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Full Review

2021 Norco Shore 1 - Review

Words Dave Tolnai
Photos Deniz Merdano (unless noted)
Date Feb 10, 2021
Reading time

In the world of bicycle reviewing, there are 3 kinds of bikes. The first, and easiest, are the bikes that work well for your riding style. All a reviewer needs to do is come up with a half dozen similes, shoot a few photos and call it a day.

Next, you have the bikes that don't work so well for your riding style. Then you have to work a bit. Is it your problem, or the bike's? Is it fixable? Or does it just need a totally different set of terrain, conditions and attitudes to turn a wheelbarrow full of lemons into a nice pitcher of lemonade.

98% of bike reviews fall somewhere on a spectrum, book-ended by these two types of reviews. Very occasionally, you wind up with one that doesn’t, and it turns the review process into a bit of a doozy. What happens when you find a bicycle that changes the way you want to ride? What happens when you find one that all of a sudden has you bugging people for shuttles and thinking about a bike park pass once again? What happens when a bicycle tells you that you've wasted the last 12 years of your life riding up the damn hill when you could have just been hauling something like this to the top in the back of your pickup truck? What happens then?

DSCF8050.JPG

Bucking the trend of big bikes with big wheels, the 2021 Norco Shore rides on 650b wheels.

On Setup, Break-in and Adaptation

For a number of reasons, the Shore is not a bike on which you start kicking asses, first ride.

First off, that 38 needs to break-in! Speaking with Tim Coleman, he experienced something similar with the 38's he has tested, so that shit is pretty much gospel, in my books. Until that break-in happens, you're more-or-less just guessing at settings. I started at the stock recommended Norco settings and struggled to use even 2/3 of the travel. I dropped pressure and tokens...then more pressure and tokens...and then it started to feel okay. And then as the fork broke in I found myself adding pressure...and a token...and a bit more pressure. Eventually, I got to almost right on the recommended settings from Fox, but with the slightly lighter damping suggestions from Norco. The "all of the pressure and all of the tokens" recommendations from Norco would probably work in the bike park, but were a bit stiff for my regular riding. Honestly, I probably would have taken that token out, but somebody at Norco mentioned that perfect set-up for my average after work ride shouldn’t be my ultimate goal, so I left it in.

The rear end was the opposite. Well, not quite the opposite, but a whole lot easier to figure out. Before my first ride I plugged in the recommended Norco settings and the Fox Factory DHX2 coil, and the only change I made was to add a click of both LSC and LSR to try to reduce pedal bob a bit. Other than that, there was no fiddling required. It just worked, everywhere and anywhere.

Let’s go back to that first ride for a second (and our first look preview). I ended up hitting the deck twice on that ride! They were both of the slowly-riding-into-things variety, but one put a nasty bruise on my thigh that took a few weeks to disappear and upset me a little bit. Getting used to the gigantic wheelbase took a bit of adaptation. Generally speaking, I can hop on most bikes and feel pretty comfortable, pretty quickly, but this was not one of those times. Indeed, halfway through my first ride I thought I might just hurl the thing into the woods and give Norco a rough idea as to where they could find their bike. But things did get better.

As well, surprisingly, it was no big deal to come back to the bike after spending time on others. I experienced something similar with the Yeti SB5.5. The first few rides were comical as I adapted to the bike, but once I had "slack, longer travel 29er riding" encoded into my DNA it was never a problem again. It was the same phenomenon here. Hopping back and forth between bikes also seemed to be a part of the key to realizing that there's something a bit special going on here.

Upwards

I think I said this already in the preview, but I’m going to say it a few more times here. The Shore is definitely not a bike that you dream of having underneath when you ride uphill. I've had a few people contact me to wonder if this bike could be the ultimate long travel one bike quiver. It could, but the climbing performance is something that can't be ignored. I’m not quite to the point of calling it a "bad climber." It does pedal fairly well, but you would certainly need to add an incredible quantity of asterisks to any description that referred to it as a “good climber.” It did get better as the test wore on (fork breaking in, new idler bearing, 32 tooth ring, rear tire wearing down, etc.) but it still took a lot of energy and a fair amount of time to get to the top of a mountain. It climbs technical trails well, and the heft almost seems less noticeable in these situations. Just stay seated and spin like crazy and it will go up most things.

No matter the terrain, I spent way, way more time in the bailout cog of this bike than I have with any bike before it. And of course I did! It's a bloody 180mm travel bike that weighs a tonne. Can you climb with it? Absolutely. Does it offer far more versatility than a full DH bike by adding a dropper and steep seat tube angle? Indubitably! But if you are the kind of person that puts a 180mm travel bike through to work, and that rides with other people that put similar bikes to work...you are not going to want to be hitting group rides that involve long climbs on this bike. No problem if you have 10 minutes of pedaling to link a couple of trails together, but if the ride revolved around climbing, I found myself reaching for another option when one was available. In my eyes it's more of a DH bike that climbs a bit rather than an Enduro bike that descends really well, if that makes sense.

