2008 Norco Six 1 - Long Term Review

Sep 2, 2008 at 23:39
by Derek Smith  
As one of the larger bike manufacturers, Norco continues to improve and add to it's ever growing line-up of bikes. Throughout the years, they have made leaps and bounds, improving and introducing new ideas to the mountain bike industry. One thing that hasn't changed is their outstanding commitment and drive, to deliver top quality bikes to happy customers. When I was approached with the opportunity to ride the Six, I didn't even stop for a second to think twice about it. It had been some time since I had saddled up on a Norco, but I was eager to find out what the research and development team had been up to in their lab-the North Shore mountains.

Pics and riding video inside:Well, it wasn't long before a Norco box with a shiny new bike inside arrived at my door. Not even fully assembled, the bike was begging to be ridden, and in no time at all, I was doing just that.

Frame And Specs:

All three of the Norco Six models feature the same frame design and tube set. For 2008, the tube set was totally redesigned, and features some eye catching hydro-formed curves. The Six One comes in a Pearl White finish, and features a "houndstooth" pattern on the top tube. Although it isn't a flashy paint job, it goes well with the bike, and the graphics flow well with the curves of the tubes. The gold accents add a nice touch, and give it the "blinged out" look that people seem to be going for these days.

Fully redesigned tubes

Fully redesigned tubes

With the new design, Norco was not only able to achieve a lower stand over height, but the center of gravity was also lowered, creating a more stable bike, both in the air and on the ground. Since the bike is aimed at serving the "light freeride/all mtn" type of rider, Norco did their best to keep the weight down, but at the same time deliver a durable and strong frame that will stand up to abuse. By utilizing hydro formed tubes, the overall frame weight was reduced, while still creating a stiff and strong frame. As with most Norco full suspensions, the Six uses FSR technology, which allows for 6.3"(160mm) of rear end travel. Although the travel is not adjustable, the one piece linkage is kept super stiff using 12mm axles in the pivots.

Further on down the seat stays, you will find something that previous Norco owners may not be familiar with. Included in the changes for 2008, was the introduction of the Maxle system. So what exactly is it you ask? Well, it is basically a cross between a quick release system, and a thru-axle system, which results in a stiffer rear end. Another advantage to the system is the fact that it still remains tool free like a regular quick release. The chain stay yoke was also redesigned for '08, improving tire clearance over the 2007 model. This is a big plus for the 'wet coast' riders, where mud can usually be found on most trails any given day. This can sometimes be a big problem with bikes featuring shock placement similar to the Six. I did enjoy a few wet rides, and was impressed by the lack of mud that got flung onto the shock.

Large pivots keep it stiff

Large pivots keep it stiff

The Six One comes with a Marzocchi 66 ATA fork, which is air sprung, features adjustable travel(140-180mm), and has 38mm stanchions to keep your front end going where you want it. The 66 uses Marzocchi's ATA technology which simulates a coil spring compression curve using a dual rate air spring. There are two Schrader valves on the 66, by adding air to the one on the top of the fork you are able to tune the positive and negative air chambers. Adding air to the lower Schrader valve allows you to control the progression curve and bottom out. The 66 ATA is also equipped with Marzocchi's RC3 technology, and by adjusting the rebound knob, users are able to control the extension and positive sensitive compression. High and low speed compression are automatically tuned using the lower knob, which basically just changes the range of compression. With all of this technology it is possible to tune the fork for any rider on any terrain.

Heavy duty without the added weight

Heavy duty without the added weight

The rear suspension is handled by a DHX 5.0 air, which features control over the bottom out resistance, 2 position Pro-Pedal lever, air spring pressure adjustments, adjustable tuning range, and rebound adjustment. The DHX 5.0 is jam packed with adjustments, while maintaining a user friendly approach, as all that is needed to tune it is a shock pump. For 2008, the Pro-Pedal adjustment was redesigned, and is now controlled using a 2 position lever. The 2 positions allow for either light or full on settings, and can be changed on the fly thanks to the well placed lever. This feature comes in handy when switching between climbs and descents, as it helps control overall traction and pedaling efficiency.

