Nomad 4 X01 vs Hightower LT X01?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Nomad 4 X01 vs Hightower LT X01?

    I'm hoping to find a bike shop with both, or wait till the SC demo fleet has both. But in the meantime, any thoughts on Nomad vs Hightower LT?

    Generally I've assumed that longer travel bikes aren't as fun on less aggressive trails and don't climb as well. But it's far from clear that would be a factor between the HT LT and the Nomad 4. I weigh 220 without shoes/gear so I'm not particularly worried about any potential weight difference.

    So besides the $400 difference between both bikes with X01 any other thoughts on the comparison? Which one would you get for a single do it all bike? My current blur LT (160mm front, 140mm rear) is in sore need of replacement. I was hoping to get an updated geometry and slightly wider tires for the loose/sandy conditions I sometimes ride in.

  2. #2
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    How tall are you?

    What do you generally ride?

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    I'm a bit over 5 foot 10". I don't do ski lifts and rarely do shuttles (mostly when I manage to sneak out to Downieville). I like technical stuff, rock gardens, hard climbs/drops. Not that I mind smooth cross country trails or "flow" type trails.

    I do often explore wide open areas in the mountains not specifically designed for mountain bikes. They tend to be steeper and rockier than the usual MTB trails, I guess mostly because I tend to try for the summit if possible.

    I'm definitely looking for fun and don't really care about beating the clock. I enjoy fast, just don't care much if I'm seconds faster or slower than last time. Does seem like it's somewhat splitting hairs. I don't really expect a well setup nomad (2.4" 27.5 tires and rockshock fork/shock) to be much different than the HT LT (2.4" 29" tires and fox fork/shock).

  4. #4
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    Seems the Nomad will have better tire clearance than the HT LTc. The reviews said the tire clearance is tight on the Hightower LTc. Just remember the geometry on the HT LTc was sacrificed a bit so it will feel slacker but shorter. THe Nomad was a ground up design and probably feels faster and more agile but I bet the HT LTc still climbs better than the Nomad. You don't do shuttles so you climb a bit to get to those downs I bet. HT probably climbs better. You'll have demo both.

  5. #5
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    HT all the way

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  6. #6
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    Your height and width the deals going on a closeout Nomad three would be the way I would go. Pine mountain in bend has one large n3 left. Cc x01 bike for 4200. I'm not the biggest fan of the high tower even though it's really popular on here. I simply think the fuel ex9.9 is better. The Nomad Bronson and 5010 are the three Santa Cruz bikes I really enjoy

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by rondre3000 View Post
    HT all the way

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    HT LT definitely has it's advantages. I prefer the fox36 over the Lyric. Don't mind the 29" over 27.5" (from what I can tell other things make a bigger difference).

    But the original question is more about why as opposed to just a popularity contest.

    Climbing seems neutral or close, downhill if anything seems to favor the nomad. For the rest... dunno.

    Why LT over nomad? For what kind of trails?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by spikebike View Post
    HT LT definitely has it's advantages. I prefer the fox36 over the Lyric. Don't mind the 29" over 27.5" (from what I can tell other things make a bigger difference).

    But the original question is more about why as opposed to just a popularity contest.

    Climbing seems neutral or close, downhill if anything seems to favor the nomad. For the rest... dunno.

    Why LT over nomad? For what kind of trails?
    You said yourself you don't ride park or shuttle. How practical is a 170mm travel trail bike?

    The HT, even in LT form makes much more sense. This is coming from someone who owned a Nomad 3 for a year. If you have the terrain, then sure go for it. If you don't, be only slightly overbiked on the HT LT vs lugging arou d way more travel than you would ever need on a Nomad 4.

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by racebum View Post
    Your height and width the deals going on a closeout Nomad three would be the way I would go. Pine mountain in bend has one large n3 left. Cc x01 bike for 4200. I'm not the biggest fan of the high tower even though it's really popular on here. I simply think the fuel ex9.9 is better. The Nomad Bronson and 5010 are the three Santa Cruz bikes I really enjoy
    That's a steal. What color is that Nomad?

