The Inside Scoop on Norco's Prototype Downhill Bike

Aug 3, 2023 at 14:43
by Matt Beer  
Photos by Tom Richards


Downhill racing is an intense sport that requires extreme levels of focus from riders and specific equipment. When Norco relaunched their factory team after some post-pandemic hurdles they decided to try to give their riders the ultimate downhill race bike.

The design team behind the frame drummed up their theories on the best suspension system possible: a high-pivot, six-link linkage. Development has begun on a frame that Norco believes is capable of winning a UCI Downhill World Cup.

In fact, the first test mule frame, which was much less refined than this prototype, already achieved a top 30 result at the Mont St. Anne World Cup last season. From there, they knew the mule outperformed the Range and set about getting the team onto the six-link platform. Fast forward to July 6, 2023, when the team took part in a test camp aboard a freshly built prototype. A mid-season test camp might seem abnormal, but Norco saw a few reasons to take advantage of the downtime from racing.

First, the small batch of twelve frames pushed the manufacturer to produce a top-quality aluminum frame with high tolerances at every machined surface. The engineers also wished to receive real-world feedback on their suspension design, plus the hype around the frame also aimed to boost the riders’ morale and confidence. That seemed to do the trick, and the unnamed prototype went on to sweep the top-3 steps of the podium this year at the Canadian National Downhill Championships.


The design team and riders

The people behind the prototype are composed of two groups, the Factory Team and the designers. An all-star, all-Canadian list of team riders such as Mark Wallace, Gracey Hemstreet, and National Champion, Lucas Cruz were instrumental in providing feedback from their time spent on the Range. Feedback from their mechanics, Lewis Kirkwood, Jeff Hunter, and team manager, Darren Burns, didn't go by the wayside either.

Another paramount member to who provided feedback, and is literally putting the pieces of the puzzle together is engineer Kirk McDowall, who also happens to have a pair of Canadian National Champ titles on his resume. Kirk has to the skills to relay what's happening on paper with qualitative findings on the bike.

Photos by Tom Richards
Left to right: Colin Ryan - Development Engineer, Adrian - Colin Ryan - Development Engineer, and Kirk McDowall - Engineer and "test guy"


bigquotesThe new DH race bike is like a trophy truck on two wheels. In the extreme rough it can carry speed and transfer very little feedback to the rider. On the other hand, the Range DH shines in more bike park terrain and provides a lot of cornering and jumping support. The progression adjustment built into the new DH race bike lets us easily bring back that feeling if the track calls for it. Kirk McDowall


Photos by Tom Richards
Photos by Tom Richards
Photos by Tom Richards
Left to right: David Cox - Engineering Manager, Thadeus Tisch - Senior Design Engineer, Darren Burns - Race Team Manager


bigquotesWe developed the suspension layout for the new DH race bike to build off the strengths of the high virtual pivot layout we use on the Range. The Range layout allowed us to achieve rearward axle paths suited to the demands of World Cup downhill with greater control over anti-rise than can be achieved with a high single pivot layout. We wanted to retain these axle-path and anti-rise characteristics on the new bike while having independent control of the bike’s leverage curve to tune curve shape and progression in isolation. Colin Ryan


Photos by Tom Richards

Photos by Tom Richards
Photos by Tom Richards
The suspension system still uses an idler, but to tweak the kinematic properties independently, a six-bar design was implemented.


Photos by Andy Vathis
Photos by Andy Vathis
Hidden on a side profile angle, you can now see the small lower link (silver) that pushes on the dog bone link (black).




How is this prototype different from the modified Range?

This refined test sled has a full 200mm of travel, is made of aluminum, and runs on mixed wheels only. Most importantly, this is an entirely new suspension design from Norco that builds on their findings from the Range. The process to get to this point has been an evolution of high-pivot suspension design that started with the Aurum HSP.

Although the new downhill prototype still uses a high-pivot and floating chainstay, like the Range, the lower link no longer rotates around the bottom bracket and directly drives the shock. Instead, the lower link mounted to the front triangle and the chainstay also drives a pushrod link that actuates a further upper link that drives the shock. That pushrod link rotates on two spherical bearings to isolate the link driving the shock from lateral loads

The Range is a sophisticated enduro bike with 170mm of travel designed to pedal uphill and rally on the descents. Norco’s engineers felt that they had reached the limits of what they could do to maximize the Range when trying to transform it into a full-on downhill bike. Changing one element of the kinematics had a less desirable effect elsewhere. The six-link allows the suspension kinematics to be tuned with less dependence on one another. They’re keeping those specifics, like the leverage ratio, axle path, and geometry closely guarded.

bigquotesWe’ve filed two patents based on the suspension layout and kinematic adjustment designed into the new DH race bike. The first patent applies to the overall suspension layout which retains the axle path and anti-rise characteristics of the high virtual pivot layout used on the Range while introducing a dedicated shock actuation link for greater independent control of the bike’s leverage curve. The second patent applies to the method of leverage curve progression adjustment we’ve designed into the bike which allows us to alter the level of support from the rear suspension in isolation without needing to alter shock tune, damper settings, spring rate or shock pressure. Colin Ryan


Photos by Tom Richards
Photos by Tom Richards
Photos by Tom Richards
This adjustment at the forward shock mount is not a geometry adjustment but a kinematic position that goes hand in hand with an secondary dog bone link that is specific to the type of shock - air or coil.


Why aluminum?

Norco opted for an aluminum frame for two main reasons. One is the durability against impacts, especially considering they only produced ten prototypes. Carbon fiber can endure high forces but often aluminum can take more of a battering. An alloy frame can be visually inspected after a crash, giving mechanics and engineers peace of mind, whereas carbon can hide the damage.

