2023 Santa Cruz Nomad | Blister

Fit & Geometry

In most respects, the geometry of the new Nomad hasn’t changed a whole lot compared to the outgoing model (though Santa Cruz has added a new XXL size that wasn’t offered previously). The headtube angle is only a couple of tenths of a degree slacker, reach stays roughly the same (give or take a few millimeters, depending on the size in question), the bottom bracket is a couple of millimeters lower, and the seat tube angle is about the same, too (actually getting fractionally slacker in the smaller sizes, and marginally steeper in the big ones). It’s not like the old bike was looking out of date, though — Santa Cruz has proven that they’re willing to give their bikes a major overhaul when that makes sense (the new Megatower) and keep the tweaks more subtle when appropriate (the new Hightower)

The one area where things have changed a bunch is chainstay length — the new Nomad has gotten substantially longer there. Santa Cruz’s take (which I 100% agree with) is that proportionally longer chainstays help with handling balance on a mixed-wheel bike. Both the earlier Nomad V5 and the new 6th-generation bike feature variable length chainstays based on frame size, but the new bike’s stays are longer overall (especially in the smaller sizes), ranging between 440 mm (Small) and 451 mm (XXL); interestingly, that’s longer than the just-updated Megatower, in any given size, despite the fact that the Nomad is supposed to be the more playful, easy-going option. But as we’ve consistently found on mixed-wheel bikes, that wheel size combination tends to make for a relatively short-feeling back end (more so than the number on the geometry chart would suggest) so we think Santa Cruz is very likely onto something here — and are quite excited to see how it pans out on the trail.