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Nomad Vs. Bullit (review)

Discussion in 'Downhill & Freeride' started by Ascentrek, Jun 15, 2006.

  1. Ascentrek

    Ascentrek Monkey

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    This is a response to those that were on the edge of buying a Nomad, or had a Bullit. Regardless, I was asked to post a comparison between the two.

    Background; me: I'm a 6'-2" 168lb guy that likes all types of mountain biking. I can't stand riding the roads. I ride XC, agressive XC, DH, Trials and Urban. I have been in search of a bike that can do it all on the DH/Freeride scene, but still pedal the thing behind all my XC riders without too much lag. I'm also 34 years old, have worked in bike shops back in the early 90's and know my stuff. With and Engineering degree to boot, I've taken a ton of time to over analyze just about everything about bikes.

    Background; Bikes: I went through the early 90's ridged bikes, and eventually bought a SC Bullit in '02. I was wanting to change my game from light-weight XC lycra, to a platform in which I could explore more 'fun' and flow. XC bikes just don't have it (you may argue this to death until you've ridden a long travel bike). I have gone to the dark side and was one of the first riders to believe that a 43lb Bullit with a 888 on the front is a great all mountain ride... until the SC Nomad came along. I also own a Koxx 1065 level boss trials bike, the original specialized M2, an old schwinn townie, and a road bike that someone else rides.

    My Requirements: I wanted something that had the std 135mm rear axle, 20mm thru in the front, and an uninterupted seatpost for huge Delta between full XC mode, and DH mode. I can move my seat almost 12 inches. I wanted the 8 inch rotors for those DH days, and serious engagement points for trials moves on the trails from the Hub. I also wanted a reliable bike (yes, this eliminated the Elsworth line I once considered (breakage!)).

    I ended up with a Bullit. and then a few years later, the SC Nomad hits the spot with all my requirements, but lighter and more efficient pedaling. I switch out both bikes between 1 of 3 wheelsets (noted below). They've all been tested with all configurations.

    The Bikes: (I weighed the complete bike without wheelsets)

    SC Bullit: Large Frame (28lbs)
    XT drive train, 2 chain rings & a bash gaurd (you don't need the big ring in colorado)
    Juicy 7 brakes (8 inch)
    Marz 888RC 200mm

    SC Nomad: Large Frame (23.25lbs)
    XT drive train (just like above)
    Juicy 7 brakes
    Marz 66SL 170mm

    Wheels: I have 3 sets of wheels that move from bike to bike.

    -XC wheelset: (10.24 lbs)
    -F: Hadley hub, Mavic 317 rims, 2.35 Maxis high roller DH casing 60d tire
    -R: Chis King Hub, Mavic 317 rims, 2.35 Tioga DH tire

    -All Mtn wheelset: (12.95 lbs)
    -F: Onyx hub, Mavic 321XM rims, 2.5 Maxis Minion F, DH casing, 60d tire
    -R: Onyx hub (soon to be Hadley 108), Mavic 321XM rims, 2.5 Maxis Minion R, DH casing, 60d tire

    -DH Wheelset: (13.61 lbs)
    -F: WTB laser hub, wtb laser beam wheels, Maxis 2.7 highroller 40d
    -R: Hadley hub, wtb laser beam wheels, Maxis 2.7 highroller 40d

    I covered all types of terrain. I built up the XC wheels for the Bullit to push longer days where I was interested in enduro-type rides (30+ miles in the high country). The DH wheels are fascinating. I've often ridden these several times on uphill trails. They may be heavy, but you want to nail the hard techy-uphill-sections, these are for you. They retain your balance, and with a low psi, can stick to just about anything. I use these to make it up a technical trail dabless (no mistakes, or feet down). I built up the All mtn wheelset as a 'tweener'. Typically, the Bullit takes the DH, and the Nomad gets the All mtn wheels. The xc's are reserved for what ever bike I want to throw them on. Both bikes will take all wheels and tires... they've all been tested.

    Testing grounds: I live in Golden Colorado. Which means I have 7 parks within 10 minutes of my house. I have access to high country trails, and am only 5 hours from Moab. These test were done either back to back, or side by side (I literally took each bike down the same trail during my test). I used Palmer Park in colorado springs for the side-by-side test. There's just about everything in the park (XC, FR, DH, Hucks, Trials, and uphill).

    Climbing:
    -The Bullit has a unique pedal feedback that I call the 'buck'. As you pedal, and when you compress the suspension, the chain length extends, thus, the feedback to the pedal is to jerk backwards. It takes a while for you to get used to if you've ridden a 4 bar suspension. When you go through troughs, or small holes that can suck down the 26inch wheel, you'll notice the pedal feedback; it requires extra power to pull through this. The geometry of the Bullit sets is self up for great technical ascending. Once you've gotten over the weight issue, the bike pins the techy stuff with ease. Water bars is where this single pivot platform has rated well. When you approach the water bar, lean back to get the front wheel over the bar, slimply give the pedals a jerk forward, and the back literally jumps up the bar for you! All in all, this bike does go up hill and does it quite well. The weight is a factor, and in some instances, completely unecessary. The Steeper you go, the bike will be harder to push due to heavy frame.
    -The Nomad has a VPP approach. Doing the exact same section, I noticed that the Nomad simply crawled over the sections that the bullit would get bogged down it. With the light frame, this bike is a little easier to work when going uphill. The Nomad seems to have a geometry that is even more relaxed than the Bullit. Your butt is further to the rear, and the head angle seems to be a tad slacker. I haven't figured out the balance to this bike yet, but the front drifts more than what I'm used to... making the technical stuff harder. The nomad does wonderfully when trying to pedal kick (its a trials move). I use this to drop larger hucks on low speed sections. It also flip-turns well, making switch backs easy.

