Norco DH Team - First ride £4090

Range-topping big-hitter

BikeRadar score 4/5

The DH Team is Norco’s downhill race bike. It’s been through years of change and development and this is the latest incarnation. Previous versions have been good – does the 2010 weapon cut the mustard?

Ride & handling: Ready to race, with a sorted high-end suspension package

The DH Team's 46in wheelbase means it's stable at speed, yet feels spritely and is easy to handle in the tight stuff. The FSR rear end is predictable in every situation, so you always know where you are. This equates to masses of shredability as soon as you hop on.

The RockShox Vivid 5.1 shock brings a large, usable range of useful adjustments to the table, and the Boxxer Team fork does an equally great job when it comes to keeping the front of the bike under control. The 35mm stanchions and stiff lower legs result in a ride that goes wherever you point it.

The bike’s general layout is pretty spot-on too – a good front end height and top tube length make the bike easy to control, and a relatively low bottom bracket keeps the centre of gravity low in the turns.

The DH is a refreshing pleasure to ride. Keeping with a proven and predictable suspension system and reliable high performance parts, it feels light and easily manoeuvrable, and you don’t have to worry about issues with traction.

Frame & equipment: Proven chassis has gone on a diet and big-name spec won't disappoint

The years of development that have gone into the DH Team become obvious when looking closely at the frame. The 1.5in head tube with an integrated reducer headset keeps the front end low, with an up-to-date 64-degree head angle that can be changed with aftermarket angle reducers if you wish to do so.

Norco have been weight conscious with this design, and details such as thinner-walled tubing and hollow sections in the chainstay yoke show dedication to the cause. Their decision to stick with licensing Specialized’s proven FSR suspension system to unload the 228mm (8.9in) of rear travel is a case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’.

The DH Team is a downhill race bike, pure and simple, and the spec backs this up. There’s a red, short cage X0 mech to take care of moving the hollow-link-and-hollow-pin chain across the top-end SRAM low ratio downhill-specific cassette.

Shimano Saint cranks and the e*thirteen LG1+ chain device are a partnership built to last. Avid Elixir CR brakes handle stopping duties nicely – the 203mm rotors keep the power right up and put paid to heat-related issues on long descents. Sunline controls add a touch of class.

The only thing that’s a slight letdown is the use of a SRAM X7 shifter. Norco have specced a Matchmaker clamp to keep the weight down and look sleek, but this can be a little bit awkward when it comes to getting the shifter into the ideal position.

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