Upgrading My 2014 Santa Cruz Nomad

RIDER PROFILE

Name : Bernd

Origin : USA

Information : Height 1.8m. Weight 73kg.
Rides everything (road, gravel, MTB).

SPECIFICATIONS

Bike

Frame : 2014 Santa Cruz Nomad

Fork : RockShox Pike

Dropper Seatpost : Reverb Stealth

Groupset : Sram XO 11-Speed

WHEELS

Rims : Light Bicycle AM724 matte UD 28h tubeless ready

Hubs : DT Swiss 350 15/100mm 12/142mm

Spokes : DT Swiss Competition Race black J-bend

Nipples : DT Swiss Squorx external black aluminum

Tires : Maxxis Ardent Race TR 27.5 2.35"

I was looking for a carbon wheelset to upgrade my 2014 Santa Cruz Nomad.

With plenty of spare time during the 2020 pandemic, I was looking for a carbon wheelset to upgrade my 2014 Santa Cruz Nomad. In the past, I had built a few aluminum wheelsets and found the process very interesting in that it provides a much deeper understanding of what goes into making a good wheel that stays true. Therefore, I wanted to build this set by myself. In my search for quality rims, I found Light Bicycle through Ali Clarkson's wheel building instruction video.

Getting in contact with Light Bicycle was easy and the communication was fast and always to the point. Charlie was a great help and with her recommendation, I chose the AM724 rim with DT comp spokes and DT Squorx nipples (she was also helping me to figure out the right spoke length for the existing hubs that I planned to reuse). I found Light Bicycle’s approach to selling their products very flexible in that they reacted to what I wanted and didn’t push any of their products!

After I ordered the rims, I was able to see the progress of the rim manufacturing process online every step of the way, which I think is a very nice feature.

Building the wheels was a breeze.

The rims arrived packaged really well and without any damage even though they had spent two weeks on a container ship crossing the Pacific Ocean. The final leg in the US was taken care of by UPS and I can only recommend the budget shipping option (MTS) if you have the time.

Building the wheels was a breeze and all of my follow up questions were quickly answered (when China was on National Holidays, the North American Light Bicycle crew jumped in to help!). Rim tape and valve stems are of very good quality at a fraction of the cost compared to US retail stores.

The Maxxis Ardent Race 2.35” tires I had bought went on the rim with a regular floor pump and some soapy water, which was a first for me - in the past, I always had to use an air booster to seat tubeless tires. The hookless rim is flawlessly holding on to the tires with no burping at all – in fact, using 60ml of Stan’s Race sealant the pressure didn’t noticeably change in a week of riding.

I have ridden the wheels for about 300 miles and am really happy with their performance and stability.

None of the wheels came out of true, even after some rocky rides with loads of jumps. The acceleration and stiffness are noticeably better than the stock aluminum wheels. Handling in tight single-track corners is very subtle and the wheels don’t beat me up - they climb very well.

I am very satisfied with the Light Bicycle rims/wheels and am currently in the process of buying a second pair of wheels (AM930s) to build for my 29er Santa Cruz Chameleon.

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