The evolution of a mountain bike: Nomad Carbon 27.5" Build 1

As I was writing up the blog post about installing Shimano XTR Di2 it led me to look through my photos and I realised several things:

  1. I like to experiment with new technology,
  2. I am willing to try something no one else will try (such as tubeless in the bike park when everyone else was telling me that it would not work),
  3. My bicycles are constantly evolving machines, and
  4. My Nomad is on its seventh build version.

2015 Nomad CC Build 1 (September 2014):

This is almost how it arrived from Santacruz Bicycles (I say almost as I have strong feelings about certain brands and products and won’t have them on my bike regardless of how good some one else thinks they are).

Nomad 3 XX1

I started with Continental Mountain King 2.4″ Protection tyres as they are good all rounders, roll fast, grip well and last a long time. Their only downside is┬áthat they are very pressure sensitive (ie one must experiment with pressures to get great grip; if they are over inflated for your body weight and riding style they really don’t grip at all) and tend to over steer if they are over inflated. There is nothing wrong with Maxxis High Roller II tyres but I find that the EXO sidewalls are more susceptible to cuts and the 3C compound does not have as much grip and wears a lot faster than the Continental Black Chilli rubber. My cost-benefit ratio is better with Continental tyres.

I also requested a WTB Silverado Team rather than the specified WTB Volt, as the short snagging drop nose of the Volt makes me want to tear it off and throw it into the forest about 200 metres into a ride. I find it best to start with something that agrees with my butt and allows me to enjoy the ride.

The Palmdale grips looked like a good idea, I like the slim profile and single, inner lock ring but they felt quite hard so they lasted for the push from the workshop to the driveway and were then promptly replaced by some ESI Racer Silicon grips.

The Rockshox Reverb did not even make it onto the bike. The remote ergonomics appear to have been designed by someone who has never actually ridden a bike with a dropper post and has the world’s most over developed thumbs. Plus I have a rule to never have hydraulic when I can have cable operated (easier to fix) and to never have Dot fluid when I can use mineral oil. A KS Lev Intrgra was installed instead. The remote is easier to place and more intuitive and I knew I would be installing the Southpaw remote once it became available.

It is hard to see in the photo but the SRAM chain never made it onto the bike either. They are too heavy and wear far too quickly, in my experience, and this wear is transferred into the very expensive drive train. I don’t really know what has happened here as we all used to hanker for Sachs chains when I was racing in the early nineties.

Anyway, the KMC 11 speed X11SL-TiN is almost 23% lighter, stronger, still uses a magic link and, as a bonus, it is gold so it looks bling. In ten years of riding I have never broken a KMC chain and I have never had one stretch to replacement before I have had to replace some other part of the drive train anyway.