2015 Santa Cruz Nomad: Ridden in Chile

Words Pete Roggeman
Photos Gary Perkin
Date Apr 27, 2014
Nomad Launch, Chile, Mantecillo,

History of the Nomad 3

Santa Cruz has been cramming new nuggets down the pipe fast and furiously, and a redesign of the popular Nomad platform has been long anticipated – and overdue. Work on the Nomad actually began over two years ago, before the Bronson was on the drawing board, but Bronson’s design goals (and likely the clear market demand for a bike of its ilk) were more obvious, so Nomad was delayed while they finished off its little brother.

Of the many things Santa Cruz do well, it’s possible that their greatest coup in recent years was not just the Bronson’s design, but the timing of its release: the first production run was sold out on day one and they scrambled for months to catch up to the demand for their 150mm trail killer.

Like the old one, the new bike had to be an aggressive descender, but capable of getting the rider to the trailhead under their own power. The prior model was a bit of a sled and tended to wallow in the middle of its travel, so snappier handling and riding higher in its travel were on the list, but how much travel to build it around? In addition, they knew that its fit and geometry had to be modernized, and in an increasingly competitive category, the right geometry is more important than ever in defining the characteristics of a bike.

SC decided that keeping travel at 165mm enabled the ride they wanted, plus according to Design and Engineering Director Joe Graney:

SC decided that keeping travel at 165mm enabled the ride they wanted, plus according to Engineering Director Joe Graney: “once you go beyond 165mm of travel, the shock options available to you decrease significantly”. They played around with a variety of different linkage types and placements, including a mini V10 that imitated the DH bike’s interrupted seat tube and shock rate.

First problem: wheel size. Obvious, right? Not so. Remember this bike has been in the works for over two years and like most manufacturers, Santa Cruz was still in the process of figuring out whether 27.5 was truly the way forward for this type of bike.

After building an equal number of mules in both 26″ and 27.5″ versions, they settled on the latter – but not without giving 26 inch wheels a proper chance. Nick Anderson, Senior Engineer for Santa Cruz, relayed an anecdote from a test ride during which he went back to one of the 26″ mules and afterwards set it aside and said: “that’s the last time I ever need to ride that bike”. Testers all spent a lot of time on both wheel sizes before making their final decision.

A closer look at the miniVee mule's links.

A closer look at the miniVee mule’s links.

Finally, they aimed for shorter chain stays, partially achieved with the use of a recessed short lower link design, and a longer front center by steepening the seat tube and slackening the head tube. Other notable design cues include a 31.6mm seat tube, designed around a 150mm dropper post length and, in part to accommodate the shorter rear end, there is no FD mount: this is a single chainring only design.

The Nomad did get this upper link mount that pierces the top tube, allowing for a lower seat tube height which made room for 150mm dropper posts for all sizes.

The Nomad did get this upper link mount that pierces the top tube, allowing for a lower seat tube height which made room for 150mm dropper posts for all sizes.

Experimenting with a short, recessed lower link.

Experimenting with a short, recessed lower link.

This Little Nomad Goes to Market

Unlike the majority of manufacturers, Santa Cruz prefers to release a bike only once it is in production and ready for shop floors, rather than teasing everyone with the bells and whistles of a global launch and then leaving everyone standing around to wait for months with nowhere to throw down a fist full of cash.

Since converting most of their production to their own facility, Santa Cruz are now in charge of every part of the process, which will help their carbon technology to progress without worry of it being ‘shared’, as well as giving them the ability to control the what, when, and how many – critical aspects of timing releases and managing demand amongst different platforms.

The 2015 Santa Cruz Nomad. Frames start at $3,000, with complete bikes beginning at $6,600.

The 2015 Santa Cruz Nomad. Frames start at $3,000, with complete bikes beginning at $6,600.

Santa Cruz finally went internal, making it easy on mechanics by laying up the down tube with full length tubing, which will also prevent rattling inside the frame.

Santa Cruz finally went internal, making it easy on mechanics by laying up the down tube with full length tubing, which will also prevent rattling inside the frame.

Simple is sexy.

Simple is sexy.

A look at the upper link, which pinches the top tube near the stout seat tube junction.

A look at the upper link, which pinches the top tube near the stout seat tube junction.

Sometimes you gotta take a stand. Multiple chain ring users are fresh out of luck with the new Nomad.

