Born and bred in Vancouver, Canada, Norco use a tried and tested method of developing their bikes on both their huge cycling staff and their brutally talented team riders, including Jay ‘Hoots’ Krantz, Dylan ‘The Mighty Ginge’ Korba and the awe inspiring Ben Boyko. In addition is the delightful Freerider Darcy Turenne and Ride Guide presenter who’s been working hard with R+D on the new women’s specific bikes.
With a huge range all the way from XC up to full-on DH race bikes, Norco have a solid range of bikes at all price points. Here’s the overview of next year's key bikes…
Working heavily with Ben Boyko to make the perfect bike for park thrashing, dirt jumping and full-on slopestyle competitions, Norco has made one of the most fun looking bikes we’ve ever seen.
With 131mm travel out back and 120-160mm up front, the Empire 5 is built for Slopestyle - it’s not just a butchered Six frame, it’s been built specifically. With a short rear end, roomy front and twitchy geometry, it’s perfect for the aerial manoeuvres that Ben Boyko and fellow team-mate Dylan Korba rip out in competitions.
Designed with feedback from Darcy Turenne, the woman’s range consists of three XC/All Mountain hard tail frames, and the Vixa Freeride bike, as ridden by Darcy herself.
Amusingly having a different meaning in German, the Vixa is a 152mm frame designed around a Marzocchi 55ATA fork. It’s a great looking ride and is based along the lines of a Six, but with a steeper seat angle and comes with a women’s specific saddle.
Perhaps the biggest market in mountain biking right now, Norco are on it with their Fluid and Fluid LT bikes.
The Fluid frames are a four-bar design featuring 140mm travel and have a clean and simple look to them. For ’09 they’ve basically had a nip and tuck and feature a Hydro-formed tube-set and a great spec package. The intended models for the UK are the Fluid 2 and 3 models which will retail for £1800 and £1400 respectively.
The model we’re more excited about through is the LT version- or long travel. With three models starting at £1600 for the base Fluid 3 model, which comes specced with a Custom graphic Marzocchi 55R fork and a SRAM drive-train, with Avid Juicy brakes.
The top Fluid 1 model is dripping with bling and will no doubt be a sought after steed. It features the new Crank Brothers seat-post, an Industry Nine wheelset, Sunline bars with Thomson stem and an XO/XT mixture. The four-bar rear end is kept plush with a Fox DHX 5.0 shock and a Rock Shox Lyrik 2-step heads the rig up.
Perhaps Norco’s biggest area each year, it’s split in to two main areas here- Freeride and Freeride lite over the Shore and Six models.
The Six has a new forged head tube area over last years frame, and comes with an E13 dual chain ring set-up. The three models feature trick paint jobs and a mixture of Rock Shox, Marzocchi and Fox suspension units. With six inches of travel front and rear, and a fairly light-weight build, they are perfect bikes for general thrashing- although you’ll want to look at the Shore if you’re planning on going XXL.
Headed by the Shore one- with a UK retail intention of £3200, Norco has really gone to town on the Shore. With slick new graphics and matching bars, these 7in travel monsters don’t just pile-drive through the roughest of terrain, they also look fresh to boot. For 2009 there is a new chain-stay clevis and a stronger and stiffer down-tube design, but geometry stays DH and Freeride friendly with a 66deg head angle.
We rode the Shore One specced with and E13 chain guide, but production bikes will feature the new singing and dancing SRAM Hammerschmidt system that’s launched at Crankworx next month- although we did spot a Shore with a Hammerschmidt on board…
Norco are doing the Dirt Jump thing really well- all their bikes have great graphics, brave colour-ways and several features to suit the jump scene.
There are four models- three Alloy and two steel- with a mixture of gears and single speed action. The three that really stood out were the 125, Ryde and the Havoc.
The Ryde has a 4130 butted steel frame, a Marzocchi Dj3 fork and SRAM X5 gearing with a Blackspire chain guide, Truvativ cranks and plastic Odyssey pedals for silent grinding. The light green paint job verges on bright yellow and looks stunning with the custom coloured Marzocchi fork- but the 125 looks even better…
They say Teal blue, but it’s virtually the same colour way as the Sea Foam Green E13 chain guides out there. The Marzocchi DJ2 is custom coloured in a khaki green, and the Alien Nation rims and Funn bar and stem set-up are coloured to match. The whole set-up looks great and the graphics really pull it together.
Finally, the lairy Havoc kind of speaks for itself. White chain, Zebra paint detail, White cranks, white fork, white and orange stripy saddle. And a great spec for the £650 intended retail price.
The biggest news here is the 37.5lb Team DH, but we’re ultra impressed with the base Atomik model- which will retail for just £2000 complete. And that’s with a Rockshox Boxxer and Funn direct mount stem, Fox DHX 3.0 shock, E13 light guide and SRAM componentry/Avid Brakes.
Moving up from that is the infamous A Line Park with 199-227mm travel and a bombproof spec- ideal for shuttling and general big terrain. New for ’09 is the Hydro-formed frame, forged head tube and an additional size large. The A-Line is set to retail at £2900.
Heading the range is the £4500 Team DH, which has gone on a serious diet. It has a brand new frame with a down-tube that allows a lower shock mounting- and therefore centre of gravity. The head tube is a 1.5 number with an internal 11.8th headset to lower the front end and the spec is ready to race out the box- although some may prefer a coil rear shock, as oppsed to the 3in stroke Marzocchi Roco.
Up front is a Boxxer World cup, brakes are Avid Elixers with 8in rotors, and getting the bike moving are a pair of Saint cranks with an E13 light guide.