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  1. #1
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    Nomad Vs. Tracer VP

    Can you guys compare and contrast these bikes. I climb just so I can get to the downhill. I'm 6' and weigh 215 and bomb the downhills and singletracks, but am willing to suffer up climbs. I currently ride an Intense 5.5, but am looking for a plusher ride. I have a deposit down on a Nomad, but wanted to make sure I make the right decision. Thanks!

  2. #2
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    More like Tracer VP vs. BLT2? I've always understood the tracer to be a trail bike, not a AM/FR rig like the Nomad.

    I believe Intense has a new 6.6 coming out as well. Very similar to the Tracer. Check the Intense boards.

    But if you want plusher, the Nomad is more travel.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thimk
    More like Tracer VP vs. BLT2? I've always understood the tracer to be a trail bike, not a AM/FR rig like the Nomad.

    I believe Intense has a new 6.6 coming out as well. Very similar to the Tracer. Check the Intense boards.

    But if you want plusher, the Nomad is more travel.
    The older nomad had 165mm....the tracer VP has 160. Even comparing the older Nomad to the new Tracer, you're never going to notice the 5 mm difference. The new Nomad has 160 mm so it is exactly the same.

    I agree that the Nomad is more DH/FR but not because it has more travel. Other differences (geo, wheelbase, ISCG tabs) have more to do with it than that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ddraewwg
    The older nomad had 165mm....the tracer VP has 160. Even comparing the older Nomad to the new Tracer, you're never going to notice the 5 mm difference. The new Nomad has 160 mm so it is exactly the same.

    I agree that the Nomad is more DH/FR but not because it has more travel. Other differences (geo, wheelbase, ISCG tabs) have more to do with it than that.
    Just looked it up, and it's a 140mm-150mm in the rear. http://www.bikeradar.com/news/articl...-machine-15862

    But yeah, count in the rest of course...
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddraewwg
    The older nomad had 165mm....the tracer VP has 160. Even comparing the older Nomad to the new Tracer, you're never going to notice the 5 mm difference. The new Nomad has 160 mm so it is exactly the same.

    I agree that the Nomad is more DH/FR but not because it has more travel. Other differences (geo, wheelbase, ISCG tabs) have more to do with it than that.

    Yes I am of the same opinion i want an 09 Nomad but after seeing the Tracer it looks like a mighty fine prospect, same weight as a Yeti 575 6.2lbs (med) and will take 130 to 150 fork, built up as a trail weapon at 28/29lbs could be awsome.
    But Nomad is 67 deg with fox 36 160, with 1160rear travel, where as the tracer is 67.5 with fox 36 and 150 rear travel, so i guess it will not be as burly or take as much hucking as the Nomad, but could be lighter to build up....see enclosed pics. looking forward to a ride review asap!!!
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    I am trying to decide between these two frames too. Can somebody please post some info to compare? Is the Tracer worth $600 more just for the frame? The specs are very close and my bike shop doesn't have either to test drive!
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    Quote Originally Posted by moozico
    I am trying to decide between these two frames too. Can somebody please post some info to compare? Is the Tracer worth $600 more just for the frame? The specs are very close and my bike shop doesn't have either to test drive!
    No flucking way it's worth $600 more.
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    I'm not sure if I'm correct, but I think the bike shop quoted $1699 for the Nomad and $2299 for the Tracer VP frame.
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    A friend just bought a Tracer... sure looks wicket over the Nomad.