Number two would be the ease of altering angles and pivot locations as the prototype evolves. A carbon frame is confined by an expensive mold, another learning experience that limited evolving the Range in DH-mode.

On the outside, the frame looks smooth and solid, but a closer look reveals that huge pockets of material have been machined out to save weight, particularly, the shock tunnel and rear stays.

The prototype is no less complex than the Range when you start counting the linkage components and hardware, but Norco hasn’t burdened the team mechanics when it comes to wrenching on those bolts. Cutouts in the seat tube braces offer access while other features, like fully external cable routing make swapping frame members less of a chore. Even the shock placement was considered in order to cut down the mechanics’ workload.

Visually, the bike had to appeal to racers too. That challenged Thadeus to first meet the locations of the pivot points and shock placement, and work with the manufacturer to meet the strict tolerances - a tenth of a millimeter here or there can change the head angle or leverage ratio significantly.

Photos by Tom Richards
Nearly all of the frame members are interchangeable, from dropouts and links, to the seatstay bridge, and shock mounts - rear center length number three for the third largest frame size.
Photos by Tom Richards
Photos by Tom Richards
Light metal, heavy machining.

bigquotesFrom the very beginning it was very clear; The team frame cannot be purely functional. It also needs to visually represent speed and carry the message that it is made to win races. Finding a way to do so, whilst packaging everything around Colin’s kinematics, hitting all the tight tolerances needed and providing tool access to satisfy our team mechanics, was a challenge. Thadeus Tisch


Ride Aligned expanded

Norco left no stone unturned when it came to data acquisition. Building on their elaborate Ride Aligned morphological suspension setup, the engineers developed their own front and rear telemetry system, ordered up a fancy shock dyno, and even have a set of expensive scales to measure the rider’s weight distribution between the axles. Those bosses on the downtube aren’t for a water bottle, though. Instead, they serve as a secure mounting point for the brain of the telemetry system. Behind the stem, there’s also a GPS unit to track the bike’s every move too.

As it turns out, three of the four riders providing feedback on the platform are nearly the same height so only one front triangle was needed for Mark, Kirk, and Lucas. The geometry differs from any production bike sizing and offset headset cups tailor the fit for each one of them.

Through testing, an air shock was largely favored, in particular, a prototype from RockShox. One reason for this was the ability to minutely change the spring rate, instead of the large jumps between coil springs. Another consideration was the percent error associated with the true spring rate of coils which can have a pronounced effect on lighter riders like Gracey.


What about 29” rear wheel options?

Norco was also open-minded about the testing. What falls short for their downhill requirements might actually be a positive attribute for trail bike development, and vice versa. Take for example how adamant Norco was about using a 29” rear wheel on the Range. They explained that the frame's kinematics and balance were designed specifically around the larger wheel size and shouldn’t be meddled with.

As the trend of mixed-wheeled downhill bikes began to rise, Norco set out to test back-to-back between the two rear-wheel options. A 27.5” rear wheel made sense for Gracey Hemstreet as a smaller rider. The other tall riders on the team agreed that the smaller wheel allowed them to make quicker direction changes. That solidified the decision to base the kinematics for the prototype on a mixed-wheeled platform.

bigquotesIn the past I have ridden full 29” downhill bikes but it’s usually because of some other limitation. With this bike being designed specifically as a race bike for us, it was possible to go with the preferred 27.5 rear wheel without having any other compromises. Mark Wallace


Photos by Andy Vathis


Future plans

From here on out, there’s no production scheduled for this frame. Norco’s goals are aimed at creating a platform for their racers to get down the hill as quickly, and confidently, as possible. They’re taking a “Formula 1” approach to developing this bike on the fly throughout the season and gathering valuable feedback along the way.

We’ll keep an eye on the development of the bike and continue to report any findings.

Photos by Tom Richards







Author Info:
mattbeer avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2001
349 articles

225 Comments
  • 209 1
 high pivot, 6 bar, external cable routing, aluminum -> what more can one ask for?
  • 194 7
 @ThatOneGuyInTheComments: Yep… that one guy.
  • 32 3
 Mullet setup, and it has it! Ticks all the boxes.
  • 27 3
 @chillrider199: amaranth asked for what more one could ask for. I answered.
  • 41 0
 them to actually release it as-is (and no f*cking pressfit bb)!!
  • 52 0
 Reasonable price
  • 21 9
 Headset routing
  • 26 18
 26”
  • 9 27
flag Mtbdialed (Aug 8, 2023 at 16:19) (Below Threshold)
 ....podiums from riders outside the top 10? that's how you prove its the bike.
  • 6 4
 @ThatOneGuyInTheComments: Yeah Im just giving a hard time. If it was me to ask for anything, a bottle mount?
  • 6 6
 @amaranth: bottle cage mounts?
  • 7 3
 @scotteh: Some really cool adjustments are available for PF BB's if done correctly, its an excellent system. Works well in alu, and opens up chainstay length adjustment, and bb height adjustments
  • 11 5
 @g-gab-g: So glad its not another full 29er, mullet is just the perfect wheel size
  • 8 10
 @onawalk: it's an excellent system, when executed with precision. The issue is, the bike industry cannot support the cost of said precision.

it's really bad in AL frames due to movement during heat treating. a PF shell needs to be within .0001" bore alignment, roundness and bore size. It's literally impossible unless it's all machined after heat treat, which adds literal HUNDREDS of dollars of cost to the completed bike.
  • 11 0
 @Mtbdialed: I hear ya.
Youre tolerances are a little exaggerated, but I hear ya.
If a BB can be threaded post welding/heat treating, so can a PF BB shell
  • 4 0
 @seraph: Looks like it has them! Wish my session had a bottle mount for park days.
  • 2 0
 @onawalk: thats an interesting point, could you successfully raise a bb on a bike not designed for it? I.e. a homemade mullet setup? Or would an eccentric bb just slip down lower?
  • 1 0
 @Bro-LanDog: you can totally raise a bb to help with a mullet bike!
12mm of adjustment, there are loads of others.
Typically used to tension chains for singlespeed setups

wheelsmfg.com/eccentric-bb-for-bb30-24mm-shimano-cranks-black.html
  • 5 7
 @onawalk: they aren't though. what do you think the tolerance is between the inner race, balls, and outer race of an Enduro MaxHit bearing is? it's an order of magnitude tighter than a 1/10,000th.

if an actuator bore on a 777 aileron motor pivot was off by .0001", it would be rejected.

