Nomad Carbon XT Mountain Bike
Ride it hard, put it away dirty, repeat the next day. That's the MO with the new 2021 Nomad. This long-travel bruiser has a reputation for consistently pushing the envelope of big mountain riding, all while remaining a capable daily driver for those times when you aren't out there riding full gas. Gaps, shuttle laps, and lift passes are the Nomad's preferred business, but since it retains all the pedal-ability of Santa Cruz's VPP suspension, it's no slouch when you're racking up miles on a big loop in the backcountry.
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 74.6-degree head tube to 73.7 (in the low position), with longer reach figures to give you that extra 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.
Lucky for all of us, one thing that hasn't changed is Santa Cruz's carbon construction, which is a good thing if you're after the legendary strength and unwavering stiffness of their renowned carbon layups. 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.
- Santa Cruz's long-travel 27.5 bike sees some updates
- 170mm of terrain-destroying, pedal-efficient VPP suspension
- Fox 38 fork plows through anything with confidence
- Twin upright swingarm improves frame stiffness
- Longer and slacker geo for greater stability in the steeps
- 77.5-degree seat tube is more pedal-friendly than before
- Adjustable flip-chip with high and low geometry settings
- Frame adorned with protective details to preserve your investment