There are things that you could do to make it a bit more uphill friendly. First, I don't really understand why Norco didn't put a climb switch on this bike. It doesn't move a tonne while pedalling, but it does move, and I felt like I could use any advantage that I could get to make things easier on the way up. I asked Norco specifically about this (a few times) and it seemed to come down to pure hubris - they felt they had designed it well enough that a climb switch wasn't necessary. When I pressed them on this - does the rear shock work better/differently without the climb switch box checked, for example? Nope, they just felt they didn't need it.

I also felt like the bike climbed better once I installed a 32 tooth ring, and swapped in a production spec idler. For the first few rides, I would describe pedalling in the top cog as pedaling a guitar string. There seemed to be a tonne of tension when the chain was at the top range of the cassette. This got better, but the idler still felt a bit rough until I swapped it out. You shouldn't have to deal with this on the production bike. From this experience though, I think that the idler provides more resistance as your chain angle increases, and swapping to a 32 tooth let me drop down a cog or two and kept things closer to the middle of the cassette and off the 52-tooth. I think a 34 tooth chainring is too much if Norco honestly feels like people are going to pedal this bike uphill and the only reason I didn’t run a 30 was because I couldn’t track one down.

Downwards

So, if you wind up owning this bike, you're going to want to focus on going down. Let's talk about why that is. First off, is that buttery smooth rear end. It's not uncommon to hit a bump, feel it through your hands and arms and then just have it disappear as the rear end rolls over it. At times I found myself riding along on relatively smooth pavement, looking down in fascination as the rear shock moved and absorbed every tiny little detail. Where were the bumps coming from? What were they? How did it know? I wouldn't assign all of the credit to any one of the high pivot, the coil spring or the rear damper, but in combination, they seem to produce magical things.

While soft and absorbent, it never seems to run out of travel either. It's a coil shock, so sag measurement is more of a ballpark than a definite, but even at 32%, I never felt myself bang off the bottom. Using the trusted slide-the-bottom-out-bumper-up-the-shaft-and-see-where-it-ends-up, I could see that I was, at the very least, putting the bottom out bumper nicely back into position on most rides. Norco wouldn't divulge any of the numbers behind the suspension, and I certainly wasn't going to get all Autocad on this thing to figure it out myself, but I'm guessing there is a healthy amount of progression in the rear end of this bike, and this produces ample support through the middle and end of stroke. It’s plush off the top without wallowing and without ever getting overwhelmed.

The rear end feels so nice that sometimes it felt like the front end was getting overwhelmed when it wasn't. This feeling was most prevalent through successive small hits taken at fast speed. These types of bumps would disappear under the rear but produced the expected bump through your arms. This isn’t to say that the 38 isn’t plush, and one could probably tune it a bit softer if one wanted, it’s just that the rear is exceptionally great at making bumps disappear. I was pretty happy with the final settings I ended up with on the 38, and it provided a nice balance of absorption and composure, which let me ride the bike wherever the hell I wanted.

The Shore proves to be a bike of moments. Moments where you clean something you don’t usually. Moments where you don't touch the brakes where you usually do. Moments where you find yourself carrying far more speed than normal, and of clearing the thing that you usually don't.


Wrapping this review up, I can’t help but think of the Shore as an episode of The Littlest Hobo

One of these moments took place on Fromme. There are a few corners scattered about that are about as close to a bike park as you'll get on the North Shore. With all the COVID traffic, they’ve been fairly bumpy and blown out. Riding the Shore, I’d tap my brakes and carve through these corners where I’d normally brake hard and grit my teeth as I bounced around them. These sorts of corners convinced me of the extra oomph that the 38 brings to the party. There is no bouncing around and no question that you're going to hold your line. It just goes where you point it.

Another moment came while I was following Pete down a pretty gnarly Seymour trail. He was re-mounting after checking out a fairly significant rock roll. I caught up to him just as he was disappearing over the top. Normally, when I roll up on somebody who has just gotten off their bike to make sure they aren't going to kill themselves on the thing that follows, I would mimic their actions by stopping, having a look and then contemplating things from there. But not this time! "If Pete can do it, I can do it!" I hit that sucker blind and it was just fine. It was a long and steep-assed rock roll with a bit of a g-out at the bottom, but no problem. This is a fabulous bike for exploring new trails, or chasing people down things that might otherwise scare the crap out of you.

On Braking

People asked about braking in the comments of the preview. I had 500 words written, but most of them were just about why you shouldn’t fall for the high pivot/brake jack myth. I asked Norco if the Horst Link rear end did anything to improve braking compared to a regular high pivot. Their response? “Yes.” So, we’ll leave it there.

