Think Canadian mountain biking and you think elevated North Shore stunts, massive huck drops and other deranged escapades. No surprise then, that the 'Shore hardtail' series from Norco are designed to survive the worst possible treatment unscathed.
THE HAIRY HEAVYWEIGHT
The Sasquatch is built super solid from the frame up. While the square headed main tubes aren't that monstrous, they are seriously thick-walled pipes, designed to shrug off serious crash and crush damage without flinching. A small throat gusset adds extra insurance against the head being ripped clean off by a flat landing, and the whole frame is covered by a lifetime warranty. Out back standard sized but barely hollow stays stretch out to thickset dropouts for the rear hub. The whole setup holds the wheel in a vice-like grip that's designed to roll happily away from a house height drop, but you'll struggle to squeeze through anything much bigger than the fitted 2.35in tyre if it gets muddy.
There's no denying you need a techy mind to get the most from the MC's remote controlled ride, but it has the potential to be an ultra fast XC trail bike. Handling and braking is also improved by kit changes this year, making it an even more involving experience.
Now, we weren't expecting subtlety from the Sasquatch and we didn't get it, either. Absorbing any sort of ground shock is all about you and your bent knees, as there's nothing but absolute anvil-like solidity from the frame and the thick sidewalled tyres. Even the slightest drops or shocks come through as though you've jumped onto concrete in clogs.
Long rides are also ruled out by the super short top tube which has your thighs bouncing off the bars as soon as you stand up to muscle the Sasquatch mass uphill. There's a full range of sizes if you prefer more reach, but to be honest, the stumpy set up was ideal for throwing the bike and body weight around to keep it balanced in do or die moments.
It's these 'parental advisory' situations where the Sasquatch really comes into its own too. The short stem and wide bars give totally assured power assisted steering through the slack head angle. It certainly never felt nervous even with less than an inch of error margin on serious consequences terrain, and despite the overall weight it lifts and places its wheels with surprising ease.
The forks are certainly a big part of the totally surefooted and safe feel of the Sasquatch, too. Marzocchi's Drop Off 4 might not be light, but it's strong as hell and the gurgling 130mm stroke swallows serious drops and hits without a hint of drama. It certainly saved us several times, and the same is true of the 8in dinner plate equipped Hayes brakes. Also, the DH standard wheels and tyres shrugged off everything we threw at them.
The double and bash guard crank makes perfect sense, and it uses a reinforced integrated thru axle for drop strength and stiffness. Truvativ's new Hussefelt kit is indestructible too, and while it's only 8-speed Alivio, that means it's cheap to replace when the inevitable happens. The single bolt seat post is relying on being dropped right down out of trouble too, so make use of that seat QR before it gets bent.
BUILT TO LAST
We used the 'if you broke your last bike into bits buy this one' line with the last Norco hardtail we tested, but it bears repeating with the Sasquatch. The frame might beat the crap out of you, but you can beat the crap out of it in return. Add the ideal fork choice at this price - plus a super durable wheelset, cranks and cockpit - and you've got a bike that's practically indestructible. Just be prepared to push it up hills a lot.