It’s always a good sign of a great value bike that you have to double check the price when you first see it. That’s certainly what happened with Norco’s Fox loaded full suspension bike, but thanks to a recent price drop, the Fluid 7.1 isn’t too good to be true.
Given that a Fox Float Performance fork with a QR15 thru-axle would be very impressive on a hardtail at this price, the fact it’s just half of the Fluid’s Fox damper team is outstanding.
The chassis certainly isn’t a cheap corner cutting exercise either. Extensive tube shaping keeps the Norco remarkably light for a double sprung bike at 13.65kg and the suspension system is the Canadian company’s well proven ART linkage design. That provides 120mm of smoothly trail tracking traction and rock and root impact minimising movement that’s matched very well to the fork up front.
Both have intermediate ‘Trail’ settings for a firmer, more feisty pedalling and cornering feel as well as full lockout, although we never felt the need for it. Fast rolling WTB Bee Line tyres and low weight flatter your fitness.
A 740mm bar and 70mm stem combine with a 68.5 degree head angle to keep steering as fresh and responsive as the overall ride and match the expectations of what you’ll throw a 120mm travel bike down.
Decent reach and relatively low bottom bracket means stability too, although you’ll need a grippier front tyre to make the most of that in typical UK conditions.
The 10-speed mix of SRAM and Shimano includes a stiff Hollowtech chainset, though, and you get top tube cable clips ready for the dropper post upgrade that’s the only thing obviously missing from a remarkably sorted all-rounder at a total bargain price.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.