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The Nomad Carbon SPX AM combines 160mm of adept all-mountain travel in a package as trim as many cross-country frames. This is partially due to the smartly spec'd SPX AM Complete Bike kit, consisting of Easton EA70, DT Swiss, and Shimano XT components. But, it's also due to Santa Cruz's proprietary carbon fiber frame construction.

Santa Cruz employs a one-piece construction technique to create the front triangle. This means the front triangle is constructed as once piece, rather than having components produced separately, and then bonded or wrapped. Additionally, the carbon fibers are continuous around tube junctions, which distributes loads and absorbs impact energy better.

One thing that you can't see, without taking a saw to the frame, is that it looks as good on the inside as it does on the outside. There's nothing there except smooth carbon, and this isn't because SC's engineers are clean freaks. This actually prevents stress risers in failure prone areas of the frame. For that reason too, there are no riveted or bonded-on cable and hose guides, as they're incorporated into the original layup.

That strong, one-piece layup provides stiff and solid mounting points for the latest generation of Santa Cruz's Virtual Pivot Point rear suspension. The upper and lower links flatten out the shock rate and provide a more active feel to the early end of the axle path. The suspension allows the rear wheel to move up and back as you ride over a bump, and it balances the downward force of pedaling with the pulling force of the chain through its link configuration and axle path. The resulting movement makes it easier to roll over a bump or through a dip, and the suspension doesn’t change whether you’re in the saddle or not.

The Nomad Carbon sports a carbon fiber upper link to shave weight and enhances lateral stiffness. Its counterpart on the bottom is alloy, and it has easily-serviceable grease ports. The pivots for both links have stout 15mm locking collet axle-pins so they won't creak or loosen, and they run on intricately-sealed bearings that should last the life of the frame.

The VPP suspension of the Nomad Carbon yields 160mm of smooth travel damped by a Fox CTD rear shock -- a lightweight, reliable shock that features an intuitive interface for simple, on-the-fly suspension tuning. It has three distinct settings; a firm 'Climbing' setting, medium 'Trail' setting, and a plush 'Descend' setting. This keeps operation straight forward and intuitive for beginners and experts alike.

Complementing the CTD rear shock is a 160mm travel Fox 34 Float CTD front shock. Like the 142 x 12mm rear axle, the fork sports a 15mm thru axle for stiffness. A hand laced and tensioned wheelset composed of DT Swiss 350 hubs, 14/15 guage spokes and WTB i23 rims wrapped in Maxxis Crossmark 2.1 tubeless tires spin around those axles.

The Drivetrain is a full 2 x 10 Shimano XT unit including the cranks, derailleurs, shifters, and cassette. Stopping the Nomad Carbon is a set of Ice Tech XT brakes with a 180mm rotor up front and 160mm in the rear. An Easton EA70 handlebar and stem are joined by a Thomson Elite seatpost with a WTB Silverado Team saddle topping it off.

The Santa Cruz Nomad Carbon SPX AM Complete Bike Comes in sizes Small through X-Large, and three colors; Matte Carbon/Gold, Matte Blue/Black, and Gloss Green/Lime.

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