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Tested Where it was Intended

2021 Norco Shore A1 - First Impressions Review

Words Dave Tolnai
Photos Dave Tolnai
Date Oct 14, 2020
Reading time

If you've looked at the Internet lately, you'll be aware that Norco has been up to some things. It started with some spy shots at the Whistler Bike Park of an interesting looking bike. Speculation ramped up and people headed in all sorts of crazy directions with their speculation. Then Norco just kind of showed up at the Crankworx Summer Series and let the whole world see those same bikes. What was it, though? A new DH bike? A new enduro bike with a double crown fork? A prototype run bike for really tall children? A second round of articles, speculation and forum detection ramped up as people worked to figure things out. Not us, of course.

When it came up that Norco had a new bike that needed testing I was all over it. I had no idea what it was, but it seemed perfect! Long travel, carbon fiber 29er with a crazy-assed suspension arrangement? Internet bike of the moment? Yes please!

New bike day rolled around and I was frothing! Foaming! Finally, a new bike to ride! No, the perfect bike to ride! Hold on a minute...what the fuck is that!

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Take the Shore to the shore. Couldn't resist.

The new 2021 Norco Shore

So, it turns out that Norco has been working on a couple of bikes, which, once again, if you've looked at the Internet lately, you probably could have figured out. "Spy shots" of this bike showed up a few weeks ago and people jumped all over that pretty quickly. Hell, if you were paying attention, some guy dragged one of these down to his murder basement a few months back and snapped a photo of it. So, there has been a lot of speculation, but finally the day is here were we now know exactly what Norco has been up to (in this case, anyhow).

What we have here is the new Norco Shore. It's definitely not carbon. It most certainly doesn't have 29 inch wheels. And you probably won't see it at an Enduro or DH race at any point in the future. This bike is in fact a re-interpretation of the freeride bike of yore. If you need a reminder of what a "freeride" bike is, well, it was a thing sold to us in the 2000's that was supposed to let us pedal to the top of a mountain and then be able to handle anything that one could throw at it on the way back down. This is what Norco is once again promising. In their own words:

The Shore is designed to pedal, shuttle or grab a chairlift up the mountain, and then sail back down, or navigate technical lines, scary lines and getting sideways on the way back down. Big, burly terrain that challenges bike and rider, and makes you question what you think is and isn’t ridable.

In short, it's the sort of bike that you would make if you had somebody like Matt MacDuff recently signed to your team.


It's definitely not carbon. It most certainly doesn't have 29-inch wheels. And you probably won't see it at an Enduro or DH race at any point in the future. This bike is in fact a reinterpretation of the freeride bike of yore.

Suspension Design

Ever since Norco released their Aurum HSP, certain people have been wondering when they are going to get around to releasing something with a high pivot that is a bit more pedal friendly. High, Single Pivot bikes have done very well on the World Cup DH circuit and people really seem to want that shit in a package that will pedal back up a hill. Norco is finally giving the people what they want, albeit with a small change to the template.

What this is, is a mash-up of the past and the present. They've stuck with the Horst link that we all know, but they've thrown us a curveball by raising the pivot point and throwing in an idler. There must be a good reason as to why they bothered with all this complexity.

A high pivot bike with an idler offers two major advantages (this is arguable, but bear with me). First, a high pivot bike allows for the rearward axle path that we've been told is the holy grail of suspension design since suspension designs were a thing. The theory goes that we tend to run into the things that cause our suspension to compress. Bumps don't impact a bike on a perfect vertical plane, so by allowing the wheel to move in a rearward trajectory you're going to improve the compliance of the rear suspension (there's also some subtle wheelbase implications, but this is secondary in most discussions).

The next main advantage is that by adding an idler, the designer can more directly control how chain forces impact the suspension by pinpointing the location of the pivot relative to the chain. This is usually a bit more of a compromise when balancing your pivot location around a chainring. Yes, the idler is a requirement to tame the high pivot, but as well as being a necessity it can also offer advantages.

I was curious though as to why Norco chose to add the horst link into the conversation, and not just stick with the high single pivot design that they know and that we're seeing from quite a few other companies. There were a number of reasons that they gave for this.

First is leverage ratio control. Adding in the Horst link and linkage gives more opportunities to tweak the leverage ratio to the place where they wanted it.

Next is durability. Norco has a lot of experience building Horst link bikes and felt like they could best meet their durability goals for this bike with that design.

