Santa Cruz’s outgoing Nomad 3 has been the standard by which all ‘Enduro’ style bikes have been tested for a little over three years now. With 165mm of rear travel, and at its time of launch progressive geometry, the Nomad 3 was and still is a serious weapon on pretty much any descent you can find. It was therefore, going to take something pretty special to surpass the Aqua/Magenta war horses.
Santa Cruz therefore set out with the following brief:
• Descend like a DH Bike, Climb like a Trail Bike
• Be able to handle peak to peak Alps style riding
• Work with a coil or an air shock
• Range of sizes from XS to XL (Including Juliana Version)
Sounds like quite a task, however Santa Cruz have hit the nail on the head with the all new Nomad 4. Most notable changes come in the form of a Split Seat tube, Metric Shock, Coil/Air shock options, 170mm travel and updated sizing (456mm/460mm Reach Size L) compared to the older bike (438mm Reach Size Large).
With the v2 Bronson being so successful as an All-Mountain/Enduro race bike, it made sense to once-again push the envelope of what a pedal-able mountain bike was capable of. Think of the new bike as a V10 which you can ride all day.
The longer reach and shorter back end bring the Nomad 4 more in line with the rest of the Santa Cruz range which improves handling and inspires confidence on the steepest descents. There is also an integrated headset (seen on the Hightower and Tallboy 3) however, the biggest and probably most obvious change is the split seat tube V10 style shock positioning, making room for both Air and Coil shock options. This means you can choose if you want the adjustability and more jump friendly, poppy feel of an air sprung shock, or the plush, rock gobbling coil option.
The leverage ratio on the rear suspension matches that of the V10 downhill bike, which contributes to this being possibly the most capable pedal-able bike ever made. This would normally make it less usable out on the trail. However this new shock lay out, combined with a VPP linkage has allowed the leverage ratio to be separated from the anti-squat, meaning more support and less pedal bob when you are winching back up to the top of the gnarly descent you have just shredded.
This bike is designed as a real gravity weapon, not for the faint hearted. If uplift days, big mountain adventures and Enduro racing is your thing then this is certainly the bike for you.