The new Santa Cruz Nomad looks better than ever

15 December 2020

Once upon a time, buying a bike was all about categorisation. The customer was railroaded down an alleyway of self-pigeonholing. Suspension travel figures needed to be cross-checked and balanced against your local topography and preferred bar width. Now, with bikes like Santa Cruz’ refreshed Nomad, the brief is thankfully much more open to interpretation. With 27.5in wheels and 170mm of travel, it’s a bike aimed squarely at the open category that is ‘mountain biking’.

Visually, aside from the choice of Oxblood Red or Adder Green hues, the Nomad’s silhouette remains similar to that of the previous model but in true Santa Cruz fashion there are several subtle improvements and evolutions designed to further expand its capabilities.

The de rigueur stretching of the reach and slackening of the head angle are both present and correct but perhaps the biggest change comes in the steepening of the seat angle to dramatically increase the fifth generation of the moniker's ascending ability. The Santa Cruz designers have also made the switch to size-specific back ends as we’ve seen on other models from the Californian brand of late. The revised geometry looks like this:

Check out the full geometry here

Compared to the popular outgoing model, those changes see the headtube relaxing by nearly a degree in both modes and nearly 20mm of growth in the reach department. But it’s the steepening of the seat angle that really seems to signal a revision of intended purposes for the once purely gravity-fed Nomad. Long days in the saddle require a comfortable and efficient perch which the bike now more than provides making the new model as well-suited to a weekend of stage racing as it is to exploring new corners of the Alps.


Returning Santa Cruz customers will be heartened to see that some of the little details which somehow add up to the brands bikes being so reliable and easy to live with are present and correct. These come in the shape of properly routed internal cable guides, a threaded bottom bracket and Zerk grease ports in all the right places. The frame and bearings both come with lifetime warranties too for some added peace of mind. 


The new Nomad is available in six spec levels and a choice of four sizes. You can find more detail here.