Harry Heath's Norco Aurum Bike Check - Vallnord DH World Cup 2016

Sep 2, 2016
by Vernon Felton  
Harry Heath Norco Aurum


Nearing the end? Harry Heath surprised many when the 25-year old Brit recently announced his plans to retire from World Cup racing at the end of the 2016 season. We thought we’d snatch this opportunity to profile his race rig—the Norco Aurum Carbon Killer B. Heath is on a tear of late. During Crankworx Whistler, he landed on the second step of the podium following the Air DH and came in 5th at the Garbanzo DH.

The core of Heath's rig (the frame and suspension bits) looks very much like the stock Norco Aurum C7.1. Undoubtedly, Heath's bike gets the usual custom-tuning touches from the team's traveling wrench, but the heart and soul of the bike appears to be pretty close to what consumers can get their hands on. One obvious tweak to the original formula? The elevated pulley which Heath and teammate, Sam Blenkinsop, have been running this season. The custom idler pulley routes the chain above the main pivot, which alters the chain forces' influence on the Aurum's rear suspension. The elevated pulley should reduce the bike's anti-squat and, ostensibly, create a more active suspension during hard pedalling efforts. It looks like Norco might be tinkering with that balance between pedaling efficiency and all-out bump absorption.

Harry Heath Norco Aurum
Not exactly a surprise, a Fox Factory Float 40 leads the charge up front.
Harry Heath Norco Aurum
The Factory Float X2...seeing a lot of these of late.


Harry Heath Norco Aurum
The Cura is a departure for Formula.

Formula did a bit of a 180 this spring with the release of the Cura. Billed as a brake for all riders (cross-country, enduro and downhill alike), the Cura is the first brake in Formula's long history to use mineral oil instead of DOT. company ditched DOT fluid in favor of mineral oil. Even more obvious, the Cura ditches the radial-style master cylinder design (that's been a mainstay on most Formula models) in favor of a very Shimano-esque, in-line master cylinder layout. The Cura is slated to hit the streets this month, though it's been on Heath's bike this season.


Harry Heath Norco Aurum
Formula went with a two-piece caliper. The actual clamping duties are handled by two 24-millimeter pistons.
Harry Heath Norco Aurum
Heath rolls fast on Novatec Demon 27.5 wheels. In a world of gucci-grade equipment, it's a refreshingly blue-collar set of hoops.

Harry Heath Norco Aurum
While it's easy to get caught up in spring curves, leverage rates and so forth, sometimes the most important thing on your bike is a big chunk of rubber. Schwalbe Magic Mary's have a devoted following for a very good reason.


Harry Heath Norco Aurum
There was a time when the very idea of a hollow carbon crank on a DH bike would have seemed ludicrous. RaceFace touts that the SIXc as the lightest production DH-rated crank on the market. At 525 grams (with a direct mount ring on it), the thing is crazy light.
Harry Heath Norco Aurum
Seven-speed DH drivetrains are nothing new, but Norco says they believe so strongly in them that they designed the Aurum around a narrow (for DH) 142x12 rear end, which they say optimizes chainline for the 7-speed system and allows for more heel clearance.

Harry Heath
Harry Heath racing in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, last July.



MENTIONS: @norcobicycles / @foxracingshox / @shimano / @mdelorme / @vernonfelton / @raceface / @schwalbe / @rideformula




52 Comments

  • 26 0
 Can someone enlighten me as to what all these small silver squares are?
I've counted 6 so far:
Rear triangle, rear shock, both disc calipers, one on each fork crown.
  • 3 0
 Wondering the same. No clue. Perhaps heat dissipation/vibration dampening?
  • 2 1
 I was thinking the same thing, maybe it's a marker to know that item needs to be checked or that it was checked...
  • 3 1
 Given the locations, I'd say these are heat indicators so that mech and engies know what was the max temp these component reached during a run and are therefore able to adapt.
  • 65 1
 Everyone knows adding aluminum makes things lighter, so they went and stuck these aluminum squares everywhere they could to bring the bikes weight down. I hear they are developing carbon fiber squares to drop even more weight.
  • 13 0
 I think it's vibration reduction actually. There was a write up earlier this year about it.
  • 42 1
 @DARKSTAR63: Mini tinfoil hats.
  • 3 2
 @DARKSTAR63 got it, AXS Anti-Vibration System. I'd be kinda curious to try it.

www.axxios-tech.com
  • 3 1
 @DARKSTAR63: My guess is piezoelectric damping. Piezoelectric materials generate charge when deformed, and conversely deform if a charge is applied. If you hook a resistor up across opposite ends it acts like a damper mechanically, because the resistor limits charge flow. The idea has actually been around for a while, see this article about a ski application from 1996.

www.designnews.com/author.asp?doc_id=216588
  • 8 2
 @scar4me They are vibration-damping sensors.
  • 43 0
 Wow, these sound like some grade A bullshit.
  • 6 0
 axxios-tech.com/bike If you understand french, well, you'll probably have a big laugh after reading this
  • 7 0
 @vernonfelton: I think you mean to say they are snake oil patches from fraudulent bullshit artists. Wink
  • 1 1
 They're vibration sensors I believe
  • 3 0
 They're some ridiculously expensive things that automagically dampen vibrations perfectly no matter what by interaction with the atoms (yup, that's pretty much what they say).

