No joke: Santa Cruz debuts redesigned 27.5 Nomad


Those of you who have been paying attention know Santa Cruz treats April Fool’s Day very seriously, with new or updated bikes released every year on this date. And the best part of a Santa Cruz new bike launch? They are for bikes that are actually in the warehouse and ready to ship! This year is no different, with a 27.5 wheeled version of the Nomad ready to hit dealers’ floors as I type.

A redesigned Nomad doesn’t come as a huge surprise, the previous model was getting a bit long in the tooth, with geometry that was looking outdated, and a wheelsize that is quickly fading away. The new Nomad is about as modern as a mountain bike can be.

The most interesting part of the bike to me is the one-by only design, meaning no provisions for a front derailleur. Paired with the redesigned lower link that is less exposed, it brings the chainstay length down to 17.1” (from 17.5” on the previous Nomad).


The geometry is changing as well: A much steeper seat tube angle (74.2 vs 70!) creates more effective reach in the top tube, although top-tube lengths only grow about 2/10th of an inch. Head angles are a nice and slack 65-degrees, two full degrees slacker than before. The bottom bracket drops to 13.4 inches from the towering heights of 14 inches. Wheelbases grow about 2 inches, to a rangey 46.1 inches in a medium.

Travel goes up 5mm to 165mm, matched with 160mm travel RockShox Pike forks. I love me a Pike, but I do wonder what a 27.5 Lyric in 170mm travel (with Charger damper, natch) would do for a bike like this. I’m betting it wouldn’t make anything worse…

Cables are routed internally in the downtube, externally on the rear triangle, with an internal routing option for a dropper post. There is even a bottle mount inside the front triangle that works with piggyback shocks, something we can thank enduro racers for, no doubt. Shock options are the DH ready Vivid Air RC2, or the new Monarch Plus Debonair. More on the Debonair in a separate post. A threaded BB shell, full carbon 142mm dropouts, disc mounts and ISCG tabs, grease ports on lower VPP link, and included rubber down tube and swing arm protection round out a full compliment of frame features.

As you can guess, all this stuff doesn’t come cheap. A frame with Monarch Plus Debonair is $2,999; with a Vivid RC2 it’s $3,250. Complete bikes start at $6,599 for X01 and Reverb Stealth dropper. The Full XX1 kit with XTR brakes and ENVE wheelset will go for a cool $9,744. No word yet on an aluminum version, but I expect that to happen soon.

We’ll have bike in our hands for review ASAP, and will be heading down to Chile to get properly shreddy on the new Nomad. Stay tuned!


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