Norco promises pain-free setup with new 29er-only Fluid FS trail bike

The Norco Fluid FS has undergone a radical makeover 

Mountain biker walking Norco Fluid FS up a climb

Norco has announced an updated Fluid FS platform, its full-suspension mid-range trail mountain bike. The brand says the new bike is designed for “every rider and every trail”.

Advertisement

The new Fluid FS sees the platform’s suspension travel increased by 10mm over the outgoing model, sporting 140mm at the front and 130mm at the rear.

It also sees updated longer, lower and slacker geometry. The Fluid FS now runs exclusively on 29in wheels, with the old Fluid being available in both 29er and 27.5in flavours. That said, the outgoing Fluid in XS 27.5in will continue to be offered as a youth platform.

The brand says it will continue to produce and sell the current hardtail equivalent, the Fluid HT.

The bikes are said to be available now in the USA and from October internationally. The Fluid FS will not initially be available in the UK, but the brand says this might change in the future.

Prices start at $2,699 / €2,699 / AU$3,199 for the entry-level Fluid FS A4 model and rise to $4,449 / €4,499 / AU$5,199 for the top-end Fluid FS A1.

Frame details

The Fluid’s design takes more than a few cues from its premium siblings.
Norco

The Fluid FS uses a 6061 aluminium frame with a four-bar suspension design. Its 130mm rear travel is delivered by custom-tuned dampers, which Norco says it has co-developed with Fox, RockShox and X-Fusion.

BikeRadar asked Norco for a claimed frameset weight, this was unavailable at the time of writing.

On some of its bikes, the brand uses ‘Size-Scaled Tubing’, where it alters the wall thicknesses of the frame material so that each size retains the desired ride feel and stiffness. Norco says it is using two distinct tubesets for the Fluid FS, with the S and M bikes using a smaller tubeset and L, XL and XXL using a larger tubeset.

The rocker link takes its cues from the Optic, but Norco is keen to point out it’s not the same.
Norco

Norco’s Optic relies on a 140mm-travel fork and 125mm rear shock, but the brand is keen to point out that the new Fluid FS is not an aluminium Optic.

Norco says the Optic is more focused on “confident high-speed descending and challenging terrain”, whereas the Fluid FS is focused on more “complete, well-rounded performance trail character”.

The brand says it used the Optic as a mule, though, to test variations of trail bike geometry for the new Fluid FS and it served as an initial test platform for the suspension kinematics. The testing “highlighted the need for a more progressive leverage curve to reduce dependence on volume spacers in the rear shock to achieve additional support”.

The cables are internally routed through the frame. They are fixed where they exit the down tube near the shock and foam sleeves are utilised over the cables and hose as they pass through the down tube to eliminate any rattles.

This is different to the Revolver, Optic and Sight, where the cables are routed without foam sleeves through the down tube and secured by a cable tie that can be accessed via the underside face of the down tube.

Norco says it paid particular attention to the rear brake hydraulic hose routing in an effort to reduce cable rub and paint damage.

The pearlescent Green Chrome paint scheme on the Fluid FS A1 oozes class.
Norco

All of the frames can accept a 750ml water bottle but the new, largest XXL size can also fit a secondary 620ml bottle, contained on the inside face of the down tube.

Like its premium full-suspension siblings, the Fluid FS now has mounts on the underside of the top tube for carrying additional cargo or tools.

The Fluid FS has a BSA threaded bottom bracket for mechanical ease. It uses its own proprietary rear derailleur hanger rather than SRAM’s universal derailleur hanger standard. Ribbed chainstay protection is utilised to minimise chain slap.

Ride Aligned

There are options for almost every rider.
Norco

Norco has migrated its Ride Aligned Design system found on the Optic, Sight and Range bikes to the Fluid FS, which aims to give personalised setup recommendations.

Norco’s Ride Aligned system accounts for your height, weight, skill level, gender and body type and offers recommendations for your ideal position, correct suspension setup and tyre pressure. As your riding develops, you can re-enter your data into the setup guide to receive updated recommendations.

