.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Schleyer, Sandy Ridge

Price Paid:    $2400.00

Purchased At:   Fat Tire Farm

Similar Products Used:   Heckler, Parker, Stinky, Chameleon...

Bike Setup:   All I changed form the build kit was a shorter stem, wider bars and shorter cranks.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Eckstream1 a Weekend Warrior from Reading, Pa USA

Date Reviewed: February 6, 2012

Strengths:    Climbs better than any FS bike I've rode, doesn't bob while hammering out of the saddle, handles drops/jumps/roots with ease, great value for the money, gets lots of attention on the trails, the list goes on and on... Truely the best bike I've ever owned!

Weaknesses:    Cable routing around the pivot point causes cable rub (fixed with frame patches), no ISCG tabs (big brother Butcher gets em)

Other than those two this bike is perfect...

Bottom Line:   
This bike will do anything... From a mellow XC ride to moderate FR. Excels at climbing and at home bombing down your favorite line... Much better value than other bikes in it's class/price...


Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Neversink Mountain/Mt. Penn

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $1900.00

Purchased At:   JB Mountain Bikes

Similar Products Used:   Ironhorse Maverick 4.2

Bike Setup:   2011 D Build... SLX F/R, Sektor R, Float R, Juicy 3's
Sunline V1 50mm Stem, Bell Dart Saddle, Answer Rove FR Pedals

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Hgth33 a Weekend Warrior from Jakarta Indonesia

Date Reviewed: November 18, 2011

Strengths:    - Burly frame for trailbike category
- Ease of maintenance (pivot bearings easy to clean)
- Ample rear tire mud clearance (important for "wet weather" countries)
- Great looking bike IMHO
- Value for money
- Its a Santa Cruz!

Weaknesses:    - NONE (maybe the lack of seabright blue color option for 2012? Also, I like the 2011 letter design better)

Bottom Line:   
Awesome bike. I am rider who rides around 70% XC and 30% AM / light FR and the bike is perfect. Fully recommend it to anyone who's cost conscious, wants some brand prestige, but at the same time needs a real "do-it-all-rig". At 7.3 pounds, I can't feel the heft while pedaling (and I haven't used the propedal lever so far). What I like most is how versatile the bike is. Slap some light Maxxis Ikon tires for hilly / flowy XC singletrack riding or Nevegals for AM / light freeride duties at the mountain peaks, it rides like its at home. Much better handling than the previous bikes I have owned. Seem to absorb anything you throw at it. Bumped up the front travel to 140mm with DT Swiss forks with 725mm bars / 70mm stem and it feels fantastic on the downhills, especially with the slacker head angle. The bike is confidence inspiring and I feel that my skill level upped a notch. Rear shock didn't bottom out even though went through various rocky and rooty terrain. Living in a tropical area where mud is common, the ample mud clearance at the rear certainly helps. So far the best bike I have owned, not to forget that it looks good too.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Nura, TW3, JPG, Cihuni (all in West Java Area)

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $1400.00

Purchased At:   Formula Bike Jakarta

Similar Products Used:   Tomac Automatic, KHS XC Team, Giant XTC

Bike Setup:   Frame: Santa Cruz Nickel size M with RP23
Fork: DT Swiss XMM 140 Singleshot TA15
Wheelset: Crankbrothers Cobalt
Handlebar: Raceface Atlas 725mm
Stem: Raceface Evolve 70mm
Headset: FSA / Cane Creek Headset Reducer
Grip: ODI Ruffian
Tires: Kenda Nevegal 2.1 DTC Stick-E / Maxxis Ikon 2.2
Innertube: Maxxis Welterweight
Seatpost: Thomson Elite
Saddle: WTB Silverado
Shifter: SRAM X9
Brakeset: Elixir R F:180mm R:160mm
Crankset: Truvativ Stylo 36/24 w/bashguard
BB: Truvativ GXP
Pedals: Shimano XT PD-M780
Chain: SRAM PC-991 Crosstep 9-sp
Cassette: SRAM PG-980 9-speed
RD: SRAM X0 Long Cage

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by shipcake a Weekend Warrior from Knoxville, TN

Date Reviewed: November 15, 2011

Strengths:    -CLIMBS! For its weight (28.6lbs is my setup) it tracks uphill like a boss! For all those weight weenies, life is short, so pick up any good bike and build some more muscle.
-SUSPENSION! Fox FTW, I've never had better experiences with the new RP23 Boostvalve, and the Fox Alps up front eats up boulders as if they were small pebbles!
-SMOOTH! Newest Elixir 5 brakes offer NO noise yet tremendous dime-stopping power! Shifters flawless!
-BURLY! Takes several foot drops onto concrete with grace! This bike is built right.