Sometimes you gotta take a stand. Multiple chain ring users are fresh out of luck with the new Nomad.

The Race Face Sixc bar's width and shape are perfect, but we may be getting close to 'too stiff' territory. Now that they have their own factory, Santa Cruz are starting to play around with more than just frames...

The Race Face Sixc bar’s width and shape are perfect, but we may be getting close to ‘too stiff’ territory. Now that they have their own factory, Santa Cruz are starting to play around with more than just frames…

Nomad is being offered with the Rock Shox Monarch Plus Debonair or the Vivid Air. I only spent time on the latter, but other testers mentioned the Monarch made the bike a bit livelier, if less plush.

Nomad is being offered with the Rock Shox Monarch Plus Debonair or the Vivid Air. I only spent time on the latter, but other testers mentioned the Monarch made the bike a bit livelier, if less plush.

That is one tight recessed link. A single grease port will now let owners service all four bearings with a single squirt of grease.

That is one tight recessed link. A single grease port will now let owners service all four bearings with a single squirt of grease.

Riding the New Nomad

You’re going to be seeing a lot more of Chile in the future, and not just because of the EWS stop from last weekend. The Andes are a spectacular backdrop for a country that is, essentially, coastline and mountains. Of its 12 million inhabitants, six million Chileans live in and around Santiago, which is a prosperous metropolis. Copper mining is the leading industry, which has led to Chile’s position as South America’s strongest economy.

“Mediums on the left, Larges on the right. Grab a bike and get to it, boys.” -Will Ockleton, Santa Cruz Marketing Director

But more importantly for us, all of that mining means there are roads all throughout the mountains, providing access to huge amounts of terrain peppered with rocky, dusty trails lined with cacti, thorns, and other greenery that is very unfriendly if you eff up and need somewhere to land.

Before leaving for the trip, I heard a lot of good things about the riding in Chile, tempered each time by statements like “be ready to crash – a lot”, or “it’s dusty and the grip is unpredictable, good luck!”

Generally the warnings were accurate, and while we all hit the deck at one time or another (for me it was only 10 minutes in when I got really well acquainted with a culvert on the other side of a big riser), the unpredictable grip in the silt was actually more fun than it was treacherous. Lots of slithering between big rocks and slamming it around in knee deep ruts made for good testing on a bike designed to handle aggressive terrain at speed.

Not surprisingly, the 65 degree head angle and long front end felt stable when letting it out amidst the fast, loose sections, but it also felt agile and changed directions more quickly than I expected. I spend a lot of time on an AM bike with a 66.5º HT and 26″ wheels (call me retro if you like but it works for me) and while that bike is a bit more nimble, the difference is not as much as I might have thought.

Day one, top of the first shuttle near Maitencillo, a couple of hours NW of Santiago.

Day one, top of the first shuttle near Maitencillo, a couple of hours NW of Santiago.

We ate like starving gauchos every single day and night. Our night one hosts were the fun folks at Terra Firma: Santa Cruz's dealer in Santiago. You can buy any brand of bike you want, as long as you want a Santa Cruz. They turned the area in front of the shop into a swanky dining area. #NoPiscoNoDisco

We ate like starving gauchos every single day and night. Our night one hosts were the fun folks at Terra Firma: Santa Cruz’s dealer in Santiago. You can buy any brand of bike you want, as long as you want a Santa Cruz. They turned the area in front of the shop into a swanky dining area. #NoPiscoNoDisco

Looks wide and forgiving, right? Click to enlarge. Your line is the rut - the one with the 2

Looks wide and forgiving, right? Click to enlarge. Your line is the rut – the one with the 2″ deep silt in it. Over zest it and you’re in the crap on the right – and it’ll tear you up.

I started off on a bike equipped with a Vivid Air, and finished that way, too. It soaked up big hits like a champ, and I still haven’t bottomed it hard, but it is also impressively supple in subtler terrain – a desirable trait when traction was at such a premium. Some lower speed large hits will be a different test here on the shore. My setup preferences have already changed a fair bit here: I went from 195 psi to 188 in the Vivid Air, with a little less compression but similar rebound, and from 80 to 72 psi in the Pike, but the addition of a token or two will change the fork setup yet again.