The brand says the Fluid FS represents the “perfect mid-range bike for new and evolving mountain bike riders, who are looking to expand their capabilities”.

Norco adds the Ride Aligned system incorporates rider-first geometry and suspension kinematics combined with custom fit and suspension tuning for personalised performance.

Geometry

The Fluid FS undergoes the ‘longer, lower, slacker’ treatment.
Norco

Norco says the Fluid FS suits riders from 5ft 1in to 6ft 7in and is available in sizes S to XXL.

The XXL is a new size that Norco has introduced “to provide taller riders with a viable, incredibly capable full-suspension trail bike that actually fits with a ride tuned specifically to their height and centre of gravity”.

All sizes feature a 65-degree head tube angle, but the seat tube angle ranges from 76 to 77.3 degrees depending on the size. It is 76.3 degrees on a size medium, coupled with a 450mm reach.

Norco continues to offer varying chainstay lengths for each size to keep riders centred on the bike. It is uncommon for brands to vary chainstay lengths across frames.

The Fluid FS is specced around an 800mm-width handlebar that can be trimmed and a 40mm-length stem.

FrameSMLXLXXL
Head tube angle (degrees)6565656565
Seat tube angle (degrees)7676.376.77777.3
Top tube length (mm)574602630659687
Head tube length (mm)110120130140150
Seat tube length (mm)360390410460510
Rear Centre (mm)425430435440445
Wheelbase (mm)1,1661,2051,2451,2841,323
Reach (mm)420450480510540
Stack (mm)617626635644653

Norco Fluid FS range details

Norco specs a variety of Shimano and SRAM 1x drivetrain options on the Fluid FS.
Norco

All models use a long-travel, size-specific 34.9mm dropper seatpost (S: 150mm; M: 170mm; L, XL, XXL: 200mm).

They also feature wide-ranging 1x drivetrains and four-piston hydraulic disc brakes.

All models use tubeless-compatible rims and tyres, the latter from Vittoria and Goodyear, with clearance rated up to 29 x 2.6in mountain bike tyres.

Norco says the disc brake rotors can be upgraded to 200mm from the 180mm specced if you want more powerful stoppers.

Norco Fluid FS A1

Norco Fluid FS 1 in Green Chrome.
Norco
  • Fork: Fox 34 Float Factory GRIP2, 44mm offset
  • Shock: Fox Float X Performance Elite, 2-position
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT M8100 with Praxis G2 Cadet M24 crankset and bottom bracket
  • Brakes: TRP Trail EVO, 4-piston
  • Wheelset: Stans Flow S1 rims on Bear Pawls sealed bearing hubs
  • Price: $4,449 / €4,499 / AU$5,199

Norco Fluid FS A2

  • Fork: Marzocchi Bomber Z2, 44mm offset
  • Shock: Fox Float X Performance, 2-position
  • Drivetrain: Shimano SLX M7100 with Deore chain, XT M8100 rear derailleur and Praxis G2 Cadet M24 crankset and bottom bracket
  • Brakes: TRP Slate EVO, 4-piston
  • Wheelset: Stans Flow D rims on Bear Pawls sealed bearing hubs
  • Price: $3,599 / €3,499 / AU$4,199

Norco Fluid FS A3

  • Fork: RockShox 35 Silver TK, 44mm offset
  • Shock: X-Fusion 02 Pro R AV
  • Drivetrain: SRAM SX Eagle
  • Brakes: Tektro HD-745, 4-piston
  • Wheelset: Stans Flow D rims on Bear Pawls sealed bearing hubs
  • Price: $2,999 / €2,949 / AU$3,599
Advertisement

Norco Fluid FS A4

  • Fork: RockShox Recon Silver RL, 42mm offset
  • Shock: X-Fusion 02 Pro R
  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore M5100 with SunRace CSMS8 cassette, KMC X11 chain, FSA Comet 1x DM crankset and SRAM DUB bottom bracket
  • Brakes: Tektro HD-M535, 4-piston
  • Wheelset: Stans Flow D rims on Bear Pawls sealed bearing hubs
  • Price: $2,699 / €2,699 / AU$3,199