What do you call something that sets the bar when it gets better? The standard's replacement? "New and improved" doesn't begin to explain.This is our predicament with the Santa Cruz Nomad. Since its introduction, the original Nomad defined the all-mountain category and forced the industry to react. Like any paradigm-changing design, the reason it caught on wasn't that it was different, but because the differences opened our eyes to a new kind of ride. "Shreddable" is a word for the world that unfolded before our eyes as we realized the possibilities that the Nomad offered. The redesigned Nomad offers even more possibilities. Along with shorter chainstays and a new front triangle, Santa Cruz has tweaked the Nomad's Virtual Pivot Point (VPP) suspension design to minimize chain growth by some 15 to 20%. The revised pivot locations have also produced a flatter suspension rate curve. The result is a suspension that is always active and smooth. The beginning of the stroke will be supple and responsive to small bumps, yet you'll be able to use every last one of the 160 millimeters of travel at the end of the stroke without a harsh bottoming sensation. If that wasn't enough, the instant center of the rear suspension now sits lower, which improves stability and traction under braking loads.The rear swingarm is attached to the frame with two links -- the VPP lower link, and a molded carbon upper -- and oversized 15mm pivots with locking axle-pins. The pivots run on sealed bearings with one-way purging seals. Like all Santa Cruz bikes, the bearings have a lifetime warranty. The big pivots and sealed bearings make for a bike that is laterally stiff, and the pivots won't creak or loosen. The lower link has easily-serviceable grease ports for easy maintenance (grease gun and grease included), ensuring your suspension will stay smooth for a long while. Leaving no detail overlooked, the Nomad features titanium pivot hardware to shave every last gram.The standard shock with the Nomad is the large volume Fox RP23 -- a lightweight air shock that has become a worldwide favorite. Or for a $216 upcharge, you can opt for a Fox DHX RC4 Coil shock for race-worthy tune ability. This frame builds into a bike that is light enough for all mountain riding, but has the travel and geometry for a more aggressive intent. Worry not though, the front end is all about having the bulk to resist the forces that pull apart lesser frames, but not at the expense of weight -- the Nomad was lightened up by a couple ounces for 2009, tipping the scales at just 6.9 pounds. Set on a 67-degree angle, the head tube is externally-butted and designed to work with 1.5" headsets and forks from 160-180mm travel. The oversized, hydroformed 6000-series aluminum top tube and down tube provide plenty of surface area for beefy welds. ISCG-05 tabs make for easy chainguide installation. For those who are uncertain of the conditions they are to face, tires up to 2.7" in width can fit
Strengths: Burly, Plush but somehow at the same time firm when it needs to be. Climbs VERY well for a multi-pivot 6" travel bike, VERY efficient downhiller!!
Weaknesses: Heavey...but hey...it ain't a XC race bike, so really not an issue, It ain't cheap.
Got this bike while I was in Japan and as a result, I ended up doing a great deal of riding on pavement to trailhead and back again. This was a great trial to evaluate the duality in this bike's personality. What it's not: It's not a hardtail, and it's not a road bike so don't expect that...not why you bought it anyway....now with that in mind. What it IS...
6 inches of travel that you can actually pedal efficiently on flats, pavement, road climbs and not feel like you are wallowing in travel and wasting energy. Basically, if you have the legs to pedal up, it will get you there. If you are a stand up and hammer kind of guy you probably won't like this bike on the climbs...at least not in the little ring, but who stands up in the little ring anyway??!! LOL. If you're a sit down climber like me though, you will be VERY pleasantly surprised at how it climbs. Japan's riding is typically rooty and mild to moderately technical...and none of it posed an issue for this bike. Nothing a short travel bike couldn't handle either though. This past August I finally got to REALLY put the bike through it's paces. Mr. Toad's Wild Ride in S. Lake Tahoe...we shuttled to the top, and rode the last bit to the summit...it did great on that portion of the ride but let me tell you...when the downhill started and the rocks drops and roots were coming at me....Yeah...that's when the bike shined. I can without doubt say that any section that I didn't clean was because I aborted on my own or rider error was the cause...the only limitation to what was rideable on that outing was my guts factor, NOT the bike build or performance...PERFECTION. By the way...I have the coil sprung version...yes, there's a weight penalty for it, but trust me...it's DEFINITELY worth the sacrifice....the DHX RC4 is the route to go if you don't care if the bike is more than 30lbs.