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    I own both bikes.The Intense Tracer Vpp great bike.More of a ALL Mountain bike.Very happy with it. But as stated above, it is more money than the Santa Cruz NomadMKII.Plus with the Tracer Vpp the stock rear shock sucks big time.So thats more money for and upgrade of the rear shock.The Nomad gives you three rear shock options. Note all three are very good rear shocks.Do I like both bikes yes.It I had to chose one.I would go with the NomadMKII. It is truly the do it all bike.Plus you can't beat the price plus more options right from the factory.I will be using my NomadMKII up at Highland until my Santa Cruz Driver8 comes in.Thats the kind of bike the Nomad is. LET IT RIP!!! Hopes this helps.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyG 1970
    I own both bikes.The Intense Tracer Vpp great bike.More of a ALL Mountain bike.Very happy with it. But as stated above, it is more money than the Santa Cruz NomadMKII.Plus with the Tracer Vpp the stock rear shock sucks big time.So thats more money for and upgrade of the rear shock.The Nomad gives you three rear shock options. Note all three are very good rear shocks.Do I like both bikes yes.It I had to chose one.I would go with the NomadMKII. It is truly the do it all bike.Plus you can't beat the price plus more options right from the factory.I will be using my NomadMKII up at Highland until my Santa Cruz Driver8 comes in.Thats the kind of bike the Nomad is. LET IT RIP!!! Hopes this helps.
    Curious. What do you mean by the "NomadMKII" Did I miss something?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ddraewwg
    Curious. What do you mean by the "NomadMKII" Did I miss something?
    Just means "newest Nomad". I guess you'd could refer to my '06 Nomad...first model...as a MK1. There is somewhat of an intermediate model with a 1.5 headtube and some slight frame beefing, but it's basically the MK1 version. At least that's how most of us are applying the lingo.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TNC
    Just means "newest Nomad". I guess you'd could refer to my '06 Nomad...first model...as a MK1. There is somewhat of an intermediate model with a 1.5 headtube and some slight frame beefing, but it's basically the MK1 version. At least that's how most of us are applying the lingo.
    Ok, cuz as a non Santa Cruzian, I was thinking the old Iron Horses....but those were MKIII, not exactly the same either. Thanks.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyG 1970
    I own both bikes.The Intense Tracer Vpp great bike.More of a ALL Mountain bike.Very happy with it. But as stated above, it is more money than the Santa Cruz NomadMKII.Plus with the Tracer Vpp the stock rear shock sucks big time.So thats more money for and upgrade of the rear shock.The Nomad gives you three rear shock options. Note all three are very good rear shocks.Do I like both bikes yes.It I had to chose one.I would go with the NomadMKII. It is truly the do it all bike.Plus you can't beat the price plus more options right from the factory.I will be using my NomadMKII up at Highland until my Santa Cruz Driver8 comes in.Thats the kind of bike the Nomad is. LET IT RIP!!! Hopes this helps.
    Johnny, can you please go more into detail on the differences? I'm thinking about these two frames for '10, so I'm starting the research. I know you don't like the rear shock because of your weight for the tracer, but how exactly does the nomad feel like a do it all bike more than the tracer? Price aside, why would you choose the nomad? Plus I assume you have similar builds on both?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpy_Steve
    Johnny, can you please go more into detail on the differences? I'm thinking about these two frames for '10, so I'm starting the research. I know you don't like the rear shock because of your weight for the tracer, but how exactly does the nomad feel like a do it all bike more than the tracer? Price aside, why would you choose the nomad? Plus I assume you have similar builds on both?
    What I mean by saying that the NomadMKII is a do it all bike.I am getting a DH bike the S/C Driver8. Its not coming in until May.So when I go to Highland, I will be taking the Nomad until my Driver8 comes in.I look at it this way for the money and what the bike can handle and do.The NomadMKII is the winner hands down.Unless you are one of the dudes that your wheels never leave the ground.Then I would say either bike it wouldn't really matter. except, I think dollar for dollar the Santa Cruz NomadMKII is a great deal and a bullet proof bike.I have the luxury of owning both.But if I had to choose one I would choose the Santa Cruz NomadMKII. P.S Yes, they are built the same pretty much. PLUS the NomadMKII has more rear shock option's right from the Factory.Intense kinda drop the ball on that one with the Tracer Vpp. Which I stated in my review of the Tracer Vpp. Now every one and their brother hates the Fox rp-23 rear shock on the Tracer Vpp.The Fox rp-23 holds that Tracer Vpp back from its full potential.
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    My bad.
    Last edited by JohnnyG 1970; 04-10-2009 at 07:25 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnnyG 1970
    What I mean by saying that the NomadMKII is a do it all bike.I am getting a DH bike the S/C Driver8. Its not coming in until May.So when I go to Highland, I will be taking the Nomad until my Driver8 comes in.I look at it this way for the money and what the bike can handle and do.The NomadMKII is the winner hands down.Unless you are one of the dudes that your wheels never leave the ground.Then I would say either bike it wouldn't really matter. except, I think dollar for dollar the Santa Cruz NomadMKII is a great deal and a bullet proof bike.I have the luxury of owning both.But if I had to choose one I would choose the Santa Cruz NomadMKII. P.S Yes, they are built the same pretty much. PLUS the NomadMKII has more rear shock option's right from the Factory.Intense kinda drop the ball on that one with the Tracer Vpp. Which I stated in my review of the Tracer Vpp. Now every one and their brother hates the Fox rp-23 rear shock on the Tracer Vpp.The Fox rp-23 holds that Tracer Vpp back from its full potential.
    Ok, well how are the ride characteristics for both bikes? Since you've got a similar build on both, I assume the nomad is plusher? Stiffer? Does either track better? Climb better? How are the angles for climbing and descending? I'm not too concerned with the shock choice, as I'm 170lb, and I'd take the bike to NorthStar & downieville, but my blt1 handled everything there fine, so I don't necc. need a crazy able-to-fit-a-triple-crown-fork bike. They've both got vpp2, but totally different animals.

