This build was chosen after 6 months of riding Nelson trails with a “stock” carbon Santa Cruz Nomad, the reasoning behind tweaks in this build are explained below.
Tweak 1: Fox rear shock
Nelson’s more technical trails are famous for their length, steepness and roughness. The stock Rock Shox Monarch Plus simply wasn’t cutting it, either not providing enough “pop” or packing up part way through runs. Upgrading to the Fox DHX2 with SLS has been a game changer on the Nomad, providing ultimate reliability throughout the longest of runs, keeping the wheels stuck to the ground where desired, while still providing “pop” when needed, and guaranteeing stable controlled landings off drops and jumps. All of this for only the slightest weight increase. Soon after installing the shock I ordered the upgrade lockout switch which is a massive help on Nelson’s big steep uphills.
Tweak 2: Fox front fork.
As good as Rock Shox forks have become Fox Kashima still outperforms it in most situations. Pairing a Fox 36 Air with the Fox DHX2 on the rear matches performance perfectly front and rear. Choosing a Fox 36 Talas would have provided the additional benefit of adjustable travel, but having run one in the past and rarely used the lower travel setting it seemed an unnecessary luxury at the cost of additional weight. The Fox 36 Air was further tuned by popping two tokens in, dramatically improving performance while going down steep sections.
Tweak 3: Eagle transmission
Nelson is not only famous for how steep its downhills are… but also how steep the climbs to get to the trail heads are. The 50 (!!!) to 10 range of the cassette in the Eagle groupset means running a 32 chainring on the front is possible without making the uphills too hard.
Having run this build for almost three months now I can report that this really is the Ultimate Nelson Nomad, there isn’t a thing that needs to be changed and the bike performs spectacularly on all of the incredible trails Nelson has to offer.