At first glance, the all-new Santa Cruz Nomad 4 might look like a departure from their trademark VPP design. But, it is indeed using the Virtual Pivot Point suspension platform, but with a revised lower shock mount that mimics their winning V10 downhill bike. Combine that with coil-shock compatibility, 170mm of rear wheel travel, a much slacker head angle and you’ve got a top-shelf gravity bike perfect for the bike park. Throw in a steeper seat angle and full carbon frame, and suddenly it doubles as a trail bike cable of climbing to that next enduro stage, too…
Thanks to the lower shock position, center of gravity and standover height are all improved. The top tube is extended and seat angle sits at 74.5º, putting you in a good position for pedaling. And you can tweak the geo with a flip chip on the linkage. One way keeps it high and tight (or, at least, relatively so for a long travel bike), and the other slacks it out to “near DH levels”.
The carbon frame uses their usual quality build, offering models with the standard “C” level and the higher end “CC” carbon. In all, seven models will be offered, four with “CC” frames. All cables and hoses run internally on all of them, and all come with their lifetime warranty.
The shock mount at the lower linkage houses the flip chip. You’ll have to unbolt the shock, so it’s not something you’ll want to do trailside for each ride, but the option’s there to set it for the type of riding you’re doing that day. Regardless of how much climbing you’re doing, you’ll want to make sure you get that front chainring selection right…there’s no concession for a front derailleur.
Beyond the suspension layout, it’s the finer details that set the Nomad apart from the rest of their trail bikes. The rear linkage is protected from spray and pebble throws by a small bolt-on fender.
There’s the usual lower strike guard near the bottom bracket, too, plus a bolt-on tailgate protector for when you hang the front end off the back of your truck.
The suspension is tuned to be linear throughout most of the travel, keeping it plush but supportive, with a progressive ending.
Metric shock sizes ensure it’s compatible with the latest from Rockshox, Fox, etc.
All models get alloy upper and lower linkages.
The lower linkage uses their grease port with internal channels to direct it into the bearings.
Other details include a max 27.5 x 2.5 tire size, 170-180mm fork travel, and a standard threaded BB shell.
The top CC model is the XX1 Eagle build, starting at $8,999 before options, including their new wheels (keep reading). For any model, you’ll have the option of this blue-ish “Ink” color, or “Tan”.
The top C model is the XE build with Shimano XT and Race Face Turbine cranks from $5,899. Get started with a complete C bike at $4,499 with SRAM NX. Full specs and build options, including the bike customizer, on their website. CC Framesets are available with either Rockshox Super Deluxe Air or Coil springs fro $3,299.
Reserve carbon wheels
At the top of the options lie two “Reserve” models that get the upgrade to their new house-brand carbon wheels:
Offering the same lifetime warranty as their carbon frames, the new Santa Cruz Reserve carbon wheels use their own rim design laced to Industry Nine Classic or DT Swiss 350 hubs with DT Swiss Competition Race DB spokes and Sapim Secure Lock alloy nipples. More than just an off-the-shelf co-branded carbon rim, these look like a decent upgrade.
They were designed, tested and prototyped in house using their new carbon lab with full-size heat press (check our HQ tour to see it!). The asymmetric rims get reinforced spoke holes to make them stronger where needed without overbuilding the entire rim and adding weight. Molding them on the outside let them ensure the extra material was exactly where they needed it, so spoke holes are centered in the mount.
Then they added material to the bead wall, making them a full 3.5mm thick, so reinforced against rock strikes. Insides are as pretty and smooth as the outsides thank to a melt-away wax bladder insert that allows good, even compaction without leaving wrinkles. The 1.5:1 width-to-height ratio, they say, provides the right balance of comfort and lateral rigidity.
For now, they’ll only be available as an upgrade option on the Nomad, which means only in 27.5″ sizes and a 3x lacing, 28-spoke build. But more are coming – note the models that will get them at bottom, along with aftermarket availability coming this fall (click to enlarge, below):
Hit their website for full Nomad spec and build options on each model.