Lastly, they were able to coax even a bit more rearward axle path out of the design using a Horst link, compared to a single pivot. They feel like this allows them to overcome some of the rollover disadvantage of the 650b wheel and they also feel like they could design in more support for the rear end (the greater the angle of wheel travel relative to vertical, the less impact the purely vertical forces from the rider will have on the suspension).

Frame Build

It feels strange that a freshly launched aluminum-only bike is a bit of a novelty, but here we are. The goal of this project from Norco was to keep costs down and durability up. Because of that, they felt that aluminum was the best option.

Looking at what they've put together here, I believe them on the durability front. Everything about this frame just looks all kinds of solid. The pivots all attach to massive hunks of aluminum, and every weld and tube looks like it's in it for the long haul.

Geometry

This is probably as good a place to talk about geometry as any. While the construction methods might be a bit old school, the geometry screams the opposite. We'll start with that 63 degree head angle. Then you add in an effective seat tube angle somewhere between 77 and 78 degrees. Reach and stack numbers are a bit less out there. But where Norco really sets them apart is with their size specific rear centers. By moving the location of the bottom bracket depending on the frame size, Norco gives you a 435mm rear center on the size Small frame, all the way up to a 450mm rear center on the XL. As AJ pointed out a little while back, there aren't many other large companies that have made such a leap to embrace new thoughts on bike fit and geometry.

On paper some of these numbers are absolutely frightening to me. What business do I have riding a bike that is so slack and with so much reach? The interesting thing is that it all feels very comfortable once you hop on board. It's one of the longer bikes that I've ever ridden, reach wise, but with the super steep seat tube it doesn't feel excessively long. Once you adjust your riding style a bit (and get your setup dialled in) the other numbers don't feel all that unusual either.

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I'll let you figure this out on your own.

Parts

The theme of value and reliability seeps into the parts list as well. What Norco told me was that what they wanted to do was to put good parts where they were needed, while not worrying so much where they weren't. My interpretation of that statement is "we put the money into suspension". Let's have a look at some of the decisions they made.

This isn't where one normally starts, but look at those tires! Double Down Assegai MaxxGrips front and rear! There are times (many!) that I curse how slow that Assegai on the rear rolls, but you can't argue with what it does for you on the way down. This tire spec sets the tone for everything that follows.

After that, you can't ignore 180mm Fox Factory 38 on the front, nor the Fox Factory DXH2 on the rear. Looking at that rear shock, I'm reminded of this classic Kids in the Hall sketch.

Where's the climb switch?

Ummm...ahhh...Nowhere!

No climb switch.

No climb switch!?

That's right. But don't let that scare you, my friend. Let that liberate you! Cause when you're free flying with the Shore, man, what do you need a safety net for!?

I mean, I wish they put a climb switch on, but I respect their decision not to.

Moving along, the drivetrain is full GX, and let me tell you there have been a few rides where I'm glad SRAM went to the effort of adding a couple of teeth to their largest cassette. Brakes are from SRAM as well, and are another point where an investment was made in the form of Code RSC's with 200mm rotors on both ends.

Wheels also solid, with E*Thirteen LG1s laced to DTSwiss 350s. These feel like they're going to stand up to most things that you will encounter.

The final bits and bobs are a mixed collection - a Deity bar, Deathgrip grips and a Tranz-x dropper topped with an SDG saddle.

Suggested MSRP for the A1 build, as seen here, is CAD 6,999 or 5,199 US. I'll refrain on commenting on whether or not this is a good value, as I'm a terrible judge of that these days. If you consider the suspension bits and other major parts (brakes, wheels), it just might be. Others may point at the aluminum frame and GX drivetrain and think the opposite. In my judgment, I like the compromises that Norco made here, and I like the fact that you can pretty much roll out of the showroom and hurl the thing at boulders and trees as you see fit.

First Rides

Norco took it to heart when they said they were bringing back the spirit of the first VPS Shore that they made 20 years ago. In more ways than one. One phrase that you won't see showing up in the long term review is "climbs like an XC bike, descends like a DH bike." Not to spoil that long term review, but this isn't a bike that makes its way quickly to the top of a mountain. That's fine, though. That's what you expected. You don't buy a bike that can survive being thrown off a building repeatedly because you're interested in beating XC racers to the top.

