50 Years With Norco Bicycles

Aug 7, 2014
by Norco Bicycles  
Views: 13,724    Faves: 38    Comments: 5


A lot can change in 50 years... back in 1964 the Beatles recorded #1 hit 'I Want To Hold Your Hand', the 007 film Goldfinger was released and Lucky Charms cereal entered households around the world. 1964 was also the year the Norco Bicycles was founded in Burnaby British Columbia.

Back in 1964 Norco was known as Northern Cycle Industries and in a small building outside of Vancouver British Columbia Bert Lewis started building and selling bikes. Northern Cycle Industries was created as a means of bringing quality bicycle goods to Canadians through working with international partners. As few as 10 bikes per day was the goal in the beginning but the demand quickly grew and the brand became a household name. The first bikes to come off the assembly line were not branded Norco but rather Northern Cycle Industries. In 1967 the name was shortened to Norco and the bikes have been rolling ever since.

50 years is a long time to be making bikes and over the course of 5 decades technology as moved leaps and bounds. From the beginning the goal has always been to design the bikes that the people of Norco want to ride and improve the ride experience regardless of riding style or location. Innovation and an unrelenting drive for improvement have shaped the bikes that we rode in the past and the bikes that we ride today. Looking back in time at the trends which charged the Norco brand forward it is incredible to look at the evolution of bikes. You may remember some of these bikes from back in your childhood so reader beware; nostalgia may occur.

1966 Northern Cycle Industries Rail
One of the first styles of Norco bikes to really take off was the cruiser. This particular model is the 1966 Northern Cycle Industries Rail with 20" wheels, 3-speed gearing and a sissy-bar.

1978 Norco Avanti
Once the 1970's arrived it was all about the 10 speed. This ain't no 1x10 either - we are talking about a 2x5 setup with stem mounted shifting. The frame on this 1978 Norco Avanti is lugged Tange steel which rolls on 27" polished steel rims. 10 speed bikes from this era were so influential on cycling that many people still refer to modern road bikes as 10 speeds and you will still see these bikes on the road decades later.

1987 Norco Spitfire
The 1980s saw freestyle BMX take charge. The Norco Spitfire was a point of jealousy in every neighbourhood as it was the bike which the Norco Freestyle BMX team could be seen performing on. The jealousy only got worse when the bike was featured racing around Helltrack in the movie RAD.

1992 Norco Rampage
The 1990s saw an explosion of mountain biking. Norco's North Shore roots put bikes like the Rampage on the cutting edge with suspension adjusted geometry, powerful cantilever brakes and a Shimano XT drivetrain. If you were looking to start freeriding in 1992, the Norco Rampage was likely a bike that you were drooling over.

2001 Norco VPS Shore
In the 2000s full suspension mountain bikes really took off. While rear shocks can be spotted in the Norco line back to the mid 1990's, 2001 marked the first Norco VPS Shore model. This bike stepped up the game for freeriding and took Norco onto a global stage. The iconic VPS line of bikes were first exported to Australia then numerous other countries around the world. With a Marzocchi Bomber Jr. T fork, Fox Vanilla RC rear shock, Hayes HFX disk brakes and a Sram 9.0 Gripshift drivetrain the 2001 Norco VPS Shore was the bike to huck yourself of the ladder bridges of Vancouver's North Shore.

2015 Norco Range Carbon 7.1
Over the past 50 years Norco bicycles have changed a lot. In the end though, the same root principals of design exist. The beginning of all bicycle design comes down to three ideas: Listen, Innovate, Ride. The engineers, product managers and other minds behind Norco bikes come together around this statement with an innate desire to design the best bike possible and create the ultimate riding experience.

With all this history backing the Norco brand 50 years is only the beginning. Every year bikes see another step forward and when we look back decade over decade we can truly see how these steps sum up over time. Tomorrow's bikes will be created from today's experiences and with each passing year the bikes we ride will continue to evolve in search for the ultimate ride experience.

