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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'd like to know what you think. The geometry with a 6" fork on the Heckler or the Nomad is pretty close but the Nomad is a bit longer. How do they compare climbing, on tech trails, the suspension? Any comments will be appreciated. Thanks.
 

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A thread with some insight.

BanzaiRider said:
I'd like to know what you think. The geometry with a 6" fork on the Heckler or the Nomad is pretty close but the Nomad is a bit longer. How do they compare climbing, on tech trails, the suspension? Any comments will be appreciated. Thanks.
http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=147563

This thread had a few interesting comments. So you are still on the fence, eh? So am I. I am looking at a bunch of bikes again. I might go back to a Heckler and I checked out the Nomad at my lbs the other day. I need a good test ride on one before I can form a solid opinion.

I have heard many differing opinions regarding these two bikes. Some say the Nomad is better in every application and others say the Heckler is better for general trail riding, while the Nomad is better coming down, which makes sense.
 

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I rode the Heckler for the last three years (and the original Heckler for 3 years before that) until I got the Nomad. Can't speak for the 6" fork on a Heckler, always kept mine at 5" (and the Heckler before that at 4"); I am running a 6" fork on the Nomad.

I don't think of the Nomad as longer as much as I do taller. Feel this mostly in cornering, it doesn't settle in the sweet spot as easily as the Heckler does but the more I ride the bike the less I think about it. Only time I feel longer is when I have to clear a ledge while climbing, the Nomad requires a little more body English than my Heckler did.

The Nomad pedals and climbs better IMO. On flat level surfaces it's practically a road bike by comparison. I feel much more efficient on longer climbs, yet still has great traction in the short techy steep climbs (where I think both bikes work very well).

They both are great descenders but having more travel both front and rear, and the Heckler having coil f/r wheras the Nomad is air f/r, makes it harder to compare them.

The Nomad gets the nod for better overall bike; I've barely thrown a leg over the Heckler since I built up the Nomad. Only downside so far is that to chase a pivot squeak is more work (more places it can happen) and bearing service will take longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
ronny said:
http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=147563

This thread had a few interesting comments. So you are still on the fence, eh? So am I. I am looking at a bunch of bikes again. I might go back to a Heckler and I checked out the Nomad at my lbs the other day. I need a good test ride on one before I can form a solid opinion.

I have heard many differing opinions regarding these two bikes. Some say the Nomad is better in every application and others say the Heckler is better for general trail riding, while the Nomad is better coming down, which makes sense.
Thanks ronny, I had missed this thread. I'm always on the fence, just can't stand buying something and not be happy about my decision! The Heckler definitely has a few advantages, it can be built with a coil shock for almost the same weight as the Nomad with DHXA, it's a bit shorter so more "flickable", should have less chain slap, nice cable routing, good looking to my taste and very cheap. However, I'm not sure how much the VPP improves the ride and the geometry of the Nomad doesn't receive the "universally positive" comments that the Heckler gets...
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Bikinfoolferlife said:
I rode the Heckler for the last three years (and the original Heckler for 3 years before that) until I got the Nomad. Can't speak for the 6" fork on a Heckler, always kept mine at 5" (and the Heckler before that at 4"); I am running a 6" fork on the Nomad.

I don't think of the Nomad as longer as much as I do taller. Feel this mostly in cornering, it doesn't settle in the sweet spot as easily as the Heckler does but the more I ride the bike the less I think about it. Only time I feel longer is when I have to clear a ledge while climbing, the Nomad requires a little more body English than my Heckler did.

The Nomad pedals and climbs better IMO. On flat level surfaces it's practically a road bike by comparison. I feel much more efficient on longer climbs, yet still has great traction in the short techy steep climbs (where I think both bikes work very well).

They both are great descenders but having more travel both front and rear, and the Heckler having coil f/r wheras the Nomad is air f/r, makes it harder to compare them.

