Luxury Bikes

(Dream Bike) Santa Cruz Nomad Version 6

Last winter I spent quite a bit of time planning a new dream build for spring. Last year I converted a Specialized Enduro to a Mullet setup WRP’s link, but this year I’ll be aboard my first dedicated Mullet – a Santa Cruz Nomad Version 6. The last time I owned a Santa Cruz was in 1999 on a bright red Bullet, which was my first “downhill” bike. Needless to say, a few things have changed since then. Last year I tested the new Bronson and was very impressed with its significantly improved suspension. Right after my first ride, the idea of ​​a longer travel version of this mixed wheel setup seemed like it might be the hot ticket for a majority of my riding, so here we are…

Like most of my dream bikes, this Nomad is black, but if you look closely you’ll see that I glued a glossy RideWrap kit to the matte frame for a finish conversion. Anyway, read on for details on the entire build…


  • 170 mm travel front and rear via VPP suspension
  • Internally sheathed cable/hose routing
  • Universal derailleur hanger
  • Adjustable geometry via flip chip in the lower shock absorber connection
  • 29″ front wheel / 27.5 rear wheel
  • Internal storage space in the glove compartment
  • 33 pounds without pedals

For the front wheel rider, I chose the recently updated RockShox ZEB Ultimate RC2 with 170mm travel. On the surface, the 2023 ZEB doesn’t look much different, but with an all-new Charger 3 shock, bleed valves, updated air spring and butter cups, it’s a significantly improved fork as a sum of its parts.

One of the highlights of the new Nomad is its internal storage via glovebox. I’d be lying if I said that downtube storage doesn’t play a role in my bike choices these days.

The Nomad has – in my opinion – very ideal rear suspension kinematics and the ability to operate both coil and air shock absorbers equally well. I chose the new RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate because, among other things, of its externally adjustable hydraulic punch – a function that I attach great importance to. This was combined with a 500# EXT spring to save some weight (~200 grams). Finally, I decided to swap out the stock lower shock parts for a needle bearing from Real World Cycling. This is due to the high degree of rotation at the lower shock eyelet inherent to the VPP suspension layout.

Ahead, I decided to mix things up and instead of my usual OneUp bars and Industry Nine stem combo, I’m trying out a few new parts from Chromag. Specifically, a 38mm Riza stem and a 35mm rise Cutlass Fubar. I chose a 31.8mm diameter to give a little more flexibility. So far, so good…

A nice, tidy front end with only two brake hoses.

Magura was kind enough to provide a set of the latest MT7 brakes. On a previous build I cobbled these together by ordering the Loic Bruni levers separately, but now Magura offers them as a complete setup. Her power, modulation and leverage are exceptional. 203mm Storm rotors front and rear.

The RockShox AXS seatpost remains my absolute favorite. Expensive, yes, but no cables work wonders in terms of maintenance and aesthetics.

I managed to get my hands on the slightly lighter CC version of the frame to keep the weight down a bit.

For the cockpit, I chose a SRAM Eagle AXS XO1 drivetrain with a 10-50T cassette and a 30T chainring. By not using a 52T, I’m hoping that the chain length will remain a little shorter and therefore quieter… We’ll see how that works out.

My original Cane Creek eeWings just keep ticking, I’ve had these cranks on half a dozen or more bikes now. They are simply incredible in terms of weight and rigidity…totally worth the investment in the long run.

For the Nomad’s wheelset, I custom laced a set of Synthesis E11 carbon rims from Crankbrothers to a set of DT Swiss 240 hubs, upgraded the star ratchet from 36T to 54T, and added Santa Cruz backup valves. Over the years I have tested many carbon fiber rims and to date the Crankbrothers offer the best balance of stiffness and forgiveness while still maintaining excellent strength.

To save some weight and still stay comfortable, I chose the Silverado Carbon saddle from WTB. The contour and padding are great and I love the shape of the nose. At just 181 grams, it is a featherweight for its size and comfort.

When I recently tested the new Hightower, I fell in love with Santa Cruz’s in-house grips. They take a few rides to break in, but they are super comfortable and extremely grippy in wet weather. They are also a bit thicker, but not too thick.

As for the rubber, I opted for a pair of Wild Enduro Racing Line tires from Michelin. These have a thicker shell than the French brand’s standard white label offering and feature the super sticky Magi-X compound on both fronts And rear. A special thanks to Michelin for sending me a 27.5″ rear tire, even though it’s not available to the public yet…

Thomson seat clamp – after all, it’s a dream bike!

Last, but not least, the tried and tested Time Speciale 12 pedals. For me there is nothing better. Consistent feel, great support and incredible performance in poor conditions. And if they’re like most time pedals, they last forever.

Thank you to everyone who helped put this bike together. After my first few rides, I can say that it is my favorite model so far!

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