Santa Cruz Nomad: Long Term

Santa Cruz Nomad

Santa Cruz Nomad

I owned a SC Nomad from June 2005 until August 2008 and had many great times on what was a brilliant bike. I recently sold the frame a decision that I am not sure was a good one.
I initially built the Nomad with Fox Van 36 forks, XT components, Mavic 717 wheels, slime tubes with 2.2 inch tyres, Hope M4 brakes and my usual high and wide bars. In this build it weighed about 31lbs and could be used as a trail bike for fun stuff as well as keeping up with my buddies on 35 mile trundles on the South Downs. The upright riding position and relaxed geometry instantly felt comfortable, point it down and it was a blast and technical climbs were made much easier due to increased traction and the ability to just go over everything. It suited me perfectly, maybe overkill for a trail bike but I was happy.

My frame was one of the very first ones made and was supplied with a 5th Element air shock, this was okay for about 4 months and then it died, one call to Jungle and a deal was done with MOJO for me to get a replacement Fox shock at the upgrade cost. After much deliberating I went for a Fox DHX 5 coil with Ti spring which has proved to be bullet-proof. This shock transformed the bike it was instantly more comfortable and just levelled every boulder and root as if they didn’t exist, I also developed confidence in jumping off things way beyond my previous level of bottle I put this down to the controlled compression and rebound of the coil spring.

I found I was attempting stuff that I previously would have questioned and also attacking everything with much greater commitment. The fun factor was definitely increased as was my desire to tinker with the bike which culminated in heavy duty wheels, heavy duty DH tyres and a seriously heavy stem, it now weighed in at 36.5lbs. While these changes resulted in less wear and tear in the fun stuff they ultimately made it much less suitable as a general purpose bike for my riding. I enjoy technical challenges but I am equally happy trundling along for a day out watching as the world goes by. The Nomad was now too heavy to be a general purpose bike for me.

As the weight increased I found that I rode the Nomad less and also found that I could also do everything on my Blur LT, perhaps a case of the Nomad giving me confidence to attempt what I was capable of but had previously avoided. The Nomad was now gathering dust and was used only when we were exploring new areas, playing in rough stuff or increasingly as a second bike when the Blur had a problem.

In retrospect the Nomad was a brilliant bike, I always had a grin on my face and often laughed out loud when riding it, I also believe it gave my riding a major confidence boost that I otherwise would have lacked. I don’t regret buying it for one second; however the riding that it encourages demands a heavy duty build that ultimately limited its use for me. In view of this I decided to sell the frame and move on. I buy my bikes from USA and after 3 years use I lost £100-00 when I sold it.

I have never been ‘attached’ to any of my previous bikes but not having the Nomad has left a gap and not just in the garage where it used to live. Would I buy another? No; should I have sold it, probably not.


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