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Trail Bike Review

2023 Norco Fluid FS A1 Long-Term Review

Words Niels Van Kampenhout
Photos Vik Banerjee
Date Nov 28, 2022
Reading time

I have a confession to make. I’ve lost interest in new mountain bike tech. All the big problems have been solved already. Anything new that’s been introduced in the last 2 or 3 years feels to me like it’s either a marginal improvement or simply a way to raise the price ceiling of the mountain bike market. One day we’ll look back and argue when exactly the bike industry peaked. Was it 2020? I took delivery of a new trail bike that summer and it certainly feels to me like there isn't much left to improve. So little does the bike leave to be desired that it more or less disappears while riding, allowing me instead to focus on the riding itself.

Meanwhile, much of the mountain bike world continues to focus on bikes that want to stand out rather than disappear. It's often either about high-end (read: expensive) or niche (read: weird). It takes a certain Zen mindset to ignore the noise and appreciate the mountain bike purely as a tool that enables us to have great riding experiences. From this perspective, a middle-of-the-road, utilitarian trail bike with all the proven tech but without all the unnecessary distractions, could be seen as the pinnacle of mountain bike development.

This is where the new Norco Fluid FS comes in. Rather than trying to stand out with something new but unnecessary and expensive, Norco specifically intended the Fluid to combine the best of the previous Fluid and current Optic platforms, and make it available in an affordable, accessible package for a wide range of riders. The first impressions review has all the details on Norco's approach to achieving that goal, as well as the Fluid's geometry and model range. It also contains an extensive walk-around of the test bike and its components as well as my initial riding impressions.

In this long-term review I'll describe how my setup and riding experience on the Fluid evolved as I got more time on it, how the bike and its components held up during the test period, and how it compares to the Canyon Spectral 125, a seemingly similar bike I reviewed earlier this year. Testing was done over the course of four months, split between Vancouver's North Shore (Cypress, Fromme, Seymour) and Vancouver Island's Comox Valley (Cumberland, Forbidden Plateau). Apart from one or two damp rides on the Shore, conditions were warm and dry for the duration of the test.

deniz merdano niels norco fluid fs

The Fluid may be the ultimate middle-of-the-road, utilitarian trail bike but that doesn't mean it can't look sexy. Photo: Deniz Merdano

Setup

In terms of setup, testing the Fluid was not without challenges. As described in the first impressions review, Norco's recommended settings for my height and weight were a good starting point but I struggled a bit balancing my weight between the front and rear in some situations. Dropping the fork pressure helped mitigate that issue and I rode the test's first month or so on the Shore with settings that were still very close to the starting point. They felt adequate on the Shore's steep, chunky, and relatively slow descents, if not yet perfect.

Then I moved to the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island and was faced with very different and mostly new-to-me terrain. Compared to the Shore, there are more faster trails here and often they are not so steep and contain more chatter than chunk. The weight balance issue came back and the fork felt a bit over-damped in "Shore mode," and the rear bucked. I noticed I was lacking confidence and holding back. Without a frame of reference for these trails, it took some experimentation but eventually I think I figured it out. I ended up completely opening up the fork's low and high speed compression and dropping even more pressure. I also dropped the pressure in the rear shock a bit and dialled in a touch more rebound damping. Finally I rolled the bar backwards a bit. Combined, these changes made me feel much comfortable and in control and able to pick up much more speed.

The final settings were as follows:

Cockpit

  • Bar width: 790 mm
  • Stem length: 40 mm
  • Spacers under stem: 15 mm
  • Bar roll: rise in line with steerer / head tube

Fox 34 fork

  • Air spring: 70 psi (25% sag)
  • LSC: fully open
  • HSC: fully open
  • LSR: 7 clicks from closed
  • HSR: 7 clicks from closed

Fox Float X shock

  • Air spring: 180 psi (30% sag)
  • LSC: 7 clicks from closed
  • HSC: 8 clicks from closed

Vittoria tires

  • Mazza 2.4" Trail front: 20 psi (tubeless, insertless)
  • Martello 2.35" Trail rear: 25 psi (tubeless, insertless)
VikB_Norco_Fluid_20221024_1698

Fall cross-country riding.

