EWS Bike Check: Sam Blenkinsop's Norco Range

Mar 25, 2016 at 17:44
by Mike Kazimer  
Blenki Bike Check. Valdivia. Chile. Photo by Matt Wragg.

Norco Factory Racing team member Sam Blenkinsop is a familiar face on the World Cup DH circuit, but he's also starting to appear at more and more Enduro World Series events. He's no slouch on the smaller bikes either, a fact that his 4th place finish at this year's Crankworx Rotorua enduro, and a 7th place finish at the Samoens EWS round last year demonstrate. This year he'll be competing at five EWS races, along with racing the full World Cup schedule. That may seem like a lot, but Sam drew comparisons to Supercross racing, where athletes compete in 17 races over the course of a season. For this weekend's race, he's aboard a carbon Norco Range outfitted with parts from Race Face, Shimano, Fox, MRP, Novatec, Formula, and Schwalbe.


Blenki Bike Check. Valdivia. Chile. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Blinky stands 190cm tall, and could comfortably fit on an XL sized frame, but says he prefers the feel of a smaller trail bike (he's on size large) set up with a 60mm stem.


Blenki Bike Check. Valdivia. Chile. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Fox's Float X takes care of the Range's 160mm of rear travel. As far as suspension settings go, Blinky sets his Range up firmer than his DH bike, but on rougher courses he'll soften the rear suspension for more grip, and remove a token from the fork, dropping down to 3 versus the 4 he runs on smoother tracks.


Blenki Bike Check. Valdivia. Chile. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Sam's running 24 psi in a Schwalbe Magic Mary up front...
Blenki Bike Check. Valdivia. Chile. Photo by Matt Wragg.
And 27 psi in a Hans Dampf in the rear.


Blenki Bike Check. Valdivia. Chile. Photo by Matt Wragg.
A Shimano XTR derailleur, 11-speed cassette and shifter are matched up with a Race Face ring and MRP guide up front.


Blenki Bike Check. Valdivia. Chile. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Sam didn't have much to say about his Formula RO brakes other than, "They work," but that's really all that matters, right?


Blenki Bike Check. Valdivia. Chile. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Race Face's new Turbine dropper post and an Aeffect saddle.


Blenki Bike Check. Valdivia. Chile. Photo by Matt Wragg.
Sam's Range is shod with Novatec Diablo wheels, the same model he uses on his World Cup DH race rig.



70 Comments

  • + 144
 WHAT!!! ONLY 11 GEARS!!! HOW CAN HE RIFE THAT BIKE!?!?!?!?
  • + 93
 So outdated. 11 gears, no plus tires, bars under 900mm. Good thing he's a pro, to us common folk this thing looks unridable.
  • + 83
 Also, who can forget about that I absurdly long 60mm stem!!!
  • + 13
 No introduction on the specific sized duct tape?
  • + 23
 Must be impossible to rife that bike man
  • + 13
 Doesn't even have boost
  • + 4
 It's unpossible to rife da bike thank you vuury mooch
  • + 3
 And nothing is electronic how is it possible to operate all the levers?
  • + 78
 Perfectly stated "They work".... Two slices of bread might "work" too...
  • + 67
 Well, Formulas pretty much work the same as squeezing a rotor between two slices of bread...
  • + 40
 brakes only slow you down anyway Razz
  • + 25
 I think what he meant was... Im sponsored by them, so I can tell you they work as designed (squeezing a rotor and all) but if i had it my way, and some more cash in the bank, Id be rocking some Guide's, XT's or maybe even some Saint's if it get burly enough....
  • + 2
 Whoops
  • - 15
flag MojoMaujer (Mar 25, 2016 at 20:12) (Below Threshold)
 Total bs. Keep sending people to SRAM, journalist. Guess formula needs to start buying some ads and take you on week long "tech camps" like someone else does?
  • + 37
 How are the brakes working out for you Sam? Sweet as bro! I mean, sik as, they rully grib the rotah like a farmer gribs a sheip!!!