Where doesn't it work?

So, it's not perfect. We've established that already with the climbing. The thing about this bike is that it prefers to be stimulated. It's like the smart kid in a class that is moving too slowly. If you don't give them anything to do they wreak havoc on those around them. Or become chess champions and develop substance abuse problems. Either way, what they need is a good challenge where they can rise to the occasion. As long as the trail is serving you a portion of either speed or steepness, it's happy days. I spent 2 days having a blast on Hornby Island on this bike and, on paper, this would not seem to be the case. But it was fun! You could keep your speed up and this bike loves to be cranked into corners, and if a little gap shows up, you jump it.

But haul this thing into mellow North Shore trails, and it's potentially not as much fun. I did have a good time on a greasy lap down Expresso, on a wet day when a stadium full of people showed up to try out this whole mountain biking thing for the first time. It let me shoot down full pull while I tried to stay two steps in front of the teaming masses setting up camp at certain points on the trail. It's a good bike for that. But another time on Expresso I really struggled to get it working underneath me. Flat bits like those you encounter on the way over to John Deer, Severed Dick and C-Buster on Mount Seymour are just not fun either. As soon as you need to pedal to maintain your speed, all that weight and active suspension travel makes your life a bit miserable. Which is no surprise, really. Once again, it's a heavy-assed bike with 180mm of travel! But I mention this because you need to be honest with yourself about whether or not you need a bike like this. If you don't have the trails to support its gnarliness, you're both going to be a bit sad.

Parts

The GX drivetrain is the latest from SRAM, with that 52-tooth FU to the folks in that fishing reel company. I spent a lot of time in that 52-tooth! Thankfully, the derailleur shifts really well up into that gigantic manhole cover, especially considering the colossal difference in teeth counts between that and the cog below it. As well, the GX shifter feels fantastic. I wish Shimano would follow SRAM on their shifter feel. This is how it should be. It feels wholly mechanical and predictable, compared to the dead spots and artificial feeling clicks and clacks that is Shimano. However, beyond that, Shimano wins out in almost every other category. I had the pleasure of riding an SLX adorned bike in parallel to this one and it is no comparison. SLX just bangs out perfect shift after perfect shift and I didn't have to even turn a barrel over the length of the test. With GX I got periods of great shifts, but it never seemed to be perfect across the whole cassette. It feels like the window of cable tension is incredibly narrow, and a half turn in either direction can throw things off a bit. And, again, I really, really, really wish Norco didn't spec this thing with a 34 tooth chainring.

Brakes SRAM Code RSC brakes with 200mm rotors front and rear were great. They stopped me every time I wanted them to, and I never felt like I was running out of power.

The tires were a bit of a dilemma. The Double Down carcass was great. The Maxx Grip Assegai up front was great. The Maxx Grip Assegai on the rear was a pleasure on the trail, but I think I would trade some longevity and rolling speed and seek something a bit more subdued for the rear. The Maxx Grip held up better than I expected through the test, but it would be too rich for my blood to keep going like that. Still, it's hard to argue with the results. Maybe running millionaire rubber is just a sacrifice that you need to make on a bike like this?

Nothing else stood out through the test. The Tranz-x dropper worked fine (though that steep-assed seat angle makes it a bit awkward to get to full height). The E-thirteen/DTSwiss wheels were fine, although a million people on the internet complain about these rims so that's something to consider. Everything was just fine.

Conclusion

The Shore is a bike that I want to own, but probably won't. Just like a pair of super wide, super long powder skis, they’re the tool that you wish you needed all the time, but really should only be pulling out for special occasions. A few lucky souls can get away without any other skis in their arsenal, but for most of us, we’re better served by something with a bit less girth. It’s the same story here. For a few months I was constantly bothering people to see if they were shuttling. It took me to trails that I haven't hit in years and left me no excuses for not trying things. It reverted to the shuttle crazed imbecile that I was through the mid 2000's but that wasn’t sustainable for my current lifestyle.

In addition to the shuttles, I spent a good chunk of time cranking out climbs to the top of Fromme and Seymour. It got me there, and I had a tonne of fun on even mellow trails as a result. Riding this bike on trails that I knew back-to-back with lesser bikes really showed me what it is capable of.

If I were to own two bikes, there's a good argument for this being one of them. If you ride a lot of park, or shuttle gnarly stuff, but also want something to cover off the occasional climb between trails, I can't think of a better option. Couple it with a nice pedally 140/150mm bike (or less) and you have all your bases covered.

