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  1. #1
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    New Nomad vs. Mach6: a tall guy's perspective

    I've gotten a few rides on the new Nomad after a few months of riding a Mach6. I've gotten several requests for comparisons, so here goes. I'm 6'3" with long arms and legs, and have been on a XL in both frames.

    The bottom line: if you're tall and trying to decide between these two bikes, quit reading now and go order a Nomad.

    The details: the story here is the geometry. Both suspensions work extremely well, and these two bikes were built with the same kit. But the geometry is hugely different, and this is what makes the Nomad a superior bike in my opinion, at least for taller guys.

    If you've done your homework you know that the M6 has a relatively slack ST angle, and a correspondingly short reach measurement. The Nomad is steep in the ST, long in the reach, and slack in the HT; the rider is rotated forward around the BB relative to the Mach6. This combination means the Nomad is a much longer bike; over an inch longer in the reach and 2" in the wheelbase in the XL. This latter difference nearly all comes from the front of the bike, as the chain stays on both are nice and short.

    A major shortcoming of the Mach6 for me was that this combo of short chainstays and slack STA, plus my long legs, meant that my saddle ended up way back over the rear hub. This makes climbing tough, as even on steep fire roads I found myself having to hunker down over the bars to keep the front end down, and steeper trails necessitated a noticeable weight shift toward the front of the bike, balancing on the nose of the saddle. Descending on the Mach6, the short reach and compact wheelbase required very consciously bending at the waist, to keep the bars in front of me and keep my knees clear of the bars. The front wheel of the M6 is relatively close to the BB, so that standing up too straight on steep DH sections feels like I risk going over the bars.

    All this is fixed on the Nomad. The steep STA puts me over the BB and yields great rear-wheel grip on even very steep climbs. I can clean techy climbs on the Nomad that I couldn't on M6, because I'm not all out of position and balanced on the front of my saddle. With the Nomad, I stay seated and keep the cranks turning, and I get up anything; my legs are the limiting factor.

    Downhill, the long reach and slack HTA of the Nomad are amazing; the bike is super stable, and just wants more speed. Long reach puts me between the wheels, instead of feeling like I'm perched on top of them. With a short stem and slack HTA, the front wheel is a good ways out front, which means I can shift weight forward, straighten up at the waist, and get a nice balanced fore-aft feel.

    I'd expected that the longer WB of the Nomad would make it less snappy in tight downhill corners, but I don't find this to be the case. Here's why: Carrying speed through tight corners is all about weighting the outside foot, which most people, myself included, tend to do less-well for the forward foot. I descend with my dominant right foot back, so my left turns--right foot weighted--are more dialed than my right turns. I realized that with the Mach6's short front end, I was descending with my weight shifted pretty far back relative to the BB. This makes it nigh impossible to properly weight the forward foot. Put another way, on the M6 the forward foot is awfully close to the front wheel, so weight distribution while descending makes it hard to get on that foot.

    By contrast, the Nomad really lets me open up and be centered over the BB, so I feel much more balanced and able to shift my weight around to really rail the bike through corners.

    So there you go. I was fully expecting to say that the M6 is a more versatile trail bike, while the Nomad is a baby DH bike. But honestly, for my height, the Nomad seems to do everything better. I'm surprised at this--I really thought there would be compromises in climbing or tight tech. But, for me, the geometry of the Nomad really makes all the difference and makes it a better bike.

    Seriously, go order one, in the time it took you to read this the wait list has gotten a week longer.

  2. #2
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    Goes without saying that how important a good fit is no matter how good a bike is suppose to be. I had similar experience with Mach 6 vs Bronson when I rented each for 24hrs back to back on fairly demanding techy terrain (up and down). Overall, my body fit better in the Bronson vs M6, so it out performed dramatically on the climbs and felt more comfortable descending as well (felt overall neutral). The Nomad is very similar geometry to my Rune V2 (slack front, steep rear, good reach which equates to very balance over the BB while climbing for optimal traction and descending for railing) that I used for 1.5yrs for all my riding XC to DH/FR. Then new Nomad looks and sounds like a do-all AM killer kind of machine and is probably the only bike I would replace my Rune with, if so.
    Ride On!

  3. #3
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    Thanks for comparison, the STA angle on the Mach6 meant for me, as a tall gangly fellow, wasn't going to work out.

    Quote Originally Posted by jgusta View Post
    Then new Nomad looks and sounds like a do-all AM killer kind of machine and is probably the only bike I would replace my Rune with, if so.
    It is the bike that is going to replace my Rune V2, but only because I want to go to a larger size L to XL, otherwise...

