When I first rode the Santa Cruz Nomad, it was 2008. 29ers were just starting to get attention and 650b wheels were relegated to circus duty — boy how times have changed. 26″ wheels are all-but-dead and the all-new Nomad not only sits on the tweener 650b wheel size, but it has also ditched the front derailleur.
The all-new Nomad was launched earlier this year to the salivating masses who missed the bike during its hiatus. As Santa Cruz’s longest-travel trailbike, the 165mm travel Nomad features 15mm more travel than the Bronson, but rides worlds apart from it.
Several other manufacturers have similar quiver-splitting bikes (Yeti has the SB6c and SB5c, Niner has the WFO 9 and RIP 9 and Specialized has the Stumpjumper and Enduro), so it’s no surprise that Santa Cruz would keep the Nomad at an all-mountain capable amount of travel — even if it blurs the lines a bit.
No doubt, the Nomad is an all-mountain slayer that will tackle every enduro course or burly singletrack with aplomb and even tackle some DH courses. If you have an appetite for breakneck speed, but still want something that can pedal back up to the top, then the Nomad might be the perfect bike for you.
I’d say the X01 is the best mix of top-shelf parts at the most reasonable price. Here are some details:
- Optimized VPP design with recessed lower link and V10 upper link
- 165mm rear wheel travel
- No front derailleur mount
- 65-degree head angle
- ISCG mount
- SRAM X01/X1 drivetrain with RaceFace Turbine cranks
- Shimano XT brakes
- RockShox Pike RCT3 160mm fork
- RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 Debonair shock
- Santa Cruz carbon 800mm bars
- RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post
- 6.2 lb frame weight
- Price: $6599
The Bottom Line
The all-new Nomad has quickly gained traction in the gravity and all-mountain camps. With near-downhill capabilities packed into a trail-worthy package, the Nomad is burly enough to tackle anything and have fun while doing it.