That said, no one in the bike industry can or will pay for this level of accuracy, because it doesn't need to be....why? because a threaded BB can be off .001 and still not creak or flex.
  • 3 0
 @seraph: mount for data acquisition equipment. I'd consider running a water bottle in the park on a hot day. bikerumor.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/norco-prototype-downhill-bike-alloy-frame-flip-chip-upper-shock-mount.jpg
  • 1 0
 Kidney,
  • 9 3
 29 is dead
  • 2 1
 @watchmen: Cable Tourism please
  • 5 0
 @Mtbdialed: We should start talking in microns. Press fit is more difficult to deal with, I agree, but you can always use retaining compound. I've done that on bearing housings that got gummed up and had to be sanded to remove distortions (no mill was available), and the bearing compound works just fine. You can use park tool (www.parktool.com/en-us/product/press-fit-retaining-compound-rc-1) but I use Loctite 641.
  • 1 3
 A better looking bottom tube?
  • 1 3
 @seraph: Looks like it has bottle mounts unless those are for data acquisition or something.
  • 3 1
 Keep the not-waterbottle mounts for the production model. Carrying water would be awesome for big park days!
  • 6 1
 @onawalk: that wheels BB is a ripoff of the beer components eccentric design, which a friend and I thought up back in 2009ish to enable our single speed habit. I was a broke ass student and he was an engineer, so I f*cked off while he drew it up in CAD, had it made, and even sold a few dozen. I still have the original prototype on my commuter that I had to put on a bench grinder since the cups couldn't clear some crank spiders.

Trick stuff also makes an eccentric for BSA shells (though with much less adjustability).
  • 5 0
 More cowbell?
  • 1 0
 It‘s not a 6 bar but a regular VPP design.
  • 2 0
 @Mtbdialed: That can all be true, but my fairly cheap Radon aluminum frame has been running creak-free with an Acros angular contact bearing BB for four years. You can say I got lucky, but I know plenty of others who don't have problems running press-fit.
Sure, there are also people with creaking press-fit BB's, and if given the choice I would certainly opt for a threaded BB, but acting as if it could never work is a bit off from reality.
I would like to see the spreadsheet that leads bike manufacturers to choose press-fit. What is the increase in retail price of a full bike with threaded BB shell vs pressfit?
  • 2 0
 @naptime: Dead from the waist down only.
  • 2 0
 @t-rick: I would troll everyone by doing cable tourism at the headset, then some holes in the headtube area to make the cables run outside the frame :p
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: I wonder if many a creaking BB may not be due to insufficient tightening torque.
I got a Trek Farley with press fit BB, and after messing with the cranks it would creak. Turned out I had to toghten much more (around 40Nm I think) and the creaking disapeared.
I also had quite a hard time untightening the cranks in the first place.
  • 1 0
 @Will-narayan: Which torque and which type of cranks are you talking about? I use Shimano Hollowtech, and a tightening torque of 40 Nm on the bearing preload of that would maybe not make it creak but there would be a grinding noise from the bearings... Also on the two m6 bolts that clamp the crank arm to the axle it would be a lot, though the way that spline is made I think the biggest risk is you strip the thread in the arm.
  • 1 1
 @naptime: yuh, came here to say "so much about the 29"
  • 2 2
 water bottle
  • 1 0
 Tassels.
  • 1 0
 @ak-77: It's some Race Face Aeffect I think, with a preload ring or something, so probably different from Shimano.
  • 1 0
 I wouldn't ask for it per se (high pivot, 6 bar). But if the traits of the design are advantageous, I have no problem with it. However, if one could design a bike with similar traits without a high pivot and rather have a four bar or single pivot, I would prefer it.
  • 2 4
 canyon KIS system
  • 1 2
 For it to not look almost exactly like a Nukeproof
  • 1 0
 @sspiff: cool,
There’s many different options out there, it was just one example
  • 1 0
 @ThatOneGuyInTheComments: Sram wants norco to run the complete drivetain and show off their mechs, would be surprised if they allowed them use a gearbox. Its probably why you dont see many on the wc scene.
  • 1 0
 Lal supre drive
  • 4 5
 @TET1: gluing a bearing in place is about the dumbest bodge ever. its akin to duct taping your headlight on instead of fixing it properly.

for a bike not built to aerospace standards of precision(because we already complain about $13,000 bikes, $75,000 bikes would be ludicrous), Threaded is the solution. end of story. T47 is going to take over, btw.
  • 5 1
 @ak-77: there isn't. it's about $30/bike cheaper to make bikes PF vs threaded. That is the only thing you need to know. same for headset cable routing. cheaper to not have to mold or drill a frame for cable ports.

