January 11, 2020 at 7:14 pm #303251
I’ve been doing research on bikes that I can take to my trails and the bike park and I’ve landed on the Nomad. I am obsessed now, but I cannot decide which course to take.
My range of options is from the R Aluminum kit up to the R Carbon. I really want the S carbon, but I am not sure I can justify the price ($5300) just to get the carbon frame. I feel like I will likely buy the S aluminum, but I wanted to hear your input. Would you rather get the carbon frame with lower spec or the aluminum frame with the higher spec? I love the way the carbon looks but I also want the bike to perform well overall.
It could be possible for me to keep saving for the S carbon, but that is a lot of money for me.
Another question I have is, if I do go with carbon, is frame protection crucial? I would probably do the bottom of the downtube for sure but I don’t want to cover a beautiful bike in plastic.
Thanks for your help!
January 12, 2020 at 5:40 pm #303266
I’m riding a 2019 Nomad right now and I had this exact same conundrum. I work at a SC dealer and so get to see and work on all of the bikes so I get a pretty good insight into what’s going to work and what isn’t.
I went for the C R build, and I’ll tell you why.
I feel like if you’re going to buy a Santa Cruz, it’s worth buying the Carbon frame – they’re considerably lighter and much nicer made, they also hold their value a lot better, and they’re VERY strong. We rarely see a broken SC carbon frame here (and we sell a lot of them). Things like the finishing touches – fully guided cable routing for example, just make them really nice to work on.
I didn’t have the money for the S build at the time and so went for the R. Some of the parts you’ll likely want to replace over time, and I have replaced a lot of them, but it gives you a little spare cash to spend money where you want to. The fork for example – it comes with a Yari, a solid fork in its own right, however you can spend around $250-$300 on a charger damper upgrade for it and you have yourself a lyrik. I’m not a fan of the Fox fork on the S build – we warranty a LOT of those. I’m also not worried about the lack of climb switch on the shock on the R build as the Nomad pedals so well. The wheels and shifter/derailleur are really the weak point on the R build. The Guide RE brakes are surprisingly good (I wrote about them here).
Long story short, the Nomad is a rad bike and you’ll love it. Go for Carbon over Aluminium if you can afford it and don’t mind changing some things later on.
January 12, 2020 at 6:37 pm #303268
Thanks Sam! You’ve been very helpful on my posts!
What are your thoughts on frame protection? On one of my recent rides a rock got flung into my aluminum frame somewhere and it was LOUD! I couldn’t find any damage or even a chip, but would a carbon frame be the same story?
Finally, one thing I am wondering about is if they are coming out with a Nomad V5 anytime soon. I am not sure if anyone knows this or if it even matters, but I am afraid I will buy this bike only to see a better one come out right after. I do love the Eggplant colored model though and don’t want to miss out on that.
I appreciate your help! I’m so stoked on this bike!
January 13, 2020 at 2:05 am #303273
Regarding frame protection I just use a frame kit from All Mountain Style in high-rub areas such as the top tube (muddy shorts) and chain/seatstays (heel rub). It’s a lot tougher than your usual full frame wrap, and the down tube and drive-side chainstay come with some pretty high quality protection from the factory so I’m not concerned about that.
From what I’ve seen, carbon is actually highly impact resistant, to the point where you really don’t need to worry. Any impact that’s going to damage a carbon frame (particularly SC) will have written off an aluminium frame much more easily. What concerns me more is abrasion, where if you rub through the paint and start to damage the fibres, that can create a weak spot, hence my using protection only in high rub areas. Everything else I leave to chance because after all, it’s a mountain bike. If your luck seriously runs out, a bit of plastic film isn’t going to do much.
Regarding a newer model, SC keep their cards very close to their chest and don’t tell us anything right up until release, so even if there was a new one, I wouldn’t know. That said, many of us are speculating that there will be a new one launching this coming season, as they tend to be on a 3-year product cycle. The Eggplant colour does look awesome, and I kind of wish I had waited because that colour was released only about a month after I bought mine in black, haha.
One thing I will say is that Nomad 4 is an incredible bike, regardless of a new model, and I wouldn’t be too concerned about that if you plan on keeping the bike for a while. If anything I’d be worried that a new model would be less of an all-rounder and more bigger slacker etc. If you do wait until the summer and a potential Nomad 5, there would certainly be some bargains to be had…
January 13, 2020 at 2:13 pm #303353
In my opinion, aluminum bikes in the $3000-$4000 range perform just as well as more expensive carbon bikes with the exception that carbon bikes with equivalent spec are maybe a pound lighter. I would rather get the $4200 aluminum and better equipped Nomad over getting the $4400 carbon and less well equipped Nomad. You’re not really going to notice the slight difference in weight but you will likely notice the better component spec.
However, the $3600 aluminum Nomad is a also very well equipped. Mostly what you are paying for as you go up the bike model price scale is weight reduction and more adjust-ability. If weight matters to you or you like being able to tune your bike suspension to perfection, then spend more. However, it these things don’t matter to you, you will still have great bike. $3000-$4000 aluminum bikes are better than ever. As an example, bike reviewers are gushing about the new $3000 aluminum Ibis Ripmo AF. Use the money you save to take a bike vacation. Think Moab, Sedona, Durango…..(fill in the blank).
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