Bike Check: Carter Woods' Race Winning Norco Revolver FS

May 21, 2021 at 8:03
by Ed Spratt  

Carter Woods is one of the riders who has had an incredible start to the 2021 XC World Cup season with back-to-back wins in the U23 Men's category. For the second World Cup race of the year, Carter was running his size large Norco Revolver FS with plenty of lightweight carbon components and the 32mm SL version of Rockshox's SID fork. Let's take a look at how Carter Woods set up his race machine for the racing in Nove Mesto.

Carter Woods Norco Revolver FS
Carter Woods
Instagram: @carterwoodsmtb

Norco Revolver FS Details

Frame: Norco Revolver FS // Size Large
Fork: RockShox SID SL // 1 token 110psi
Shock: RockShox Deluxe Ultimate // 215psi
Wheels: DT Swiss XRC 1200 Carbon // 30mm rim width
Tires: Kenda Booster Pro // 20psi front and rear
Drivetrain: 36T Chainring // QUARQ Power Meter // SRAM Eagle AXS
Pedals: Crankbrothers Eggbeaters pedals
Brakes: SRAM Level Ultimate Brakes
Bar/Stem: Beast Carbon
Seatpost: Beast Carbon
Saddle: WTB Silverado saddle
More info: Norco

Carter Woods Norco Revolver FS

Carter Woods Norco Revolver FS
Carter Woods Norco Revolver FS
For his cockpit setup Carter has opted for the handmade in Germany Beast carbon bars. According to the brand's website, these have a claimed weight as low as just 147 grams. For grips, he is running WTB Wafel lockons rather than the light foam grips we often see equipped on XC World Cup riders' bikes.

Carter Woods Norco Revolver FS
To tackle the mud-fest of Nove Mesto, Carter ran a fender all weekend and this was apparently a key element in being able to keep his vision clear during the race.

Carter Woods Norco Revolver FS
While running a complete SRAM XX1 AXS drivetrain, Carter is not running the fancy BlackBox power meter we have seen on other rider's race machines. He is instead using the QUARQ power meter.

Carter Woods Norco Revolver FS
Carter Woods Norco Revolver FS
Carter was running the smaller 32mm stanchioned RockShox SID SL fork instead of the 34 or 35mm stanchion forks we have seen more riders choosing to run this year.

Carter Woods Norco Revolver FS
There was no dropper post for the winner of the first two U23 Men's World Cup races. Despite the technical course in Nove Mesto, Carter was running the lightweight carbon post from Beast with a claimed lowest weight of 154 grams.

Carter Woods Norco Revolver FS
Carter Woods Norco Revolver FS
To take on last weekend's racing Carter opted for Kenda's Booster Pro tires, featuring a tread optimised to be fast rolling while still offering plenty of traction in the corners. Interestingly these are not the super light Tubeless Race version but instead the SCT option with a beefier sidewall to avoid any slices or damage to the sidewalls.

Carter Woods Norco Revolver FS


  • 118 1
 "a key element in being able to keep his vision clear during the race."
The other key element not being behind anyone else I suppose Wink
  • 85 0
 Said bike (& rider) have passed me at our local haunt (Cumberland). I'm not a turtle - but he's come past me (climbing) faster than any ebike ever has. He's a phenomenal rider (up and down).

I have this funny little story re a race we were both in a few years ago, which had a 30km option and a 50km option. I did the 30km and as I was crossing the finish line I heard all this cheering behind me (it wasn't for me). He finished 10secs behind me but did (& won) the 50km pro race! And (not that it matters - but for perspective of how fast this guy is) - I won my division for the 30km race. Absolute monster - future Olympian for sure.
  • 3 0
 I know he hasn't tested the Elite Men's yet, but based on his season to date and the other options, would you give him a spot on this year's Olympic team (I think Canada can send two men)?
  • 4 0
 His results in the last tune up race before the first world cup had him inside the top 10 against the elite men’s field (not as deep of a field), not to knock the other elite men in Canada but the experience gained would probably do wonders to develop an up and coming rider that could go on to achieve higher results than our current crop of elite men. But it’s hard to take a spot away from another elite though, just being an Olympian is an honour and should be treated so..