  18. #18
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    eh, I came very close to buying a Tracer today...and I still might, but I had to test ride a Nomad2 first...

    if I understand correctly, Tracer's a 150mm shock, weighs 6.7#, but a Nomad2 is a 160mm shock, weights 6.9#, is 0.5* slacker, but other wise is very similar, except that Nomad2 costs few hundreds less?
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailNut
    eh, I came very close to buying a Tracer today...and I still might, but I had to test ride a Nomad2 first...

    if I understand correctly, Tracer's a 150mm shock, weighs 6.7#, but a Nomad2 is a 160mm shock, weights 6.9#, is 0.5* slacker, but other wise is very similar, except that Nomad2 costs few hundreds less?
    Cool. Are you going to be able to get these bikes into the dirt? I'm still very interested between these two bikes, but have already decided on a fork - xfusion vengeance. Although I wish king would make a god damn conversion for a quick release front wheel to a 20mm, so I can keep my wheels!

    Luckily, now that Trailhead Cyclery has both Intense & Santa Cruz, I'm going to try to demo both of them one day @ Santa Teresa May 9 & 10...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpy_Steve
    Cool. Are you going to be able to get these bikes into the dirt? I'm still very interested between these two bikes, but have already decided on a fork - xfusion vengeance. Although I wish king would make a god damn conversion for a quick release front wheel to a 20mm, so I can keep my wheels!

    Luckily, now that Trailhead Cyclery has both Intense & Santa Cruz, I'm going to try to demo both of them one day @ Santa Teresa May 9 & 10...
    my LBS for the Tracer only allows pavement test. Stairs, up and down, are the only way to see
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrailNut
    my LBS for the Tracer only allows pavement test. Stairs, up and down, are the only way to see
    I'd advise you to come out to trailheads demo then. I noticed you're in fairfax, but hell, riding both dream bikes for free on the same trails back to back id say is worth the 1 hour drive before dropping 3-4k on a bike. I'll be there first thing in the morning - nomad and tracer, please.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpy_Steve
    I'd advise you to come out to trailheads demo then. I noticed you're in fairfax, but hell, riding both dream bikes for free on the same trails back to back id say is worth the 1 hour drive before dropping 3-4k on a bike. I'll be there first thing in the morning - nomad and tracer, please.

    yes, I will! I love riding in and around Camp Tamarancho...
    excellent point since I'll be spending $4k to $5k

    I live in Berkeley, btw, a lot easier to drive to Camp Tamarancho...I could even do this on a weekday, now with sunlight, after work
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    Quote Originally Posted by moozico
    I am trying to decide between these two frames too. Can somebody please post some info to compare? Is the Tracer worth $600 more just for the frame? The specs are very close and my bike shop doesn't have either to test drive!
    I have a 09 Nomad and I have owned the Tracer VP and two of my friends both own Tracers. The only nod I would give to the Tracer over the Nomad is the adjustability from 5 1/2" to 6" but that would be all. My friends and I did a XC ride yesterday that was 25 miles with a tad over 3,000 feet of climbing. The Nomad climbs just as well as the Tracer.

