Here we have the 2010 Santa Cruz Nomad Carbon. The Nomad is a very popular bike from Santa Cruz and they upped the ante in 2010 with this full carbon option. With the Nomad Carbon Santa Cruz claimed that they’ve achieved their strongest, stiffest bike to date — yes, stronger than the aluminum V10 and stiffer than the Blur LT Carbon. Santa Cruz gave the Nomad 6.3″ of travel and it is designed to be able to be ridden uphill while giving you equal descending ability.
[Santa Cruz Nomad Carbon Gallery]
The VPP Santa Cruz Nomad Carbon frame is quite stunning to look at but there’s more to it than just looks. The use of carbon allowed Santa Cruz to get a look that would’ve been quite hard or impossible with aluminum. The use of carbon allowed them to make the Nomad stronger, lighter, and stiffer. Some bikes have cables running down the downtube which can be a liability if you kick up rocks often or have to rest your bike on its downtube (like when shuttling). The cable routing on the Nomad, however, doesn’t do this. The routing is clean and they have routing for a gravity dropper seatpost as well. All cable mounts are integrated into the frame in a really clean fashion. We dig it.
Up front the Carbon Nomad uses a full 1.5″ headtube. This allows for a huge variety of fork options to be used as well as angle reducing headsets like the Cane Creek AngleSet.
The Carbon Nomad has built in ISCG-05 mounts. The ISCG-05 mounts allow you to mount up a chainguide to the Nomad cleanly and easily. Truvativ’s HammerSchmidt could also be bolted up easily, but you’d have to do some creative cable routing for it.
The lower downtube and chainstays of the Nomad are protected by a guard of sorts that will help with any stray rocks or debris that you kick up. Additionally, the Nomad comes with regreaseable pivots. The included grease gun allows you to make sure the Nomad stays squeak free. The lower VPP link’s pivot hardware is nicely machined and they do not protrude into the way of the drivetrain components.
The Nomad Carbon utilizes some good simple pivots that we’ve found hassle free to use. It uses big aluminum pivot axles with Ti hardware and everything snugs up from the non-drive side. This means you can check all the bolts on the Nomad Carbon without having to remove cranks or derailleurs.
Additionally, the use of Ti bolt shock bolt hardware was a nice high end touch. The shock bolts are able to be removed/installed with just one 6mm allen. No need for 2 allens or a crescent wrench on the Nomad. The use of 22.2mm shock hardware on both ends of the shock also allows those who use coil shocks to easily remove the spring without having to remove the shock’s hardware. There is ample room for hands to easily get to the shock to adjust it on the Nomad. These guys must actually ride bikes. Brilliant.
The Nomad Carbon comes stock with a Monarch shock. Additional options include the RP23, Fox DHX Air, as well as an RC4. We opted to throw on a Cane Creek Double Barrel on our build as well to try out.
The lower downtube protection guard is nice to see here. This helps deflect rocks and debris from damaging the beautiful carbon frame.
For our Carbon Nomad we built it up with a Fox Van 36 RC2, CCDB, XT Dynasys 10 speed components, as well as some Race Face components.
The use of a straight seat tube allows for good seat post extension when you need it.
The headset we opted to use was a Cane Creek XXC Flush II on top, and an XXC II on the bottom. Cane Creek sells their headsets in separate top and bottom options. This gave us the ability to mix and match these components easily. Cane Creek sells crown races that will let you run a 1.5″ crown race or a 1 1/8″ one. Either way you get a bigger bearing with the XXC II to help keep things planted and some additional stack height. The top flush cup allows for bar height to be controlled a bit more as well.
For crank duties, we opted for the carbon fiber Race Face SixC cranks. They come with a boot you can install on the end of the cranks to give some protection against any inadvertent crank smashes which is pretty nice! They’ve been stiff and solid so far for us and are quite light as well (lighter than XTR!). As you see here we opted for a 24-36t and bashguard option. They do use some Torx bolts so make sure you have the tools if you buy these cranks. The standard Torx granny ring bolts installed on ours were aluminum and we found these to be a bit soft for our liking as the heads couldn’t take much hand torque. Some more robust bolts were swapped for the granny ring bolts.
Out back, we’ve got a 10 speed setup with Shimano’s new XT Dynasys system. The whole Shimano 10 speed system works quite well and the revised cable entry to the derailleur helped give a cleaner entry to the rear derailleur bolt than previous XT derailleurs. Shimano chose to engineer a directional chain to also help their 10 speed system shift even better. The 11-36t cassette is also equally impressive as this lets users increase their gearing in the front to get some more speed without loosing out on a low climbing gear of the bike. The rear derailleur hanger on the nomad is replaceable as well, should you need to ever replace it.
For the cockpit we opted for the Race Face SixC bars and an Atlas AM stem. XT brakes handles the stopping power on our Nomad. Shimano’s been hard at work revising their rotors to get even more performance out of their braking systems. While these rotors don’t have their ice-tech technology, these rotors do have an aluminum carrier. Paired with the XT brakes, we felt this system seemed to provide a better braking feel at the lever. The braking felt more solid throughout the full stroke even on hard stopping compared to the older one piece Shimano rotors.
The XT dynasys rear shift lever tucks nicely under the XT brake lever. The 10 speed dynasys shifter itself has a bit more of a footprint than the 9speed shifter but still tucks neatly away.
A Fizik Gobi XM saddle and a Thomson Elite seatpost were used. It’s a comfortable saddle that lets you move around on nicely and the Thomson seatpost is as solid as they come.
Mavic Crossmax SX wheels worked nicely on this build. They’re not too light and they can still take a beating. Schwalbe Fat Albert tires were used on this test mule.
Tire clearance was decent on the Nomad as these 2.4″ high volume tires still give good clearance. The Carbon Nomad has a lot to offer those seeking a new trail bike. The bike has been through numerous iterations and its clear Santa Cruz keeps improving their bikes each time around. A solid All Mountain bike. Stay tuned for the full review.
|Santa Cruz||Large Nomad Carbon frame only||
|Santa Cruz||Nomad Seat Post Collar 34.9||
|Cane Creek||8.5 x 2.5 Double Barrel||
|RockShox||Monarch 3.3 Air 8.5 x 2.5||
|RockShox||22.2mm shock hardware||
|Santa Cruz||Shock Bolts||