VikB_Norco_Fluid_20221009_1560

Finding speed in Cumberland Forest.

Riding Impressions

Climbing

Climbing on the Fluid is quite pleasant, with the rear suspension feeling nicely balanced between being active and supportive. There is just enough anti-squat to give that encouraging feeling while pedalling but at the same time lots of traction is available and the Fluid motors up technical climbs. I never felt the need to firm up the rear shock using the climb switch. The initial weight balancing issue I had in some climbing situations was solved by the adjustments in fork setup and bar roll, as mentioned above.

Gravity's pull on the Fluid's 15.5 kg (34 lbs) weight was noticeable but not a real problem in practice. To be honest, the only situations where I was annoyed by the Fluid's heft were lifting the bike on my car's roof rack and carrying it up the stairs of my apartment building.

Cross Country

The Cumberland trail network has quite a few relatively flat, meandering trails that I would qualify as cross country and the Fluid did OK on them. It wasn't super exciting but it wasn't boring either. Just pedal and go with the flow.

Descending

The Fluid proved to be both capable and forgiving going downhill. I really liked that it can accommodate a wide range of riding styles, from easy going to hard charging. My first rides on the Fluid were immediately fun and lively, despite still feeling out the unfamiliar brakes and tires and experimenting with setup.

Once I had nailed the suspension and cockpit setup and had become familiar with how the brakes and tires behaved, I started feeling comfortable letting go of the brakes, picking up some speed, and finding opportunities for a little air. The Cumberland and Forbidden Plateau networks have some very fast trails, mostly more chattery than chunky but there is some rougher terrain to be found as well. I was pleasantly surprised by how composed the Fluid stayed at speed.

Of course, 140 mm travel up front and 130 mm in the rear have their limits and if you keep pushing harder, at some point you'll run out of travel. The Fluid is still a mid travel trail bike and feels most at home on mid travel trail bike terrain: moderately fast, moderately steep, moderately technical blue and single black trails. However I would not hesitate to ride it on all but the most extreme trails that I consider within my riding ability.

Overall the Fluid's geometry and suspension felt very well balanced in most situations and a good match for the amount of travel available.

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In Cumberland the Fluid felt right at home on the blue flow trails...

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...as well as on the "light" black tech trails.

Comparison

Earlier this year I reviewed the Canyon Spectral 125 and, at least on paper, it appears to be after a similar riding experience as the Fluid with both travel and geometry very close between the two.

A closer look at the two bikes' specs however, reveals some details that hint at different intentions. The Spectral, with its 125 mm rear travel, 64° head tube angle, and Fox 36 fork up front, is just that little bit more aggressive than the Fluid's more moderate 130 mm, 65°, and 34 fork. Those different intentions become apparent on the trail. The Spectral 125 always wanted me to go faster but also required me to be at the top of my game in order to keep the short travel under control. When the stars lined up, it was a very rewarding experience. When they didn't, it was tiring at best, dangerous at worst. On the more mellow trails, the Spectral 125 could feel outright boring. In contrast, the Fluid showed a much more forgiving nature. Going fast on chunky trails, I still ran out of travel at some point but it felt less harsh. The Fluid was also more fun to ride at slower speeds or on mellower trails. While this is mostly positive, its friendly character makes the Fluid a little less engaging than the Spectral 125.

Interestingly, despite the Fluid carrying almost a kilogram (2.2 pounds) more heft, I found it a more pleasant climber than the Spectral. I attribute this to the Fluid having a touch more anti-squat; just enough to make it feel a bit more spritely. Both bikes offer plenty of traction when climbing technical terrain.

Summarizing, the Fluid is clearly the more balanced bike of the two, while the Spectral 125 is more niche. If the Fluid suits a wide range of riders, from less to more experienced, the Spectral's range is narrower and partly overlaps that of the Fluid on the more experienced end but also extends a little further beyond it.

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The Norco Fluid FS: balanced, well-rounded.

deniz merdano niels canyon spectral125 14

The Canyon Spectral 125: engaging but more niche.

