Bike Check: Lewis Buchanan's New Norco Optic

Jan 20, 2021 at 6:09
by James Smurthwaite  


After a year of testing the high pivot Forbidden, Lewis Buchanan has made the switch to Norco for 2021. The Scottish rider has over 10 years of DH and enduro racing under his belt and will be continuing his chameleonic role as both a racer and a content creator for the brand. A big goal for the Scot this year will be the EWS finale in October that is taking place on his local trails in Innerleithen. Lewis has been spending plenty of time on those trails this winter aboard his new Norco Optic, one of the many bikes Lewis will be riding for Norco this year.

It's still early days for Lewis on the bike and he hasn't finalized his suspension set up but we still decided to take a look around what he's riding for his new sponsor. Let's dig into all the details of Lewis' ride below:
Rider Name // Lewis Buchanan
Age: 27
Height: 5'11"/ 180cm
Weight: 170lb / 77kg
Instagram: @lewbuchanan

Norco Optic Details
Frame: Norco Optic, Large
Shock: DVO Topaz T3 Air
Fork: DVO Onyx SC D1 150mm
Wheels: WeAreOne Union, 29"
Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF front and rear, DH casing, 2.5", 22-23psi front, 26-27psi rear
Drivetrain: TRP TR12; E13 TRS Pus cassette, 12 speed, 9-46; E13 LG1R Carbon 170mm cranks; E13 34T chainring
Brakes: TRP DH-R EVO, 223mm rotors
Bars: PNW The Range, 30mm rise, 760mm width
Stem: PNW The Range, 50mm, 31.8mm clamp
More info: norco.com

Lewis makes the switch over from Fox to DVO for 2021. He's still working with the Californian brand about his set up so couldn't share too many details at the moment.

The same is true of his fork, although he's currently working off 90 psi without any spacers as a base setting at the moment.

He does have his OneUp steerer tool set up and ready to go though.

PNW Components provides a lot of the contact points for Lewis including Loam grips, a 150mm travel Loam dropper post, and these Range bars that have a 30mm rise and are cut to 760mm width.

The 50mm stem is also part of the PNW Range. Lewis favors the 31.8mm clamp size.

TRP provides the brakes. The bike is pictured with 223mm rotors but will be switching down to 203mm soon as he thinks the larger rotor is a bit overkill.

29" carbon We Are One Wheels are shod with Minion DHF tires front and rear. Lewis isn't currently running inserts but will be adding them later. He goes with 22-23psi front and 26-27psi rear.

The wheels run on Industry 9 Hydra hubs.

The EWS will be finishing the season on Lewis' local trails in Scotland. He's made no secret that winning that race on a different Norco bike will be one of his big goals for the season.