Note* NZ Phonetics 101....
  • - 18
flag MojoMaujer (Mar 25, 2016 at 20:32) (Below Threshold)
 What about "some users are reporting the Turbine dropper getting stuck, is your getting stuck as well?" Oops. No more RF ads.
  • + 19
 lol mojo is suspended for 8 days
  • + 5
 hahaha whats the betting that he rides formula's?
  • + 1
 Did sram fire him?cause he's mighty bitter with them.
  • - 1
 Little chance, he probably ride Avids himself. He jest likes debunking conspiracies like a child who just learned that if a company pays for advertising their banner pops up on the website and that can theoretically be exploited (unless off course all companies pay for advertising every once in a while and MTB wouldn't be such a small industry where such practices on world's biggest bike website, would cost millions. Pinkbike is not a FB site of some dude aspiring to break into the first 10 on local races and got 30% off a chain lube in return of putting the logo on the jersey and hashtaghing the sht out of behind bars photos ). I had Formulas R1s, tried T1s abd I have no fricking clue how can those guys race on that stiff something with no modulation.
  • + 2
 Well he's got some issues with the world.already advised him to put on his Che outfit,stand outside sram with his pitchfork and banner and spare me anymore drivel.
  • + 13
 I dont know why all the hate for Formula brakes. I have run them for the past 10 years on and off. Tried others but always come back to Formulas. T1's and RO's are the best brakes I have ever used. If they are set up correctly theres nothing can come close. I just came from RO's to Shimano XT's on a new bike I purchased and compared to the RO's the XT's are rubbish. Hardly any modulation, then bang wheel lock up time. Formula RO's has amazing modulation, are ultra powerful, as light as some xc brakes and absolutely zero fade.
  • + 1
 Me earlier today ... "Don't forget to bread your brakes, I mean bread brakes. Sigh." Good stuff.
  • + 3
 the problem with Formula is that it has some cheap models witch use the same name as the high end model. For example "T1" vs "T1s". It seems that nobody knows the difference. While they have the same specs the production process (forged one piece vs cast) and materials are different. Long story short, the high end models that people don't buy because they cost for me has worked much better than various high end models that i have tried from shimmano and magura.
  • + 3
 For me the problem with Formula is when I approach a steep slippery surface the front brake becomes virtually useless due to poor modulation. I do wheelies, manuals, and I am getting better at nose wheelies/endos, my front pads get worn out quicker than rear, so I am no stranger to brake control, even though I am nowhere close to consider myself excellent at it. It is just waaay easier and confidence inspiring to ride Shimanos or SRAMs and that involves even their most powerful offerings. While hardish Hopes have better reliability record than both Big S-es, Formulas don't. Add high price of Formulas and you end up with a really weird product where the only gain seems to be the weight. Preference is preference, everyone is entitled to have their own yes. Hence I do not school people on 100mm stems or 80g seatposts, but if someone asks me for advice I never mention formula brakes and that gives them quite high chance of satisfaction, even though they are very tempting with how powerful they seem. That is off course an illusion because max braking power is always the grip limit of the tyre, whether you are on V-brake or Magura Gustav.

I haven't ridden Blenkis brakes though, maybe they are awesome.
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns Just run a 100mm rotor an they're sweet. Even more weight savings there.
  • + 21
 The Supercross comment is correct but they then do a 15 round outdoor motocross season 2 weeks after Supercross finishes. You want to be fit. Train like an American motocross rider. Then ENDURO will feel like a breeze Smile
  • + 5
 Those Moto guys are gnarly. Dungy is one of the fittest athletes in the world.
  • + 11
 What! No valve caps?sort it out.
  • + 50
 Too heavy. Sort your life out :wink:
  • - 9
flag Earthmotherfu (Mar 25, 2016 at 18:34) (Below Threshold)
 Was gonna drop that gag,but thought too fuckin lame.obviously..
  • + 6
 I would say the cables rubbing on the shock might cause issues but get a new 1 every run so I will shutz up. Cheers
  • + 2
 I run my cables under the shock on my Range, so it is a little odd seeing them routed like this.
  • + 4
 Shorter cables are lighter.
  • + 6
 I prefer an extra small frame with a 200 mm stem with 50 mm riser bars pointed forward to get another 50 mm reach,then I throw on some bar ends to get a bit more over the front tire and then I throw on a laid back seat post you know.... old skool, with my seat pushed all the way back on the rails.then I ditch the 27.5es and get out my 26 rear and 29 front so I get all raked out so I can get all stretched out n win some races.
  • + 8
 Blenki prefers smaller frame with a shorter top tube and longer stem. That makes two of us.
  • + 3
 3 of us.
  • + 3
 Still only 3... Someone? No? OK, so 3!
  • + 4
 I was OK when it was just me and Blenkinsop.