Wrapping this review up, I can’t help but think of the Shore as an episode of The Littlest Hobo. Much like our favourite German shepherd, the Shore showed up one day and annoyed me a little bit. I hoped it would go away, but it persisted. As it followed me around, it ended up getting me out of more than a couple of pickles, and I found that I enjoyed having it around. I realized that I owed many of my recent good times to it being in my life. But then, just when I had learned to respect and appreciate this visitor, it was gone! With hardly a look back, it was off on its next adventure and I was left behind, crying and waving into the distance like an imbecile. Yes, I was sad that it was gone, but also comfortable with the realization that there were other people out there that needed its help more than I did, and it would be shameful for me to prevent it from living true to its nature. Godspeed, Littlest Hobo. Godspeed.

For more on this bike - norco.com

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Comments

thaaad
+1 Pete Roggeman
thaaad  - Feb. 9, 2021, 9:45 p.m.

Those last 2 photos, is that the entrance to Espresso? Last time I saw it the ladder was green, rutted, and slimy and the section where he's standing was just roots and rocks. Oh well, at least the rock line to riders right is still gnarly... right?

Reply

denomerdano
+2 Pete Roggeman ollyh
Deniz Merdano  - Feb. 10, 2021, 7:54 a.m.

That's Boundary.. you should ride it sometime!

Reply

thaaad
0
thaaad  - Feb. 10, 2021, 12:11 p.m.

Haven't ridden that in years! Such a great trail!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+3 Deniz Merdano AlanB ollyh
Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 10, 2021, 9:35 a.m.

Fear not, the original Expresso entrance (both options) are still as janky as ever.

Reply

denomerdano
+4 thaaad Sanesh Iyer Pete Roggeman ollyh
Deniz Merdano  - Feb. 10, 2021, 11:27 a.m.

Only way in...

Reply

skyler
+4 AndyMcRod Cr4w Pete Roggeman ollyh
Skyler  - Feb. 9, 2021, 9:48 p.m.

This aimed to be a review of the Shore, but I think you just reviewed the prototypical DH bike. The bike you want to need to own, that makes you laugh hysterically at brake bumps while letting go of the brakes.

Reply

AndyMcRod
+2 colemaneddie ollyh
AndyMcRod  - Feb. 10, 2021, 3:59 a.m.

"...that makes you laugh hysterically at brake bumps while letting go of the brakes"... You are a poet! :)... I couldn't better describe the difference in feeling between DH bike and even long travel Enduro bike on descends! :D

Reply

mrbrett
+13 Geof Harries Lu Kz Merwinn IslandLife Pete Roggeman Cr4w Mammal fartymarty jaydubmah Neil Carnegie 4Runner1 Spencer Nelson ollyh
mrbrett  - Feb. 10, 2021, 6:49 a.m.

Maybe tomorrow, I'll want to settle down.

Until tomorrow, I'll just keep moving on.

Reply

xy9ine
+5 Pete Roggeman Cr4w Mammal mrbrett ollyh
Perry Schebel  - Feb. 10, 2021, 9:05 a.m.

that was really melancholic, in retrospect.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+3 mrbrett mike ollyh
Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 10, 2021, 9:36 a.m.

Back in the days when certain shows had really good, original theme songs and scores.

Reply

craw
+2 Mammal ollyh
Cr4w  - Feb. 10, 2021, 9:41 a.m.

Reply

mammal
+3 AJ Barlas Pete Roggeman ollyh
Mammal  - Feb. 10, 2021, 10:18 a.m.

That show had a 5-7yo me soooo stoked! That and A-Team. And yeah, I still think about that theme song from time to time.

Reply

AJ_Barlas
+3 Mammal Pete Roggeman ollyh
AJ Barlas  - Feb. 10, 2021, 2:06 p.m.

Loved the A-Team! I learnt to 'skateboard' using a toy of Faceman's 'Vette. Mr. T's van was too boxy.

Reply

Bad-Sean
+4 IslandLife Pete Roggeman colemaneddie ollyh
Sean Chee  - Feb. 10, 2021, 7:23 a.m.

I’m pretty set on this being my next bike at the end of the year. The riding on my farm I want it for is: fire road up, party time on the way down.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+4 thaaad AJ Barlas Merwinn ollyh
Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 10, 2021, 9:37 a.m.

Get your order in!

Reply

Captain-Snappy
+1 ollyh
Merwinn  - Feb. 11, 2021, 8:48 a.m.

Ain't that the truth... new bikes are selling out crazy fast, especially the good value and well reviewed ones. Three weeks ago Devinci told me to "check back in 2022" for the 2021 carbon Hatchet I was casually eyeballing. Had to buy it online out of T.O., full MSRP + shipping to BC. Usually I buy local but it was the last one I could find in Canada... in January. Crazy times.

Reply

deleted_user_8375
0
[user profile deleted]  - Feb. 12, 2021, 4:16 p.m.

