Field Test: 2023 Norco Fluid - The Reasonably Priced One

Dec 5, 2022 at 17:01
by Mike Kazimer  

PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Norco Fluid



Words by Mike Kazimer; photography by Satchel Cronk


The Norco Fluid FS A1's $3,999 price tag looks like a screaming deal compared some of the expensive carbon bikes in this Field Test. Yes, it's the only bike with an aluminum frame, but still – you could buy one Fluid, buy another one to have as a spare, and still have $3,000 left over to spend on food and gas for all of your riding adventures... or you could purchase one top-of-the-line Scott Genius.

A good price doesn't automatically equate to a good time on the trail, but it sure seems like Norco did everything they could to make sure the Fluid delivered, equipping it with a smart mix of parts and geometry numbers that should work well in a wide range of locations.

Norco Fluid FS A1 Details

• Travel: 130mm / 140mm fork
• Aluminum frame
• 65° head angle
• 76.7° seat angle
• 435mm chainstays (size L)
• Reach: 480mm (L)
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
• Weight: 33.8 lb / 15.3 kg
• Price: $3,999 USD
• More info: norco.com
Up front you'll find a 140mm Fox 34, and this is the highest end, Grip2 damper equipped version. That's paired with a Performance Elite level Float X shock, which skips the Kashima coating to save a few pennies without sacrificing any adjustability. The derailleur, shifter, and cassette are all Shimano XT, and Praxis takes care of the cranks. TRP helps slow things down with their Trail EVO brakes, with a 203mm / 180mm rotor combo.


The Fluid's geometry seems to hit the sweet spot when it comes to an all-rounder, especially for riders who want a trail bike that feels at home in steeper, more technical terrain. The head angle sits at 65-degrees with a 140mm fork, and the fairly tall head tube combined with the 76.7-degree seat angle helps create an upright, centered ride position. The chainstay lengths vary depending on the size, coming in at 435mm for the size large we tested.

The Norco weighed in at 33.8 lb (15.3 kg) with control Maxxis DoubleDown control tires installed. That makes it the heaviest out of the five bikes on test, but not by as much as you'd expect – it's only 1.1 pounds heavier than the much pricier Yeti SB140.





Climbing

The Norco's weight never really entered my mind when climbing or descending. Yes, if I hopped off the 30-pound Scott and right onto the Norco I could notice the little bit of extra heft while climbing, but it was really only in those direct comparisons that it was apparent. Otherwise I didn't think twice about it, usually because I was trying not to fall off whatever weird skinny log ride I'd discovered in the woods of Whistler.

Riders who are used to pedaling around longer travel enduro bikes will instantly feel at home with the Norco's seated position. The tall headtube creates a cockpit position that's nice and upright, even with the 140mm fork – there aren't any hunched over, stretched out XC shenanigans going on here. The Fluid's handling is fairly neutral, especially for a bike in this category, but it was slightly easier to zig and zag through tight climbs compared to the longer and slacker Scott Genius. Of course, the Scott has 150mm of rear travel and a 64-degree head angle, so it's not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, and at the end of the day both bikes will get up just about anything without much fuss.

The Float X shock did dip into its travel more eagerly than the Santa Cruz Hightower or the Trek Fuel EX, which meant I'd occasionally flip the climb switch for longer fireroad climbs. It's still calm enough to run it fully open for any non-road riding, though, with a good amount of grip to help it keep clambering its way upward. Interestingly, the Fluid ended up placing second in the efficiency test, so it's no slouch when the stopwatch and power pedals are out.



Descending


The term 'aggressive trail bike' still seems a little strange to me – why is it so angry? – even though it really is the best way to categorize the Fluid. This is one of those bikes that doesn't shy away from the occasional sketchy move (or three) despite having the least amount of front and rear travel in this test.

The geometry numbers aren't worlds apart from the 125mm Optic that impressed us back in 2020, but there is a noticeable difference in how the two bikes ride. On the Optic, the shock tune felt like it prioritized support over everything else, while the Float X on the Fluid offers better small bump compliance, along with those extra five millimeters of travel to further take the edge off bigger hits.

The Fluid has a fairly long head tube, which increases the stack height and makes it easier to stay centered while descending, instead of feeling like you're getting pulled over the front end. For comparison, the Fluid has a 135mm head tube, and the Yeti SB140's measures 100mm; even with a 160mm fork the Yeti still has a lower stack height than the Fluid. As always, a bike is the sum of its geometry numbers, and looking at one in isolation doesn't tell the whole story. Still, Norco has cooked up a tasty recipe with the Fluid, especially when it comes to tackling steep terrain.

I ended up putting down my 4th fastest time on the Fluid, just one second slower than my 2nd and 3rd place times, and two seconds slower than my fastest time, which was on the Trek Fuel EX.

As far as the overall handling goes, the Fluid has a solid, ready-for-anything feel, although its manners fall more on the neutral side of the spectrum rather than being a zippy, lively thing. It's not that it's sluggish, it's just that it doesn't have the same level of get-up-and-go as the Fuel EX, or the Santa Cruz Hightower. Those bikes were more responsive in rolling terrain, with more of a platform to push against and generate speed.


Does the Fluid need $7,000 worth of upgrades to match the performance of those much more expensive competitors? Definitely not. It did very, very well against those carbon contenders, although there were a couple things that could be improved. A chainguide would be the first upgrade I'd make – we dropped the chain a handful of times, something a small upper guide would have prevented. The second component quibble has to do with the 170mm dropper post. It wasn't the amount of drop that was an issue, it was the fact that the very short seat tube meant I was running the post at the minimum insertion mark. A 200mm post on the size large would prevent this, and it's something that taller or longer-legged riders should keep in mind.

At the end of the day, the Norco Fluid has great suspension, good brakes, and a solid, workhorse drivetrain. It offers an excellent price-to-performance ratio no matter your ability level, and could be just the ticket for the rider who's looking for a trail bike that won't hold them back when things take a turn for the technical.




Pros

+ Great geometry and well-chosen components for a reasonable price
+ Solid, ready for anything ride feel
+ Norco's suspension setup guide is one of the best out there.


Cons

- Could use a chainguide and a longer dropper post.
- There are lighter & livelier options in this travel bracket





The 2022 Fall Field Test is presented G-Form




389 Comments

  • 414 10
 Aluminum? Cable actuated parts? Disgusting.
  • 214 3
 Pffft. It’s even reasonably priced. Who on Earth is going to buy this monstrosity..?
  • 17 0
 But it feels so right.
  • 82 1
 And is that a Fox 34 with Kashima I see? *spits*
  • 9 1
 At least they do not show up on Norco's page (have blank page for Fluid 2023), they surely had to save on something Wink
Ok, it does not work only for Poland, Slovakia, Chech Republic and Hungary Wink
  • 29 0
 But the cables are still tucked away to appease the Euro-American morality of riders who aren’t comfortable having their stuff out in public.
  • 8 0
 Levy's guilty laugh to Kaz mentioning riding this things they shouldn't have on the Fluid
  • 6 1
 @wyorider: That comment made me, y'know not quite laugh, but chuckle and audibly exhale through my nose.
  • 19 0
 no headset routing. makes the bike unrideable
  • 23 1
 Tyre brand logos are lined up with the valves. I just threw up in my mouth.
  • 4 7
 @Corinthian: not a dentist bike for sure !
  • 5 0
 Damn autocorrect making me look like I can't know how speak
  • 2 0
 @Muscovir: chortle
  • 13 1
 Frame color: cash I didn't spend on a yeti green
  • 1 1
 @Corinthian: But actual those with real purchasing power will buy a Sta. Cruz or Trek and Specialized. In my country they need better after sales support.
  • 3 0
 @chill: based on the downvote I think you upset the one aspiring dentis that read this article
  • 3 0
 Peasants!
  • 286 4
 The market needs more of this. More importantly, the statement, "I didn't feel 7000 dollars difference" should be noticed by manufacturers who clearly need to pull their head out of their ass. Bullshit standards like headset routing and hidden shocks continue to jack up the price for zero performance gain. Either give us well spec'd aluminum frames or at least go on socials and admit that you have no problem that this sport is becoming totally inaccessible to a lot of people.
  • 10 4
 Best comment ever!!
  • 58 0
 I think that manufacturers exactly know what they are doing. They can sell it for those 10k so they do it. It seems there are lots of people willing to spend that kind of money, otherwise they would be out of business already.
  • 18 0
 @lkubica: this is exactly right, people are buying them
  • 13 0
 The last 2 years have made lots of very rich people. (and also lots of very poor ones.)

If money was no object, you'd possibly purchase a 10k mtb too
  • 12 0
 @lkubica: Agreed. Santa Cruz used to have pretty solid builds that were not too much more than direct to consumer brands. Hell, they even sold single pivot bikes until the mid-2000s as a price point alternative, at roughly Giant-levels of value for money and very respectable performance. But with the market going nuts on the high-end side of things, they were able to just focus on the high margin stuff. If and when the market reverses, they'll probably adjust course, but until then, they don't have to.

