The fourth-generation Nomad gets some significant changes over its predecessor — and they’ve really paid off.
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While the Nomad’s travel has been upped to 170mm, that’s only part of the story. It still uses the Virtual Pivot Point suspension platform, but its layout has been dramatically changed. The shock is much lower in the frame and pierces the seat tube. It’s also driven via the lower of the two links, just like on Santa Cruz’s DH bike, the V10, which it shares a similar leverage curve with. The new Nomad also gets a neat little fender to help keep the shock clean(ish).
There’s space for a bottle cage, a grease port in the lower link, a flip- chip to alter geometry (0.4 degrees at the head and seat tube, and 5mm of adjustment to the bottom bracket height) plus a threaded bottom bracket for easy maintenance.
Length has been increased, with the medium bike fitting my 5ft 8in height well and sporting a reach of 440mm (in the high setting), 25mm longer than the previous model.
This model sports Santa Cruz’s new Reserve Carbon wheels, covered by a lifetime warranty, which spin on Industry Nine hubs and add £1,200 to the complete build price. As you’d hope at this price, there’s little to fault with the components package.
Santa Cruz Nomad CC XX1 Reserve ride impression
As soon as your tyres hit dirt, the swagger, confidence and balance the Nomad exudes is entrancing. With a good chunk of the weight set down by the low-slung bottom bracket, the supple stroke of the coil shock and a well-considered tyre choice, finding the Nomad’s limits through the turns takes some serious bottle.
There’s support and pop when you need it, and when the trail flattens, it still carries pace incredibly well.
Sometimes you feel a little feedback through the cranks, but it never upsets the well-balanced feel of the suspension.
Stability and composure when things get rowdy are impressive. Uphill performance is exemplary for a bike of this travel too. And while the geometry may not be radical, it feels incredibly natural and easy to ride.
BikeRadar would like to thank Brittany Ferries, the Commune of Peille, France, and Kieran Page at La Maison des Activities de Pleine Nature de Peille for their help and support during our Headline Bikes test.