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Santa Cruz update the Nomad with a mullet and new geometry

Sam Dale kicks up dirt while riding the Santa Cruz Nomad
(Image credit: Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz has released the sixth generation of the Nomad and gone is the 27.5in setup in favor of a modern mullet configuration – although Santa Cruz says its still just as playful and ready to send as the previous Nomads.

Santa Cruz was one of the few brands still offering a dedicated 27.5-wheeled bike and with the Nomad’s update, the industry moves one step further away from the smaller wheel size that was once heralded as the 'best of both worlds' – at least as a front wheel anyway.

Santa Cruz has opted for an MX (mullet, 29 up front, 27.5 rear wheel setup), something that is gaining popularity amongst the best enduro mountain bikes, to increase stability and improve handling whilst still maintaining the agility that is offered with a smaller rear wheel.

Sam Dale kicks up dirt while riding the Santa Cruz Nomad

(Image credit: Santa Cruz)

Interestingly, despite keeping the smaller rear wheel, Santa Cruz has actually lengthened the rear chainstays. With a larger front wheel propping the front end up Santa Cruz says they were able to increase in rear center to compliment the handling and increase stability. The chainstays are also size specific, to maintain the proper ride experience across all frame sizes, from Small to XXL.

The rest of the geometry figures get a tweak as well to accommodate the larger front wheel and bring them in line with the rest of Santa Cruz's range. In the low flip chip setting, the head angle is 63.5 degrees, seat angle is 77 degrees and the reach is 452.3mm on a medium.

Following the 5th generation Nomad, the new bike is still equipped with 170mm of travel front and rear. Santa Cruz has worked on the rear suspension, lowering anti-squat for better square edge bump performance and traction on climbs. The compression action has also been made more linear too as Santa Cruz wanted a more uniform suspension feel through the bike's travel.

Sam Dale kicks up dirt while riding the Santa Cruz Nomad

(Image credit: Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz has now added some downtube storage which it calls Glovebox. Through a compartment opening under the bottle cage, you can store handy trailside necessities. So that your tools and stuff aren't rattling around inside your bike, the Nomad comes with a Tool Wallet and Tube Purse to keep everything organized and quiet while you ride.

For those interested in the details. The new Nomad will still have a threaded bottom bracket, ISCG05 chain guide mounts, and a Santa Cruz UDH (universal derailleur hanger). Tire clearances front and rear are rated to take a 2.6in tire.

Santa Cruz Nomad availability, range, and specs

The Nomad will come in six build specs, four C grade carbon frame builds and two premium CC carbon models, the builds (with the exception of the cheapest S and R models) come in coil or air shock options. Pricing starts at $5,649 / £5,499 and tops out at $11,199 / £9,699. There will also be a CC frame-only option too, which is priced at $4,249 / £3,699. 

Santa Cruz Nomad XO1 AXS RSV (Air or Coil)

(Image credit: Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz Nomad XO1 AXS RSV (Air or Coil)

  • Suspension: Fox 38 Float Factory (170mm) / Fox Float X2 Factory or Fox Float DHX2 Factory Coil (170mm)
  • Groupset: SRAM X01 AXS Eagle, 12 speed
  • Cranks: SRAM X1 Eagle Carbon 148 DUB, 32t
  • Brakes: SRAM Code RSC
  • Wheelset: Reserve 30|HD / i9
  • Tires: Maxxis Assegai 29x2.5in 3C MaxxGrip EXO+, TR / Maxxis Minion DHR II 27.5x2.4in, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO+, TR (coil version comes with Double Down tires)
  • Handlebar: Santa Cruz 35 Carbon Bar, 800mm
  • Stem: Burgtec Enduro MK3, 42mm
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado Medium Ti
  • Price: $11,199 / £9,699

Santa Cruz Nomad CC XO1 (Air or Coil)

(Image credit: Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz Nomad CC XO1 (Air or Coil)

  • Suspension: Fox 38 Float Factory (170mm) / Fox Float X2 Factory or Fox Float DHX2 Factory Coil (170mm)
  • Groupset: SRAM X01 AXS Eagle, 12 speed
  • Cranks: SRAM X1 Eagle Carbon 148 DUB, 32t
  • Brakes: SRAM Code RSC
  • Wheelset: RaceFace ARC 30 / i9
  • Tires: Maxxis Assegai 29x2.5in 3C MaxxGrip EXO+, TR / Maxxis Minion DHR II 27.5x2.4in, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO+, TR (coil version comes with Double Down tires)
  • Handlebar: Santa Cruz 35 Carbon Bar, 800mm
  • Stem: Burgtec Enduro MK3, 42mm
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado Medium Ti
  • Price: $9,299 / £8,399