I haven't found a single whitepaper or any science to backup their frankly absurd claims. I don't do this type of engineering however, so definitely going to ask someone who's more of an expert in this field then myself.
  • 2 0
 @DARKSTAR63: That's because based on everything I can find on them, they're psuedoscientific bullshit since there's no real info what-so-ever on how they work and no whitepapers or anything. I'm waiting to get a friends take on them (he's much more knowledgeable on this, builds rockets) but what I know is screaming bullshit.
  • 2 0
 @Uberbob102000: The website make ridiculous claims, especially regarding automotive applications. I call BS for sure.
  • 5 0
 They are vibration-dampening-placebo-induced-sensor-patches.
  • 2 0
 @Uberbob102000: It does look like BS. Their explanation is extremely vague and even if my theory about piezo damping is correct I highly doubt the effect would be noticeable.
  • 1 0
 it's voodoo witchcraft
  • 2 0
 @Miller16SD: Best answer ever!
  • 1 0
 @vernonfelton: Can you elaborate on how a damping sensor works? I understand what a damper does, and what a sensor does, but a damping sensor? I don't get it.
  • 2 0
 @sngltrkmnd: reading past the bs marketing blurb. from what I can understand of it, it disturbs the ability of objects to resonate vibration.
So it's not dampening in the normally understood sense it's just stopping it amplifying via resonance.
  • 2 0
 @scar4me: The only thing it disturbs are the bank accounts of gullible people.

The entire thing is BS marketing blurb. It's not real. It's a fugazi.
  • 11 0
 @vernonfelton: Frame size, please? The bike geek in me loves it when pinkbike gets out it's tape measure.
  • 2 0
 true, same here
  • 2 0
 I remember reading he rides a Large
  • 2 0
 Interesting pulley addition, appears to be there to neutralise pedalling 'anti-squat' from chain pull forces, the pulley is bringing the chain in-line with the instant centre rather than below it - the suspension is designed to extend with chain-pull which would cause the back wheel to buck/kick-off roots and square edge bumps etc, likely a problem for pro's and how hard they pedal over rough terrain. The pulley will eliminate anti-squat making the suspension more responsive when pedalling.
  • 4 0
 Is Harry moving to Enduro or backing off racing to go to school/university?
  • 2 0
 Is that novatec rear hub a standard 142x12? Or does it have wider flange spacing with narrower splined area made for narrow 7speed cassettes?
  • 9 1
 Yes.
  • 2 0
 standard rear but hope make a dh one in 142 x 12 that has wider flanges and only takes 7 speed cog..
  • 2 0
 in bike checks you should add the weight. EXSPECIALLY on a xc bike but seeing this bike is a dh bike carry on
  • 8 0
 excspecially on an xc bike
  • 2 0
 @jaycubzz: know I feel stupid, thanks
  • 2 0
 @bikeordie2772: my norco with a ti spring and a WC fork (carbon frame, no carbon parts like cranks and handlebars etc) weighs 15.5KG
  • 3 0
 I would like this paint job on the production Aurum.
  • 3 0
 I know that there will be aurum .1 version black/turquoise, .2 version black/dark grey and if i remember correctly .3 version black/red in same pattern as this one.
  • 2 0
 2017 Aurum paint jobs are in the Aurum thread in the DH forum. They are also on the Norco website now.
  • 1 0
 Guess what, ive only just gone and bought one of his spare 2016 bikes for £2500. its beaut
  • 2 0
 Looks like a slayer..
  • 1 0
 Oh shush
  • 1 0
 What are those foil looking squares on his caliper and rear axle?
  • 5 0
 word in the pits is they direct laser beams at them and it provides an extra bit of acceleration, developed by NASA
  • 2 0
 @MmmBones: Ahhh, I see!
  • 1 0
 Go baz #stokyomassiv
  • 1 0
 Why's he retiring ?
  • 7 0
 Not enough coin to be made.. Gotta get to school..
  • 1 0
 @bohns1: Does anybody know what is the average salary of a downhill rider ? I've always had this question.
  • 1 0
 @petrospit: At the top of the heap... Maybe 6 figures, give or take... Anything below that... Chump change!
  • 1 0
 looks like a banana

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