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  1. #1
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    New Nomad 2 Build - 1st ride report and pics

    I'll try to get all the pics that I posted from the Santa Cruz section to post here. Here's the ride review:

    OK, so I finished her off and here is my 1:40 ride review:

    First - HOLY PEDAL FEEDBACK IN GRANNY BATMAN!! I had no idea what the pedal feedback would be like when standing in the granny. When seated, I hardly notice it but when I stand up it feels frickin' weird. Middle does it a less, but still does. The rear is so 'stiff' when climbing and standing that the front ends up bobbing quite a bit. That energy's gotta go somewhere.

    Second - when seated and climbing and going over 'square bumps' like a gnarly root or something it's so plush the bike feels like the tire is flat. If you unweight yourself or are standing the bike really firms up and it's more harsh than my Heckler.

    Third - the steering, with a 160mm Float, a 90mm stem, and a full width (28", I think?) Easton DH bar the bike steers awesome. Any more slack and it would feel 'floppy' - pushes the very edge on slackness while still being very good on tight singletrack

    Fourth - climbing really steep stuff. This bike wanders way less than the Heckler. The front wheel likes to come up off the ground a little more but it goes straighter. I guess the slacker HTA helps with that where the Heckler with the 150mm TALAS 36 is a little more twitchy.

    Fifth - The suspension is not nearly as plush as I expected. That's not to say it didn't work well but the DHX 5.0 came with way too much compression damping 'tuning' for my taste. I'm running a 550lb spring with 120psi in the damping chamber. I know you are supposed to run 125 but... maybe it's tuned for 90* weather and hotter? It was 47* (felt balmy!) today and sunny. So maybe the 2 months where it's above 70* here it'll feel OK.

    Sixth - this thing really shines down the singletrack. It soaks everything up really well, steers exactly like I expect it to, and has a great 'attitude' offa jumps and drops. I especially like the Float fork (09) on this bike. I had to turn the high speed up 3 clicks and the low speed up 1 click. I can't wait to try this off one drop that I always get a little scared of. Oh - and the suspension has a lotta 'pop' to it. I guess that's because when you push off a lip or off a wood jump the chain growth pushes against your non-moving feet (unless you pedal off that stuff, but I don't). Manuals through dips really well too.

    Seven - very, very quiet suspension and drivetrain with the stinger. It only clanked when I was going fast over rough stuff - I guess the neoprene might get replaced with innertube soon.

    Ok, a few pics:




















    "It looks flexy"

  2. #2
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    Wow! Nice!
    2008 Specialized Stumpjumper Expert

    I DON'T avoid rocks.

  3. #3
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    Wow, great report.

    Surprised to hear about the feedback while pedaling in the granny, what with all of the hullabaloo over the improvements in that regard with the VPP2. I'm on an Intense 6.6 and was wondering how much better the newer designs would be. For me it's definitely noticeable while seated, so maybe there is an improvement. The Tracer VP folks seem to report it as a non-issue, though I wonder how true that is while standing.

    Are you sure you're running the right spring rate? 550 seems pretty stiff.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ebarker9
    Wow, great report.

    Surprised to hear about the feedback while pedaling in the granny, what with all of the hullabaloo over the improvements in that regard with the VPP2. I'm on an Intense 6.6 and was wondering how much better the newer designs would be. For me it's definitely noticeable while seated, so maybe there is an improvement. The Tracer VP folks seem to report it as a non-issue, though I wonder how true that is while standing.

    Are you sure you're running the right spring rate? 550 seems pretty stiff.
    I'm going to try a 500 spring today or tomorrow. On my Heckler, I'm running 50 under the recommended. This is about 50 over what they recommend for my (nekkid) weight. Whatever the case, I like a softer, plush setup so you might be right on. Is it worse to over or under sag with VPP?
    "It looks flexy"

  5. #5
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    Holy Crap - beautiful bike.

  6. #6
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    What size granny ring are you using? I had a lot of pedal feedback on my Banshee Rune (also a type of VPP suspension system) until I replaced the 22t granny with a 26t (some also use a 24t), and the pedal feedback instantly disappeared.

    I have heard people with the older Nomads do exactly the same thing. I am surprised it is so bad with the new Nomad because I had heard the suspension had been changed to minimise the feedback,

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikey74
    What size granny ring are you using? I had a lot of pedal feedback on my Banshee Rune (also a type of VPP suspension system) until I replaced the 22t granny with a 26t (some also use a 24t), and the pedal feedback instantly disappeared.