You also probably don't buy a bike with a 63 degree head angle either. Or 450mm chainstays (on the XL). These aren't quite Geometron numbers, but they're not far off either, and they should tell you a bit about the sort of people who will get excited about this bike.

All of those numbers combine into a bike that is just a whole lot of different. My expectation was that I was going to be able to steamroll over anything that stood in my path. This has been true, to a certain extent, but the story isn't quite as simple as that. There's a lot of nuance and surprise to this bike, and it has taken a bit of time to get to a place where we really understand one another.

This bike both encourages and requires some adjustment to your riding. It also seems to be quite responsive to setup, and Norco has put a lot of work into this side of things. I've had probably the most involved discussions about bike setup that I've ever had with a manufacturer about a test bike. Often you're lucky to get some suggested pressures and a few words of encouragement (and sometimes not even that) but Norco provides really detailed, size-specific tuning instructions and it has been an interesting process to discuss how achieving the proper tune is critical to getting the most out of the bike.

This can be a daunting process, adapting to this new geometry while working to find the right settings. As you meander down this road, the bike becomes more and more comfortable and rewards you for the work that you put in. What the bike wants is for you to stand in the center and not worry about moving about too much, or hanging off the back. Once you make these adjustments, you wind up with a bike that serves up gobs of traction and stability through a super active yet planted suspension system. Perhaps a bit surprisingly, corners are where it provides some of the most fun, as it seems happy to respond when you enter into a corner with as much speed as you dare. Riding this bike at the margins is where it feels the most comfortable and I've found myself searching for opportunities to see how far I can take things.

What it doesn't seem to like as much is going slow. Whether climbing up a hill or trundling along through janky flats, the bike reminds you that it weighs a fair bit and that it has 180mm of hyper active suspension. Of course, there's a fairly obvious solution to these sorts of things, but at the same time, I'd like to use the long term review to see just how far I can push this bicycle out of its comfort zone. It's busy doing the same thing for me, and I'd like to return the favour.


I'd like to use the long term review to see just how far I can push this bicycle out of its comfort zone. It's busy doing the same thing for me, and I'd like to return the favour.

Other Models

In addition to the A1 shown here, Norco is offering two other models. All bikes should be available in January of next year.

The A2 is a similar set-up to the A1, but with an MSRP of CAD 4,999 or 3,699 USD. It has the same 180mm front and rear set-up which it achieves via a RockShox Zeb R and RockShox Super Deluxe Coil shock. It has a Deore drivetrain, 4-piston Shimano BR-MT520 brakes and Shimano Deore hubs laced to the same E*thirteen rims (and Assegai Maxx Grip Double Downs) of its big brother.

Norco is also throwing in the A Park option which mixes things up a bit. It ups travel to 190mm in the back and 200mm in the front, using a Rockshox Boxxer Select RC and a slightly longer stroke RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate DH in the rear. Other differences are the SRAM GX drivetrain in DH persuasian, and a Race Face Chester crankset. Hubs are a mix of SRAM in the rear and no name up front, but also laced to the same E*thirteen rims (and rocking Assegai MaxxGrip Double Down tires). That will run you CAD 5,499 or 3,999 USD.

For more - norco.com

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Comments

Timmigrant
+1 Sweaman2
Tim Coleman  - Oct. 14, 2020, 9:30 a.m.

Personally I think one of the main benefits of the FSR design is the ability to somewhat isolate the braking forces. All of the high single pivot bikes I've ridden have had a tendency to oversteer on corner entry if you're not gentle with the rear brake. So in theory a rearward axle path, 4-bar design should be a bit more neutral under braking than a high single pivot.

I'm looking forward to hear your long term ride impressions. What size are you reviewing? I really want to have a go on one of these in an XL.

Reply

HeavyFlow
+2 Tim Coleman JT
Hank Sola  - Oct. 14, 2020, 11:53 a.m.

Excellent point about the braking isolation - shame that the review/norco did not point this out.

Also, the review glossed over the "4 bar can be made more durable" part.  I would guess this is because of the two attachment points as opposed to one.   But I can imagine using a large (think BB) main pivot would compensate but maybe that is heavier?

I am starting to like the idea of a horst link 4-bar with high pivot and idler.

The other thing the review failed to mention (or maybe glossed over) is that with modern wide range cassettes and 1x drivetrains, people need to be able to customize the chainring size without affecting the way the frame was designed to handle pedaling forces.