Strengths: Aggressive, climbing, descending, looks hot
I can't say enough good things about this bike! It climbs great and descends amazing, it makes me feel like I'm a better rider. It's light an nimble. By far my favorite bike of all.
Date Reviewed: September 28, 2012
Weaknesses: Uphill, cross country
I bought this bike thinking it would do pretty well uphill as well as cross country since it is called an all mountain bike plus I read numerous reviews that said it does all of these well. I find that not to be true.
I get very tired after riding this bike on flat ground after just 10-15 minutes. Going uphill sucks on this bike.
This bike is suited for downhill at a bike park where they offer a ski lift to get up the mountain.
I rather ride my cross country 29er for flat and uphill terrain. It really is a night and day difference.
This bike is amazing at downhill however. A very firm, straight, solid ride. You are in total control going downhill.
I do not consider this an all around bike. Just my opinion. Test drive the bike first. If you can't, don't buy it.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: May 21, 2012
Strengths: Nimble even with the longer legs. Straight as an arrow on single track and climbs up as well as it speeds down.
Weaknesses: I can't ride it every day!
This bike really does do it all. I have not even broken it in yet. I have ridden the Butcher, Heckler, Tallboy LT, Superlight and the Blur LT. They are all great bikes but in my opinion, the Nomad is the most fun and versatile of all of these. Go get one.
a Weekend Warrior
from Kelowna B.C.
Date Reviewed: November 21, 2011
Strengths: Well balanced trail machine that does everything I ask it to.
Weaknesses: None yet. Nothing but fun here.
Had ridden a Bullit in many different forms since 2002. It was an awesome bike that was 1 size too small once I got into more all mtn type riding. I'm 5'11" and moved to a large when I bought the Nomad. This is an awesome bike that is doing everything I need which is light freeride to a bit of XC. The Okanagan is perfect for an all mtn bike and the Nomad does it all so well especially now that I'm on a proper fitting bike. The Giant is a bit lighter duty and it showed but if I wasn't hitting as many jumps, it would've been an excellent choice for me. Anyways, the rocks plain and simple. Ride one and it won't dissapoint.
Bike Setup: DHX Air, Van 36 RC2, X9 drivetrain, Elixir brakes, Crossmax SX wheelset.
a Cross Country Rider
from Flagstaff, Az
Date Reviewed: May 14, 2011
Strengths: Great bike. I have the first generation with the 1.5 headtube. I came from a Specialized Pitch and didn't realize how much more intuitive the axle path is on the nomad until I descended. It climbs very well and handles my heavy behind nicely. All in all very pleased with the purchase and will likely buy another when the time comes.
Weaknesses: Pedal bob when out of the saddle in the granny. I love the way the bike climbs, but sometimes this bobbing can lead to a bad line or a dab. No biggie, but it is there.
Great bike when a deal can be found. They are pricey, but I was "upgrading" my Specialized bikes very frequently simply because they were built very proprietarily. Every action voided every warranty. With the SC you still have that risk, but you can replace parts yourself and not void everything, or so I think. if you can find a lightly used 08 version, go for it. will last years to come and will likely just change the bearnings and keep going.
Similar Products Used: Specialized pitch, Intense 6.6.
Bike Setup: Heavy
a Weekend Warrior
from Lodi, CA USA
Date Reviewed: March 16, 2011
Strengths: 32lb 6.5 travel bike climbs well, even with me on it. Articulates and floats over obstacles. Appears to be an all around well oiled machine for what ever trail you choose.
Weaknesses: The grease fitting design is moderate at best. They frequently come out of the pressed area of the lower link. Originally it was built with a hollow pin chain. I dont recommend this chain for any type of down hill. This caused significant chain rub/slap damage to the chain stay and front of the drive train. It also tweaked my front derailure a little. But these are parts not the actual bike.
I love this bike. My only downfall is not riding it as much as I would like to. It can handle any trail you face. The price will smack you, but if you really love riding it's worth saving up for. Craigslist will usually have this bike for a decent price range, but please do your research. Rackem!
Similar Products Used: 06 Specialized Enduro Pro, 2011 SC Heckler
Bike Setup: Fox 36 Talas 160mm, Fox DHX air, 2.3 WTB weirwolfs, DT Swiss rims/wheels, Avid Elixer CR brakes, Havoc Stem, Specialized Command Post.
from Ipswich, QLD, Australia
Date Reviewed: December 22, 2010
Strengths: Able to climb tall hills, descend like you mean it
Weaknesses: fear of cracking the frame... White matt frame marks easily...
