Norco Fluid LT One - First Ride review£3,999.00

Well-equipped long-travel trail bike

BikeRadar score3/5

Norco are a massive brand back in their Canadian homeland, and we’ll be seeing their full range for the first time this year. The Fluid LT is super bling in kit terms, but is it all show and no chassis?

Ride & handling: Fine tuning needed to get the best out of it

Every year Fox’s piggyback DHX air cans get a bit better, but accurate tuning is still vital for opening up the full potential of this bike. The 68/73 degree angles are standard for a longer travel trail rig, but you can definitely get behind the big fork better and push it harder if you slacken it off with plenty of sag.

That makes the middle of the typically neutral FSR suspension stroke feel a bit lazy, but there’s plenty of end stroke adjustment if you find yourself blowing right through the travel.

Similarly, running slightly less pressure and compression damping than normal in the Lyrik fork overcomes the initial stiffness.

Once the ride height and angles are sorted through the suspension, you can really appreciate the power-assisted feel of the massive 710mm wide Sunline bars and 75mm Thomson stem.

Although the frame isn’t super stiff, you can pretty much force the fork onto any line, and just hold it till it stops wriggling.

The Industry Nine wheels pick up power pretty much immediately (twice as fast as the previous Chris King quick-draw benchmark) to fire the bike out of corners or up sudden kickers. You definitely need to flick on the ProPedal damping and trip the patience switch to keep it rolling on longer climbs though.

The Fluid LT rides okay and certainly comes with some stunning kit, but the medium stiffness and moderately angled frame can’t really make the most of the big forks and rear shock.

At £4,000 it’s up against the very best bikes in the world, and it doesn’t really shine enough to stand out.

Frame: Cross-country roots with extra beef

The Fluid platform started off as an cross-country-style trail bike before developing a tougher, longer travel version with a curved hydroformed frame, which is still relatively skinny for Norco.

This year you get dovetailed clevis links on the FSR chainstay pivots, and forged rocker linkages for extra stiffness.

There’s a reinforced head tube to handle the 160mm (6.2in) forks, while the rocker gets two shock holes for either 137mm (5.4in) or 158mm (6.2in) of travel.

Equipment: Top-end stuff that adds sticker shock

Both the Lyrik fork and the Fox rear shock are top of the pile. Premium kit from Thomson, Crank Bros, SRAM, Avid and the rarely seen Industry Nine alloy-spoked wheels add to the menu.

The super expensive wheels and adjustable seatpost add a full £999 to the price of last year’s bike. Considering the trail-biased intent of the bike, it’s hefty on the climbs as well as on your wallet.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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