136 Comments

  • 114 1
 Sir that is a trail bike, that's two whole categories away from an enduro bike. The EWS must decline your request to compete due to the marketing designation your bike carries.
  • 55 0
 Sorry, that was a mistake on my part. Lewis will be racing on a different bike
  • 20 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: C'mon James, show us the bike he'll be racing on Wink
  • 5 18
flag lkubica (Jan 21, 2021 at 9:47) (Below Threshold)
 @j-t-g: Well, this XC bike seems to be pretty adequate for Innerleithen, just looking at elevation profile on google Wink
  • 6 1
 @lkubica: it might also be the fact that norco didn’t make a 2021 range and there probably will be a new one coming soon since the geo is abit slack in the seat angle.
  • 5 0
 @Ooofff: Well, I was just kidding about his XC, have zero idea how Innerleithen looks like. But there is a history of use shorter travel bikes on some EWS locations.
  • 1 0
 @jamessmurthwaite: Is the 150mm travel correct? IIRC the Onyx SC can only be adjusted to 160mm as a minimum? Also it doesn't use air tokens, just oil in the air chamber unless something has changed?
  • 6 0
 We all know high pivot enduro bike is coming from norco. just release the damn thing.
  • 1 0
 Also... You didn't go with a green trim on that oneup EDC!? Missed a trick there boy!
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: It must be stuck tigh in the pipeline.
  • 2 0
 I'm looking forward to seeing him ride more of the Norco Range
  • 3 0
 @Ooofff: There is an image of highpivot enduro bike that does not look like new shore in tech news thread on vital, page 73 Smile
  • 1 0
 @DirtyHal: DVO'S AVA is a variation of "Tokens" raisng and lowering the "piston"
  • 2 0
 @griffinsurfboard: That's only on the Onyx DC, not the SC. I know because I own both. Having that system on the SC would be big news, thats why I was asking.
  • 1 0
 @j-t-g: probably not available
  • 1 0
 @adrennan: hopefully they only release when actually available to buy.
  • 54 1
 Only 150mm dropper! How will he ever survive?!?
  • 20 0
 you can get 150 droppers still OMG, next you'll be telling me you can buy MG cars still Razz
  • 7 1
 Probably force him to use square wheels too. Crazy.
  • 10 0
 @pistol2ne: I heard from a very bad source that he'll be using a front derailleur and triple-chainring for race season.
  • 7 2
 Can someone explain this to me, because at this point I still don't get it. Started mountain biking recently after riding BMX for 10+ years. I'm 5'7 and my commencal has a 150mm dropper and I hate how tall it goes. When I'm sitting and pedaling, with the pedal at the bottom of the stroke, my leg is damn near stretched almost completely out straight. My dropper is also inserted as FAR DOWN as it will go into the frame. It will not go down any lower. I'm considering buying a 125mm to replace it. I'm also considering trimming my seat tube down so that the lowest setting is even lower.

WHY do I keep seeing longer dropper post posts basically becoming a meme at this point. What am I doing wrong, why don't I understand the constant talk about longer and longer droppers.
  • 7 0
 @jdkellogg: Depends on the bike's standover and seat tube length, I'm 6ft and a 200 fits with 1inch left.
  • 11 2
 @jdkellogg: you prob need to have your weetabix.
  • 15 3
 @jdkellogg: Simple, your frame has poor maximum insertion depth. Also, at 5'7", you need a lot less dropper than I do at 6'1". ie: your legs are probably about 4-5" shorter than mine, so you get more clearance with a 125mm post than I do with a 200mm.
Nothing wrong with a 150mm (or even 125mm) post if you're that height, same as you don't need a 500mm reach frame.
  • 4 0
 @jdkellogg: Honestly that's about how you want it. Everyone's a little different, but most bike fitters will say that you want your leg to have a slight bend when at the bottom of your stroke. Granted that's for sure a personal preference thing.

Regarding longer droppers, most bikes now have shorter seat tubes to accommodate a longer dropper. In other words, you can get the seat further out of the way while still having proper seated height. The key word there is most. Not all companies have jumped on board yet.

Before you chop a whole 25mm off your dropper, or cut the tube, maybe get the adjustable post from PNW? That way you can have a 146mm dropper if that's what you need.
  • 1 0
 @enki: I literally couldn't insert the dropper any lower if the seat tube was 10 feet longer. Its a fox transfer that is inserted ALL THE WAY down to the flange of the dropper post. Any more "maximum insertion depth" wouldn't get me any lower, since I've all ready swallowed up the entire post.
  • 2 0
 @jdkellogg: All depends on the length of your legs and the seat tube height. Some bike have a super low standover height and small seat tube, that in combination with long legs, some people can run 200mm droppers.
  • 2 0
 @IrishTom: send em over from ireland bud maybe thats what im missing out here on the states.
  • 1 0
 @jdkellogg: You are either on too big of a frame, or have insanely short legs. I´m about 6'2", am on a large Commencal Meta, have a 170 dropper and have so much room left I could run a 200mm dropper post and it probably wouldn´t even be slammed. If your legs are really that short and you are not just used to BMX bike sizing you probably should go for a smaller dropper
  • 1 0
 @F22: On a medium 2020 clash. Maybe I should have gone with a small. I guess all the talk about longer is better comes from taller folk.
  • 6 0
 @jdkellogg: don't take this the wrong way but it's because you're short.
  • 16 0
 @enki: What he said. All bikes have different amounts of seatpost insertion. I'm 5'7" just like you and I run a 210mm OneUp Dropper in my size Medium Devinci Spartan and its amazing. Everyone here in the shop hopes and prays they can fit a super long dropper post into their new bike build, and I was stoked to find out I could squeeze the 210mm dropper in my Medium frame when I got it in.