Technical Report

There wasn't a single functional issue with the Fluid during the test but after about a month or so it developed an intermittent creaking noise. As the warm and dry summer progressed it became more prominent and eventually I figured I should look into. The noise seemed to occur under pedalling load, mostly while seated but sometimes also standing. Reluctantly and not so systematically I worked my way through the usual suspects, cleaning everything, applying fresh grease or threadlock where needed, putting everything back with the correct torque spec. After tearing down and rebuilding the suspension pivots, the noise appeared to be gone but returned halfway through the next ride. Another time I thought I might have found the culprit in a completely dry direct mount chainring interface but alas, a film of grease made no difference there either.

Eventually I gave up and decided to see this as an opportunity to practice some stoicism, ignoring the sound and focusing on the trail and on my breathing and pedalling rhythm instead. The good folks over at Norco agreed I did everything I could and promised to investigate the bike when they get it back. In the meantime, they are not aware of any serious creaking/noise issues with production Fluids out in the wild. For now, that's good enough for me and I'll put this down as an isolated issue with the test bike. I'm also keeping the possibility open that it's something stupidly simple I completely overlooked.

deniz merdano niels norco fluid fs 38

Somewhere in there something made some noise. Photo: Deniz Merdano

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The noise didn't get in the way of having fun.

Components

All the components on the Fluid performed as expected during the test and there were no issues. Below are some things I wanted to point out. Components not mentioned, like drivetrain and cockpit parts, simply did their job with nothing more to say about them.

Fox Float Factory 34 GRIP2 140mm fork - The 34 felt great right from the start. In terms of stiffness, obviously a 34 has less of it than a 36. It wasn't a problem for me anywhere really but I'm not a super aggressive or heavy rider. For those who do fit that profile, I imagine a burlier fork (perhaps at 150 mm) would suit the Fluid very well too.

Fox Float X Performance Elite rear shock - The Float X has LSC and LSR adjustments with a sensible range and I felt like the shock performed well and matched the bike nicely. The climb switch was obsolete on the Fluid.

TRP Trail Evo 4-piston brakes - The TRPs required some getting used to. The pads took their sweet time to bed in and the levers' ergonomics are a bit different from Shimano and Sram brakes. The bite point is quite early in the stroke and the shorter end of the lever reach adjustment is still quite far out. Once I got used to the TRPs, I felt completely confident about them. They were quiet with pleasant modulation and their braking power was more than sufficient in the dry conditions during the test. Unfortunately I wasn't able to really test them in the wet.

Wheels: Stan's Flow S2 rims on Bear Pawl hubs - In the comments on the first impressions article, some expressed they saw these wheels as the "min" in Norco's min-max spec. All I can say is that for the duration of the test, the rims stayed true and the hubs kept spinning smoothly and without play. I didn't notice any significant flex or stiffness, these wheels felt just right to me.

Vittoria Mazza 2.4 (front) and Martello 2.35 (rear) tires - I had been interested in these tires for a while so it was good to finally be able to try them. The Mazza up front looks and behaves similar to a DHF or Butcher. The Martello's knob pattern and ride characteristic is reminiscent of a Nobby Nic. It rolls well and provided adequate cornering grip and climbing traction in the dry summer conditions. Based on the one or two damp rides on the Shore early on in the test, the tires handled wet roots and rocks reasonably well, although perhaps a touch less so than a typical DHF/DHR2 Maxxterra combo and not even close to their Maxxgrip variants.

TranzX 200 mm dropper post (out of spec) - Production bikes come with an SDG Tellis dropper so I won't hold the TranzX's slow return speed against the Fluid. I just want to add that the 200 mm drop was very welcome and provided the necessary space to move around on the bike with its 77° seat tube angle. I wouldn't want less drop on this bike.

deniz merdano niels norco fluid fs 8

The TRP brakes turned out to be excellent. Photo: Deniz Merdano

deniz merdano niels norco fluid fs 45

The Vittoria rubber was good for the extended summer conditions. Photo: Deniz Merdano

Final Words

It’s not carbon, it’s not a mullet, it doesn’t have a high pivot, it doesn't have anything electronic, it doesn’t even have a steering stabilizer. It leaves all that to those chasing the bike industry’s next high-end trend. It’s also not steel, not a hardtail, not even rigid, it doesn’t have a weird handlebar, and it’s not made by a guy in a shed. It leaves all that to those gravitating towards the niche end of the bike industry.

