SOURCE: Tyler “Brule” Maine / PINKBIKE
To me Norco Bicycles have always been like Honda motorcycles in the sense that if you start out on a Norco as a child, youâ€™re sold on the brand for life. Like all the little kids that get their first Honda Z50s back in the 80s and 90s and now have owned CR80s, 125s and are now rocking CRF250s. The same is said for those of us that got our first Mini Mountaineer as a kid, then maybe a Bigfoot to a Team Issue XC bike and now we are wanting to rip on a Team DH or a Faze 1 as adults. The line up of bikes at Norco allows you to grow as an individual and a rider and explore the style that is yours. For 2008 youâ€™ll find 139 models of bikes, so that means there is something for everyone. Hereâ€™s a look at the company that wants to support you in what ever genre of cycling you persue.
A few weeks back Norco did their 2008 bike launch in the mecca known as Whistler. It was a 2 day event of product discussions and a whole lot of riding time on their bikes was had by all in attendance. I have never been at any PK where they got through the line up in record time and then swooshed you out the door onboard a new bike to ride for the next 2 days. It was so nice to have them put the bike in place of words-basically they could have talked all day about the new pivots, cnc this, head tube that, but instead they let the bikes do the talking.
With 139 models in the 2008 line up, it would take me 4 times as long to go through them all in comparison to the time that Peteâ€™s talk took. So instead I am going to tell you about the bikes that jumped out at me at this yearâ€™s launch. Everything from the hard tail Dirt Jumpers, to the 4XXXX machine, to the Fluid LT line up to the all new SIXs and Shores and then there are all the big rigs like the Atomic, the A-Lines and the Team DH!
The 250 and 4Hun-
Norco has been making Hard Tail DJ and street bikes for the masses for a long time now and they are still leading the charge. With a solid line up already in the helm, they took the time to make changes to appearance and function. The attention to detail that is found in all the Dirt/Street series bikes is amazing.
The $1400 250 and the $1775 4Hun lead the way in the Dirt/Street series. Matching part colors to the paint/decal scheme is all part of the 2008 look. From the 4Hunâ€™s white pedals, bash guard, fork lowers, stem, bars and matching grips to the Gold lock rings on the grips that match the Gold head tube badge. And then you have the decal scheme that goes hand in hand with the seat graphics. Its all been planned out over the past year to look and function well for you the rider. Micro drive single speed on the 250 shows that its meant to be beaten up around town, while the 4Hun has gears so that you can get it around to a few more places and maybe up to Whistler for some Crank It up laps. These bikes will make you smile and look good.
The $2700 4XXXX is Norcoâ€™s premiere do all bike in my opinion. The FSR patented Horst Link in the rear makes for great pedaling and braking performance. The 4XXXX is designed to be able to Dirt Jump in the morning, shred the chair lift all after noon and then hit the skate park that night. Hell you can even take it for a nice XC ride considering the gears out back. The low slung top tube provides ample clearance for tricks while the low BB height keeps the center of gravity nice and close to mother nature. The black and white look really goes well with it too.
The Fluid LT Series-
New to the 2008 line up is the Fluid LT (Long Travel) series. The LT series ranges in price from $2175 for the LT 3 all the way up to $5875 for the LT 1. The principle market behind the LT bikes are riders looking for a 6â€ travel do all bike that can get you to and from the back country with out being hindered by any â€œlightâ€ freeride that one may encounter along the way. The slacker geometry on the LTs allows for better handling when the trail roughens up or points down.
This triple chainring bike is meant to be pedaled all over the country side. The full length seat tube allows you to be able to really drop the seat should you get into some full on gnar, while the 6â€ of travel soaks up the hits. Raise the seat and do it all over again! Having 5 sizes to choose from means that a lot of folks should be able to fit on one of these bikes and get out there and enjoy a good epic.
All new SIX series-
The SIX line up has seen a complete overhaul from the frame up. The whole look is so new and forward thinking for Norco-actually most of the industry. Must make them leaders then I guess. The SIX series has always been that bike that was a do it all for the rider that spends a lot of their time in the air at ski resorts and shuttling, but isnâ€™t afraid to pedal it around too. The 2007 version of the SIX won the Crankworx Slopestyle under the guidance of Ben Boyko, so we know that this bike will be more then capable of killing it at Bike Parks under the average rider.
Travel on the SIX is kinda self explanatory â€“ its 6 inches of FSR patented travel. All SIX series bikes have 6 inch travel single crown forks and 1 1/8 head tubes for reduced weight. The swooping tubes give this bike some really clean lines that are as artsy as they are functional. ISCG and ISCG 05 tabs, a rear 135 x 12mm MAXLE, increased tire clearance, hydroform main frame tubing, all ad to the frame asthetics.
Now have a look at the components on these rides- WOW! The attention to parts color matching and graphics is amazing! They are working with a pattern called Hounds Tooth and its all over the seats and can be viewed in the frame decals-almost ghost like. Custom colors on the Marzocchi forks to match component colors is a nice touch. These light weight freeride machines will be killing the slopestyle scene and you can also expect some great video sections to arise onboard them too.