Weaknesses:    None yet!

Bottom Line:   
A damn solid bike. My first Santa Cruz, so coming from Giant and other stuff, I am unbiased, but what a fun bike!
It eats anything, screw geometry 6 feet even this size large is perfect for me and I go up and down stuff with EASE. One of most worthwhile bikes I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   anything

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $2750.00

Similar Products Used:   2007 Giant Anthem 0, 2008 DMR Trailstar custom, 2011 Hito 24" Street trials

Bike Setup:   Shimano Deore LX, Elixir 5's, Fox Alps 130mm, Fox RP23 Boostvalve, Maxxis Crossmarks

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Tjay a Cross Country Rider from San Jose, Ca., USA

Date Reviewed: October 24, 2011

Strengths:    -Climbing efficiency
-Can take a beating. It loves jumps/drops and even stutter bumps!! PLUSH all thoughout its travel!
-With the short/med rear derr & stinger chainguide, this bike is stealth! Only thing I hear is the back tire when landing on the jumps/drops.
-With RP23 set at "1" in Pro-Pedal, the rearend stays stiff while I'm on or off saddle and absorbs small (1"-3") bumps while NOT interrupting the pedalling efficiency like hardtail does.
-Slack Head Angle: 68* for 130mm fox float which I plan on getting push'd and extended to 140mm. This should make the HA even more slacker. ;)
-Perfect TT, 23" for Medium! Normally I buy small (21-22" TT) but I like long top tupe (23" at least) so that I can run short stem and wide bars... The seat tube and tt is perfect fit for me!

Weaknesses:    -Weight of the frame. 7 lbs for medium (but you only feel this when lifting the bike. Pedalling it, I can't tell the weight penalty.
-My 2012 came with fox float RL rear shocks and it only has pro-pedal and lock-out option. This make the rearend of the bike felt like a hardtail. Idk why SC even bother selling these bike with the RL. It should be JUST RP23!
-Tires. 2.1 really? I slapped 2.4 Pan-FR in the front and 2.25 No-Nic rear. It has less rolling resistance than the tires this bike came with. Try it!

Bottom Line:   
Dont let the weight push you away from buying this bike. I'm a weight weenie myself (19 lbs xc & 23 lbs AM/HT) and had to really think about buying this bike, I'm really happy that I did! The bike sits at 31 lbs but I ride it with an added weight of 2 lbs (from bottle water on the bike frame which I normally dont carry on my other bikes.). At 33 lbs, the bike still climbs well. As a matter of fact, it is only 1 minute slower than my 23 lbs hardtail on a 2200', 2.6 mile climb.

Stutter bumps (1-3"), this thing just absorbs it and I have my tire psi set at 30! Before on my hardtail, I ride it at 22-25 psi but never went pass 25 psi. Now with the nickel, I can get away with running 30 psi and still very plush!

3' drops and jumps is plush too! I cant even bottom out the shock. I will release some air on it and see if I can use up all the travel because right now, I have it set to 130 psi and I'm 150 lbs geared with this, I still have 19 mm left on the travel.

Value Rating is 5 chillis because I got this for cheap! $2500 out the door!!
Value Rating is 5 because It is the bike that you would consider, DO-IT-ALL!

