2012 Norco Road – New Valence Endurance Bike Debuts, Threshold Cyclocross Gets Official

2012 Norco Valence carbon fiber endurance road bike

Prior to showing off the new models, which are the Valence endurance road bike (above) and Threshold carbon cyclocross bike – plus some updates to their CRR race bike – Norco gave us an overview of their carbon technology. Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version:

Norco owns all of the molds and uses only their designs, no open molds, and design is done with 3D modeling to pre-test designs before building a mold. The mold is carved out of metal, and the prepreg carbon ranges from 24T to 40T depending on model. A carbon bike uses between 200 and 250 individual pieces of carbon fiber. They use a HTR (High Toughness Resin) in all of their carbon frames, which improves impact resistance and gives their bikes a longer lifespan. On the inside, the higher end bikes use EPS (Ethyle Poly-Styrene) mandrels to keep the insides of the tubes smooth. Any ridges on the inside can become stress risers, and the mandrels prevent that. They also use a thermoplastic mesh wrapped around the EPS mandrel that gets embedded into the frames. This prevents cracks from spreading – like Rip Stop – helping keep the frame intact in the event of damage.

From the myriad BB standards, they chose BB30 because they say it’s easy to use and very stiff. In their tests, the cranks have a larger impact on overall system stiffness than the frame, so choosing the right BB system is critical to the bike’s performance.

OK, on to the bikes…

2012 Norco Valence carbon fiber endurance road bike

The Valence is an endurance road bike, available with four carbon fiber frames ranging from $5,399 for Ultegra Di2 down to $1,939. The frame has an oversized headtube, downtube and BB section, which gives it a high performance pedaling platform like their race bikes, but the ARC (Applied Road Compliance) stays build in compliance with an arc’d shape that flex slightly.

2012 Norco Valence carbon fiber endurance road bike

Norco says the initial prototypes actually ended up being too stiff, mostly from the fork, so they redesigned the fork and slimmed down the front triangle slightly.

2012 Norco Valence carbon fiber endurance road bike

Compared to their race bike, the headtube is a bit taller and the chainstays are a bit longer, and reach/stack progress with the size of the bike. On the smallest and largest sizes, the seat tube angle is altered, too, to keep the reach within reasonable parameters. The result is a bike that’s built to go fast but be comfortable over the long haul, perfect for Gran Fondo and Century riders. The fork is custom just for this bike and has a 49mm offset, and all models use a full carbon tapered fork. The top two Valence models use the EPS/TPM build with 40T carbon, the 2 and 3 don’t have the fancy build with EPS/TPM and use a mix of 24T/30T carbon. Frame weights are just under 1000g Di2 and 1, and about 1250g for 2/3.

2012 Norco Valence carbon fiber endurance road bike

Carbon molded headset cups eliminates metal to save weight, and the downtube continues through the BB into the chainstays. The top tube is tapered to add a bit more compliance, and the seatpost is 27.2 to add just a bit more flex. The frame has hidden fender mounts so you can add them if you want, but they’re not super obvious.

2012 Norco Valence carbon fiber endurance road bike

The mounts are not designed for a rack. The bike will come with 25c tires, but the brake placement and bridge is designed to offer lots of clearance if you want to run a fatter tire.

2012 Norco Valence alloy endurance road bike

The Valence Alloy carries over a lot of the design of the carbon model in a double butted 7005 alloy frame. Custom hydroformed downtube to mimic the shapes of the carbon frame and the tapered headset cups are integrated into the frame. Seatstays are arc’d, too, and this frame will allow for both racks and fenders. Valence 1 and 2 get a carbon bladed fork (alloy steerer).

2012 Norco Valence alloy endurance road bike

The alloy models also have a women’s counterpart for each spec level called the Valence Forma with a few tweaks (taller HT, shorter top tube) to fit the female form better. Prices range from $859 to $1,299.

The CRR LE is a new top of the line model uses a new, higher grade HM 40T carbon that’s their lightest road frame ever at about 950g (56), and BB30 now carries all the way down the line. They’ve also done away with ISP (integrated seatpost) frames and gone with 31.6 seatposts across the range, which should make travel a bit easier while keeping everything plenty stiff.

2012 Norco CRR LE carbon race road bike

2012 Norco CRR LE carbon race road bike

2012 Norco Threshold Carbon Fiber Cyclocross Bike

The Threshold is their new carbon fiber cyclocross platform that they showed as a prototype at Sea Otter. For 2012, they’ll offer three models. The frame is a mostly HM 30T carbon with a bit of 24T mixed in with their HTR (High Toughness Resin) and TPM across the range. Frame weights are about 1250g.

