The SC Nomad 4 & Strega are here!

By April 3, 2017Middle-Left, news-S

Brand New Bikes From Santa Cruz!

The Nomad

The Nomad’s reputation is built on consistently pushing the envelope of how DH a bike can get while still remaining usable on most trails. With each iteration we nudge the travel and geometry further towards the outer limits, and each time we surprise ourselves at just how completely rideable the end result remains.

The fourth generation design sees a dramatic shift to the lower-link mounted shock configuration. This is the first time that learnings from years of V10 development have translated across to one of our trail bikes.

The shock rate is now almost completely linear—which means feather-light small bump sensitivity right off the bat, a supportive midstroke and overall progression that you’d normally only experience on a DH bike. To keep the gravity vibe going we’ve ensured the Nomad can run both standard metric coil shocks and lighter air units to suit any preference.

Full shock compatibility creates challenges when trying to cram everything into the precious bottom bracket area. But the continued evolution of our carbon tech means we’re able to create a svelt, strong, swingarm/front triangle combo that’s as much art as it is engineering.

We even managed to squeeze in a flip-chip feature on the lower link too. Think of the high setting as “regular”, the way the bike’s mostly meant to be ridden, and the low setting as being closer to full on DH status.

To handle all this new-found capability the geometry has adapted too. It’s longer and lower-slung than ever to ensure maximum stability and confidence on absolutely everything.

The whole package is crowned with a raft of subtle yet essential details. Bolt-on downtube protectors and shuttle guards act as a helmet for your frame—a replaceable front line against abuse. An integrated shock fender has also been added to keep crud out of the suspension.

The crowning glory of the Nomad, however, has been in the making longer than the frame itself: the all new Santa Cruz Reserve carbon wheels.  Spec’d exclusively on the Nomad for now, you can read more about how these wheels came into being right here.

Nomad will be available at your local retailer starting from June 15.

The Strega

The Strega reaches deep into the darkest corners of women’s mountain biking at the highest level. It is a bike without an equal in the market, because few dare to tread where this outsider plays. More agile and versatile than a Santa Cruz V10, more composed at speed and on steeps than a Roubion, the Strega launches straight into the no- woman’s land of a 170mm travel bike.

The lower-link mounted shock creates the most progressive VPP platform in the Juliana line-up. That means there’s a consistent feel throughout the shock stroke… the kind of feel you’d expect from a DH bike. And even with a gravity oriented 65 degree head angle, Strega’s geometry still delivers a ride that’s as spellbinding on big trail days as as it is on big park days.

Our trademark attention to detail can be found all over the Strega, too—including suspension tuned appropriately for the anticipated rider, crazy low standover heights, and frame size-specific dropper posts.

Juliana is founded upon a drive to meet the demands of the most committed female outdoor athletes. We’re not afraid to see where that leads us, and the Strega proves that sentiment. It may be the most niche bike we’ve ever produced, but those who know, know that the wickedest of good times lie out there on the fringes.

Strega will be available at your local retailer starting from June 15.

Reserve Wheels

Say Whaaaaaaat!?!?

Strongest Wheels on the Market

Whether it’s a sunset lap with friends or a race run against the clock, a broken wheel ruins any ride. We set strength and impact resistance as our highest priority, but strength doesn’t have to mean uncomfortably stiff. Our wheels are compliant enough to avoid that harsh “wooden” ride that gives some carbon rims a bad name offroad. We only make offroad bikes at Santa Cruz, so we have the privilege of being able to focus purely on the mountain bike experience. Everything from the thickness of rim beads to external spoke hole reinforcements comes purely from our experience of knowing what riders need at every level—from international racing to your local trails.

Mountain Bike-Specific Design and Testing

One thing we knew for certain going into this project three years ago was that the industry standard impact test for carbon wheels wasn’t going to cut it. That test, approved by the UCI, impacts both sides of a rim equally with a flat rubber pad without a tire mounted on the wheel. It’s designed to replicate a pothole-type impact on the road. On a mountain bike, a rock is much more likely to only hit one side of the rim, so the rim beads have to be independently strong. We created a test in our lab that simulates one side of the rim landing directly on a square-edged rock from over 3 feet in the air with no suspension, and a lightweight tire inflated to 25psi. As we began to put some of the other rims on the market through this test, we broke a lot of them more or less like we expected to—on the bead—but we also found that a critical failure mode was the spoke nipples pulling through the rim due to the sudden increase in spoke tension as the wheel flexed on impact.

Material Where You Need It

This information in hand, we set about determining how we might design a rim to mitigate those failures, and part of the result is the square-shaped reinforcements you can see around the spoke holes. We made plates of different carbon spoke hole designs in our carbon lab in Santa Cruz, developed a test that mimics the sudden increase in pulling force associated with an impact, and spent a few months breaking bits of carbon, spokes, and nipples until we got to the point that we were breaking all spokes and nipples and no carbon.

We’re far from the first company to reinforce high-stress areas with more material, but they’re visible to ensure that the spoke hole drilling matches the reinforcement. Super-precise placement of these reinforcements allows us to use only the amount of material necessary to achieve the strength required, rather than reinforcing the entire rim. We then invest that extra material into the other common failure point of a rim—the bead.

The rim beads on the Reserve wheels are thick, relative to other rims on the market. As much as a millimeter thicker on either side, in some cases. The material we saved by optimizing the placement of the spoke hole reinforcements went directly into the bead, making it extremely strong without adding weight to the overall construction. The beads are hookless: this makes for a better fit with modern tires, but also simplifies manufacturing, which results in more consistent carbon compaction—the technical way to say stronger rim.

Watch the video below to see what this test looks like at full speed and in slow motion.