First Look: Norco's New Fluid Is For A Bit Of Everything - Pinkbike

First Look: Norco’s New Fluid Is For A Bit Of Everything – Pinkbike

If you’ve owned or ridden a super-efficient cross-country bike or downhill sled, you already know that nothing beats a purpose-built machine where it’s intended to be used. But if your riding intentions could be described as “a bit of everything,” you’d probably be better off being served by a bike designed with, well, everything in mind.

And that’s exactly how Norco is launching its redesigned Fluid, an aluminum trail bike with 130mm of travel, a 140mm fork and 29″ wheels that sees a lot of changes from the previous version.

Fluid details
• Intended use: hiking
• Travel: 140 mm (front) 130 mm (rear)
• Wheel size: 29 inches
• Frame material: aluminum
• Head angle: 65°
• Sizes: S, M, L, XL, XXL
• Weight: to be confirmed
• MSRP: $2,699 – $4,449 USD
• www.norco.com

Details on those below, but some important numbers first. The Fluid has always been a mid-priced, entry-level bike, and that hasn’t changed. The cheapest model is the A4 at $2,699 and it tops out at US$4,449 for the A1. All four use the same aluminum frame, and there are now five sizes – from small to double extra-large – that should cover anyone between 5’1″ and 6’7″.

What’s new?

Norco has applied the Fluid moniker to many different bikes over the years, but most of us probably think of the 2019 version when we hear the name. This bike was a popular choice, says Norco, but they also wanted to update the design for 2023 to make it perform better everywhere. That meant adding a little more travel and some big geometry changes.

The previous Fluid had a 130mm fork and 120mm rear wheel travel, while the new version gets a 10mm bump at both ends. There was also a slight tweak to the anti-squat numbers and an “increased lever curve progression” that would be more supportive without needing to pack the airbox with spacers. The A1 and A2 come with a Float X, while the A3 and A4 come with an inline shock from X-Fusion.

I’ve heard more than one Norco owner complain about troublesome steerer and shock hardware lately, so I made sure to ask if they had made any changes. Luckily, the fluid is held together by much better nuts and bolts that don’t jam or break.

Bigger and (presumably) better suspension never hurts, but geometry is a lot more “what matters” than whether your bike has 120mm or 130mm of travel. With the all-new Fluid frame, Norco said they want to bring their Ride Aligned Geometry, which has been a big factor in the success of the Optic and Sight, at a lower price point. This includes a 65 degree head angle and reaches numbers that start at 420mm for the small and increase by 30mm for each size up to 540mm for the double extra-large that Norco has added to the lineup.

I know some tall people who will be happy to read this, but what Norco does on the back of the bike is just as important. Each size has a different center back length, with small starting at 425mm and increasing by 5mm for each size up to 445mm for the long boi. They do this by moving the bottom bracket into the front triangle, not by using chainstays of different lengths, and the effective seat angle also gets steeper as you increase frame size.

Properly short seat tubes are also on the menu, allowing the small to run a 150mm dropper, the medium 170mm and the large to double extra-wide 200mm. It’s a good time to be a mountain biker when your seatpost has a lot more travel than the bike it’s mounted on.

How does the new Fluid work? This could be an important bike so I wish I had a few thousand words too many to tell you all about it…but it arrived at PB HQ only a day before I was flying out to shoot the next series of field tests. That means there won’t be an exam tomorrow, I promise, but stay tuned for one later this summer.

#Norcos #Fluid #Bit #Pinkbike

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