World Cup XC courses are getting gnarlier every year, and the current crop of 100mm travel bikes with classic XC geometry are pushing riders to the ragged edge. Knowing this, Norco has been hard at work revamping its Revolver FS.
The result is two versions of the bike, one with the standard 100mm of travel and a second 120mm build pitched for multi-day stage races and all-day epics.
“Modern XC courses are pushing rider limits. We’re seeing lung-searing climbs, as we always have, but course designers are also making the singletrack sections and descents more challenging than they have ever been,” said product manager Paul Burnett.
“To meet the need of these courses, riders have been doing some crazy tweaks to saddle and stem positions to adapt existing XC and marathon bikes. We’ve addressed these extreme measures through geometry and handling characteristics to offer the performance riders who require to climb and descend at their best,” he continued.
With the updated frame, Norco aimed to move the rider’s centre of gravity forward and down within the wheelbase using changes in geometry, rather than the negative degree stems that have become commonplace on the World Cup circuit.
According to Norco, this new design eliminates the need for the extreme rider weight shifts needed to adapt to varied terrain, in the process reducing fatigue over the course of a lap.
“The suspension kinematics maintain incredible traction both climbing and descending. It also provides an efficient pedalling platform without having to reach for the lockout, while tracking better than you would ever expect in rough descents,” said engineering manager David Cox.
Norco Revolver FS 100
Revolver FS 100 AXSCourtesy
The Revolver FS 100 was designed specifically for Norco’s Factory Team XC riders, who have been racing on the bike since the middle of last season — including Hayley Smith, who rode to a career-best 8th at Mont Sainte-Anne, which was her first World Cup on the new frame.
With a 68.5-degree head angle, 76-degree effective seat angle and stack and reach figures of 567mm and 460mm in a size medium, the frame is noticeably longer and slacker than its predecessor.
The current Revolver FS sees a 70-degree head angle, 74.5-degree seat angle, 583mm of stack and 439mm of reach in a size medium. To keep the saddle to bar length comfortable, Norco has designed the frame around an aggressively short for an XC bike 60mm stem.
The frames are full carbon and carry over the same hanging-link suspension design. Norco also claims a 40 percent improvement in axial stiffness to ensure every watt put into the drivetrain makes it to the back wheel.
At launch, the Revolver FS 100 will be available in a SRAM X01 Eagle AXS build as well as an analogue Eagle GX build. Both will feature RockShox SID Ultimate forks and Deluxe RLR rear shocks. Norco is also offering a frameset which comes with the RockShox Deluxe RLR shock.
Norco Revolver FS 120
The Revolver FS 120 is the same frame as the FS 100, just with a bit more travelCourtesy
According to Norco, the Revolver FS 120 is the exact same frame as the FS 100, the only difference is a 120mm RockShox SID at the front and 120mm Deluxe Select+ RL (same length, longer stroke) at the rear, wider bars and tires, and dropper post.
Burnett says of the bike: “The Revolver FS 120 is the bike for when I’m going out to race my friends; I’m just getting out there for an hour and half of pure punishment but still having a blast. But, it’s also perfect for a marathon stage race, long days in the saddle or if you plan out a triple crown; hitting three peaks in a day over 50-60k ride or something like that.”
The longer shock at the front brings the head angle out to 67.4 degrees, and steepens the seat angle to 74.9 and changes the stack and reach to 588 and 448 in a size medium.
The Revolver FS 120 is available in three builds and will be available from June, and all the new Revolvers will debut at the Sea Otter Classic this week.