    I have heard people with the older Nomads do exactly the same thing. I am surprised it is so bad with the new Nomad because I had heard the suspension had been changed to minimise the feedback,
    I was riding 24t but decided to go 22t on this bike because I like how my other bike (the Heckler) rides with 22t and I have a ton of 22t gears in stock.
    "It looks flexy"

  8. #8
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    Very nice setup

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gticlay


    First off all, sick bike! just wondering what happened to the XT wheels you had on it in these photos... why the switch to the WTB's?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by MooseJuice71
    First off all, sick bike! just wondering what happened to the XT wheels you had on it in these photos... why the switch to the WTB's?
    There is a good reason for that, and I'm not super happy with it. I've been running the XT wheels (AWESOME SETUP, btw) for almost a year. I'm using Alligator centerlock to 6 bolt adaptors. They work perfectly with the IS standard FOX 36 but will not work with a post mount Fox 36 - an 8" rotor will rub on the post mounts. I realize the 8" rotor isn't in the pix but it's still winter here and in winter a 6" works pretty well. Sooooooooo - I put the WTB to have a nicely aligned rotor and brake. I also have to run the tubed Enduro tires (which I like a lot) instead of the UST Nevegals.
    "It looks flexy"

  11. #11
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    Second ride review:

    OK - so I rode the Nomad 2 with a 500lb spring (I have 450, 500, and now two 550's!). It mellowed out the pedal feedback in the granny a little bit. With the 500, I'm getting 0.7" of sag, or 28%. They recommend from 25-30% so that's right in there. I don't know what the 550 was because I never measured it but the 500 is good for my weight.

    There is still pedal feedback but I truly think I just need to get used to it. I'm quite suprised as I thought that the Heckler would have more feedback than the VPP bikes. I also turned the rebound down to 4 or 5 clicks out from fully open - I forgot to check it yesterday and it was at 12 clicks! The biggest problem I have with the feedback is that when I'm standing up a nasty steep climb and have to get over a square edge bump (root or a funky rock in the trail) it stiffens the suspension so much that I'll peel out on it. The FSR NEVER, EVER does that and the Heckler doesn't seem to as harshly. The good part is that when I hammer up a logging road it just GOES. But I mostly climb singletrack on principal (I'm a MTB'er, not a roadie )

    So - it's mellowed out a bit now, the sag is within recommended range and the bike is still awesome on the downhill. I might just have to sell the Heckler. I guess the main reason is because I now owe $500 on the visa and my wife will kill me if I don't pay for that asap!
    "It looks flexy"

  12. #12
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    My theory...it's all the white, throws the force out of whack. If anything I'd go below recommendation on springs for Fox shocks, works better for me at least...
    "...the people get the government they deserve..."
    suum quique

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by gticlay
    The biggest problem I have with the feedback is that when I'm standing up a nasty steep climb and have to get over a square edge bump (root or a funky rock in the trail) it stiffens the suspension so much that I'll peel out on it. The FSR NEVER, EVER does that!
    Ding, ding, ding, ding. We have a winner. You've just described one of the reasons I like a well-executed FSR/HL/4x4 linkage better than the VPP. It doesn't surprise me that you still notice the feedback compared to a FSR type suspension

    If you had come from the v.1 VPP to the new Nomad you would have noticed that the pedal feedback is much less on the new version (at least while seated). I guess I didn't try climbing any rocky/ledgy stuff standing on the new Tracer so couldn't say if it has pedal feedback there... but I'm almost always seated in those types of situations. .

    Great report. Beautiful bike. Too bad the XT wheels didn't work with your fork/brake setup. They look totally sick with that all white setup. Very nice.
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  14. #14
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    Before I got my Banshee Rune, I had a Titus Motolite which used the patented FSR suspension design. Although it exhibited no suspension feedback whatsoever, the suspension squated everytime I put the power down, plus it bobbed uphill.

    With my VPP Rune the bike just surges forward under power and on smooth climbs feels very stiff and hardtail-like, whereas the Titus would be bobbing, soaking up alot of energy. I much prefer the VPP to the FSR, now, especially since I replaced the granny ring, I experience virtually zero pedal feedback.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob
    Ding, ding, ding, ding. We have a winner. You've just described one of the reasons I like a well-executed FSR/HL/4x4 linkage better than the VPP. It doesn't surprise me that you still notice the feedback compared to a FSR type suspension

    If you had come from the v.1 VPP to the new Nomad you would have noticed that the pedal feedback is much less on the new version (at least while seated). I guess I didn't try climbing any rocky/ledgy stuff standing on the new Tracer so couldn't say if it has pedal feedback there... but I'm almost always seated in those types of situations. .

    Great report. Beautiful bike. Too bad the XT wheels didn't work with your fork/brake setup. They look totally sick with that all white setup. Very nice.
    I'll get the XT wheelset back on there - I just have to modify the adapter or get CL rotors. I'll probably get some XT rotors soon. Just trying to decide if I go 8" front, 6" rear or ride 8x8 like last summer. or maybe try 7x7. So many options...