Norco Bicycles 50th Anniversary



100 Comments

  • 23 3
 Norco has come a long way. Owned steel and ti hardtails; the VPS in various incarnations and it's consistent improvement across the lines
  • 7 14
flag loamydarkside (Aug 7, 2014 at 21:15) (Below Threshold)
 Hold the phone here. Is that CCDBACS shaft black? If it is does want!
  • 8 2
 It's the normal colour, just the shadow makes the shaft look darker.
  • 5 1
 First season of drop in when all the boys rode NorcoSmile My first big bike was a VPS and I still have it, only thing that every gave way was the components and bearings. Great company, great bikes, great history, kinda funny I ws looking at Aurums earlier today for a possible bike for the future.
  • 5 2
 Also Norco and Jay Hoots go hand in hand and he has to be one of the most down to earth awesome guys for progressing the sport, trails, and building amongst multiple generations of riders.
  • 3 0
 haha CCDBACS, took me a wgile too fugure out what that was, i like a wee puzzle in the morning...
  • 12 1
 @david; That's what she said.
  • 2 0
 @wisconsin-freerider Haha wouldn't want anyone to see it in normal light and be dissapointed...
  • 1 0
 The Norco Spitfire was definitely one of the coolest BMX bikes of the day. I remember my friend had one. I had a Hutch and my friend had what was then the Ferrari of BMX bikes, the Redline.
  • 12 0
 A green VPS will always remind me of Ken Maude dropping off the huge Costco Sign in Vancouver. Not sure what video it was from? But Fuk was it cool watching him fly!!
  • 3 0
 Maybe Shift?
  • 3 0
 Yup that was Shift
  • 2 3
 Beatles recorded and released 'I want to hold your hand' in '63. Come on guys.... lol
  • 2 0
 I think that drop was in Kranked 3.
  • 6 1
 It's funny now that when you see a bike like that 2001 Shore on the trails now you wonder if it can handle the terrain, but thinking back, those bikes seemed capable of anything when they came out and can likely still handle modern trails under the right rider.
  • 6 1
 I had a VPS Norco Buzz, (bumblebee yellow) back in the day as my intro bike into Freeride....couldn't have been more pleased with it, and I wish there was more NORCO in the USA. God bless yall.
  • 3 0
 Haha me too! My first DH rig! Complete with 5inch zocchi z5's. I upgraded the front brake to a Hayes mag... Those were the daysSmile
  • 4 1
 Norco has my support this year for sure, they offer the best bang for the buck on a lot of the bikes they offer for the money. I bought a charger 9.3 and a threshold a2 this year.
  • 3 1
 They skipped the late 80s when mountain biking started to catch on. The rampage came long after my bush pilot with rigid fork and cantis and 1 inch headset. Admiiitedly I sold my after a year and bought a schiwinn high sierra frame. A much better made frame with braze on for racks and lighter. That was a nice frame.
  • 4 0
 I have fond memories of pouring over the 2000 and 2001 Norco brochures with my friend when we first got into mtn biking. The VPS line was always a favourite
  • 3 1
 My first two bikes were made by Norco. I began DH on a Norco B-Line, but after a couple of years grew out of it and bought a Shore. Only reason I'm not riding a Norco now is because I really don't like the suspension of the Aurums. But, that aside, Norco has and will always have my respect. Cheers!
  • 4 2
 "The iconic VPS line of bikes were first exported to Australia" and they are still riding them at every lift access resort in BC, when they aren't working as liftees or baristas.
i kid i kid. (lucky its a joke about aussies- since its about the only country with a collectively good sense of humour)

the freestyle bmx and the three speed with the sissy bar are worth their weight in gold to me. beautiful bikes, good memories.
  • 2 0
 The first mountain bike I spent my own money on was the 2003 forest green Norco Sasquatch. Now, years later, the Aurum and Range are my weapons of choice that take me on many slick adventures. Thanks for the great times, and, most of all, congratulations!
  • 4 0
 Nice to see my comments have been deleted because the truth about Norcos frame cracking isn't what pinkbike and norco want you to see
  • 3 0
 so ill add it again for pink bike to delete because its negative feedback. It went Ive waited 50 years for my Norco Range Carbon...or at least its felt like 50 years. The bike was first spoken about in September 2013 and its still not been released because of the frames cracking around the bottom bracket. Why dont you test the bikes yourselves before getting it out to a few people in the market to test, disgusting. These things should have been ironed out before production of the few that did make it out there. Norco messed a lot of people around. There customer service is shocking, for months on end they never gave a straight answer on what was going on. Ended up buying a Santa Cruz so win win.
  • 2 0
 then qbert put It's also very hard to find the recall on their website. They really sh!t the bed with the range. Didn't anticipate the demand. Rushed the product and ended up failing in all rogers on it. One of the most anticipated 650b bikes for this year and it won't happen till 2015 at the earliest. Could end up hurting them bad
  • 2 0
 Then some other put other comments but they've been deleted and I put