Given that there's a recession going on in Europe and Asia, and that the US is at least seeing a bit of a slowdown, and given that the Covid boom put a lot of bikes into the market (at least some of which are turning up on the buy/sell as not all those new mountain bikers stay with the sport), we may see that sort of reversal. In the meantime, though, there's solid value to be had. Vitus coming to the US as a direct to consumer brand shows what's possible; Polygon has been churning out well sorted bikes at good values.
  • 2 0
 @g-42: looking at a 2nd world country like Poland i can see no recession yet. Prices of everything went up by 20% and people are still buying like crazy. So maybe there will be a little correction of prices, but would not count on it. We use to say "It has been better already" Smile
  • 5 0
 @lkubica: I know and you're totally right. People are buying them because they love the sport, but that does NOT justify the cost at all. Just to be clear. And I'm not saying this in a, "I'm right, you're wrong", context. I totally agree with you. I just look at "normal" priced bikes at 6K coming with dog shit components and think the industry needs some time to reflect. Thoughts?
  • 5 0
 @Madfella: TOTALLY!! I just don't think 5-6K bikes should come with shit specs.
  • 3 0
 @g-42: In 2010 I bought a new Santa Cruz Heckler for $1800 even had XT parts on it.
  • 4 7
 @Leviathandive: but those are xt parts are garbage compared to deore of today...
  • 7 0
 @ridingofthebikes: Yeah my chain would fall off just by looking at it.
  • 1 0
 @lkubica: on the other hand at least every second Santa in Czech is from Polish wholesale and that's pretty competitive pricing then
  • 1 0
 @bok-CZ: I think it's over, their site has not been updated for a long time, no 2022 pricing, it seems they were too competitive and someone did not like it. But it's true, you could buy alu nomads for ridiculous prices before covid. Somehow for Santa it was cheaper to buy a frame and literally buy all same aftermarket parts. Ach, pre-covid times....
  • 8 0
 @ridingofthebikes: Of course performance has improved when you compare modern parts to something 12 years ago. That doesn't change the fact that XT was still the second best Shimano groupset at the time.
  • 7 0
 And we should spend some cash supporting our trailbuilders... This brings 50*100 of the fun at least... Why so friking obsession with the bikes when a fun trail it's fun even with a hardtail...
  • 2 0
 If people weren’t buying them companies would stop making them. As long as bikes like the fluid continue to exist for those who don’t want to spend 10k it really doesn’t matter to me what the top priced bikes cost or why people want them.
  • 5 2
 @Madfella: a lot of people here could very well afford $10k bike, but no matter how much money I had, I could never bring myself to. I don’t want to be that guy. I don’t want a target on me or to be the guy people smirk at behind my back as riders on lesser bikes ride circles around me. I want the rider that’s in-the-know to look at my bike and think, “that’s a smart spec”.
  • 1 0
 @lkubica: yep, local distribution had enough and it seems to be stopped now, but on trails it looks like 3 out of 5 people on new bikes are on SC here
  • 1 0
 I think the more accurate statement would be “mountain bikers need to get their heads out of their asses and stop BUYING 10k bikes”. Can’t blame the companies for selling the super bike and not bothering to include value builds if that’s what people are buying. As riders we need to take some responsibility for playing into the madness that are bike prices today. If all riders stopped treating their bike like a way to win the dick wagging contest with their buddies and instead bought the bike that was the lowest price with the best value, manufacturers would have to adapt. We pretend that nobody is buying these $10k bikes but I see them on the trail more frequently than not. At the end of the day, here is a good rule of thumb - if I have to buy the most expensive model in a range (vs it being provided to me for free) then I most certainly don’t need it.
  • 3 0
 @Madfella: money is no object … but I still buy value over bling. Using your money wisely is the way regardless of wealth, just recognize that some people value name recognition.
  • 1 0
 @snowwcold55: You are exactly right. It's always the top end specs that are out of stock. This is an expensive sport and attracts those with money who like to hang out at the top with their $10k rig to say "look what I've got".
  • 1 0
 @Rubberelli: Or they do a very limited number of bikes in the top-end spec. If you only make 5 of them, it doesn't take that long to be out of stock.
  • 3 0
 @kclw: We would need to ask a manufacturer, but in my experience top end models are usually the first available and the ones sold out, rarely available at the "last year's model clearance price." Logic tells us that companies would not intentionally drive business to their cheapest models, so that is why I am guessing top end sells better.
  • 267 1
 1 second slower on the descent? I think I'll spend the extra 7 grand to get that 1 second back.
  • 49 0
 Fluid, plus upraded wheelset and you might get that second back on the up and the down with 1000s leftover still.
  • 9 0
 But it has the least amount of travel so... I suspect no need for those 7 grand, just wait for a longer travel aluminium Norco ....
  • 21 0
 It's also the bike with the Fox 34. Swap that puppy out for a Lyrik or a 36 (and you can probably get top dollar for a factory Grip2 take off) at 150mm and you're probably most of the difference there on a test track in Whistler.
  • 13 1
 @lkubica: or just buy a sight A2 for just a little bit more.
  • 27 1
 Nah, live with that mean old extra second and throw the $7k at the mortgage!
  • 9 0
 Time is money!
  • 4 3
 @ryan-pnw: Or buy the new Polygon Enduro bike as well to really enjoy the downs, and have 1000s leftover!
  • 12 1
 Somewhere out there right now is a glacially slow rider on a 10k bike scratching their head trying to figure out how they just got beat on the descent by someone fast riding this very bike.
  • 14 0
 @DirkMcClerkin: Happens every day on the shore.
  • 9 0
 Spend it on a holiday to (bike park of your choosing), those seconds will be so much better.
  • 13 0
 Imagine how much faster an average rider could become with seven grand of fitness coaching, custom bike set-up, coaching, and travel to challenging trails - or just work less and have more time to ride.
  • 1 0
 @DirkMcClerkin: you make a good point. someone fast can beat someone slow on a fully rigid bike. You can’t buy talent or conditioning.
  • 5 0
 @hankj: Booooo! We do not like smart and responsible financial decisions!
  • 124 0
 That's a really well spec'd bike for that price. Seems like Shimano builds are always decent quality, SLX or XT for a good price and the SRAM builds are always way more expensive and full of NX and SX crap. This is a bike you could actually buy complete and feel good about most of the crucial, moving parts on it.
  • 47 2
 If only SRAM would update their SX/NX lines to at least the level of Deore. That alone would have such a big impact on the affordable mountain bike market.
  • 13 1
 @Braapp: It's not about Sram updating to Deore level, it's Sram lowering their margin (since SX is totally cheap stuff), this will never happen.
  • 30 0
 @Braapp: Yeah I don't know why more companies spec Deore I have a full Deore drivetrain and 4 piston Deore brakes on my Fuse. For the price the stuff works amazing.
  • 17 3
 @Garantson: Package deals - SRAM will give a nice price on suspension, high end drivetrains, etc if the company comits to a certain number of NX/SX drivetrains, for one. Another reason is all Shimano stuff has been hard to come by over the past two years.
  • 3 0
 @Garantson: probably has a lot to do with getting the total OEM package including suspension from sram
  • 14 1
 @Garantson: Supply chain issues. Shimano has not been great at reliably delivering massive amounts of parts ordered by brands. Which is a shame - I've put Deore/SLX parts on both my wife's and my bikes, and damn, they're reliable, work well, easy to maintain (no DOT fluid in the garage - priceless). And were reasonably priced.
  • 6 8
 !!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes well spec'd , but...................as usually crappy rear hub needs an expensive upgrade. Every bike I buy and my friends new bikes always need a DT 350 upgrade. which ads another 1000. Drives me nuts they cant make a solid hub for a 5000CAD bike
  • 12 6
 @Jonzi: A new DT 350 rear hub is like $200 plus another $25-$50 for a shop to remount your rim and spokes. Where's that extra $750 going?
  • 4 0
 @g-42: yeah totally understand it's just the shame more bike companies can't spec Deore or SLX on lower and bikes cuz the stuff works so well.
  • 2 0
 @schu2470: so $1000CAD is about $740USD. But your point still stands. I'm going to guess that the extra $500ish is going into a new wheelset since you start seeing the real cost (don't forget new spokes if the hub diameters don't match up) and start thinking an upgrade makes more sense.
  • 4 3
 @j-t-g: who are the idiots who downvoted you for stating a literal fact?
  • 5 5
 @BobbyHillbomb: Most people rejected His message. They hated j-t-g because He told them the truth.
  • 4 0
 Normally a carbon frame is costing about € 1.000 more than a alloy frame. Add another € 1.000 for some higher spec brakes, wheels and the Yeti should cost about € 6.000 compared to the Norco Smile
  • 5 5
 In Canada a new dt350 hub is 450CAD if you can get one at the moment . I was referring to buying a DT1700 full wheelset . To get a restrung wheel with a DT350 is about 650
  • 11 3
 @Jonzi: "need"??? Has a cheap-ish rear hub ever ruined your ride? How is upgrading the hub a "need"? I've ridden plenty of mediocre OEM hubs and while they're nothing to write home about, they haven't had any trouble. Ok, a slightly poppy freehub needs re-greasing after a season. heavy. meh engagement. but TOTALLY RIDEABLE.

PS: I like nice things and usually will upgrade wheels with DT hubs and lighter rims. It's very very nice. I still have a great time without them.
  • 21 0
 I was surprised that in a world of $6K+ NX builds they described XT as a "solid, workhorse drivetrain". At this price point it's an unexpected luxury, and I'd happily run XT on a far more expensive build.
  • 6 3
 www.dunbarcycles.com/brands/dtswiss

$439. Plus tax plus and labour which is a 100 and spokes which are 90. It adds up fast.
  • 9 2
 @dontcoast: yes it actually has a few times. As well as friends rides. I am 215lbs and fit. I technical steep climbs, and they have broken. Then its downtime and hassle. Maybe a lighter rider riding different terrain will be fine.
  • 4 0
 @dontcoast: Ive mostly certainly had a cheap hub ruin a ride. I've had Dtswiss 370 (the old pawl ones) and the very hubs that are on this Fluid break mid ride forcing me to walk back to the car.

I agree though, the lower engagement and weight weren't ruining the ride. Sure it could be better but it was functional (until it wasn't)
  • 4 0
 @Jonzi: fair enough - i can crank pretty damn hard including steep tech, but at 150-165lb I just don't beat on things the same way.

I remember a 250lb customer folding over a 50t NX cog, I try to keep that in mind for perspective lol.
  • 3 0
 @plyawn: I’m running XT on both my bikes. It works, reasonable light, strong and reliable. Love it.
  • 9 0
 I don’t think that’s on SRAM, that’s on product managers at bike companies. They’re the ones who spec bikes out. NX/SX was intended for entry level bikes (and I don’t mean the new norm of $5k entry level bikes) which is where it belongs. What annoys me to no end is product managers at Yeti, Santa Cruz, et al. specing NX/SX on $6k bikes. That’s GX/X01/XT territory.
  • 5 0
 @dontcoast: I think a smooth freewheel is super important for the ride. Not just for efficiency or pumping, but just that it helps with keeping the chain on. If the freehub isn't smooth and you're coasting (I know your username says don't, but I like to) and especially when pumping, it pushes the top part of the chain forwards causing it to go slack. You can have all the clutch you want, but it is not going to help for the upper part. If you backpedal slightly and immediately push forwards again (like you'd do when ratcheting), this could derail the chain. The less smooth the freehub, the more it will push the top part of the chain.

