Bike Check: Sam Blenkinsop's Norco Aurum HSP 29" - Crankworx Rotorua 2020

Mar 7, 2020
by Aidan Oliver  

We caught up with Sam Blenkinsop and his new and very sparkly Norco Aurum HSP 29 after practice for the Crankworx Rotorua Downhill. Sam doesn't ride this bike much in the offseason as it's too stiff for anything but racing and prefers to ride his trail bike.

Sam Blenkinsop
Rider NameSam Blenkinsop
Age: 31
Height 6"1
Hometown: Christchurch, New Zealand
Instagram: @samblenkinsop

Norco Aurum HSP1 29"
Frame: Norco Aurum 29 XL
Fork: RockShox Boxxer Ultimate, set up hard with plenty of rebound
Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe coil, 450lb spring
Wheels: Rear: DT Swiss FR1950, Front: DT Swiss EX511
Tires: Maxxis Assegai with Cush Core
Saddle: Deity
Cranks: SRAM XO
Bars: Deity Black Label 790mm
Brakes: SRAM Code RSC
Pedals: HT X2
Weight: 16kgs

Sam's new paint job for 2020 is mighty fine and matches his Norco Sight.

bigquotesWe've got a surprise coming but we can't really say much. We'll be racing this bike for the first World Cup and then after that, we have something in the works. Sam Blenkinsop

Sam runs his Code RSC brakes with minimal lever throw and changes pads frequently.

Sam runs his fork very hard and very fast.

An extra custom guard to keep the high pivot chain from making too much noise.

Custom stem cap and fender.

Sam runs Cush Core front and rear to prevent any tire burping as he runs low pressures.

Code RSC brakes for max stopping power.

Personalised HT pedals is a nice touch.

RockShox Super Deluxe coil out back with a custom link for Sam providing more mid-stroke support.


  • 114 4
 Norco is still stepping it up. I think they are the most under rated company! Keep up the good work and go Sam!
  • 48 2
 Yeah curious what the “Surprise coming” is. A new Range enduro bike is certainly in the works, and rumor is it’ll be HSP, but implication of his comment is a new DH rig is coming too.

And agreed, Norco has their sh*t straight. Most dialed geometry in the business, and bikes that can take abuse and just work year after year.
  • 10 1
 It would be weird to see the aurum hsp go away after a single season considering Norco worked for YEARS on this bike.
  • 4 0
 @j-t-g: I suspect it'll be an even more refined version based on what they've learned with this one. Possibly like what Scott have done with their Gambler DH bike.

