I recently bought a large Nomad frame and built it up. That's all fine except, last year I bought a new Fox Talas R (130mm max - 5.1") front fork. Nomads are spec'd for 140mm minimum fork, however I decided to try The Talas on my new Nomad BEFORE I plunked down almost a thousand bucks for a Fox 36'er. Here's what I discovered so far. Yes, I do plan to get a 6" fork when I round up some serious dinero.
I've only been on moderate trails so far, but initally: with no modification, the front end did seem a little low and the geometry somewhat off. First off I put a fatter 2.35" tire with a tall height profile on the front and a smallish 2.1 on rear, ie one end goes up the other goes down which supposed will bring the frame geometry more in line with spec. (the SC tech support guy thought this might work). I also set the sag a little deeper by maybe 3/8" at the Fox DHX shock shaft. I also put on a 100mm stem to slow down the steering a little bit (remember less wheelbase/steeper head angle equals faster steering). Fortunately, my old Talas old fork's steerer tube was pretty long, so that and a few 3/16" spacers got the handlebars up to where they felt pretty good and the cockpit was nice and roomy enough... plus I wasn't too upright. Anyway, here's my initial impressions on a few short moderate test rides.
Downhill seems fine on moderate stuff. There's no feeling that the fork is 'too far out ahead of the bike" or "under your feet" or that the geometry is off. Control and stability is just fine and there's no tendency to get that 'pitched forward' feeling when hitting rock ledges uphill. I think the frame design is pretty forgiving and accounts for most of that. Oh yeah, DOWNHILL THIS BIKE WANTS YOU TO KEEP YOUR WEIGHT CENTERED OR ELSE BLOODBATH! I'll have to try it on some more radical stuff when I get a feel for the bike.
The cornering is a obviously a lot different than Norba geometry bikes, but with my mods it doesn't jerk or spaz during tight corners, that is, unless you really lean too much or get you're weight too forward of center of the cockpit or just plain oversteer (wide bars good!). Anyway, it stays reasonably stable. I also set the compression on my fork a little bit higher so it doesn't dive with more weight centered forward from the short fork. My rear smaller tire grabs great since its slightly softer and I keep the front tire pretty full at about 38psi to keep the front end up. Take a pump for flats or better go with UST.
I like a roomy cockpit but the Nomad's actually isn't much bigger than its cousin, the Superlight (which I also own). Much better standover on the Nomad tho!
I'll still continue to experiment with my 130mm Fox fork and by the time I figure it all out I'll have the bucks for the fox 36'er!, By the way, don't be afraid to play around with this - in spite of what you LBS sez, you're not going to void your warranty!
Let me know your experiments and tips, please.
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