Located about an hour outside of Melbourne, the Victorian country town of Woodend served as the venue for the recent Advance Traders dealer show, with all the new 2014 model year bikes from Merida, Lapierre and Norco on display for media and dealers to check out. It’s not the first time that the function centre of Cammeray Waters and its tranquil lakeside setting have witnessed a large display of mountain bikes however. Anyone who has participated in the last two Wombat 100 events will have enjoyed the onsite camping and the serenity of the rolling green hills surrounding the venue, as well as the primo trails that loop past Cammeray waters and all through the Wombat State Forest. It certainly is a very sweet little spot.

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The dealer show was a full day of tech sessions about the new bikes from each of the three brands, followed by opportunities to try out the new platforms on the Wombat Forest trails. Norco product manager, Chris Fraser, was on hand to take us through the new technologies and frame features being showcased on the new bikes. He also gave us a run through the 50 year history of the Canadian company, which to this day is still wholly owned and operated out of BC in Canada. We’ll be updating you with our look at both the 2014 Merida and Lapierre lines, but here we take a look at a few of the Norco models that will be making a splash in the Australian market this coming season.

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It’s been a while since we’ve had a Norco bike in for testing, and we’ll have to admit that we were a little dusty on the range in the lead up to the dealer show. It doesn’t help that Norco have reworked some of their model names into different bikes over the years, but here’s our crack at deciphering the lineup;

Revolver 7064965-1.1
– Lightweight carbon race hardtail
– 27.5″ Stans ZTR Rapid wheels
– SRAM X01 driveline, Avid Elixir 7 Trail brakes
– RRP: $4499
– Available: January 2014


Faze 9064730-1.1/9.2
– Mid-level 100mm travel alloy dual suspension
– 29″ Alex wheels
– Shimano Deore or XT 3×10 driveline, Shimano Deore or SLX brakes
– RRP: $2399 – $2999
– Available: November 2013


Fluid 9064705-1.1/9.2

– Mid-level 120mm travel alloy dual suspension
– 29″ WTB i19 wheels
– Shimano Deore or XT 3×10 driveline, Avid DB1 or Shimano Deore brakes
– RRP: $2299 – $2999
– Available: November 2013


Fluid 7064706-1.1/7.2

– Mid-level 120mm travel alloy dual suspension
– 27.5″ WTB i23 wheels
– Shimano Deore or XT 3×10 driveline, Avid DB1 or Shimano Deore brakes
– RRP: $2299 – $2999
– Available: November 2013


Sight Alloy 7.1/7.2064850-1

– High-end 140mm travel alloy dual suspension
– 27.5″ Sun Ringle Inferno 25 wheels
– Shimano Deore or SLX 3×10 driveline, Avid DB1 or Shimano Deore brakes
– RRP: $2999 – $3899
– Available: November 2013


Sight Carbon 7.1/7.2064830-1

– High-end 140mm travel carbon dual suspension
– 27.5″ Sun Ringle Inferno 25 wheels
– SRAM X7/X9 2×10 or XX-1 driveline, Formula C1 or Avid Elixir 7 Trail brakes
– RRP: $4599 – $6399
– Available: November 2013

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The Norco Fluid name has been in the lineup for over a decade now, and while its looks may have changed quite a bit since that monocoque alloy frame, in 2014 the themes of versatility and adaptability remain strong at heart. Norco have mostly ditched the 26″ wheel for all but full-blown DH bikes and for entry level hardtails – everything else is either 29″ or 27.5″. For the Fluid, they actually have both, so you can choose the right wheel size depending on the ride quality you’re after.

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Whichever diameter suits you, both Fluid frames come with 120mm of rear wheel travel, which is provided by a classic 4-bar suspension setup that is a substantial refinement of Norco dual suspension bikes of old. “Advanced Ride Technology”, or A.R.T for short, involves tweaking the pivot placement on the back end of the Fluid in order to provide neutral braking tendencies, a slightly rearward axle path, a progressive leverage ratio and an active suspension feel.

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The back end of the Fluid is built tough, with clevis seat stay pivots meeting the hollowed rocker linkage. It’s all about reducing unwanted lateral flex out of the rear wheel, and while the alloy Norco frames may not be the lightest on the market, they’re certainly some of the toughest. With the bikes tested and designed in B.C, it’s easy to see why.

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The A.R.T suspension design uses a Horst link rear dropout pivot that is located down low on the chains tay. it allows the seat stay to ‘float’ between the other two links, so that braking forces are neutralised and independent of suspension action. The result is claimed to be better traction for the rear tyre, even when you’ve got the anchors locked.