Now, I'm not talking about points of engagement. I'd say more points of engagement could theoretically make the freehub less smooth but I haven't made comparisons. DT Swiss offers different star ratchets so I could try that if I wanted to go German-like scientific. I'm not saying this is reserved for super expensive freehubs either as a regular Shimano freehub is more than smooth enough.

But yeah, a hub with a not so smooth freehub could ruin your ride as you'd drop your chain more. If you do coast, that is.
  • 6 1
 @Hayek: don’t give sram a pass here - they are still charging over $300 USD for a drivetrain that is worth maybe $120. Although insignificant when compared to the total cost of a bike, it’s significant by itself. And tbh NX/SX should be given away for free it’s so bad. I’ve broken every single NX drivetrain (3) within a month of getting a new ride. I literally will pre order a better drivetrain just so I don’t lose time waiting for parts to ship after the inevitable shit the bed of the garbage sram product.
  • 3 0
 @snowwcold55: I’m not going to pretend I know what cost and margins look like on NX/SX, and I doubt you do either. And forget NX/SX, what I’m talking about is entry-level product in general getting specd on expensive bikes. I work as an economist for a large consumer products company and work trying to understanding what distinct consumer segments need in terms of product/experience in according retail channel. I would never put the onus on our suppliers for determining the experience of OUR consumers. It’s on us to ensure product meets their needs. We are responsible to the consumer for the decisions made in our supply chain. I don’t care how bad the brakes or the drivetrain or the dropper are that came on your bike, the responsible party is Yeti/SC/Trek/Norco etc. not the B2B parts supplier that’s 2+ stages removed from the consumer in the supply chain. If the parts don’t meet snuff for the destined consumer, that’s between product managers at those two companies. I can imagine NX being a nice option on a $650 hardtail rather than a 3x8 Altus drivetrain that usually comes on bikes in that range. On a $6k mountain bike destined for actual riding? No, that’s criminally stupid. But that decision needs to reflect on the company that made it. We all know that bikes in that price range deserve XT/XO1/GX parts and a failure there is on the company that made the decision, not on SRAM or Shimano.
  • 1 0
 @Hayek: Oh no, I totally agree that at the end of the day the brand is also responsible (perhaps even more so) than the OEM, I'm just saying that they are still selling said product to the brands and are capitalizing on the fact that Shimano was hampered by serious supply-chain issues and held the market somewhat hostage. And your right, brands could've 100% went with TRP or a different manufacturer, but when Sram comes in and offers a package deal on suspension, brakes and drivetrain, and there really isn't anyone else competing, they can take advantage of that. I'm not saying that it's wrong - I'm just saying that SRAM will hopefully get destroyed once Shimano gets their shit together with Deore and their supply chain.
  • 2 0
 @snowwcold55: Not sure whether this is actually the case but often it feels like Shimano and Fox have some kind of alliance so they can often offer an OEM package similar to what SRAM does. If Hayes/Manitou could hook up with Sunrace or Box and Suntour hooks up with TRP (as Suntour doesn't make brakes) this could make for some more varied OEM market. Formula (brakes and suspension) could also take the place of Hayes/Manitou but being able to offer the cockpit and wheels is probably important too in that market. Or DT Swiss instead of Suntour but I feel DT Swiss is probably more than popular enough in that market already.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: A smooth coasting mechanism is for sure important!

I have not found freehub binding / chain push to be an issue on new wheels with cheap-ish hubs (with a couple exceptions) - rather that they need service sooner than a higher quality hub. so if you can clean and grease the thing occasionally, you don't "need" a nice hub to have a good bike ride.

As said before, I'm a sucker for DT swiss wheels on every bike (except the non-coasting one Wink )

What I was responding to was the comment about having to upgrade hubs. I think the mentality of "OEM wheels suck, you have to upgrade" is inaccurate and the kind of attitude that makes the sport seem way less accessible than it is. SOME riders need and/or want nice wheels (i do!) but OEM wheels work perfectly fine for most riders.
  • 2 0
 @dontcoast: Ah, that's where your username comes from Wink . I've got a mountain unicycle, can't coast either Smile . I do agree on your statement that one needs fancy hubs. I started on Deore hubs. These had dust wipers but no mud seal. I was happy to upgrade to an LX rear hub at some point which did have a mud seal. But my front brake was a disc brake, there were no LX disc brake hubs and XT was prohibitively expensive for me at the time. It was a couple of years until I laced my first wheel around an XT hub. Nothing of it all kept me from riding the hell out of what I had. I really liked Shimano hubs as despite of what people say, they were cheap to maintain. Cone spanners are cheap, bearing grease and 1/4" balls are readily available. You can make them run as smooth as you want. I wouldn't be surprised if people spend more on cartridge bearings than what an XT hub costs. So yeah I agree with you that what's being featured and discussed here on Pinkbike might put off a new/young rider. Glad that when I started out, I wasn't aware of any of this!
  • 86 0
 I get that the bikes on test were mostly the blinged out top-end versions. However, aside from the aluminum framed Fuel EX8, the affordable version of the other bikes on test aren’t as well equipped for the price. I’m okay with 10k bikes, even if I’m unlikely to buy one. I’m not okay with 4-6k bikes that need upgrades and parts swaps out of the box.

Are you listening Santa Cruz???
  • 19 1
 Given the suspension parts on the Norco, I'd give this an edge over an EX-8 as far as value goes...
  • 20 0
 Santa Cruz won't listen and its why everyone needs to shop around and not just gravitate to whatever their bros our riding
  • 5 0
 need? lol.
  • 16 25
flag hamncheez (Dec 8, 2022 at 8:11) (Below Threshold)
 the point of a mountain bike when you're in your 40s is to show off to your coworkers, not to go fast or appease some mythical "performance to price" ratio.
  • 41 1
 @hamncheez: i thought the point of biking in your 40’s was to burn off people in their 30’s on the trails you’ve ridden for the past 2 decades.
  • 23 0
 I'm happy being in my late 40s and still being able to ride at a level that impresses my teenage son.
  • 13 0
 @lumpy873: Ditto. Not that I give a f*ck what that little punk thinks. Wait.
  • 17 0
 @hamncheez: As a guy in my 50s, I can assure you that for me, as well as for pretty much all of my riding partners, the point of a mountain bike is to get out and ride, because it's hella fun. Now some of my riding partners ride more expensive bikes. For them, it's a matter of buying what they like, and having it make sense because they ride it 5+ times a week. None of them use their bikes as status symbols. So perhaps you hang out around the wrong 40 people in their 40s?
  • 7 0
 I thought the point of riding in your late 40's is so you could watch your teenage son handle trails in his first 3 months of riding that took me 10 years - skidding down the mountainside , dealing with bad geometry - to master.
  • 4 0
 @Stoaks: I can only impress him on downhills and jumping.. He did his first NICA season last year and started smoking my old, fat ass on the climbs.. But, he's alot more fun to ride with than before that..
  • 9 3
 SRAM is the main proponent hot garbage componentry in budget builds. You could ride Deore for a few seasons and be perfectly fine. SX and NX are for department store bikes.
  • 2 0
 @g-42: you’re making way too much sense. Didn’t you know the internet is where you’re supposed to be judgmental with no basis of reality?
  • 6 0
 @fentoncrackshell: Shimano definitely has done a better job on the lower end component groups. Deore is really good for the price...
  • 6 10
flag TheRamma (Dec 8, 2022 at 11:31) (Below Threshold)
 has anyone owned a Deore 12 spd drivetrain? I have. It's not great. Noticeably worse shifting than GX, X01, TRP 12 spd (haven't owned any other 12 speed drivetrains, yet).

The derailleur is a weak link. It's not SX bad, but it's flexy and prone to all sorts of issues with the clutch. That drivetrain has been over-hyped on this sub since before anybody rode it.

I'm not saying it's "bad," but it's not significantly better than NX. Both get the job done about the same, and have similar reliability.
  • 8 0
 @lumpy873: Same boat, bro.

This was my son's 5th NICA (now Georgia Cycling Assoc.) season. As a sophomore, the lights came on this year -- he got a bunch stronger and more coordinated. I can't keep him on the climbs at all any more, but I can usually reel him in on the downs and in the twisty, techy stuff. I'm guessing that advantage goes away next season at this rate.

But yeah, he's my riding partner now and I wouldn't trade that for the world.
  • 1 0
 @stevemokan: Sorry, my mistake Wink
  • 2 0
 @Stoaks: awesome! Enjoy the good times!
  • 5 0
 @TheRamma: The stock NX derailleur and shifter that came on my bike was fine out of the box. Needed one little tweak on the barrel adjuster after a couple weeks as the cable did it's initial bit of stretch, then worked just fine - for about a month or so. And then it needed more and more little adjustments, despite no impact. Shifting got sloppier. And needed them more and more frequently. I put a Deore derailleur on instead - and have since then only needed to fiddle with it if it took a hit and I need to get the alignment tool out to tweak the derailleur hanger. I ride about 4-5x/week spring through fall, about 2x/week in deep dark winter. Same thing held true for my wife's setup. YMMV - for me, Deore has proven itself reliable and non-fussy, and NX has shown itself to be less than that.
  • 3 0
 @TheRamma: Yeah my deore 12 is great sometimes, and poor other times. Very inconsistent. Shifts super smooth sometimes better than gx, but not always. Gx is a little rougher but more consistent more reliable. More sensitive to lube, accidently go one ride too many between lubes and deore shifts noticeably worse than when properly lubed. I don't remember that being an issue with 9 and 10 speeds. But the deore has taken a few knocks so take that with a grain of salt, but even new it was that way. It's not that bad, I'd still buy again for sure, but people saying deore is perfect/flawless annoys me too. I like gx better, but if price is considered deore punches way above it's weight.
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: Mostly riding solo.

And when we ride alone, we prefer to be by ourselves.

