Santa Cruz unveil 2009 Nomad

Revised links, shorter chainstays and redesigned front triangle

Santa Cruz have unveiled an updated version of their Nomad, months after their popular Blur LT received the makeover treatment.


The list of what’s new goes like this:

  • Revised links and VPP shock rates
  • Grease ports in lower link
  • Carbon fibre upper link
  • All-new link hardware
  • Shorter chainstays
  • Redesigned front triangle
  • ISCG 05 mount

While shooting the breeze in California a few weeks back, Steve Worland from sister magazine What Mountain Bike managed to persuade Santa Cruz to let him ride the new Nomad. Here are his first thoughts…

“The new Nomad will please both heavy duty gravity bombers and aggressive cross country riders. Most of what the revision entails is changes to the shock rates (less falling rate at the beginning of travel, less progressive at the end of travel), making it more linear throughout. A test ride felt both tighter and plusher than the current model, climbing more efficiently and noticably flowing better across slow speed square edged bumps.

“Maximum travel has been reduced to 160mm from  2007’s 165mm and a steeper seat angle, longer reach and shorter chainstays combine to make you feel better centred on the bike on pedaly trails. A carbon shock link and some new tube profiling trims a few grams and, like on the new Blur, the main bearings gain grease ports. There are tabs for a chain device too.

It seems that the longer travel bikes of many leading brands are becoming increasingly cross country-friendly for 2009, accurately reflecting the requirements of riders who want something that can still be ridden hard and fast on the downhills but without obvious compromises on the flat and with minimum compromise in climbing ability.”

According to Santa Cruz, the VPP revision results in a flatter shock rate, meaning a less dramatic falling rate at the beginning of travel, and less of a rising rate near bottom-out. The rear suspension now sits lower than before, and the new design has less chain growth than previously. These elements make the new bike pedal and climb more efficiently than before – which is mighty impressive given the previous model’s ability to climb. The geometry of the bike still ensures excellent stability, but the suspension feels more lively and the new Nomad feels more snappy and responsive everywhere.

The new linkage design features 15mm diameter alloy axles which bolt directly into the frame, locked in place with collet heads which control preload on the angular contact bearings in the lower link. These can be lubricated via the grease ports in the link. Each frame comes with a grease gun.  

The upper link is made from moulded carbon fibre in order to improve weather resistance, provide longer intervals between servicing, and speed up the servicing process (the lower link can be removed without having to take the cranks off), and improved chassis rigidity.


Available late October, frame weight for a large size powder-coated Nomad running a RockShox Monarch 3.3 is 6.9 lbs (3.1kg). Smaller frames will weigh less, as will anodised frames. We’ll update you with a price when we get it.