Threaded BBs can tolerate a lot more misalignment than a PF can. That is the reason why it is the answer for bikes. The level of precision it takes for to get a PF to run well(not just squeak free, but smooth, no binding, no galling of the axle/bearing races, minimal drag, etc) is seldom accomplished in the bike industry.
  • 3 0
 @Mtbdialed: chased and faced. Threaded bb is not super tolerant of misalignments either.
  • 4 3
 @somebody-else: I haven't needed to chase a new frame in 10 years. Literal hundreds if not a thousand. none. not one.

as for facing, that is where the Threaded is most tolerant of a cockedup shell. but sure, it's a good idea to check it.

ask me how many PF frames I have warrantied due to piss poor BB shells? it's at least a dozen, likely 20 or so in the last 5-6 years.

It's not my imagination, its not anecdotal. It's me, and lots of other industry professionals opinions.....including people that work at companies that produce bikes with PF!
  • 6 0
 Never forget, the Ahead set (the first threadless head set) was invented as a cost saving for the bike industry. We lucky it was SO good compared to threaded.
Also
Your threaded BB cups have..... Press fit bearings...
  • 2 0
 @ak-77: Considering the preload bolt on a Shimano Hollowtech is plastic, I don't think you'd get to 40nm before the threads parted from the nut. A SRAM GXP BB uses a wavy/spring washer and a shoulder on the crank spindle, so the pre-load of the BB is achieved through the spring washer, which is pretty low tension. When you torque a GXP BB you're just sandwhiching the crank arm/bearing between the shoulder on the spindle and the attachment bolt, you do draw the spindle over minimally to add a tiny bit of preload against the wavy washer. There is a specific measurement to the bearing faces with a +/- tolerance, and you need to achieve that through spacers. If you're loading the bearings on a GXP with a nut at 40nm, you'd be putting a tremendous amount of tension in a system that isn't designed for it.
  • 1 1
 @Mtbdialed: It's not glue, bud.
  • 1 3
 @TET1: Glue: Noun; an adhesive substance.


from your link: "When retaining compound or threadlocker is used on carbon fiber frames or components, *adhesive* primer such as Park Tool AP-1 must first be applied to all component, fastener and frame surfaces. Failure to do so could result in permanently bonded parts."

now, is it a glue, or is it not a glue, Pal?
  • 3 1
 @Mtbdialed: I'm just gonna go ahead and assume you haven't read the spec sheets on park tool retaining compound or Loctite 641. Should I also assume you know everything?

"Gluing" in place sounds like it's permanent, which the retaining compounds I mentioned are NOT. The purpose of park tool rc-1 and loctite 641 is to fill microscopic holes. We can mince words and argue about the definitions of what glue is, but it is not permanent, and thus using it to press fit in bearings and bbs is a really good application and not a "bodge."

Maybe you should go work for Park Tool or Henkel corporations?
  • 2 3
 @TET1: LOL. dodge all you want....

being as generous as I possibly can here, but at the very least, using retaining compound, aka glue, is a fix to a defective/low quality frame.
  • 3 0
 @Mtbdialed: People do the best with what they've got.
  • 4 0
 @Mtbdialed: No way does it need to be .0001" - that's way overkill for tolerance.

And I wouldn't buy another bike with press fit bearings - it's the reason my Optic needed a warrantied front triangle.
  • 2 0
 @TET1: Retaining compound is good stuff - I think some of it can fill gaps up to .15mm

Mtbdialed is talking about tolerances of 3µm (.0001") - not applicable in mountain bike tech, at least on BB's
  • 1 1
 @njcbps: it just is not. not if you want a bearing to go in and not squeak, gall, wear prematurely or cause excess drag.

Pressfit is a superior idea, with impossible tolerance needs.
  • 2 0
 @Mtbdialed: What 2 parts are requiring a fit of .0001"?
  • 1 2
 @njcbps: to be good? lots of stuff. to be mediocre? nothing.


the issue with a PF bb shell isnt static size tolerance. if a shell were within .0001 of round and alignment, it would be fine with .001-.003 size spec. the issue is most shells are .01-.03 out of round and sometimes .05-.1 out of align. no fixing that shit.
  • 4 0
 @Mtbdialed: I still don't understand the need for these tolerances. Wouldn't most frames flex more under load than a few microns? And it doesn't need to run completely frictionless, I stuff them full of thick grease and the rotation speeds are low and you're directly connected to a chain that loses a few Watts.
Every bottom bracket I ever had to replace on my bikes, threaded or PressFit, failed because of water ingress. Maybe if I lived in a desert and rode huge distances every day that would be different.
I guess your 'mediocre' is my 'good enough'.
That said, I still prefer threaded. There is simply no advantage to PF, while installation/removal is more cumbersome and there are certainly frames that creak. But if I had the choice between two identical frames, one with pressfit(similar mediocre quality as my current bike, no creaks) and one with BSA, I wouldn't pay more than 100 euros extra for the BSA option.
  • 1 3
 @ak-77: it isn't about "frictionless" because that is impossible. what it's about is the best it can be BEFORE the real world gets involved with flex, water, grit, heat, etc....

And regarding flex of the BB shell.....more than .0001 or so of lateral or biaxial flex in a shell, under normal human output(track sprinters and Dangerholms thighs withstanding), would likely mean some engineering malfeasance.
  • 4 1
 @Mtbdialed: "All machined" as in boring a simple hole through the BB shell?
  • 2 5
 @stephenthesquirrel: yeah man, its real simple....just get a makita and some various hole saws and have a f*cking go at it! lmfao
  • 2 0
 @Mtbdialed: "Lots of stuff" doesn't indicate what we're trying to design. Most bike MFG's would laugh if that tolerance was placed on their parts ... as in unnecessary and excessively expensive.

