Norco Fluid FS 1 review

Top value on paper but disappointing on the trail

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
GBP £1,850.00 RRP | AUD $3,199.00 | USD $3,049.00

Our review

Great shape and some sorted kit, but suspension and weight can make it hard work on the trail
Pros: Excellent frame shape and stiffness; top-value stop, go and metric-shock spec for the price
Cons: At first glance, Norco has done everything right with its new Fluid FS 1, but the trail tells a different story
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At first glance, Norco has done everything right with its new Fluid FS 1, but the trail tells a different story.

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Norco Fluid FS 1 frame

The all-new frame uses an evolution of Norco’s ‘ART’ four-bar linkage, with the (metric) shock flipped so the shaft is uppermost, to minimise unsprung weight.

There’s a beefier look to the mainframe, which has neat internal routing and a threaded bottom bracket (BB). The geometry is all-new, with a long reach (470mm, large), 66.5-degree head and 76-degree seat angle. These changes have added some weight though.

Norco's Fluid FS 1
The geometry is all-new, with a long reach (470mm, large)
Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media

Norco Fluid FS 1 kit

Getting 12-speed SRAM NX Eagle and a 150mm dropper as standard is awesome for under £2k. The 780mm bar and 50mm stem sync well with the handling, and the SRAM Guide T brakes are brought up to strength with 180mm rotors.

At 29mm wide (internal), the WTB rims support the 2.6in tyres nicely, although, at 5.98kg, the wheelset is very heavy. RockShox’s 2019 Revelation fork looks like a spec slam dunk.

Norco Fluid FS 1 ride

The overall result is a bike that feels great when you sit on it, with the reach, head angle and bar width putting the front wheel and your hands in the right places to push hard on technical trails.

That steep seat angle poises you just right for sinking your power into technical climbs too, and there’s no distracting bob or bounce from the suspension.

That steep seat angle positions you just right for sinking your power into technical climbs
That steep seat angle positions you just right for sinking your power into technical climbs
Mick Kirkman / Immediate Media

Sadly, the ‘medium’ compression tune robs the rear end of sensitivity (Norco says it tried a more mobile ‘light’ tune but wasn’t happy with its pedalling efficiency) and I had to lower pressures significantly to get meaningful movement from the fork, which remained stubborn and spiky.

The flimsy carcass of the wide tyres prevents you exploiting their low-pressure potential and the tread came unstuck regularly. (Thankfully, most Fluids should come with faster and more predictable Maxxis Forekasters.)

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Add excessive wheel weight, and a bike I expected to love, due to its sorted shape and high value, never managed to reach its obvious potential on the trail.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Fluid FS 1
Brand Norco

Available Sizes M L XL
Seat Angle 76
Wheelbase (in) 47.4
Standover Height (in) 30.31
Seat Tube (in) 17.72
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 13.46
Wheelset WTB STP i29 TCS rims on Novatec Boost hubs
Weight (kg) 15.44
Stem TranzX, 50mm
Shifters SRAM NX Eagle
Seatpost TranzX Y-SP18 150mm dropper
Saddle Norco XC
Brakes SRAM Guide T, 180mm rotors
Rear Tyre WTB Trail Boss TCS Light/High Grip 29x2.6in
Rear Shock RockShox Deluxe R DebonAir
Rear Derailleur SRAM NX Eagle
Head Angle 66.5
Handlebar TranzX, 780mm
Front Tyre WTB Trail Boss TCS Light/High Grip 29x2.6in
Frame Material Hydroformed 6061 aluminium alloy, 120mm (4.7in) travel
Fork RockShox Revelation RC, 130mm (5.1in) travel
Cranks SRAM NX Eagle
Frame size tested L