Lots of room under the seat mast to do adjustments

Lots of room under the seat mast to do adjustments

The braking is kept under control using Hayes Stroker Trail brakes, with an 8" rotor in the front, and a 7" rotor in the rear. The brakes are also painted white to match the frame, giving it a really clean look. Aside from a Shimano front changer, SRAM parts take care of the shifting, with an X-9 rear changer and pod shifters. Continuing with the "blinged out" theme, the Alex FD-28 rims are finished with chrome, and laced to WTB hubs. The Six easily finds traction on the gnarliest terrain thanks to a set of Kenda Nevegal tires.

Nicely matched calipers

Nicely matched calipers

Derek talks tech about the Norco SIX 1:

Frame and SizeNorco Six One(Pearl White)
•161mm of travel
•Small Frame
Rear ShockFox DHX Air 5.0
•165 psi in the main
•155 psi in the boost
•Bottom Out on Full
•Rebound 5 clicks in
Fork2008 Marzocchi 66 ATA
•20 mm Tool less removal
•140-180mm Travel
•Rebound and Air Preload adjustments
HeadsetFSA Orbit DL 1 1/8" Threadless Alloy Cup
CrankarmsFSA Gravity Light, 170 mm
ChainringsFSA 22/32/Bash Guard
Bottom BracketMegaExo BB, 68/73mm
PedalsDMR V-12 Magnesium, White
ChainSram PC-971
CassetteSram PG-990, 9 Speed, 11-32
Front DerailleurShimano Deore, 31.8mm
Rear DerailleurSram X-9, 9 Speed, Medium Cage
Shifter Cable/HousingJagwire
Shifter PodsSram X-9 Trigger, 9 speed
HandlebarSyncros Race Gain,7075 Butted(31.8mm)
•660mm width
StemSyncros Race(31.8mm)
•70mm reach
GripsWTB Moto Tec Clamp On(White/Gold)
BrakesHayes Stroker Trail, 8" Front Rotor, 7" Rear(Pearl White)
Front WheelAlex FD-28, Double Wall(Chrome), WTB 20mm Hub w/Sealed Bearings
Rear WheelAlex FD-28, Double Wall(Chrome),WTB 135mm x 12mm MAXLE
TiresKenda Nevegal, 2.35, Stick-e Rubber w/Kevlar Bead
SaddleNorco Shore, Short Profile(LV Vutton White Leather w/ Gold Chromoly Rails)
SeatpostSyncros Derived, 30.9mm
Extras•Blackspire Stinger Lower Roller Chainguide, Handlebar Bell

How Did It Ride?

Well I tried my best to ride this bike on as many different terrains as possible, and didn't find one that gave it any problems. The first ride was by far the most interesting though. The very first thing I noticed about the bike was how incredibly light it felt. Every jump I hit, I was getting more air and going farther than I ever had before on familiar trails. Not only was it easy to jump, but it was very nimble in the air, and it was very easy to correct my path on the sketchy jumps. I got the chance to ride Mount 7 in Golden B.C. on this bike, and I will admit I didn't think I was going to survive some of the obstacles. Although I found the wheelbase to be a little short for the steep descents, they were manageable at a slightly slower speed, and with more weight over the rear end. The short wheelbase made a huge difference when it came to tight corners, and with the bike being so light, it made for even easier cornering. Where some downhill bikes would have to creep through corners, the Six was able to handle them with ease.

Derek getting rad on the Norco SIX 1:

Aside from riding a lot of trails on the Six, I did manage to get a few good climbs in. Since my first ride on the Six was strictly downhill, I never thought about how it would climb until the time came. To my surprise, it was incredible. Not only does the bike feel light while grooving down a trail, the same goes when pedaling up. There is a granny gear outfitted, which is really nice to have, because you just never know when you'll come across an uphill section. While climbing, I noticed that there was never a lack of traction. The rubber was kept in contact with the ground, and the Pro-Pedal on the Fox rear shock worked flawlessly while climbing.

