SOURCE: NSMB/Cam McRae
CAM’S VIEWS: The first ride I saddled up was the A-Line. I had ridden the first A-Line model a couple of years back and it didn’t light my fire. I found it a little tall and a touch on the heavy side. Last year Norco trickled the previous year’s Team DH frame down the line and re-badged it as the A-Line. This year the Team DH and A Line frames appear to be identical. This move has borne some juicy fruit and the A-Line I rode this year was pretty much rock solid. I liked the spec, the geometry (even though I was crunching my six foot frame into a size small) and I was particularly impressed with the way it cornered. This thing ate up berms well enough to justify its name. The 888 RCV fork performed admirably with one exception; it would top out whenever the front end was pre-loaded and pushed off the ground. I hate this feeling and it’s noticeable on most Marzoccchi forks I try. Cranking the rebound cures the problem but then the fork is too slow. The Roco on the other hand was lively and predictable and the Code brakes and SRAM drivetrain were perfect choices. Nice bike.
The other bike I rode was the new Norco Shore. With hydroformed tubes, an interrupted seattube and a low shock placement this ride has much in common with Specialized’s Demo models. With Norco licensing FSR technology from Specialized it’s hardly surprising that their frames would evolve in similar directions.
The new silhouette attracted a lot of attention rolling through the village but it was even more of a star on the trail. Norco calls this a bike that can be climbed so we figured an off mountain adventure was in order. We did some trudging and found ourselves at the top of a sweet line above Creekside. This particular route is steep and sketchy and I wasn’t sure how the Shore would fare. It really felt like a small bike to begin with. It’s nice and light and it has more standover than other Norcos I’ve ridden and it didn’t feel like enough bike for the steepness ahead. Once we rolled in the 1.5″ Totem, tilted at 66 degrees felt great. In fact I began to get downright rowdy on the Shore. This bike hits the right balance between DH stability and small bike playfulness. Guess where this bike would be right at home?
With 7″ travel front and rear, manageable weight and solid spec (aside from post, grips and pedals there was nothing I wanted to change after one ride) this is truly a Norco to lust after. The Shore was the highlight of the 2008 line for me and most of the other journalists I spoke to.
The Fluid LT gives a telling look into the product development cycle. Norco found that riders were building Fluids up a little burlier than stock and taking them on some serious adventures. Seeing this as an opportunity the product team decided to build something that was ready for this crowd out of the box. The LT has an inch of travel on the ‘regular’ Fluid (160 vs 130mm) and each model has an adjustable travel fork.