First Ride: 2023 Santa Cruz Nomad – Now With Mixed Wheels

Santa Cruz has been on a roll this yr, updating their catalog with geometry adjustments and in-body storage compartments for mannequin after mannequin. Next up is the venerable Nomad, the lengthy-journey machine that is been a mainstay within the lineup since its introduction all the best way again in 2005.

Version 6.0 of the Nomad retains its 170mm of entrance and rear journey, however it’s now operating blended wheel sizes, with a 29” wheel up entrance and 27.5” within the again. Along with the larger entrance wheel, the brand new Nomad’s geometry has been made a contact slacker and longer, though the adjustments aren’t too wild. Once once more, it is extra about refinements relatively than drastic revisions.

Nomad 6 Details

• Wheel measurement: 29″ entrance / 27.5″ rear
• Travel: 170mm
• C & CC carbon frames
• 63.5º head angle (low)
• 77.6º seat tube angle (measurement L, low)
• 444mm chainstays (measurement L, low)
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
• Weight: 33.5 lb / 15.2 kg (measurement L, X01 AXS RSV)
• Price: $5,649 – $11,199 USD

There’s additionally a Glovebox for stashing instruments and tubes contained in the body, and tweaks to the bike’s kinematics designed to extend the suspension’s sensitivity and consistency.

There are 10 totally different construct choices, with costs starting from $5,649 for the R package all the best way as much as 11,109 USD for the XO1 Reserve construct.

Frame Details

The Nomad’s body has the entire accoutrements that Santa Cruz has turn into recognized for. A threaded backside bracket, tube-in-tube inner cable routing, chainslap safety in the suitable locations, room for a full measurement water bottle, a common derailleur hanger, grease ports for the decrease hyperlink bearings – there actually is not something lacking.

There’s that Glovebox too, which has a small latch that permits entry to the within of the downtube. A neoprene instrument pockets and tube purse are additionally included to assist with group and hold issues from rattling round contained in the body.

There are two body colour choices, Gloss Gypsum, which is kind of a white / purple / grey relying on the lighting, and matte black. The body makes use of a 230 x 65mm shock, and is appropriate with air or coil choices.


Compared to the earlier technology, the Nomad’s head angle has been slackened by a scant .2-levels, and the attain numbers stay the identical, though remember the fact that it does have a 29” entrance wheel now. The 472mm attain of a measurement massive is a bit shorter than the 480 / 485mm quantity that many different corporations have settled on, however that is not essentially a unfavourable. Remember, there’s extra to how a motorbike rides than one or two numbers on a chart.

There’s additionally a brand new XXL choice within the combine with a 520mm attain for all of the taller riders on the market.

The most substantial geometry change happens on the chainstays – the size has been elevated by round 8mm relying on the dimensions. This was completed to enhance the fore / aft stability of the bike, particularly because it now has blended wheels. The chainstay lengths develop because the body measurement will get bigger, beginning at 439mm for the small and going all the best way as much as 450mm for the XXL.

Suspension Layout

Not surprisingly, the Nomad retains its acquainted decrease-hyperlink pushed VPP suspension structure. The Nomad’s preliminary leverage ratio has been decreased, and it is truly barely much less progressive than earlier than. It’s nonetheless coil shock appropriate, however the adjustments ought to assist make for extra constant efficiency all through your complete journey vary.

The anti-squat has additionally been decreased, which Santa Cruz says was completed to cut back suspension harshness and to enhance climbing traction.


R-Kit $5,649
S-Kit $6,799
GX AXS-Kit $8,499
GX AXS-Kit Reserve $9,799
X01-Kit (CC) $9,299
X01 AXS-Kit Reserve $11,199

Spec Check

There’s no getting round the truth that Santa Cruz’s costs are on the upper finish of the spectrum – this isn’t the place to look for those who’re attempting to stretch your {dollars} so far as potential. That mentioned, the components within the numerous construct kits are properly chosen, and if a motorbike has a GX drivetrain it has a full GX drivetrain, not only a derailleur to make it appear that approach. All of the bikes have some model of SRAM’s Code brakes with 200mm rotors entrance and rear, and all fashions get bash guards as properly.

Interestingly, the construct kits with coil shocks get Maxxis’ DoubleDown casing tires, and those with air shocks get EXO+. Maybe coil customers usually tend to make poor line decisions?

My solely actual gripe with the kits is the 175mm hydraulic Reverb on the big measurement frames. I moaned a bit bit about this when the brand new Hightower got here out, however on this case it is much more related. The Nomad is basically a pedalable DH bike – I would like the seat as far out of the best way as potential within the steeps, and I do know I’m not the one one. There are additionally loads of cheaper cable-actuated posts available on the market that work simply as properly (or higher) than the Reverb and have adjustable journey as well.

Ride Impressions

The earlier model of the Nomad was a enjoyable-loving, comparatively delicate-mannered machine, an extended-journey, do-all the things bike that did not appear to thoughts if the terrain wasn’t at all times tremendous steep and tough. The new model nonetheless maintains most of these straightforward-going traits, however the revisions it is obtained, together with that 29” entrance wheel, take its capabilities to the following stage.

Considering how related the Nomad’s geometry numbers are to the Megatower, I wasn’t positive how a lot distinction there can be between the 2 out on the path. They even share the identical entrance triangle, so it actually comes right down to the Nomad’s smaller rear wheel and barely totally different kinematics. As it seems, the entire refined alterations add as much as one thing rather more substantial.

In all honesty, the latest Megatower hasn’t actually blown me away, and I’ve put in a big quantity of trip time on it this season. It’s what I’d contemplate a Very Good bike, however it would not have the little further little bit of particular sauce to push it into the Great class. That hasn’t been the case with the brand new Nomad – after a handful of rides it is presently making its approach in the direction of the highest of my listing of favourite bikes this yr.

What’s so particular about it? For me, it is the best way the suspension permits for heels-down plowing whereas additionally sustaining sufficient assist for pedaling or pumping by flatter sections of the path. With the Float X2 there have not been any harsh backside outs, and I’ve despatched this factor further-deep on a couple of event, primarily as a result of it looks like that is the best way it desires to be ridden. I attempt to not use the phrase ‘confidence inspiring’ greater than a couple of times a yr because it’s turn into such a cliche, however on this case it is an applicable one. The Nomad has loads of journey for coping with huge hits and rugged terrain, with an additional sprint of velocity that makes it a extremely addictive bike to trip.

The Nomad’s suspension does really feel a bit softer off the highest than the Megatower, which meant I used to be extra prone to attain for the climb swap on smoother climbs, however it stays calm sufficient whereas pedaling that leaving it open on a regular basis is completely possible.

While the Nomad’s attain numbers could also be on the marginally shorter aspect of the trendy spectrum, that is balanced out by the slack head angle and the reasonably lengthy chainstays that present loads of stability at greater speeds. Lately, my desire for a blended-wheel configuration on longer journey bikes has been rising, and that continues with the Nomad. Along with creating extra rubber-to-rear-finish clearance, it feels simpler to select up and place the rear wheel, particularly within the steeps.

I’m interested in how the Nomad will maintain up over a long run take a look at interval – contemplating that sky-excessive price ticket you’d hope that it will be completely flawless. There are a bunch extra onerous miles on this bike’s future, together with a few huge enduro races and many bike park laps – I’ll report again with a closing verdict and comparisons to different bikes on this class as soon as it is really been by the wringer .


Leave a Comment