Why We Like The Nomad Carbon R Mountain Bike
While the evolution of the modern mountain bike may seem like a race to introduce the newst tech or design feature, one thing is for certain—classic never goes out of style when it comes to the gravity world. The Nomad began years ago with enduro roots and as the popularity of 29in sleds brushed other 27.5 wheeled bikes aside, the Nomad stuck around thanks to its ability to shred everything in sight with a playful perspective. This Nomad Carbon R build brings you modern mountain bike components at modest price-point when compared to the flashy high-end builds, with minimal compromises when it comes to actual performance. Reach for the Nomad for endless bike park laps, or pedaling up to your favorite alpine descents when you’re in the mood for a pedal thanks to the impressive pedaling platform.
Considering that the recipe for the Nomad V4 was already pretty close to perfect, we're not surprised that Santa Cruz opted to give this 5th generation bike a host of sensible updates instead of a complete overhaul. Like its predecessor, the Nomad V5 rolls on 27.5-inch wheels and boasts 170mm of trail-taming VPP travel. Though the two frames look very similar, the V5 now uses a twin upright swingarm to bolster frame stiffness and durability, and all build kits come with burly 38mm forks for taking on the most technical terrain on the mountain. The bike also sees improved suspension kinematics for a better overall feel on the trail, and it's now compatible with SRAM's Universal Derailleur Hanger to make finding replacement hangers a breeze.
Most of the changes lie in the bike's geometry, the most significant being the move to a 77.5-degree seat tube angle—a near 4-degree increase over the previous Nomad. This gives the bike a more upright pedaling position that makes steep climbs more manageable and provides increased comfort for long-mileage days. Naturally, the bike gets a bit slacker too, moving from a 64.6-degree head tube to 63.7 (in the low position), with longer reach figures to give you that edge when you're sending big lines in unfamiliar terrain. We're also pleased to see size-specific chainstay lengths, with the chainstays growing by about 5mm as you go up in size. This means that riders of any height get the same balanced geometry and predictable handling, regardless of which frame size they ride.
One of the best perks of a Santa Cruz bike is their carbon frame construction, which are known for legendary strength and unwavering stiffness. This particular Nomad benefits from the Carbon C layup, which makes for a resoundingly stiff frame for swift acceleration and unflappable poise while pummeling across rough terrain. It's backed by Santa Cruz's excellent lifetime warranty, so you'll have extra peace of mind while riding particularly fast on your favorite stretch of trail and shuttling downhill laps on the mountain pass.
This Nomad build is kitted for reliable and durable performance with cost in mind. Suspension duties are covered by a RockShox with Zeb fork up front which delivers 170mm of bump-gobbling travel, and a Super Deluxe Select which features loads of adjustability and excellent pedaling performance. SRAM’s NX Eagle groupset handles the shifting duties with a modern 10-50t range for long pedaling missions in the high-alpine. SRAM Guide RE brakes with 200mm rotors deliver ample stopping power for days at the bikepark at an entry-level price point. WTB ST i30 TCS 2.0 rims spin on SRAM MTH hubs for reliable performance and durable construction incase you gap onto a rock or case a big table top jump. Santa Cruz rounds out this build with trusty Maxxis rubber for precise cornering grip and reliable sidewall construction that’s necessary for a gravity bike of this caliber.
- Long-travel trail rocket is suited for air-time and chunky descents
- Aggressive and slack geometry brings confidence on steep terrain
- Flip-chip lets you tweak the geometry and shock progression
- 170mm of VPP travel soaks up steep, rocky descents and big hits
- Carbon C frame is impressively stiff and saves cash over CC
- Lower-link driven shock is more supple and offers better traction
- SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain offers crisp shifting and a wide range
- RockShox suspension is reliable and supple for bike park days