    My friends Tracers are pretty much the same except one is running a Lyrik fork and the other is riding a Float 32 Talas 150mm. They both run the rear end in 5 1/2 mode. My bike is built up more on the XC side just like my buddies bikes but I'm riding a Fox 36 Talas. All three bike weigh within a half pound of each other. None of the three are under 29 lbs.

    I would not give the nod to one bike over the other. They both have the same suspension, the geometrey is really close. Performance wise there is no difference other then you can change the travel on the Intense which is not that big of a deal when you compare the two. The Tracer is not worth $600.00 more, They just have to pay SC for the VPP design. IMHO get the Nomad it's cheaper and it climbs just as good as the Tracer and I think it Down hills better. I hope this helps you in your decision. You won't go wrong with either bike, they are both great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stumpy_Steve
    Ok, well how are the ride characteristics for both bikes? Since you've got a similar build on both, I assume the nomad is plusher? Stiffer? Does either track better? Climb better? How are the angles for climbing and descending? I'm not too concerned with the shock choice, as I'm 170lb, and I'd take the bike to NorthStar & downieville, but my blt1 handled everything there fine, so I don't necc. need a crazy able-to-fit-a-triple-crown-fork bike. They've both got vpp2, but totally different animals.
    Hey Stumpy,

    I think if you trying to decide between the two it will come down to which one you think looks better. Going DH the Nomad will beat it easily, That is what I think though so take it for what it is worth. Climbing the Nomad can hang with the Tracer with no problem, that part depends on your legs. For the riding you mentioned above I would go with the Nomad.

    When I first purchased my Nomad I thought it wouldn't climb well at all and I thought it would DH like my old DH bike. I was way wrong, first ride was a XC ride 23 miles 3,000 ft of climbing. The bike exceeded my expectations on the climb and met my expectations on the DH. I love Intense but I think the Nomad is just a better bike plus I didn't want to pay Intense more money just because they license the VPP design from Santa Cruz.

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    I've owned both the 09 Tracer, and the 09 Nomad. I agree with what's been stated: you should be comparing the BLT to the Tracer, the Nomad is more AM/light FR, whereas the Tracer is Trail bike/light AM. The Nomad is a better design; I know you are thinking they have the same design, but SC uses 3, 15mm axles, with greasable angular contact bearings, this creates a more ridged feel than the Tracer. The nomad is cheaper, but Intense is made in USA, I wish SC still did in house work. The Tracer may be more versital if you want a bike that can feel like an xc rig,or AM, but if you want a more agressive bike, the nomad is more versital because it can handle a 180 fork turning it into a tall bb slack ass light FR bike. Very nice! Both are great bikes, just ask your self if you want the option of a FR build, and the option for a more xc build. The Nomad can be built super light, but if that's the road you want to go down, a nomad will never feel as xc as a tracer in it's 5.5 setting.

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    Interesting. Finally some real reviews by actual owners of the two. Seeing as how I'm not planning on doing anything freeride-ish, and don't plan on throwing on a fork more than 160mm nor will I need the travel, I'm still stuck in the same spot. I might be giving the blt2 another nod, though. Tracer, maybe when I get out of college or something...