Would appreciate any frame builders chiming in. How are threaded BB shells (for instance) installed at factory - frame heated first?
  • 4 1
 @njcbps: Don't you know? mtbdialed is a machinist, frame designer, metallurgist, and pure encyclopaedic resource on all things bikes!
  • 3 0
 @njcbps: not a frame builder, but first you have to weld the frame and then heat treat it and only after that's done can you machine stuff to tolerance because the heat will bend the frame a bit
  • 1 1
 @njcbps: of course they would laugh. They cannot do it for the money, so you get what they produce. Doesn't mean it's good....just good enough for them, so you get tons of PF issues in bikes, far less Threaded issues.
  • 1 3
 @TET1: sorry, I am none of those things, but I am a structural and mechanical engineer, as well as own a couple MTB businesses. but sure, my opinion is just that....my opinion. I do take solace in that my opinion is shared by lots of real machinists and frame designers though!

cheers!
  • 3 0
 @Mtbdialed: which mtb businesses do you own? I need to know so I never patronize them.
  • 4 0
 @Mtbdialed: Thats curious, both a structural and mechanical engineer, why both?

You know what they say about internet engineers, and you definitely came through...
  • 2 0
 @Mtbdialed: Nevermind, I found it with a quick google search of your username. Free marketing for you:

www.mtbdialed.com
  • 1 1
 @onawalk: Went to school to bolster my knowledge to work at my dad's contruction company. Structural was useful, mechanical was enjoyable. Got them congruently. Also, knowledge is never a bad thing.
  • 1 1
 @TET1: that is one of them! good sleuthing.....or my SEO is effective. lol
  • 1 0
 @TET1:
I like how he’s saying all this ridiculous stuff about machining this and loctite is glue that, yet he willingly spent money on an Eminent Haste frame.
  • 1 3
 @Tayrob: first, it was an Onset frame...well complete bike. and second, it was given to me by the owner, whom is a good friend and we have worked togther in the past. third, those bikes ride amazing...perhaps not everyone's cuppa aestetically, but if you ever rode one, you wouldn't have a bad thing to say about it's ride characteristics.

lastly, I don't know what you think you are proving by digging through my buy/sell, other than the fact I so clearly have your jimmies rustled.
  • 3 0
 @Tayrob: I've been digging into him a little bit more online out of pure curiosity on all public websites. Interesting to say the least.
  • 1 3
 @TET1: well, happy hunting bud.....You won't find me scrounging around for a 10 year old DH steerer online. lmfao.
  • 2 0
 @Mtbdialed: As a bike mechanic, you'll be glad to know I found what I was looking for, fixed up an old dh rig, and sold it for much more than I could have ever wanted given how old it was. You might have even enjoyed working on it yourself, just for nostalgia's sake. Nothing like getting people out on bikes, right?
  • 1 4
 @TET1: I wouldn't have given a single f*ck, had you not lost the plot and went aspy and trying to dig up pointless shit.


it's real small dick energy shit, bro.
  • 2 0
 @Mtbdialed: machining the interfaces after heat treat does not add hundreds of dollars to the consumer price.
yes it increses cost but also reduces complains and issues a manufacturer has to waranty(its in the 2 digits not 3).

nicolai does it
  • 1 1
 @onawalk: Structural engineering is usually done by mechanical engineers.

So i am a mechanical engineer(per degree from my university) and at work i design and calculate structures so im a Structural engineer

like if you had studied math (youre an mathamatician) and work for a bank as an analyst youre also an analyst
  • 1 1
 @Tayrob: hes right about the loctite
  • 2 1
 @Mtbdialed: LOL classic projection. f*cking stop embarrassing yourself with recycled insults. It’s real Caligula small dick energy bro Beer Beer
  • 1 3
 @cuban-b: OH hi! see I am still living rent free in your head.

any chance we can get a remodel in this bitch? it's pretty sad in here....
  • 1 2
 @cuban-b: i've one of you fools at work, he fancies himself a handyman. he believes a thousand myths all things mechanical, thinks he can beat me in an argument, like you all are shitting over mtbdialed.

the more he's right, the more butthurt you all get,

a shoutout kids - ego doesn't fix things, using brain and working does.
  • 2 0
 @Mtbdialed: lol that was quick! Can’t let any of these get by huh? Seems I’m the one living in your head rent free Big Grin . You mad bro? lol
  • 1 2
 @cuban-b: what the f*ck is wrong with you?
  • 2 0
 @baca262: nice burner account @mtbdialed. Coward Big Grin Beer
  • 1 1
 @cuban-b: yeah? are you one of those ip tracking creeps?

i'm going to write a book: how to attract stalkers? content: insult them on the internet. ditto
  • 1 0
 @baca262: no need for ip. it’s pretty f*cking obvious: can’t take the heat, responds immediately, surprised when people defend themselves to unwarranted insults. True small dick energy bro! Beer
  • 3 0
 @cuban-b: can you two just kiss already please
  • 1 0
 @baca262: eager to hear what else you (mtbdialed AND baca262) have to spew. Go on. We can take it. You (mtbdialed AND baca262) on the other hand, can’t, so keep responding! Big Grin
  • 1 1
 @Bro-LanDog: I just love trolling trolls. They get so angry it’s hilarious
  • 2 1
 @Bro-LanDog: no, you don't get it. it's whatever cuban-b says it is. that is the law.

next up, cuban-b is the pope.
  • 1 1
 @baca262: I wanted to kiss, but you shunned me Frown and now me so sad
  • 1 1
 @cuban-b: *****!
  • 1 2
 @baca262: HAHAHAHA WTF is *****! Funny how baca262 is the only one responding after Mtbdialed responded IMMEDIATELY. That’s some small dick energy bro
  • 3 0
 @Mtbdialed: I think that this is at a point where it needs to stop.

Mtbdialed has a legitimate bike mechanic business and I think everyone should know that. And, in all honesty, I'm sure he has been wrenching on bikes long enough to know what does and doesn't work. From looking at his website, it looks like he does a damn good job of being a bike mechanic and I think it would be a privilege to let him wrench on any of my own personal bikes.

