If you’re the type to approach the most technical trails with a playful perspective, whether its massive bike park doubles or steep and loamy downhill tracks, then you’re probably aware of how important it is to have the right tool for the job. Santa Cruz has been tinkering with a bike to fill this role for some time now, with the right balance between a playful attitude for big jump lines and downhill capabilities for the most technical bike-park trails. The Nomad began years ago with enduro roots and as the popularity of 29in sleds brushed other 27.5 wheeled bikes aside, the Nomad stuck around thanks to its ability to shred everything in sight with a playful perspective. This Nomad Carbon CC X01 Eagle Air Reserve build brings you all of the capability you could ever dream of for endless bike park laps, with an impressive pedaling platform to get you up to your favorite alpine descents when you’re in the mood for a spin.
Considering that the recipe for the Nomad V4 was already pretty close to perfect, we’re not surprised that Santa Cruz opted to give this 5th generation bike a host of sensible updates instead of a complete overhaul. Like its predecessor, the Nomad V5 rolls on 27.5-inch wheels and boasts 170mm of trail-taming VPP travel. Though the two frames look very similar, the V5 now uses a twin upright swingarm to bolster frame stiffness and durability, and all build kits come with burly 38mm forks for taking on the most technical terrain on the mountain. The bike also sees improved suspension kinematics for a better overall feel on the trail, and it’s now compatible with SRAM’s Universal Derailleur Hanger to make finding replacement hangers a breeze.
Most of the changes lie in the bike’s geometry, the most significant being the move to a 77.5-degree seat tube angle—a near 4-degree increase over the previous Nomad. This gives the bike a more upright pedaling position that makes steep climbs more manageable and provides increased comfort for long-mileage days. Naturally, the bike gets a bit slacker too, moving from a 74.6-degree head tube to 73.7 (in the low position), with longer reach figures to give you that edge when you’re sending big lines in unfamiliar terrain. We’re also pleased to see size-specific chainstay lengths, with the chainstays growing by about 5mm as you go up in size. This means that riders of any height get the same balanced geometry and predictable handling, regardless of which frame size they ride.
This Nomad build is kitted with performance in mind, as the Fox Factory suspension is among the best in the business and offers the most adjustability in the line for dialing in your shock and fork for your riding style or terrain preference. SRAM’s X01 Eagle groupset handles the shifting duties, with an impressive 10-52t range which lets you tackle grueling alpine climbs. The SRAM Code RSC brakes with 200mm rotors are fit for a downhill bike which is completely appropriate for a bike of the Nomad’s capabilities, and will be sure to stop you consistently during a long day at the bike park. Santa Cruz’s in-house Reserve 30 Carbon rims spin on DT Swiss 350 hubs for reliable performance and durable construction incase you gap onto a rock or case a big table top jump. Santa Cruz rounds out this build with trusty Maxxis rubber for precise cornering grip and reliable sidewall construction that’s necessary for a gravity bike of this caliber.
- Long travel shred-sled is suited to gnarly trails at eye-watering speed
- Aggressive and slack geometry brings confidence on steep terrain
- Flip-chip lets you tweak the geometry and shock progression
- 170mm of VPP travel soaks up steep, rocky descents and big hits
- Carbon CC frame is impressively stiff considering its lightweight feel
- Reserve carbon rims offer a zippy feel and reliable construction
- SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain offers a massive range of usable gears
- FOX Factory suspension is designed for performance and adjustability