Dooooosh… Last week was a Yuuuge news week. No, I’m not talking about the fact we’ve finally worked out we’re actually all on the set of the ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’ movie on account of a fat orangutang selling the planet down the river because he couldn’t read/thinks too much about incest. It was something even more earth shattering (no pun intended) than that bizarre experience.
No, I’m talking about something actually uplifting and positive from the legends at Santa Cruz! Behold, the unleashing of the Nomad 4:
Was I at the media launch camp in glorious Southern France/Italy? No… Have I ridden one? No… Have I even ordered one? Shock horror, No… So, then, who gives a fuck about this post? Can I even rant about this? And if I do, does it make me a key board wanking PB comments section unit?
Well… Allow me to retort! The thing is, without wanting to start stroking myself like like a deranged climate denier, I would like to consider myself a Nomad connoisseur, given I’ve immensely enjoyed the last two iterations. As I will elaborate on, this after all is the bike that I’ve had some insane adventures and life experiences on. The vessel with which I have ticked off more “Must do’s” than any other machine I can think of.
There’s also the small matter of feeling compelled to espouse my unsolicited & niche viewpoint, because otherwise, what’s the point in the internet aside from porn and being cunts to strangers? I mean fuck, this site got its name from this bike and a trip to the Maritime Alps where Das Wolf first uttered the words “Dirty Nomad“… Yes, it all started with the Green Machine, the Nomad 2:
And then of course there was the Nomad 3. I would go as far to say that the Blue & Magenta Nomad 3 was one of the most iconic Santa Cruz bikes ever… Sure, the V10 is epic and the Tallboy 1 redefined 29ers, but the Nomad 3, oh man, this thing… It makes you want to bite your hand.
It wasn’t just the 65 Deg head angle, this bike felt like <<cliche alert>>, a ‘game changer’ in terms of what it meant and what it could do. Its also how a mountain bike should look and it was quickly seen under some of the most serious hardcore shredders you can find… And me:
In the wider MTB community the bike named Nomad is iconic… Its a legend… Its got balls… Machismo… Presence… Its a Leader… A King amongst bikes. Even those that don’t own one admire and respect them as a machine. Its the fucking Robert de Niro of bikes, but like the time he was in Heat and was a massive bad ass.
Now that I’ve thoroughly overbaked the context, its time to get back to the point of this largely uninformative rant. Oddly, I never received my invite to the Nomad 4 media launch in Sospel and Molini, much like I hadn’t heard back from Rob Roskopp after sending him a valentine’s day card… I mean fuck, you take one hairy naked swim in your favourite CEO’s pool and suddenly everything is weird?
Clearly given my restraining order was still in place, I had to send along my spirit animal, the Rodfather, to the biggest debut of 2017, with some clear instructions to intimately touch as many people from Santa Cruz while silently smiling as he could manage on my behalf… Oh, and get a few pics too eh bro. He delivered on all fronts:
I didn’t know all the details of what he was doing or who he was doing it with, but I supported him through this tough assignment by generally frothing on WhatsApp about the riding in the area where he was, while he supplied me zero gossip and simply provided me an update on what
a media whore he was he had for Euro breakfast. Turns out he was 94% nude and taking photos in the woods:
The launch of a new Nomad is a rare and joyous occasion, I mean, it tends to only roll around every 3 or 4 years and whilst this one wasn’t a huge surprise (thanks to an earlier leak on Pinkbits), I was still excited to see what the fuck was up. Rolling out of bed and squinting at my phone like it was Christmas morning, it was an eyebrow raising experience as I unwrapped the images on Safari.
But the Intercunt is not happy… Oh no… It’s alive with the sound of ill-informed bitching and time devoted to not riding to spew forth unsolicited views about 3 topics in particular if my attention span was right as I skim read the whole of Google with ‘Nomad 4’ typed in:
- Niche as fuck – 170/170 and 27.5… Ok, so not a whole lot of difference really over what’s there today, but its clearly a different beast. NOT an ENDURO bike you say? Too much bike you say? Not a trail bike you say? What are you?! The intercunt is confused
- That new design – Ok, so it sort of looks like a Specialized SX trail drunkenly fucked a Commencal and this is its offspring. For those that remember the Driver 8, there’s a little de ja vu here as well. Given we’re inherently flawed humans, we can’t help but care about what our bikes look like, which is why we don’t ride Merida’s or Polygons. In the case of the Nomad 4, it appears to be the most polarising design since the original shitting dog scenario. Its almost like an anorexic V10
- Colours – Ah yes, of course, being the Intercunt, the people pouring lighter fluid over themselves and lighting a match in on-line forums or comments section don’t care that how it looks and what colour it is has nothing to do with how it rides. Holy fuck, how dare I suggest such a notion! Clearly there is a connection right? Whilst I’m not creaming myself over the colours, I’m not as offended by them as some are. Potentially has something to do with my upbringing?