I'd like to offer my apology to Mtbdialed for arguing about something as silly as retaining compound. I'm sure you've used it before, and if it gave you bad results, then I can see your reservations about it and it being a bodge. In addition, I've done more research and it is, in every classical sense of the word, glue, you are right.

@cuban-b @Tayrob @JasperTS @onawalk @baca262 @Bro-LanDog
  • 2 0
 @baca262: I'm trying to understand how .0001" was a necessary tolerance. I do this work for a living, so am bringing experience to the table.
  • 2 0
 @JasperTS: Thats not my experience,
I work with mechanical engineers, structural, civil, etc.
The mech engineers I work with do not do structural engineering, they are not licensed or insured for anything like that
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: it doesn't matter what one "does", or is "pretending to do". go figure out why f35 is a barely flying turd. it's a matter of *national security*, they still f*ck it up.
  • 1 0
 @baca262: You've lost me boss, I'm not sure what your point is.

@JasperTS If I work on my truck in the driveway, am I mechanic?
If I pull a stitch out of a cut, am I a doctor?
Nope, similarly, simply because you do a calculation for a structural load, youre certainly not a structural engineer. that comes with schooling/education, and that little pinky ring they hold in such high regard...
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: whatever voluntary lemming. enjoy ur trudeau "ur a biggot" koolaid.
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: I got the mistake(was on my side)

I translated Strucural engineer straight to german like a engineer who designs strucures(like chassis, aircrat cells, building jigs.....(those parts which hold everything together(like a frame in the case of a bike for example))) (which is mostly done by mechanical engineers). deepl showed my hat structural engineering in english is close to civil engineering(someone who designes buildings)

so i am not a strucutrale engineer but a engineer designing structures(but not those made of concrete)
  • 2 0
 @baca262: Thats a strange, aggressive response.
I just didnt quite understand what your point was.

Is life a bit of a struggle for you?
  • 1 0
 @onawalk:
If its youre job to repair trucks i think youre a truck mechanik(in amerika(some countries require apprenticeships(and some tiltes are protected)))

i think you got thinks like an engineer by trade (this concept does not exist in germany so im not sure)
  • 1 1
 @onawalk: just because something is out of your league intellectually, doesn't mean it's strange. a caveman would think a smartphone is "magic" and break it out of fear. what does that imply about you?
  • 1 0
 @onawalk:
Now i got an idea how to explain it

the job title of a friend of mine would translate into english something like calculating engineer and i know many projekt and also process engineers. non of those people got a degree in calculating,Process or project engineering(as i dont thing those exist as degrees from university) they are mostly mechanical engineers. so by working in those field they are both(mechanical and calculating/projet/process engineers).
  • 1 0
 @onawalk: u mad bro? lol
  • 43 4
 Vividly awaiting news on that shock...
  • 37 0
 Shocking misuse of language in this post.
  • 4 0
 @ThatOneGuyInTheComments: but there was no rebound control in your retort!
  • 3 0
 @ThatOneGuyInTheComments: stop forkin around
  • 34 0
 Love how open Norco is with this project. Pretty cool to see instead of the cloak and dagger, hidden shock/linkage situations like with other brands. Saw them testing in Panorama. They werent trying to hide anything and Mark and Gracey seemed super stoked on the new bike.
  • 8 0
 Not sure if they had it in Pano as well but in Fernie during practice they had all sorts of sensor rods on the bike for testing the front and back suspension. Looked pretty cool. I was thinking I might just make up some dummy looking do nothing sensor rods just so I look cool.
  • 35 5
 As the person who developed their "telemetry" (data aquisition system) I can assure you they did not develop it themselves Big Grin Adrian however, did spend about 4000 hours creating their immaculate wiring harnesses.