The key is being able to have your optimal saddle height when climbing in all cases, but if your frame does not allow your seatpost to go far enough into the frame resulting in too high of a climbing saddle height, then you will need to get a shorter dropper post. you can of course get a different post with the same amount of drop but with a shorter insertion length, too. For example: I could only fit a 175mm Fox Transfer in my bike, but can easily fit a 210mm OneUp Dropper as the insertion length is much shorter.

More saddle clearance from your cheeks = better (in my personal opinion)
  • 3 0
 @Boondocker390: That's all I needed to hear. Just dumbfounded why I keep seeing talk constantly about bigger and bigger droppers.
  • 2 0
 @jdkellogg: different droppers have different stack heights. Reverbs and transfers are very tall, one up has the lowest height - so go for that if you wanna slam your seat further.
  • 1 1
 @the-lost-co: You didn't read the rest of the thread. I already said my commencal has swallowed up my entire fox transfer post. It cannot go any deeper into the frame, because the post has run out of post.
  • 4 1
 @milanboez: The transfer literally has the 2nd lowest stack height out of 13 posts according to this pinkbike test and its a lower stack height than the oneup...so, no.

www.pinkbike.com/news/ridden-and-rated-13-of-the-best-dropper-posts.html
  • 3 0
 @jdkellogg: That's the new transfer, you might be on the last gen transfer.

Also people like the longest dropper their frame can take, because longer dropper = more room for activities.
  • 1 0
 @bigpeaches:

Here you go mg.co.uk ????
  • 2 0
 @jdkellogg: they're enroute jd.
  • 2 0
 @jdkellogg: I'm 6'6" and am excited by the prospect of a 223mm dropper from bikeyoke or somebody... my 205 oneup has 3" to spare, so I'm good! But I hear you - I had a 150 and never wanted more. Then I tried a 175 and was sure I was good... until I tried a 205. Maybe 223 will be the limit though lolz
  • 1 0
 @kcy4130: nice Step-Brothers reference.
  • 1 0
 @Kamao: ha, just seen I was late to the party Beer
  • 1 0
 @jdkellogg: Same height here..I hear you. the 150mm on my Optic is perfect.... but previous bikes ( commencal) I've been more then happy with 125mm.
  • 1 0
 @jdkellogg: You need a shorter drop amount post. 125 should do it since you are close with the 150 and it will still keep your seat low when it's down. Longer droppers are for taller people. I'm about 6' 2" and am fine with a 170. It's a OneUp with low stack height and almost inserted all the way. All frames are different as far as height from bottom bracket to top of seat tube. Just have to find the dropper with the most drop that works for your height and frame.
  • 42 0
 Very cool to see zero Sram or Shimano! Go little guys!
  • 12 0
 Anyone with a Norco Optic who wants to run their shock not upside down so they can actually reach the f*cking shock controls... The Wolf Tooth B-RAD 2 system is like 25 bucks and you can slide that bottle cage slightly forward allowing for piggy back clearance for the Super Deluxe.
~~
Norco specs the bikes this way because with it upside down on the XS and S size frames riders can get a proper size water bottle in there. Totally understand the thinking behind this but its a bit of a pain for changing settings and I have noticed more crud and shit hanging around my seal when out for nasty day rides.
  • 1 0
 Interesting, I just picked up a large 2021 C3 optic and I live a place with alot of mud in the winter (currently summer here) and I was wondering how much crud was going to get into the upside-down shock. Do you have any links to threads where the shock as been flipped?
  • 3 0
 @IMeasureStuff: well the shock is flipped in this article.... Sooooo will that work? Hahah
  • 1 0
 @TheBearDen: oh man how did I miss that!
  • 6 0
 the RS Ultimate rear shock that comes on the Optic doesnt have a climb switch. so there is little to reach to. And its not likely you are going to change rebound settings etc mid-ride. Otherwise, yeah, getting out of the way of the grime might be a good idea. Not struggle with mine the wettest of winters as yet.
  • 4 1
 I'm a XC racer, so very sensitive on the topic of efficiency. Yet with the setup which the Ride Aligned guide suggested, I honestly never felt the need to lock out the rear shock on my Optic. Low speed compression damping and a slightly stiffer spring rate will take care of the rear wheel movement. That being said, the Super Deluxe DH rear shock doesn't even have a climbing switch to begin with, so thats that.
  • 1 0
 @v7fmp:

