The Norco Threshold has proven to be a full-blown Canadian sneak-attack, which is to say that I foolishly underestimated the brand’s ’cross bike. Of course, I’m familiar with how great its mountain bikes are, but the Threshold Carbon has been an eye-opener.
- 5 quick tips for new cyclocross racers
- Try this 7-day cyclocross training plan for the busy 'cross racer
The Threshold aligns nearly identically with the ride character of the Specialized CruX, having awesome acceleration and balanced handling. It’s just not quite as light.
But there are reasonable explanations for this, namely the added threaded inserts that provide fender compatibility and the industrial design of the frame’s tube shapes. The Threshold carries a weight penalty but it's a side-effect of its versatility and style.
Norco has tagged its threaded insert system NINJA, for “Not Instantly Noticeable Junk Attachments”, and it makes for fender mounts that are appropriately stealthy when not in use. But, its inclusion adds a few grams.
Norco has also sacrificed a bit of weight in the name of brand identity, with a look and feel of its own. This isn’t about right and wrong; it’s just a matter of rider preference – and ultimately we’re talking about 200g.
The bike on test was delivered as a frameset that needed to be built up, which is a pretty bold move and typically avoided when dealing with the media, as it exposes endless opportunities for scrutiny. But Norco is confident in its approach and with good reason – the Canadian brand has done its due diligence with the Threshold and, as a mechanic, I was left empty-handed in the complaints department.
As great as the Threshold is, the chain watcher, when mounted, creates a bit of a mud platform in front of the rear tire. But I never used it and never found it was necessary, so it's not really something I can add to the complaint list.
The Threshold is certainly head and shoulders above any of the other race-worthy models providing fender mounts, so if that's what you're looking for, then this is the bike for you.