2018 Santa Cruz Nomad V4.0

2018 Santa Cruz Nomad V4.0 _sand_xx1


It appears Santa Cruz wanted to prove freeride is still very much alive, as they’ve created a new Nomad, one that’s bigger, badder, and more gravity oriented than ever before. By having 170mm of travel, a 64.6-degree head angle (in the low setting) and a new rear suspension layout inspired by the Santa Cruz V10, this is about as close as you can get to a pedal-able downhill bike.

Given the success of the previous Nomad, Santa Cruz could have taken the easy road and just tweaked the geometry a little bit and slapped on a new paint job, but they made the conscious decision to push version 4.0 into new territory.

Santa Cruz 2018 Nomad Details

• Intended use: shredding the gnar
• Wheel size: 27.5″
• Rear wheel travel: 170mm
• 64.6º or 65º head angle
• Carbon frame, C or CC options
• Metric shock sizing
• Boost hub spacing
• MSRP: $4,499 – $9,399 USD ($8,399 as shown)
• Weight: 30lb / 13.6kg (size large)
• Available: June 15

After all, the 150mm Bronson has the all-mountain side of things pretty well covered, and don’t forget that the 29”-wheeled Hightower and its upcoming longer travel sibling — in short, something needed to be done to make sure the Nomad didn’t get lost in the crowd.

Prices start at $4,499 USD for the Nomad C R, which comes with a 170mm RockShox Yari up front, SRAM Guide R brakes, and a SRAM NX 11-speed drivetrain. At the other end of the scale shown above is the $9,399 USD Nomad CC XX1 Reserve, which gets Santa Cruz’s highest end carbon wheels, an XX1 Eagle drivetrain, Code RSC brakes, and a RockShox Lyric RCT3 fork.

The bike pictured below is the $8,399 Nomad CC X01 Reserve; highlights include a 12-speed SRAM X01 Eagle drivetrain, Code RSC brakes, Reserve carbon wheels with DT Swiss 350 hubs, and a Lyrik RCT3 fork.

Santa Cruz 2018 Nomad CC_sand_X01
Frame Design

The rear suspension layout is the most immediately apparent difference between the new Nomad and its predecessor, with the shock situated low in the frame where it passes through a split in the seat tube. As you’d expect, it’s still a VPP design, with two large counter-rotating links that control the 170mm of travel.

Even with that split seat tube design, Santa Cruz still managed to internally route the dropper post housing (it runs through a tube molded inside the non-drive-side of the frame), and to fit dropper posts with appropriate amounts of travel – 150mm on a size medium, and 170mm on the large and extra-large sizes. In addition to a downtube protector near the bottom bracket, there’s also a guard to help prevent frame damage from shuttling. While a tiny bolt-on fender helps keep mud away from the shock.

The Nomad is designed to play well with both coil and air-sprung shocks; riders can choose from a RockShox Super Deluxe Coil RCT, or a Super Deluxe Air RCT. There’s a small integrated fender bolted onto the frame to help keep some of the mud and grit that this bike will undoubtedly be subjected to at bay. Other frame niceties include a guard on the underside of the down tube to prevent the frame scuffs and dings that all-too-often accompany a day of shuttling, and there’s even enough room to carry a full-size water bottle inside the front triangle.

The Nomad is debuting with a full carbon frame, but there is an alloy model on the way that should be available in the fall at a more budget friendly pricepoint.

santa cruz nomad 4 geometry

The previous generation Nomad was a trail-smashing beast in its own right, which meant that there wasn’t any need to go too wild when it came time to revise the geometry numbers, although the reach has been lengthened by 22mm — a size large now measures 460mm. A few millimeters were trimmed off the chainstay length, which is now 430mm, and thanks to a flip chip on the lower link the bike’s head angle can be set at either 64.6º with a 339mm BB height, or 65º with a 344mm BB height.

Santa Cruz Nomad 4 C XE
Reserve Wheels

Along with the new bike, Santa Cruz is also launching their own line of carbon wheels, called “Reserve.” Rather than re-labeling an existing rim profile, Santa Cruz set out to develop their own unique design, drawing on their in-house expertise and carbon testing facilities.

The result is a rim shape that has a slight protrusion above each spoke hole, external reinforcement that’s intended to help keep spokes from pulling through the rim, one of the modes of failure that Santa Cruz found with other carbon wheels. The rim and spoke holes are asymmetric in order to even out the spoke tension between the drive and non-driveside as much as possible, and they’re laced up with 28 spokes using a 3-cross pattern. There will be two 27.5” internal rim widths available — 27 and 30mm, and the 29” wheels will be available with an internal width of 25, 27, or 30mm.

The Reserve wheels will add $1,200 USD to the MSRP of a complete bike, and they’ll also be available as aftermarket items this fall. Laced up with Industry Nine hubs, a complete wheelset will retail for $1,899 USD, or $1,599 with DT Swiss 350 hubs.

Just like Santa Cruz’s frames and bearings, the Reserve wheels come with a lifetime warranty. When a damaged wheel is received at Santa Cruz’s California facility, they promise a 24-hour turnaround, an impressively quick time frame that should help keep the amount of time off the bike to a minimum.