UPDATE: There’s a second cable guide further down the seatstay, they just didn’t have it zip-tied in. I think they received some of these bikes just before Crankworx and were put together quickly, not perfectly. Certainly, you could (and should) use both cable guides and trim it more than shown above.

2012 Norco Threshold Carbon Fiber Cyclocross Bike

They have a molded carbon headset cup with full carbon tapered form and integrated brake hanger to eliminate chatter. The top tube is tapered and ergo shaped to add a bit of compliance and make it more comfortable to shoulder. The seatstays are fairly narrow to eat up a bit of the bumps, and both stays offer plenty of clearance. Behind the BB, there’s no shelf to collect mud, and they’ve built in a fender mount. The fork crown is massive with a ridged design that looks super stiff.

2012 Norco Threshold Carbon Fiber Cyclocross Bike

The front derailleur housing runs externally along the bottom of the downtube, and it’s removable. Norco’s Road/Asphalt manager Logan Johns says mud will fall off pretty easily and it negates the need for a pulley that can collect mud and crud. They’re removable so you can run it as a 1×10 and remove clutter, or…

2012 Norco Threshold Carbon Fiber Cyclocross Bike 2012 Norco Threshold Carbon Fiber Cyclocross Bike

The dropouts are replaceable, which means you can break open the rear triangle and run it as a singlespeed. You can also use it with the new Gates CenterTrack belt drive. It’s not shown here because someone at Norco accidentially puttied over the ends of the stays on these display bikes.

2012 Norco Threshold Carbon Fiber Cyclocross Bike 2012 Norco Threshold Carbon Fiber Cyclocross Bike

One thing we didn’t get to see on the protos at Sea Otter were the paint schemes and color matched details. Check the matching cable ferrules and, on the blue bike, hubs and nipples. Makes for a super sharp package.



Bill - 07/27/11 - 2:17pm

Are they serious with that rear derailluer housing mounting? Aesthetically it looks awful, and practically.. loose cables on a cross bike? Big no-no. Otherwise cool cross bike just utterly ruined.

Alex - 07/27/11 - 2:57pm

Maybe the guy who puttied over the ends of the stays forgot to rivet a few cable guides on, too… hoping, at least.

Mark - 07/27/11 - 3:00pm

There is another cable guide. You can see it on the second picture (the blue bike) of the Threshhold – no idea why they left the cable dangling out there.

Alex - 07/27/11 - 3:03pm

How’s that brake hanger going to eliminate chatter? – it’s still attached way up and not on the fork crown. Doesn’t brake chatter originate from the backward flexion of the fork blades and the resultant additional tension on the brake cable?

mike - 07/27/11 - 6:33pm

no, it’s the movement of the fork between the housing stop and the caliper that causes chatter. everything north of the housing stop can flex as much as it wants, not going to effect the brake.

mike - 07/27/11 - 6:37pm

just reread your comment. look at the for crown, that little hole is for a housing stop. Why any bike company would use a cable stop above the head tube is beyond me.

Norco Bicycles - 07/28/11 - 11:49am

Hello Everyone, Thanks for your interest in the 2012 Norco Lineup. Here are a few clarifying points.

– The Photo of the Red Threshold is missing a zap-strap fixing the cable to the guide. There are two guides/fixing points running down the seatstay.

– The stiffness of the fork will help to eliminate brake chatter. With the oversize design and tapered steer, torsional flex has been nearly eliminated.

– The fork of the Valence has a hole through the crown for fender mounting.

erikv - 07/29/11 - 3:36pm

Full housing from the top tube to the derailleur is awesome! Looks plenty secure to me.

T.Hudson - 08/07/11 - 1:00am

Great work Norco. The addition of carbon to teh cross lineup is long overdue. I will be replacing my time tested 07′ CCX1 with this fella come fall/winter for next season. October release misses half the season around here. Congrats!! Can’t wait.

T.Hudson - 03/01/12 - 12:01pm

My Threshold SL is being shipped on Friday hopefully from the western warehouse. I’ll do a full review after some big rides!! Can’t wait for race season. It is going to be my road bike as well with a set of carbon hoops for racing. Hopefully this bike will continue the legacy of the great product Norco continues to throw down.

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