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    I already have a light steel HT bike with either 80mm Sid fork or 130 Z1 ETA fork for XC. so while a 29# Tracer might be the cool one bike, it's overkill on most XC races here, so a Nomad/Fox 36 looks like a better choice for me. However, now I'm curious about Knolly Endorphin...

    the last ime I bought a MTB bike/frame for myself, in 1998, choices were fewer and easier to pick from. it's fantastic what we have now
    Last edited by TrailNut; 04-28-2009 at 01:53 PM.
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    You know the BLT is a great trail bike. My one complaint is there really isn't much of a weight savings over the nomad, unless you go with the new BLT carbon, which i'm not sold on. I'm just not convinced Carbon is as strong as people say it is. If you know you don't want the option to turn your AM bike into a FR bike, than the Nomad really doesn't have much to offer you over the BLT other than more rear travel. The BLT is cool in that you can run a 140 fork and it will ride great, anything shorter than a 160 on a Nomad is going to feel like crap: the bb will be too low and it just won't handle the way it should. Right now I do a fair amount of pedal smacking with the nomad with 160 fork because the new design is so linear you will get 95% of your 160mm rear travel all the time, thus your bb is pretty low when pounding through the chop. I don't know if the BLT is as linear as the nomad? All I know is that was one of Roskop's goals when he redesigned the Nomad because so many people complained about the first gen nomads being too progressive. I love my Nomad! Best bike I've owned! But it sounds like the BLT maybe the better choice for you? Tough call. Have fun with it, there are so many great bikes out there!

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    Quote Originally Posted by slimat99
    I've owned both the 09 Tracer, and the 09 Nomad. I agree with what's been stated: you should be comparing the BLT to the Tracer, the Nomad is more AM/light FR, whereas the Tracer is Trail bike/light AM. The Nomad is a better design; I know you are thinking they have the same design, but SC uses 3, 15mm axles, with greasable angular contact bearings, this creates a more ridged feel than the Tracer. The nomad is cheaper, but Intense is made in USA, I wish SC still did in house work. The Tracer may be more versital if you want a bike that can feel like an xc rig,or AM, but if you want a more agressive bike, the nomad is more versital because it can handle a 180 fork turning it into a tall bb slack ass light FR bike. Very nice! Both are great bikes, just ask your self if you want the option of a FR build, and the option for a more xc build. The Nomad can be built super light, but if that's the road you want to go down, a nomad will never feel as xc as a tracer in it's 5.5 setting.
    this seems like a good summary / comparison. One thing i wanted to add is that the nomad has a wide variety of shock options. The tracer really seems centered around the FLoat. Even getting a piggyback shock on there is a tight fit and requires flipping it the 'wrong' way. I'm also concerned about the shock curve on the tracer; even 160 lb'ers are saying that if they set the Float with enough sag for decent performance on the small stuff, it blows thru the travel on the somewhat big hits. Meanwhile the comments about the Nomad / monarch (if you're going for the AM light type of build) don't ever seem to mention blowing thru the travel as an issue.
    Last edited by frorider; 04-28-2009 at 01:59 PM.

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    nice! i used to ride a lot in tilden and redwood canyon (eastridge, westridge). aahh the memories. i have wanted to ride at tamarancho at some point...


    Quote Originally Posted by TrailNut
    yes, I will! I love riding in and around Camp Tamarancho...
    excellent point since I'll be spending $4k to $5k

    I live in Berkeley, btw, a lot easier to drive to Camp Tamarancho...I could even do this on a weekday, now with sunlight, after work
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    Hey Slimat99, thanks for you input! Since you seem like you know the Blur LT pretty well too, how do you compare it to the Tracer VP?

    Currently I am stuck between the two. I've ridden the BLT around in a parking lot and it felt like I could throw the bike around easily. I later tried the Tracer VP on the trail and really appreciated the fact that I can move around on that bike a lot (allowed for more body english). I assume that since the BLT has the shorter top tube, it wouldn't feel as stable on descents as the Tracer VP (I don't know). Since I'm one of those short legged long torso'ed freaks I thought the Tracer would be better for me just because of the lower stand over height and longer top tube.

    However, you mentioned that "SC uses 3, 15mm axles, with greasable angular contact bearings" which gives the bikes a more “rigid feel”. Does the BLT have this as well? What does the Tracer VP have?

    Also another main concern of mine is that there have been many mentions of the rear shock on the Tracer VP blowing through the midstroke. Did you experience this on the Tracer? Does the BLT have an issue similar to this?