    Only other problem with the Rune, the virtual STA is a lot slacker in reality than on paper once the seats up high, putting the position to rearward.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewBird View Post

    The bottom line: if you're tall and trying to decide between these two bikes, quit reading now and go order a Nomad.
    Thanks DB for comprehensive report.
    I'm considering both bike the only thing is I will only fit the Small one. Not sure if your sizing comparo have same merit for a petit guy like me.
    I have been very patience trying to get Mach6 and the Nomad-3 may not be in sight if it was not due to the unavailability of Mach6 here. Note that I will not be able to test ride both. Almost no bike store provide a demo unit where I live.
    Would dw-link and VPP issue not a matter anymore with the vast different of geometry on both?

    Jgusta, I ride Rune V2 like yours, do you think it's worth an upgrade moving Nomad direction?
    My riding style is pretty much everyone using this type of bike (Nomad, Mach6, Rune) with the climb trails to get your prize of down hill.
    Ulating blencong sejatine tataraning lelaku...

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by softailteamrider View Post
    Thanks DB for comprehensive report.
    I'm considering both bike the only thing is I will only fit the Small one. Not sure if your sizing comparo have same merit for a petit guy like me.
    I'm not sure either TBH. I think for a shorter rider, the issue of having your weight back over the rear hub (due to long seat post/slack ST angle) would be mitigated. I would guess the Mach6 might be more fun for a smaller rider for this reason, as it's easier to manual and pop off lips. This was a negative for me with my center of gravity high above the bike (TOO easy to manual!) but could be a positive for someone smaller.

    Quote Originally Posted by softailteamrider View Post
    Would dw-link and VPP issue not a matter anymore with the vast different of geometry on both?
    Both suspensions work great, and I think the geometry difference is the first thing to consider. There are differences in suspension feel, with the caveat that I'm still tuning my Nomad. M6/FloatX seems a bit more active and buttery in the early part of the stroke, with very strong ramp-up in support through mid-stroke. VPP/DebonAir actually seemed to pedal as well or better (a surprise) and matches the Pike beautifully, riding high in its travel on smooth ground but opening up to hits. I think there's been some convergence in design between VPP and DW, with VPP increasing mid stroke support and DW aiming for a bit more plushness.

  6. #6
    it's the ride....
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    Thanks DB. I got a TRc which I think a good reps of latest VPP feel.
    I agree with you as well on DW link which tend to be more active without being inefficient.
    I guess I still have to force myself to get demo of both.
    Ulating blencong sejatine tataraning lelaku...

  7. #7
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    Could you feel a significant difference between 155 and 165mm of rear travel?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzanova View Post
    Could you feel a significant difference between 155 and 165mm of rear travel?
    No, the difference in suspension feel and geometry totally trumps any difference in travel in my opinion. Linear feel of the VPP made it feel a bit more plush and bottomless, while DW is plush initially then quickly ramps up. Different shocks too of course; anyway, no, I don't think travel difference is noticeable relative to other differences.

  9. #9
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    Thank you DrewBird.
    How is the Nomad while pedaling on flowy trails in slower speeds? Is the slack HT manageable?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jazzanova View Post
    Thank you DrewBird.
    How is the Nomad while pedaling on flowy trails in slower speeds? Is the slack HT manageable?
    I find it very manageable. Suspension is really remarkably efficient, I think they did a great job working with Rockshox to get the rear tuned. As I said it reminds me of the Pike, rides high in the travel and doesn't wallow under rider feedback, but springs to life when you need it.

    Flowy trails are great; the fore-aft balance thing is huge, and having weight over, or slightly in front of, the BB really helps initiate turns. I don't find the slack front end to be a liability at all, in fact I feel more confident really railing into flowy turns. Really, I don't have much negative to say about this bike.

    Well, actually....one issue is pedal strikes, which are to be expected with the BB height and suspension numbers of this bike. I ride Canfield Crampon Ultimates, which have an awesomely thin leading edge that prevents them hanging up on things, but I do smack 'em on things more with the Nomad than the M6. Also thinking I'll want some kind of chainring bash protection, not least because I seem to be blasting into rough terrain at previously-untouched speeds on the Nomad!

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the writeup DrewBird. I'm 6'2" with long legs and I've never felt "in" a bike the way my smaller friends do, I always feel perched on top of it. I'm currently on an XL Blur TRc and very happy with it, but I've been contemplating selling my M9 and building up a new Nomad. You make a great point about how far back the seat, and our weight, is while climbing with a tall seat post. My seat is probably 6" or so above my bars.