    As far as the FSR the real problem with it is that (at least with the Enduro) I could tune it to ride well on general singletrack OR to be good off jumps/medium to small drops... but not both at the same time. I don't mind bob at all so that's not really a negative to me. My brother feels the same way but is happy with cranking up the damping when he's going on a trail with doubles, etc and then changing the settings again when riding general trail stuff. But I'd ride another in a second - I just wanted to try something new. Heck, maybe I'll sell the Heckler and have the FSR and VPP in the garage?
    "It looks flexy"

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikey74
    Before I got my Banshee Rune, I had a Titus Motolite which used the patented FSR suspension design. Although it exhibited no suspension feedback whatsoever, the suspension squated everytime I put the power down, plus it bobbed uphill.

    With my VPP Rune the bike just surges forward under power and on smooth climbs feels very stiff and hardtail-like, whereas the Titus would be bobbing, soaking up alot of energy. I much prefer the VPP to the FSR, now, especially since I replaced the granny ring, I experience virtually zero pedal feedback.
    Out of curiousity, what granny are you running? I bought a Sugino 24t a while back and the teeth seem really soft - they mushroom out and deform really quickly. Fortunately it was steel and I just flipped it around. Their steel must be softer because I've been running this old LX steel granny for years on other bikes and it's not deformed at all yet.
    "It looks flexy"

  17. #17
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    Great looking build! Looks like the perfect all mountain machine.

    I am a bit surprised to hear you have noticeable feedback on the vpp.2. I have the Tracer VP and am coming from an Intense 6.6 and Ellsworth Moment (similar to FSR). I have not noticed the feedback on the Tracer yet (very noticeable on 6.6 and non-existent on Ells). I am sure there is some there since it is still a VPP but it just really isn't perceptible to me. The VPP.2 seems much more neutral but still with some platform support. In the end, every suspension design has its compromises.

    Enjoy the nice ride!

  18. #18
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    What is the bashguard?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    What is the bashguard?
    It is a Gamut P2 - weighs 5g less than the 44t XT chainring it replaced. Not that I care about 5g but I happened to weigh both when I put it on.
    "It looks flexy"

  20. #20
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    how much does she weigh?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by gticlay
    Out of curiousity, what granny are you running? I bought a Sugino 24t a while back and the teeth seem really soft - they mushroom out and deform really quickly. Fortunately it was steel and I just flipped it around. Their steel must be softer because I've been running this old LX steel granny for years on other bikes and it's not deformed at all yet.
    I am running a cheap Shimano Deore granny ring, and it seems fine.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by gticlay
    It is a Gamut P2 - weighs 5g less than the 44t XT chainring it replaced. Not that I care about 5g but I happened to weigh both when I put it on.
    You run 32t middle?

    I only found P20 - is it the same, typo, or an old model? 75g for 32t is claimed, I guess they do make their weights.

  23. #23
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    fcd
    Click click, BLOODY CLICK WAFFLES!

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    Sweet ride, congratulations! I'm curious about the weight too.

  25. #25
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    Here is a little update I posted on my cross thread on all mountain. I don't know the weight - I'll have to go to a bike shop and ask them to weigh it for me. Yes Curmy, I'm running 32t and the guard is for 32-34 teeth. Nice and light and beefy.


    OK, so here is a setup I'm starting to be pretty happy with: 28% sag, rebound 5 clicks from open, propedal turned as off as it goes, and the compression psi at 130. I started the compression at 120 because that's where I like it on my heckler but then started thinking that this bike may need more - the leverage ratio is 2.52 vs the Heckler LR of 2.36. You of course need more spring and it makes sense more load is placed on the damping circuit as well. I brought a pump along and tried 140 and 135 but they were too much. It still has the issue in the granny when standing but not as much. I think the rear tracked a little bit better and maybe gained some braking traction - it also feels like 'stuff' might be breaking in and if feels a lil more plush than the first ride did. Right now, I am pretty darn happy with it. I rode it today for 3 hours on trails I am very familiar with and I am starting to really feel like the bike has significant advantages over the Heckler and over the FSR for me.

    I'm starting to think the setup on VPP is much more important than on FSR or single pivot bikes - and when you get it dialed in, that is when you really start to notice how well the suspension works in a wide variety of situations. You know what would be nice? To have the new DHX RC4 damping can on this shock. I wonder if they could just slap that on a shorter body? Why not, right?

    Also - the Fox Float 36 2009 is one damn good fork. I still think it flexes more than the older 36's but it's not like running a QR or anything like that!
    "It looks flexy"

  26. #26
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    Sick build!