The Shore Series-
A long time staple in the Norco fleet is the Shore line up. These bikes were born, bread and have evolved on the North Shore Mountains. As the trails on the shore evolved so has the bike. Todayâ€™s progressive freeride trails require bikes that are light enough to flick around, yet are burly enough to take the big hits. Low slung top tubes similar to those on the SIXs allow for those of us that want to trick the big hits to do so. The hydroforming of the main tubes looks so good too!
7 inch Single Crown 1.5â€ steerer tube forks mate up to the 7 inches out back to provide big hit eating travel. The single crown forks also allow for more progressive tricks like X-ups and bar spins to happen on the big rigs. The 150 x 12mm MAXLE rear end makes for the stiffness that is required when riding out here day after day. Custom colored fork lowers and decals make these bikes look SO GOOD! Parts spec is also top notch, with durable and light weight options being slung onto these frames, you can expect them to last a long time through all the beats youâ€™ll hand to it. The Shore series is made for hard core beats-can you deliver?
The DH / Park Series-
The big toys roll out in the DH / Park Series from Norco. From the $2775 Atomik (Scroll down to see my personal impression on the Atomik after spending some time on it in the Whistler Bike Park) all the way up to the no holds barred Team DH at $6050. This line up was built to go fast and throw down at speed. Whether you are a WC level racer, or just love to shuttle and freeride at the top level, you can expect to crank it up a few notches on one of these fine rides as they wonâ€™t be holding you back at speed or in the air.
There are no front derailleurs on these bikes, so you know they mean business. Take and throw one on your tailgate or hang it off a lift and get ready to use all of the 8-9 inches of rear travel as you get it up to speed. The Team DH and the Atomicâ€™s parts specs are more focused at the racer in us, while the A Line and the A Line Park Edition feature parts that are a little burlier. Triple clamp forks keep the steering precise while the 150 x 12mm rear end keeps these bikes stiff and tracking so good! Once again youâ€™ll find great decal choices and parts matching that just stand out so well. The low stand over height and low center of gravity prove that speed is on the mind when riding these. Large bearings at the pivots will keep the bikes going through their travel in a smooth fashion for a long time.
The Team DH, the A-Line and the A-Line Park Edition all share the same frame and thanks to trickle down technology, the Atomik rips it up on last yearâ€™s Team DH frame set with only a few geometry changes. (Scroll down to learn more about the Atomik) All frames have forged head tubes, adjustable BB height/head tube angle and travel that will run you at either 8 or 9 inches. Expect to visit a podium near you onboard one of these bikes.
The 2008 Norco Atomic after a few good laps:
So there we all sat in a room full of bikes and Norco employees for the 2008 launch of the Norco Line up. At this point most of us get ready to hunker down for the long haul of talks and explanations, but this would not be the case today. The folks at Norco knew that we were sitting in Whistler and that we wanted to ride these bikes more than hear about them. It happened so fast that I didnâ€™t know what was going on-one moment I was sitting there listen to Pete and then all of a sudden I was geared up and a fresh Norco Atomik was at my side waiting in the Gondola line up along with everyone else. Yep everyone from Norco that was on hand was there to ride too and that is what we did.
Our first destination was lunch at the round house and then weâ€™d be able to hit the trails as much as we wanted to with these new sleds. As I mentioned, I had an â€™08 Atomik, this is Norcoâ€™s DH race bike for those on a budget and at $2775 I canâ€™t get over the value that is packed into this bike. Hell I have bought frames that cost me this much and here youâ€™re getting a whole bike that is more than capable of pinning it. Thanks to trickle down technology and the fact that they are never satisfied, Norco is always making refinements to their frames. The 2008 Atomik frame is in fact a 2007 Team DH frame with only a few slight geometry changes to better accommodate the Boxxer Race fork up front. Aside from that, youâ€™ll be getting a frame that is 100% race ready-note to all privateer racers on a budget: you should look into this bike.
Just like its big brothers in the line up, the Atomikâ€™s rear travel is adjustable between 8 and 9 inches. The forged head tube is lighter and tough as hell. More than ample stand over height makes the bike really easy to navigate in the steeps and in the air. All the parts are more than capable of lasting a long time during a lot of abuse that comes with this type of bike.
I spent my time on the Atomik up in the Garbanzo zone in Whistler, riding trails and just getting a feel for it in the rough. Since this is pretty much a 2007 Team DH with a different spec, I knew that I was in good hands up there. The 8â€ rotors always stopped the bike, even when I didnâ€™t. As I rode, I made the changes that were needed to make the bike feel how I like my bikes to run and after that point I was good to go. Thanks to the FSR patented Horst Link 4-bar rear end, you are getting great braking performance and it pedals so well too. Long Travel bikes just keep getting better and better with the advancements in suspension and parts technologies. The Atomik took the trails and made them its own, thus getting me down safely each run. If you are on a budget and looking for a bike that can grow with you, stop by your local Norco dealer and give the Atomik a good look over.
Big thanks to Pete, Trish and everyone at Norco bikes for putting on such a great product launch! See yaâ€™ll next season,