The suspension also played an important part in the overall ride. The air sprung suspension was incredibly responsive, and soaked up all but the worst hits, although I'm not sure any bike would have. Even through some of the roughest terrain, the bike seemed to keep gaining speed, which got a little hairy in a few instances. More than once I found myself pushing my boundaries, just to see how fast I actually could go without losing it. I can honestly say that the bike never had any problems handling the speed, and it was me that gave up first. Out of the box, the rear shock was set up a little light for my liking, so I added 10 psi to the main chamber and that did the trick.

The thing about the Six that impressed me the most was how well the bike cornered. It was such a blast! I would often find myself coming full on into tight corners only to slide through like they didn't exist. Another thing I noticed was the bike's tendency to pop out of corners. On the approach the bike sunk nicely into it's travel, giving it more than enough traction, and it seemed like the harder I hit the corners, the faster I'd be back upright and pedaling into the next one. Even though Norco recommends the Six as an all mountain/light freeride bike, it was incredibly versatile, and it rode predictably. By the end of the first ride, I was already settling in nicely to the Six, and became accustomed to the handling as if I had been riding it for the last season. There were a few times when things got out of hand, but I have to say that it was simply due to the fact I got too confident.

Any Issues?

Although they were hard to pick out, there was a few things that are worth mentioning. It might not be a big deal to most, but the Six has an interrupted seat tube, and basically this means a full length seat post just won't work. I was able to cut the seat post so that I could have it low enough on the downhills, and up high enough while climbing, but for some who like to leave the post long, you could run into some clearance issues with the rear shock. A telescoping seat post could be used to solve this, but would most likely add a little more weight.

Also, as mentioned before, I did run into some problems while descending super steep sections. Although it was hard to get far enough over the back tire (it was just that steep!) I did manage to ride the steeps, but not as in control as I would have liked to be. Considering other riders were choosing to walk their bikes down instead of tempt fate, I wasn't the only one having some issues, and for this reason I can't say my difficulties were directly caused by the bike.

Near the end of my time spent on the Six, I also had some issues with the brakes. They felt and worked great for quite some time, but eventually I noticed that the modulation didn't feel balanced in the front and rear levers. When braking for longer periods of time, the feel of the brakes became more unpredictable, and at times was uncomfortable.

The Bottom Line

While there are a few bikes out there that compare to the Six, even fewer come close when you consider the parts that come equipped. Components such as the 66 ATA fork, and light parts such as the cranks and pedals all add up to create one mean machine. Having such nice parts, you'd expect this bike to be priced as though it had a custom build, but it all comes in at a respectable $4449 msrp. End of season sales will be coming up soon, so you can most likely pick one up for a steal of a deal. The fact that this bike is more than capable of epic all day climbs, and handles free riding in the same respect, means that riders no longer have to consider purchasing two bikes, because this one does it all!


Happy Trails

Happy Trails

More Info on Norco's Full Line of Bikes

-Derek "Derka" Smith

Editor's Note:

Derek had already submitted this review and he, Jordan and I were out riding a few days later. Well I have to point out that he changed more flats that day than any rider should have too in a day. The single ply tires simply were not holding up to the terrain we were riding them on it seems. I personally feel that bikes of this genre should come with dual ply tires, but on that same note I do understand trying to keep the end weight down for the show room floor. So if you intend to buy a great bike that you'll be a little rough on, consider upgrading tires at the point of purchasing it. Here's a little video from that day.


