Test Ride Review: Santa Cruz Nomad Carbon 27.5

2014-10-07 nomad

With enduro (the racing category) pushing recent bike development, Santa Cruz has re-imagined the venerable Nomad into a gravity-oriented 27.5-equipped park slayer.

The carbon-frame-only Nomad comes spec’ed with SLX, XT, or XX1 groups, with prices ranging from $5,899 to $8,299. As with other Santa Cruz models, the Enve wheel upgrade is available at any component level, and adds 1 kidney to the total price.



The Outerbike demo unit, however, wasn’t one of the stock build kits available on the website. Instead, it featured a Shimano XTR drivetrain, 160mm of travel thanks RockShox Monarch RC3 Debonair shock and a Fox 36 fork, RockShox Reverb dropper post, Shimano XT brakes, and WTB Frequency rims, and Maxxis High Roller II tires.

Out on the Trail

The Nomad sports a slack 65° head angle but a steep 74.2° seat tube angle.While the head angle pushes the Nomad a tick closer to downhill than, say, the Bronson, it is a still a surprisingly capable climber due to the steep seat tube angle. This setup, combined with no provision for a front derailleur, also allows for relatively short 17.05″ chainstays. What that all means is the Nomad climbs relatively easily, the front end is easy to loft over obstacles, and yet it still descends confidently and tracks well. On my test loop ride, I was impressed at how neutral the Nomad feels and how it allowed me to just ride and mess around. Whether climbing, descending, or pushing through twisty S-turns, the Nomad just handled it.


Bottom Line

If you’re into enduro racing: get this bike!
If you like to huck off things: get this bike!
If you live near a lift accessed bike park: get this bike!
If you like fast, gnarly descents that you earned by pedaling up: get this bike!