Reply

Timmigrant
+1 Cam McRae
Tim Coleman  - Oct. 14, 2020, 12:15 p.m.

I also really like the idea of 4-bar, high pivot, idler. I think it's a recipe that gives the bike designer the ability to optimize the suspension kinematics, rear brake performance, and pedaling characteristics, without having to make any major compromises. Kudos to Forbidden for blazing the path and demonstrating an idler pulley bike can pedal well and be efficient. 

Regarding the affect that the idler pulley removes the change in pedaling characteristics due to change in chain ring size, that's a great point and one I've never considered!

Reply

HeavyFlow
+2 Cam McRae Doug M.
Hank Sola  - Oct. 14, 2020, 12:57 p.m.

Yeah - it's real.   I tried going to a 30t from 32t on a horst link bike before and it moved the line of force below the pivot and the suspension became noticeably less active while pedaling (one of the reasons I like horst link bikes) and I could feel kickback that was not there with the 32t (also not normally felt on a well done horst link design).

FWIW I am on my third horst link bike with a brief time on a faux bar and the faux bar was noticeably worse in terms of braking and pedaling over rough stuff (New England Rocks and Roots are great for testing suspensions).

Reply

davetolnai
0
Dave Tolnai  - Oct. 14, 2020, 5:14 p.m.

It's not a long term review.  It's just a preview of a bike that we will conduct a long term review on.

I had similar thoughts about the 4 bar durability.  I expressed surprise when they mentioned this and they spoke to some things they learned with the Aurum HSP.  They felt they could get better durability out of this design and I didn't challenge them on it.

I hear you on chainring size.  This is what I was getting at when I spoke about the ability to optimize around the idler rather than a chainring but I wasn't explicit.  It's a good point to make all on its own.

On braking. Man. If you think people misunderstand anti-squat, that's got nothing on anti-rise.  My feeling is that it's not quite as simple as high pivot bad, single pivot bad, horst link good. Looking back through the media kit, I don't see any mention of braking. I'm going to guess that's because there's not much to it.  But I can ask!

Reply

LoamtoHome
0
Jerry Willows  - Oct. 14, 2020, 6:15 p.m.

A higher anti-rise (single pivot) keeps your geometry in-tact better when braking.  I've been on 4-bar bikes for over 20 yrs and have been on Aurum HSP for almost a year and I can't for the life of me feel any difference when I put on the rear brake but hot damn that Norco HSP is a  fine bike.

Reply

davetolnai
0
Dave Tolnai  - Oct. 14, 2020, 6:49 p.m.

I second this.

For years we heard about "brake jack" with high pivot bikes...which is the opposite of what is actually happening.

This bike brakes fine and handles well under braking.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+2 Lu Kz Tim Coleman
Pete Roggeman  - Oct. 15, 2020, 7:39 a.m.

Do you even USE your rear brake, Jerry?

Reply

Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - Oct. 15, 2020, 8:35 a.m.

I was going to post the same comment, tall statement from a guy that barely uses the brakes.

LoamtoHome
0
Jerry Willows  - Oct. 15, 2020, 11:42 a.m.

only when I stop

HeavyFlow
+1 Cam McRae
Hank Sola  - Oct. 15, 2020, 8:50 a.m.

Anti-squat, anti-rise aside my comment was about the fact that a true four-bar with horst link remains more active while braking.    Single pivots need  floating brake system to achieve the same effect.   Horst link's get it for free.    I would think that would be a good selling point.

Reply

DogVet
+1 DobberDoo
Hugo Williamson  - Oct. 16, 2020, 3:03 p.m.

Go back and read about Dave Turner’s change from 4 bar Horst to faux bar, not a soul could tell the difference in the dirt, in the armchair maybe!!

Reply

Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - Oct. 21, 2020, 9:44 a.m.

Given that Mr. Turner owns a bicycle company, I'm fairly sure he's going to say his newer bikes had no drawbacks vs. his older bikes. So not sure that's the best reference. 

I can tell the difference and I prefer the way a bike with a more neutral rear brake rides. That said some folks might like the brake squat from a single pivot or faux bar. I know back in the day Fabien Barel was constantly experimenting with various rear brake arrangements on his Kona DH bike. So it's a thing, your mileage may vary.

jt
0
JT  - Oct. 15, 2020, 7:26 a.m.