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  10. #10
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    it just sold this week. was there last time i looked. what happens is the prior year demo bikes get liquidated and some of them are in really good shape. others are beat. like don't buy the fuel ex 9.8 in 18.5. it's beat like a rented mule. some of the others however are clean. the large bronson will be up for sale anyday once the 2018s come in and it's also a cc with eagle

    https://pinemountainsports.com/renta...-bike-rentals/

    if there is anything you see that you're interested in call and chat them up about it. they should know when they are selling those all off by now

    there are other deals out there too. yesterday i got a new in the box 2017 bronson cc frame with a '17 fox 36 factory and cc4 headset for 2995 shipped {from different vendor}

  11. #11
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    What a stupid thread. If you don't know the answer, then its obviously neither. You come off as a definite candidate for the regular Hightower or even a Bronson which will be MUCH for capable, fun, and all rounder over your current Blur. The HT is a very capable bike and covers such a wide spectrum.

    You sound like somebody that wants the latest and greatest and waiting for somebody to tell you to get a Nomad4. Are you a dentist? Again, the way you describe your riding, you may even appreciate the ability of the Hightower to run 27.5 Plus.

    If you really think you need a more aggressive platform, then bump up the front to 150.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by robnow View Post
    What a stupid thread. If you don't know the answer, then its obviously neither. You come off as a definite candidate for the regular Hightower or even a Bronson which will be MUCH for capable, fun, and all rounder over your current Blur. The HT is a very capable bike and covers such a wide spectrum.
    I don't buy $5k and up bikes very often (13 years ago), but I do ride daily. I rode my blur till I snapped the seat tube just above the BB. It was more of an XC bike, after talking to SC they offered to replace it with a Blur LT (10 years ago) for my riding style/trails. I love it, it was quite the upgrade. Worked great at Downieville, Moab, Rockville, Tahoe, Auburn, etc.

    However the geometry is quite dated, I need a huge stem to fit the large (6" I think), despite being 5'10", and I really wish I could run somewhat wider tires (currently 2.35 in front and 2.25 in back). Although I suspect that even the same width tires on 27.5 or 29" wheels will feel better when it's loose.

    Quote Originally Posted by robnow View Post
    You sound like somebody that wants the latest and greatest and waiting for somebody to tell you to get a Nomad4. Are you a dentist? Again, the way you describe your riding, you may even appreciate the ability of the Hightower to run 27.5 Plus.

    If you really think you need a more aggressive platform, then bump up the front to 150.
    Heh, well I admit that I've been keeping an eye on the market, was originally fairly horrified by the first 29" bikes, my early 29" test rides gave me new appreciation for my blur LT. I was pretty interested in the 2x and then 1x transmissions. Was excited by the specialized "brain" rear shock (hated in the test ride). Then boost. Given that I'll likely keep my next bike for 5-10 years I did want to make sure my new bike would use a standard that was abandoned too quickly (like 26", 3x9s, front deraillures, 135mm hubs, narrow rims, non-drop seatposts, etc).

    So I care much more about confidence and fun, less so about finishing being a second faster or an ounce lighter. Saw the recently posted SC interview/podcast and the general consensus was that 29" was faster and 27.5" was more fun. If that was true I'd buy an N4 in a second, but I've yet to hear that from someone that's ridden both.

    The flip side is traditionally less suspension travel is better if you don't need it, but the new N4 rear suspension seems to (at least in some ways) be better than the HT's (SC claims better small bump compliance, midstroke support, etc). Amusingly for the X01 build the N4 air is lighter than the HT LT. I suspect the frame/shock is somewhat heavier and the 27.5" tires somewhat lighter.

    Sure I'll have to ride before I'll know for sure, but it's kind of handy to see the different points of view so I'll know what to try, what to look for, and what other bikes to compare to. I'm sure I'd figure it out myself, if I had enough time. But often demo/test rides are of pretty limited length. So I want to make the most of every minute I have on a test ride.

    I've ridden an HT (not the LT), granted the SC demo day was in a pretty lame area with mostly flat walking paths. Wasn't particularly impressed, not sure if it was the 27.5+, suspension setup, tire pressure, etc. I did tinker/try a few different settings/tweaks. I hope to try a HT LT and N4 on some real trails even if I have to drive for a few hours to get there.

