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PhotoMost times I get on the trail bike this summer, I'll be posting my experiences right here with parts changes and upgrades noted.

Current Weight
30.07 lbs

Current Parts Spec
Rear Shock: Fox DHX 5.0 Air
Fork:
RockShox Lyrik Solo Air, 20mm
Drivetrain:
SRAM X.0 Drivetrain with Truvativ Noir Carbon cranks
Brakes:
Avid Elixir CR, 185mm front, 160mm rear rotors
Wheels:
Front: DT Swiss EX500 rims laced to 240s hub and Rear is Easton Haven (waiting on the 20mm front version)
Tires:
WTB Mutano Raptors, 2.4
Bars: Bontrager Rhythm, 750mm width with Lizards Skins Steve Peat lock-on grips
Saddle/Post:
SDG I-beam, Forumla FX
Photo


Carbon Nomad Photo Gallery





July 10 2010, Heil Valley Ranch, Boulder, CO
Smiffty Cents and I rode Heil Ranch on Saturday. Man is that place ROUGH! If you were a Pro U.S. XC racer, you'd want IMBA to take all the rocks out and smooth out all the bumps. I guess I understand that in mountain biking, trails and terrain vary, so I gladly rode the trail without calling a trail crew. (ok, i'll stop now...just still in disbelief about some stuff surrounding Nat's Pro XC course).
   I knew Heil was rough and full of annoying rocks, but haven't been there in over a year. Don't get me wrong though, it was really fun. A nice change of pace from what I've been riding and good chance to try to rattle the teeth of the cNomad. It didn't work. Nothing was rattled off. In fact, every other time I'd ridden there, I've had to go granny in front, but on this ride, I never got out of the middle ring on, which was sweet, but weird. I feel like I'm fitter than before, but not by that much. I rarely went to biggest cog in back too, so is there some sort of voodoo climbing magic going on with this bike? Is there a built-in motor I don't know about?
   I brought my Easton Haven wheels out and can only use the rear wheel at this point (which I've done) as the front wheel I have is 15mm, but the Lyrik is 20mm. The tires feel a lot more predictable than I thought they would and I'm not minding their narrow look at this point. Heil is full of sharp, moving rocks and even though I pinged a rim once or twice, I didn't flat and the bike seemed to hold the lines I chose pretty well. The descent there is always fun. Last time I was there it was a lot straighter, but in the attempt to keep speeds down, the trail now a lot of mild twists and turns with huge, single rocks on the outsides of the corners to murder anyone who blows a line. Dangerous? Maybe a little. Fun? You bet, especially when you could just barely bunnyhop over some of the rocks and land in perfect shape for the next corner.
   I guess that's it...no major changes right now. Specialized Command Post goes on in a bit, too. Stoked for that.

July 5, 2010 - Lunch ride video, SolVista Singletrack
I recently put on some WTB 2.4 Mutano Raptors. They're working well, but they're measuring in at about 2.2-inches wide, so I don't know if it's a typo on the tire itself or they just run small. Soon to be added, Specialized Command Post!
   I've been getting some nice rides in around here, but there's nothing to write home about at this point. Yesterday I popped the GoPro on to the seat post, so here are some of the descending highlights courtesy of the Carbon Nomad.
Double-click to edit

June 29, 2010 - DHX Air vs RP23 info from Fox Racing Shox
I've had a quick ride or two in between updates, but was in Whistler riding the new Carbon V10, so my schedule was interrupted (bummer, right? : ) I've swapped out the Truvativ Boobars (780mm) for some Bontrager Rhythm bars at 750mm, but there will be some bigger changes coming soon. For now, here's some input on the rear suspension from Mark Fitzsimmons over at Fox Racing Shox.

------------------------------
The DHX Air might require a little more knowledge than the RP23 to tune and setup, where the RP23 is more straight forward. The RP23 is almost 200 grams lighter than the DHX Air. Both shocks are equally robust. They might have a different ride characteristic from each other as Santa Cruz specifies (working in conjunction with FOX) a specific valving tune for each shock.

The DHX Air and the RP23 valve tunes are trying to accomplish the same ride feel and go about it in different designs. I think the DHX Air gives the perception of being a more robust all-mountain shock simply because of the reservoir and aesthetics, but we can break it down this way.

DHX Air adjustments:
-       Rebound
-       Air pressure
-       Propedal (on off style) lever
-       Boost valve pressure adjustment (adding more position sensitive damping and making the Propedal lever firmer or softer)
-       Bottom out adjuster (adding more position sensitive damping at the end of the stroke)
RP23 adjustments:
-       Rebound
-       Air pressure
-       Propedal on off lever
-       3 propedal positions when it is on
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In addition to Mark's input above, I spoke with a Santa Cruz engineer in Whistler and he felt people may have a sour taste in their mouth on the DHX Air and VPP if they rode the first generation shocks back in 2005 or 2006. They had a tendency to feel like they were stuck mid-stroke due to the air volume and design at the time. He believes that issue has long-since been dealt with and the DHX Air is one of the better-performing rear shocks for the Nomad.