    Descending:
    -I have gotten used to the bullit on the DH over the past 4 years. Everything I learned DH was on that bike. The long travel soaks up a ton of the small and big hits you'll take.
    -The Nomad will surprise you. It has a better geometry suited for DH than the bullit. With the slack 7 inch fork on the front and its lower CG, you'll rail the corners, and have better control than the Bullit.

    Summary:
    Bullit: This thing is positioned to climb, huck, descend and is virtually indestructable. The single pivot is simple, easy to work on, but has its weakness while climbing. Once you master its 'buck', you can use this to your advantage. If you're looking for technical stunt type riding where speed isn't a factor, the Bullit is for you. It will DH just fine, but don't be surprised if others pass you.

    Nomad: Santa Cruz nailed the everything bike. The VPP is the best suspension system on the market (yes, its better than the FSR (Specialized) designs and trailing link designs (ellsworth) (more reviews on that later). The lighter weight frame doesn't compromise strength; this is strong! The DH's will blow you away, it rails and sticks to the ground better than ever. The climbing is a bit harder with the super relaxed geometry, but lower the fork, and you're off. If you want a true all-rounder, that ranks high points in all categories, this is the bike for you.
     

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  2. vicious

    vicious Monkey

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    Nice review.

    I live in Littleton and ride around Golden all the time.
     
  3. Ascentrek

    Ascentrek Monkey

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    PM me, lets ride.
     
  4. OGRipper

    OGRipper Turbo Monkey

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    Cool write up. You probably know but a 170 66 is pretty tall and could explain the front end drift you mentioned. Depending on the year and the crowns the A-C distance is not that different from your 200mm 888.

    Got any more thoughts on the 66? Thinking about picking up one for my vp-free.
     
  5. Ascentrek

    Ascentrek Monkey

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    Since the initial write up of this review (done several weeks ago), I have played with the travel adjustments of the 66SL. You can tweak this fork any way you want and it still feels good.

    You're right though, its a tall bugger. I have found a perfect setting for all-mtn that brings the travel down to 150mm. I can get this thing to 125 if I wanted to. This did change everything on the uphills with the nomad.

    If you want light and adjustable, the 66SL is awesome. It can take harsh hits just like the 888 can, but can be a mellow xc fork if you want it to be.
     
  6. vicious

    vicious Monkey

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    I am running a 66rc2x on my Chaparral. I've only ridden it twice, so haven't had much time to mess with different setups, but it makes me feel like this :weee:
     
  7. Ascentrek

    Ascentrek Monkey

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    Have you had issues breaking it in? Mine took a while and some spray silicon lube to make it plush.
     
  8. Polandspring88

    Polandspring88 Superman

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    Very good review. I was one of the original people asking for a Nomad vs. Bullit comparison. Unfortunately I am no longer in the position to buy a Nomad as I traded my Bullit with a 888 for a Heckler with a Sherman Flick plus:love: . It rides sooooo much better.
     
  9. vicious

    vicious Monkey

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    It was sticky for like he first half of it's inaugural ride, but now it's just as buttery as my '05 888rc (on '04 V10).
     
  10. BurlyShirley

    BurlyShirley Rex Grossman Will Rise Again

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    I feel your pain here. I just sold my bullit and bought a Chameleon and a vanilla 130R . The bullit "Can" be a trailbike, but it sucks as one in truth. At least when riding with other "trail" bikes.
     
  11. gmac

    gmac Monkey

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    I'm SCB & Bullit biased.

    That said, great review. Nice to see someone compare who has ridden both extensively. I'd like to ride a Nomad sometime especially DH after reading that. I'd like to comment on the Bullit though.

    The Bullit is such an interesting bike. It gets insane reviews from both sides pro/con.

    I think people get so technical discussing single pivots and the design of the Bullit specifically (what is right and wrong w/ it) & they forget the bike's roots. These days so many bikes have use-age titles: XC, All-mountain,All-mountain/XC, Slopestyle,Woodstyle, Huck,DH.... . You need like nine bikes to go for a ride. A Bullit is different.

    In 99 SCB had the Heckler(pre-redesign). Great bike(I had one) it was deemed a couch on trails. Able to ride all day @ 28lbs and keep up w/ XC peeps until the trail pointed down. Then it blew doors.

    The Bullit came out in late 99 as an off-spin of the Heckler's popularity and the evolution of freeriding in general. Riding & design were simpler and freeride was just being discovered by many. It was a thought of as a play-bike then. Part XC part MX. Something fun to to ride (that wouldn't break), anywhere, anytime, simple and tough (hence the Bullit reference).