~ Hat tip to George Thorogood
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: replace “mountain bike” with “sports car” and you might be onto something…..
  • 3 0
 @wyorider: no, sports car no longer works because it doesn't allow you to pretend that you exercise. This is why something like a pinarello road bike also no longer works- you cannot pretend to exercise on a road bike. Once you don the lycra its pretty clear if you are fit or not. A Santa Cruz mountain bike leaves the perfect level of ambiguity.
  • 3 0
 @hamncheez: another popular choice is a gravel bike. You can wear baggies and a flannel instead of Lycra but still try to blend in with your hygienists on their drop bar bikes.
  • 1 0
 @TheRamma: deore 10 speed might be unmatched though.
  • 2 0
 @Dickolas-Nicholas: for sure. you can usually get Shimano stuff aftermarket dirt cheap.
  • 1 0
 @tjcayou: Or in my case an 8yo on a 24” Polygon…
  • 84 11
 What would be reasonable, would be to turn off auto play for all videos
  • 9 1
 I'm assuming they have autoplay turned on because that's a guaranteed view when you open the page. I haven't actually watched a single one of these videos while reading these reviews, but their view count still went up because of me.
  • 18 1
 With that said, if you go to your profile, click edit profile, click video playback settings, you can toggle autoplay on/off.

*Update: I just tried it, have autoplay turned off, and the dang ol' thing still autoplays!! Come on man!
  • 2 0
 Am I the only one who has pb videos stop playing after a few minutes. I have to watch on YouTube if I want to see whole video.
  • 5 9
flag madmon (Dec 8, 2022 at 8:20) (Below Threshold)
 @schulte1400: i agree with safari it works great so I use it for PinkBike and Chrome for the rest. I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE 8 YEAR OLD WHINE COMMING FROM TOUGH MOUNTAIN BIKERS. You cry babies are uber embarrassing
  • 1 0
 @schulte1400: A youtube video has to play for 30 seconds before it's counted as a view. I wonder what the ratio is between the number of people that stop the video vs those that just let is play? They're not getting a view for every page visit, but I'm sure they're getting more from those that don't bother.

The other item that been shown with autoplay is that many people who may not have actually clicked to watch the video get drawn in and end up watching even if they never intended to... so they're getting more "real" views with autoplay as well.
  • 10 7
 Would it be reasonable to turn off the autoplay comments. Who gives a poop? Its free content, they can do whatever they like.
  • 2 1
 @Monkeyass: there are many of us pinkers who have data limits so the autoplay sucks for that.
  • 2 1
 @schulte1400: still plays even after I found the box to check…you’ve got be on the desktop version of the site to see the option, but why have it? It does nothing!
  • 1 0
 @schulte1400: it’s a guarantee I’ll go straight to the comments to bitch, then go right over to Vital instead.
  • 1 0
 @schulte1400: I have. It doesn’t do anything, I have a browser add on for home but it still auto plays on mobile.
  • 1 0
 Im ok with autoplay. If they get higher view counts they get more money from their parent company. As someone who doesn't pay for the content I don't really think I have a right to b*tch and moan about a very well produced video playing that is exactly related to the content that I clicked on. What the hell is everyone's problem with this? Seriously. How bad is it to pause a video?
  • 72 4
 since when is full XT a solid, workhorse drivetrain? I'd say that about Deore or SLX...
  • 8 0
 Written in anticipation of Shimano's wireless system coming out Smile
  • 17 9
 SLX is great (absolutely is) but just a tad flimsy when it comes to durability. Full XT is basically bomb proof and worth every penny of the additional expense in my opinion
  • 16 4
 @SATN-XC: what? more aluminium is more sturdy? Marketing has its claws in deep. Deore will outlast xt all day. heavier for a reason. its steel.... not soft aluminum xt.
  • 9 0
 @ridingofthebikes: You're generally correct, but the turnbuckles on SLX derailleurs are a weaker plastic compound. Ask me how I found that out Frown
  • 34 1
 @steezysam, since the advent of expensive wireless drivetrains. XT is a great drivetrain - by workhorse I meant it’s something that performs well without needing any extra attention paid to it. And you’re right, the same term can be applied to Deore and SLX - they work great, and aren’t crazy expensive.
  • 5 0
 @ridingofthebikes: not marketing, just commenting on experience. Have a few full SLX and XT builds. Don't get me wrong though, I wouldn't write-off a bike just b/c of SLX, it's great, but my XT builds have always been more durable.
  • 4 0
 @ridingofthebikes: idk my last deore derailleur got pretty floppy pretty quickly.
  • 1 4
 Its solid until you go through your first big rock garden and the mech explodes…
  • 6 2
 Amen. I'd say SLX is easily the equivalent of GX - works well, for a long time. Yep, the cassette is a little heavier. It also doesn't creak. The shift quality between GX and SLX is generally a matter of preference - some people prefer the feel of one over the other - not of performance. Except for upshifts under power - that's a thing the Shimano 12 speed drivetrains have over their SRAM counterparts - may not be important to most people, but it's nice to have. The big difference, though, is that Deore level - because that simply doesn't exist in SRAM land. NX and Deore are NOT anywhere near the same level of performance and reliability. The NX drivetrain will feel and perform OK for a little while, and then will rapidly deteriorate and require more and more frequent adjustment. And don't even start with SX, that's just hot flaming garbage.
  • 1 1
 @enki: turnbuckles? I suggest you read about the multiple xtr derailleur failures on the 12 speed stuff due to them removing to much material for lightness.
  • 2 0
 @SATN-XC: sounds annecdotal. maybe you take care of xt more because its expensive.
  • 3 0
 @adrennan: hmm. I dont see it. steel pins are steel pins. what is xt using thats more durable? nothing.... the answer is nothing. its a weight savings upgrade, not durability. with lightness comes faster wear almost always. most reviews for Deore state it's heavy but designed for the long haul due to it.
  • 7 0
 @ridingofthebikes: The exception is the shifter...the XT shifter is a definite step up in functionality over the SLX.
  • 1 0
 @j-t-g: Sorry to say, but that ain't happenin anytime soon
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: thanks for clarifying!
my personal setup is XT shifter and cassette, SLX mech, Deore cranks... best of all worlds while saving some weight and some money?
  • 1 0
 It’s totally a solid workhorse drivetrain. My XT derailleur takes a beating and it shifts like it’s new. It’s just lighter and therefore not as cheap
  • 4 0
 @olafthemoose: I guess it's just about the connotation of "solid, workhorse". To me that implies something not fancy, and I think XT is at least a little fancy to most of us
  • 3 2
 in my experience deore outperforms gx by a mile. slx is at least x01 level and i did not ride an sram product on xt level yet, if it comes to performance and reliability.

the clutch of my gx is weak making the bike louder. the derailor stands out way to much making it a victim of rock strikes and branches quickly. i broke the x01 shiftlever after few kilometers. x01 needed more power to shift than my deore. multiple shifts at once are not a thing with sram, a massive deficit in rolling terrain. shimano chains last longer. shifting is much smoother with shimano cassettes.

sram drivetrains are just not at the same quality level, and have worse value. there is no reason for going sram except longing for electronic shifting (which i do not want on my bikes).
  • 2 0
 @dtheio: oof, there's one in every comments section. Just send me all those inferior X01 drivetrains, I'll happily trade them for those super durable Deore ones. Everybody knows that Shimano makes the best chains and cassettes (/s).

In seriousness, this is about as sane as saying SRAM has the best clutches. maybe don't blame manufacturers in place of whoever set up your X01 drivetrain...
  • 2 0
 @dtheio: let me preface this with I prefer shimano drive trains to sram. But how did you break the shift lever? Those don’t break from normal riding. You can also absolutely jump up a couple gears with sram. And xo1 took more power to shift? What do you mean by that? Sram shifts worse under load so I’m confused by that statement. And sram chains (xo1 and xx1) absolutely outlast Shimano chains. Several studies have been done on that.
Sram clutches are pretty bad, wearing out extremely quickly and aren’t that firm to begin with. They don’t shift quite as well under load too, but other than that they are great, and most of the difference is personal preference
  • 60 0
 "There are lighter & livelier options in this travel bracket"
Sure...but what about in this price bracket?
  • 23 0
 This is the right question to ask here.
  • 20 0
 The Optic C3 is only $300 more and would probably address the lighter livelier thing. And it has a chain guide!

So I guess Norco is kinda crushing it
  • 8 0
 They had to find something wrong. The bike could have the exact geo, suspension feel and the bells and whistles they are looking for with a 50 price point a lifetime warranty and zero maintenance. They would be like “ don’t like how the bolts look”
  • 26 0
 @ReformedRoadie, I’d put the YT Izzo into that lighter and livelier category, and it comes in at a decent price as well.
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: Speaking of YT, wouldn't the Jeffsy be more of an analog to this bike?
  • 2 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: jeffsy would be super interesting to hear about. Core 4 is 5k with the same or better spec than the yeti and sc.
  • 1 0
 @Monkeyass: Yeah, that's a screaming deal for Fox Factory suspension and X01 drivetrain!
  • 13 0
 But sort of sums up how crazy their pricing is. You could buy the jeffsy 4 and a full price yeti frame, swop the parts and still save 1k without selling the jeffsy frame.
  • 53 1
 This fluid could really help me maintain liquidity.
  • 21 2
 I think my fluid just shifted downcountry
  • 3 2
 Explore the fluid
  • 3 1
 @dudeyouwin: underrated comment
  • 2 0
 Norco have a wide range, it's a sight to behold...
  • 6 1
 The optics of a $3,999 bike performing as well as those in out-of-sight price ranges should lead to a torrent of customers storming and rampaging in search of the revolving doors of their nearest Norco dealer.
  • 1 0
 @isilverman: yeah this guy works at a norco dealer for sure. Nice work. You nearly got all of them, just didn’t cover the entire shoreline. Aurum.
  • 1 0
 @isilverman: One of my LBS has Santacruz, Yeti and Norco, I wonder how happy they are to know that people can reduce their spend by over half to get a just as good bike Smile
  • 2 1
 @olafthemoose: Aurum (clears throat). Missed opportunity for shore.
  • 37 0
 Buy this, pack it up and then spend $6000 on the vacation of your life.... or maybe just a flight and hostel and eating cat food, whatever $6000 buys now.
  • 15 0
 Maybe Friskies...Blue Buffalo, forget it.
  • 6 0
 6k left over and you can spend a summer in BC, or travel the western US for a few months ticking hero trails off the list. Maybe even spend some time skiing big lines when the snow starts to pile upon the high country.
  • 3 0
 Buy two....everyone needs a backup bike
  • 13 8
 these comments kinda make me laugh, as if people just magically appear with $10,000 for a bike budget, decide to pick a cheap option, and then just have the rest of that $10,000 to further spend on bike needs. Most people will either save up, sell older bikes, put on layaway or even borrow the exact amount for the bike they are looking at. Not over-save or decide to take out $10,000 in savings to just throw around at biking because they saved money on a Norco. It's so hypothetical.
  • 8 2
 Or buy $6000 in stocks at their current discount and retire a full year earlier.
  • 4 0
 @ridingofthebikes: A lot of manufacturers and shops offer financing with pay bright and other services. If it gets people on a bike, who don't have that money sitting around, then the companies are all for it. So someone could presumably choose the more value oriented bike and think to themselves: "pay it off in 2 years, then go on a trip, or pay it off in 4 years and don't go on a trip.