Ok, so thanks for the all the irrelevant bullshit, we can file that under ‘zero fucks given about what others think’ and get on with ordering one ASAP right? I mean, doesn’t the branding requirements alone demand the new Nomad take its rightful place in the Dirty stable? Surely one is on the way right?!!
But here’s the thing…
When it occurred to me that I needed a bigger bike in 2013, there was only ONE option across the entire industry, it HAD to be a Nomad 2. Likewise, when the Nomad 3 was launched to much amazement with 27.5 wheels, no front D and beautiful swooping lines, I knew I HAD to have one of those as well. But its 2017 and not for the first time I find myself bewildered and confused about the times we live in.
I’m more than slightly agar that I haven’t felt the same way about the Nomad 4. Does this make me feel slightly sick? Yes. Does it mean I have gone too ENDURO? Quite possibly. Is this a confusing time and a massive First World Problem? Absolutely
But it isn’t just me, hordes (3 dudes I spoke to) of like minded people I know feel the same way… I’m not seeing that same effect this time like there was with the Nomad 3. When that bike dropped, you’d consider breaking a mates collarbone just to get a frame earlier. Now I’m scratching around to find someone I know who is getting one… Feels… Weird.
I guess given the niche nature of this bike (WTF, because it has 5mm more rear travel?), that makes more sense. I also suspect this is a more location specific bike than its previous version… Thinking about where you’d need to live to have this in the shed and places such as Nelson and Queenstown spring to mind. Further clouding the picture is the rise of 29ers like its Judgement Day and the worlds worst kept secret: The longer Travel Hightower that we all know is on the way.
Given how good the Hightower is, plus with our minds being warped that 29ers are here to murder the heathen 27.5 scum which killed off 26ers, means that I suspect a lot of potential Nomad 4 buyers are eyeing it up and wondering what to do. Even my mind is clouded with model overlap and the consumer curse of wanting to know what’s around the corner.
If I was rad enough to work at Santa Cruz I have to say that I would have been tempted to follow the advice of Das Wolf, who rightly asserted this would’ve been the perfect opportunity to Bring Back the Bullit… No, not an ad for the NRA, but the resurrection of a fucking legend, the original HULK bike, some may recall said machine from such adventures as ‘Whistler as a clueless fuckbag‘ back in 2011 & 2013
This would have left the door open to name the new long travel 29er the Nomad 4… I mean, being more than a bit opinionated here for a second, wouldn’t that fit the heritage better? A long travel slaying 29er you can do everything and anything on felt like a natural evolution of the breed.
The Rodfather assures me that the new Nomad pedals amazingly well and shreds faster than the White House before Robert Mueller turns up, you can check out his views here and there is also a solid write up on NSMB worthy of your ingestion.
For now I’m parked up confused on the fence… Hiding in the work toilets staring at that new linkage arrangement wondering if I really am a shallow cunt. Will that change once I see one in the flesh? Will I be gripped with FOMO or the green grass syndrome? Will the Rodfather slay me on one at Wairoa Gorge and thus force my rubbery T Rex arms into getting one? Or is the next 29er Terminator going to turn up in July and knock on the Nomad’s door with a 12 gauge autoloader in it’s hand? Can I still race one in an ENDURO even though I can’t find the E word in the marketing material?! Gaaaaaaaaaaa <<Head explodes>>
For now I’m keeping the 3 faith, to be seen if I will stay strong or lower my linkage and interrupt my seat tube. After all, don’t I need all the DH help I can get?
But fuck yes – Order me some of those new Santa Cruz carbon wheels ASAP muthfucka! No, real talk, I’ve actually ordered some… Stay tuned.