  13. #13
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    Reading all of this there are a couple of bikes I think you should definitely test ride. The third gen Nomad is one. The Bronson is another. the yeti sb5 is also on the list. You might even like the Bronson and sb5 more in a medium. the third gen Nomad is kind of an odd duck. The large is right in between medium and large of the other two bikes which makes it a pretty good fit for being 510. The sb5 and Bronson I don't really like in a large and I'm your same height.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by rondre3000 View Post
    You said yourself you don't ride park or shuttle. How practical is a 170mm travel trail bike?
    Heh, well I think my current blur LT (160mm) is quite practical, I use it for everything, even commute on it instead of my subaru. SC makes some pretty impressive claims about the N4's rear suspension and reviews do make it sound like it climbs pretty well. Do you really think the LT HT is better than the N4 unless you park or shuttle? Seems like the downsides (N4 vs HT LT is pretty weight neutral, even slightly in N4's favor) are pretty minimal.

    Quote Originally Posted by rondre3000 View Post

    The HT, even in LT form makes much more sense. This is coming from someone who owned a Nomad 3 for a year. If you have the terrain, then sure go for it. If you don't, be only slightly overbiked on the HT LT vs lugging around way more travel than you would ever need on a Nomad 4.
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    Think the HT LT handles technical climbs better than the N4? Descends better? More fun on XC? Easier to bunny hop? Generally more fun?

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    I'll definitely try a bronson, I suspect it will feel more like my original Blur (before the broken frame was replaced by an LT). Did you see that ElCamino78 said his N4 pedaled better than his bronson v2?

    I've been tempted by yeti before. But I weight 220 without gear, keep things for a long time, and use them daily. After 3-4 years on my blur snapped, talked to SC on Monday, shipped it back on Tuesday, and had a new blur LT (they offered an XC as well) frame to replace it on Friday. They took such good care of me, it's hard to consider anything else.

    That and things like pressfit BB's bother me. Last thing I want is a hard to replace BB or squeaking.

    Speaking of which, should I read anything into the Hightower LT publishing shock pressures up to 280 pound riders and the Nomad only publishing shock pressures up to 220 pounds? I'm 220 or so, but on longer rides I carry some tools, 100 oz of water, etc. Probably run 240 ish with all my gear.

  16. #16
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    I'm in the same boat, my bike is a Blur Ltc with a 160 mm fork. I also don't buy a new bike very often and I'm in the market now. I'm a pretty aggressive rider and ride the north shore/Squamish trail and I like to climb.

    Tried the Bronson and HT and had more fun on the Hightower as I found it carried more speed. I heard that the new Nomad climbs fairly well and last night I took a one for a quick rip up Seymour and I was shocked at how well it pedals, I really like the geometry and it put me in a comfortable position for climbs. Today I'm taking it up to Squamish for a big climb so I will be able to see how it is to spend a big day on it.

    I'm liking the Nomad a lot so far

  17. #17
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    Honestly, sounds like a regular Hightower should be considered. You could even go 27.5+

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    Quote Originally Posted by spikebike View Post
    Heh, well I think my current blur LT (160mm) is quite practical, I use it for everything, even commute on it instead of my subaru. SC makes some pretty impressive claims about the N4's rear suspension and reviews do make it sound like it climbs pretty well. Do you really think the LT HT is better than the N4 unless you park or shuttle? Seems like the downsides (N4 vs HT LT is pretty weight neutral, even slightly in N4's favor) are pretty minimal.



    Think the HT LT handles technical climbs better than the N4? Descends better? More fun on XC? Easier to bunny hop? Generally more fun?
    I wouldn't have said it if I didn't mean it.

    A 170mm free ride bike shouldn't pedal as efficiently as 135-150mm trail bike. If that were the case, Santa Cruz wouldn't need to make other bikes. There will be trade-offs for either decision. Can you make the Nomad 4 your quiver of 1? Sure I guess, but unless you had access to that type of terrain every day why would you want to?

    In the end it's your money. You've asked and we've given you some good input. Spend your money on what you want to ride (sounds like the Nomad 4) but don't say we didn't tell you so in a few months...haha.