Companies always want your money, whether you have it or not. Don't go into debt for biking, its supposed to be a relaxing escape, not a burdensome shackle to the modern world.

does Norco need a new copywrite advertiser?
  • 3 0
 @jrfields: the thinking man's solution
  • 9 0
 @jrfields: or buy the cheaper bike, and apply the same "buy stuff that's 60% the cost of top tier but provides you all of the benefits you're looking for, realistically speaking" habits across the rest of your life, need less income as a result, work less, play more, ride your bike more, and be happier and less stressed for the rest of your days.
  • 10 0
 @jrfields: I know a lot of people who get to ride their top-tier bikes once per week if that, while driving their top-tier car to their high paying high stress 50+ hour per week job after dropping the kids off at the $15k/yr private school, while managing their house remodel in the evenings and weekends to stay up on current design trends and impress their friends. Top-tier everything costs a lot in terms of money, and time, and stress. We've all got a limited number of hours, I want to spend my hours on my mid-tier bike 5 times per week.
  • 1 1
 @Rexuis-Twin: I have used layaway option in the past if the shop allows it. I get a substantial bonus for Christmas which I factored in which has helped, SO a picked up a bike on sale in November on a downpayment I could afford, and took two months during the winter to pay it off and brought home a new bike in January without paying any interest as long as you know you can fork out the $1000 a month or so plus whatever else comes along, that was a great option for me, but not every shop will offer this.
  • 2 0
 @ridingofthebikes: It's not a bad thing. I had a similar arrangement with a shop when I was a kid back in the day. I just wanted to point out that you could buy either the Norco, or the Yeti right now. Even if you didn't have a rack laying around.

You're using financing the right way.
But companies won't stop you from using it the wrong way too.

You could walk into a Range Rover dealership and drive away with a $100 000 car in half an hour. And the sales people would congratulate you for making the best decision of your life.
  • 3 0
 @rickybobby18: Exactly! Mathematically, spending less has more bearing on long-term wealth than making more (to a point, obviously), and we have far more control over what we spend than what we make. And, yeah, after a certain amount spending more generally leads to more complications.
  • 2 0
 @jrfields: "Mo' Money, mo' Problems"

Translation: spending more generally leads to more complications.
  • 2 0
 @rickybobby18: I catch hell from my coworkers all the time about not working overtime. Easy money, sure. But as long as I'm at work I'm not enjoying my life.
  • 4 4
 Spend $6000 on guns guns and ammo
  • 2 0
 @ridingofthebikes: I think the comments are aimed at those who are considering to buy one of the 5 digit bikes? They should have the money available. But they can still choose to spend it in a different way.
  • 31 0
 Imagine dropping $7k more for truly marginal gains (if any) rather than, IDK, buying a reasonably priced longer-travel bike AND maybe a gravel/XC/road/hardtail bike too with that money.
  • 21 3
 Or taking some vacations to rad places with the money. Maybe hire a skills coach to improve the riding skills.

Naaah. Just slag on “poor people” who can’t afford a five figure bike, complain about the weight of bikes that are meant to be thrashed, then put your tablet away and ride home from the coffee shop on the bike path.
  • 14 3
 Whatever, peasant
  • 4 0
 Mark my words, for 99% of mountain bikers - even fairly regular riders and true enthusiasts - there will be zero performance gain. The fact is, you typically become accustomed to your bike over time and eventually the limiting factor becomes your willingness/comfort with the speed you are traveling - not the bike.

This is not to say that some components don't add appreciably to your comfort level and speed. Specifically, geometry/fit, tires, suspension components (if well set up) + travel and brakes. But in this case, there are plenty of bikes out there for $5k or less that offer top-tier geometry, brakes and suspension. There is zero gained by paying for the more expensive bikes like SC, Yeti, etc.
  • 1 0
 @KJP1230: and components can be upgraded over time, which is much easier than having to shell out $thousands up front.
  • 2 0
 I'd gladly pay $7,000 to learn Matt Beers rising position and posture. Man he looks good on a bike.
PB how about a slow motion video of just Matt turns and drops?
  • 34 7
 Obligatory "Autoplay sucks balls" comment.
  • 12 1
 really does
  • 6 0
 It’s the headset cable routing of the internet.
  • 1 0
 scroll down
  • 21 0
 With the modern, balanced geometry, the well-made frame, sensible spec choice, the RideAligned guide and all the little details sorted, Norco truly does go the extra mile with their bikes. The Fluid FS should quickly and easily become the default recommendation to anybody new to the sport, looking for their first serious mountainbike.
  • 6 0
 Good thoughts. I'd like to see a side-by-side between the Fluid and a similarly specc'd Marin Rift. Those two seem to be leading for best value from the larger companies. Some of the direct to consumer options are pretty nice as well!
  • 5 0
 Very true. The RideAligned could be a big deal when getting into the sport. Makes recommending them easy as you said. Good job Norco!
  • 4 0
 @ryan-pnw: Right, I'd like to see that aswell. In generall I'd really like to see more budget-friendly stuff around here. Something like a round-up of budget-friendly-but-serious mountainbikes that can be had for less than 3k. That would be nice.
  • 1 2
 @Muscovir: I had nothing but trouble with those hubs when I had my Optic. I broke them literally day 1. And then two more times in the next 1.5 months. I have a bit of a history of being hard on low end hubs but those ones were pretty frustrating.
  • 2 0
 @ryan-pnw: Both are at the top of my list. Marin has a slight edge right now because it is available more local. Spesh status 140 is the wildcard right now. I want to give one a ride though. The reach on the S4 just seems so long.
  • 2 1
 @Muscovir: A field test or roundup of half a dozen bikes $4k and below would be great. They are out there, they just don't make the articles as often, and a lot of them are specc'd pretty well when you consider they are less than half the price of a lot of the featured bikes. Sometime the spec is actually fairly close still, which is baffling. When you've got 10K+ bikes with GX instead of X01/XX1 and non-factory Fox, geez. IIRC, the $4k mid-travel Commencal that was just released had a really good spec as well, add that one to the Fluid and Rift and a Vitus or something and we've got something interesting to talk about.
  • 4 0
 @mtmc99: I hear ya - low-end hubs suck. I may be a bit of an outlier (destroyed Hope 4s...), but I've just accepted the fact that no matter what bike I buy, I'll end up with a DT Swiss 350 rear hub, laced to something sturdy like a beefy Spank or DT Swiss rim. Life's too short to deal with hub warranties.
  • 3 0
 @ryan-pnw: You mean like the value bike field test that Pinkbike does? But then maybe just a tad higher in price point? German magazines do this a lot. They pick a price point and do a group test.
  • 21 0
 So, a solid bike at a decent price. Only your skill level with slow you down for trail riding. What's not to like?
  • 20 1
 The riders bike
  • 12 2
 Shocking.

A bike that doesn’t cost a fortune.
Durable (time will tell) without being over built
Right there with the carbon frames on weight.
No headset routing
Bottle cage in triangle

My question to myself: Is 140 too much for what I typically ride that isn’t lift serviced. I still think yes.
  • 5 0
 Only the fork is 140. The rear end is 130.
  • 2 2
 Would be perfect if it was 150 front and rear
  • 4 0
 @wolftwenty1: cascade components: now this looks like a job for me
  • 1 0
 Replying to myself: 130 would be awesome!

Me also: 33lbs for 130? NO WAY
  • 1 0
 @itslightoutandawaywego: more travel isn't more heavy
  • 13 0
 Arrghhh... $4049?! We gotta ditch the Kashima from that shock, guys. *ok*. $3999, ahhh, perfect!
  • 16 0
 The bike will split in half with the front moving faster then the rear.
  • 8 0
 I also like how Levy mentioned it may be better as an aggressive bike for east coast trails. I wish these bike manufacturers would realize that not everyone lives in the Pacific Northwest and we don't want a crazy low and slack bike. I really would like to see a field test done in central Pennsylvania someday.
  • 1 0
 100%
  • 7 0
 Well done Norco! Solid spec at a really reasonable price. With the money saved, upgrade to a lighter wheelset to get a little more lively feel and still have enough money to avoid a divorce.. I hope Norco sells a ton of these and the big 3 take notice...
  • 7 0
 Being around for a long time, the second I saw this bike, I thought 90's Kona. I know, times have changed, geo, wheels, tires, brakes, gear count. But his is like a retro classic. AND is in line with the price of a 90's XT spec bike, with inflation, of course.
  • 8 0
 I know that comments are required to be about the cable routing and price or the video player . . . But I like the color. That's a good green and I bet it would look even better coated with a thin layer of dust.
  • 11 0
 Norco $4k bike with grip2 damper.
Santa Cruz $9.8k bike with grip damper.
  • 3 4
 Good point since that’s the only difference between the two, the damper in the fork.
  • 9 0
 The green sure is nice. I'm really digging that there are lots of colors in this test.
  • 9 0
 "I didn't feel 7000 dollars difference"

