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Third time's the charm.

We’ve heard it said that there’s no such thing as a perfect bike for all conditions, but if there’s one bike that has repeatedly challenged this notion, it’s the Nomad. Now in its third generation, the Santa Cruz Nomad Mountain Bike Frame builds on the all-terrain ability of its predecessors to deliver a ruthless trail shredding experience. In keeping with modern riding styles, it’s slacker, longer, and more stable, with tighter chainstays to keep it responsive. And yes, it’s now built around 27.5 inch wheels. It’s fast, aggressive, and capable of keeping up with the wildest riders on the planet. In other words, this is the bike the Nomad was born to be.

The Nomad’s VPP suspension platform has been considerably improved as compared to the previous version, with particular focus being paid to improving mid-stroke support, as well as off-the-top small bump compliance. Much as it always has, it still maintains the snappy pedaling that’s essential for piloting a long-travel bike to the top of your favorite runs. At the heart of VPP is two aluminum counter-rotating links. The upper-link, borrowed from the V10, provides most of the rotation as the bike compresses into the sag point. This yields a vertical wheel path, which is responsible for the firm pedaling feel.

As the bike compresses deeper into the suspension, the lower-link activates, moving the axle path rearward. The rearward axle path enables the rear wheel to travel out of the way of impacts. This affords you extra margin for error when you’re experimenting with the ragged edge of control. It’s a design that’s well matched by the incredibly capable Rockshox Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir rear shock, which has been redesigned to offer even better small-bump compliance than its predecessor. And you'll find the same collet-style pivot hardware that's become standard for Santa Cruz's suspension bikes. This means that your pivots stay tight, and are easily serviceable by home mechanics.

Santa Cruz's industry-leading carbon fiber construction is on display here as well. Both the front and rear triangles are constructed as a whole, rather than bonding them together from sub-assemblies. With this process, the fibers remain uninterrupted by seams, maximizing strength on an already notoriously bulletproof frame. Additionally, the inside of the tubes have the same perfectly smooth finish as the outside thanks to maximum the compaction of the layers. The benefit is that it's lighter, because any excess epoxy is squeezed from the frame prior to curing. And testing has proven that this provides the ideal degree of compaction, further enhancing frame strength.

As compared to previous iterations of the Nomad, it’s safe to say that this is the most aggressive version yet. The head angle has been relaxed to an ultra-stable 65 degrees. Rear wheel travel has been increased to 165mm. By doing away with the need for a front derailleur, the chainstays have been shortened to a highly responsive 17.1 inches—no small feat when considering that the wheel size has grown to 27.5 inches. In keeping with modern bike fit, the reach measurements have grown by a full inch per size to provide adequate reach with today’s shorter stems. The result is a bike that’s most at home charging full-bore into hair-raising terrain. And while it yields stability traditionally reserved for downhill bikes, the 6.2 pound frame weight, combined with steeper seat tube angles, means that it’s surprisingly pleasant to pedal back up for another lap.

The Nomad utilizes a 44/49mm headset for compatibility with tapered forks. The rear dropouts accept a 142x12mm thru-axle rear hub, which keeps the frame stiff under power. The 73mm English threaded bottom bracket shell ensures a creak-free crankset and easy service. The frame requires a 31.6mm seatpost, which makes it compatible with extra-long six inch dropper posts. And it’s not compatible with a front derailleur. You have the option to run a narrow-wide chainring, as has become the new standard for aggressive trail bikes, or should you desire maximum retention, the ISCG05 tabs allow for simple chainguide setup.

The Santa Cruz Nomad Mountain Bike Frame is available in four sizes, from Small, to X-Large, and in the colors Matte Black/gloss black, and Turquoise/pink.

Tech Specs

Frame Material:
carbon fiber
Rear Shock:
Rock Shox Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir
Rear Travel:
165 mm
Head Tube Diameter:
ZS44/EC49 mixed tapered
Headset Included:
Bottom Bracket Type:
73 mm BSA
ISCG Tabs:
yes, ISCG 05
Cable Routing:
Front Derailleur Mount:
Seatpost Diameter:
31.6 mm
Seat Collar:
35 mm Santa Cruz bolt-on
Rear Axle:
142x12 mm DT RWS thru axle
Claimed Weight:
2812.2 g
Recommended Use:
all mountain, enduro
Manufacturer Warranty:
5 years

Geometry chart

Santa Cruz

Geometry Chart



Seat Tube


Effective Top Tube






Stand Over

Head Tube


Head Tube Angle


Seat Tube Angle


Bottom Bracket Height




S  15.5in  22in  23.3in  15.4in  28.6in  3.5in  65º  74.2º  13.4in  17.1in  45in
M  16.5in  23in  23.6in  16.3in  28.5in  3.9in  65º  74.2º  13.4in  17.1in  46.1in
L  18in  24in  24in  17.2in  28.8in  4.3in  65º  74.2º  13.4in  17.1in  47.1in
XL  19.5in  25in  24.3in  18.1in  29.2in  4.7in  65º  74.2º  13.4in  17.1in  48.2in

Geometry Chart

Reviews & Community

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Santa Cruz Bicycles Nomad Carbon 27.5 Mountain Bike Frame

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Here's what others have to say...

