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  1. #1
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    Demoed the 2015 Nomad today and need some advice

    Guys,

    I just rode a Large Nomad today with a 50 or 55 cm stem (I am not sure exactly). I am 5'9" but have a very long arms and legs (32" inseam and I wear a 32-33 dress shirt) but have always owned medium frames. The bike felt perfect in the parking lot and I was amazed at how well it climbed. Unfortunately once I pointed it downhill on some twisty, bermed and rutted out single track turns on a trail here in Socal, it felt huge and way too long on the front end, like I had no control over the bike. It was like trying to turn a truck and I just didn't feel comfortable carrying speed because I didn't think I was going to make it around some turns without flying off the trail. I am wondering if a medium with the 1" shorter top tube and wheelbase overall would have made a significant difference here? I will explain more below as I have a long history of local DH and bike park riding, but is part of the problem that I am not used to the slack head angle and the long wheelbase and I could quickly adjust my riding style to the bike? My current rig is a Giant Anthemx 29er with a 120mm fork that has slacked the head angle out a bit.

    Just to give you some history, my progression of bikes over the past 10 years was Santa Cruz Bullit - Transition Bottlerocket - '08 Giant Reign X and I had ridden a lot of local DH trails as well as park riding at Whistler and Northstar up until 2010 when I finally had enough of crashing and getting hurt. I have been riding only XC since then. My Anthem X 29er, has a pretty steep head angle, super long chainstays and a much shorter wheelbase than the large Nomad (almost a full 3" shorter). I was looking at the Nomad so that I could still do my typical trail riding but also get back into park riding and shuttling again.
    Last edited by Bullit21; 4 Days Ago at 07:26 AM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullit21 View Post
    Unfortunately once I pointed it downhill on some twisty, bermed and rutted out single track turns on a trail here in Socal, it felt huge, like I had no control over the bike. It was like trying to turn a truck and I just didn't feel comfortable carrying speed because I didn't think I was going to make it around some turns without flying off the trail.
    That pretty much sums up my first few rides aswell. I've had one now for 3 months and it's gotten a lot better, but initially I was quite concerned I had made a very poor and expensive mistake in buying one (pre order - no test ride).

    I'm not sure exactly when that feeling went away, but now the bikes is quite good, certainly the long cockpit and wheelbase took a bit of getting used to, and now I quite like the room it gives to move around on and use more body english than a more cramped position. I actually able to climb stuff I couldn't before.

    Certainly in really tight stuff the bike is a bit of a pig, unless you can carry enough speed to slide it sideways and really push on the inside bar to get a bit of drift going. You really must ride this bike very aggressively to get the most out of it, which is hard to do on an unfamiliar bike.

    Get the bike onto some fast shuttle type tracks if you can, this is were it really shines, very stable at speed.

    Just my random musings.

    Edit: ignore the wheelbase, it's just what happens when bikes have slack headangles.

  3. #3
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    I think the OP probably belongs on a medium.

  4. #4
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    I would go with a medium... Personally I would rather have a bike a tad too small then be too big.

    Also, if the Nomad is too slack for you, try riding a Bronson. Don't buy a Nomad because it's a "Nomad" or you'll regret it later. Buy the bike that feels right and it may not be a Santa Cruz.

    ~J.

  5. #5
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    I'm same size as OP 5'9" with a 33" inseam. i ride a medium Nomad. My friend's large Nomad feels huge to me.

    Comments by Uphill=sad, above, are spot in. this bike need to be ridden aggressively. When doing such, it's amazing. But it's not a pedal and forget type of bike - it needs input
    “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.”

    ― Albert Einstein

  6. #6
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    I'm the same height as you, borrowed a MEDIUM nomad for a month and thought the exact same thing......too long. It has nothing to do with the headangle, that's perfect. It's the wheelbase. My lasting impression of the sizing is that I would buy a small if I were to get one. Because at a 45" wheelbase, the small was similar to the previous trail bikes I'd owned. The bb height and headangle offer enough stability that going longer than what you're used to just makes the bike unweildy.

    I was looking at the nomad as a candidate for my one and only trail bike. If you're planning on keeping a smaller travel, lighter trail bike around with nomad being your bike park/shuttle ride, then yeah maybe a medium.

