2009 Norco Shore Two
The Shore Two
is Norco's second-tier full-on freeride bike with a parts spec that matches up nicely to its price tag. With an MSRP of $3,350 USD ($3675 CAD), the Shore Two is available in 3 sizes: S,M,L. At 6'2" and 190 lbs, I am riding the size Large bike. I have never ridden a Norco before, but having ridden the North Shore for the past 10 years I see the Norco influence in the riding scene nearly every ride I go on. Being a 7" travel bike that is built for rugged duty, I'm looking forward to seeing how this bike handles the terrain it's named after, the notorious North Shore. According to Norco's website, the Shore Two complete bike weight is 43 lbs/19.5 kgs. Only the Shore One for an additional $1,500 is under 40 lbs. This is not a downhill race bike however, so I don't mind the weight so much knowing that I have a solid bike underneath me.
One snazzy big bike ready for some action
Weight aside, the most noticeable attribute to Norco's 2009 Shore series of bikes is the cosmetics. Graphics and paint are very hit or miss to me on bikes and I usually prefer a pretty subtle paint scheme. Pulling the bike out of its box nearly triggered my gag reflex, until the bike was fully assembled and I could see the attention to detail the designers put into matching up the color scheme on the bike. Mint green with matte purple accents and a front end wrapped in black comic strip is a combo that I definitely would not have thought up, but I have to admit, it's really growing on me and I like it. To solidify the tattoo'esque comic strip effect, Norco had the Funn handlebar wrapped in the same comic scheme, which really pulls the theme together and looks great. The clear grips are pretty cool although I don't expect them to be clear for long after falling off a few skinnies into a muddy swampy bog. An all black component spec subdues the rest of the bike and really makes that flashy paint stand out.
Comic theme on the frame and the Funn bar. Jagwire cables are a big plus as well.
For 2009, Norco keeps their previous year model's frame aesthetics with what looks like only a revision in the chainstay shape. In 2008, revisions to the head tube junction and the seat member area of the Shore added strength, decreased weight, and most certainly added a sleek visual appeal to the infamous Norco look. Although the bike does feature a quick-release seatpost, seat height adjustment is somewhat minimized by the interrupted seat tube and short seat post. According to Norco's site, the Shore series is rated for full-on freeride specifically, which generally means not going uphill much, despite the spec of a dual chainring setup. This could be easily remedied by anyone needing to earn their turns by replacing the stock seat post with a telescopic post. I'll touch more on that subject after a few days in the saddle, once I get to know the bike better. One thing that does stand out for a bike that is meant to be shuttle-runned to death is the Shore's down-tube cable routing. We may be in a modern era where this multi-thousand dollar bike is carefully draped over a multi hundred dollar bike rack and buckled down for motion control when attached to a multi-tens-of-thousands-of-dollars sport utility vehicle, but I'm still gonna sling this thing over the tailgate of my truck on a Dakine pad that cost 40 bucks. Call me cheap, or call me a criminal, but I just don't care about covering up my license plate with a few dangling front wheels. I'm interested to see the effects of the front derailleur cable on the down tube when shuttling in the truck. Who knows, maybe it will actually protect the paint.
Not much room in there for seat height adjustment
The Shore's suspension is held together with some mighty bolts and sealed bearings that look built to handle heavy loads from big jumps and drops. A bolted machined rocker link transports suspension loads to the DHX 3.0 Coil rear shock for damping. With 3 simple adjustments (spring pre-load, air bottom-out, and rebound damping), the DHX 3.0 could not be any easier to dial in.
Component spec is well balanced on the 2009 Shore Two. There's a mix of FSA and SRAM parts bolted onto this rig, including SRAM's Truvativ brand hardparts and Avid brakes. Truvativ Hussefelt cranks are a well proven, economical choice for bikes of this caliber and these include a 22/32 ringset with a bashguard and an E-13 dual-ring chainguide to keep the drive train on track. Avid Juicy 5 brakes are nearly identical to their popular Juicy 7 brethren, only lacking the on-the-fly pad contact adjustability. SRAM's X-7 drivetrain and shifters are the same as X-9 was two seasons ago, so obviously shifting is top notch, with maybe a few points deducted in the weight and durability departments as compared to the current X-9 models. Overall though, huge bang for the buck in the drivetrain with X-7 parts. The X-7 shifters include gear indicators that wrap over the top of the handlebar so you know when you're getting close to maximum pedaling speed, or perhaps maximum heart rate. I'd be surprised to see these indicators hold up to repeated OTB (over-the-bars) scenarios though.