June 15 2010, Figure 8 to FtG to Sweet Nancy to Patriot (aka the Super 8)
Today I combined my two favorite rides, the Figure 8 and the epic singletrack of Fraser to Granby to Sweet Nancy to the Patriot descent. I'm calling this the Super 8 for future reference. The crappy little iPhone app I used said I went 12.25 miles in 1 hour 43 minutes. Fine by me. Never left the middle ring and again, standing climbs are great. No changes to the bike other than adding some PSI to the rear shock. I liked the added pressure. Why doesn't everyone live at a sweet bike park?
   I'm pretty stoked on the SDG saddle. I was a little worried about the way it'd work when I didn't see a grove/channel on it, as I was condition to believe they are necessary for maximum comfort. Well, I now know a saddle without a groove can be quite comfy.
  Descending Patriot is awesome, especially on a longer-travel bike. Check out this video from National Champs Super D to give you an idea of the crux maneuver, LOL. Traction is mint, dirt is moist and the trail is prime. I'll helmet cam it next time. Some of the singletrack looks like a golf course green, not even dirt right now since it's so seldom-ridden. Once again, fine by me. Be jealous and move to a bike park. If you're coming to National Champs for DH, do yourself a favor and bring an XC bike if you have the time and/or energy.
Photo
Photo
June 11 2010, FtG to Sweet Nancy to Patriot
How about some photos to make you jealous. No change to the bike, just an epic ride today with the descent going down the 2009 US National Champs XC section called Patriot (which was killer!). Keep in mind this was after 5 downhill runs on this bike at the SolVista Bike Park. Why doesn't everyone live up here?

PhotoYou're bumming, I'm not

PhotoGood rocky climb

PhotoIt's ok to cry because you didn't ride this today.

PhotoBy taking a photo of this ribbon, I was "working".

PhotoTop of the Patriot...not quite as good as a cubical with a window view, but it'll do for now.

June 7 2010, FtG to Sweet Nancy to Nature's Way
Parts Spec:
NO CHANGE

Setup:
NO CHANGE

Ride:
Same as last ride with descent down Nature's Way instead of Silky.

Impressions:
Not much to report other than feeling comfortable on the bike and think I have it set up how I want it. Standing climbs with the stiff frame and Pro Pedal feature on the DHX Air are KILLER around here as most of the climbs I'm on are pretty smooth and middle-ringers. FUN FUN FUN.
   I'm inquiring about getting a 2011 Fox 36 TALAS for the front. I had a chance to ride the fork before Sea Otter and really liked it that day, so fingers crossed...the new 2-position travel adjust is something I'm looking forward to trying for an extended time. I'm also trying to get in touch with Fox to get their input on the DHX Air when paired with the VPP2 suspension. As I've said, I'm enjoying how the bike is riding so far, but want to know a little bit more about the technology going on back there.

June 3 2010, FtG to Sweet Nancy to Loosey to Lower Silky Johnson
Parts Spec:
I swapped the 711mm Easton Monkeylite DH's for some Truvativ Boobars, generously donated by the SolVista Bike Park crew...HECK YES, 780mm wide bars! I don't care about a weight penalty in this case.
Photo

Setup:
No changes, just the Boobar addition.

Ride:
I went "nomading" on some EPIC SolVista area singletrack to the top of the bike park. Fraser to Granby trail south to Sweet Nancy up the mountain with a descent on Loosey (which is rough and rocky, but a good momentum practicer as it's not too steep) to Silky Johnson finish.
   No idea on mileage or anything, but it was "sweet as" to say the least...about an hour and half ride. Only myself, 4 deer, another grouse and probably a bunch of ticks on needle-thin singletrack, some doubletrack and some bike park runs. The singletrack was anywhere from completely buff to rock and log-littered. I think I have a new favorite area to ride trail. PLEASE NOTE, YOU CAN NOT RIDE THE SOLVISTA BIKE PARK DH TRAILS OUTSIDE OF NORMAL OPERATING HOURS.

Impressions:
PhotoThank goodness for wide bars! Uncut at 780mm might be a little overkill for my body size, but hell, they feel so good. The 40mm drop in rise was a positive on climbs and cornering (even with the sketchy tires) felt a lot more secure. I clipped the bars on a  couple slow, narrow tree gaps while climbing, LOL, but the width was so worth it on the way down.
   Had the Pro-Pedal on the entire climb which felt pretty good. There were a couple rougher sections where I got a little bump to the ass, but overall, I'm sold on the way it works. I never went into the small ring up front which is a surprise. Again, due to the stiffness, I found myself climbing through short spots that I may have downshifted on in the past. I no longer have to suck in my gut to put my shorts on, so that could be part of my newly-found mountain goat climbing prowess, too.
   The downtube guard is peeling off slowly. I think everyone knows this will happen. Until it starts flapping, I won't worry about it, but something needs to be done in the future.
   Yesterday I rode Loosey and Silky on my DH bike, so it was a good comparison with the Nomad today. The bike is obviously steeper than a DH bike and the tires didn't help, but it was still really fun, just different. Lack of a chainguide is noticeable as the chain hopped down to the small ring a couple times, so I'll stick to a DH bike in the park unless I specifically set up the Nomad for descending.

