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A lot of people have asked for my feedback on this since I have both bikes. For a little history I like to try the newest hot bikes out on the market and am fortunate enough that I can get the bikes I want and have them simultaneously. As for me I am an over 40 guy who started racing BMX at 13 and got my first MTB in 1988. Today I am fast enough that I can stay in the top 5 on any local descent, but I am more about having fun. My preferred trails are fast a rocky descents. About a year ago I was on my trusty Mojo HD which was a fantastic introduction to what an efficient long travel bike was like. That bike was a revelation for me and I realized that there was merit to the newer geometry, carbon etc.
After being on that bike for 2 years I was big wheel curious. I have tried demo'ing bikes in the past, but for me it is completely worthless. Riding a bike for 45 minutes with a stock build and marginal suspension setup at best told me nothing about how much I liked or disliked a bike. Because of this I went out and bought an Enduro 29 while I still had my HD. I created my ideal build on that bike and rode it for 3 months. Outcome was 29'rs are not my thing or it was just too radical a change from my HD. What I found over those 3 months was that "feel" means nothing in terms of speed. I am a Strava geek and my testing showed that there was zero difference in speeds based on wheel size. On every type of segment my HD and E29 were less than a second apart. That includes long smooth fire road climbs, tight rocky twisting descents and everything in between. Before everyone starts jumping up and down saying that 26 sucks, 29 rules and 275 is better than both, make sure you step up with actual hard data. I don't care if it feels faster someplace or if your times improved after a month. Show me back to back days on two wheel sizes running the same tire setup, riding the same trails that you already know on both and then I will start to listen. There is way too much disinformation out there where someone switches to a new bike that is 4 lbs lighter and is running XC tires and then they exclaim how much faster it is than their old rig. Well no kidding!
So onto the bikes. I came onto my M6 from my HDR which had replaced my HD. I found the M6 to be better in every way compared to my HDR. The progression in geometry was significant along with the Pivot implementation of DW on the M6. As a side note I do not like the M5.7 or Firebird and not a Pivot fanboi. The M6 is much more stable at speed, but also changes direction better than the HDR. The only word I can think of that describes the M6 accurately is AWESOME. I can throw down fast times on the descents and still stay in the top 10% on the climbs. My build is definitely on the more burly end of the spectrum with Derby carbon wheels, Pike 160, 750 gram tires because anything lighter gets destroyed within a week, etc.
When the Nomad came out I was very excited about the geometry, but not excited about getting on a VPP bike again. Prior to my HD I was on an Intense Tracer and I found the differences in suspension to be significant. From a geometry perspective I do not buy into the wide bar/short stem idea that I should be running a 35 mm stem with 800 bars on a bike that has the same reach measurement as a bike that ran 600 bars with a 90 mm stem. My current preference is to run 740 bars and whatever stem feels comfortable which is an 80 mm on my Pivot. My bikes have also gotten progressively more slack with the final iteration on my HDR being 65.5 and my M6 virtually identical. The Nomad at 65 is exactly where I think things will stabilize and the increased reach measurement would allow me to run a 60 mm stem comfortably. Overall I think that SC nailed the geometry on the Nomad.
When you get on the Nomad the first thing you notice is that the bike feels BIG. Second is that you feel like you are in the bike instead of on the bike. Overall it feels like my E29 with smaller wheels mounted in the parking lot. Where the M6 feels like an offroad buggy that you can throw around at will, the Nomad feels like a Truggy/Class 8 truck that destroys anything in front of it. I thought there was a lot of hyperbole around the new Nomad when it came out and everyone was raving about the bike just charging downhill. I was wrong, it is not hyperbole. The acceleration out of corners is simply shocking and I have been carrying way too much speed into corners and blowing through them. In corners you do have to manhandle the bike much more. It is not a scalpel, but instead a samurai sword. The harder you push it the better it responds and I have to modify my riding style to accomodate. With the M6 it feels very balanced and responds to every input. With the Nomad I have to smash the outside pedal into the ground and throw it around the corner by the scruff of its neck. Completely different style between the two. Climbing is where I thought I would see the biggest difference, but descending is night and day, not because of speed, but because of style. As of right now the Nomad is the faster descender. I have been taking 5-10 seconds off my fastest times when riding the Nomad even though my fitness is not up to par right now.
When it comes to climbing I would have thought the M6 would blow away the Nomad by the way it feels when riding, but again the data shows differently. SC has done an outstanding job modifying the leverage curve with this bike and it has a very DW like feel. It does not have the snappy feel of the M6, but it has been showing faster times on the climbs. Think of it as a big turbo diesel vs a small high revving V8. Again I am setting PR's going up so at a minimum there is no penalty for the descending capability.
So overall right now it sounds like the Nomad is killing the M6, but that is not really the case. The differences climbing are pretty small. The descending difference means it takes a completely different style of riding where you have to be much more aggressive. For the rough terrain we have local to my house it is faster/funner right now, but for most areas and riding styles it may not be more fun and that is what really matters for most of us.
One last note, I only have 2-3 real rides on the Nomad right now after getting the cockpit and suspension setup. I will continue to add to this thread, but as usual let me know any specific questions you may have.
No action pics yet since I only have a few rides.
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Thread: Nomad vs Pivot M6, HDR and E29
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