That sentence right there basically says it all.
  • 8 0
 It's hilarious that this bike costs less than half the Yeti or Santa Cruz, is Aluminium, no carbon wheels, and basically weighs the same.
  • 9 0
 Norco is the people's bike.
  • 14 7
 The more years you ride, the less important top-tier componentry becomes. Pound-for-pound, this bike is a VERY solid value. LMAO @ wireless shifting.
  • 2 1
 I like wireless shifting. And the derailleurs are crazy durable. However, not worth the insane up charge for it.
  • 3 0
 @Ososmash: yeah until the clutch wears out in a month. Wireless for sure is cool but quiet bikes that don’t drop their chain is way cooler
  • 1 0
 @olafthemoose: meh, my clutches are all the same as when I installed them (not as great as other derailleurs) and I haven't had issues with dropped chains.
  • 7 0
 Looks like the test bike had a different spec on the seat post. Per the website only smalls get 170mm dropper and all other sizes get 200mm now.
  • 3 0
 Are you sure? That'd be great, but I'm still seeing 170mm listed for sizes M-L.
  • 4 0
 @mikekazimer: Yeah. I'm wrong. I miss read the funky font on their website.
  • 6 0
 Are you guys implying that you don't need a 170mm 29er out in the east coast BEAST COAST BROTHER?? Blasphemy
-signed, every other endurobro on the east coast riding an enduro and thinks we are in Les Gets
  • 5 0
 My only complaint is Norco's pricing in Europe. The entry level Fluid FS A4 is sold in the US for 1999$, which is a great deal, in the EU for 2899€ !!!!!
This makes a Polygon Siskiu, Marin Rift Zone or Canyon Spectral a much better deal.
Its a shame since I really like the look of the Norco frame best.
  • 1 0
 Yeah, this is sort of a problem. Norcos are very hard to get in Europe and they are also disproportionately more expensive than in North America.
  • 1 0
 Norco reduced the price of the A4 by 100€. And some dealers are already selling the A3 for 2699€ … Maybe there’s hope. Smile
  • 1 0
 @Muscovir: Norco A3 price is now 2499€... almost competitive.
  • 5 0
 Alloy bikes are legit. Just look at what ibis has done—I tried finding a new Ripley AF to buy earlier this year and basically called every dealership within 500 miles to find the size and build I wanted. Everyone one was completely sold out.
  • 1 0
 Damn that sucks, Im looking at that bike too.
  • 2 0
 Jenson USA has some in stock, if you don't mind using an online retailer.

www.jensonusa.com/trail-all-mountain-mountain-bikes
  • 1 0
 One of the local Ibis dealers has stopped having them in the shop as the waiting list means people won't be able to get a bike for a year or so...
  • 1 0
 Ibis was still shipping the discounted af's to dealers if they asked. I just bought one from the Bike Co in Lake Forest California. They shipped it to my house for free and no tax. I had the bike in a week. Plus they changed out whatever parts I wanted (saddle and grips) for free. Super awesome to work with.
  • 1 0
 @bones89: that’s awesome! Wish I had know about them earlier this year. I ended up spending a lot more $$ to buy an SC Bronson, which is a fun ride, but way more bike than I need for my local trails.
  • 1 0
 @tacofeet: Nice That grey color and yellow looks so sweet.
  • 5 0
 The chain ring issue would be solved by getting rid of the Praxis chainring. The M Wave design sucks. I’ve seen a load of Giant full susses with those chain rings and they keep dropping chains. Swap it for anything narrow/wide and the problem is solved. I’ve done this loads of time bow and Giant were good enough to do it under warranty. Every time it solved the problem.
  • 6 1
 This is the trail bike that most people need. Swap a 36 on if you're a clydesdale and you're set. Maybe some lighter bits as time goes on. I'll be recommending this to folks who ask.
  • 4 0
 I have been recommending this bike to people since I first saw it on paper. The value for money is great for people who are looking to get into (or back into in many cases) mountain biking at the $5000ish pricepoint. I am still a value driven mountain biker even after many years of riding and working in a bike shop (previously). I can afford more expensive bikes, but I can't bring my self to spend it. That's why I'm on a privateer 141. It's heavy but the value for money is pretty hard to beat. I'm stoked to see Norco competing in the value segment with a good aluminum trail bike.
  • 1 0
 I'm also on the 141, which seems to share a similar "mix-max" ethos to the fluid. I can imagine owning this bike for a very long time.
  • 4 0
 My problem with these reviews is the "trails" they ride look like what I would consider bike park trails that most people ride 160-170 bikes on. If you ever saw my average "trail" ride on video it would look depressing. I bet many of you can relate. I think we're testing trail bikes to see how capable they are at bike parks in these reviews.
  • 4 0
 I've noticed the chain drop issue being mentioned in a couple of reviews. So for anyone who has this bike, and is having this issue. There is a specific way to line up the chain on the chainring, beyond what would be required for normal narrow wide rings. If you look at the ring, there's a graphic of how to line the chain up on the ring just below the teeth. So long as you follow that you shouldn't have any issues. Why Praxis makes their chainrings like that is another question...
  • 5 0
 I hope manufacturers watch these reviews and read these comment sections. I can tell you for sure that I would buy this norco over any of the other bikes on this field test even if the others dropped their prices $3000.
  • 2 0
 Getting rid of that Praxis would make this a very reliable bike.
  • 4 0
 I have this exact bike. Bought it in October and freaking love it. Been riding since late 80's and have had too many bikes to even count, but prettty sure this is the best riding bike I've ever owned(and I've owned a few Yetis). Coming off a Kona Process with 160/153 and this thing feels like a dream to pedal uphill compared to that. I put my Raceface Atlas Kash bars and pedals on it and it looks so good.
  • 1 0
 Just got this bike yesterday and I love it so much, it really does pedal incredibly well. Also have RF Kash bars in mind for it too. How much clearance do you have between your chainring and the chainstay? I only have around 3mm which kinda concerns me.
  • 4 1
 give this thing a proper aluminium wheelset like dt swiss xm 1700 and there basically nothing to improve in terms of ride quality and robustness. could even save some money by going with rockshox select+ suspension and get a better dropper.
  • 4 0
 I've been riding those wheels for two years on my Optic. I know people have all sorts of horror stories to tell about Stans rims, but for me they've been pretty reliable. I beat on them regularly and they might need a little bit of straightening from time to time, but overall it's been a trouble free experience.
  • 1 0
 @Muscovir: Do you have the Bear Pawls hubs on them too? I'm super interested in this bike but I've been reading a ton of bad experiences with them. www.mtbr.com/threads/bear-pawl-hubs.1105787
  • 3 0
 @nowthatsdoomage: No, sorry don't know anything about those. My 2021 Optic came with Shimano hubs.
  • 3 0
 @nowthatsdoomage: My Bear Pawls hubs on my Fezzari Delano Peak worked without fuss for the year that I used them (before upgrading to an I9 wheelset). Riding 2 or 3 times a week on average I'd estimate I put more than 1500 miles on them. If you're super worried about it I'd say just ride on 'em for however long and get a nice DT Swiss or I9 wheelset when you got the funds. Even if you aren't fast you'll feel a big difference on a nice set of wheels.
  • 2 0
 @normalrat: I like nice wheels, so typically when I buy a complete bike I buy a nice wheelset and keep the one that came with the bike until it's time to sell the bike. then I can sell the bike with a new wheelset and can use the nice wheelset for a new bike (if hub or wheel size stays the same).
  • 5 0
 You could buy this bike and put those 2k berd 1400g enduro wheels on here. Have the cheapest bike on test still and probably win the ups and the downs..
  • 7 0
 I wish they would offer a frame only option
  • 3 0
 I would love a more detailed comparison between the optic and the fluid. Here PB suggests that the fluid feels like a longer travel bike (which it is). But if I remember correctly, in their review of the optic PB raved about how the bike's shock tune made it feel like a significantly longer travel bike (to the point where they were riding it on very serious bike park trails).
  • 3 0
 A more interesting comparison would have been the Ripmo AF. I think that's the benchmark for alloy bikes under $5k. Even big corporate Spesh has some good alloy options for under $5k. The you got consumer direct brands like YT Jeffsy, Canyon Spectral, Commencal, Propain, etc. When I was shopping for an all mountain bike, I was looking at Orbea Ocaam LT for $4k. Actually there's A LOT of good options for $4k if you don't have to have carbon frame.
  • 2 0
 Ripmo has more travel-but the AF is a good (albeit heavy) option. I like mine.

Ripely would fit this bracket better.
  • 1 0
 Agreed, it still has current geo and standards and the Deore build can be found for $2900. It really can't be beat for the price.
  • 6 0
 Good build spec. Well done Norco.
  • 6 0
 Half shells in the bike park...yall crazy.
  • 2 0
 I had a 2017 Sight - the numbers on this look really similar to that bike (and so does the spec, and the general aesthetic), just slacker hta and steeper sta. That’s a good thing, since that bike fkn ripped. Kudos to Norco for knowing when not to mess up a good thing.
  • 2 0
 The new(ish) Sight looks like an absolute monster of a bike
  • 6 0
 How does this compare to the RSD Wildcat?
  • 4 0
 @mikelevy You were able to ride both so yes, how do they compare?
  • 1 0
 I was wondering the same thing. Rsd have a frame only option which is what I'm looking for.
  • 6 0
 Sub 5K and no headset routing? Basically unrideable.
  • 3 1
 Is high stack the newest geometry trend? Suddenly seems be mentioned in many reviews. Like seat tube angle five years ago ...

I thought high stack was just on the wish list of creaky old men like me. If it's the new hotness that's awesome, more bikes that don't hurt the aging lower back Smile
  • 5 0
 Us tall folks also love it. 5'8" dudes who think they should be on an XL hate it.
  • 1 0
 Luckily, high stack can at least be partially retrofitted. Move your stem all the way up and get a riser bar, and presto, less hunching. Creaky old man here...
  • 1 0
 I love it, as someone with long legs and always running what looks like a mile high seatpost, I'm much more comfortable.
  • 3 0
 I was going to say something about the mismatched Kashima and non fork/ shock combo but it took so freakin long to scroll down here to comment I forgot what I was going to say.
  • 2 0
 This bike looks very tempting for the janky rake'n'ride single track we ride up here in New England, but there really are a ton of options now, Polygon Siskiu, the new Vitus Mythique, the new Rift Zone, the T.E.M.P.O, H series Occams, Fezzari etc...