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    Why are people suggesting a Nomad 3? From everything I've read, the Nomad 4 is a better all-arounder than the Nomad 3. They're pretty much identical in terms of travel and geometry but the Nomad 4 is longer for a given size. The leverage curve supposedly makes the N4 more poppy and playful compared to the N3. I think everyone is just caught up on how it looks like a DH bike.

  20. #20
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    I hope this help you. I analysed the kinematics of both bikes in my blog. Cheers!

    https://mrblackmorescorner.blogspot....anta-cruz.html
    https://mrblackmorescorner.blogspot....jo-hd4-vs.html

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmrocks View Post
    Why are people suggesting a Nomad 3? From everything I've read, the Nomad 4 is a better all-arounder than the Nomad 3. They're pretty much identical in terms of travel and geometry but the Nomad 4 is longer for a given size. The leverage curve supposedly makes the N4 more poppy and playful compared to the N3. I think everyone is just caught up on how it looks like a DH bike.
    go ride them. 1st thing is the N3 is being sold for great deals. second N4 is physically bigger, "feels" like a DH bike and is often heaver and considerably more expensive.

  22. #22
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    N4 all the way. I've ridden one and it's better than the N3 and Hightower from a rear suspension perspective. Plus it's modern geo vs the cobbled-together geo of the LT is a huge benefit.

    Give SC a year or so and they will be releasing a proper long travel 29'er with modern geo and a revised N4 suspension system...

    If the N4 is too much bike for your trails then consider sticking with the HT as it has the better geo vs the LT.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rondre3000 View Post
    I wouldn't have said it if I didn't mean it.

    A 170mm free ride bike shouldn't pedal as efficiently as 135-150mm trail bike. If that were the case, Santa Cruz wouldn't need to make other bikes. There will be trade-offs for either decision. Can you make the Nomad 4 your quiver of 1? Sure I guess, but unless you had access to that type of terrain every day why would you want to?

    In the end it's your money. You've asked and we've given you some good input. Spend your money on what you want to ride (sounds like the Nomad 4) but don't say we didn't tell you so in a few months...haha.

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    Except the N4 isn't a freeride bike.

    it pedals better than every Nomad before it, as well as the current Bronson. It's a better bike in all ways than the N3, which many of us have happily had as our one-bike quiver these past three years.

    Folks should ride one and see for themselves before passing judgement.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by SCJG View Post
    it pedals better than every Nomad before it, as well as the current Bronson.
    Hmmmm, not saying that statement isn't true, but I do have to say as an owner of a Bronson, and previously a Nomad, that seems hard to believe.

  25. #25
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    Try a plus tire HT. I had a blur, broke it and got a blur LT from SC. Bought a tallboy LT, was a great bike but a little twitchy at speed n the rough stuff. Rode a turner Sultan with a big frame and short stem and now have a HT with heavy tires. The DHF and Highroller combo in 27.5 x 2.8 make the most fun bike I have ever ridden, smashes through stuff I would never have dreamed of riding through and yed manageable for 3000 ft+ climbs. 150 in the front with 135 in the back takes care of anything. I bought the 27+ for the longer fork with the intent of upgrading to carbon 29 wheels and after 7 months I think I am sticking with 27+. Way more fun and great to hear your buddies complain after trying to follow your lines through the rough.Nomad 4 X01 vs Hightower LT X01?-img_06781.jpgNomad 4 X01 vs Hightower LT X01?-20170602_144647.jpg

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by hitek79 View Post
    Hmmmm, not saying that statement isn't true, but I do have to say as an owner of a Bronson, and previously a Nomad, that seems hard to believe.
    X2

    I have briefly ridden the new Nomad and it's nowhere near as fun of a trail bike or as efficient of peddler as the Bronson. It's a bike park bike. A downhill bike for people who actually need to Pedal from time to time

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    Quote Originally Posted by hitek79 View Post
    Hmmmm, not saying that statement isn't true, but I do have to say as an owner of a Bronson, and previously a Nomad, that seems hard to believe.
    I've not ridden one, so I can't say. May depend on setup. One would hope that such a radical design of the rear suspension, increased weight, and cost would result in some substantial advantage.

    Other reviews on MTBR have mentioned that their Nomad V4 did pedal better than the reviewers previous bike, a bronson v2.

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