After a couple of seasons of test riding on my Santa Cruz Nomad mountain bike it was time to sell the Hammerschmidt All Mountain 2 speed crank set/BB and go back to the stock configuration.
You can read my pervious HS posts here. The Coles Notes version of my review is that the HS is a quality product that has a bright future in mountain biking if SRAM can afford to keep developing and marketing it. The instant shifting, short chain, low profile and low maintenance features are pretty sweet. The cost, need for a HS specific suspension design and drag in the high range are not sweet and limit its appeal. The cost is a function of the low sales volume and high design costs so that can easily come down as the HS catches on. The drag in the high range isn’t an issue for all mountain and DH style riders, but for the HS to become popular with more XC orientated all mountain riders they’ll have to work on improving that issue – which I think is achievable. As for suspension designs being HS specific I think the HS has enough benefits that it’s worth offering a frame that’s optimized for this crank/BB.
Pulling the HS from the Nomad was really fast. The shifter and cable were zip tied to the frame so I was able to remove them all in one go – hopefully simplifying install for the new owner. Note that Bow Cycle faced the BB and ISCG mounts [visible above] when they installed the HS to get everything allinged properly.
I found red dirt from Moab and Sedona still caked on my old stock Shimano SLX crankset. So I took a moment to clean it off. I really need to get back there and get the Nomad dusty again!
I wanted to keep the short cage SRAM X-9 derailleur for the fast shifting and because I’m lazy and it’s already on the bike! The limited amount of chain slack it can handle meant I had to really fine tune the chain length to be as short as I could make work. I would rarely use the big cog and big ring [in this case the middle ring as I dropped the outer ring in favour of a bash guard], but it’s nice to know the derailleur can handle it if I go there by accident in the heat of battle. One less chain link and the whole drivetrain would bind potentially causing damage – not good! So this is as short as I can go.
I’m even less likely to use the small cog and small ring…which is good as there is too much chain slack for the small X-9 to handle. I’m okay with that as I tend not to pedal once things get steep and gravity has its way with me – so accidentally using the combo above is a remote possibility. I’ll ride like this for now. If I have any issues I’ll swap in the stock longer cage X-9. I’ll also carry the other X-9 with me on road trips as a spare in case I rip this one off!
Installing the stock parts was a breeze as the front derailleur was still adjusted for the SLX crank and double rings. I just bolted it on and ran a fresh cable. I went with red housing for some flair! Eventually I replace all the housing with red as the black stuff wears out. If I managed to thrash the rims she’ll get some red hoops as well. Time will tell if she becomes my lady in red…=-)
With a rebuilt Fox DHX Air 5.0 and newly installed SLX cranks/XT front derailleur the Nomad felt all minty fresh so I did some backyard test riding to ensure all was well. Please ensure you don’t try this at home unless you are wearing safety gear like I am.
The bike is working great. I’m keen to head out on the trails and see how the conventional front shifting components feel after 2 seasons on the Hammerschmidt.
I can’t tell you how much I love my Santa Cruz Nomad. Definitely my all time favourite mountain bike and although it’s my all time most expensive MTB as well it has been worth every penny. I’ve ridden it a ton and it’s needed minimal maintenance so far and looks like it could well be my full suspension ride for a decade or more. Given my bicycle ADD that’s unheard of. Based on my riding with Aaron and Scott I can see myself adding a hardtail mountain bike to the fleet for some variety, but the Nomad has nothing to fear she’s a keeper baby!…=-)