May 29 & 31 2010, The Figure 8 at SolVista
Parts Spec:
NO CHANGE

Setup:
Added 2 clicks of LSC in fork for a total of 4 to make it a little less active during climbs. Rear shock air pressure/sag was lowered a smidge to get me in the realm of what is recommended.

Ride:
Wanted to get on for a quick spin during the Triple DHip, so I hopped on The Figure 8 twice during the weekend.

Impressions:
I'm not really seeing the wallow in the rear shock like all the vibers have mentioned. There is a lot of spring and pop when I want it on the decent and I haven't lost traction because of it. The bike doesn't feel like a single pivot, but I don't expect that. Air pressure/sag is in the realm of what I should be running, too. I'm anxious to consistently get on some more technical trails with the rear shock, however.
     LSC increase in the fork was good for the smooth, dirt road climb out and I activated the Pro Pedal switch on the DHX Air while climbing on these two rides. I did not activate it prior to see if I could notice the difference and I did. A LOT less movement in the suspension, especially while standing...stoked to see how the Pro Pedal works on some bumpier, but consistent climbs. Speaking of standing climbs, I find that I'm standing whenever I can because the bike is so freaking stiff. On some of the shorter, steeper little climbs on this ride where I stand, the stem isn't ideal, but I like for the decents. Bars (because of width) and tires (because I want to) are changing as soon as I can.

May 27, 2010, Hall Ranch, Lyons, Colorado
Parts Spec:
NO CHANGE

Setup:
Only changed air pressure in fork, leaving compression open. Did not change air pressure or settings in rear shock to see how the bike works at Hall Ranch with the one gross, steep rocky section.

Ride:

Boulder County classic lollipop that is about 10 or 11 miles, majority is fun, flowing single track. Started from the South trail head to incorporate the steep, technical, granite-filled climb and descent.

Impressions:

Highlights include a passer-by asking if I was on a Carbon Nomad. When I said yes, he smugly squawked, "How did you get that?" In your face!
    I'm still liking the pressure in the rear shock and I think it's because I'm nervous of the historical tales of "wallowing" with the DHX Air on the Nomad, but so far I feel like it is doing a solid job of keeping the back wheel on the ground.
    Climbing, the bike gripped and rolled over the rocks well and again, STIFF, noticed the most on  standing climbs. I'm still fat and out of shape, but was pretty stoked with what I cleaned in the rocks on the way up. I accidentally left the bike in small ring and shifted down for a piece of stand up climb and noticed the feedback from the suspension. Closer to real granny gear I didn't notice much and in middle ring, the bike hauls (as the suspension is made for that). The stem may a bit short on the steep climbs.
    The descent was so freaking fun! I dropped the saddle and forgot I wasn't on a DH bike and having the fork spring set up more accurately to my weight made a big difference. Singletrack turns and waterbars ruled and descending the rocks felt like I was beating Peaty and Minnaar at Maribor and didn't really give two thoughts about line choice. Just ride over shit! I did not notice harshness on the rear suspension because of higher spring pressure. I'm not a fan of the tires descending on the decomposed granite sections. Just seems like there are no real side knobs helping out. The bars are too narrow for me these days, too. I had to make a conscious effort to lean the bike.
    Will go to "normal" spring pressure next time, I promise. Have a chirpy front brake, so I'll check that before the next ride, too.

May 21, 2010, First ride on Carbon Nomad, The Figure 8
Parts Spec:
Rear Shock: Fox DHX 5.0 Air
Fork:
RockShox Lyrik Solo Air, 20mm
Drivetrain:
SRAM X.0 Drivetrain with Truvativ Noir Carbon cranks
Brakes:
Avid Elixir CR, 185mm front, 160mm rear rotors
Wheels:
DT Swiss EX500 rims laced to 240s hubs
Tires:
Kenda Nevegal 2.3 with Kenda FR tubes
Bars:
Easton Monkey Lite DH, 711 width with Lizards Skins Steve Peat lock-on grips
Saddle/Post:
SDG I-beam, Forumla FX

Setup:
Received bike and just built the bike up, adjusted cockpit, measured sag, then added a bit more pressure in the fork and rear shock as it felt a little soggy rolling around inside. Compression adjusters open for now. Bike was used before me, but there are no real signs of use.

Ride:

Gonna label this ride "The Figure 8" because I'll do it a lot this summer. Fun, flowy singletrack descent on Fraser to Granby trail near SolVista with dirt road climb out, then 1/2 mile or so of new, unfinished US National Champs XC trail section. About 5 miles, good for a post-work spin that takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

Impressions:

A nice little introduction to the Carbon Nomad. Definitely had too much air pressure in the fork. Not a big deal on the singletrack descent as it's pretty mellow, but noticed it on the bumps of the new US Nat's trail, which was slow, bumpy and pedally since it's brand new. I think the rear shock is probably over-sprung too, but it felt right most of the time. I didn't use all the travel, but I liked how the bike descended and pedaled, especially in the bumps of the XC track. All middle ring today and the frame is STIFF! Will use appropriate pressure/sag next ride and will mess with compression a bit.











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