Here's a trail bike for those of us in the middle, who just want something that has all the tech that makes modern trail bikes great and none of the bullshit that makes them expensive, with options for all body heights and wallet sizes. Some of us may be relatively new to mountain biking, while others may be more experienced. The Fluid can accommodate all of us, no problem. It's an excellent platform that can grow with us as our riding evolves.

I think Norco hit it out of the park with the new Fluid. It's a very well-rounded trail bike that can suit a wide range of riders and handles all but the most extreme types of terrain with grace. The size-dependent geometry and sizing range from S to XXL make this an especially compelling option for the small and the tall.

Of course any bike, especially one designed to hit a certain price point, comes with trade-offs but in case of the Fluid I can think of few. Weight-conscious riders may be put off by the Fluid's heft, especially the lower-priced models where heavier components are going to add up. Norco's min-max mindset applied to component spec may or may not align with yours. Perhaps the internal cable routing is a deal breaker for some. None of these things bothered me during the test, I was too busy having fun.

Bottom line, the Fluid is a bike I can recommend to anyone in the market for a short to mid travel trail bike.

--

More information at norco.com

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Thanks to long-time NSMB community member and forum moderator Vik Banerjee for volunteering to shoot the riding photos for this review!

niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout

Height: 6'2" / 187 cm

Weight: 172 lbs / 78 kg

Inseam: 35" / 89 cm

Ape Index: 1.005

Age: 42

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Comments

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
2 months, 1 week ago
+12 Pete Roggeman Deniz Merdano Mammal NealWood Nick Maffei goose8 ohio Niels van Kampenhout Jeremy Hiebert OneShavedLeg Endur-Bro Lynx .

Good point about bikes being pretty settled now. I think we are seeing "features" that exist primarily to make a bike different in appearance more than performance. I think my next bike will be along the lines of mid travel bike. Good review. And well, since you asked for it. Did I tell you about the time I chased a creaking sound on my road bike in the 70s? After checking every component one at a time over about two weeks it turned out it was the metal watch band rubbing against the metal watch case every time I hit bumps. I discovered it one evening at supper time when I shook the salad dressing with my left hand.

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 1 week ago
+5 Mammal Andy Eunson Nick Maffei Jeremy Hiebert OneShavedLeg

This is headed to the Hall of Fame of creak chasing stories. Acoustics sure can be funny sometimes.

Reply

coffeepoop42069
Hayes Kenny
2 months, 1 week ago
+3 Andy Eunson ohio Jeremy Hiebert

My personal best was on my gen. 1 SC Hightower with a consistent tick under compression. Checked EVERYTHING (wheels, linkage, cockpit, seatpost, pedals, crank....etc...) and as I was bouncing around on it having a coworker listen to find the source, another mechanic walked by and just said, "bottle cage." I pulled the bottle cage bolts, and sure enough it was silent!

I guess there was just enough frame flex between the two bosses that it was ticking. Weird how those things go.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
2 months, 1 week ago
0

The modern version of that will be a loose swat box cover slash bottle cage mount. I think I need to refresh some of the hardware on my Stumpy, as there is currently a little rattle on my bike that was not solved by emptying the compartment, but I think it mostly goes away when I drink all the water in the bottle (I don't seem to pay as much attention to noises at the end of rides as I do at the beginning).

Reply

jt
JT
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Andy Eunson

My personal best was recently discovered: insufficient grease on one of the pedal threads. This after taking apart both links, post & cradle, and the PF BB. Never have I felt so rookie.

Reply

niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
2 months, 1 week ago
0

Brilliant. I did not check the bottle cage bolts, ha!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
Pete Roggeman
2 months, 1 week ago
+3 Velocipedestrian Hayes Kenny Lynx .

For me the takeaway from this on the positive side is that if you're chasing a creak, starting with the 'easier' things like bottle cage bolts is a good excuse to clean 'em and get a bit of grease back in there, something I don't do enough, and it also might work to eliminate a creak.