Where I ride being able to adjust my low speed and or my rebound throughout the day can happen. Not having to legit stop everything I'm doing to make a quick adjustment is nice.
  • 16 1
 Just release the new bike already Rolleyes
  • 5 11
flag recneps57 (Jan 21, 2021 at 9:06) (Below Threshold)
 The new optic is already listed on their website...
  • 8 1
 Tomorrow on the website

PRESS RELEASE: Norco announces that Lewis was just drawing scribbles randomly on pics of his bikes.
In an interview with the rider he stated the following "yeah i just took a picture and put in into MS paint, added some scribbles and let people wonder what it is."
  • 2 0
 @Apersonwhoenjoysbiking: That's what has me f*cked up as well
  • 1 1
 @Apersonwhoenjoysbiking:
Interesting, I just picked up a large 2021 C3 optic and I live a place with alot of mud in the winter (currently summer here) and I was wondering how much crud was going to get into the upside-down shock. Do you have any links to threads where the shock as been flipped?
  • 10 2
 He will still be 100 times quicker on that than any of us idiots. Just look what he did on his ripmo
  • 7 0
 Riding enduro on an optic? Just release the high pivot range already
  • 6 0
 "favors the 31.8mm clamp size"

It's not because that's the only size that PNW makes?
  • 2 0
 I have a C1 optic incoming, haven’t seen it in the flesh yet but I’m wondering if mine is going to have the same paint issue as this bike. In one of those last photos you can see the alu stays are a bluer green than the carbon frame. Bummer that the finish isn’t consistent.
  • 2 0
 Yeah... Unfortunately that's a thing. Mine (2021 Optic, Orange/Charcoal Metallic paint) has the same issue. The tone of the paint on the aluminium rear end seems lighter and more metallic. They probably use different primers on the front end and rear end. For me personally it's not different enough to be annoying, but in bright sunlight there is an obvious difference.
  • 1 0
 @BenTheSwabian: seems a bit rough, it's not the end of the world, but most other carbon/alu bikes manage to match!
  • 3 0
 Bike Checks! Yes! can't get enough of these. The older I get, the faster I was... and all these "Bike Checks" become even more Important to me.
  • 4 0
 Can’t wait to see every second person in the tweed valley riding a Norco now
  • 9 2
 is he that influential? I got the vibe he kind of had a mixed reception round there... there's always lots of weird posts on stuff related to him. I know haters gonna hate, but where there's smoke, there's fire...
  • 1 1
 @shredddr: to some people probably but that's the same as other riders.
  • 1 0
 Aye cus there's so many Druids at Golfie now.... Seriously though, Tweed Valley is Santa Cruz land through and through!
  • 1 0
 @militantmandy: Norco's are a bit more affordable than a Forbidden to be fair. It was just tongue in cheek. Lewis absolutely rips, but you're right. Tweed Valley is just Santa Cruz and Transporter central.
  • 5 0
 Industry 9 silver stem would have been a much nicer looking option.
  • 4 0
 Shame you can't actually buy a 2021 Norco in the UK right now???
  • 6 0
 Try asking Evans about the new Norco range,complete waste of time.Thats the reason I couldn't by a Norco(although I'd like to),because of Evans cycles customer service reputation.
  • 1 0
 Apparently a new distributor is in the works. No word on who yet though.
  • 1 0
 @jase111171: evans have got to rats#@t since they've been tsken over by sports direct
  • 2 0
 good luck have fun buying anything in UK right now lol
  • 2 0
 @Dav82: hope so
  • 1 0
 @jase111171: same here. Spent most of 2020 trying to find an Optic to buy. No luck!
  • 1 0
 its an odd one, as i heard Evans were no longer going to stock Norco, then my local bike shop got in contact with them as they were interested in stocking them, but Norco told him Evans are continuing. Unless this was a bluff, as they haven't ironed out all the details of a new distributor?