Right on all accounts. Brake jack on long travel HP bikes is well known, and the bit about how chainring size affects suspension came to light to me on my old Cove Hustler. The first time I got it into an area that required tech climbing in the granny I was absolutely blown by how much the sus opened up compared to pedaling in the 32, just sucking up holes and roots without fanfare or pedal kick. It was a feel I wish I had in that 32.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Oct. 15, 2020, 10:04 a.m.

So JT you went up to 34 or down to 30?

Reply

jt
0
JT  - Oct. 15, 2020, 10:24 a.m.

This was back in the days of 2x9 drivetrains. 22x32 FTW! The Hustler's main pivot was right in line with the granny. The bike floated over stuff in the gear that saw the least use. Heady days in early years of full sussers. Much was to grok still.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+1 Tim Coleman
Cam McRae  - Oct. 15, 2020, 10 a.m.

Dave is on an XL. Maybe a Sender/Shore swap?

Reply

Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - Oct. 17, 2020, 12:27 a.m.

Ohhhh .... I don't know. I mean, I want to ride the Shore. But what's going to keep me warm at night if I loan the Sender out to Dave? Furthermore he doesn't want to ride the Sender anyway, I already smudged the tires off that bike.

Reply

craw
+5 Sean Chee Mammal Tim Coleman Andy Eunson Pete Roggeman
Cr4w  - Oct. 14, 2020, 10:12 a.m.

I love how varying frame dimensions to suit varying people dimensions is such a big revelation.

Reply

Timmigrant
+6 AJ Barlas Andy Eunson ollyh MuscogeeMasher Pete Roggeman Mammal
Tim Coleman  - Oct. 14, 2020, 12:26 p.m.

Yet the vast majority of bike manufacturers still use the same rear center length on bikes for size XS and XL. Scaling the entire frame in terms of front center length, rear center length, stack and frame tube thickness / stiffness makes so much sense to me, and I wish more manufacturers would follow suit.

Reply

Bad-Sean
+3 ollyh Pete Roggeman Cam McRae
Sean Chee  - Oct. 14, 2020, 10:36 a.m.

Once the long term reviews are out and its true nature is established, this might just be the bike I've been waiting for.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+1 Luix
Cam McRae  - Oct. 15, 2020, 10:07 a.m.

Like many bikes, the new Shore looks a lot better in person. The low angle side view is often unflattering, but we almost never see our bikes like that unless they are on a roof rack.

Reply

pepperJerome
0
pepperJerome  - Oct. 28, 2020, 8:09 p.m.

then the next step is a Shore VLT to compete with the Kenevo?

Reply

HeavyFlow
+2 Sean Chee Pete Roggeman
Hank Sola  - Oct. 14, 2020, 11:49 a.m.

I find the A2 with shimano to be the best looking "deal".

But I also find the bike quite ugly and would have a hard time buying one because of that.

Reply

davetolnai
+2 Pete Roggeman Luix
Dave Tolnai  - Oct. 14, 2020, 6:15 p.m.

Man, I dig the looks!  It's sort of industrial.  It's pretty cool looking in person.

I'm also curious about the lower spec model.  It's a bundle of cash and I wonder what difference the lower spec suspension will make.  If I was building a bike park bomber, that would be the one, for sure.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
+1 Luix
Pete Roggeman  - Oct. 15, 2020, 7:40 a.m.

A lot of people said that about the original Shore, too!

Like Dave, I also like the look. It's all business, but in a "let's get down to the business of trail-partying" kind of way.

Reply

martyz
0
Marty Zaleski  - Oct. 14, 2020, 11:53 a.m.

"What it doesn't seem to like as much is going slow"... reminds me of my old Transition Blindside. Felt like it only ever really woke up at bike-park speeds.

Reply

davetolnai
0
Dave Tolnai  - Oct. 14, 2020, 4:28 p.m.

Funny.  I had exactly the same thought as I was trundling along Bridle Path the other day, about your old Transition Blindside.

Reply

Timer
-1 thaaad
Timer  - Oct. 14, 2020, 2:25 p.m.

I’m a bit puzzled by the fact that this bike requires a lengthy setup period and a lot of getting used to its handling. Sounds like the exact opposite of what I would expect  from a freeride bike. Isn’t that supposed to be a hop-on-and-have-fun-machine?

Also: DD Maxxgrip Assegai on the rear and a 34 tooth chainring, my legs hurt just thinking about that.