Reply

Timer
Timer
2 months, 1 week ago
+9 bishopsmike WheelNut NealWood DadStillRides ohio Jeremy Hiebert Endur-Bro Lynx . Niels van Kampenhout

What a beautiful timeless look and color scheme. It beats pretty much all plastic wonderbikes on looks alone, at a fraction of the price.

Btw, i suspect that a good part of the Fluid's agreeable climbing manners comes from the tires. That Vittoria rubber just rolls incredibly fast. They give up quite a bit of wet grip though.

Reply

niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Jeremy Hiebert

Yes those tires do roll well so I'm sure that contributes to the spritely feeling, although intuitively I think the way the bike pedals is at least as significant, if not more.

Reply

just6979
Justin White
2 months, 1 week ago
+8 roil NealWood Velocipedestrian IslandLife ohio BarryW Jeremy Hiebert Niels van Kampenhout

"To be honest, the only situations where I was annoyed by the Fluid's heft were lifting the bike on my car's roof rack and carrying it up the stairs of my apartment building."

This take on bike weight is so refreshing.

Reply

MTB_THETOWN
MTB_THETOWN
2 months, 1 week ago
0

Good reason to use a hitch rack!

Reply

trumpstinyhands
trumpstinyhands
2 months, 1 week ago
+5 Justin White Pete Roggeman NealWood dhr999 Endur-Bro

Ummmm.....I don't know if I should comment on bike building again but..... :D

Did you pull the seatpost out, carbon prep the top of the seat tube AND grease the bottom of the post? The bottom of the seatpost rubbing against the inside of the seat tube under pedaling loads is a common source of creaking, and easily missed as not obvious. Most people just carbon prep or grease the top of the seat tube. But long travel droppers sit far down the seat tube and you'll see wear marks on the bottom of the post if not greased.

Just a polite suggestion in case this hadn't been done ;)

Reply

niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
2 months, 1 week ago
+2 Justin White trumpstinyhands

Yes that was actually the first thing I did. Thanks for thinking along.

Reply

kcy4130
kcy4130
2 months, 1 week ago
+5 Vik Banerjee Justin White trumpstinyhands Niels van Kampenhout Spencer Nelson

Poor Niels, mentioning a creak you couldn't track down has just condemned you to reading a vast multitude of suggestions from everyone. Cause, of course we all think we're better mechanics (home or otherwise) than everyone else. Did you check the bb? Only joking.

Nice review btw, and nice photos Vik!

Reply

niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Justin White

Ha ha, yes, I knew that was coming ;-)

I'll readily admit my mechanic skills and experience are average at best but chasing an elusive creak requires time more than anything else and that resource was only available in a finite amount.

Reply

Jotegir
Lu Kz
2 months, 1 week ago
+8 Niels van Kampenhout Velocipedestrian kcy4130 Vik Banerjee ohio BarryW Steven Hambleton OneShavedLeg

Did you try turning it off and on again?

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
2 months, 1 week ago
+3 kcy4130 Pete Roggeman dhr999

Thanks. They pale in comparison to the pro-level bike porn we often get on NSMB, but it was a fun change of pace to do a couple photo shoot days in the forest.

Reply

JoshM
JoshM
2 months, 1 week ago
+4 Andy Eunson Velocipedestrian Niels van Kampenhout Jeremy Hiebert

The last creak I chased on my 2018 Norco Sight (also a 140mm/130mm) Norco full suspension, ended up being the air can of my new Float X. 

I took apart and greased everything; cranks, chainring, derailleur hanger, headset, seat post, saddle rails, every pivot point on the bike. Nothing would make it go away. I stumbled across a thread on MTBR with a rider having the same issues and suggested to check the air can. 

Took the air out of the can, unthreaded with a strap wrench and added some grease to the threads. Creak gone. It's absolutely wild how sounds can resonate through the frame of a bike and sound like they are coming from somewhere else.

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
2 months, 1 week ago
0

> It's absolutely wild how sounds can resonate through the frame of a bike and sound like they are coming from somewhere else.

Made worse by sound travelling faster through metal than air.

