Santa Cruz Nomad CC XX1 Reserve review$9,399.00

Big-travel speedster that’ll let you push the limits

BikeRadar score4.5/5

The fourth-generation Nomad gets some significant changes over its predecessor — and they’ve really paid off.

  • The Santa Cruz Nomad CC XX1 Reserve is one of our key bikes for 2018. We've collated eleven bikes that we believe you should know about in the coming year. Some are super bikes, while others might display great value for money, but they all have one thing in common — they're all important bikes that show how incredibly varied road and mountain biking is today.

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).

Key Bikes of 2018 - Santa Cruz Nomad and Juliana Strega

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.

We took the Santa Cruz Nomad CC XX1 Reserve out to Peille, France as one of our Headline Bikes for 2018
We took the Santa Cruz Nomad CC XX1 Reserve out to Peille, France as one of our Headline Bikes for 2018

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.

A coil sprung RockShox Super Deluxe RCT shock handled the 170mm of rear travel
A coil sprung RockShox Super Deluxe RCT shock handled the 170mm of rear travel

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.

Santa Cruz's own carbon Reserve 30 wheels were fitted
Santa Cruz's own carbon Reserve 30 wheels were fitted

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.

A Reverb dropper post provided the up and down saddle action
A Reverb dropper post provided the up and down saddle action

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.

XX1 Eagle distributed the 12-speed gear range
XX1 Eagle distributed the 12-speed gear range

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.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Rob Weaver

Technical Editor-in-Chief, UK
Rob started riding mountain bikes seriously in 1993 racing cross-country, though he quickly moved to downhill where he competed all over the world. He now spends most of his time riding trail bikes up and down hills. Occasionally he'll jump into an enduro race.
  • Age: 34
  • Height: 172cm / 5'8"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Natural trails where the loam fills my shoes on each and every turn
  • Beer of Choice: Guinness

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