Norco have never really made a bike that’s fully captured the imagination here in the UK. Harsh words maybe, but given the beauty of indigenous North Americans such as Intense, Santa Cruz and Specialized, the beasts of Coquitlam BC have never really been known for their subtlety of detail…
From Dirt Issue 121 – March 2012
Words by Steve Jones. Photos by Sven Martin and Steve Jones.
Maybe such sensitivity to the visual alone is slightly unfair, a recent test bike here in the office – the Shinobi – proved an inspired ride, solid of hoof, charming of line. But then it would, because tapping into the current Norco website you could be forgiven for thinking if you were on the same suburban Vancouver site, so marked is the change to the bike designs for 2012.
The Arum, the flagship downhill bike then, boy oh boy, this bike has been radically rescued. Just take a look at some of the numbers below to get a quick idea on the progress this bike has followed over the past half dozen years.
Year 2008 (Short low setting) Travel up to 219mm
Year 2009 (More sizes introduced)
Year 2010 – Arrival of the new design in prototype form
Year 2012 (Production Aurum large)
Trek Session (2012 Large) Comparison
Kona Operator (2012 Large) Comparison
Some interesting numbers, but the changes are quite subtle in reality. But by–Jesus–and–Mary gone are the 65/68 degree dizzy head angle days or 45lb tubs that got totally ‘stoked’ and ‘glowing’ web reviews. Since 2009 you can buy more than a couple of frame sizes yet even in 2010 the previous incarnation of this bike wasn’t that heavy. We weighed–in Ben Reid’s bike at the start of that year at the Maribor World Cup at 37.5lb with RockShox BoXXer Team forks rather than the air versions. The production bike of that year featured an air Marzocchi Rocco as standard. Having spent the odd hour checking out some ‘previous’, it’s time to pen in some thoughts. >>