While a lot of the tech talk at the first World Cup downhill race of 2017 has centered on 29'' wheels, there's also plenty of other new bits and bikes to check out, including the best look yet at Norco's new downhill race rig that Sam Blenkinsop and the rest of the team will be racing aboard this weekend. I spent the day at Norco's HQ back in February to get the lowdown on the yet to be named bike's development
, but the engineers behind the fresh design were reluctant to spill the beans and tell me much in the way of actual details and facts.
Norco is still shy about sharing any particulars like travel, geometry, and availability, but Pinkbike photographer Ross Bell did shoot some pretty photos of the new, 27.5'' wheeled bike for us to look at. The prototype at the Lourdes World Cup appears to be more polished than the all-black versions that we spotted previously, although that might be down to the sharp looking, glossy red paint job of the team bike.
There's no word on suspension travel, but the prototype's single pivot, linkage-activated design features an extremely high main pivot that sits well above the chainring, and an integrated pulley and guide setup routes the chain up and around the main pivot in order to deal with the chain growth, pedal kickback, and anti-squat associated with such a design.
The layout might look similar to Commencal's DH bike, but it only takes a second to see that the linkage on the Norco works in a very different way to what's found on the Supreme DH V4.2. When questioned about the apparent similarities, Norco explained that their design features some unconventional suspension characteristics. ''The kinematics are so different in a way, and the forces that they generate are really high,'' they said of the design.