The Nomad’s lateral stiffness was impressive when cornering – you’ll oversteer if you don’t trust it to go where you point it and the back end holds its line brilliantly in choppy turns or off-camber sections. Credit must be given to the Enve M70 wheels which we were also previewing, as they were released at the same time as the bike. More on those later, but for now, the Coles notes read that Enve’s newest are lighter, wider, stiffer, and more compliant.

Every time it felt like you could relax and let it out, you were always a second away from another rut-filled S-turn.

Every time it felt like you could relax and let it out, you were always a second away from another rut-filled S-turn.

Santa Cruz owner Rob Roskopp says that when he wears pads he tends to overdo it. He's bloody fast without them, anyway.

Santa Cruz owner Rob Roskopp says that when he wears pads he tends to overdo it. He’s bloody fast without them, anyway.

Lunch stop, day one. I'd like a steak with a side order of steak, por favor.

Lunch stop, day one. I’d like a steak with a side order of steak, por favor.

Lots of great scenery in the hills above Maitencillo.

Lots of great scenery in the hills above Maitencillo.

Dat golden light.

Dat golden light.

Jam it in there and swing it around in the silt.

Jam it in there and swing it around in the silt.

And whatever you do, stay away from everything on the side of the trails.

And whatever you do, stay away from everything on the side of the trails.

And pedaling? Climbing felt capable. We didn’t do a lot of real climbing, however – the hour long pedal we planned on was canceled when we realized we just wanted to keep bombing it down the dusty chutes and tight forested ribbons on the second day. After a few days in North Vancouver, I can say that it feels fast and efficient on fire roads (provided the Vivid Air’s low speed compression is maxed) and technical climbing is decent but once it gets steep, you will be made aware of that long, slack front end. More on that later – I brought the Bubble Gum Bomber home with me for some long term mileage on the Shore and elsewhere this summer.


Initial reports are that the new Nomad is for real. What’s your take? And how about that colour scheme? Too much Disco, or not enough Pisco?

Trending on NSMB

Comments

braeden
0
braeden  - Oct. 28, 2014, 3:56 p.m.

okay, so where's the longer term review? please! Its been 6 months!

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morpheous
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Morpheous  - Aug. 12, 2014, 7:47 p.m.

So I bought one, Replaced a DH and trail bike. This bike pedals better than most trail bikes I have ridden. Bombs DH and park, and is a livable trail bike. It the absolute do it all unlimited over mtn, all mtn, mini-DH, Enduro, ..trail bike. Look forward to a long relationship with it. No regrets. Killer bike. Stealth Black is my recommendation. 😉

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salespunk
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Salespunk  - April 28, 2014, 6:14 p.m.

For everyone complaining about price, it is time to move on. I understand that you may want to read about less expensive bikes, but go to the forums for it. People don't come to these sites to read about $2500 bikes and a LOT of people buy bikes in the $5-9K price range. As for carbon wheels, if you don't like the price of Enve's there are PLENTY of other affordable carbon options out there that give similar benefits, specifically stiffness. I would be bummed to see a high end bike NOT tested with carbon wheels these days since they change the ride so much.

As for the review, it is intended as a first look, not a comprehensive overview. The bike simply has not been out long enough (it's only been a few weeks!) for those to be done and posted. I also want to hear about how it pedals uphill and what it is like to live with day to day, but it will take a little while to get over the honeymoon phase that everyone gets when riding a new bike.

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beavis
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Beavis  - May 3, 2014, 12:42 a.m.

I really don't understand the complaints about price. I've owned 3 SC's and nobody forces you to buy a brand new model. I personally buy new frames on discontinued models for a fraction of the price and build it up to the way I want. I have a 2010 nomad that I built up with cheap chineese carbon wheels, a 1×10 with a 34t wolfring and put on a 180mm fox fork. I've ridden the best enve wheels and the new "modern" geometry but honestly I don't see much of a difference between what I have and the new models. People need to start thinking more instead of complaining.

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mihr-cycles
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Mihr Cycles  - April 28, 2014, 2:40 p.m.

Meh, I would seriously consider an Orbea Rallon before the Nomad… pricepoint of $800 less for the frame and its spec'ed with a BOS Kirk shock.

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chris-chandra
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Chris Chandra  - April 28, 2014, 2:17 p.m.