This comment has been removed.

djjohnr
+6 Sean Chee Merwinn Cr4w Lu Kz Pete Roggeman ollyh
John Rodriguez  - Feb. 10, 2021, 7:27 a.m.

Good writeup. I built up a Shore frame a week ago with a Boxxer and running the rear at 190mm. It's replacing a Glory as my DH bike, with the added ability to make long resort traverses and fire road grinds to get to ligit DH terrain much easier thanks the the steep seat tube angle and a dropper. It corners surprisingly well for it's length and the suspension design is the best I've ridden in terms of smoothing out chunk. However, getting the front end up and bunny hopping takes more effort.

I found the Norco Ride Aligned settings on their site pretty far off in terms of spring rate for me. For example, the top of the RS air pressure recommendations for a boxxer at my weight (and what I've been running on the Glory) are 15lbs less than what Norco recommends. Getting the rear to match the Boxxer at RS recommendations, as well as matching the feel I had on the Glory which had an Avalanche tuned shock valved for Cat 2 DH racing on it requires dropping down ~100lbs in the rear (which still has me at a bit less than 30% sag).

Reply

Jotegir
+2 Pete Roggeman ollyh
Lu Kz  - Feb. 10, 2021, 8:34 a.m.

That's cool! For as long as I've had it, I wished Norco either put an internal dropper routing on the Aurum HSP or that KS didn't discontinue the dropzone (the one with the silly under seat lever)  - and for a bike I'm not sure I'll own forever, I'm not about to bust out the drill. It's not that I'd ever want to legitimately pedal the bike, but there's a bunch of traverses or mini climbs in bike parks and particularly our shuttle trails that are big enough that if I know one or two of the trails are on deck for that evening, it makes me question which bike is going to show up to the party - and if you own a bike like the Aurum, it should be that one every time for shuttle duty!  That's a neat solution you've come up with. I'm thinking I might end up with something similar when/if the bigger wheel counter part comes out.

Reply

jason
+1 ollyh
jason  - Feb. 10, 2021, 6:44 p.m.

Was wondering about the Boxxer combo and making it a real shuttle and park bike.  Not worried about length, most bikes for Dh are that long.  More worried about handling as compared to other 27.5 Dh bikes like the Transition TR11.  Any thoughts on that?

Reply

djjohnr
+1 ollyh
John Rodriguez  - Feb. 11, 2021, 7:01 a.m.

I can compare it directly to a 2018 Glory which is what I'm coming off of.  As far as the TR11, my buddy has one but I've only pedaled it in the parking lot, so I can only comment on geo at a very basic level.  For the sake of discussion the Glory and TR11 felt fairly similar.  The TR11 is a touch longer, but due to differences in cockpit setup felt slightly smaller to me.  Both feel pretty agile side to side, are easy to move around and get the front end up.  

Due to the chainstay lengthening effect of high pivots, I expected the Shore to take a lot more work to corner, however that hasn't been the case; it moves around pretty well.  I do notice the longer wheelbase at sag a little, but it's actual impact on cornering radius has been minimal and it pays dividends at speed. I do notice the extra weight at lower speeds, my large frame plus DHX2 comes to 11.2 lbs on my digi bathroom scale.  Getting the front end up for low speed wheelie drops or bunny hops takes a good deal more effort due to the chainstay lengthening.

Reply

jason
0
jason  - Feb. 11, 2021, 5:55 p.m.

Great.  Thanks for the feedback.

Reply

rigidjunkie
+3 Merwinn Pete Roggeman ollyh
Allen Lloyd  - Feb. 10, 2021, 7:38 a.m.

This bike reminds me of my old Miata when I sold it.  When I bought it the thing was a garage queen that was fun on the streets and entertaining on track.  Over time I moved way to far to the track side of things where it was an absolute blast on track, but dreadful on the streets.  75% of my use was on streets and it was just a pain that whole time.  But when you got on track it came alive and was easily 100 times more fin than when I bought it.  

This bike would be the same 75% of your riding you would want something else, BUT that other 25% of the time would get you reaching for this bike more often that you would think.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 ollyh
Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 10, 2021, 9:42 a.m.

That 75/25 ratio really depends on where you live and what you ride. For a lot of people I know and ride with here in North Van, the aptly-named Shore is appropriate for something like 70 percent of their riding. I think I take your point, though - even if it's not what you need all the time, for those times when it's just right, it makes for an amazing ride and great times on the bike.

Reply

Jotegir
+2 Pete Roggeman ollyh
Lu Kz  - Feb. 10, 2021, 8:20 a.m.