    Do you have enough seat tube to run your post at a comfortable height? I run a 405mm Kronolog within about 1/2" of the minimum insertion line and the ST on the TRc is longer than the new lineup of bikes.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bnorthro View Post
    Do you have enough seat tube to run your post at a comfortable height? I run a 405mm Kronolog within about 1/2" of the minimum insertion line and the ST on the TRc is longer than the new lineup of bikes.
    6" is a LOT of saddle-bar drop IMHO, seems like it'd be hard to get good balance on the bike with that much.

    A photo of my setup is below. Renthal Duo stem at 50mm, ~1" of spacers under it, Easton Havoc riser bar. BB center-saddle top is about 31.5", and I'm running a Reverb 150mm dropper and very thin flat pedals. This gives me a bit over 1" of seat post exposed below the dropper collar. I have about 1-2" drop from saddle to grips. Loving this setup so far...

    New Nomad vs. Mach6: a tall guy's perspective-img_1663.jpg

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    Thanks for the info & the picture. I'll have to take some measurements on my bike after work.

    I haven't measured my exact drop, but you can see it looks ridiculous in this shot. My steerer tube is pretty short (got the fork used) so I can't run my bars any higher. Point1 50mm stem, Easton Havoc bars and maybe 1/4" spacer under the stem.

    New Nomad vs. Mach6: a tall guy's perspective-df91b5ea-709c-4a1d-a194-4a1df9b04ca8_zpsbo0diuze.jpg

  14. #14
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    ok im 6.3" and i just measured BB center to seat and i get 33" and thats on my TallBoy LTc

  15. #15
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    New Nomad vs. Mach6: a tall guy's perspective

    Measured vertically, my BB to top of seat is about 32.5", measured along the ST it's 34". My bars are 26" above my BB, so my drop is about 6.5", good guess earlier, ha.

  16. #16
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    Drewbird, thanks for your nicely done post. Your take on the M6 seemed to change pretty dramatically between March (when you posted your also-excellent Bronson/M6 comparo) and May when you posted this. You preferred the M6 over the Bronson, but later you greatly preferred the Nomad over the M6.

    I'm wondering if, looking back, you see Bronson vs. M6 differently now. And I'm wondering how you see Bronson vs. Nomad. Have you posted on that already?

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldManBike View Post
    Drewbird, thanks for your nicely done post. Your take on the M6 seemed to change pretty dramatically between March (when you posted your also-excellent Bronson/M6 comparo) and May when you posted this. You preferred the M6 over the Bronson, but later you greatly preferred the Nomad over the M6.

    I'm wondering if, looking back, you see Bronson vs. M6 differently now. And I'm wondering how you see Bronson vs. Nomad. Have you posted on that already?
    You're right, I did change my tune on the M6. This was due to getting more time on the bike, and riding it on more varied terrain, including long techy climbs and rough descents.

    For me, the bottom line is that the M6 is a fantastic bike that's undone (for me) by the geometry. M6/FloatX remains the best-performing suspension I've ridden. Fantastically active, totally negates trail chatter, very progressive on bigger hits, pedals great. M6 is a beautiful and well-designed bike; however, the geometry just didn't work for me, despite lots of attempts to change setup etc.

    The Nomad nails the geometry, as I discuss. I think the suspension isn't quite at the level of the M6, it's just a tad less active over small bumps and at the beginning of the stroke, and doesn't have the same ramp-up progression, which I really like as it prevents bottom out and give a soft landing on bigger hits. Not sure if this is due to different shocks though. Nomad pedals well, but more importantly the rider is positioned in a way that allows very good climbing manners despite a long/slack geometry.

    Basically, M6 suspension with Nomad geometry would be my dream bike. I can tune suspension on the Nomad (and it's quite good anyway), but I can't fix the M6 geo. So for me, the Nomad wins hands down.

    Regarding a Nomad-Bronson comparison, I find that the Nomad has far better DH manners, and really gives up almost nothing in weight or climbing. If you live somewhere with burly trails, I'd pick a Nomad ever time. (Caveat: my Bronson had Fox CTD suspension, which I didn't love.)

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewBird View Post
    You're right, I did change my tune on the M6. This was due to getting more time on the bike, and riding it on more varied terrain, including long techy climbs and rough descents.