I feel it depends if cycling Canada wants to look ahead to the future and risk passing over a current elite cyclist to develop an upcoming talent, or let him develop more gradually and know that he will have his shot soon enough @MDW83:
  • 7 0
 @CDT77 @MDW83 @onone26 you can read this article if you are interested in: Who is going to the Olympics for Canada? (is an analysis of who is most likely to be selected) tup
  • 1 0
 @onone26: It is highly unlikely that he would be selected. According to criteria selection order is
1. Peter D. (6th Elite WC)
2. Léandre B. (15th Elite WC
3. Carter W. (1st U23WC)
4. Sean F. (3rd U23WC)

The only catch is the performance readiness clause. But both Peter and Leandre have had results inside the top 20 this year at WCs.

Just to give context, Sean was in-front of Carter at the tune up races and Sean is finishing just outside of top 50. That step from U23 to Elite is massive.

Carter's pathway would be 2024 for experience and 2028 to medal.
  • 2 0
 he passed me once too climbing the FSR... he was going so fast i thought he was on an ebike. literally just cruising uphill
  • 1 0
 The kid is an absolute gun. Go Carter!
  • 38 1
 I'd really like to start seeing the weights of these XC rigs.
  • 2 29
flag JohanG (May 22, 2021 at 4:32) (Below Threshold)
 This one I'd estimate at 25lbs.
  • 14 0
 @JohanG: saw closer to 22.5 lb with the sid 32 ult and xrc1200s and carbon post. Some locals have sub 20 lb race bikes (supercaliber and hard eddie). These are niche built bikes but I doubt there is a world cup bike much over 23 lb.
  • 11 0
 @JohanG: 25 lbs would be heavy for a pro-level XC race bike I think.
  • 4 21
flag JohanG (May 22, 2021 at 8:10) (Below Threshold)
 @seraph: Heavy frame (2600g with shock), heavy tires, heavy wheelset, power meter. With pedals and sealant? Yep, about 25.
  • 14 1
 @JohanG: I have this bike (MD) with Thomson cockpit, cane creek eewings/stages PM crank + WTC chainring, Specialized Phenom Carbon saddle and it's ~23 lbs. I would imagine the Beast Carbon Cockpit saves some weight. Everything else seems pretty apples:apples.
  • 8 1
 @JohanG: considering you can be under 25lbs on entry level Intense Snipers that are like $3500, these pro bikes must be much lighter
  • 8 2
 @alexisfire: I don't think you guys' gram vision is very well calibrated. Last week everyone was amazed that Emily Batty's bike was 22.5lbs (and that was prob without pedals).
  • 13 1
 Interesting that Norco is one of the few brands that are using a rear pivot on their XC race bikes at this point. Yes, theirs is a Horst link. Most brands have moved to flex in their stays to lower weight and simplify things, Specialized, Cannondale, new Santa Cruz prototype, Kona, Canyon...
  • 4 0
 I would think weight asid,e the bearing setup would give better small bump compliance than the flex stays.
  • 7 3
 @Themissinglink83: a flex pivot has zero friction. Doesn't hurt small bump compliance in the slightest. Just alters the spring rate, which will be compensated for with shock pressure
  • 2 1
 @SleepingAwake: they still require force to bend the carbon.
  • 5 0
 @Themissinglink83: it is basically just an additional spring. On some designs it even pulls the rear triangle into travel.
  • 1 0
 @Themissinglink83: It does but it's really small. I have a 100mm flex stay right here. It doesn't take any force to move the rear triangle until 55% of travel, then it takes 12lbf to bottom out, no shock installed.
  • 9 0
 conditions must have been pretty sloppy for him to want to use a mud guard. a lot of guys would say it adds too much weight for an XC machine, but caked on mud probably weighs a lot more than a guard. interesting choice that I wouldn't have thought of until looking at this build. Nice paint too.
  • 17 2
 Seriously too much weight added by a mud guard? It's like 25g or something...

I know XC is weight weenie discipline but I would think having 25g attached to the fork arch cannot matter in a race in any situation. (maybe if the tire is really muddy and starts rubbing the mud guard then it matters)
  • 1 0
 Finally this year more racers chose to use mud guards in Nove Mesto.
Not seeing much with mud on your glasses or in your eyes definitely doesn't help with downhill speed and crash avoidance...