Pete do you have any seat time on the Bronson? I'd be curious to hear impressions between the two. Bieng a current 26″ alloy Nomad owner I'm a bit on the fence on this new Nomad, not having an alloy option is a real bummer. Are you only testing with vivid air at home or monarch also?

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - April 28, 2014, 2:42 p.m.

Chris, I do, but it's limited. However, we have one in the test fleet and I will be getting some time on it over the next month or two. I'm interested in the comparison between the two as well. I can tell you that the Bronson punched above its weight for what I thought a 150mm bike should do. From memory, I'd be very happy using it as my go-to Fromme shredder but still able to travel with it or ride elsewhere and do 3 hour rides with long, technical climbs.

For long term, we'll look into grabbing a Monarch as well but I suspect everyone's going to prefer the Vivid on there around these parts.

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eric-boyd
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Eric Boyd  - April 28, 2014, 12:32 p.m.

Pete,
Do you think this bike is capable enough on the climbs to fill AM duty? SC's choice of a 36t chainring seems to indicate otherwise.

Do you see it competing with the latest crop of do it all long travel bikes (norco range, spec enduro, trek slash) or is this simply pushing the boundaries of freeride (DH ride/feel in a sub 30lb bike)?

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - April 28, 2014, 1:21 p.m.

Yes, I do - this is certainly an AM bike along the lines of the others you mentioned. Admittedly, I need more time before I can give you a complete answer, but I ride a 26″ Enduro more than anything, and they're similarly capable as climbers (so far). Note that SC specs 34t. For my uses (primarily on the Shore) I'd go 32, but 34 hasn't forced me off the bike yet (let me get some Seymour riding in and I'll report back).

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dave-koenig
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Dave Koenig  - April 28, 2014, 2:06 p.m.

Pete - Thanks for the first look review and the upcoming full review. Are you testing the Nomad with both the monarch and vivid shocks? I am interested in a Nomad with the monarch because I have a lot of tech climbs here in CO and generally don't have a shuttle. But I still obviously hope that the small bump compliance is good with the better climbing platform.

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vik-approved
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Vik Approved  - April 30, 2014, 12:21 p.m.

Ric there are some good comments about the Nomad MK3's climbing over at MTBR in this thread:

Check out posts #272 & #278

Summary:

"Climbing ability is a hard trait to articulate - not trying to be evasive, but this is after-all a 165mm travel bike. It does really well for the amount of travel it has, but no one's picking this for World Cup XC racing. It does offer a great pedaling position though, one that is comfortable and efficient.
If you want a bike that climbs as well as it descends (both exceptionally), go 5010.

If you want a bike that can go anywhere and do anything, get a Bronson.

If you want a bike that nearly rivals a V10 in DH performance, but you can pedal to the top, get the Nomad."

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slyfink
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slyfink  - April 28, 2014, 12:22 p.m.

Just for the edification sea to sky dwellers, I have ridden in Chile and would compare it to mid-summer Pemberton. Obviously, they're not exactly the same, but close enough.

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - April 28, 2014, 1:22 p.m.

The SoCal guys were right at home on the trails in Chile. The silt was a bit different but in general I got the feeling that they were right at home in the ruts and dust.

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wernie
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wernie  - April 30, 2014, 10 p.m.

So kind of shitty. Got it. Saved me a trip

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jeffrey
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jeffrey  - April 28, 2014, 9:43 a.m.

Touph decision between this and bronson. Probably Bronson for me as are trails are tough and not wide open dh. Also we dont have shuttle runs so you have to pedal to the top

Reply

fedup
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fedup  - April 28, 2014, 9:28 a.m.

I can't stand these over-hyped first impressions articles anymore! Everyone (NSMB, VitalMTB, Pinkbike) says the same things, use the same pictures provided by Santa Cruz, and tell everyone that "the old one had so much to be improved, people didn't like this or that", but the new one is so awesome! What differentiates a website from another one now ? What is honest and what is not when you get flown to Chile and get free food, lodging, bikes, shuttles, etc. in a perfect environment for the chosen bike ? They all say the same about the fork, the shock, the geometry, the drivetrain, wheels, etc (which are all the cream of the crop anyway).

There will be "real" reviews afterwards, tested on local grounds in local riding conditions, but I'm betting that I'll read the same super awesome comments about the bike on every website. How the new carbon rims are "stiff but more compliant" (what about stiff alu. rims with evenly tensioned triple butted spokes?), how the new suspension "doesn't wallow as much as the old design in the mid stroke" (why did it?) while having awesome small stutter bump sensitivity, etc.

