Having ridden the original Santa Cruz Nomad for 7+ years, I was pretty interested in how the 2015 Nomad would ride. I figured after being around for eight years, all the small improvements would add up. Carbon frame, adjusted pivot points, revamped geometry, & a new 27.5 wheel size, almost seems like a different breed.
One thing that has stayed the same is my intentions when riding. Go fast, bounce off all the bumps, clear any gap in my way, and maintain all the generated momentum I can through corners. If I have to go a fair way uphill to do those things so be it.
How does the carbon Santa Cruz Nomad climb?
Very well. The overall lightweight package for a longer travel all mountain bike really helps out. V1 of the nomad was a slug, the current Carbon rendition is very reasonable to take on longer pursuits to get to those remote trails. Some people may not enjoy the raked out head tube for some longer sustained climbs, but that could be overcome with an adjustable height fork like the Fox Talas.
How does it descend?
Extremely well. On steeper / rockier sections the carbon frame stays rigid, tracks straight, & the 27.5 wheels add some nice forgiveness as well. Thanks to its lightweight charachteristics it is very easy to maintain your previously generated speed on flatter pedally sections of trail.
The one downside on the Nomad for me is the low bottom bracket height. In order to keep the bike stable & agile, Santa Cruz put a low BB on the bike, a common shared charachteristics among many 27.5 wheel bikes. The BB height is great to help you keep those wheels stuck to the corners, but where it falters is the exceptional ease at clipping pedals. It was a major adjustment for me. Places where I liked to grab a pedal or two to keep speed I had to be careful I didn’t clip a rock & go flying. It can make technical climbs a bit more tricky too as you can’t just go mashing about like you did before.
The recent redux of the carbon Santa Cruz Nomad has seen so many great and beneficial improvements it is a true joy to ride. So far I’ve tested the Nomad in the following terrain: Bend OR, Oakridge OR, Mt Hood vacinity, Santa Cruz CA, Stanley ID, Mt St Helens, Bellingham WA, Squamish BC, Whistler BC & Whiskeytown, CA, while each place has offered a variety of riding, the carbon 27.5 Nomad has excelled.
Have fun out there!