The Nomad gets the nod for better overall bike; I've barely thrown a leg over the Heckler since I built up the Nomad. Only downside so far is that to chase a pivot squeak is more work (more places it can happen) and bearing service will take longer.
Hey good comments. When you talk about coil vs air suspension, is it because you almost feel like your coil Heckler felt plusher than your air Nomad?
 

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BanzaiRider said:
Thanks ronny, I had missed this thread. I'm always on the fence, just can't stand buying something and not be happy about my decision! The Heckler definitely has a few advantages, it can be built with a coil shock for almost the same weight as the Nomad with DHXA, it's a bit shorter so more "flickable", should have less chain slap, nice cable routing, good looking to my taste and very cheap. However, I'm not sure how much the VPP improves the ride and the geometry of the Nomad doesn't receive the "universally positive" comments that the Heckler gets...
The Nomad has almost an inch more travel, so it will be more plush and with the longer wheel base, will/should be more stable at speed on the dh. You are coming from a well designed HL and I think the Bonzai would be a little better with technical climbing and downhill braking than the Heckler or Nomad. Imo, vpp technology does not do much more than a sp to eliminate brake jack. The Nomad might be a little better than the Heckler in this department. I did not have a problem with brake jack on my Heckler. I learned when to brake and how to brake properly. Pedal bob on the Heckler is very minimal when seated and obviously more evident while standing. Even then, I found the shock was compressing less than an inch, so it wasn't over whelming. I was using the 5th coil. Regardless, the Nomad should have less pedal induced bobbing.

Like you said, the Heckler has a shorter wheel base and is not as tall, so it should perform better on tight technical single track with switch backs and is probably easier to throw around. Some direct comparisons confirm these "on paper" observations, while others feel the opposite is true. It comes down to preference I guess.

The only real complaint with the Heckler is the low bb height. I smacked my pedals quite a bit when the terrain got very rocky and rooty. The bb height also compliments the Heckler's handling, making it very balanced, so pick your poison I guess. The Nomad has a slightly higher bb height which can be a positive. The geometry for the Heckler seems to be just right for many applications and it is a very comfortable bike. Getting to ride both bikes for comparison sake would be nice. To compare properly, one would have to find a similar spec on both bikes. Easier said than done.
 

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So far I'm giving the nod to the coil shocks for plushness and overall ride qualities. Not sure I will go that route on the Nomad for now; I'm not a completely reformed weight weenie. Someday when it's convenient to "upgrade" perhaps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Bikinfoolferlife said:
So far I'm giving the nod to the coil shocks for plushness and overall ride qualities. Not sure I will go that route on the Nomad for now; I'm not a completely reformed weight weenie. Someday when it's convenient to "upgrade" perhaps.
That's good info, you are confirming that even a "better" design (VPP vs SP) does not surpass the shock qualitities for plushness sake. Your coil Heckler's inferior suspension design still is plusher than the air with VPP superior design
 

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noMAD man
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Hey Bikin'

Bikinfoolferlife said:
So far I'm giving the nod to the coil shocks for plushness and overall ride qualities. Not sure I will go that route on the Nomad for now; I'm not a completely reformed weight weenie. Someday when it's convenient to "upgrade" perhaps.
I take it from reading your posts that you haven't really decided on the superiority of the coil vs. the DHX Air as far as performance goes on your Nomad. I'll be futzing with the same thing shortly...hopefully...but my experience with the DHX Air on one of my Bullits has me leaning more and more toward it as a great shock. I've been swapping between 3 shocks lately for comparison sakes...DHX Air, DHX coil, and Swinger 4-Way Air. Shockingly...te, he, he...I find the DHX Air to be the best all around shock among the 3. Once I got over the weird tuning aspects of the DHX Air, it out performs the other 2 shock for all my riding which includes small drops and jumps and lots of riding in rocky terrain. I could see the DHX coil perhaps being better in notably larger drops and hucking just because it's a coil, but I haven't qualified that issue personally.