    Trailbikes in general are getting longer across the board and the nomads are on the more extreme end of that. But with lower BBs and slacker headangles, you're already getting a more stable ride. Going too long just makes the things hard to move around. Don't fixate on small/medium/large because that's different between every single bike, even from the same manufacturer (I think a medium solo/5010 fits me fine....that's a 44ish" WB). Go by wheelbases. That's going to tell you more about how a bike is going to handle more than anything. You can always tune cockpit fit with stems (rise and length) and handlebar width and sweep, and saddle position. But how long the contact patch is between wheels is going to define how the thing descends when standing more than any of that.
    STRAVA: Enabling dorks everywhere to get trails shut down........ all for the sake of a race on the internet.

  7. #7
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    Anthem to Nomad is a pretty big jump and that probably has a lot to do with it. Definitely will take 2-3 weeks to adjust. My question would be how are you planning on changing the trails you are riding? Is there stuff you don't do on the Anthem that you want to start hitting? The bikes I would be looking making that transition would be Solo, Bronson, SB5c, Mach 6, T275c. Yeti will be the closest in geometry, but with a steeper HA. Wheelbase is just as long though.

    Lots of good choices out there, but I think it is most important to understand what you are trying to achieve.

  8. #8
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    Thanks everyone for the responses. Kidwoo, I know you have been around for along time so after hearing your experience, it is good to know that I wasn't crazy with my initial thoughts. Salespunk, I took the Anthem back out this morning on one of my local trails and I thought about what I will be primarily doing, and it is not going to be shuttle/DH. I wouldn't even come close to properly maximizing the potential of the Nomad on my local stuff that I ride at least once or twice a week and although it is a shockingly good climber for what it is, I feel I would be sacrificing too much in the climbing department compared to other options which is what I am doing at least half of the time. I want to think I am going to go hit the parks again, but realistically, I just don't want to take the injury risk anymore if I am being totally honest with myself.

    I think the real issue is that I want a more playful bike than the Anthem at this point that I could take on some more gnar stuff if I really wanted to. I think the Nomad for me is another case where my eyes are bigger than my stomach to make a good food analogy. My guess is as you said that I would be better off on a Solo/Bronson/Trance/Scout etc. Maybe the Mach 6 would be a better compromise for me as it has more of the trail bike qualities that I want but is closer to the Nomad than these other bikes in terms of gnar capability. I will be able to demo a Mach 6 in November and will be demoing a Trance next weekend. I was going to check out the Reign also, but the numbers look almost identical to the Nomad, so I am assuming it is going to feel too long to me as well.

  9. #9
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    A Bronson with a 150 mm fork would be a lot more playful than your current bike but still climb well enough to keep you happy. It's also more at home on milder trails than the Nomad. I don't think it needs to be pushed as hard to shine.

  10. #10
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    Re: Demoed the 2015 Nomad today and need some advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Bullit21 View Post
    Guys,

    I just rode a Large Nomad today with a 50 or 55 cm stem (I am not sure exactly). I am 5'9" but have a very long arms and legs (32" inseam and I wear a 32-33 dress shirt) but have always owned medium frames.

    First thing I'd do is check the stem size.


    You must have really loooong arms.

  11. #11
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    I was looking at some numbers today. The Mach 6 is a full 1.5" shorter than the Nomad overall and it has about 80% of the Nomad's DH capability. Also the long TT and shorter reach may work well for your build.

  12. #12
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    The Mach6 and nomad ARE really similar to each other numbers-wise.......just with a sizing offset. A medium nomad is going to be comparable to a large M6 in terms of reach numbers. And the Mach6 has smaller gaps between sizes than the nomads. I don't know......I think things like wheelbase and reach are the places to start and THEN look at what size that happens to be for a given manufacturer. Because honestly, they're all over the place between companies.

    I wouldn't write of the nomad just because the huge one your rode felt unwieldy.......Those large things are for the solid 6ft+ group for sure. I'm sure you'd think the same thing riding an XL M6 or an XL Bronson. I'd at least try to grab a medium (and honestly a small) nomad before dismissing it. Getting it sized right will make it feel more like what you're probably looking for. "too much bike" should come from how the suspension/weight/angles work out. Not just how long it is. That's something you can easily control when you decide to buy. Looking at other bikes with similar travel and geo numbers doesn't really change what the problem might be. I've owned smalls mediums and larges of all kinds of bikes. Just depends on who's making them how they decide to designate.
    STRAVA: Enabling dorks everywhere to get trails shut down........ all for the sake of a race on the internet.