This is a heck of a lot stiffer than my other Nomad. But that just means taking those corners/berms becomes faster. Get your set up right and will cut like a hot knife thru butter down the trails. Climbs like my Mojo. The ULTIMATE do all bike. Nuff said.
Similar Products Used: Rocky Mountain Flatline, Giant Glory, Specialized Enduro
Bike Setup: 36 Van RC2, DHX RC4, Truvative 80mm stem, Straightline 50mm stem, Straightline pedals, Easton Monkey lite DH bars, SLX double crank, XO rear, X9 shifters, Gravity Dropper Turbo, Maxxis Ardent 2.4, 2.25, WTB saddle, Oury grips, Saint brakes, Mavic 321, Hope Pro 2
a Weekend Warrior
from Kelowna, BC, CAN
Date Reviewed: June 19, 2010
Strengths: 2010 Nomad:
Proven design and I see why it hasn't changed much. neutral geo; nothing extreme so it works well going up and down.
Weaknesses: Why no 12mm rear? that seems to me what is missing from the bike.
Great fitness machine for a downhiller because you can still descend hard after the climb. I recommend a coil shock but if you choose air, go with the fox over the RS monarch. Its worth the extra money. I am 6' tall and I found the large fits perfect even though for a dh bike I prefer a medium.
Similar Products Used: giant reignx, marin quake, heckler
Bike Setup: Fox 36 Float, Sunline bar/stem, ElixirCRs, crossmax wheelset, tubeless maxxis (2.5 F, 2.35 R), Fox DHX Air shock. 32 lbs.
a Cross Country Rider
from Denver, Co, USfuckingA
Date Reviewed: June 15, 2010
Strengths: Carbon with Carbon build. Absolutely sell the baby and buy the bike precise. might as well give em to social services now cuz this bike is like a drug. Insane want to pedal till ya puke uphill then hold on and float like a dream downhill.
Weaknesses: Girlfriend will be gone after I don't come home for a while. Oh well, their free to a good or bad home like kittens anyway.
Take a 2nd mortgage, Sell the boat, Dump the wife and use the float till the divorce. Just f,ing do it. Any stupid questions?
Similar Products Used: Santacruz Bullit, Yeti 575...
a Weekend Warrior
from GREEN BAY WI USA
Date Reviewed: May 2, 2010
Weaknesses: DHX AIR, I AM A BIG BOY, I COULD NOT GET ENOUGH AIR IN THE SHOCK FOR PROPER SAG, I TRIED OVER PUMPING EVEN. THE AIR BLEEDS DOWN BEFORE I CAN GET THE HOSE OF THE SHOCK PUMP. NO BODY IN MY HOME TOWN TO FILL IT WITH NITROGEN
THIS BIKE MADE ME A BETER RIDER. WHEN THE GOING GETS ROUGH IT PUTS THE POWER TO THE GROUND.THE SHOCK SUCKS I SHOULD HAVE GOT THE COIL
Strengths: It climbs very well and descends even better.
Weaknesses: I'm not a fan of the on/off propedal. I test rode an '07 that had the dial and liked that better. That's the closest thing to a weakness I can come up with.
I love this bike. It climbs the ugliest stuff better than XC rigs. If you have the legs, it will find traction. Going downhill is even more fun. It loves to land jumps. I've yet to bottom out, and I've landed 7+ foot drops.
So I'm looking to pick up a used 2010 or up Nomad for my 14 year old son. He is currently 5'7" and 110lbs but he is going through a growth spurt and getting taller pretty quickly. I want to get him a bike he can use for a long time and not grow out of in a year or two. My question is if I get him a ... Read More »
well i'm seeking the truth and some objective opinions. On my quest to buy a nice used AM bike the Nomad is on my short list, a 2007 to be exact. All I hear is that I will need to replace the bearings 1-2 times a year. While I know this probably isn't true, how often can I expect to realistically ... Read More »
Considering a new 650B FS bike. I own a Nomad MK2 with a DHX Air 5.0 rear shock I love rebuilt by Avalache recently.
Can I move that shock over to a Bronson? I couldn't find the shock size info for those bikes on the SC site, but I may have missed it.
Thanks for any feedback on this.Read More »