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Stray Bullet
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2,273 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How come Santa Cruz didn't take the extra steps when designing the XL Nomad to make sure the HA would be 68 like the rest of the sizes? I guess I could run a CK headset with a Ventana 7mm to race to get that extra one degree of slackness or run a bigger fork

I'm thinking my Yeti 575 isn't quite strong enough for my 230 lbs of riding pleasure and the Nomad would be less flexy without hurting my climbing ability.

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noMAD man
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12,220 Posts
At a certain point the head angle needs to change to match the wheelbase to bring about equal handling to other model sizes in the lineup. Apparently SC decided that the XL was the place it needed to happen. I don't think they would have gone to the trouble of changing just the XL unless they found a fairly negative issue in handling, climbing, etc. if left alone. They build and test prototypes, and many "spy" photos have been seen on mtbr and in magazines of different SC bikes. If I recall the XL was the last frame to make full production, and it may very well have been because of the changed head angle. I'll be they did it for a good reason. You might think that a 1/2" wouldn't be much of a factor, but something came up for them to change it. Maybe it was a bad climbing or cornering trait, or something else. I'd want to hear from other XL Nomad riders before I dismissed the head angle change as being a negative trait on this size bike.

This issue reminds me of a major geometry change issue that occured in the dirt motorcycle world around '80. To get stability, dirt motors just slackened the head angle. This started negatively affecting handling to a noticeable degree in many areas. Then they got the idea to lenthen the wheelbase and sharply steepen the head angle. Magically they got the best of both worlds with this setup, and it's still with us today.
 

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Stray Bullet
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2,273 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
TNC said:
At a certain point the head angle needs to change to match the wheelbase to bring about equal handling to other model sizes in the lineup. Apparently SC decided that the XL was the place it needed to happen. I don't think they would have gone to the trouble of changing just the XL unless they found a fairly negative issue in handling, climbing, etc. if left alone. They build and test prototypes, and many "spy" photos have been seen on mtbr and in magazines of different SC bikes. If I recall the XL was the last frame to make full production, and it may very well have been because of the changed head angle. I'll be they did it for a good reason. You might think that a 1/2" wouldn't be much of a factor, but something came up for them to change it. Maybe it was a bad climbing or cornering trait, or something else. I'd want to hear from other XL Nomad riders before I dismissed the head angle change as being a negative trait on this size bike.

This issue reminds me of a major geometry change issue that occured in the dirt motorcycle world around '80. To get stability, dirt motors just slackened the head angle. This started negatively affecting handling to a noticeable degree in many areas. Then they got the idea to lenthen the wheelbase and sharply steepen the head angle. Magically they got the best of both worlds with this setup, and it's still with us today.
Very interesting hypothesis.
 

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Old man on a bike
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12,395 Posts
Keep in mind the stated head angles are only with a 522 a-c measurement...the number isn't written in stone in any case, it'll be affected by your fork and tires, too.
 

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Stray Bullet
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2,273 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
TNC said it perfectly.

Santa Cruz's response to my email asking about the head angle.

575 could get kicked to the curb for a Nomad in the future.

Hi Scott,
This is done to help keep the longer XL size frames steering/handling
characteristics feel similar to the other (Smaller) sizes.
Frames with a long wheelbase will inherently feel a little slower steering
than smaller sizes in the same model, and the slightly steeper head on the
XL angle helps with this.
The longer wheelbase increases the overall stability, so there is not a
drawback in that area.

Thanks for your interest in Santa Cruz, and let me know if you have any
other questions.

Scott Turner
Santa Cruz Bicycles
Santa Cruz, California
[email protected]
www.santacruzbicycles.com
 
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