For the price of the Yeti/Scott/Trek/SC in this test you could have this Norco, the new Polygon enduro bike, a Nukeproof Scout and still have some money leftover for a riding trip!
  • 2 0
 Not that this is a feasible idea, but it would be cool if Pinkbike did a build your own addtiion to these tests. As an example, get a Banshee Rune frame, build it up reasonably, then compare the performance/weight etc... I say this because despite the high frame cost of a Banshee for example, I was able to build a Rune up for under $6k during the Pandemic with Fox Suspension, SLX drivetrain, Hope brakes, and DT swiss wheelset. Plus it came in under 32lbs. It would be quite easy to decrease this price with a cheaper frame.
  • 5 0
 In a recent poll 99% of Pinkers said they'd prefer a bike they can actually afford
  • 2 0
 Norco hopefully starts something here. Just to think people sell used bikes for almost twice the price. Boutique brand names how do they justify the prices is beyond me, it’s a joke. Is there diamond dust in the paint? No matter how much money I have NEVER will I spend 11k on a bicycle. When there is a build like that for 4800ish Cad. For most folks that is all you need to ratbag down trails. Best deal I’ve seen in awhile. Hats off to Norco.
  • 1 0
 Shoot. Does this mean the Scott, which is the most complicated (headset cable routing, hidden shock, lockout, etc) AND is the most expensive in the test is going to be the favourite? Just waiting for the PB community to dig out the pitchforks until the end?
  • 5 1
 Norco done a good job. Better get in line. Going to sell tinned of these. Literally
  • 1 1
 Tonnes
  • 4 1
 Just goes to show you don't need to spend a ton of cash on a bike, no one needs AXS, storage on the frame or little sag setting windows
  • 1 0
 Am I the only one that's had issues with the Float X shock? I had to warranty mine right off my brand new Fezzari for a bad wheezing noise....when I got it back from Fox, it was still wheezing and leaking oil....I just cant get this shock to feel ok.
  • 1 0
 I don't have one, but I've noticed that trend in other reviews and comments. I wondered reading the climbing section if the critiques would disappear running something like a cc inline
  • 1 0
 The base level model at $2K is still nicely spec'd and tbh, I'd look at that as I bike you could ride right out the door with the same great frame as the top end. You could ride the hell out of and upgrade as stuff wears out having a blast the whole time. It might be the best spec'd sub $3K mountain bike I've seen.
  • 1 0
 Would be sweet to see a test with a $4k vs. $11k for 1 year with comparable mileage and trail use. I've always told myself the extra cost gets you a lighter, better riding and most important longer lasting bike but is that the case? After replacement parts and upgrades I wonder where the true price of a $4k bike would be. For sure not nearly triple the cost but what is the value of your bike not breaking, having to be in the shop or in the stand waiting for Amazon to bring that wheel bearing that you had to search weeks on the internet for and shipped direct from China but took 6 weeks. I feel like the cost of a bike should be related to how many hours a week you plan to ride, that's where the riders will feel and see the difference...maybe?
  • 4 0
 Good looking TRAIL bike. |t'd be nice if you elaborate a bit more on the Fluid vs the Optic too. Cheers.
  • 3 1
 How does it compare to the Stumpy? Same travel.

Maybe the Stumpjumper Expert is a sweet spot in this category? $6k carbon with same level components as the Alu Norco (and better brakes), just under 30lbs ...
  • 4 0
 Stumpy Expert carbon is Fox 34 with Grip damper, not Grip2, and Stumpy is full SLX not XT. Norco is a step up in component spec across the board. Alloy Stumpy vs Fluid is the same story. Norco is a notch up on everything but they are both $4k. Stumpy is a heck of a nice frame though. Not quite the same value proposition though. It would be super rad to see a comparison test between the Fluid and Stumpy.
  • 1 0
 How about a bang for the buck field test where you find more bikes like this Norco that provide the best combination of performance and price and pit them against each other. More of an apples to apples comparison. I can think of several off the top of my head and I am sure the boffins at pinkbike can find even more. Make it happen.
  • 4 0
 More praise for bikes that people can AFFORD. We need to show the industry that THIS is what we want!!
  • 4 0
 And in addition, high traffic places like Pinkbike need to continue to show this kind of support for "value" bikes. People see content on sites like this and assume that is the standard and that you have to spend $10,000 on a bike. It pushes the bar of entry up and up and up simply because of ignorance to the topic.

So many of us riders cannot afford something more than $4000USD once every 5-10 years as it is. When I was selling bikes 7 or 8 years ago, $4000 would be damn near top of the line. I get it, prices go up, things inflate, but $10,000 being an average high end bike is insanity. The amount of people I'd love to introduce to the beauty of mountain biking is reduced to near 0, simply because of how insane prices are. That includes used. Help me Obi-Wan Kenobi.
  • 1 0
 @dylansmyth: The thing to remember is that although a top of the line bike was only 5k in 2012, that bike was 10x more shit than the current crop of 3-5k bikes. MTB is actually way better for the average consumer than it was 10 years ago., and 4-5k gets you waaaaay more bike than it used to. The difference is now you can also spend 10k and get amrginally more bke than you could for 5k
  • 1 0
 for a 130mm travel bike I would like the weight to be lower. I don't worry about weight as much when on a enduro bike but a short travel trail bike should be able to be built up under 30 lbs.
What trail bike is there that can be built up under 30 lbs these days that has good geo?
  • 3 0
 A carbon one. Ripley or pivot 429. Not a cheap one.
  • 2 1
 Straight to the 'Cons' then the 'Comments'

Basically - unless it went backwards when you pedaled, it's gonna destroy EVERYTHING else in the 'test'
Other than bragging rights for "I've wasted more money than you" on a dentist rig.

If they wanted real challengers in this 'category' then how about
Meta TR (getting old - and the TEMPO too new I guess);
Alloy Fuel EX (I guess you can infer the result from the top-of-the-line 'bling rig' tested);
Marin Rift Zone or the new Merida 140 (now thats a nice looking rig!) are within the same price point
  • 6 1
 Is it coil friendly?
  • 2 1
 I was wondering the same thing. My Process 134 occupies a very similar niche in terms of being a trail bike on the more capable, less sprightly/climby side. Part of what makes it work so well is that the suspension is really progressive - so much so that as a full on Clydesdale, I can still happily ride it with a coil. The coil does amazing things for traction, and takes out all the harshness of an airspring pumped up to the kinds of pressure needed to put me at the proper sag settings.
  • 1 0
 @g-42: I 100% agree with you friend. I had a coil for my GT sensor and it was the best thing ever! Traction for days and it felt so smooth and if I put a slightly stiffer spring on it, it had all the spritliness of a freaked out gazelle. Sure it weighs more but the benefits outweigh the negatives. Unfortunately a coil won't fit in to my current ride (⁠+⁠_⁠+⁠)
If this comes as a frame I would definitely have it in my want top five.
  • 3 1
 Yes the Norco engineers have said it's coil compatible.
  • 6 2
 Won't somebody please think of the dentists?!
  • 3 1
 I wonder how much of a difference there is in the tooth profile for this chainring versus the shimano tooth profile on the xt chainring and how much it affects chaindrops.
  • 4 1
 It's a huge difference. I had this chain ring on my Optic and it is absolute trash. It is "designed" to "work" with SRAM and Shimano. I switched to a wolftooth chain meant for Shimano and no more dropped chains (and quieter drivetrain).
  • 1 1
 @laBoeuf: That's what I figured. So far, I'm not a fan of other "shimano compatible rings". They either wear out the chain faster and make noise or drop chains. I wish there was a company providing a good budget alternative though.
  • 4 1
 I put a Blackspire ring on my Praxis crankset and now the chain is glued on. No more drops.
  • 2 0
 I ran the Praxis "wave technology" chainring on my Praxis cranks. Couldn't understand why I was dropping my chain so much given I don't have any experience with Praxis rings. Purchased the Absolute Black narrow wide ring and have not lost my chain yet. In summary, I don't have a lot of faith in the Praxis rings. The carbon cranks and bb are solid though.
  • 3 0
 Why no frame kits Norco?? I can buy a Sight A frame shock, but not a Fluid A?
  • 1 1
 Two years ago I was close to get a Sight but they thought it's a good idea to not sell the alloy frame only in Switzerland. Well guess what, I'm not riding a Norco now... There seems to be room for improvement for Norco.
  • 4 1
 praxis rings drop chains. its what they do. replace the ring. replace the problem.
  • 3 0
 100% correct sir. The rings suck!
  • 1 0
 You suggested this isn't the bike for someone who needs something a little more lively and playful for a bit less aggressive trails. What is the $4,000 equivalent in that category?
  • 2 0
 Where you at contrarians? Don’t forget, it should be reasonably believable
  • 3 0
 this bike makes other dentist bikes prices even more ridiculous
  • 3 0
 I'd be curious to see this compared to the RM Element with the same tires.
  • 3 0
 Why is there an Optic and a Fluid?
  • 1 0
 Also wondering that. I had the 2020 Optic and that was favorite bike I’ve ever had. If this rides any near as good as that bike they knocked both out of the park.
  • 1 1
 Different use case. Fluid is a trail bike aimed at entry level. Optic is a aggressive trail bike, carbon only, aggressive tune, aimed at more advanced riders.
  • 1 1
 Very simlar geo and looks of the optic, 5 mm more rear travel, yet a fox 34 instead of a pike or fox 36 that was specced on the optic. I bet the bike would really come alive on the downs with a 150 mm 36
  • 2 2
 More bikes like this. Hopefully yeti and Santa Cruz are paying attention. People riding their bikes are going to start looking more and more like that d-bag sitting in traffic in his Lamborghini.
  • 3 2
 This is the only review from this field test that I read completely and watched the video. No interest in the other bikes on test based on cost alone.
  • 3 0
 Where did the advent calendar go?
  • 4 1
 Fox 34... this a gravelle bike??
  • 3 1
 So I guess it is very clear from all our comments, THIS IS WHAT WE WANT!!!!
  • 1 2
 We can all be amzed by a bike that doesn't cost 11k. But how about we compare this to a real value brand like Vitus or Radon, that will get you something equivalent for a 1k less. This is the main purpose of 11k bikes.They make 5k bikes look affordable and 4k bikes look cheap. Let's not fall for that trap.
  • 3 0
 The cheapest version of the Fluid FS costs $1.999. That's pretty damn good, even compared to D2C brands.
  • 1 0
 @Muscovir: Sure, that is a nice price point. The Norco is already pretty good value. All I wanted to point out is that there are brands that have even better value. Check out the Radon Skeen (or slide depending on travel wishes) for example. You get a carbon frame, GX, Newmen wheels and full Kashima everything for $500 less than this Norco.
Related to that, the other bikes in this test are so ridiculously poor value that anyone who considers price when purchasing a mountain bike should, in my opinion, disregard them. For around 10k, you could buy THREE Fox Factory equipped bikes from Radon for this price: 130mm carbon DC bike, 140mm carbon trail bike and a 170 mm Al park bike.
  • 1 0
 My Optic (large, full XTR build and exo tires) weighed 32.5lbs with pedals, so this weight is pretty good. I'd buy this in a heartbeat.
  • 1 0
 This is on my short list for next bike. Like they said looks perfect for the east coast of New England and the type of riding I do.
  • 2 0
 I'm in the NE. Upstate NY. So far have ridden around here and in Adirondaks. Just a great all around bike for me.
  • 2 0
 How big of a step down is the A2 version of this bike. Has a bomber m2, but is $3200 USD
  • 2 0
 This is the real value trim and the version I think they would sell the most of. You could even spend that 800 extra dollars on a good wheelset down the road and be living it up!
  • 4 2
 Cue “Pick a price point and be righteous about it” comments:
  • 7 2
 More than “pick a price point”-the issue is the value proposition. Is a 10k bike much better than this? Is a bike at half this price still a good value?