While all of this may be true, what about a 3500$ bike that most working-class people would buy, reviewed without all the hype that we hear all the time ? Is that still possible or has the mtb world got too focused on marketing and advertisement ?

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fedup
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fedup  - April 28, 2014, 9:50 a.m.

What I mean is that it's hard to feel when a review is honest and when it's too influenced by marketing.

Also, you can now get a pretty nice DH bike for around 3000$ (Norco Aurum comes to mind), but it's hard to get a long-travel enduro/fr bike for that amount of money. Either you get a Range alloy, or a Kona Process or similar, but they're not quite the same, and that long travel enduro/fr category is dominated by carbon fiber frames costing that amount alone.

Bring back a Norco Truax/Shore/ SC alu. Nomad style bike in those prices and I'll stop complaining 🙂

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - April 28, 2014, 11:57 a.m.

Yo Fed,

First, you're way off on AM bike pricing and availability, and without doing any scouring and using only SC and Norco as examples, I'll illustrate:

1) Here's your $3,400 Bronson: . Yes, that's in USD, but it comes in just $100 more than the lowest-priced Aurum you referenced.

2) Here's a Range Alloy 7.2 for $2,800: .

We are starting to chase down review bikes that aren't at the top of the price heap, but manufacturers often don't make the lower-priced models available for review, at least immediately upon release. Don't worry, we hear you, and we'll endeavor to review some sub 4 and 5k bikes in future.

Next, I'm betting you won't read the same comments from all the reviewers after long-term testing. Why? Because the bikes will be subject to a lot of different test conditions. However, after a mere two days worth of riding, all of us in the same place, I agree: many comments and yes, images, are similar. Stay tuned and I'm sure you'll see a lot of variety in future reviews. But as for the two-days of preview riding: you're in Chile, riding a $10k bike, brand new, set up for you. If something had not been right about it, you would have read it. However, turn it around and think about it this way: would SC or another company go to that expense and trouble if they weren't confident that the press they brought in to ride the bike were going to like it? Does that make it any better or worse that they did so anyway?

Lastly, I'll lay out the format again. This was a preview, similar to what we at NSMB often refer to as a First Look, when we focus on images and let them tell the big picture story behind the design and delve into spec (which this one did not do).

We find a lot of readers are actually lookers these days, so we try to limit the word count in any given article and make sure there are lots of images with captions. I'm encouraged you read it, though. In future we will delve more deeply into the individual characteristics of the bike but for this one, I felt it was long enough after covering some of the back story behind the bike's design - the telling of which took us to depths not usually reached in bike reviews.

Reply

fedup
0
fedup  - April 28, 2014, 1:40 p.m.

Hi Pete,

I'm sorry to have posted this on the NSMB website, as it was more a general finding, but since I have read the other website's previews before yours, I might have been looking for new info and all was already said. I have to say that you are my favorite website of all the mtb related sites, and here is where I find most of the articles that I like. VitalMTB and Pinkbike both had the same Gary Perkin (Santa Cruz) pictures and general info as yours. It's not your fault, but Santa Cruz should have made a press release and I would have just read and looked at it once. With the paid trips to awesome locations and the supplied pictures, it just feels too "controlled" by the company and I feel like I hear the same story over and over.

I know the price of the alu Bronson and Range, but what I meant with my pricing concern is that we can't find burlier 170-180mm FR bikes at the same prices as the Range and Bronson (both 160mm and 150mm travel respectively). For example, Norco used to make the Truax and Shore (170-180mm travel bikes), which are more in line with the Nomad targeted kind of riding. Most companies have left this "freeride" (slack, 7″ travel) category aside in the last few years and are now coming back with new models that are more expensive than ever. I understand that they mostly have carbon frames, but I don't want carbon on my bikes (for ethical and environmental reasons) and would prefer a 3000-3500$ aluminum Nomad than a 6500$ carbon Nomad. I understand that this is personal preference and you can't please everyone. I'm just hoping that they will release an alu version sometime to keep the prices reasonable like they did with the Bronson.

Anyway, this is more of an industry concern than something directed to NSMB.com. I'm still looking forward to your long-term review! Thanks.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - April 28, 2014, 2:39 p.m.