Unanswered Question

Is this frame Nomad C? or Nomad CC?


Will an XL frame fit into the Thule Round Trip Sport Bike Travel Case?


Responded on

That frame should fit fine. There is chance you would need to take off the fork because of the length but its not likely.

What is the weight of this frame?

5 5

One bike to rule them all.

  • Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I was on the fence about buying a Nomad for enduro racing, the occasional park days, and general AM/TR riding in the Pacific Northwest, and I'm so glad I went for it. This bike is truly amazing.

It really does climb well for what it is. Yeah, it's a little cumbersome on super tight singletrack, but it's far more usable than the 65-degree head angle would let on. I'm consistently surprised at how maneuverable it is. Long sustained non-techy climbs are a breeze, especially with a shock like the Monarch or the Cane Creek DBAir CS in climb mode.

But don't get this bike to go slow. Get it because no matter what drop, gap, jump, rock garden, or other assorted gnar you want to send this thing through, it will absolutely eat it up. It truly rides better the faster you go. It's pretty amazing. So fast, so forgiving.

You may hear a lot about how you need to be "on the front" of the bike and always riding aggressively--not really. What IS true is that you need to be riding in the center of the bike, which is a little further forward due to the long front center of the bike. Sit back and the rear shock will compress, the head tube will slacken, and the front wheel will unweight a little. Yeah, then it doesn't handle so great. Find the middle and the ride is beautiful.

After a couple months on all kinds of trails, I can say this is definitely a beast of a bike that will handle anything you throw at it. If enduro racing and park days are in your future, look no further. If low-speed techy singletrack is your thing, the Nomad is probably the wrong bike.

Seriously, this thing rips. And the sales and support from Competitive Cyclist are, as always, second to none. I went with the XX1/ENVE M70/Fox 36 build and added a DBAir CS. It's insane.

Cheers for that photo
Another question: how well does the rear suspension work under braking while desending, does it stiffen up or stay soft.
Any real world experience is much appreciated.

Responded on

Fletcher, I've had a couple days out on the Nomad and didn't notice any change at all. One of the major benefits of VPP is the suppleness of the suspension. Both Santa Cruz and Intense (top companies in larger travel bikes) choose to stick with VPP. I can't say that things don't stiffen up at all, but it wasn't noticeable and definitely wasn't annoying.

Responded on

I bought my Nomad from Adam D and have to agree--after a couple months I haven't noticed significant stiffness under braking.

Hi there
Just wondering if I could put a cane creek DBAIR CS on this frame,
whether there would be any clearance issues.
I also noticed that this bike could take a fork 160mm-180mm, does
this mean I could put the Fox Float 36 170mm 27.5 on with out affecting
the geometry, or if it does by how much.


Best Answer Responded on

Yes Sir see my review above.
I have since reversed position of CCDB Air at the behest of Steve Delacruz from Garage Works. Less mass moving that way makes rear end suspension more supple.

Yes Sir see my review above.   <br/> I have since reversed position of CCDB Air at the behest of Steve Delacruz from Garage Works.  Less mass moving that way makes rear end suspension more supple.
5 5

Better than Expected

  • Familiarity: I've used it several times

This spring I got a chance to take this bike for a spin in Demo Forest, Santa Cruz?s back yard. WOW! If I had to describe this bike, I?d call it a cross country downhill bike. I?ve nicknamed it the unicorn bike because it shouldn?t exist (and maybe the color). I spend a week in British Columbia racing BC bike race not too long ago and a rider on this bike passed me on both climbs and descents- I was racing in the top 10% (top 5% in Enduro category). I was on an XC race bike. This wouldn?t be my top choice for racing uphill, but it does pedal better than anything else in its category. This will definitely be my next bike- along with a 29 hardtail for racing.

If you have any questions or would like to place an order feel free to reach out to me direct. My number here is 801-736-6396 x 5630 or email adewitt@competitivecyclist.com

Just got this from you guys. Is the writing...

Just got this from you guys. Is the writing in the badge supposed to be off to the side like this ?.

Just got this from you guys. Is the writing...
Responded on

Hi Mark,

Congrats on the new frame! That's the updated Santa Cruz headtube badge. The logo is indeed off to the side. It adds visual interest, I suppose.

What is E2E of the rear shock?

What is E2E of the rear shock?

Responded on


As per Santa Cruz's website:

This bike uses a 216x63mm shock with 22x8mm eyelet hardware (21.8mm x 8mm for SRAM). Please do not use any other shock size or modify with eccentric shock bushings- this can cause damage or clearance issues with the frame.

5 5

Killer video of the new Nomad 27.5

SC Syndicate riders showing us what the new Nomad is all about.

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