" I asked Norco specifically about this (a few times) and it seemed to come down to pure hubris - they felt they had designed it well enough that a climb switch wasn't necessary. When I pressed them on this - does the rear shock work better/differently without the climb switch box checked, for example? Nope, they just felt they didn't need it." (Emphasis Mine)

Wow, well said! This is the best I've seen this Norco phenomenon described by anyone. Most Optics, Sights, Fluids, and now Shores don't come with climb switches. And without trying any of them, I was happy to drink the kool-aid from Norco marketing and some other review sites. But now that I own an Optic? It bobs. I can feel it bob every single pedal stroke. I am a big rider that mashes pedals (despite using clipless). The Optic pedals great, but I can't help but think that I'd feel a little better with a climb switch activated. In fairness, I've seen quite a few people in the 120-160 lbs range ride Optics, Sights, and Fluids, and the bikes truly do not look like they need a climb switch. 

I guess Norco doesn't have any giant monster people on their test team.

Reply

craw
+4 Grif Lu Kz Luke Kozakiewicz ollyh
Cr4w  - Feb. 10, 2021, 9:11 a.m.

You can get a climbing switch added to lots of shocks.

Reply

Jotegir
+4 Cr4w Timer Andrew Major ollyh
Lu Kz  - Feb. 10, 2021, 9:36 a.m.

Bikes also do this weird thing where many of the parts can be switched out. Crazy right? I'm not saying you can't add them or you shouldn't, I'm saying that on some models they should probably be there right off the bat so it can appeal to a wider audience.

Adding a climb switch to a $8000 Optic? Not huge percent of the total price. Adding one to a $3600 Sight or $2500 fluid? That's getting a bit onerous. Hmm, maybe it should have been there already.

Reply

craw
+2 Grif ollyh
Cr4w  - Feb. 10, 2021, 9:48 a.m.

I totally agree. But if you find yourself having bought a bike that doesn't have that specific part maybe it's cheaper and simpler to just get that upgrade. Or find a roundabout way to justify it to yourself like: I should buy a cool aftermarket shock because it's always good to have a spare, right? Or: it's like a $75 part, I'll get it installed when I do my next shock service which is probably overdue anyway.

Reply

NotEndurbro
+1 Lu Kz
Dustin Meyer  - Feb. 10, 2021, 10:10 a.m.

I'm a 140 lb rider on an Optic. I feel the rear end bob and I can't get the damn Pike Select on the front to start moving unless I lower the pressure until it dives.

Reply

davetolnai
+5 Luix Pete Roggeman Cr4w Luke Kozakiewicz ollyh
Dave Tolnai  - Feb. 10, 2021, 4:47 p.m.

It's interesting how important height and weight are to a review, but how little they get talked about.  Read reviews where one tester is heavier and one is lighter, and it can almost sound like 2 different bikes in certain scenarios.  It also reminds me of the SB5.5 from a few years back, where I struggled to climb it up steep things but others thought it was amazing.  That was probably all down to the extra inch or so of seatpost that I had exposed compared to others.

So, with this bike, I probably could have gotten a bit more aggressive with the LSC/LSR, but this may have compromised something else.  Easy solution - put a climb switch on it.  Especially when you're trying to optimize a tune for so many different weights and types of riders.  I did notice that Norco makes the same no climb switch call on a lot of their other bikes though.

Reply

tehllama42
+4 Paul Stuart Luix Pete Roggeman ollyh
Tehllama42  - Feb. 10, 2021, 6:52 p.m.

Dave, my wife just had to endure a rand from me about how happy I am to be getting MTB information from where I do.  It isn't that you all are the same size/shape as me, or ride similar terrain with the same intentions, but that you can articulate how your body construction, trails, and way you ride interact with key traits of the bike and understand how that affects the riding and ownership experience, with a side bonus of you lot being able to infer where spending money (or not) can make the most of that understanding.
To that end, flexibility is always added utility, and a disused climb switch still has value as compared to the 'what if' of a seemingly notable absence of one.

Reply

craw
+4 Mammal ChocolateThunder Luke Kozakiewicz Neil Carnegie
Cr4w  - Feb. 11, 2021, 11:43 a.m.

I like the PB reviews where all the reviewers are barely 170lbs and they're going on and on about stiffness. Yeah surrrrrre.

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cooperquinn
+3 Mammal Luke Kozakiewicz ollyh
Cooper Quinn  - Feb. 11, 2021, 1:09 p.m.

If we were all 6'8" you wouldn't be special anymore!

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geraldooka
0
Michael  - Feb. 12, 2021, 10:25 a.m.

"It's interesting how important height and weight are to a review, but how little they get talked about. Read reviews where one tester is heavier and one is lighter, and it can almost sound like 2 different bikes in certain scenarios."