Fair enough, Fed, and we appreciate your kind words. FYI Vital wasn't down there, so you could not have read their preview (ha!). Point taken, though.

While Nomad feels positioned for Super AM (I'm claiming that), the truth is it's an AM bike - 165mm travel, and pedals well enough to compete against the others in the category. The Am+/FR category you speak of is dying, in part due to the increased capability of bikes in the 165 isn travel category, and in part because market demand is declining. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news for you. Nomad's slack HA is one way of appeasing the aggressive side of AM and I'm sure we'll see other companies make similar adjustments.

For those clamoring for an alloy Nomad, based on prior SC release history, I think we can expect to see one at some point 😉
/speculation

Reply

fedup
0
fedup  - April 28, 2014, 3:37 p.m.

Oops, meant Bikemag, and there are probably others that I forgot. Maybe VitalMTB they were not there with you, but they also had a "first look" feature and had pretty much the same info :

Anyway, you got my point.

I don't mind having a 160-165mm travel bike at all, as long as it can whistand a few seasons of hard riding and have good geometry, I'm all in! Now putting money aside for my new aluminum Nomad…

Reply

Cheez1ts
0
Garrett Thibault  - April 28, 2014, 6:03 p.m.

I feel like there's a bike being ignored that meets the description.
170mm, alu, pedal-able, takes abuse (650b version was under Gwin when he won at Pietermaritzburg if I'm not mistaken).
Specialized Enduro Evo. Comes in at $3,300 MSRP for the non-expert model. Might be worth considering if that's the type of bike your looking for.

Reply

D_C_
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DMVancouver  - April 28, 2014, 8:07 a.m.

I spotted a new Nomad on Fromme yesterday. Very sexy.

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guest
0
guest  - April 28, 2014, 8:03 a.m.

I saw a

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craw
0
Cr4w  - April 29, 2014, 8:08 a.m.

Reply

hbelly13
0
Raymond Epstein  - April 28, 2014, 5:43 a.m.

The test I would like to read about will never happen. That would be to build this bike and several similar others (Banshee Rune, Orbea Rallon, Trek Slash, etc.) with virtually the same base level components. No carbon wheels or other "Halo" component nonsense. Spend 3 months on them in as many different conditions available in BC/WA. Ride them like most riders do. Most N American riders will not be in Chile anytime soon. I am not really a conspiracy theorist, but this kind of test would expose flaws bikes companies don't want most to know about prior to purchase.

Reply

vik-approved
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Vik Approved  - April 28, 2014, 6:36 a.m.

That would be a great test. So far the Nomad Mk3 postings have all been based on shuttle runs on wide open trails with $10K bikes.

The media junket is a well established tradition in marketing. Invite media folks someplace exotic and ply them with food and drink. Have a great time then send them home to write a positive message about the product with the understanding you'll be invited back if you play nice with the product reviews.

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hbelly13
0
Raymond Epstein  - April 28, 2014, 6:48 a.m.

Everyone has to eat. It is the same in all industries. I recently spoke with a director of a independent non-profit testing/research group for dental materials. He said they routinely have law suits thrown at them by companies that were not pleased with their test results. They are one of the few if not only real world testing group that puts the products in the hands of wet- fingered clinicians versus well paid lab monkeys that play the game. I and many of my friends have lost faith in SC as they have morphed into a boutique brand over the last half dozen years.

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craw
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Cr4w  - April 28, 2014, 7:48 a.m.

Morphed into a boutique brand from what?

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - April 28, 2014, 7:48 a.m.

Vik, you'll be happy to know that I heard this come right out of Joe Graney's mouth (paraphrased): "I like it when people write that they don't like something about our bikes. That lets us know they're really thinking about it - and helps us decide what to fix for next time."

So far the only media impressions are from Chile because the bike is so new and that was their initial press launch. The next few months will produce lots of variety.

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - April 28, 2014, 7:55 a.m.

Raymond, you raise valid points, so I wanted to address a few of them:

1) We don't favour 'shoot-out' style reviews at NSMB, however the Nomad will be subject to lots of riding over the next several months in different riding areas and terrain - like all of our long term reviews. This was just a piece on the background behind the design of the bike and initial ride thoughts.