All depends on the terrain though, perhaps if I lived in California like 90% of the rest of the mountain bike community in the USA, then maybe I'd size up on frame and shave 10mm off my stem. Or if I rarely used my 160mm bike on punchy technical climbs...but since that's the norm in my woods, I use a 60mm stem and a medium frame even though I could size up to a large.

Its all good though, have fun out there.
  • + 1
 @mountaincross how tall are you/wingspan? I'm 5'10 with a 6'3 wingspan and have ALWAYS had your mentality (been on a medium), until I started racing my trail bike on smoother dh tracks and riding it as a sort of "freeride bike" when there was pedaling required, I started to feel like I was far too cramped. I just switched to a large frame, gotta ride it some and see how I like it compared to the medium.
  • + 2
 @trialracer. I'm 5'9.5" tall and 5'9.5" wingspan. But even with my shorter reach, I see your point. Longer top tube/shorter stem adds stability but you give up some maneuverability (IMO, to each his/her own). I've spent summers riding in mountain states like Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. If I lived in those places, I'd likely be on a large (depends on manufacturer). But since I live in the northeast, medium is better suited to most trails...and many race tracks. Lose some high speed stability, gain some lower speed maneuverability. To quote Mark Weir "races are won in the corners." If the corners are high speed, size up. If the corners are tight and lower speed, size down.

Given your longer reach, sizing up to a large is most def a good call.
  • + 3
 Way better Bek check than the rotura one. Psi included bottom out tokens you need they mentioned it. Sounds like all jibbing from the last bike checks been sortedZ nice one pink bike.
  • + 5
 Lovely!
  • + 3
 Indeed
  • + 0
 Rather
  • + 1
 Than
  • + 2
 Looks like a great bike. Norco makes awesome bikes, but that seat would be a good meter into my bum hole if I tried to bunny hop it.
  • + 5
 Nice bike
  • + 3
 60mm stem to ride a smaller frame, long is the new short.
  • + 2
 I use 120mm stem with 650 bars and none dropper post. I'm drunk
  • + 1
 Cool - especially that rather aesthetically pleasing saddle, beautiful lines!
  • + 1
 How come he's running the frame with the direct mount? They make one without it, wouldn't that make more sense?
  • + 1
 Too late to edit, but while i'm asking: Why the atlas bar as well?
  • + 9
 Some riders just don't like using carbon bars
  • + 2
 What do you mean 'direct mount?' I guess I'm uneducated
  • + 1
 Norco is now making a chainguide that comes standard molded to the frame, not like an aftermarket one just to clarify
  • + 1
 I think all the Ranges this year have the front derailleur mount. Last year the top models didn't have it.
  • - 2
 He normally runs a pulley wheel on that DM. It gives the bike less chain growth which the norco's are designed to have as a way of maintaining better pedal efficiency but it gives some pedal feedback. This is the first pic I've seen without it.
  • + 2
 @devo88
I've seen him running that on the Aurum, I haven't seen it on the range though. Mot sure how rough a track would have to be before that start to benefit a shorter travel bike as well haha
  • + 0
 Hmmm. Who did hear this from? I find it odd a company would decide what chain guide you need to run... Or that you need to run one in the first place.
  • + 2
 I can't believe he's not on the procore setup
  • + 2
 Normally Four Tokens ? Yikes !
  • + 1
 Good looking set up he's rocking!
  • + 2
 Best of luck Blenki!!!
  • + 1
 Is that a 170mm 36 or 160?
  • + 1
 not a 35 mm bar?
  • + 11
 I assume he likes his wrists...

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.054428
Mobile Version of Website