I'm curious about your comparison of the Heckler and Nomad. We sell SC but haven't obtained a Nomad yet. We did get 3 new BLTs, and I have ridden a Free at Bootleg Canyon, NV. I think VPP bikes give a much firmer initial ride than a Heckler or Bullit which might influence one's perception of overall plushness, but once you start plowing through anything like rocks and other trail obstacles, the VPP design sucks it up about as good as any other design and better than many. What numbers did you wind up with on your DHX Air/Nomad shock setup?
 

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Just for conversation sake..

I borrowed a 6" fork from TNC and stuck it on my Heckler about a 2 weeks ago. Mine died from bushing failure. I have ridden my Heckler for about two years with the 5 " on it. I can say that it really helps the bike with the low BB height. Most 6" forks have an 1" higher axle-crown height this helps the bb height greatly. I have not noticed a real disadvantage with it at all. On slow stuff there is a little flop with the slacker head tube angle but I really like the feel when you are hammering the thing into turns.

Now on the BLT/MOMAD thing. I ride an XL bike and have not had the pleasure to ride one that fits me..... darn it!
 

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TNC - I'm on a Fox Float R RP3 (stock Nomad version, with the pp preset at lowest of three levels). I'd love to try the DHX Air to have a little more control over the setup but I'm in no rush. The Float works reasonably well, much better than my previous Float (on the older Heckler). I agree the VPP seems to be a firmer ride, especially at first as compared to the somewhat flexy feeling of the Heckler's rear end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Bikinfoolferlife said:
TNC - I'm on a Fox Float R RP3 (stock Nomad version, with the pp preset at lowest of three levels). I'd love to try the DHX Air to have a little more control over the setup but I'm in no rush. The Float works reasonably well, much better than my previous Float (on the older Heckler). I agree the VPP seems to be a firmer ride, especially at first as compared to the somewhat flexy feeling of the Heckler's rear end.
I have a RP3 on my current bike and I'm quite sure you can tune the DHXA to be MUCH better, specially the initial part of the travel.

I find it interesting that you feel the VPP to be firmer at first then the Heckler, is that while pedaling or descending? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
ronny said:
The Nomad has almost an inch more travel, so it will be more plush and with the longer wheel base, will/should be more stable at speed on the dh. You are coming from a well designed HL and I think the Bonzai would be a little better with technical climbing and downhill braking than the Heckler or Nomad. Imo, vpp technology does not do much more than a sp to eliminate brake jack. The Nomad might be a little better than the Heckler in this department. I did not have a problem with brake jack on my Heckler. I learned when to brake and how to brake properly. Pedal bob on the Heckler is very minimal when seated and obviously more evident while standing. Even then, I found the shock was compressing less than an inch, so it wasn't over whelming. I was using the 5th coil. Regardless, the Nomad should have less pedal induced bobbing.

Like you said, the Heckler has a shorter wheel base and is not as tall, so it should perform better on tight technical single track with switch backs and is probably easier to throw around. Some direct comparisons confirm these "on paper" observations, while others feel the opposite is true. It comes down to preference I guess.

The only real complaint with the Heckler is the low bb height. I smacked my pedals quite a bit when the terrain got very rocky and rooty. The bb height also compliments the Heckler's handling, making it very balanced, so pick your poison I guess. The Nomad has a slightly higher bb height which can be a positive. The geometry for the Heckler seems to be just right for many applications and it is a very comfortable bike. Getting to ride both bikes for comparison sake would be nice. To compare properly, one would have to find a similar spec on both bikes. Easier said than done.
Hey ronny, I haven't tried many bikes in my "career" so it's difficult for me to compare much but yes, in theory, like you say, I'm coming from a well designed HL but in practice, I've tried my friends single pivot Giant VT several times and could not detect any braking advantages to my HL, no bob on the VT either and a plusher ride descending. The only advantage I could give to my HL design is going uphill if you stand then the VT was squating but not my HL. So on my "well designed HL" I have basically two gripes, not the plushest on small bump while descending and a bit too raked/long with a 6" fork. The Heckler's geometry would certainly take care of the second problem, however I'm not sure if it would be plusher descending... Quite a headache deciding on a new bike when you already have one that is not far from perfection! haha I guess that's part of the fun with mountain biking!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
TNC said:
I think VPP bikes give a much firmer initial ride than a Heckler or Bullit which might influence one's perception of overall plushness, but once you start plowing through anything like rocks and other trail obstacles, the VPP design sucks it up about as good as any other design and better than many. What numbers did you wind up with on your DHX Air/Nomad shock setup?
Do you think that could be one of the reason why so many downhill pros use single pivot bikes like the Bullit, Orange, Canondale,...? When going down and not pedaling, I assume there is no chain torque on a Bullit/Heckler so it can be as plush as any other design it's when going up or pedaling that the single pivot gets more stiff because of chain torque?
 

