2018 Santa Cruz Nomad Is Announced And It’s Nowt Anyone Expected!!

published by bktr on 23/06/2017 10:57:00


Who says freeride is dead? Not Santa Cruz, and to prove it they've created a new Nomad, one that's bigger, badder, and more gravity oriented than ever before. With 170mm of travel, a 64.6-degree head angle (in the low setting) and a new rear suspension layout inspired by the V10, this is about as close as you can get to a pedal-able downhill bike.
Given the success of the previous Nomad, Santa Cruz could have taken the easy road and just tweaked the geometry a little bit and slapped on a new paint job, but they made the conscious decision to push version 4 into new territory.

Santa Cruz Nomad Details
• Intended use: shredding the gnar
• Wheel size: 27.5"
• Rear wheel travel: 170mm
• 64.6º or 65º head angle
• Carbon frame, C or CC options
• Metric shock sizing
• Boost hub spacing
• MSRP: £4,299 - £Anything!
• Weight: 30lb / 13.6kg (size large)
• Available: June 15 “Santa Cruz Time!!!”

After all, the 150mm Bronson has the all-mountain side of things pretty well covered, and don't forget that the 29”-wheeled Hightower and its upcoming longer travel sibling — in short, something needed to be done to make sure the Nomad didn't get lost in the crowd.


The rear suspension layout is the most immediately apparent difference between the new Nomad and its predecessor, with the shock situated low in the frame where it passes through a split in the seat tube. As you'd expect, it's still a VPP design, with two large counter-rotating links that control the 170mm of travel.
Even with that split seat tube design, Santa Cruz still managed to internally route the dropper post housing (it runs through a tube molded inside the non-driveside of the frame), and to fit dropper posts with appropriate amounts of travel – 150mm on a size medium, and 170mm on the large and extra-large sizes.


The Nomad is designed to play well with both coil and air-sprung shocks; riders can choose from a RockShox Super Deluxe Coil RCT, or a Super Deluxe Air RCT. There's a small integrated fender bolted onto the frame to help keep some of the mud and grit that this bike will undoubtedly be subjected to at bay. Other frame niceties include a guard on the underside of the down tube to prevent the frame scuffs and dings that all-too-often accompany a day of shuttling, and there's even enough room to carry a full-size water bottle inside the front triangle.
The Nomad is debuting with a full carbon frame, but there is an alloy model on the way that should be available in the autumn at a more budget friendly price point.


The previous generation Nomad was a trail-smashing beast in its own right, which meant that there wasn't any need to go too wild when it came time to revise the geometry numbers, although the reach has been lengthened by 22mm — a size large now measures 460mm. A few millimeters were trimmed off the chainstay length, which is now 430mm, and thanks to a flip chip on the lower link the bike's head angle can be set at either 64.6º with a 339mm BB height, or 65º with a 344mm BB height.


Along with the new bike, Santa Cruz is also launching their own line of carbon wheels, called “Reserve.” Rather than re-labeling an existing rim profile, Santa Cruz set out to develop their own unique design, drawing on their in-house expertise and carbon testing facilities.  The result is a rim shape that has a slight protrusion above each spoke hole, external reinforcement that's intended to help keep spokes from pulling through the rim, one of the modes of failure that Santa Cruz found with other carbon wheels. The rim and spoke holes are asymmetric in order to even out the spoke tension between the drive and non-driveside as much as possible, and they're laced up with 28 spokes using a 3-cross pattern. There will be two 27.5” internal rim widths available — 27 and 30mm, and the 29” wheels will be available with an internal width of 25, 27, or 30mm.  The Reserve wheels will add £1,200 to the MSRP of a complete bike, and they'll also be available as aftermarket items this autumn laced up with Industry Nine hubs.

TRIORA, ITALY - May 2017 - during the launch of the new Juliana Bicycles Strega and Santa Cruz Bicycles Nomad in Sospel, Molini and Triora Italy. Photo by Gary Perkin

So should you rush out to buy a Nomad? Honestly, unless you're lucky enough to have relatively easy access to trails that are worthy of a 170mm mini-downhill bike, I’d be snapping up a current Nomad 3 or looking at the Bronson. Yes, it's wickedly fun, but this is a bike that needs room to run — taking it on mellow flow trails is like forcing a mountain lion to live indoors. It's even a bit much for most enduro races — this is a bike that's made for seeking out the burliest descents, not sprinting against the clock.


To see the range just click here