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Despite the entry level Fluid 7 & 9 models coming in under $2500, they still get a fully featured frameset that includes a tapered head tube and matching tapered steerer tube forks.

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Bolt-on cable guides for a dropper post point towards the intentions of the Fluid, with the 120mm of travel packaged in a confident and slack-ish geometry setup that encourages riding on steep and unforgiving terrain.

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While many bikes are going internal for their cable routing, the Fluid threads all of its lines down the underside of the downtube. Easier to maintain, and the guides are setup for full length cable outer.

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Fox suspension features on the higher-end 7.1 and 9.1 models, with CTD damping utilised front and rear for quick control of the compression adjustment. QR15 thru-axle up front for improved steering response, and an updated Magnesium lower that trims weight off previous Fox Evolution fork models.

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The Sight carbon was the bike that everyone wanted to ride, with its gorgeous carbon fiber frame turning heads all day long. The 140mm travel Sight was introduced in 2013 in an alloy format, and its 27.5″ wheels, supple A.R.T suspension design and modern geometry setup proved to be a hit amongst media and consumers alike. Norco have turned it on for 2014, with the introduction of a carbon model that swaps the alloy seat stays and main frame of the cheaper model, in exchange for a high modulus carbon fiber construction. Conscious of the hard riding conditions that the Sight will inevitably end up in, Norco have applied their ‘Armourlite’ resin to the carbon fiber Sight, which boosts impact strength over conventional resins.

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Flowing lines from the Sight carbon frame are a dramatic improvement over Norco duallies from the past, and they’ve certainly harnessed the organic shaping ability of the black magic material to full effect on this All Mountain ripper. Hidden underneath the bearing shields are a unique pivot system that Norco calls “360 Lock”. The design was employed to more evenly distribute the stress between the axle and the inner bearing race, rather than concentrating all of the weight and force on the upper portion of the bearing. An expanding collet system provides a simple solution, so as you tighten the pivots, tapered cups expand the axle across the entire circumference of the inner bearing race. It’s a very small detail, but we really like the sound of this one, and only time will tell as to how effective it is on bearing durability.

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The rocker is the same HolloForm model used on the alloy Sight, with substantial reliefs cut into the one-piece welded assembly.

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Where does the front derailleur go? With SRAM’s XX-1 drivetrain sending waves throughout the industry over the past 12 months, it appears that the future is somewhat limited for the front mechanism, but until Shimano commit to a 1x drivetrain, the industry is still split. In Norco’s case, they’ve actually built two different front triangles for the carbon Sight – one with the ability to fit a front derailleur, and one without. The reason? Purely aesthetic, but it goes to show the level of detail that Norco is willing to invest into their bikes.

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Bolt-up thru-axle out back, which is supplied by the pioneers of the 142x12mm system, Syntace. This does mean that you’ll need tools to remove the rear wheel, but it creates an incredibly slick setup, and the tapered ends of the axle increase surface area between the frame and dropouts for a stronger and sturdier system.

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Internal cable routing for both the rear derailleur and the rear brake lines, with bolt-on ports making installation a cinch. The ports are also sealed to keep water and contaminants outside of the frame tubes.

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The bottom bracket junction is absolutely massive on the carbon Sight, and it flares out to accommodate the pressfit GXP bearings. Note just left of the lower shock mount, a spare bolt for the rear derailleur hanger. Rather than using a flimsy hanger that is designed to break when your rear wheel gets cosy with a stick out on the trail, Norco have built in a break-away bolt that is designed to fail before the hanger. The spare bolt? Threaded in the frame and always handy in times of need.

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Murdered-out RockShox Revelation forks are featured up front on both the Sight Carbon 7.1 and 7.2, with the more expensive model getting a higher-end RLT damper for better control of low-speed compression damping.

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Onza Ibex 2.4″ wide rubber features front and rear, with a very chunky tread pattern that certainly appears to be more concerned with traction in loose conditions, versus outright rolling speed.

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The front end of the carbon main frame is incredibly beefy-looking, with a huge tapered head tube and a massive overlap between the top and down tubes. Cable entry ports feature on both sides, and the frame is ready to route an internal cable for a dropper post.

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Super clean cockpit setup thanks to the SRAM/Avid MatchMaker system, which relies on a single clamp to attach both the shifter and brake lever. Lock-on grips provided by Ergon in the form of the more normal GA-1 grips.

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We’re looking forward to spending some more saddle time on the 2014 Norco line, but from our initial look, it appears that the Canadian company may be clawing back the reputation that has slipped out of their fingers over the past few years. For more information on Norco mountain bikes or to find your nearest dealer, hit up Advance Traders on the details below;

Norco Australia
Website: www.Norco.com/au
Phone: 1300 361 686