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I found my Heckler to be somewhat harsh on small bumps and plush on medium to larger bumps and hits. I was using the 5th element coil also, which is considered by many to be harsh on small bumps. Many riders prefer the Fox DHX coil on the Heckler over the 5th coil for a smoother ride on small bumps.

Chain torque does stiffen the suspension on the Heckler to a certain extent, and you are right that it is more evident while climbing. Vpp suspension gets stiffer the harder you pedal as it relies on chain tension to reduce bobbing.

As far as a HL goes, I have found only slight differences when comparing the differences to other bikes across the board. You seem to have found that out for yourself when comparing a HL to the "lowely" sp on the Giant. I have been on sp faux bars that feel just as compliant as a HL and vice versa. Many TNT Turner riders are finally dispelling the myth of the HL being the "Holy Grail" of suspension designs. Unless, DT has found some magical alloy and implemented it into the sp faux TNT.
 

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Combination of factors.

BanzaiRider said:
Do you think that could be one of the reason why so many downhill pros use single pivot bikes like the Bullit, Orange, Canondale,...? When going down and not pedaling, I assume there is no chain torque on a Bullit/Heckler so it can be as plush as any other design it's when going up or pedaling that the single pivot gets more stiff because of chain torque?
Weight is usually a benefit of a single pivot for DH racing purposes, and yeah, they work quite well for descending...if you're not on the brakes too much and too hard...like pros have that problem. :D I notice C'dale put a floating brake arm on at least one of their DH models.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
ronny said:
I found my Heckler to be somewhat harsh on small bumps and plush on medium to larger bumps and hits. I was using the 5th element coil also, which is considered by many to be harsh on small bumps. Many riders prefer the Fox DHX coil on the Heckler over the 5th coil for a smoother ride on small bumps.

Chain torque does stiffen the suspension on the Heckler to a certain extent, and you are right that it is more evident while climbing. Vpp suspension gets stiffer the harder you pedal as it relies on chain tension to reduce bobbing.

As far as a HL goes, I have found only slight differences when comparing the differences to other bikes across the board. You seem to have found that out for yourself when comparing a HL to the "lowely" sp on the Giant. I have been on sp faux bars that feel just as compliant as a HL and vice versa. Many TNT Turner riders are finally dispelling the myth of the HL being the "Holy Grail" of suspension designs. Unless, DT has found some magical alloy and implemented it into the sp faux TNT.
haha, nice analogies... good thing we are on the SantaCruz forum, way less "formal" then other forums! :D

HL and VPP are very good and so can SP, but the more I read people's comments and the more I now think it is:

priority #1=geometry
priority #2=shock/fork
priority #3=suspension design

That's probably why there are so many Heckler owners who rave about their Heckler!
 

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The geometry and handling are what I liked the most about the Heckler, and while the suspension design is not considered among the best, it is still effective nonetheless.

Now if I can just get over my phobia of vpp technology. I am actually looking forward to testing the Nomad.

The SC forum seems to be the most "meat and potatoes" kind of place around here. The Ellsworth forum can be very entertaining and there is tons of baiting and flame fests over there.
 
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