    For me, the bottom line is that the M6 is a fantastic bike that's undone (for me) by the geometry. M6/FloatX remains the best-performing suspension I've ridden. Fantastically active, totally negates trail chatter, very progressive on bigger hits, pedals great. M6 is a beautiful and well-designed bike; however, the geometry just didn't work for me, despite lots of attempts to change setup etc.

    The Nomad nails the geometry, as I discuss. I think the suspension isn't quite at the level of the M6, it's just a tad less active over small bumps and at the beginning of the stroke, and doesn't have the same ramp-up progression, which I really like as it prevents bottom out and give a soft landing on bigger hits. Not sure if this is due to different shocks though. Nomad pedals well, but more importantly the rider is positioned in a way that allows very good climbing manners despite a long/slack geometry.

    Basically, M6 suspension with Nomad geometry would be my dream bike. I can tune suspension on the Nomad (and it's quite good anyway), but I can't fix the M6 geo. So for me, the Nomad wins hands down.

    Regarding a Nomad-Bronson comparison, I find that the Nomad has far better DH manners, and really gives up almost nothing in weight or climbing. If you live somewhere with burly trails, I'd pick a Nomad ever time. (Caveat: my Bronson had Fox CTD suspension, which I didn't love.)
    I just got my Nomad XL and im still trying to dialling it in im the same height as you 6.3" and about 250 LBS geared, so my question is what pressures you running in the fork (tokens?) and shock to get a nice setup ? i find i have to pump the shock about 300 lbs to get 30% sag and also my saddle height is 32.5 inches from center BB to the top of the seat so its towering above the bars and thats with 1.5 inches of spacers under the stem, oh and thats with the 150 reverb
    your seat looks way lower if i may ask whats your inseam ? and are you doing the legs at full stretch on your heal to pedal to set the seat height ?

    so far i have not had enough ride time (10 minutes maybe ) to really say what i feel but i definitely feel there is alot of playfulness with this bike that i have yet to tap

  19. #19
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    I weigh a good deal less than you, I'm ~195 fully geared. I've been running the shock at 205psi, which gives me about 35% sag; I may increase pressure slightly. The fork I'm running without tokens at 67psi. This gives pretty limited sag, around 15-20%, but I do get full travel on bigger hits and I find the Pike to perform well with this setup.

  20. #20
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    Thanks for reply. One of the things I appreciate about your posts is that you're not making sweeping pronouncements about what's better, you're saying what's better for you and, more importantly, clearly explaining why. As another tall rider, your feedback on these bikes is helpful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrewBird View Post
    The Nomad nails the geometry, as I discuss. I think the suspension isn't quite at the level of the M6, it's just a tad less active over small bumps and at the beginning of the stroke, and doesn't have the same ramp-up progression, which I really like as it prevents bottom out and give a soft landing on bigger hits. Not sure if this is due to different shocks though. Nomad pedals well, but more importantly the rider is positioned in a way that allows very good climbing manners despite a long/slack geometry.
    I'm assuming you've got the Debonair on there, why not add the bands to reduce volume to make it more progressive? Also guessing the Vivid has something similar.

    I'm really stoked on my Bronson setup with 160 Pike and Debonair and MEATY tires. However reading more and more reviews I can't help but think to get a Nomad frame and next year pick up some 29er whippet a la Camber EVO geometry. I'm trying to put in at least one bike park day/week and could use a little more bike on the local DH shuttle trails that I like to climb for.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by robnow View Post
    I'm assuming you've got the Debonair on there, why not add the bands to reduce volume to make it more progressive? Also guessing the Vivid has something similar.

    I'm really stoked on my Bronson setup with 160 Pike and Debonair and MEATY tires. However reading more and more reviews I can't help but think to get a Nomad frame and next year pick up some 29er whippet a la Camber EVO geometry. I'm trying to put in at least one bike park day/week and could use a little more bike on the local DH shuttle trails that I like to climb for.
    I haven't gotten to the point of tuning the DebonAir beyond external controls; I'll keep it as is for this season, then see what I want to do. I'd love to try a CC DBair CS, but I'm not in a huge hurry. As I said, I think the Nomad suspension is great, just not quite as active and smooth as the M6.

    I have a Ripley to go along with my Nomad. That's a fantastic combo, though TBH the Nomad is so light and capable uphill that I'm riding my Ripley less than I used to. I've done lift serve DH/Park one day and multi-thousand-foot single track climbing the next, all on the Nomad. Pretty amazing how much of the Trail-->DH spectrum that bike can do well.

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