Santa Cruz Nomad GX AXS RSV (Air or Coil)

(Image credit: Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz Nomad GX AXS RSV (Air or Coil)

  • Suspension: Fox 38 Float Performance Elite (170mm) / RockShox Deluxe Select+ or RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ Coil (170mm)
  • Groupset: SRAM GX AXS Eagle, 12 speed
  • Cranks: SRAM GX Eagle 148 DUB, 32t
  • Brakes: SRAM Code RS
  • Wheelset: Reserve 30 HD / i9
  • Tires: Maxxis Assegai 29x2.5in 3C MaxxGrip EXO+, TR / Maxxis Minion DHR II 27.5x2.4in, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO+, TR (coil version comes with Double Down tires)
  • Handlebar: Santa Cruz 35 Carbon Bar, 800mm
  • Stem: Burgtec Enduro MK3, 42mm
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado Medium CroMo
  • Price: $9,799 / £8,999

Santa Cruz Nomad GX AXS (Air or Coil)

(Image credit: Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz Nomad GX AXS (Air or Coil)

  • Suspension: Fox 38 Float Performance Elite (170mm) / RockShox Deluxe Select+ or RockShox Super Deluxe Select+ Coil (170mm)
  • Groupset: SRAM GX AXS Eagle, 12 speed
  • Cranks: SRAM GX Eagle 148 DUB, 32t
  • Brakes: SRAM Code RS
  • Wheelset: Raceface AR 30 / i9
  • Tires: Maxxis Assegai 29x2.5in 3C MaxxGrip EXO+, TR / Maxxis Minion DHR II 27.5x2.4in, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO+, TR (coil version comes with Double Down tires)
  • Handlebar: Santa Cruz 35 Carbon Bar, 800mm
  • Stem: Burgtec Enduro MK3, 42mm
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado Medium CroMo
  • Price: $8,499 / £7,899

Santa Cruz Nomad S

(Image credit: Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz Nomad S

  • Suspension: Fox 38 Float Performance (170mm) / RockShox Deluxe Select+ (170mm)
  • Groupset: SRAM GX Eagle, 12 speed
  • Cranks: SRAM GX Eagle 148 DUB, 32t
  • Brakes: SRAM Code R
  • Wheelset: Raceface AR 30 / DT Swiss 370
  • Tires: Maxxis Assegai 29x2.5in 3C MaxxGrip EXO+, TR / Maxxis Minion DHR II 27.5x2.4in, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO+, TR
  • Handlebar: Burgtec RideWide Alloy Bar, 800mm
  • Stem: Burgtec Enduro MK3, 42mm
  • Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado Medium CroMo
  • Price: $6,799 / £6,599

Santa Cruz Nomad R

(Image credit: Santa Cruz)

Santa Cruz Nomad R

  • Suspension: RockShox Zeb R (170mm) / RockShox Deluxe Select (170mm)
  • Groupset: SRAM NX Eagle, 12 speed
  • Cranks: SRAM Descendant Eagle 148 DUB, 32t
  • Brakes: SRAM G2 RE
  • Wheelset: Raceface AR 30 / SRAM MTH
  • Tires: Maxxis Assegai 29x2.5in 3C MaxxGrip EXO+, TR / Maxxis Minion DHR II 27.5x2.4in, 3C MaxxTerra, EXO+, TR
  • Handlebar: e13 TRS Base, 800mm
  • Stem: e.13 Base, 40mm
  • Seatpost: SDG Tellis (125mm-175mm)
  • Saddle: WTB Silverado Medium CroMo
  • Price: $5,649 / £5,499
Graham Cottingham
Graham Cottingham

Graham is all about riding bikes off-road. Based in Edinburgh he has some of the best mountain biking and gravel riding in the UK right on his doorstep. With almost 20 years of riding experience, he has dabbled in downhill, enduro and, most recently, gravel racing. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has embraced bikepacking over the last few years and likes nothing more than strapping some bags to his bike and covering big miles to explore Scotlands wildernesses. When he isn’t shredding the gnar in the Tweed Valley, sleeping in bushes or tinkering with bikes, he is writing tech reviews for Bike Perfect and the muckier side of Cyclingnews 


Rides: Canyon Strive, 24 Bicycles Le Toy 3, Surly Steamroller

Height: 177cm

Weight: 71kg