    People or the industry want more though. And marketing has delivered six or seven categories of bike names. Some engineering marvels that live up to the hype, some simply maintenance nightmares. All compared to a very simple bike named Bullit.

    So, another perspective: This is a bike meant for riders who are just into messing around and having fun. Slap on a good rear shock to help it pedal (mine has the original 6" setup on an 04 frame). A capable (new generation) 6" single crown and keep the build light as possible. Ride it all-day, everyday that is what it was designed for.

    For the record I'm not saying marketing and the industry isn't awesome, it is. Parts and suspension are at an all-time great no question. I'll be spending hard earned cash on the goods this season.

    I just wanted to kind of jump in and point out that although compared to everything on the market 4Bar,Fauxbar,VPP,FSR,DW-link, Turners... recognize the Bullit as a play-bike. A bike to mess around on & nothing more. And though it may not be the best in a CAD program it is somehow still fun to ride. Go figure.
     
  12. Ascentrek

    Ascentrek Monkey

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    Your perspective is awesome, thanks for chiming in.

    My riding up to the point when I bought my bullit in '02 was boring. I was just like all the other riders that haven't explored what a bike can really do for them (they're still out there, scoffing at the free-ride scene, DH'ers, and riding their drab xc bikes). The Bullit opened up the possibilities for all types of riding to occur for me. I latched on, had to literally re-learn how to 'ride' a bike.

    In the end, the Bullit has pulled me further into biking. I now seek a thing called 'flow' more than just a DH section. Fortunately, I bit the Bullit trend and haven't stoped.

    I thought I would see serious differences between the two bikes (nomad/bullit). I thought the Nomad was going to blow the doors off the Bullit for a trail bike and be super light weight. This wasn't the case. Both have their Pro's, but neither have a Con to speak of.

    I have seemed to get as much, if not more flow from the Nomad.

    Look for my ride reports as I take the Nomad into the 14k feet areas of Colorado. I literally will be exploring some high altitude this year.
     
  13. keen

    keen Monkey

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    I weighed both the XL Bullit and XL Nomad frames (both w/ DHX coils) Bullit was 9.2 lbs. and the Nomad was 8.2lbs. Only 1 lb difference, so the build w/ dictate the overall weight. Geometry wise if you run a 7.87 rear shock on the Bullit the two will share almost identical geometry save for slightly longer chainstays on the Nomad. I purchased a Nomad to replace my Bullit, only to end up selling the Nomad for a VP Free and making my Bullit a full time trail bike. SC makes some good bike all have strengths, slight minus's if built / used for the wrong application.
     
  14. gmac

    gmac Monkey

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    I could see that. The Bullit requires full attention to get and keep flow. The VPPs are getting real popular at my shop which sells many SCBs. I have yet to get on one though (well I tried a blur 4x w/ the rear air 5th on max pressure so that doesn't count). I've heard they are really nice. I'll have to give a Nomad a full trial ride soon.

    Oh, I also rode a IH 7Point. That basically amazed. By far the best bike I have tried in a parking lot w/ some 3' urban drops... type test anyway. Really felt unique. Love to get that on a trail and see what it can do. Just think it needs little time/perfecting as far as mech issues and IH getting squared away w/ it. Vy promising bike.
     
  15. bigdrop05

    bigdrop05 Monkey

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    Very nice post dude. Easy to read & understand unlike some of my post's..lol

    My .02 is i also have had (3 Bullets) & it was a love-not love relationship. It was somewhat too heavy for XC & not DH enough for these real steep narly DH trails around here. But it did shine on drops & certain "not too steep" DH trails..
    Bullit is just about unbreakable & is an icon in the sport for a SOLID tough fun frame..So,so popular !

    I have a Heckler now because i can't afford a Nomad..My 1'st generation V10 with a 2005-66RC was the absolute fastest thing over any steep narly terrain i ever rode without question .What a machine that was.Pedaled over narly terrain easy too..

    peas.....................
     
  16. Bobby Peru

    Bobby Peru Monkey

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    Great read, good review...nice to see a post with a lot of info to back up opinions. I'll continue to rip my Bullit around, I have no use for another bike right now. When and if the time comes I may get a Foes Fly. Right now I am just enjoying my Bullit.
     
  17. PatBranch

    PatBranch Turbo Monkey

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    Very good review.

    Mine:
    Now it has an e13 srs, 2.35 and 2.5 nevegals, kona jack**** pedals, and a romic double D.

    I have to use mine for everything now, since my hardtail is broken. I even did a road ride on it the other day. I put a 1.95 specialized crossroads tire on the back and a 2.5 hookwork on the front. It looked funny and the front was taller and slacker (little rear tire and big front tire). It was amazing how well it accelerated with slicks.
     
  18. Ascentrek

    Ascentrek Monkey

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    I just built up my VP-free this last weekend. My bullit is now taken apart and ready to be sold. I will do a VP-free vs. Nomad vs. Bullit review soon.
     
  19. PatBranch

    PatBranch Turbo Monkey

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    You should put all these in the review forum for each of the 3 bikes when you finish the vp-free.