My 2020 optic frame failed recently, and had to use Evans for a warranty claim. It a week and a half, then i got a call to say my replacement 2021 frame should be with them any day now.

I feared the worst when having to deal with Evans, but it turned out ok.

Although an employee in the Gatwick showroom told me Mike Ashley (Evans owner) is trying to make them more like Halfords, cheap bikes sold in big numbers. Lots of shops will be closing, just like the Gatwick warehouse and showroom is.
  • 1 0
 @v7fmp: yeah it’s abit sad a few year ago my local evans used to be pretty good lots of nice shiny bikes and a good team but now they seem more focused in selling kids scooters and just saying your bike is broke you need this new part when it really isn’t at all.
  • 1 0
 @v7fmp: had fantastic service from my Local Evans when my Optic rear hub failed. Fast, sensible and polite.
  • 5 1
 Looks like a session.
  • 4 0
 50 shades of green !
  • 2 1
 I like how pro riders get their names on them, anyone know where normal people can get those?
  • 25 0
 it's simple, just legally change your name to that of a pro rider and buy his old bikes. Duh.
  • 1 0
 @chrod: thanks
  • 2 0
 @joshfrandsen these ones are great! www.bicistickers.com/en
  • 1 0
 @Fullsend2-13: yeah, they look great, thank you Smile
  • 1 0
 [removed]
  • 2 0
 Love the colors, hopefully production?
  • 2 0
 Yep - Optic C1 2021 colourway.
  • 2 1
 I love the frame color, but hate that fork color.
  • 4 1
 100% pure Canadian dope
  • 2 0
 insanely impressed with my Union 29 wheelset.
  • 1 0
 Wonder if Norco will send some 2021 stock to the UK so that the rest of us could buy one of these?
  • 2 0
 Oh. I wish they sold that color in the frame only option.
  • 1 0
 that green is so nice
  • 2 0
 That rear brake hose though!!!
  • 2 0
 slick colorway.
  • 1 0
 I see they used TRP's pro-class rotor wax. Nice. Wink
  • 2 1
 Would love to know the story behind why he got 223mm rotors sent to him
  • 1 0
 He had them on his Druid, so if they are the same brakes and not a new set he could have just swapped them over, or tried another set here since he said he liked them on the Druid.
  • 1 2
 I bet the whole reason he is down sizing is so norco don't get 100s of warranty issues from people running dust bin lid size rotors
  • 2 1
 150mm dropper?203mm rotors in the future? how will he survive.
  • 2 0
 Very nice looking bike
  • 1 0
 Those forks take spacers do they?
  • 4 3
 Gorgeous setup, but please get a black DVO on there ASAP!
  • 1 0
 as mentioned in his video, he asked for Black, but DVO said sponsored riders need to run the green to make folk take note and notice them. A small price to pay for free suspension i guess!
  • 1 0
 Yeah, that green DVO totally ruins it.
  • 1 0
 Is that a prototype e*thirteen derailleur or am I missing something?
  • 2 0
 TRP derailleur
  • 1 0
 Must not ride fast enough for 223mm rotors then... Wink
  • 1 0
 are that genuine birkenstocks?
  • 1 0
 Id like to know what that bike is like with a 150 fork
  • 1 0
 this was a good bike check.
  • 1 0
 rotors much?
  • 1 2
 Looks like every other horst link bike made in the last 5 years
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