Reply

Vikb
Vik Banerjee
2 months, 1 week ago
+3 Pete Roggeman MTB_THETOWN Niels van Kampenhout

Having ridden with Niels I can say this bike looks great in person and would suit a wide variety of terrain especially if you are an under-biked leaning rider. If I owned one I could even find a few ways to make it somewhat "weird"! ;-) 

Thanks for the review Niels. If I was in the market for a new FS bike it would be a shorter/mid-travel machine like the Fluid. Lots of capability over a wide range of terrain.

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
2 months, 1 week ago
+2 Endur-Bro Niels van Kampenhout

Is the headset some variant of integrated, or boring (excellent) press in?

I'm starting to think about a new bike, and this ones list of sensible features is enticing. I particularly like the long head tube, threaded BB, and especially the eyelet shock. 

Being able to fit a Works headset could be the deciding factor... (I can always stick on cable guides to remove the internal gripe).

Reply

niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
2 months, 1 week ago
0

It's a regular press-in headset. Are integrated headsets still a thing?

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
2 months, 1 week ago
0

Unfortunately yes.

While I'm asking, how much frame progression is there? Enough for a coil, or am I dreaming?

Reply

niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Velocipedestrian

I don't have any absolute data but the press kit said this:

"Increased leverage curve progression provides support to the rider without depending on very progressive air springs and large volume spacers"

I lost my notes from the Zoom call with Norco but I'm pretty sure I remember one of the engineers holding up a coil shock for the camera to go on his personal Fluid frame.

Reply

davetolnai
Dave Tolnai
2 months, 1 week ago
+3 Lu Kz Velocipedestrian Pete Roggeman

A bike can have a leverage curve that's flat as a pancake and the company will still claim it's perfect for a coil.  I do have more faith in what Norco says than some other companies.

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 MTB_THETOWN

Didn't Transition push coil hard for a year before updating the kinematic to actually suit?

manu_moisan
manu_moisan
2 months, 1 week ago
+2 Pete Roggeman Niels van Kampenhout

The intro to this article is A1, made me want to read the rest, and now I might just consider getting myself a Norco when I change bikes.

Reply

Masacrejoe
Michael Klein
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Niels van Kampenhout

My buddy had a similar noise. He took apart the whole bike and regreased everything except the seat collar. Guess what turned out to be the problem?

Reply

niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Michael Klein

I did the seatpost collar as well, to no avail ;-)

Reply

just6979
Justin White
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Niels van Kampenhout

Curious what prompted the bar roll adjustment... What was the goal of rolling it back?

Reply

niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
2 months, 1 week ago
0

It felt a bit off so I tried different micro-adjustments until it felt right.

Pretty vague, I know, but what I think it did is give me a more natural hand position combined with bringing the grips just a little bit closer to me and giving my arms a more natural bend at the elbows. It seemed to help with bringing my weight over the front when needed.

Reply

JVP
JVP
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Niels van Kampenhout

Niels, how did you like the XL?  I'm the same size and looking at getting an Opic. Norco sizing has us riiiight between sizes (for my personal preference). 500mm reach has been my sweet spot so far, but there's obviously other factors.

Reply

niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 JVP

I liked the XL but it took a while to get used to. Once I had the cockpit and suspension settings figured out I was completely comfortable on it but I do think I've found the far end of my personal reach range with the XL Fluid. If I was going to buy one I'd still go with the XL over the L but if I could customize the geo I'd probably shorten the reach by ~1 cm.

I should add that due to some persisting damage from a back injury in the past, I'm not the most flexible guy around the lower back and hips despite many years of yoga.

Reply

JVP
JVP
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Niels van Kampenhout

Thanks for the input! I’ll demo, but only so much to learn on short winter rides. 

Same boat as me. Riding performance wise I can adapt, but back and hip injuries mean I’ve got a pretty narrow window for setup on the long rides I love.

Reply

stinhambo
Steven Hambleton
2 months, 1 week ago
0

This comment has been removed.

flattire2
Brian Tuulos
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Niels van Kampenhout

At 6'-2" you test a L or XL?

Reply

niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
2 months, 1 week ago
0

I tested an XL.

Reply

mammal
Mammal
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Niels van Kampenhout

Gotta as about the creak:

Did you clean and reinstall the cassette?