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Demonstration Forest: Braille/Sawpit

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $2500.00

Purchased At:   LBS

Similar Products Used:   '2010 Stumpjumper FSR

Bike Setup:   Medium:
-2008 RP23 (bought used but in excellent condition, $160)
-60mm kcnc stem
-740mm answer bar red
-32T bbg bashguard (looks great, lightweight and can take a beating!)
-stinger BB mount chainguide (for stealth mode)
-hawk-racing BB red
-kcnc skewers red
-gravity dropper descender
-2010 specialized phenom saddle

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by M-80 Rider a Cross Country Rider from SoCal

Date Reviewed: October 20, 2011

Strengths:    Great ride, sharp looks, excellent climber

Weaknesses:    None so far. If I had to name something, I'd say the Avid Juicy 3 brakes. On big downhills, they can get "grabby." but that doesn't happen often where I ride.

Bottom Line:   
I agonized over whether I should upgrade the 12-year-old hardtail or get this. Glad I did. It's opened a whole new world of MTB. The ride is easier on the body, too.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Cannell Plunge

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $2100.00

Purchased At:   Speedgoat

Similar Products Used:   This is my first FS bike.

Bike Setup:   D-XC model

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:4
Submitted by jeepdc a Weekend Warrior from Albany, NY

Date Reviewed: October 16, 2011

Strengths:    The suspension design on this bike is really good and the bike's geometry is perfect for a trail bike. The bike climbs surprisingly well (yes, better than hardtail) and the downhills are handled by the five inches of suspension. The bike is comfortable to ride and responsive to rider input. There is no noticeable bob.

Frame parts (bearings,hanger, etc.) can be purchased easily from SC.

Weaknesses:    You will pay a few bucks more for a SC bike.

Bottom Line:   
The Nickel is a fun bike to ride. If you are a trail rider looking for a tough bike, the Nickel is a good option. True, the frame is heavier than other comparable frames but the bike rides lighter than the scale would indicate.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Pine Hill Park, VT

Duration Product Used:   1 Year

Price Paid:    $2100.00

Similar Products Used:   Trek EX 8

Bike Setup:   D XC kit (Sektor fork) with upgraded SLX crank and XT cassette.

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by rcharland38 a Weekend Warrior from New York

Date Reviewed: August 17, 2011

Strengths:    This is my first full suspension bike, however, my fear was that climbing would be an issue compared to my hardtail. This was NOT the case. The Nickel climbs quickly, efficiently and goes where you point it. The decents are fast. The bike just wants to go. The rear suspension feels bottomless, setting the sag to 20%. The five inches of travel appear to be perfect for my East Coast rocky/rooty trails. The Avid Elixer brakes have great stopping power, not noisy or transmit any modulation. Seemless and perfect. I added the Chris King tapered headset and I think it makes a difference campared to the Cane Creek I have on another bike. The Maxxis Cross Mark 2.1 tires are good for cornering, however, I really prefer the Kenda Navegals 2.35 from my other bikes and will swap these out after the season. The Lizard Skins lock-on grips are also very good. I am a big fan of the ODI grips on my other bikes, however, I do not feel compelled to swap these any time soon. The SPX xc package is a well thought out mix of exactly what I needed to get started with.

Weaknesses:    The overweight rider. I also do notice cable rubs more than I would have expected after only 7 weeks on the bike. I use a camelback so the bottle cage clearence is not a concern for me.

Bottom Line:   
I highly recommend this bike for those who ride East Coast trails, have lived on hardtail bikes and don't want to lose the ability to climb, while drastically improving their decending capabilities. The bike weighs in around 29 lbs. and is about the same as my hardtail. This bike really flies fast. The move from hardtail to full suspension really helps stay connected to the trail and float above the trail chatter.

The week after I took delivery of the bike, the model year changed and prices went up. I think the 2012 specs are a little different, but with same or similar results.

Expand full review >>

Favorite Trail:   Sprain Ridge Park

Duration Product Used:   3 months

Price Paid:    $3500.00

Purchased At:   Sierra Cycles

Similar Products Used:   Just my 2006 Kona Kula hardtail.

Bike Setup:   SPX xc package, Crank Brothers Candy 3 pedals, Fox Float R shock and Fork, Raceface bash guard, Chris King tapered headset.

Reviews 1 - 15 (20 Reviews Total) | Next 15

Review Options:  Sorted by Latest Review | Sort by Best Rating