    Where did you find brand new Enduro tires? I wore out the set that came on my 07 Enduro.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by gticlay
    Here is a little update I posted on my cross thread on all mountain. I don't know the weight - I'll have to go to a bike shop and ask them to weigh it for me. Yes Curmy, I'm running 32t and the guard is for 32-34 teeth. Nice and light and beefy.


    OK, so here is a setup I'm starting to be pretty happy with: 28% sag, rebound 5 clicks from open, propedal turned as off as it goes, and the compression psi at 130. I started the compression at 120 because that's where I like it on my heckler but then started thinking that this bike may need more - the leverage ratio is 2.52 vs the Heckler LR of 2.36. You of course need more spring and it makes sense more load is placed on the damping circuit as well. I brought a pump along and tried 140 and 135 but they were too much. It still has the issue in the granny when standing but not as much. I think the rear tracked a little bit better and maybe gained some braking traction - it also feels like 'stuff' might be breaking in and if feels a lil more plush than the first ride did. Right now, I am pretty darn happy with it. I rode it today for 3 hours on trails I am very familiar with and I am starting to really feel like the bike has significant advantages over the Heckler and over the FSR for me.

    I'm starting to think the setup on VPP is much more important than on FSR or single pivot bikes - and when you get it dialed in, that is when you really start to notice how well the suspension works in a wide variety of situations. You know what would be nice? To have the new DHX RC4 damping can on this shock. I wonder if they could just slap that on a shorter body? Why not, right?

    Also - the Fox Float 36 2009 is one damn good fork. I still think it flexes more than the older 36's but it's not like running a QR or anything like that!
    I'm consider the Nomad 2 as my next do it all bike but the pedal feedback concerns me. How would you compare it to the Heckler when sitting and climbing?

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nagaredama
    Sick build!

    Where did you find brand new Enduro tires? I wore out the set that came on my 07 Enduro.
    They are really versatile, aren't they? Specialized blew them out a while back and so I ordered some. You can still find them on ebay brand new for super cheap - at least last week they were still on there.
    "It looks flexy"

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by dascro
    I'm consider the Nomad 2 as my next do it all bike but the pedal feedback concerns me. How would you compare it to the Heckler when sitting and climbing?
    Well, the Heckler certainly has some pedal feedback here and there... and the Heckler has something else we haven't really talked about - which is that the suspension stiffens up and doesn't have the amount of braking traction that an FSR or VPP (or DW) bike has.

    So I'll try to explain the different types of pedal feedback I feel. This might not be technially correct for this reason or that but this is where I feel the feedback when I'm riding:

    Heckler - when you are seated and pedaling the suspension is pretty neutral. When you roll over a small log or big root and compress the suspension pretty far (say 5" for example and still seated), you will feel a strange pulling sensation in part of the travel - it sort of gets stiffer then easier while it cycles. I've ridden single pivot-like bikes for many, many years so I'm completely used to it. When you are standing and pedaling, the bike has a fair amount of squish to it. I run DHX coil and turn the propedal all the way off because I don't like how it affects general riding and again I'm used to how these bikes ride. Some people think the squish kills your power - I'm not one of those. The other thing is that when you are using the rear brake it stiffens the suspension. Think of it as running a lot more spring than you usually do - like if you normally run 400lbs, you are now running 600lbs. So the bike will skid easier OR you can't hit the brakes as hard. There is always a lot of debate on this issue but I don't think bikes like this stinkbug or anything, just get stiffer - the more brake you apply the more it stiffens up.

    Nomad: Remember this is from 3 rides but it is on trails I'm very familiar with. I know each root, bump, jump, and what line I normally take into and out of certain corners, etc.

    My ride starts with a medium steep single track climb (granny gear front, 4th cog from 'big' in back) and then changes to a granny/ 2nd from biggest as it steepens even more. There are multiple areas with big roots or rocks you have to 'clear'. It's fun and warms you up quick. This is where I notice the granny pedal feedback/stiffening the most. On the tough to clear stuff, I will often stand and heft the bike up and over the various obstacles or they may be too rough to stay seated. It is also where I've been losing traction and spinning out more than with the Heckler or the Enduro. After the steep stuff, the ride goes to middle ring for quite a while - it rides *really nice* here. In fact I feel like the bike might have broken in and now has a more plush quality to it than before. It might be the setup tweeks I've make to the bike as well. It jumps nicely and lands like a wet rag. It also soaks up doubles that you don't quite clear very well while the Heckler dosn't like that very much.

    So the feeling when I stand in the granny is like I'm lifting myself with each stroke - like the bike is topping out the travel instead of sinking into it. Not like it's a hardtail. So when you are in granny and the middle of the cassette (say 5th down from big) and try to spin out coming up to a big obstacle or a if you are trying to accelerate hard out of a corner it's just really difficult becuase of all the weird pulling and pushing coming out of the suspension. Pretty hard to explain.
    "It looks flexy"

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