When I’m taking value, I mean durability and performance. These days, full suspension bikes under 4K have significant parts compromises in the form of flimsier wheels, less durable drivetrains and poorer performing suspension.

Move above 6k, and you abruptly hit diminishing returns. Even a pro would struggle to notice a performance difference if they test rode 6k and 12k bikes back-to-back.

The bike industry should be pushing the performance envelope down to make riding more awesome for beginning riders. Instead it’s focused on selling bikes that don’t perform better, but cost 3x more than they need to.

If we want our sport to grow, we need good affordable gear to be the target companies are focused on. Instead the r&d funds are going to build the 8th or 9th bikes for affluent, often inept riders to brag about owning to their friends on the links or at a cocktail party.
  • 6 1
 I appreciate the satire, but this is a real issue for our sport. There are outdoor industries out there (*ahem* skiing *cough cough*) who are more than happy to price out their core enthusiasts so they can chase maximum profits in the short term. There needs to be an emphasis on supporting our MTB culture for the long term by making bikes reasonably affordable so athletes and familes are stoked on and able to ride mountain bikes.

After one spends $6k on a bike, you are getting more and more marginal returns on the performance as a function of cost. A $10k bike is so expensive for what you are getting, it makes the manufacturer look really out of touch.
  • 5 1
 @MT36: It's definitley a real issue. Many of my friends have expressed the willingness to get into mountainbiking after borrowing bikes from me and having a good time on the trails. It's always heartbreaking to see them walk away once they realize how much money they would have to spend to get into the sport. We enthusiasts might not care that much because it's our hobby. But for someone unfamiliar or new to the sport, even spending 2-3k for an entry-level mountainbike will seem like a lot and in many cases can be a deterrent.
  • 3 2
 @Muscovir: 2-3k for an entry level bike is in fact a huge barrier to entry. If you compare that to trail running - geez, why would you ever want to get into mountain biking. But for sports that give you that flowy adrenaline rush, we're still pretty damn blessed. I think the closest comparison is probably backcountry skiing/snowboarding, since once you take the lift tickets out of the equation, you're down to buying the gear and shredding. But that's a lot less accessible still, because you need to spend time at resorts to get good enough at skiing/riding to where you can actually enjoy the backcountry, whereas mountain biking can happen anywhere there are trails. I'm a lifelong windsurfer - that's sort of the same thing, it's hugely expensive/hard to get into, but it's a freaking bargain compared to regular sailing.

So no, not a cheap sport - but probably the most accessible of the ones that scratch that very specific itch.
  • 2 1
 @g-42: For sure. As much as that initial bike purchase is, it is way more accessible I think. Skiing/snowboarding you need very specialized conditions, terrain, infrastructure (even for BC access) for it to work, let alone be epic. All we need is dirt. Plenty of that.
  • 2 0
 @g-42: As someone who did international level laser sailing for a few years I find mtb to actually be more expensive. Many bike events here in BC are nearly 300$ in registration fees with absolutely no perks. A weekend laser regatta at Royal Vancouver Yacht club was $120 and included lunch every day, after racing snacks, and a bougie dinner. Equipment costs were similiar but a 5 year old laser is waaaay more competitive than a 5 year old mtb. And somehow mtb has convinced me I need own 3 5k bikes to be doing it properly. Nobody ever encouraged me to buy a second sailboat lol.
  • 2 0
 @Benjamin97: Great to see a fellow Laser sailor here! I did the national circuit in the US and several events in CA like CORK for a few years.... I actually thought competing at a national/international level in Lasers to be really expensive. The hulls get soft after 1-2 years of heavy use, to the point where I had one hull for training and one for events, the sails blow out in two or fewer windy events . When you factor in all the travel and accomodations (camping just doesn't cut it if you need the body to rest properly), yacht club fees (because you need somewhere to train) I found the only people who could meaningfully compete on the world level had robust trust funds. I don't have that kind of backing, so I left the sport. Even then, North American Laser sailors can't even compare to racers in Europe, NZ, AUS, and South America, who get government funding. MTB seems like a bargain compared to that program.
  • 5 0
 @MT36: TIL about laser sailing. Very disappointed to discover it doesn't involve actual lasers Frown
  • 2 0
 @Stoaks: HA! the name of the class came about when it was designed in the 70s. Back when lasers were considered pretty groundbreaking technology.
  • 6 4
 Good job Norco making the Canadian version of the alloy stumpjumper (:
  • 3 0
 Nice job Norco!
  • 4 3
 $4000 for an aluminum bike now is a great deal, 3 years ago it was a total rip off.
  • 9 1
 Well, $4k 3 years ago also didn’t get you a Float X and a Kashima, grip2 fox 34

This is a well-spec’ed $4k aluminum but.
  • 1 2
 @nickfranko: Yeah you are right. My 2019 Stumpjumper had Fox Rythm fork all SRAM NX for $3300. Weighs almost a pound less though.
  • 2 0
 This is one bike that I would actually buy
  • 3 1
 how do they ride it without pedals?
  • 3 0
 This bike wins. Easily.
  • 3 0
 It looks beautiful, too
  • 1 1
 Its a nice looking alloy frame. I like the top tube, seat tube junction compared to other frames that have that ugly triangle welded to it.
  • 3 0
 Buy green, save green.
  • 2 2
 Yep, love my 23' Optic. Its awful to say, but I have about as much fun on it as my Epic Evo.....But both ride very differently.
  • 2 0
 So who here is getting this bike?
  • 3 1
 The Fluid sounds pretty Solid.
  • 1 1
 Let's hope Norco has enough stock to sell these - they offer a good fit for many.

And @satchscratch - good job on the photos - esp profile shot at bottom.
  • 1 0
 *sound of a baseball bat hitting baseball very hard*
*vision of ball getting whacked out of park/field*
  • 2 0
 Make this the bike of there year so we get more competition like it
  • 1 0
 And they told two friends, and They told two friends, and THEY told two friends. And so on, and so on, and so on.
  • 1 0
 I have the A2 waiting for me with a 150mm bomber and a few more part swaps. It's going to bea super fun bike!!
  • 3 3
 This bike is sold for 4990 Eur in Europe! For the same price I go for the new Commencal T.E.M.P.O. OHLINS Edition
  • 12 3
 ...which has cable routing through the headset, geometry straight out of 2017 and probably isn't that reliable, given Commencals recent history. I'd still rather buy the Norco.
  • 3 1
 European prices are generally quoted inclusive of VAT (or sales tax, as it's called in the US), whereas North American prices are generally quoted exclusive of VAT. VAT in Germany is 19% - that would mean net price before tax of just over 4k Euro. So on par with the North American prices. This is not a direct to consumer brand - you're mentioning that Commencal provides a bit higher level spec for the same money; I'd assume that is also true of the other DTC brands in Europe? For comparison, you could get a similarly spec'd Polygon here in the US for a fair bit less.
  • 1 2
 @g-42: Nope. It is a question of distribution. Some Specialized bikes have smaller gap in price. And new Marin has only €200-€300 price gap. Some items in EU even cheaper than in US (like Lyrik Ultimate for €800 and $1100).
  • 4 6
 I rode a version of this bike at a festival, and it felt too planted. I struggled to get it airborne on fast bike park jumps and in the corners it felt sluggish. Just my impressions from a couple laps on the bike.
  • 1 3
 I find norcos kinda feel like that yup.
  • 6 1
 Sure, Norco does go for the more planted and stable approach when it comes to geometry, setup and suspension kinematics. But considering they are from the north shore, I think it's a reasonable approach. At least you know you get a bike that won't fold in half if you point it down a black diamond trail.
  • 1 0
 indeed
  • 2 1
 Throw on a set of those Berd wheels and this thing will fly.
  • 3 1
 That’s kinda what I’m thinking about. Buy this bike for 4K and 2k wheelset. You’d have a fantastic bike that will pedal well for 6k. Which in todays pricing isn’t bad.
  • 1 1
 You know what you never see? Bikes that cost $2920, or $3465 or $1609. That's how you are being fleeced
  • 1 0
 Reasonably priced meaning it's the only not ridiculously priced one.
  • 1 0
 Pros: The nicest colour I've ever seen put on a bicycle.
  • 1 0
 I can taste the value
  • 5 5
 Looks like a Szechuan
  • 1 3
 But tastes like McDonald's szechuan sauce??
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