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stripes
    Do you still have an X-Fusion Vengeance? I'm looking at possibly replacing my Fox 36 Van RC2 with it, so I'm curious what you think after a year of riding it. Realistically, no, but just curious
    never got it. i ended up going with a used trek fuel since i didn't have enough $$$ for a tracer, nomad, or a mojo (which i ultimately decided on).

    i did get a call from xfusion a couple days ago, telling me the forks were ready to ship, lol.

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    Simply based on Santa Cruz vs. Intense,I dont even have to go there! If you want a frame better than both of the above for downhill,for only about $1000,do what I did and buy a 08 NOMAD1.It is known to downhill slightly better than the Nomad2.You can find them all day,slightly used by guys moving to the Nomad2 because its supposed to be more "trail friendly"?...Buy the last "true all mountain" Nomad,the U.S.A. built 08-1.....
    Last edited by socalMX; 04-23-2010 at 10:12 PM.

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    I recently went from a '09 Tracer VP with Talas 36 to a '10 Nomad2(dhx-air) with same the fork.

    Geometry of both bikes feels very similar (to me anyway), but the rear on the Nomad feels like a stuck-to-the-ground, properly tuned mini-dh bike, making any 160mm fork struggle to look good.
    The Tracer on the other hand had so much midtravel blowthru, even in the 140mm setting, that I had to swap the rp23 for a dhx coil. That brought the Tracers rear on par, but clearly didn't help with the weight, so no more advantage from a slightly lighter frame there.

    What finally made me sell the Tracer was the useless design of the lower link, no clearance for a double-ring chainguide, which I need here in our steep and roughish terrain (alps). To be fair, as I'm running a hammerschmidt on the Nomad now, that clearance problem wouldn't worry me any more.

    To sum it up: The Tracer is one beautifully crafted bike, but shouldn't be pushed into the realms of a Nomad: Triple rings, a 150mm Fox32 and a light coil Fox Van shock would be my ticket, so nimble AM instead of enduro/mini-dh/mega-whatever-you-call-it.

    Actually I'm selling my V10 and plan to put the new 180mm Talas on the Nomad, so that might give an indication of how highly I rate the bikes potential.

    Hope that helps, cheers

  35. #35
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    A comparison of the Tracer and Nomad

    Hi everyone, I wanted a I'm lucky enough to own both so maybe i can help people trying to choose between the two.

    BACKGROUND - Like many i was looking for the ideal all mountain bike. I wanted a bike i could build to sub 31 lbs with strong enough kit to withstand lift assisted days in the Alps yet still be able to pedal to the top of the hills.

    WEIGHT - To my surprise the Nomad is actually lighter than the Intense.
    Tracer VP 2009 in large , works raw = 2877g + 305g for Rp23 shock
    Nomad 2010 in large , ano = 2828g + 300g for Monarch shock

    SUSPENSION - Although both VPP2 designs there are differences. The Nomad bearings run on 15mm axles, the Tracers' on 12mm. If you grab the rear wheel with one hand and the seatpost with the other you will see more flex in the rear triangle of the Tracer. The Nomad seems much better engineered when you strip both down. I think in the long term the Nomad will need less maintenance of the bearings too

    UPHILL - The VPP2 suspension make both good technical climbers. As you would expect in the 140mm setting the Tracer climbs a bit better than the Nomad.

    DOWNHILL - The Nomad's slacker head angle, slightly longer wheelbase and stiffer chassis make it a more capable decender and better able to hold a line in the rough

    BUILD KIT - Although i have tried a variety of kit on both bikes to compare the two, i have settled on two different builds aimed at slightly different uses.

    The Tracer is now used mostly in 140mm setting with Talas 32, 110-130-150 QR15 up front. The wheels have stans flow rims and 2.2 tyres

    The Nomad is now used with Lyrik Coil U-turn's ( 115-160 ) up front, I run DT swiss 5.1D rims and 2.35 tyres. I'm thinking about a coil shock too.

    SUMMARY - In many ways I would agree with others that the Tracer is probably best compared to the BLT2 rather than the Nomad.
    Last edited by mtbmarkymark; 04-28-2010 at 12:44 PM. Reason: adding title

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