Reply

davetolnai
+1 ollyh
Dave Tolnai  - Oct. 14, 2020, 4:31 p.m.

I hear you on the chainring and tire.

The geometry is a definite adjustment. I can generally hop on most bikes and feel okay within a few corners.  This took a bit longer.  Even just figuring out where your rear wheel is going to go.  I would imagine if you came off another ultra long/slack bike, it probably wouldn't be the case, but it's different than many bikes out there and it requires adjustment.

On set-up.  Well, I'm realizing that some of what I experienced might be fork break-in, but it has taken a bit of fiddling with the fork.  Talking with Norco, they have lots of thoughts on how fork set-up effects the ride.  How about this - as I get closer to my "ideal" fork tune, I'm feeling more and more comfortable?

Reply

LoamtoHome
+1 Pete Roggeman
Jerry Willows  - Oct. 14, 2020, 6:16 p.m.

34t on a 650b is the same as 32t on a 29er.

Reply

davetolnai
0
Dave Tolnai  - Oct. 14, 2020, 6:47 p.m.

Yes. I realize that, in theory, it should be fine to push a 34t on this bike. In practice, I'd love a 32t, or even a 30t.  I pooh-pooh'd the 30t that the Yeti SB165 came with, but I really want it now.

I do have a 32t from Cam that I need to put on. I bruised the shit out of my hand trying to get the Dub cranks off. I need to get out my breaker bar to get those things off.

Reply

DogVet
0
Hugo Williamson  - Oct. 14, 2020, 2:32 p.m.

So the rear axle moves rear wards when it hits a bump on the trail... but presumably it has to return to the original position at some stage, what happens when that return movement coincides precisely with another bump? Thanks

Reply

davetolnai
+1 Luix
Dave Tolnai  - Oct. 14, 2020, 4:34 p.m.

Your suspension compresses?  It's not really any different than any other rear suspension system.  I see what you're saying.  Your rear wheel is creating some kind of forward momentum upon return that needs to be compensated for.  Honestly, I don't necessarily buy in to the whole high pivot/rearward axle path hype.  I get what it is in theory.  I should dive in to the actual change in the angle of trajectory, but that sounds like a lot of work.  But multiple hits don't create any sort of problem.

Reply

LoamtoHome
+1 Tim Coleman
Jerry Willows  - Oct. 14, 2020, 6:22 p.m.

I like that the bike gets longer (more stable) when you go through the travel, especially on big hits.  Lots of positives for a high pivot.

Reply

Bad-Sean
+1 Cam McRae
Sean Chee  - Oct. 15, 2020, 6:03 a.m.

There is a lot of hype. I've been playing around with suspension layouts in fusion360 over the last few months and really, the whole axle moving backwards over bumps thing is overdone. 

Most of the wheelbase changes are small when you look at the vertical and horizontal axle movement relative to each other. Many of the high pivots do most of their rearward movement in sag and close to it. During the first half of the remaining travel, the axle paths tend to be a lot more vertical.

The real exception to this is the antidote dark matter. They have created something truly different there with about 50mm of rearward movement (iirc) that is spread throughout the whole travel length. It's wild and I would definitely buy one if they had more reach (a requirement, not preference. 455mm is too short for me at 6'5").

At the end of the day, axle path is constrained by derailleur length and cassette range. You probably wouldn't be able to go past 40t on a supreme and on the dark matter probably 30t. 

This is where geaboxes have the potential to really shine. If antidote made a dm with a pinion, I would happily lop a couple of inches of each of my limbs to ride one.

Reply

Timmigrant
+1 Andrew Major
Tim Coleman  - Oct. 15, 2020, 7:04 a.m.

Having ridden many bikes of many different architectures I can confirm there is plenty of substance to the hype of rearward axle path bikes. I hear what you're saying, 30 - 50 mm of horizontal rear center growth on bikes with 160 to 200 mm travel seems really small, especially when plotted using a CAD package. How can that make such a difference? I'm not sure I can explain the physics of what's going on, but my understanding is that if the axle path is rearward (rather than forward on most bikes) that the effective angle of impact with an object lowers, thus requiring less horizontal force to motivate the rear wheel up and over the object. Regardless of the exact physics at play I can confirm every high single pivot bike I've ridden has had incredible square bump compliance.