Dont get me wrong its a nice looking bike etc, im just saying a highly anticpated bike like the range carbon should have been 'properly' tested before they hit a shop floor and they shouldnt be taking peoples orders until they know they can get the bikes out there. People are parting with thousands and get a bike with a frame that might not be capable of what u want it to do. And at the end of the day it could of done someone a great deal of harm. Im happy for those that do have them and have had replacement triangles already. Im just argueing the fact it took 8months to finally get an answer to something id paid for. No one can argue that surely...if youve paid 4k+ for a bike and 8 months down the line youre still being messed around, its not on. I just had a very bad experience with Norco. The nomads awesome...light, fast, super at cornering and climbs well. Get on a demo and try one out! Save a few extra pennies and build a frame!
  • 3 0
 My comment was deleted too. A bit offended by that. I tried to buy a range, luckily I got my money back and spent it on a nomad too.
  • 4 0
 Controlling what people read, so that Norco appear better than they are..be ashamed pinkbike
  • 2 0
 What a crock of sh!t. i like norco and wish them well, was just stating a fact. they blew it with the range recall. deleting people's opinions is lame. cmon pinkbike. just another example of how things are more marketing based since cunningham came onboard
  • 3 0
 how annoying, I even wrote a comment defending Norco and it was deleted! Big brother or what?!

"The Ranges were certainly ok for the Norco Enduro World team and lots of others........to be fair, for a small company, they quite quickly got their act together with the replacement front triangles for all customers (even those that didnt 'need' it). I just got my Range Carbon and it was definitely worth the 2 month wait!"
  • 2 0
 i see now the article is user generated by norco themselves. i imagine norco edited any negative comments all on their own. great pr guys, brutal. you have to take the good with the bad and you guys blew the range issue. take ownership, don't just censor, makes you look even worse
  • 3 0
 We do not sensor any comments as every opinion has value and with that in mind we have not deleted anything here. Over the past years we have worked very hard to provide excellent customer service and offer the best bikes possible. Many of the positive comments on this article illustrate that this effort has been rather successful over the course of 50 years. If you do not feel that Norco does not deserve these compliments don't assume that we deleted them - Instead, give us a call and we would be happy to chat about your particular experience. 1-604-552-2930 - Dustan/NorcoPR
  • 2 0
 if that is the case then you should be asking pinkbike why they are deleting comments for you. none of the comments were inflammatory, just opinions on how the range issue was handled.
  • 2 0
 My first Norco was a lil' red thing with training wheels. The day came I decided to be a man and go sans trainers and peddled like mad from an alley on a mild hill downwards. I veered to the left and crashed into a parkade cement block wall. There was an old fella there that cheered me on, so I was pumped! Back on my bike, this time making it to the bottom of the street! That was an awesome day.
  • 2 1
 I loved my 2009 Norco 125, currently referred to as the Rampage. It was my best friend for the last 2 years, until a Dartmoor Shine replaced it. But that old 125 made a great impression on me, and I still have the frame lying around, just in case. Thanks for that bike, Norco!
  • 3 1
 for a Canadian bike company gone big they sure have supported the grass roots level over the years. Great people make a good company. Thanks Norco for all the races and racers sponsored from the beginning!
  • 5 1
 High end modern bikes at reasonable prices. Love my 650b Range for under $3000!
  • 4 1
 had never ridden a Norco until renting an aurum at whistler for a couple of days. i still dream about it. that bike took care of me.
  • 2 1
 my first bike was a norco bearclaw that i won from selling brownies in a gym class thing! well actually i tied but it was a boys bike and i tied with a girl. but the thing was awesome and it was the bike i learned to ride with out training wheels! heres to another 50 norco!
  • 2 1
 Great video, who can honestly say that they've had a bad experience dealing with Norco, I love my 2011 aline, and I still see older guys shredding old school shores way beyond what I can on my newer rig! I don't understand how they can still service some of those vintage forks, lol!
  • 2 1
 norco used the horst link for its VPS bikes. i had a VPS shore. and before that a steel Ramage. i am still shredding my Fluid lt. An enduro style bike before the word belonged to mountain biking. Norco offers quality at an afordable price. thanks for the in sight into Norcos history.
  • 1 0
 i have had 3 versions of the VPS over the yrs , still have a 06 Shore frame in storage and my lady still has her 93 Bigfoot . had the pleasure of meeting and riding with several Norco employee,s over the yrs as well great bunch of people and very solid products.
  • 1 0
 Bought my first ever Norco this year, the sight two 2013 (secondhand) absolutely brilliant - one minor point is that the paint seems to chip very easily, maybe that's just me been a dick on it though.