THIS so much. Drives me crazy we don't reference sizing by where our body parts land in space on a bike. It's why most reviews provide little value from the perspective of determining if the reviewed bike would be suitable for ones use. Body morphology is too unique. Unfortunately most bike seat tubes are curved nowadays and unless you can get the offset of that tube its tough to make certain important considerations about seated position which impact cockpit length etc. I encourage folks to download an app like Rattlecad which does have the ability to play around with offset and every other number including considering fork sag on hardtails. For full sus X3 is worth its weight for sure.

A recent personal experience of this important measure; after having a custom HT built and drinking the steep seat angle koolaid, I thought I'd try a 75.5 static based off a previous ride where it seamed thats what I was riding, that was a mistake. At 5'8 with a short torso and long femur its only comfortable when I'm pointed uphill. What I should have measured is given the same saddle (and crank length) how far away is the nose from the BB at comfortable pedalling height? I no longer give a crap about listed angles I just want to know where my saddle will land relative to the BB at my ideal pedalling height. Then I can determine; at this height is the rear centre too short for climbing without feeling like I'm wrestling a rhino at the front of the bike? Or, will the cockpit be too long or too short? Needs an article with sample bikes drawn up.

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morgan-heater
+4 Mammal Pete Roggeman Neil Carnegie ollyh
Morgan Heater  - Feb. 10, 2021, 9:49 a.m.

It would be cool if they'd sent you the boxer option to test. Just go all the way to dorky guy on giant bike pedaling slowly up the hill. Stop messing around in this inbetween zone.

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davetolnai
+4 4Runner1 Pete Roggeman Merwinn ollyh
Dave Tolnai  - Feb. 10, 2021, 4:41 p.m.

My knees hurt just thinking about pedaling this bike up Fromme with a dh cassette on the back.

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morgan-heater
+1 ollyh
Morgan Heater  - Feb. 11, 2021, 12:21 p.m.

Yeah, that would suck. I assumed the park would come with the same dropper and drive-train, but I guess not. You should toss a boxer on there for a long term review as an excuse for more shuttles.

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djjohnr
+7 Mammal Garrett Thibault mike fartymarty Morgan Heater Neil Carnegie ollyh
John Rodriguez  - Feb. 11, 2021, 2:05 p.m.

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fartymarty
0
fartymarty  - Feb. 12, 2021, 3:22 a.m.

It looks great with Boxxers.  It would be interesting as a mullet.

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djjohnr
0
John Rodriguez  - Feb. 12, 2021, 9:32 a.m.

Yeah, I'd be into a mullet version if they made one.

gdharries
+1 Michael
Geof Harries  - Feb. 10, 2021, 10:01 a.m.

Dave - What certain things related to bike sizing are you re-thinking?

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davetolnai
+4 AJ Barlas Lu Kz Pete Roggeman ollyh
Dave Tolnai  - Feb. 10, 2021, 12:25 p.m.

Mostly just that even though this is a really big bike - perhaps the largest I've ever ridden, by some measurements - it just does not look all that big with myself in there for context.  I'll definitely be going with larger options (when available) in the future...as I sit and look at the size L test bike that I just took on.

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tehllama42
+4 Lu Kz AJ Barlas Pete Roggeman Mammal
Tehllama42  - Feb. 10, 2021, 3:06 p.m.

Yeah, the bikes that seem to occupy entire car traffic lanes seem completely unwieldy, until they're up to speed, and then it's everything you can want.  The challenge becomes moving back to other bikes, because their nimble precision at low speeds is great compared to long low sleds, but I've long since concluded that my riding style is very much based on those 'moments' you spoke of, which completely means I'm willing to forsake sanity for those few moments on trails that I like where I am happiest.
This means taking a 150/130mm trail bike at stupid speeds over moderately rough terrain, but looooong bike is still the answer.  I totally get what you mean about compromising almost everything else about the experience to put a larger exclamation point on that one moment of brilliance.

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Jotegir
0
Lu Kz  - Feb. 10, 2021, 4:01 p.m.

If it helps, you look great with that thing in the last photo!

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pete@nsmb.com
+1 ollyh
Pete Roggeman  - Feb. 10, 2021, 10:17 p.m.

I get why Dave thinks it looks small, though. Or that he looks tall (and he is).

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DemonMike
+1 ollyh
mike  - Feb. 10, 2021, 10:04 a.m.

This bike screams to me just like my old Kona Entourage . Very fun bike to ride , and so similar. To the traits you mentioned about the Shore. If there was lots of down the bike rocked. But for riding on a regular weekly basis. It was too much too lug around. Do I miss the bike? A bit , I think LOL. We will see how the new sled does. I,m close to a couple bike parks now. So the desire for a more parkish bike . Might be ignited again.

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kavurider
+2 4Runner1 Pete Roggeman
KavuRider  - Feb. 10, 2021, 11:29 a.m.

I almost bought one of these, but I didn't want to wait that long and the Yeti I bought popped up.  

