Canadian manufacturer Norco celebrates its 40th birthday this year. It’s been around for a while, but UK availability has, thus far, been fairly low-key. A new distribution setup through Marin importers ATB Sales should change all that, though. It might seem odd for ATB to bring in two bike brands, but they’re actually very complementary – Marin doesn’t really do burly freeriders and while the full Norco range has got all sorts in it, it’s only the meatier stuff that’ll reach these shores.
Top of the VPS full-sus line (if we don’t count the frame-only Team DH) is the Shore. It might look like a downhill bike, what with 7-8in of travel at the back, an 8in Marzocchi 888R fork up front and a lot of metal in between, but the Shore’s gig doesn’t really involve going at warp speed. As the name implies, it’s got a short, upright stance intended for picking your way along narrow, tall things and dropping off the end. At a claimed 46.5lb the Shore should take a pounding. Your £2,599 gets you SRAM X-7 transmission, Hayes HFX Mag brakes, rear through-axle, Race Face Diabolus X-Type cranks and that kind of stuff.
Next bike down is the A-Line, named after Whistler’s semi-legendary trail of fifty tabletop jumps. It looks a lot like the Shore, but it actually has an inch more rear travel and has a lower, more relaxed attitude better suited going fast. It’s also cheaper at £1,995 complete with 888VF fork, Deore bits, Hayes HFX-9 brakes and Truvativ Hussefelt single ring/guide setup.
Five hundred quid less puts you in the market for an Atomik, which looks like a real bargain. You’re still getting 6-7in of travel and an oversized (150x12mm) rear end, Fox DHX shock, Marzocchi Drop-Off twin crown 170mm fork, Hussefelt twin-ring chainset and Hayes 8in brakes. Sure, the transmission parts are only Alivio but for this sort of bike the priorities lie elsewhere…
If hardtails are more your thing, then Norco has a substantial range. In all senses of the word. Top of the tree is the bonkers Torrent which teams a robust 6061 aluminium frame (complete with 150x12mm rear hub provision and 24/26in wheel compatibility) with a 7in travel Marzocchi 66R fork. Yep, that’s right, a 7in travel fork on a hardtail. Don’t forget to keep your knees bent. It’s a fair old bit of bike for £1,275 and no mistake.
The Torrent makes the Rampage, a similar beast but with merely a 6in Z150 fork, look entirely sensible and the Sasquatch (130mm Dirt Jumper)looks like an XC race bike in comparison. Hardtail entry level is the Bigfoot at £635 including a ‘zocchi Dirt Jamp Comp fork, Truvativ twin-ring cranks, Deore/Alivio whirly bits and Hayes HFX-9 brakes.
You can check out all the bikes at www.norco.com. ATB Sales (01424 753566) should be able to point you in the direction of your nearest dealer.