(still of course, mud from the riders in front of you will end up in your face -- but less, as if your front wheel is shooting at your eyes all the time)
  • 3 3
 @jaakkoyk: it would be heavier as mud accumulates in the mud guard. Although one could argue that the mud would go to the bike/rider instead... Would like to see some real-world testing on this.
  • 7 1
 I have to say though, the choice of color for the mud guard was not the best.
  • 8 0
 If you spray PAM on most of your bike that doesn’t require lubrications, mud would stay off. Just don’t use the “garlic” flavourWink
  • 2 0
 @sylvainvanier: that's pretty brilliant. I usually don't ride when its muddy here to preserve the trails, but I'm gonna have to try that.
  • 2 0
 @Warburrito: I usually don’t ride in mucky conditions. Around here (Canmore), it rarely is. However, when I raced 24 Hours if Adrenaline (ling time ago), it worked like magic. Have fun with it!
  • 4 0
 A few considerations for overall efficiency,

-Weight with accumulated mud.
-Vision and resultant bike control and state of mind.

These are probably in increasing order of significance. I’d run the fender if it’s muddy, I’d be pull it off if it’s not.
  • 12 0
 No dropper needed Smile
  • 9 1
 Norco has done a great job with this and the HT version. My favorite bikes at the WC so far.
  • 4 0
 Back in 2017 (I think) I was racing Carter in cyclocross and he kept hitting me in the legs with his bikes on a runup, and I said "Hey" and he kept going. At the top of the runup as we were remounting I said "Dude, can you try not to be such a f*ck nut?" and he went "CaN yU tRy NoT tO Be SuCH a f*ckNuT?" as he just blew by me. Don't hold it against him really, just think it's a funny brush with fame.
  • 4 0
 Ridiculous bike and rider, of course Carter shreds it on a fixed seat post. You should see what he can do with a dropper. Way to go Carter, keep winning man!
  • 5 0
 Booster tires are really great tires.
  • 5 0
 He could probably go top 5 EWS too.
  • 5 0
 Why deluxe instead of sidluxe?
  • 3 0
 Carter is an amazing athlete! I actually beat him in our local Enduro race... in 2014... when he was That was the last time I was faster than him.
  • 2 0
 That bike desperately needs a maple leaf somewhere on there! No dropper = mad skilz
  • 4 1
 Love the paint
  • 2 0
 Carter is winning big on the World Cup scene. I hope he keeps it up.
  • 2 0
 Does anybody know what height he is ?
  • 11 0
 It would definitely be helpful to have rider height & weight in any article where suspension pressures are being given. They're a bit disconnected without the rider info. Bike weight would be great too.

If we can't get those stats, I'd rather keep the coverage of these race set-ups, but it should would make things better if we could get a more complete story.
  • 2 0
 @jspier: Seriously. It's one of the first things I look for but very rarely is that info provided for context.
  • 1 1
 I love that his bar to seat heights look normal. Nothing slammed. I could ride that bike as an everyday bike unlike most of the World Cup bikes.
  • 2 0
 Not sure about that. Compared to his seat, his bar is at least as low as most. Looks like he’s got long legs!
  • 1 0
 @UtahBrent: I guess I mean his stem doesn’t point down, and it looks like a slight rise to his bars.
  • 1 1
 @shorttravelmag: You are not very observant on the stem angle
  • 1 0
 @BeardlessMarinRider: Yes I am. Have you seen most of the world cup stems? -17 degrees, -20 degrees, zero spacers, flat bars flipped upside down for another 5mm drop?

His bike has what looks like a normal 6 degree stem flipped, with a bit of space under it, and slight riser bars. So that to me is more normal of a cockpit. The riser bars are really odd, I have 5mm risers that look like that, or maybe they are closer to 10, don't know off hand. But that is nowhere near as low as many run. In my opinion of course.
  • 2 0
 when a great rider and a great sponsor come together expect a masterpiece
  • 2 0
 Finally some tires that don't look like gravel tires.
  • 1 0
 I'm curious what width Booster he is running on a 30mm rim.
  • 2 1
 Anyone else think the red mud gaurd doesn't match at all
  • 3 0
 Along with the blue forks...
  • 2 0
 Matches the sag o-ring Big Grin
  • 1 0
 And Cush Core it looks like. No cap.
  • 1 0
 Any idea how long that stem is?
  • 1 1
 Looks a little Blurry.
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