Norco 2011: New Range, Phaser and Shinobi bikes

Fresh all-mountain, cross-country and 29er rides, plus prototype Shore

With an incredibly detailed and personal launch of their 2011 mountain bike line-up, Norco are really pushing their 'I love my bike' campaign.

Every member of staff involved with the development of the range lives and breathes bikes, and each told us a bit about themselves and why they love their bikes – a lovely touch.

Unlike other launches where the techno gurus stand in front of the assembled journos and try to confuse them, Norco's presentation was clear, concise and very well presented. And the food kicked more ass than Chuck Norris.

Here's a look at four key Norco bikes for 2011:

Range

This all-new bike features 160mm of travel and replaces the Fluid LT of last year. Although it bears a resemblance to the Fluid, the Range has been designed from the ground up to be a very different bike. It's both lightweight and strong, and very capable.

You could hit trail centres and cross-country loops on this bike with a triple chainset up front, or get a chain guide with a single ring, wide bars and dropper seatpost for a perfect enduro downhill rig. It's a very versatile platform and we rode one down some very technical terrain, where we would normally feel a little out of depth on a similar specced bike. It’s an amazing performer.

Here are the main features:

  • Advanced Ride Technology suspension platform – low leverage, 160mm of travel
  • Tapered head tube with 66.5-degree head angle
  • ISCG 05 mounts
  • Hand grabs built into the linkage
  • Removable cable guides for a seatpost remote cable
  • 142mm Syntace X-12 bolt-through axle
  • Unique new breakaway bolt system holding the mech hanger. If the bolt breaks, a 3mm Allen key will unscrew the remainder. A spare bolt is incorporated into the frame
  • Single piece rocker link – very stiff
  • Mechanically formed tubing – more cost effective than hydroforming
  • Bike comes with a triple chainset, plus a bashguard in case you want to ditch one chainring
  • Twin branded fork and shock setups
  • Hard anodised finish to laugh off uplifts and ‘careful’ lift operators
  • Wide bars and short stems as standard
  • RRP: $4,580
  • Available: October 2010

Phaser

This is Norco's cross-country race weapon, and it looks very sexy. There's nice colour co-ordination everywhere and a superlight MU-9 scandium alloy tubeset made up of double- and triple-butted tubing keeps things very light, and performance very high.

Features:

  • ART low leverage suspension platform, with rearward axle path for square edged hits
  • 100mm of rear wheel travel
  • Composite Norglide bearings
  • Swing link to aid stiffness at rear wheel
  • Post mount for brakes
  • Integrated dropout design
  • RRP: $3,515
  • Available: January 2011

Shinobi 

29ers are for straight-lining stuff, right? Not this one. Norco’s Shinobi is a new-skool frame that's incredibly stiff and features 120mm of travel out back mated with a 140mm fork. Unlike many 29er full-suspension frames, the Shinobi uses a seatstay bridge that joins in front of the seat tube to keep the rear end very stiff.

Of course this bike can be used for gentle meandering, but it’s built to take a hammering. We’re thinking a 1x10 setup thanks to the ISCG mounts, and extra wide bars for some Scandinavian flicks...

Features:

  • ART low leverage suspension platform, with rearward axle path for square-edged hits
  • One piece rocker
  • ISCG 05 mounts
  • Syntace 142mm bolt-through dropouts with breakaway bolt feature
  • Short tapered head tube
  • Shorter chainstays than most 29in-wheeled bikes
  • RRP: $2,850
  • Available: December 2010

Shore 1 prototype

We also spotted this Shore prototype, which uses the same low leverage ART suspension platform as the other three bikes. Norco were cagey about details because production models aren't due to be released until the end of the summer.

It looks like the bike will have an un-interupted seat tube, so you can easily drop the saddle for descending, and hydroformed tubing, with the pivots built in, rather than welded on. Already it promises so much: a 30lb, 170/180mm-travel bike. Watch this space for more info!

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