Turns gravity into depravity.
Seeing the popularity of the previous generation Nomad, the engineers at Santa Cruz could have gone the easy route by simply revising the geometry and decking it out with a new paint job. However, if you've ever delved into the storied history of this Northern California bike company, you'd realize they're never content with the easier route taken by much of the industry, preferring to blaze their own trail by purposely designing bikes from the ground up. Embodying Santa Cruz's legacy as innovators in the bike world, the Nomad Carbon C R Complete Mountain Bike sports a complete redesign for 2018 that pushes it further into gravity realms.
You'll find its lower-link mounted shock and flip-chip with high/low geometry settings takes inspiration from the downhill-crushing V10, yet like all previous Nomads, it retains the ability to pedal back uphill for one more heart-pumping descent. Looking further into the fourth-gen Nomad's details, you'll be even more impressed with thoughtful additions to the bike's most sensitive regions—mainly with the cleanly integrated shuttle guard, but also with the mud-blocking shock fender and aluminum ear cover that protects the swingarm from dropped chains.
Seeing the previous generation Nomad aimed squarely at enduro domination, the newest generation is less of a dedicated race bike and more of a gravity rig that you can actually pedal uphill without struggling like other long-travel sleds. Think of it as a freeride bike for riders seeking one that's versatile enough to lap the resort park and shuttle downhill laps, then pedal along backcountry epics the very next day. The 65-degree head tube angle (in high setting) and longer reach keep things calm and comfortable on wicked descents, yet the steeper 75-degree seat tube angle puts you in an optimal pedaling position without struggling to shift your weight forward on steep climbs.
The flip-chip integrated into the swingarm provides the ability to fine-tune its geometry to your exact riding preferences and local terrain. Keep it in the high setting for a more efficient pedaling platform on rides with a mix of blistering descents and steep climbs. Conversely, you can switch it to the low setting for an even slacker geometry (head tube of 64.6 degrees) that's purely focused on lift-accessed downhills and shuttle runs where climbing isn't an issue. Ultimately, its adjustable geometry lends the ability to push the bike to the absolute limit on lift-accessed days or retain more balance for earning your turns across large swaths of alpine terrain.
Moving to the revised shock placement, the engineers at Santa Cruz sought to achieve a more linear shock rate with the fourth generation Nomad, much like you'd find with the V10. The VPP suspension is driven by a lower-link mounted shock, marking a radical departure from the likes of Bronson and Hightower. This revised shock location eliminates the Nomad's previous tendencies to settle in the middle of its travel, meaning it feels more active and tracks to the ground noticeably better across steep descents and rugged terrain. And even though its shock rate is more linear, it doesn't sacrifice support deep into the travel, meaning it never feels harsh on bigger hits and downhills.
This R build comes with Santa Cruz's Carbon C frame, which withstands all the abuse you can dish out with its stout carbon construction. SRAM's NX 11-speed drivetrain makes long rides in the backcountry easier with its 10 to 42-tooth cassette providing a large range of usable gears for both fast descents and steep climbs. It's kitted out with a RockShox Yari RC 170-millimeter fork with 35-millimeter stanchions for stiff tracking across rugged terrain, complemented with RockShock's Super Deluxe R air shock in the rear. The Super Deluxe R air shock gets an overhaul with Metric sizing increasing bushing overlap for a smoother stroke that gobbles up bumps and terrain inconsistencies with ease. This metric shock sizing makes the Nomad all the more futureproof, in case you decide to upgrade to a coil shock down the road.
- Aggressively redesign pushes into gravity realms
- V10-inspired chassis with lower-link mounted shock
- Adjustable flip-chip with high and low geometry settings
- 75-degree seat tube angle optimizes pedaling efficiency
- Longer reach shifts weight forward for better traction
- Carbon C frame is impressively stiff and reliably strong
- Protective details: shuttle guard, shock fender, aluminum ear cover
- SRAM NX 1x11 drivetrain + RockShox Super Deluxe R air shock