After reading this, I am glad I didn't go with it.  Awesome bike, but I am I honest with myself, most of my after work rides involve too much pedaling/climbing for a bike like this.  My 165 is almost overkill as it is.

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syncro
+1 ollyh
Mark  - Feb. 10, 2021, 5:33 p.m.

This brings back memories of back in the day when a lot of people were pedaling DH bikes up Fromme. The grunt up the road was well worth it for the descent on a TeamDH with Monsters. You wouldn't want to be pedaling something like that up No Quarter or GSM, but for the extra 10-15mins it took to go up the road compared to a smaller bike it was worth it for the ride down. There is a certain fun factor to be had riding a plow that you can't get with a scalpel. Reading this review makes me think that you'll not only have an easier pedal up with the new Shore but even more reward on the way down. And the added bonus is that your fitness will be better for it.

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xy9ine
+4 Pete Roggeman mike Cooper Quinn ollyh
Perry Schebel  - Feb. 10, 2021, 9:46 p.m.

i remember those days! tho modern small(er) trailbikes are so ridiculously capable; i'm pretty sure i'm faster on most shore trails on my 140mm 29er than i was on my 8" dh bikes back in the day. interestingly, the (norco) shore seems a bit overkill for most shore riding currently (except for maybe cypress dh laps).

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DemonMike
+1 ollyh
mike  - Feb. 11, 2021, 8:52 a.m.

Totally agree , my 1st 29er. Only 120mm with a 150 fork. I slayed all the PR,s I had with bigger travel bikes. Lots of variables with this as well. No doubt the tires size helps. But the quality of the suspension has improved so much. Plus when one need to get out of the saddle to pedal. The energy is not soaked up with a bouncy bike. Quality of trail building has huge help as well. Some trails carry so much flow now. One just has to pump and flow.

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fartymarty
+1 mike
fartymarty  - Feb. 12, 2021, 5:53 a.m.

Agreed, my Murmur is way more capable than my old Keewee Cromo 8 DH bike although its probably heavier as well atm with big winter meats.  Bigger wheels and ~100mm more wheel base more than make up for the lack of travel.

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syncro
0
Mark  - Feb. 13, 2021, 12:07 p.m.

for sure, but the DH bikes of today are also that much better at eating up the jank.

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LWK
+1 ollyh
LWK  - Feb. 10, 2021, 7:53 p.m.

Pros/cons on this compared to the Yeti SB165 you wrote about in Jan 2020?  or about what one would expect... Shore is a bit worse on the way up and a bit better on the way down?

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davetolnai
+3 Cam McRae LWK ollyh
Dave Tolnai  - Feb. 10, 2021, 9:24 p.m.

They're more different than you'd think. First off, the rear end of the Norco is far more suited to the coil shock.  I thought about digging in to all the leverage ratio differences and whatnot, but the Norco manages to be just as plush, but without any concerns about bottoming out.  If I'm at the top of a trail, I pick the Norco, no question.  The Yeti is probably a bit happier on mellow stuff compared to the Norco, but if it's gnarly I'll take the rear end and geometry of the Norco every day.

But, if you are looking for something that is super capable but that you are going to climb a lot, the Yeti could be a good choice.  It's a far, far superior climber.

Both fun bikes.  If I was lighter and wealthier and liked to pick my way around Fromme, the Yeti could be a good all around Shore bike, but it's not as capable as the Norco.  I would have loved to have had them back-to-back though, to better test that theory.

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Cheez1ts
+2 DadStillRides ollyh
Garrett Thibault  - Feb. 11, 2021, 11:53 a.m.

Dear Dave,

Please include me on the list of people you bother for shuttles if you ever get another DH/FR bike to review.

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stinhambo
0
Steven Hambleton  - Feb. 11, 2021, 7:50 p.m.

I wonder when the e-Shore is coming out? That should sort out the climbing aspect!

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davetolnai
+2 Garrett Thibault ollyh
Dave Tolnai  - Feb. 11, 2021, 9:06 p.m.

Oh man!  I totally forgot.  I was going to include this line somewhere.  "Norco needs to stick a motor on this thing and call it a day."

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khai
0
khai  - Feb. 12, 2021, 1 p.m.

When it first dropped that was my thought - a mulleted Shore VLT with a 180 dual crown.  180/180 super precise/who cares how it pedals uphill.

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cshort7
0
cshort7  - Feb. 15, 2021, 7:46 p.m.

> Thankfully, the derailleur shifts really well up into that gigantic manhole cover, especially considering the colossal difference in teeth counts between that and the cog below it.

This was pretty surprising to me - this particular bike has the older GX derailleur that supposedly isn't compatible with the 10-52 cassettes. Might be an anomaly, but still interesting to see.

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