Enduro EVO vs. Nomad?


well i told myself i would never ask the internet to pick a bike for me but i just cant decide any chance you can give me some insight ?
I am having trouble deciding between and Enduro Evo or the Santa cruz nomad. My lbs sells both brands but only stocks the the Evo at this time, they dont have either bike as a loaner so i cant ride either one on the trail.
I have never had the opportunity to ride anything other than a single pivot bike( currently on a cannondale rize) so i dont really know what to expect. The guys at the lbs are split down the middle some say the Nomad other say the enduroone guy said he didnt like the way the nomad handled out of the saddle but couldnt really elaborate . At at this price i though it would be wise to ask someone who isnt trying to take my money. Any thoughts pros/cons etc you could give me would be very helpful. this will be my primary bike and i spend most of my time riding at bootleg canyon in las vegas, with trips to AZ and UT


Me and my Enduro at Left Hand Canyon outside Boulder, C0. A DH bike is fun here, but the Enduro is the right tool for more of the mountain (especially since I’m no longer DH Racer Guy).

Hey Stuart,

It’s OK man. I find myself doing lots of things I told myself I’d never do.


1. As a Specialized test rider, I’d love to see you rock an Enduro. But:

2. Enduros and Nomads are both great bikes. At that price point from a major bike maker, you cannot go wrong.

3. Base Enduros and Nomads are very similar in terms of geometry and purpose. They are both pinner mini-DH bikes that can be pedaled uphill. Perfect for a place like Bootleg Canyon. Especially if you have no patience for shuttles.

Note: At the 2011 Nevada State Downhill Championships at Bootleg Canyon, Michael Sylvestri took 2nd in both pro downhill and chainless downhill — on a non-EVO Enduro.

4. How will your bike be built? An Enduro EVO is full-on DH with coils front and rear and even slacker geometry than base. Compared with a Nomad built with air fork/shock and trail-oriented components, the EVO is way more DH. Be sure you’re comparing comparably spec’ed bikes. I think either an air or coil build will do the job.

Russ Ranney rips LHC on his Nomad. This dude KILLS IT everywhere — up, down and sideways — on his Nomad. Video proof

5. The Enduro’s FSR suspension is very active when pedaling and braking. This gives a consistently plush feel on the DH, especially when pinning it through rocks. The Nomad’s VPP suspension is very efficient when pedaling, especially up that smooth dirt road. The interplay between the chain and suspension creates some stiffness when pedaling or braking in bumps. Both bikes pedal and descent quite well. Which is your style? If you don’t know, flip a coin.

6. Is your hero Curtis Keene or Mark Weir (before he left Santa Cruz for Cannondale)?

7. What color do you like?

8. You’re choosing between a great bike and … a great bike. Support your LBS. Make sure the suspension is dialed. Get strong. Learn to ride. Rip it!

Know more. Have more fun!

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12 replies
  1. Russ says:

    Thanks for the props Lee! I do love my Nomad. I’ve not owned an Enduro but I have owned an FSR bike. I personally love the way FRS tracks the trail and remains active under braking and pedaling. VPP works best when it comes to pedaling through chop and just grinding up hills in general. Under braking I feel FRS performs better. Really it’s splitting hairs because they are both great designs and the vast majority of us will become fans of which ever design they go with. There are SO many great AM bikes on the market right now it’s tough to make an argument for which is best. I personally like the way the nomad is put together: 15mm axles, angular contact bearings, and an upper carbon link make for a rigid frame. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the HD. The Pivot firebird is another option to think about. The fact that an Enduro placed 2nd Pro DH at bootleg speaks volumes as to what a good rider can do on one. Actions speak louder than words. So many great options!

  2. Mike says:

    Having owned all three bikes Enduro(sl version), Nomad2 and now Mojo HD I can speak to some of the differences that you will notice. First, the reach measurement on these bikes is very different so take that into consideration when picking a size. The Enduro has a long reach and plays well with a short stem. The Nomad has a very short reach and will feel very cramped and less stable compared to the same size Enduro with equal stem lengths. If you ride a Med Enduro and want a short stem, then go for a large Nomad or Mojo HD and run short stems. I am a huge DW link fan because I think it splits the difference between VPP’s pedalability and FSR’s plushness and braking action. My biggest complaint with the Nomad was fit as I chose a med and it always felt wrong compared to my Enduro. The stiff braking action and what felt like a floppy front end were also things I didn’t like about the Nomad. The suspension is a preference thing and everyone will have a different opinion based on how they ride. Better riders with better braking technique probably won’t notice the stiffening of the VPP as much. Obviously great riders can rock any of these bikes and rip it up even on DH courses as we have seen. Therefore, I guess my advice would be to carefully evaluate the fit of each and make your decision that way. My order of preference thus far has been 1. Large HD 2. Med Enduro 3. Med Nomad (which I didnt really like but that may not be the bikes fault)

  3. stuart says:

    Well i found someone in our group has a nomad that i will have a chance to test ride this weekend. The Large enduro feels pretty good in the parking lot but i didnt have a chance to ride one on the trail. I will also have a chance to ride a 09 enduro sl this weekend its not quite the same as the evo but i think it will give me an idea.

    i did actually consider the mojo but there are no dealers in las vegas i would have to buy online. i would hate to spend that much money without even having the chance to sit on it.

    At this point i am leaning a little towards the enduro mostly to do my lbs support. Maybe i should just flip a coin or just let my son pick the color he likes 🙂

    Thanks for the info guys

  4. Eric says:

    One more suggestion, if I may: check out the new GT’s. Not sure if you have a decent dealer nearby, they’re slowly coming back these days, but the bikes are solid.
    The iDrive package has stood the test of time, in fact Lee has some great old video of Jim Norman tearing up Lime Ridge on a first gen DHi, and in its latest ID form you can choose between 4-8″ travel versions, all equipped nicely (albeit in some crazy colors).
    Worth a look anyway…
    Good luck!

  5. leelikesbikes says:

    Stumpy or Stumpy EVO is a different animal. Lighter, less travel, more “trail” and less “all mountain.” In my opinion, a more appropriate bike for most riders on most trails.

  6. leelikesbikes says:

    Circling back:

    What does “more appropriate” mean, anyway?

    – Geometry and travel more in line with the demands of rider and trail.

    – Easier to ride up. Lighter, less suspension movement, steeper angles.

    – Easier to ride down. The bigger/slacker bikes take more energy to wring out on mellow trails.

  7. Russ says:

    The Stumpy EVO has a 67 Head Angle with a 150 fork which is the same as most 6″ bikes with a 160 fork. I’m glad Specialized is bringing a shorter travel bike to market with slacker geo than normal for its class. I don’t like how geo and travel are pretty much set in stone. Hopefully bikes like the Banshee spitfire will brake that mold. A light 5″ bike is more than adequate for most situations, but I’ll always go 6″ for the slacker geo.

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