Looking to get a threshold A1 CX bike but it's quite a few pennies. Call me a bit of a elitist but I do like that here in the UK Norco's are barely seen away from the DH centres (even then it's at a ratio of one norco to 10 nuke proof or summits) and that feels good when riding one. Keep up the good work.

Sam
  • 1 0
 I love my Norco Sight, best Bike I ever had!!!

But I do not know why Noroc is soooo underrepresented in Europe?!
It is a huge market and it should be so easy for them to sell their bikes here, especially by using their Canada BC background for marketing!!!
  • 1 0
 Adding up all of my norco's over the years... This might take a while...
1)86 Bigfoot (still have it)
2)93 rampage
3)96 rampage
4)94or95 fts1?
5)97 bomber
6)98 nitro
7)98 mocha
Cool 01 Vps 3
9)01 team ti
10)03 Vps 1 team dh
11)04 team dh
12)05 team shore
Leap forward a few years
13)'12 shinobi

There were other bikes in thee of course since somehow have managed to have multiple bikes in my quiver for all these years but norco certainly has been a mainstay.
  • 3 2
 That was a pleasant surprise! What a nice 8 minutes of video. I've been a long standing supporter / supportee of Norco. Such a great group of folks that I hope to be associated with for a long time to come.
  • 2 0
 Your nationality flag is wron @timmigrant.
  • 1 0
 My spelling is wrong. HA!! Wink
  • 2 0
 Norco Spitfire was my first real bike. loved that thing. Chrome frame, huge red grips. Rode it in my local BMX league. Awesome times.
  • 2 1
 I got to ride a Range on The Shore with the Norco boys a couple weeks ago at the 15 launch and it was truely magical to ride there and with them. It is a culture and I could feel it.
  • 2 0
 I remember the days of when VPS first came out... I was 8 lol so never got to ride one Frown
  • 3 0
 Happy 50th Norco and Nutella. Big Grin
  • 3 0
 Rad. Helltrack.

/article
  • 2 1
 I grew up riding BMX and didn't cast a glance in Norco's direction, but now I'm on big wheels and my third Norco MTB! I love my Range!
  • 2 1
 Good stuff! Nice to see a feel good video on pb like that. Kudos to norco for the industry longevity too - I've always have a soft spot for the brand.
  • 3 0
 In the 90's, we stopped putting pedals on bikes in catalogues..
  • 1 0
 That first bike (20" cruiser) looks so hot! Not sure if it's a kids bike or for adults, but that bike would look perfect hanging on my wall!
  • 2 2
 I tried to buy a norco and waited for months but the range carbon was an absolute joke of a product when it was finally "released". I hope the new one works out better for them.
  • 1 1
 I still have my 2002 Norco VPS Shore, that thing is a beast and is still in pretty much perfect riding condition. While I have a new DH bike now, that thing could still handle the trails with ease!
  • 2 1
 My first mountain bike was a Norco Big Foot from around 1988. I rode that bike alomost daily until 2005! Good memories.
  • 3 0
 Ben Boyco
  • 4 0
 Hope the carbon range comes(back) to market soon!
  • 2 1
 my first mtn. bike was a Norco Kokanee in 1990...rigid and heavy and bombproof....introduced me to off road paradise!
  • 3 2
 I'd buy one of those cruisers now- just looks a good laugh to cruise to the pub with ya buddies.
  • 1 0
 one of these days, I'm going to build a sweet 26" cruiser for this purpose... It's gonna have a Shiver on the front.
  • 3 0
 Happy Birthday Norco!!!
  • 1 0
 Norco was good to me, I rode a lot of their BMX's, good people work there, keep on keeping on.
  • 1 0
 Such a great heritage to see grow over the years. Happy Birthday, Northern Cycle Industries!
  • 2 1
 Hope to see em for another 50 years! Congrats Norco.
  • 2 1
 that's a yes good job Norco.
  • 2 1
 I will always ride Norco bikes
  • 2 1
 I LOVE HOW MOST OF THE PEOPLE COMMENTING ON THIS ARE CANADAIN
  • 3 2
 I love how you can make dead end comments like that........
  • 1 0
 Of course ....It is a Canadian company...Is it not?
  • 1 1
 when I think about the mountain bike scene in 1999-2000 I think about the Norco VPS everyone had one or wanted one.
  • 3 6
 Ive waited 50 years for my Norco Range Carbon...or at least its felt like 50 years. The bike was first spoken about in September 2013 and its still not been released because of the frames cracking around the bottom bracket. Why dont you test the bikes yourselves before getting it out to a few people in the market to test, disgusting. These things should have been ironed out before production of the few that did make it out there. Norco messed a lot of people around. There customer service is shocking, for months on end they never gave a straight answer on what was going on. Ended up buying a Santa Cruz so win win.
  • 2 1
 It's also very hard to find the recall on their website. They really sh!t the bed with the range. Didn't anticipate the demand. Rushed the product and ended up failing in all rogers on it. One of the most anticipated 650b bikes for this year and it won't happen till 2015 at the earliest. Could end up hurting them bad
  • 3 2
 The Ranges were certainly ok for the Norco Enduro World team and lots of others........to be fair, for a small company, they quite quickly got their act together with the replacement front triangles for all customers (even those that didnt 'need' it). I just got my Range Carbon and it was definitely worth the 2 month wait!
  • 3 0
 I never even got mine, ordered, paid for it and had no option after waiting 2 months but to get a refund and no bike...I like it that much that I am willing to wait for the new Range, but I'm now left thinking the new one will be more expensive and its not in the orange and black that I wanted (minor detail) but still.