  • 5 1
 wow, a norco employee couldn't have written a better report on all the positive aspects of the norco six.
too bad nobody reviewing bikes wants to be honest, or doesn't spend enough time on the bikes or the parts on the bikes to notice any problems.
i've got one of these bikes. its pretty sweet
The new marzocchi's aren't exactly holding up. I don't know anybody with one of these forks or a similar model from them that hasn't had a creaking crown, or an air travel adjust that blows up right away. plus their version of the maxle is a total joke.
The new strokers work decent(if you don't mind a ton of squeeking and no pad contact adjust) till they get muddy a few times, then the lever stops returning because the unsealed piston is seizing.
the chain guide deelio is a nice touch but i haven't seen too many black spire rollers that don't bind up soon after use requiring a bunch of customizing to keep it spinning
you can't go too wrong with the rest of the parts
The ride of the bike is good, suspensions good, traction too. But one of the reasons it rides so good for jumping and dh is the low bb. so low that when i'm "all mountain" riding, especially tech climbing, i bang my pedals off the ground all the time, like ALL THE TIME. sure this is increased by the ata, or u-turn, or 2 step. But without that stuff the bike is so high in the front end and low in the back that it's impossible to keep the front wheel down climbing. this pretty much makes the bike a bit too down hill to be good at all mountain
the bikes very close to awesome, if you're careful about the parts spec. but if you really like trail riding, tech style. The fluid or fluid lt would be way better.
just being honest
  • 2 1
 I've got the Six 3, so I can't comment on the rest of the parts, but the maxle on mine works like a champ. And I don't have a problem climbing it at all. I'm actually really impressed how well the rear wheel stays planted and doesn't slip when I'm way over the front hammering up steep, rooty terrain.
  • 2 0
 Isn't it a little late to do a long-term review on a bike when the 2009's are about the hit the stores, and perhaps already have hit some stores? Looks like a great bike, but I would have liked to know about it in spring or early summer yeah?
  • 2 0
 Good point, but no it's never too late and this was a late season test bike. Basically you can now look into shops that still have them and pick up a great bike at an even better deal. And considering that ALL bikes are going up in price next year, you'll get better spec and have a fresh bike for spring and save a lot of money. The 2009 SIX series is pretty rad too, but the focus here is on this particular model over the course of a few months.
  • 1 1
 I didn't think of that. Nice point. I like the fact that it considers the buyer who can't afford the "new new' stuff, but still wants to buy new. ThX for that.
  • 4 0
 looks a very nice bike to me. I love the look of the bike
  • 3 1
 i have the six 2....its a great bike.looks good (even in purple),corners great and everything just works together beautifully..
  • 3 0
 i like how the calliper is white nice job putting it together finaley one good 09 norco dh keep up the goodwork
  • 3 0
 same here
  • 2 0
 It's an 08...
  • 2 0
 no loud music, please! I rather hear the sound of tires trekking the trail then I can tell how solid the test ride is.
  • 3 0
  • 1 0
 ahhh a half decent norco... although i do want those black and gold 66's haha
  • 0 2
 yeah that N0RC0 is nothing big only about the art texture and its the white and trimmed gold hand writing thats brings out the lettering but over all its one of the nicest norco's they have came out instead of slacking a bunch of meatal onto the frame atleast norco knows what there at but yeah rate this bike over the 1-10 score Thanks Jordan
  • 0 0
 Last time I did this back in 98 with my trials bike but I wasn't 20 minutes away I rode like that for an hour . It was brutal but beats walking .
  • 1 0
 I've got one of these for sale (based in Bristol, UK). PM me if you want any more details. Soon to be posted in the ads...
  • 1 1
 that is a great lookin bike but the 09 looks even better go check it out on the web site
  • 1 0
 This is the kind of bike that does everything well
  • 0 0
 It seems like if u ever look at the current norcos u see specialized in the future
  • 0 0
 i have one of these bikes, fork has had to be fixed 2 times in less than a month, but rest of bike is totally awesome
  • 2 0
 then why is ur name commencalrider1?
  • 3 3
 another sweet spec... how do they do it?
  • 10 4
 haha my bad thaught that was the 2009.... im an idiot lol
  • 4 5
 i love his style, norco rules!
  • 3 0
 That bell is totaly the icing on the cake for that bike Big Grin
  • 2 12
flag freeride5 (Oct 15, 2008 at 18:34) (Below Threshold)
 As one of the larger bike manufacturers, Norco continues to improve and add to it's ever growing line-up of bikes. Throughout the years, they have made leaps and bounds, improving and introducing new ideas to the mountain bike industry haha lol what a lie the vps system is how many decades old now and that stupid bent upper tube just adds wheight it deosnt need to be very strong as it only supports the seat and having pretty much all the wheigt focused on the downtube its stupid sure hydroforming makes it stronger only to an extent if you add a little curve it stregthens it but that much curve adds wheight and weakens it if the want it strong they should ovalizee the tube
  • 5 0
 You use the word stupid allot,kind of says something about yourself.
  • 1 7
flag freeride5 (Oct 23, 2008 at 20:25) (Below Threshold)
 haha panzy norco boy i said it once maybe you should learn count
  • 4 0
 Ha ha.look again.If you don't like something at least do your research & know what your talking about.Nothing you said makes sense or is even true to the R&D technology & design of Norco or any other bike.
  • 0 7
flag freeride5 (Oct 29, 2008 at 20:31) (Below Threshold)
 actually it does
there are no forces applied to the thick super curvy upper tube except your fat @$$

