Nomad Carbon CC XX1 RCT Air Complete Mountain Bike
The Nomad has a been a staple in Santa Cruz’s lineup for over a decade, serving as their most aggressive single-crown bike, allowing riders to conquer technical gravity trails that may require some pedaling to access. The bike recently saw some updates that push it further into the downhill spectrum without losing the pedaling efficiency that keeps it suitable as a one-bike quiver. The newest iteration has a lower-link driven suspension design borrowed from the V10, longer and slacker geometry that is adjustable, and protective elements to help prevent frame damage. The resulting Nomad Carbon CC XX1 RCT Air Complete Mountain Bike is a long-travel sled that excels on everything from big backcountry rides and enduro racing, to hot laps at the bike park and epic freeride missions.
The suspension platform is 6.7in of lower-link-driven VPP travel. The lower-link design is inspired by Santa Cruz’s V10 downhill bike and gives their engineers freedom to make the suspension curve more linear, for smoother overall progression. The initial stroke is more sensitive, leveling small bumps and braking chatter to keep your tires glued to the ground at speed. A more supportive mid-stroke keeps you in the sweet spot of the travel through successive hits from rock gardens or gnarled root lattices. It also gives you a platform to push off when pumping rollers and transitions. When drops, accidental hucks-to-flat, or steep fall-line chutes push you deep into the travel, the end-stroke mimics a downhill bike for a bottomless feel, taking the harshness out of bigger hits. The Nomad is still a trail bike though, albeit on the fringe of the category, so Santa Cruz made sure the VPP platform pedals efficiently enough for long transfer stages and big backcountry epics.
The Nomad’s capable suspension is complemented by refined geometry that pushes it further into downhill bike territory. A slacker head tube angle, longer reach, and longer wheelbase mean this bike loves descents and high-speed trails. The long front center gives you straight-line stability but is balanced by short 16.9in chainstays that elicit the feeling of cornering on rails. Cornering and descending are both aided by a lower standover and shorter seat tube, letting you lower your center of gravity for more control over the bike. When it’s time to climb back up for another lap, the 74.5-degree seat tube angle keeps things pedal-friendly so you can save your energy for the fun part.
The geometry is adjustable to suit the terrain at hand via a flip-chip in the lower link. The flip-chip has two positions: High, with a 65-degree head angle and 13.5in bottom bracket height, and Low, with a 64.6-degree head tube angle and 13.3in bottom bracket height. The High position is what you want for pedally trails. It’s still great for tough descents, but the steeper head tube angle helps the bike track better on climbs, and the higher bottom bracket gives you more clearance against pedal strikes. For days of pure gravity, the Low position is what you want, slackening the bike for better handling at the bike park or on steep downhill runs.
The frame is constructed from top-of-the line CC carbon in Santa Cruz’s exclusive manufacturing facility. Santa Cruz founded this facility to ensure proper quality control and to protect the advanced carbon layup techniques they developed. A one-piece layup is used to eliminate overlapping joints, saving weight because there is no need for extra carbon to bond or wrap those joints. Carbon is wrapped seamlessly between tubes for better distribution of loads and impact energy, resulting in a stronger frame. Frame strength is further enhanced by Santa Cruz’s ability to achieve maximum compaction of the carbon layers. This prevents resin migration, resulting in a stout frame that is almost as smooth on the inside as it is on the outside. The layup also allows them to integrate full length carbon tubes for internal cable routing. Routing your cables is simple and quick, no need to fish for housing or use a guide line. A threaded bottom bracket further simplifies maintenance and helps eliminate creaking that sometimes plagues pressfit systems. Santa Cruz is so confident in their carbon that the frame is backed by a lifetime warranty against defects.
Santa Cruz includes some protective details to guard your investment from damage. An integrated shuttle guard shields your downtube from the tailgate during shuttle laps. Another downtube guard just in front of the bottom bracket shell helps prevent frame damage in this commonly-impacted area. A chain guide with bash guard serves double duty: protecting the chainring and frame from impacts, and keeping your chain in gear on rough trails. Lastly, an integrated shock fender protects the rear shock from debris thrown up by the rear tire.
This build kit features high-end componentry. Top-tier Rockshox air suspension offers superior damping and a full range of adjustment, all in a lightweight package. SRAM’s flagship XX1 Eagle drivetrain also happens to be their lightest offering and gives you precise, reliable shifting for smooth accelerations. Industry 9 hubs also aid acceleration with quick 3-degree engagement, providing near-instant pedal response, all housed in a beautifully-machined and anodized hub shell that is laced to sturdy E13 TRS+ aluminum rims. All this momentum is kept in check by downhill-worthy Code RSC brakes with quad-piston calipers for impressive stopping power and modulation.
- Long-travel bike for gravity trails, enduro, bike parks, and freeride
- 6.7in of VPP travel mimics bump-gobbling manners of the v10
- Long, low, slack geometry is stable on descents and can be adjusted
- Seat tube angle keeps things pedal-friendly on big climbs
- Carbon CC construction drops weight and retains strength
- Integrated frame guards shield from impacts and shuttle damage
- High-end components offer strong performance and lower weight
- Santa Cruz frames known for sheer durability, backed by lifetime warranty on frame and pivot bearings