The Shore disappeared from Norco's lineup a decade ago, but it's returned for 2021, back for another round of freeride glory. This new version has 27.5” wheels, an aluminum frame, and 180mm of travel. It's designed specifically for use with a coil-sprung shock, and the high pivot suspension design uses an idler pulley to allow the bike to have a more rearward axle path while minimizing pedal kickback.
Just like the original, Norco say the new Shore is for “rides in rowdy terrain where good times and progression are the goal, and stopwatches or finish lines are not even part of the conversation.” That statement rings true when you skim the Shore's stats – it has a 63-degree head tube angle, 480mm reach for a size large, and a total weight of 38 pounds for the A1 model.
Norco Shore Details
• Wheelsize: 27.5"
• Aluminum frame
• Travel: 180mm (r) / 180mm (f)
• 63° head angle
• 445mm chainstays (size L)
• Weight: 38 lb / 17.2 kg (size L Shore 1)
• Price range: $3,699 - $5,199 USD
• Available January 2021
There's also a park version that has 190mm of travel with a 200mm dual crown fork for riders that don't have any plans of pedaling uphill.Frame Details
There isn't any carbon fiber to be seen on the Shore - the frame is an all-aluminum affair, and all the parts that hang off it were selected with with durability in mind.
There's internal cable routing, with the derailleur and brake lines running through the top tube. Bolts for mounting a tube or tool holder are found on the underside of that same tube, and there's room for a water bottle inside the front triangle. There's also a threaded bottom bracket, ISCG 05 mounts for running a bash guard or chain guide, and clearance for up to a 2.6” tire.
Short seat tube lengths make it possible to run longer travel dropper posts – the size large I've been riding comes with a 200mm TransX +RAD post. If that's too much drop for you, it only takes a few minutes to reduce it, without the use of any tools.
Routing the chain over the idler wheel does mean that more links are required than on a non-idler bike, but Norco says that one standard 126 link chain is long enough for all frame sizes. Geometry
The Shore was built for the descents, and that's reflected by the slack 63-degree head angle. The size large has a 480mm reach and 445mm chainstays. Chainstay length varies by size, starting at 435mm for the small and increasing in 5mm increments, topping out at 450mm for the extra-large.
The head angle might look like it was lifted from a DH bike, but Norco didn't forget that this was a freeride machine, and which means pedaling uphill is occasionally required. To help with those uphill grinds, they gave it a nice and steep 77.7-degree seat tube angle. The seat tube angle actually gets steeper on the larger sizes, a nice touch that helps keep taller riders from ending up too far over the rear axle while climbing.Suspension Design
The new Shore uses a Horst Link suspension design, but Norco also went with a high main pivot placement and an idler pulley. Without an idler, the chain growth created by the high pivot position would cause excessive pedal kickback, but with the idler in place the amount of kickback is greatly reduced.
The bike is designed specifically to be used with a coil shock, with a progressive leverage curve. While you could technically fit an air shock, Norco says that the spring and damper won't allow the suspension to react the way it's designed to. Even with a coil shock, the pedaling efficiency is impressive, and there's a generous amount of mid-stroke support to keep the bike from going to deep into its travel when plowing through rough terrain.Build Kits
The Shore A1 sits at the top of the lineup and retails for $5,199 USD. Build highlights include a 180mm Fox 38 Factory fork, Factory DHX2 coil shock, SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, and SRAM's Code RSC brakes. The wheels are e*thirteen LG1 aluminum rims laced to DT Swiss 350 hubs, and those get a Maxxis Assegai / DHR II MaxxGrip Double Down tire combo. Other nice bits are a Deity aluminum bar and DMR Deathgrip lock-on grips.
The Shore A2 is priced at $3,699 USD, and is spec'd with a 180mm RockShox Zeb R fork, Super Deluxe Ultimate Coil shock, Shimano Deore 12-speed drivetrain and 4-piston MT250 brakes. Deore hubs are laced to e*thirteen LG1 rims, with a Maxxis Assegai / DHR II MaxxGrip Double Down tire combo.
The $3,999 Shore A1 Park receives a 200mm RockShox Boxxer Select RC, and a Super Deluxe Ultimate coil shock with a slightly longer stroke to deliver 190mm of travel. SRAM's Code R brakes help slow things down, and there's a GX1 7-speed drivetrain. Once again, tires are a Maxxis Assegai up front, and a DHR II MaxxGrip in the back, both MaxxGrip / Double Down.Ride Impressions
I've been spending time on the Shore A1 as part of our fall Field Test, so I'm going to hold off on spilling all of the beans for now, but I can go over a few initial impressions.
The Fox DHX2 shock doesn't have a climb switch on it, and that's because there's no need for one. The lack of unwanted suspension movement is impressive, especially considering there's 180mm of travel on tap. The overall weight isn't as impressive, and getting this aluminum beast to the top of a hill does take a decent amount of effort. The climbing position is comfortable, though, so it's best to relax and settle in for the grind.
On the descents, this is one solid, downhill-hungry machine. I'd sort of expected an ultra-plush ride that totally erased even the smallest bump, but that's not exactly the case here. Even with 30% sag the suspension feels very supportive, which comes in handy during bigger drops, or for pumping through rough terrain. It might not have been designed with stopwatches in mind, but the Shore definitely has a need for speed, and feels best on really steep trails where there's room to let it run.
Stay tuned for a more detailed review and comparisons when the Field Test airs later this year.