I had a terrible creak under power this summer. I needed to disassemble the NX cassette, then clean/re-grease the interfaces between cogs. Each cog is an individual piece on the NX, and I guess the dry conditions packed the whole thing in greasy dust. Everything's whisper-quiet since then.

Reply

niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
2 months, 1 week ago
0

I did take the cassette off, cleaned and greased the body and the cassette lockring but did not grease the interfaces between individual cogs (XT cassette is partial block and partial individual cogs). So who knows! ;-)

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
2 months, 1 week ago
+2 Mammal Niels van Kampenhout

Oh. XTR cassettes come with a very thin plastic shim that goes over the driver first. I learned that not using it results in a creak under harder pedaling forces. I made one from a plastic berry container. It worked. I have the official one now too thanks to my LBS but I have not needed to install it yet. The shop checked their new XT cassettes and they did not come with a shim.

Reply

niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
2 months, 1 week ago
0

Interesting. I don't think there was a shim behind the cassette. Sounds like it would act as a seal preventing dirt from entering via the back of the cassette.

Reply

andy-eunson
Andy Eunson
2 months, 1 week ago
+3 Niels van Kampenhout ohio dhr999

This thing. Cheap. The shop gave it to me free but I think it was about a dollar. https://r2-bike.com/SHIMANO-Spacer-for-XTR-CS-M9101-Cassette-12-speed-Y1X401500

Reply

ohio
ohio
2 months, 1 week ago
0

I also didn't know about this part. Thanks for the tip!

jeremyok
Jeremy Hiebert
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Niels van Kampenhout

Great review! We arrived a many of the same conclusions when we were looking for a bike for my son last year, and ended up with the 2021 Fluid 1. Incredible value with a Pike and XT/SLX parts for just over $3000CDN, and he just loves it.

Reply

Spacelizard
Spacelizard
2 months ago
+1 Niels van Kampenhout

I ended up getting the spectral 125 and making some spec changes. this would have been a great contender. I really like the TRPs. I have even taken the 125 on some shuttled runs at bootleg canyon in the south west and was more that surprised how well it did. once I added tokens and DD casing tires of course.

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Mcarson
Mark Carson
1 month, 3 weeks ago
+1 Niels van Kampenhout

I have been researching for a new frame (this bike cost less than most frames).Thanks for the helpful article and for the ride characteristics insight . I have ordered a Fluid A2 (Blue/copper), I mostly ride the Xc end of trail bike ,technical tight east coast xc or flow trail;no drops more than 3ft. I am going to replace stock with Trek integrated carbon bar stem ,XTR 4 pot brakes ,Fox 34 grip2 (130 mm )Next Sl wheels and Carbon crank with steel 30t ring ,xt shifter.Maxxis tires. You describe a simple,tough do it all bike and with my upgraded components I feel will suit where I ride perfectly for years and save 1200 grams .

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niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
1 month, 3 weeks ago
0

Sounds like an interesting setup, Mark. Let us know how you like it!

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stinhambo
Steven Hambleton
2 months, 1 week ago
0

This seems a bit weighty for something with XT and Fox Factory suspension. The Marin Rift Zone XR looks like a lighter and potentially more fun for a well priced mid-travel bike.

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Jotegir
Lu Kz
2 months, 1 week ago
0

Yeah, that's a fair criticism of norcos entire lineup right now re weight.

On the flipside, the frame  warranty rate has been near zero for our VERY busy shop in this most recent generation of platforms. This kicks the shit out of literally every brand I have experience with. 

And your last note, fun is subjective. Different strokes, after all.

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niels@nsmb.com
Niels van Kampenhout
2 months, 1 week ago
0

I have no experience with the Rift Zone XR but it looks like a fun bike - I'd love to try it sometime.

From a quick google search, 15.47 kg for size large without pedals per a recent Bikeradar review. That's the same weight as the XL Fluid I tested. I haven't looked at the specs in detail - it could be that the Rift Zone's weight is more in the parts and less in the frame.

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stinhambo
Steven Hambleton
2 months, 1 week ago
+1 Niels van Kampenhout

Wow you're right, I could have swore it came in a kilo lighter. Oh well, I guess durability is the big winner here :)

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