Intended Use: Going fast, having fun
Ridden: Colorado Front Range; Salida; Teton Pass; Bozeman; Moab; Fruita; Summit County, Colorado; Trestle Bike Park
How Long: Gettin’ on 20 months
Tester info: 5’11″ in the morning, 165 lbs. I have a downhill racing habit with a bizarre penchant for pedal-driven suffering. I’ll ride just about anything, but I just have to be in the right mood, and that doesn’t take much.
Build: My choices were based on price, function, availability and the color white (however embarrassing that is to admit).
- Rock Shox Lyrik RC2DH 170mm
- Rock Shox Monarch RT3 ML3 tune
- Easton Haven Aluminum Wheelset
- Race Face Deus Crank/BB 24/36
- MRP LRP
- Sram X9 Shifters/Der
- Truvativ AKA 60mm stem
- 720mm Race Face AtlasAM bars (they sure seemed wide in 2010)
- Tires are currently 2.5 Maxxis DHF EXO up front, 2.25 Maxxis Crossmark LUST (Until recently it had been 2.3 WTB Weirwolf TCS AM) 2 fantastic sleeper tires.
- Rock Shox Reverb (How I rode for 23 years without one of these things amazes me)
A few years ago when I read the announcement that the Santa Cruz Nomad was “Now in Carbon!” I have to admit feeling heaps of skepticism and confusion. (This was in the spring of 2010, fairly early in the all-mountain carbon onslaught we are currently experiencing.) My thoughts about the Nomad at the time revolved around over-built, coil-sprung, mini-DH bikes ridden by guys who don’t leave the parking lot without elbow pads and shin guards. Why would Santa Cruz decide to build such a thing out of carbon?
I think that a number folks out there in the bike world still harbor such thoughts today; but a few weeks after I’d heard the announcement back in 2010, I was at the Fruita Fat Tire Festival and got an idea of what the folks at SC were thinking.
The festival that year was hounded by fairly terrible weather, with threatening skies over the Grand Valley and quick, infrequent rainsqualls. But the conditions kept the crowds small the first few days, created all-time trail conditions, and also allowed my wife and me to grab some choice new bikes from Abby and Ariel, the Santa Cruz Demo Tour Wonder Twins. I knew the Wonder Twins from the Mountain States Cup DH scene and trusted their judgment, so when they both lit up and got all twitchy talking about the Nomad C, I figured there might be something to it.
For our first ride, my wife rode Abby’s personal Nomad C while I grabbed a Nickel (a fun bike, but a choice I still regret). As we shredded an empty Lions Loop/Troy Built in the all-time desert dirt, she peppered me with “Holy S#!@s!” and “You have to ride this next!”
For the afternoon session, I grabbed a large Nomad C equipped with the XO AM kit from Santa Cruz. (They have significantly reduced their SRAM kit offerings since then and no longer have this option.) Suspension was handled by a Fox Float 36 RC2 and a Fox Float RP23. The fairly buffed-out trails at 18 Road may not have been the greatest test track for gnarly all-mountain conditions, but, as I do on all test rides, I aimed for every rock I could find.
The Santa Cruz Nomad has a stiff and sturdy feel and absolutely shreds corners, but the VPP suspension left BLISTER reviewer Rob Dickinson less than thrilled.
THE ONE brakes by Formula are some of the lightest and best performing brakes out there. (Especially with one highly recommended, relatively expensive upgrade.)
"Makulu" means "big momma" in Zulu. For Marshal Olson, it also means, "perfect."