The Santa Cruz Nomad proves that geometry never reveals the whole truth about the handling of a bike. Although the individual values are not extreme, this bike’s handling is extraordinary.

For an overview of the test fleet head to: The best enduro bike you can buy

Santa Cruz Nomad CC | 170/170 mm (f/r) | 13.64 kg | € 8,699

The attention to detail on the Santa Cruz Nomad is fantastic. No bike in the test field looks as high-quality and features so many smart details. On top of that, you get a lifetime warranty on the frame as well as the bearings. Santa Cruz has given the current Nomad a complete overhaul with significant updates from its predecessor. The biggest changes are in the geometry and the rear suspension. The latter was inspired by its big brother, the V10, promising to perform sensitively and offering a lot of support. The componentry spec is top notch, as you’d expect from Santa Cruz. Our € 8,699 test bike features a SRAM X01 drivetrain and CODE RSC brakes. The suspension consists of a FOX 36 FLOAT GRIP2 fork and a RockShox Super Deluxe shock. Optionally, the Nomad can be fitted with a Super Deluxe coil shock instead. The Santa Cruz Reserve carbon wheels are a particular highlight. They are worth the upgrade cost, offering fantastic acceleration, excellent durability and a good mix of stiffness and flex.

The Santa Cruz Nomad X01 in detail

Fork FOX 36 Float Performance Elite 170 mm
Shock RockShox Super Deluxe RCT 170 mm
Brakes SRAM Code RSC
Drivetrain SRAM X01 Eagle
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth
Stem Race Face Aeffect R 50mm
Handlebar SCB AM Carbon 800 mm
Wheels Santa Cruz Reserve 30 Carbon 27,5″
Tires MAXXIS Minion DHF 2.5“/DHR II 2.4″
Weight 13.64 kg
Price € 8,699

Stay high
We hardly ever used the low setting on the rear of the Nomad, even on the gnarliest trails. The high-setting is damn low as it is!
Somewhat long
The 50 mm stem is a bit too long. As little as 5 mm can make a big difference here.
Drop it like it’s hot
DThe 170 mm RockShox Reverb dropper seat post gives you a lot of freedom of movement on the bike which is terrific, especially in steep terrain!
The best in the test field
We aren’t typically fans of carbon wheels, but Santa Cruz has managed to incorporate only the positive qualities of carbon fibre in these rims. Top!

The geometry of the Santa Cruz Nomad X01

Size XS S M L XL
Seat tube 375 mm 390 mm 420 mm 450 mm 480 mm
Top tube 540 mm 573 mm 596 mm 619 mm 653 mm
Head tube 90 mm 100 mm 110 mm 120 mm 130 mm
Head angle 65° 65° 65° 65° 65°
Seat angle 74.5° 74.5° 74.5° 74.5° 74.5°
Chainstays 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm 430 mm
BB hight 344 mm 344 mm 344 mm 344 mm 344 mm
Wheelbase 1134 mm 1168 mm 1192 mm 1217 mm 1251 mm
Reach 390 mm 420 mm 440 mm 460 mm 490 mm
Stack 584 mm 593 mm 602 mm 611 mm 620 mm
Helmet Troy Lee D3 | Goggle Oakley Crowbar | Jersey ION Scrub_Amp | Short ION Scrub_Amp | Shoes ION Rascal

The Santa Cruz Nomad X01 on the trail

As soon as you climb onboard the Nomad, the bike knows only one thing – full-speed ahead. Riding the Nomad, you feel as if you are standing a little behind the bottom bracket, which means that it only reveals its full potential at high speeds and on steep slopes. The faster things get, the more the rear end sticks to the ground. It performs very sensitively while offering a lot of mid-stroke support. If you’ve got an active riding style, you will definitely be rewarded by the Nomad. It will build up a lot of speed if you pump it through rollers and if you want to pop off ledges, it will do so playfully. However, open and tight corners are not its favourite terrain.

Just gonna send it! The Nomad takes even the biggest jumps in its stride – provided you’ve got the riding technique.

Here, the rider has to constantly shift their centre of gravity to get through with enough grip on the front wheel. Thanks to the small wheels, the bike is easy to control when you’re airborne. If one downhill run isn’t enough, the Nomad will get you back to the top of the trail quickly thanks to its central sitting position, well-judged anti-squat and lightweight wheels.

Tuning tip: If necessary, shorten the handlebar slightly and fit a shorter stem


The Santa Cruz Nomad is a ripper. The rear suspension offers outstanding performance and remains composed in the roughest terrain. It feels very poppy too and provides a lot of mid-stroke support for an active riding style. However, if you don’t actively adjust and shift your weight, you will quickly become a passenger – experienced riders only!


  • Very composed
  • Brilliant suspension
  • Great wheels
  • Extremely quiet


  • Calls for an active riding style
  • Overkill on flat trails





Value for money

For more info head to:

For an overview of the test fleet head to: The best enduro bike you can buy

All bikes in test: Bold Unplugged | Canyon Strive CFR 9.0 Team | Commencal META AM 29 SIGNATURE ORANGE | Giant Reign Advanced 0 | Lapierre Spicy Team Ultimate | Nukeproof Mega 275c RS | Orbea Rallon M-LTD I9 | Pivot Firebird 29 Team XX1 | Pole Machine EN | Scott Ransom 900 Tuned | Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 | Trek Slash 9.9 | YT Capra 29 CF PRO Race

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