and hydro forming only stregthens to a pointand in that bike its way past that point so it just adds weight

all you need to support the seat is is a small tube

that suspension design is one of the oldest out there

and now it seems that all norco cares about is making there bikes look nice so some spoiled 10 year old will buy it for his first bike

and notice do you see any guys on norco's winning races or comps there isnt

most people make up excuses like how norco deosnt have enough money to pay them or there just not interested

its not if norco actually made decent bikes pros would be dying to ride them

and the money thing norco is one of the biggest bike manufactures next to giant specialized and kona they even distribute parts they make more than enough money to pay some pros

and also its a trend with kids to want norcos when they first get into biking becauss thats all they know as sone as they see a santa cruz, orange, yeti, giant, turner etc there like what was i thinking

norco is not a company that cares about the customer there just in for the money if they did why dont they have lifetime warranties or fix something at their own expense

and i do research all of what i just said is true so no matter what your going to say norcos are best because your biased
and it shows that in your name norco63 and all i did was point out faults of the bike


look at this old norco and it has all you need to hold a seat
  • 3 0
 well I thought norco sponsors ben boyko who won crankworx like two years ago or something...
  • 0 6
flag freeride5 (Nov 6, 2008 at 21:25) (Below Threshold)
 that was a one time thing and its all cause the 360 was the shit last year this year he was in the bottom half cuz all he did was threes nwd 8 his part was horrible the only tricks he did were threes barspins and a tailwhip and no one likes him cause he has no hair
  • 1 0
 well look at sam hill...i know everyone looks at him...but he could win on an iron horse and could win on a specialized...steve peat...could win on an orange and can win on a santa cruz...greg minnar could win on a honda and a santa cruz...im pretty sure its the rider that makes a bike fast...sam, steve and greg could all win on a f*ckin supercycle because they posses the talent that no others have...norco may not be on the forefront of any technologies...but that has nothing to do with the bike being "fast"...if u want a bike to be "fast"...put a FAST guy on it!
  • 2 0
 freeride5 you've gotta bookmark this page and come back in 7 years and read what you're saying. You're the "ignorance on fire" kid that ruins Pinkbike's comment sections.
  • 1 0
 thats a nice bike
  • 0 0
 my friend has it its sooo sweet
  • 0 0
 Seems to be fun to ride that thing!
  • 0 0
 what is the music on the second vid?
  • 0 0
 that looks like a sick bike wanna try one
  • 0 0
 thats the only norco ive seen that I actually like.
  • 0 0
 what band is that in the second vid????
  • 0 0
 whats the shock eye to eye length?
  • 3 4
 woll thats sick-but i'd prefer a shore one
  • 0 0
  • 1 1
 very very nice!
  • 1 1
 Looks pretty nice.
  • 0 0
 sweet bike...
  • 0 0
 nice bikes
  • 0 0
 8.5x2.5 shock length
  • 1 4
 i hate norco...correction, hated their new bikes are absolutly amazing, i love them look and design and built
  • 0 1
 Check out my buysell.
  • 0 3
 This whole thread sounds like a paid advertisment...
  • 2 0
 Well, I'd like to know when I'm going to see money for it then.
  • 0 1
 I got 'yo money right here, come and git it.....
  • 1 0
 Haha I'll be right over Tyrone! Gotta get money paid
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