Sea Otter 2014: The Santa Cruz Nomad

The re-designed Santa Cruz Nomad is a bike so diabolical, so sinister—and so much fun—that it might make you want to take up stealing candy from children as a pastime.

In fact, I am about 83% sure that’s where Santa Cruz got the idea for the new cotton candy paint job. Art’s Cyclery got a chance to gaze at the new Nomad at Sea Otter this year and to say we were impressed is an understatement. Your friends won’t be able to keep up with you, your wife won’t know where you’ve been and the sly smirk that creeps onto your face while climbing will most likely evolve into full-blown maniacal laughter when you point this thing downhill. Really, it will be awful.

Full Bike Shot - Black

A stealth-black beauty

Crank - Black

Front derailleurs need not apply.

The Nomad has always been a looker but now it’s a stealth-black bombshell, and the beauty is more than just paint deep. The new Nomad has a very aggressive 65 degree head angle and Its VPP-controlled rear travel gets bumped up to 165-millimeters.

A 1X-specific design only pushes it’s performance to new heights. And once you are at those new heights, there is nowhere to go but down, down, down. With a revamped upper link that improves small-bump performance and short, playful 17.1-inch chainstays, the Nomad rewards riders who cherish every moment of downhill. The single chainring design allows for a recessed and protected lower link and with a SRAM X01 11-speed drivetrain, you aren’t giving up an inch to those front derailleur-dependent newbies. The seat tube angle is steeper for increased climbing efficiency while you reload for more DH goodness, while the reach has been lengthened to give the Nomad ideal geometry for long, high-speed descents.

A Rockshox Pike RCT3 with 160mm of travel handles the suspension up front while a Rock Shox Monarch Plus Debonair perfectly accents the VPP design in the rear. A Race Face bar and stem stiffen up the cockpit while a Rock Shox Reverb handles dropper duties. Special attention has been paid to internally routing the cables. Using carbon fiber tubes molded into the frame, Santa Cruz has completely taken the hassle out of the process. Molded rubber swingarm and downtube protectors and carbon ISCG-05 tabs are the final touches on this enduro-slaughtering rig.

All that being said, it’s clear that you better not have a problem with wreaking havoc every time you point this bike downhill, because it might just buck you off and get the job done all by itself.

Santa Cruz Nomad from Santa Cruz Bicycles on Vimeo.