Lance, how are you enjoying the Nomad? I've yet to demo it, still to pricey for me!
  • 2 0
 Dont get me wrong its a nice looking bike etc, im just saying a highly anticpated bike like the range carbon should have been 'properly' tested before they hit a shop floor and they shouldnt be taking peoples orders until they know they can get the bikes out there. People are parting with thousands and get a bike with a frame that might not be capable of what u want it to do. And at the end of the day it could of done someone a great deal of harm.

Im happy for those that do have them and have had replacement triangles already. Im just argueing the fact it took 8months to finally get an answer to something id paid for. No one can argue that surely...if youve paid 4k+ for a bike and 8 months down the line youre still being messed around, its not on. I just had a very bad experience with Norco.

The nomads awesome...light, fast, super at cornering and climbs well. Get on a demo and try one out! Save a few extra pennies and build a frame!
  • 1 0
 Ace...yeah the thought had crossed my mind...i'm just pimping up my current steed, for the time being. Hoping to demo the Intense Tracer this weekend, but have heard the Nomad is better! Too many choices now..i'm in bike buying limbo haha!
  • 2 0
 Lots and lots of ex bronson owners are now nomad owners here in socal.
...and its pretty pedally here so that says a lot! Most turn a 32, debonair, pike.
Tons of new tracers too.
Altho intense/Santa cruz don't work for me (I like long front cnter), mad respect to the build quality and fact that they really don't market until they're in stock!!!
  • 1 1
 ive been riding norcos for half my life and neverget tired of them Happy Aniversiary Norco (=
  • 1 0
 the only norco i owned was the Team853 green, never again.
  • 1 0
 That AM bike seems great,I wish I could have one.
  • 1 0
 Less Road more downhill!!
  • 1 0
 I love my aurum its the best dh rig ive ridden to date.
  • 1 0
 Cycling The Globe For 50 Years!!!! HBD NORCO!!!!!
  • 1 1
 Hooooooooooooooooooooooooot graphics on that range. I'm betting that's a 2015 sneakpeak
  • 1 0
 I bet your right. I'm guessing the top of the range 'range'. xx1, guide brakes, pike fork. Very nice
  • 1 0
 OMG! That Spitfire !!!! I think I've just messed my keyboard.
  • 1 0
 my dad has the blue road bike
  • 1 0
 i had an '06 six-three and an '06 A-line, wish i still had them.
  • 2 1
 wow, nice work norco!
  • 1 0
 1st song anyone?
  • 1 1
 WOW on that range, that's one of the best looking bikes I've ever seen.
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