syn.bike
  • 2 0
 Cool saw it on the bikes in Fernie. Would have loved to see how it works!
  • 21 2
 20 years ago, this is what I dreamt bikes in 2023 would look like.
  • 14 0
 The new Norco Tonkatruck
  • 9 0
 It feels like DH bikes as a whole are getting a big jump in development right now, the same way enduro and trail bikes did a few years ago
  • 8 0
 I wonder if we're seeing this trend because they finally have time to work on DH bikes, an admittedly small part of the market. From 2017-2021, everyone was coming out with new trail/enduro bikes to meet the demand for the new geometry that is standard, once geometry leveled out, more companies came out with ebikes. Now that those are all pretty equivalent across the industry, they need to have something flashy to differentiate themselves, so we're seeing some pretty sick DH bikes in the works, like this and the Pivot 2 Chain.
  • 11 0
 These are our engineers, Colin Ryan, Colin Ryan and Colin Ryan
  • 6 0
 In fairness there is an Adrian - Colin Ryan The hyphenated first name is important for distinguishing between the Colin Ryans.
  • 6 0
 Leave the two bottle mounts on the production model please. A bike mounted bottle is a game changer for hot summer bike park laps. I'm already wearing full armour, I don't want to also wear a hip or backpack just to carry water. Bear spray and beer are also good options if you don't need water.
  • 4 0
 It's interesting that they have gone to such lengths to mostly tame anti-rise by going to a six bar, instead of using a floating brake mount. With a floating brake mount that can be tuned to whatever level you want. This seems like a fine use for a factory 'F1 style' program but for the masses a simplified single pivot seems like a better idea and massively less maintenance and complexity.
  • 4 0
 Funny thing is the brake is mounted in a way where anti rise is not decoupled from axle path at all. Floating brake mount would actually achieve that. This just frees up leverage curve a little bit.
  • 3 0
 @taquitos: but there are such simpler ways to modify the leverage curve than this.
Just seems like complexity for the sake of.
Probably a beast to ride, but still too complicated.
  • 3 0
 @BarryWalstead: I would say I largely agree with you on that. It seems everyone is feeling pressure to add more complexity right now. Then they market it and people eat it up so they add another layer of complexity.
  • 5 1
 'The masses' don't buy DH bikes do they?
  • 3 0
 Nobody wants a brake arm though. They never don't look like a bodged afterthought
  • 3 0
 @BarryWalstead: knolly double rocker. people actually hate on me when i say it's a pointless waste
  • 2 0
 It is not a six bar design.
  • 1 1
 Companies don't sell the products you need, they sell the products you want.
  • 1 0
 @baca262: I wouldn't say it's pointless, it helped them get around FSR patents for a long time Razz
  • 4 0
 The suspension looks promising, but normally I'd be concerned about the long-term durability of the dogbone link's pivots (they look like they'd be very high leverage) were it to make it to production. Obviously they've considered it so I'm sure it would be fine.
  • 8 3
 They rid themselves of the linkage below the BB like the range has. It was an absolutely terrible design choice on the range.
  • 10 0
 I wouldn't call it terrible design choice, just one of the negatives of that particular design that seems to have a pretty minimal impact on overall ownership and usability. I know a couple Range owners and they attest to striking the linkage only on very rare occasions at low speed, seems to be a non-issue.
  • 6 0
 @PeakHopper: yes it’s at low speed that the thing would most commonly hit… unfortunately the place that it happened to me a few times was the precipice of high consequence rock rolls and slabs. The bike is an absolute laser in a straight line but if you ride any slow speed tech moves it’s a disaster waiting to happen.
  • 1 0
 @danielomeara: This has a link, and the stays sitting below the bb, its very similar to the Range. how is it much different than a lower bashguard?
  • 2 2
 I’ve hit mine a few times but you get used to it being there and haven’t had any real issues with it (so far). I automatically unweight the rear and lift it a little if I see a steep crest. If you’re riding the range on slow tech it won’t be that much fun. It was not designed for slow tech. It wanna go fast on the roughest stuff you can throw at it. Then it’ll laugh at you and call you slow. The range is like a cheat code for mountain biking.
  • 2 0
 I asked!
Norco said no no way Frown
Turns out they don't need any testing feedback from a mid-pack guy who races (participates) in Masters DH.
So I may need to stalk Mark or Lucas and make one disappear.
I am very much kidding of course.

.
  • 2 0
 I know, right?
It's feels like we're being treated like their exact buying demographic
  • 4 1
 Honestly kind of a mixed feeling here - I love that Norco has been pretty open about the design, and about the 'Formula 1' design style, but on the other hand... Give the people what they want, this bike!
  • 2 0
 "From the very beginning it was very clear; The team frame cannot be purely functional. It also needs to visually represent speed and carry the message that it is made to win races.": mission accomplished. This bike looks fast AF.
  • 2 0
 Anyone consider the bizarre situation of how all that engineering chicanery goes into these arcane linkage designs, yet the front fork has essentially remained unchanged (two simple tubes) no matter how many bars, idlers, gizmos go into rear suspensions?
  • 2 0
 Your post made me go look at where front suspension is on motorcycles and it seems that both road and MX race bikes are mostly upside down forks these days, where MTBs are conventional. but you have to think that the problems are similar so MTB is benefitting from 100 years of everything being tried on motorbikes. At the back end, bikes have the problem of managing pedaling forces, so that's different, but perhaps because the forces overall are lower, there's also more latitude for exotic suspension layouts.
  • 1 0
 This has been on my mind as well. One factor has to be entrenched mega brands like Fox and Rockshox who haven't yet embraced otherwise ubiquitous tech like USD. Not to mention, a rider's legs have a much higher tolerance for absorbing impacts, while hands and arms are more delicate and must grip, shift, brake and steer the bike while dealing with all these forces. The biggest marginal performance gains have to be in front suspension at this point, not in the back...
  • 2 0
 When will rockshox finally release the new vivid? They’ve been testing for a while now. I love how my X2 feels when the oil is still on the inside, I would hope the vivid would fix that issue.
  • 1 0
 Later this year!
  • 2 0
 Need one of these asap.. everything seems perfect for a DH bike, looks reliable and easy to work on for a six link No full 29 is respectful like they aren't trying to bullshit anyone
  • 1 0
 Forgive the ignorance here, but I've been wondering this ever since I began to see a change in preference:
Q: Why do people here prefer aluminum construction vs. carbon layup construction for a DH frame?

Having been around the gravity side of MTB for almost 20yrs, I've seen the shift in preference from alu to carbon and now back to alu DH frames. From my perspective what the consumer gets out of a purchase, looks like this:

Alu Frames
Advantages:
- Typically lower production cost for consumers vs. CF layup, tooling, and frame molds.
- As an extension of the above; easier to make adjustments and offer options to the consumer.
- Currently aesthetically pleasing to the consumer.
Disadvantages:
- QC and mfg tolerances can be problematic; multiple pieces must be assembled with precision and accuracy.
- Typically heavier than an equivalent CF offering.

Carbon Fiber
Advantages:
- Consistent mfg given accurate tooling and frame molds which provides higher quality/value for consumer.
- As an extension of the above, possible to tune flex of frame using CF type, layup, and resin properties which provides options/performance for the consumer.
- Typically weighs less than an equivalent alu offering providing performance for consumer.
Disadvantages:
- More expensive to mfg than alu.
- More difficult to make adjustments and offer options.
- Currently not aesthetically pleasing to the consumer.

So given that perspective:
1. What am I missing?
2. Why the preference from your perspective?

