Santa Cruz Nomad

BikeRide Score

Summary of Reviews

We have read all expert and user reviews on the Santa Cruz Nomad. In summary, this is what cyclists think.

15 reasons to buy

  • Experts agree that, with 170mm of travel in both the rear and front, the Nomad is a versatile long-travel mountain bike.
  • Santa Cruz offers the Nomad set up with a coil shock, in addition to builds that use an air shock.
  • Test riders found they were positioned in a comfortable and central riding position on the Nomad. This helped them to maintain traction on steep climbs.
  • Santa Cruz provides riders with a lifetime warranty on the Nomad’s carbon frame and bearings.
  • The well-tuned, lower-link VPP suspension with 170mm of rear travel, allows riders of the Nomad to descend with confidence.
  • Experts were impressed with how well the Nomad handled big hits. During their tests, harsh bottom-outs were rare.
  • With modern geometry and 27.5” wheels, the bike excels at going off jumps and riding the high lines as it accelerates through berms.
  • The Nomad is nimble and reactive for bike-park style tricks.
  • The bike’s cables are internally routed and quiet.
  • The flip-chip adjustment on the shock mount allows riders to adjust the bike’s geometry by 0.3 degrees.
  • The Nomad utilizes a SRAM Universal Derailleur Hanger. This makes it easy to replace when derailleur issues arise.
  • Rubber protectors help prevent the Nomad’s chainstays and downtube from being damaged on the trail.
  • The Nomad fits a wide range of riders. It is available in sizes small through extra-large.
  • The bike's threaded bottom bracket is easy to maintain.
  • 200mm brake rotors assure riders with reliable stopping power.

3 reasons not to buy

  • The Santa Cruz Nomad is expensive.
  • Santa Cruz does not give riders an aluminum frame option for the Nomad.
  • Test riders agree that the bike takes more physical effort to overcome technical climbs, than would a 29er.

Bottom line

The Santa Cruz Nomad is a well-built, high-quality carbon mountain bike with 27.5” wheels and 170mm of travel in both the front and rear. The bike accelerates through corners and excels at descents. Testers were pleased to find the bike available with either a coil or air shock. The bike uses a lower link VPP suspension set up. The bike may be expensive, but it comes with a lifetime warranty on both the frame and bearings.
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Release Year
Wheel Size
Number of Gears
Gearing Type
34.36, 33.62, 33.59, 34.88, 32.54 lb
Brake Type
Frame Material

Expert Reviews

90/100 based on 1 rated expert review

Review – 2021 Santa Cruz Nomad – Go Anywhere, Do Anything

The parts are all top-notch, squeezing out the best performance from the lightest (in class) weights. This mountain destroyer is just a hair over 32-pounds and yet it has the geometry to perform and the suspension travel to tackle anything.

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Field Test: 2021 Santa Cruz Nomad – The Same But Different

Who’s the ideal candidate for the Nomad? I’d say it’s the rider who enjoys technical climbs and descents, someone who would pick maneuverability over outright speed.

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Santa Cruz Nomad CC X01 RSV First Ride Review

Santa Cruz has done a great job with the new frame, making it feel even more capable and comfortable at speed but still agile enough to be thrown around on the trails, retaining the hooligan nature that the old bike oozed.

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The Loam Wolf

The New Santa Cruz Nomad V5 The Shredder’s Shedder

If you are reading this then chance is you already know who this bike is for. XC pinners and enduro race bois are not gonna be greasing up their chamois to get in line to KOM their favorite climb aboard this beast. Instead, the Santa Cruz Nomad V5 is designed for riders who are constantly chasing fun, looking for airtime, getting sideways and constantly eyeballing weird shapes off the side of the trail to see how they can incorporate it into their ride.

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2021 Santa Cruz Nomad | First Look and Weight

It’s a big bike. 170mm of travel, 27.5 bike, definitely be fun.

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Mountain Bike Rider

Santa Cruz Nomad CC X01 RSV (2021) First Ride Review

If the old Nomad heralded the start of Santa Cruz’s phenomenally strong current line-up, so the new Nomad builds on that success in a subtle way.

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Introducing the 2021 Santa Cruz Nomad XO1

After just five rides on the Nomad, I’m convinced it could be my personal bike. It’s a blast to ride and it does everything well, and that was my impression riding a size that was just slightly too small, which was enough to keep my confidence in check, just a little.

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ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine

Santa Cruz Nomad CC 5 2021 in Review – 27.5″ Ain’t Dead!

The brand-new Santa Cruz Nomad 5 is a great choice for riders who spend most of their time at the bike park, riding full tilt, sending massive jumps and carving through berms at Mach 10. The bike scores with its terrific suspension and inspires with outstanding cornering manners. That being said, it’s not your typical, super-nimble 27.5″ rig.

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User Ratings

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Bike Comparison

Santa Cruz Nomad in comparison to averages

Forum Discussions

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