Marzocchi 66 RVC w/ 1.5 steer tube
I was glad to see Marzocchi spec'd on the front end of the Shore Two. Marzocchi forks are typically heavier than the rest, yes, but on the Shore Two, a bike built for durability, I think it's the perfect match. The 66 RVC offers an oil bath lubrication which is low maintenance and well-proven in the durability department. With a 1.5" steer tube, you can't ask for much more in a maneuverable yet stiff suspension fork. Air preload coupled with rebound and compression damping will be keeping the front end in full control. A quick-release style skewer/axle is revised for 2009 with a big fangled nut as seen below. I really wish Marzocchi would just make this system go away and go back to bolt-on which was far easier to use and had no chance of coming loose.
Creating solutions for problems resulting from solutions to problems that didn't use to exist, you dig?
I'm all for riding stock equipment. I'm not going to change anything on this bike. Well, except one thing. It used to be that once you reached a certain price level, a bike didn't even come with pedals. Pedals are one of those things that I find are quite personal and once you've found a set that works, you just stick with them. I'm all for trying new equipment, but I wouldn't feel safe riding to the beer store with these, much less shredding some gnar in the forest. These Wellgos are some pretty cheap pedals that are small and have forged 'bumps', not pins, that are painted to the point of being round. Wellgo makes some good pedals, such as the B-27's that are identical to Axiom's Road Gap Flats (Norco owns the Axiom brand). As I mentioned, Norco may have suspected a Shore Two buyer to have their own preferred pedals so they supplied a 'test ride pedal'. No big deal, new pedals are a drop in the hat once you've spent this much money.
Leaves something to be desired
The rims on the Shore Two are a little bit on the little-bitty side, that is at 29mm wide they are narrower than many DH/FR style rims out there. Sun is famed for making great rims, so they should hold up well considering the relatively narrow size. We'll see. For front hubs, you just can't go wrong with 20mm. Pretty much all 20mm hubs are built the same, so there's nothing new here. The rear end of the bike boasts a 150mm x 12mm thru-axle, which should keep things feeling solid in sketchy, off camber terrain. The MAXLE rear axle provides tool-free removal of the rear wheel, which like the Marzocchi front axle I'm confused as to why you'd need that. For tires, Norco spec'd the Shore Two with Kenda's Nevegal 2.5s with sticky rubber. Sticky rubber was a great choice for a bike named after the North Shore, so these should work really well.
|Frame and Size||2009 Norco Shore 2|
•179mm (7") travel
|Rear Shock||Fox DHX 3.0 Coil|
|Fork||2009 Marzocchi 66 RVC|
•1.5" Steer tube
•20 mm Tool less removal
•Rebound, Compression, and Air Preload adjustments
|Headset||FSA 1.5” Big Fat Pig, chromoly|
|Crankset||Truvativ Hussefelt, 22/32T, E-13 DRS Spec 2|
|Bottom Bracket||Howitzer Spline BB|
|Pedals||Wellgo flat pedal, alloy, steel pins , purple|
|Cassette||Sram PG-950, 9 speed, 11-32|
|Front Derailleur||Shimano Deore 31.8|
|Rear Derailleur||Sram X-7, 9 speed, medium cage|
|Shifter Pods||Sram X-7 trigger, 9 speed|
|Handlebar||Funn Fatboy alloy, 710x 40mm, 31.8mm, custom designs|
|Stem||FSA FR-230 OS 1.5 alloy, 31.8mm, 50mm extension|
|Grips||Norco design clear rubber|
|Brakes||Avid Juicy 5, 8” rotors|
|Front Hub||Sun Ringle Demon, 20mm axle, sealed bearings|
|Rear Hub||Sun Ringle Demon, 150 x 12mm, 9 spd, sealed bearings, MAXLE|
|Rims||Sun Equilizer 29, 32 hole, purple|
|Spokes||Stainless steel black 2.0|
|Tires||Kenda Nevegal 26 x 2.5, Stick E rubber, CAP casing|
|Saddle||WTB Rocket V Comp, chromoly rail|
|Seatpost||Truvativ XR, double bolt, 30.9|
The Shore 2 looks pretty solid and I'll be spending the next couple of months riding the bike. Check back for a full review once the verdict is in on how it handles pacific northwest terrain. Till then happy trails!