  13. #13
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    Sizing a bike based on wheelbase is not a good idea.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillharman View Post
    Sizing a bike based on wheelbase is not a good idea.
    If your concerns are primarily with how it handles descending it absolutely is. Because there is nothing that's going to tell you how quickly/slowly that bike is going to move around turns like the wheelbase measurement. This whole fit of a bike being solely based on specific cockpit dimensions is one of the lasting holdovers from road bike nonsense. Road bikes don't need to be simultaneously nimble in turns and stable in chunder, with regular changes in weighting from from front to rear.

    Once you stand up and start using your legs and arms, all that distance from head tube to seat tube stuff is irrelevant. Call it reach if you don't like 'wheelbase'. With chainstays being the same between sizes with almost every manufacturer, "reach" is pretty much the same comparison. Because that's all that's changing between sizes.......the front end of the bike. You'll get some minor differences with headtube lengths but go look at any frame manufacturer's jumps between sizes. That wheelbase measurement is almost identical to reach in terms of how much it changes between sizes. But even 'reach' is still more of a cockpit measurement. The wheelbase tells you more about how bike bike is going to move beneath you.
    STRAVA: Enabling dorks everywhere to get trails shut down........ all for the sake of a race on the internet.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidwoo View Post
    If your concerns are primarily with how it handles descending it absolutely is. Because there is nothing that's going to tell you how quickly/slowly that bike is going to move around turns like the wheelbase measurement. This whole fit of a bike being solely based on specific cockpit dimensions is one of the lasting holdovers from road bike nonsense. Road bikes don't need to be simultaneously nimble in turns and stable in chunder.

    Once you stand up and start using your legs and arms, all that distance from head tube to seat tube stuff is irrelevant. Call it reach if you don't like 'wheelbase'. With chainstays being the same between sizes with almost every manufacturer, "reach" is pretty much the same comparison. Because that's all that's changing between sizes.......the front end of the bike. You'll get some minor differences with headtube lengths but go look at any frame manufacturer's jumps between sizes. That wheelbase measurement is almost identical to reach in terms of how much it changes between sizes. But even 'reach' is still more of a cockpit measurement. The wheelbase tells you more about how bike bike is going to move beneath you.
    Wheelbase has no specific relationship to the size of the rider. Reach does. You can say what kind of reach works for you. You can't say what kind wheelbase works for you because it will be different for every bike.

  16. #16
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    Thanks guys. I can still check out the medium Nomad next weekend and possibly still get to the Giant Demo in time to grab a quick spin on the Trance. Can't wait to try the M6 later on in November. Might sound crazy, but I am a huge fan of the Maestro design and it wouldn't surprise me if I end up liking the Trance the most of all of them. Don't know when I am going to get to demo the Scout, but I really want to try it too. When dropping this much coin on a bike, I should probably try as many as possible to be sure.

  17. #17
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    I agree in not writing off the Nomad because there is essentially zero difference between how it climbs and the Bronson. I think that a medium Nomad would probably be the right call.

    My comment on the Mach 6 was more related to him thinking he may not like the Nomad based on handling. In addition with longer arm/shorter torso it may fit better since the reach is shorter but the TT is similar due to the slack seat tube angle. It also has a slightly steeper HA.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by iscariot View Post
    First thing I'd do is check the stem size.


    You must have really loooong arms.
    I am a freaking ape. I was testing my reach against other guys yesterday at the demo who were my height or even closer to 6 ft and I had the most reach of everyone by almost an inch.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillharman View Post
    You can't say what kind wheelbase works for you because it will be different for every bike.
    To a degree, of course. My dirtjumper wheelbase is nowhere near the wheelbase of my dh bike.

    But when looking at what size of a given frame you want (assuming identical or really similar headangles between sizes), looking at reach tells you where the top of the headtube is. Looking at wheelbase tells you how large of a radius you're working with to move the bike around in corners. And within a given model, that's what I'm telling you........reach variations and wheelbase variations mimic each other almost identically. And even reach is changeable with some headset spacers so it's not the end all be all of figuring out how a bike is going to HANDLE, not where it puts the bars with slammed stem.

    If your gripes are with how a given bike of a certain size descends (IE: how it moves around on the ground), go to the source......that's the wheelbase.

    Quote Originally Posted by hillharman View Post
    Wheelbase has no specific relationship to the size of the rider.
    Sure it does within a given genre of bike. And certainly within a given range of sizes of the exact same model.