Just curious - because I sense ignorance on my part and want to learn something.
  • 7 0
 It is the marketing department saying that “everyone “ is asking for it.
Reality is they don’t have to invest in mega cost tooling for a short run bike and cold end up being cheeper price.
Typical owner gets a bike they don’t need to be so careful with.
  • 5 0
 Durability. Carbon can be made very strong, but generally alu frames will shrug off rock impacts better, and tend to show their damage more easily. The reality is that for most consumers, the lower cost of entry and impact resistance of alu DH frames makes a lot more sense than the potential performance advantages of carbon.
  • 1 0
 @NZRalphy: Nailed it
  • 2 0
 f*ckin leave it raw alloy with external cable routing and offer mounting for 29” or mullet (link yoke or flip chip) and release that shit (coming from a Range DH owner who’s buying one instantly).
  • 6 3
 Looks like the latest Nukeproof DH offering...but in a high pivot format. Looks sick...
  • 2 0
 Thought the same thing. Frame profile looks a lot like the carbon dissent for sure. Bummed you can’t get the new dissent in alloy. Otherwise I’d buy one.
  • 4 0
 uhhhhh lets hear some more about that shock
  • 1 0
 I love this stuff. All that machined alloy looking trick. Their designs, both Kinematics and industrial are sweetshit. After lusting on the Gamux yesterday and now this, thanks PB.
  • 1 0
 So many cool DH bikes in the works, but so far this one is easily my favorite. Definitely going to be buying whenever this thing hits the market. Pls be sooner rather than later Norco
  • 3 0
 I might be stoned but this is one of the sickest looking frames I've ever seen, NORCO, KEEP THE REAR TRIANGLE LIKE THAT
  • 3 0
 Has some of the early Antidote Darkmatter vibes going on
  • 1 1
 Besides the linkage and then rear caliper placement, it's very very similar.
  • 1 0
 Interesting how this got downvotes. Lol.
  • 3 1
 These would sell like hotcakes. Release them Norco - literally impossible to find a DH bike right now.
  • 2 0
 Is this true? Are DH bikes back in vogue?
  • 3 0
 @Poachninja: They never left vouge...
  • 2 0
 @wolftwenty1: Sweet. I’m dual crown for life but I thought I was a dying breed.
  • 2 0
 @Poachninja: the only thing that ‘descends like a downhill bike’ is a downhill bike! Smile
  • 1 0
 Love this frame design, not a fan of the high pivot though. Just a personal opinion of course. (Coming from a freerider/park rat)
  • 4 1
 Those headshots are not gonna help with sales...
  • 1 0
 haaa
  • 3 1
 Love the bike, love the team, and even the engineers are cool. One even races in world cups, and getting good results!
  • 2 1
 that's a lot of talk about a 'f1' race frame without plans for production from a company who completely scuttled their race team this year. seems decent tho
  • 3 1
 regardless will always have a heart for Norco, thankful they're still around doing their thing.
  • 1 0
 I must say that I find it somewhat shameful that they have not managed to design the bike without shock-yoke despite additional shock linkage and 6-bar linkage.
  • 2 0
 Damn that's a good looking bike
  • 1 0
 Every time we ask can you show me the non-drive side first! for the love of mtb
  • 2 0
 This needs to be the production paint job.
  • 1 0
 Can anyone guess the rear spacing by looking at that pic of the hub/rotor ?
  • 1 0
 150mm, but that is just a guess.
  • 3 0
 Where Jay Hoots?
  • 1 0
 Will be exciting to see how Greg Minnaar works with the new team and race bike!
  • 4 7
 With the addition of this unavailable DH bike, that still makes zero downhill bikes available to purchase new in the US unless you fit on that last XXL Sender on the website or want to build up a Chainsaw. Who gives a shit unless you can buy it or at least some form of it?
  • 1 0
 tons of DH bikes for sale.
  • 1 0
 make a trail bike that looks like this, full 29er.PLEASE!!
  • 2 5
 Formula 1 teams don't change much during the season. The engines and trans are sealed, and they only have a handful available. The tires are part of the formula, can't change anything about them. Aero is pretty much set, they don't really time (and it may not even be allowed) to go back to the wind tunnel mid-season. They change strategy and tactics on an ongoing basis, but not really hardware.
  • 7 0
 You are quite wrong on a few points there. All F1 teams upgrade their cars in season; largely aerodynamically but they also can change the mechanical parts/platform if they wish. The cost cap sees to the latter being more difficult though. They could do a new chassis if they wanted but it would take too much cash away from aero development which is going to give bigger gains. Mercedes changed suspension geometry on the front of their car during this season though, for example.
They all use their wind tunnels all year (well, not during the 2 week summer break) but there’s a sliding scale depending on championship position to determine how many runs they can do. There are hundreds of engineers working back at each of the teams’ factories who also work with CFD but that’s also limited by championship position.
  • 3 0
 These guys would know, one of them was an F1 engineer...
  • 3 1
 @epoit: Which in itself doesn‘t say much, the cost cap has reduced personnel numbers, but at one point a four figure number of engineers were involved in F1, sometimes the guy holding the jack at the pit stop has an engineering degree, and if you‘re responsible for providing new proposals for placement of the buttons on the steering wheel that might be an important role, but you won‘t learn too much about suspension dynamics.
  • 3 1
 Looks like a Nukeproof
  • 2 0
 I was just scrolling all the way to the bottom to say the same thing. It's eerily similar to the '23 Dissent.
  • 2 1
 Looks like a yt with a idler pulley
  • 1 0
 She purty and looks rather sturdy. Yes I want one
  • 1 0
 So confused only engineer's exist at Norco now..?
  • 2 1
 Nice ride!
  • 1 0
 Take my money
  • 1 0
 Or dropout swap
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