The Anti-dote Dark Matter looks like a really cool bike! But the axle path is less rearward than you're saying. Their website shows a max. rear center growth of 22 mm and 14 mm at bottom out. That's less rearward than the high single pivot bikes out there at the moment. I don't know what the rear center growth on the Shore is, but it'd be neat to know how it compares and see how it rides in comparison to both high single pivot, and standard 4-bar bikes.

Reply

Bad-Sean
+1 Tim Coleman
Sean Chee  - Oct. 15, 2020, 7:28 a.m.

You're right. I must have been looking at the axle relative to another datum point (like another pivot) when I came up with 50mm. At work the loosest tolerances we deal with are .05mm or sub arc seconds, so appreciate what a difference a few mm can make, especially when it comes to linkages.

I don't deny their performance is amazing in the rough. How much of that is down to the rear moving axle path is what I am not entirely convinced of. 

The only modern high pivot I've ridden (I've ridden heaps from the past) is a supreme. It's beautiful and has me sold on them. The horst variant on the gt fury always looked like a great solution to fine tune the performance (particularly under braking).

In a package that allows pedaling uphill, barring any serious idiosyncrasies, it is about my perfect bike.

Reply

Timmigrant
0
Tim Coleman  - Oct. 17, 2020, 12:31 a.m.

Having ridden many bikes, and many different rear shocks, I can only conclude that the rear moving axle path is a major contributor to improving performance through rough terrain. And I agree that the Supreme is wonderful. The suspension performance on rear moving axle path bikes is sublime.

HeavyFlow
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Hank Sola  - Oct. 15, 2020, 8:55 a.m.

I think you are correct.  However, I would think that the small contribution in forward momentum caused by the rebound is trivial compared to the momentum carried by to ~200+ pounds that the rider and bike have travelling at even a few miles per hour.    This is also where unsprung mass comes into play.  The lighter the rear end, the faster it can react (the less momentum in the rebund).

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gdharries
+4 Cr4w Pete Roggeman Lu Kz Cam McRae
Geof Harries  - Oct. 14, 2020, 5:25 p.m.

If you compare this Shore to the type of stuff we used to ride in the late 90s and early 2000s, it's incredible how far we've come and what we have available now. Mountain bikers are truly spoiled.

Case in point:

Remember that beast and others like it?

At least with this new Shore, you can actually pedal the thing up a mountain if you were so inclined. The old bikes were merely meant for going downhill, off drops, across ladders and merely coming out alive or somewhat unscathed.

I sure don't miss the bad ol' days, or at least the bikes from back then. The memories are great though.

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andy-eunson
+3 flatch Pete Roggeman Cam McRae
Andy Eunson  - Oct. 14, 2020, 6:12 p.m.

Oh yes. Tuck and roll geometry. Better than xc bikes of the day though.

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cam@nsmb.com
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Cam McRae  - Oct. 15, 2020, 10:14 a.m.

That bike has so much ugly it can't even use all of it! I'm sure it was a blast in its day though. I loved the 26/24 Big Hits I owned. So much fun.

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TonyJ
+6 Poz Andrew Major Tim Coleman Pete Roggeman Lu Kz Cam McRae
TonyJ  - Oct. 14, 2020, 5:52 p.m.

The real question is, when you ride, does it sound like somebody banging a bear bell inside a tin can?

If not, then it's not a proper Norco Shore......

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craw
+2 Pete Roggeman Mammal
Cr4w  - Oct. 14, 2020, 7:24 p.m.

Just wait until they rerelease the VPS.

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kavurider
+4 Sean Chee Pete Roggeman Mammal Cam McRae
KavuRider  - Oct. 14, 2020, 8:27 p.m.

Pretty sure that A2 version is going to be my next bike. Ticks all of the boxes for me!

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Jghansen
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James Hansen  - Oct. 15, 2020, 11:06 p.m.

Drooling til I get one, need a North shore trail fix like heroin junkie.😁

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aiden.s.p@gmail.com
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Aiden Plummer  - Oct. 27, 2020, 2:05 p.m.

Hey guys, amazing write up on the norco shore!

I'm looking at pre ordering the shore a2 as it seems slightly more oriented towards climbing ability. Can you tell me any more (I promise to read your long term review either way) 😊 about how well this bike climbed. I know it's not made for it per say. Were hills achievable in a couple hours ride with no lift. Did they really destroy you or it wasn't that hard?

Definitely chasing these answers, thanks for any info!

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