Or maybe a Mullet..
  • 4 0
 I'm a huge Norco fanboy and it makes me happy to see their bikes getting respect. They just solid and do the job without having to take out a mortgage to afford them. Will be interesting to see how they progress their DH bikes
  • 1 0
 I'll stiffen my bike up if i have no time to ride
  • 1 0
 @Drew-O: and no
  • 33 2
 seeing no red fork lowers gives me life
  • 8 1
 and also orange..
  • 16 1
 Interesting he prefers to ride a trail bike in the off season. Considering thats coming from a dh pro it shows how far bikes have come in recent years.
  • 4 0
 But is he less likely to win??
  • 5 1
 Sounds like thats got more to do with the stiff Suspension hes running on the dh, doesnit?
  • 46 8
 @sebazzo: no, it's to do with the fact that a bike optimised for racing is not optimised for daily use. Pretty sure Lewis Hamilton drives something a bit different to an f1 car as his daily driver.
  • 11 7
 @inked-up-metalhead: aint that my words and those in the text above?
  • 8 18
flag inked-up-metalhead (Mar 7, 2020 at 7:12) (Below Threshold)
 @sebazzo: no. You said stiff suspension. In the article it doesn't mention suspension, just 'too stiff' so id say it was chassis stiffness, not the easily adjusted suspension.
  • 6 2
 @inked-up-metalhead: article mentions stiff fork.
  • 8 14
flag inked-up-metalhead (Mar 7, 2020 at 8:55) (Below Threshold)
 @alexisfire: OK? It's an air spring, literally 30 seconds with a shock pump would take it from wc mode to everyday mode. I'm pretty sure thats not beyond the capabilities of blenki. Also, not mentioned at the point it says he rides his trail bike more in the off season. It literally says the bike is too stiff for anything but racing. The bike. Not the suspension.
  • 3 1
 @inked-up-metalhead: Perhaps it is the custom link that "provides more support" and/or a heavy rear spring rate. Neither would be super quick to change.
  • 3 0
 @inked-up-metalhead: I ride Aurum HSP 29 as my daily park driver. Really like the handling, it corners very well. And sure, much more capable than me. Prefer the big bike for park laps, sooo much fun :-)
  • 5 11
flag inked-up-metalhead (Mar 7, 2020 at 11:27) (Below Threshold)
 @dthomp325: or, perhaps, it's the bike that's too stiff. You know, like the article says. I don't get why people are clutching at straws trying to dispute what it says in the article.
  • 3 12
flag inked-up-metalhead (Mar 7, 2020 at 11:30) (Below Threshold)
 @patugly: and I doubt you'd detect flex differences between frames like a wc racer can. Once had a similar argument with someone who reckoned he could feel crank flex on his 160mm 2.5 tyres all mountain bike (this was 7 or 8 years ago, when enduro was still just a specialized model). Most mortals (me included) cannot detect things like frame flex, unless it's horrendous. We just don't ride fast enough for it to be an issue.
  • 14 2
 @inked-up-metalhead: are you the guy from Sick Bicycles Co. ? You certainly talk enough bullshit
  • 5 12
flag inked-up-metalhead (Mar 7, 2020 at 13:18) (Below Threshold)
 @Shredtheduck: OK, now I think I'm being trolled. It's literally what the article says, how am I talking bullshit?
  • 1 0
 @sebazzo: change the settings for the offseason? It would take like 10 minutes and that's with swapping the spring on the rear.
  • 1 0
 @cole-inman: Who knows. My point was, referring to the OP, that I think it's got nothing to do with how far enduro bikes have come in recent years. Blenki seems to have one or another technical reason for not choosing his big bike.
  • 1 0
 Or, hear me out here
Maybe it's because the dh bike can't climb?
Crazy right?
  • 2 0
 @Bikerdude137: hahaha..your right there
  • 8 0
 Since he is one of only a couple of WC riders who go bare handed, maybe tell us the grips he uses for that? You don't do a Connor Fearon bike check without showing us his flat pedals.
  • 6 0
 Deity Knuckleduster
  • 4 0
 Deity Knuckleduster.
  • 13 1
 Pretty sure they're deity knuckledusters guys.
  • 13 0
 Did anyone say Diety Knuckledusters?
  • 2 0
 @Waldon83: Not sure?
But just in case I think you should mention that those Diety Knuckledusters are in fact Diety Knuckledusters!
  • 2 0
 @Waldon83: Is that the low weight version?
  • 1 0
 I can confirm that we have said Diety Knuckledusters an impressive amount of times..... and I'm still unsure as I use Ergons.
  • 8 1
 HSP is my favorite type of food
  • 3 0
 Hot spicy pizza?
  • 10 0
 @wpplayer18: Halal Snack Pack!
  • 3 0
 @atauro: why not both?
  • 2 0
 It was said in a review that norco was more stiff than a commeçal.
Stiff means it transmite a lot of vibration because there is no lateral deflection, only vertical deflection by the suspension.
I wonder if after the new triangle the commecal is more stiffer or not.
  • 4 1
 Damn that thing is pretty Norco with a sick team and a killer bike this season
  • 3 0
 my kids b line is still plush and ready to ride!
  • 4 5
 "We've got a surprise coming but we can't really say much. We'll be racing this bike for the first World Cup and then after that, we have something in the works."
If you just dropped big dough on a Norco HSP, SUPRISE you have a few months to sell it before it becomes antiquated and loses most of its value.
  • 2 0
 Literally happened when I bought my Yeti SB66, about two days later they released the SB6

As if the guy in the LBS didn’t tell me to wait a week.
  • 3 0
 @Waldon83: Gotta move that stock, having a bunch Yetis sitting around in stock is a decent amount of money to have tied up.
  • 1 0
 I feel like the norco HSP never performed as good as they hoped. doesn't surprise me they are changing it up.
  • 1 0
 Is that an angled headset on intigrated CF frame if so who makes dat bad boy
  • 3 0
 I think the HSP comes with reach adjust headset cups so I don’t think it’s an integrated set up.
  • 5 0
 No it is the reach adjustment headset that’s integrated in the HSP.
  • 1 1
 @fclinder: Got it. Thanks for clearing that up.
  • 2 4
 As there's not a visible logo on the thing, a Works Components angleset would be my first guess for an off the shelf product. Those kind of components always look better and less cluttered without brand names all over them anyway.
  • 1 0
 Acros reach adjust.
  • 1 0
 @fclinder: Interesting that the steerer is run so far forward and his stanchions so low in the crowns
  • 2 0
 Rear rotor looking mighty scorched
  • 2 1
 16kg is pretty amazing. I have a 2020 Capra Base 29 with exo tyres, no inserts, air suspension, and it's 15.85kg!
  • 2 1
 yeah i feel like its rounded off, a fair bit, that bike is linky and busy with stuff.
  • 2 0
 @lifted-d: 2 links is not a lot
  • 5 0
 Your Capra has a much larger/heavier cassette, and a dropper post.
  • 2 0
 @Swervsroundsquirrels: the cassette is over 600g that's true. And the cranks are over 1kg. Mine is a bus I have to say. I was unpleasantly surprised by the weight when I got it.
  • 1 0
 @kleinblake: lots of metal in those links
  • 2 2
 *cries in commencal*
  • 1 1
 16kg? ?? shit weight tbh mate
  • 1 0
 What a bike! Such an existing rider to watch
  • 1 0
 Sam’s bike is gorgeous Drool
  • 6 6
 Dude needs to work out. Forearms looking weakSmile
  • 2 4
 Lol yet he's still faster than you'll ever be ????
  • 1 1
 Looking mighty fine on there @stemcaps-com !!!!!
  • 1 2
 What do they mean too stiff for anything but racing? What about people who own this bike?
  • 5 0
 His set up is too stiff for anything but racing, is what they mean I think
  • 1 0
 nice norc.
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