Nomad Carbon – Ride Impression at Interbike 2010

by Brian Mullin on September 22, 2010

I first saw the Nomad Carbon at Sea Otter this year, and was impressed with the swooping lines and attention to detail that the frame displayed. Santa Cruz had recently revamped the Nomad slightly, and I liked the improvements to the suspension system, but the addition of a carbon frameset was a wholesale change for the Nomad line. It has a 67 degree head angle, 1.5″ steerer tube, ISCG 05 tabs, a woven downtube protector (cosmetic only), and comes default with a Fox RP23 rear, although my test rig was tricked out with a TALAS 180 and DHX- Air. The Nomad Carbon is available in Black and Matte White.

Note: the following is a one ride impression, although I do have some familiarity with the Nomad product line form previous rides.

It only takes a short distance down any sort of singletrack to feel the extreme stiffness of the Nomad Carbon. Superlatives like taut and muscular come to mind as you thread your way down the trail, being able to slice and dice wherever you want. The laser like steering qualities of this bike are pretty amazing, and when combined with the stiffness of the frameset, allow immediate changes and transitions in your direction, along with  accompanying traction control. There is no need to recoil and load up the suspension, it reacts like clockwork and does exactly what you tell it to do (sit Nomad), like a telepathic twin. The damping qualities of carbon shine through every time you hit a bump, or toss yourself into some ugly terrain, and remove that slight edge received back through the handlebars. Much like the Ibis HD, the Nomad Carbon felt very firm in its feel, although in comparison it does have more plushness than the HD. Pedaling gave great feedback, and produced prodigious traction for a 6″ travel bike. I could pull off some technical moves, that more nimble bikes only get, which was a welcome surprise, especially considering I was riding a 180mm fork.

Santa Cruz has a real home run on their hands with the Nomad Carbon, and it’s a great all around bike that can pull off most anything!

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