    Your body is adjustable when descending. Your wheelbase is not. You can easily move your mass forward or rearward while standing up but you'll never be able to change what it takes to move a given distance of contact patch with tires around a corner. So it's an important measurement. Way more important than where the top of the headtube happens to be. Because even that's adjustable with headset spacers. Reach is a great measurement and I'm glad manufacturers started using it instead of just 'top tube length'. But it still incoorporates top tube length and introduces weirdness with headtube length variations.

    There's no ONE measurement that should be taken as a universal. But in the OP's case, wheelbase is one worth looking at. Because the new nomads are freakin long for a given size compared to a lot of other bikes.
    STRAVA: Enabling dorks everywhere to get trails shut down........ all for the sake of a race on the internet.

  20. #20
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    It's a long bike because it has a super slack head angle and medium length chainstays. That doesn't mean that everyone should size down. If the wheelbase is too long but the stack and reach numbers are right for your body, then it's just the wrong bike. Super slack 27.5 mini downhill bikes have long wheelbases.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bullit21 View Post
    I am a freaking ape. I was testing my reach against other guys yesterday at the demo who were my height or even closer to 6 ft and I had the most reach of everyone by almost an inch.
    Try fitting to a bike when you're 5'10", have a 32 riding inseam (30" jeans) and have a long torso and 35" sleeve length! To find one long enough, I usually can't stand over it!
    '14 Bronson C
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillharman View Post
    It's a long bike because it has a super slack head angle and medium length chainstays. That doesn't mean that everyone should size down. If the wheelbase is too long but the stack and reach numbers are right for your body, then it's just the wrong bike. Super slack 27.5 mini downhill bikes have long wheelbases.

    "everyone?"

    No not everyone. But with the op who is the same height as me (again, not generally in 'large' territory with most manufacturers), on a bike I'm pretty familiar with, with those complaints, yeah absolutely.

    If you think the nomad is 'super slack' and a 'mini dh bike' that tells me we're coming from slightly different backgrounds maybe. Before reach and stack existed, most dhers I knew would look primarily at wheelbase measurements first.... because like I keep saying, that tells you how much bike you're going to be moving underneath you when descending. That's a bigger deal then where the top of the headtube sits if descending is your priority. Reach measurements still rely on imperfect variables like headtube length and the fact that you can always change where your hands sit. Handelbar width and sweep are something no one ever even talks about but that has more influence on where the top of your body sits than minutia in frame reach measurements. So does stem and bar rise...... All these adjustable things that make where the top of that headtube is less relevant. But if you're looking for a certain feel descending within a given range of angles, a wheelbase measurement tells you most of it.

    Again I'm not talking about cockpit fit, I'm talking about how the bike handles while standing up descending. I've ridden tons of bikes with 65degree and less headangles for over a decade and it's not 'reach' that differentiated how they felt moving them through corners while descending. It's that other word I keep using. And yes 'intended use' matters too which is why I said medium first, but if this is for a one and only trailbike then maybe a small. You can make them both 'fit'.

    Serious question: have you ever owned a bike of the same model in two different sizes?
    STRAVA: Enabling dorks everywhere to get trails shut down........ all for the sake of a race on the internet.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by hokiebrett View Post
    Try fitting to a bike when you're 5'10", have a 32 riding inseam (30" jeans) and have a long torso and 35" sleeve length! To find one long enough, I usually can't stand over it!
    The Kona Process is made for people like you.

    I'm similar, 5'11" with long arms. My reverb is pretty much slammed in my large nomad frame, I see people that are the same height with up to three inches of seatpost showing. There were so many frames that I wrote off because their reach/TT to seat tube ratio was all wrong. I'm so stoked with how perfectly the nomad fits and feels, It's like they designed it for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hokiebrett View Post
    Try fitting to a bike when you're 5'10", have a 32 riding inseam (30" jeans) and have a long torso and 35" sleeve length! To find one long enough, I usually can't stand over it!
    I have the exact same measurements, so frustrating!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by kidwoo View Post
    Before reach and stack existed, most dhers I knew would look primarily at wheelbase measurements first....
    Never met a DH'er, myself and riding/racing companions included that even consider wheelbase. Head angle, BB height, chainstay length are the only things we consider when comparing different frames, asuming that size is correct for the rider (reach or in the old days toptube or effective toptube).

    Wheelbase is a passive design element, it simply occurs due to other factors headangle, chainstay length and reach. Head angle and chains stays have a more dynamic effect on handling than wheelbase. Dave Turner posted about this a few years ago when the DHR was being released.

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