2) Other than the Enve wheels, what would you categorize as 'halo' products? It's certainly a high end build, but the base spec build comes in at $6,600 since this is (so far) a carbon-only frame, so I'm sure we can all agree that the Nomad is positioned for now as a high-end bike, period. That said, we'll throw on some non-carbon wheels and test them and report back during the long- term review.

3) What did you consider SC to be before they were a boutique brand? Serious question, because that's exactly how I would have described them since the beginning, and curious to know if others think very differently.

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hbelly13
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Raymond Epstein  - April 28, 2014, 8:04 a.m.

Santa Cruz used to be a brand that provided a killer bike with surprising value to go with it. Less than a dozen years ago you could pick and choose between multiple build kits and a wide variety of colors allowing you the opportunity to have a unique bike suited to your budget as well as esthetic. Their build kits generally blew what the big companies were spec'ing out of the water and for significantly less money. Santa Cruz still make killer bikes, but their costs have jumped exponentially and now are generally higher than their peers. Individuality has been traded for top tier price point pieces.

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craw
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Cr4w  - April 28, 2014, 8:09 a.m.

SC still offers most bikes in a carbon or alloy version, a couple of fork choices and 5 component group choices. I'd say that's still pretty good. I would prefer to have more models and wheel options than colour choices.

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hbelly13
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Raymond Epstein  - April 28, 2014, 8:23 a.m.

I agree, but the small company vibe they had and pricing has dissipated. I think that the new Nomad will set the stage for their direction where they will cease production of alloy VPP bikes and their lower price point numbers will be aluminum single pivots alone.

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johnny-oshika
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Johnny Oshika  - April 28, 2014, 10:08 a.m.

Yes, you're absolutely right. Everyone has to eat and it's no different in the bike industry. You just need to be aware that the people reviewing the products are indirectly being paid by the manufacturers. Just be aware of that and make your own decisions. You can't blame NSMB for this though. People aren't wiling to pay a subscription for the services NSMB provides, so in this ad driven world, they have no choice but to do what they're doing.

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hbelly13
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Raymond Epstein  - April 28, 2014, 10:09 a.m.

Pete, To address your points:

1. I am not criticizing your efforts, but in the end it comes down the consumer doing the real testing. Reports will come in over the remainder of the year that will tell the real story. My point was the hypothetical test I proposed while telling will not likely occur.

2. XO1/XX1 are far from a budget component sets..they are the top notch SRAM stuff. I know they are great, but most people I know now two years out still aren't buying it and not because they cannot. Thus the reason for a ton of companies (OneUp, Wolftooth, etc.) coming out with hop-ups for existing drive trains that provide most of the performance at a fraction of the cost. Don't get me started talking about ENVE wheels. $3000 MSRP?!? I have ridden a set and their performance is impressive, but not at that price. The only people I know that have them either are sponsored racers and/or got bro' deals on them.

3. SC was a small brand doing innovative things and offering a lot of bang for your buck. They are no longer the little guys, their prices are exceedingly high and they are not offering much in the way of great deals as was routinely touted in their reviews even less than ten years ago. Their innovation continues, but many have caught up or surpassed them. This is especially true regarding SC's geometry choices which have until the last year remained conservative when other companies pushed ahead. I was a huge fan of theirs and still think they make cool stuff (I owned five of them), but I am now spending my money elsewhere. Don't feel too bad as I will still wear my SC jerseys non-ironically.

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vik-approved
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Vik Approved  - April 28, 2014, 11:43 a.m.

@Pete - don't believe him 😉 Given the cost of molds and SC's product life- cycle timelines he's not going to want to hear bad things that can't be changed for 3-4 years.

I'm sure SC wants honest feedback from industry players for improvement processes, but not in the form of a public review that would hurt sales.

Over a pisco in a Chilean bar off the record for sure.

I'm not slamming NSMB or any other MTB media outlet for this. It's just the way the industry is and the media is.

I consume MTB media content for its stoke value - not for accuracy or objectivity of reviews.

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pete@nsmb.com
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Pete Roggeman  - April 28, 2014, noon

He won't like it, but he doesn't just want to be stroked.

It's not off the record if I mention it in article comments!

Totally understand that you understand. Just trying to add some additional context for you folks.

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salespunk
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Salespunk  - April 28, 2014, 6:16 p.m.

I agree that I would love to see a test of frame only options with identical build kits to eliminate variability.

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