Norco had something new for everyone at Sea Otter. For the freeride and gravity set, there was a prototype 650B mountain bike and updates to the Aurum, which was completely new for this model year.
For XC folks, particularly those on a budget, they had the new Fluid 29er short travel full suspension bike and for the roadies, a new high end race bike called Tactic.
Above is the prototype 650B all-mountain bike with 160mm travel. It’s just a prototype for now, there are no specific plans or timelines for production. It’s suspension kinematics, frame and everything is new and designed specifically for the middle child wheel size. Surprisingly, the chainstays are actually slightly shorter than the 160mm Range 26″ bike (432mm versus about 435mm) on which it’s loosely based.
“That’s one of the benefits of the wheel size is that there isn’t a sacrifice in geometry from what you can achieve with a 26″ bike,” said Dustan Sept, Norco’s PR & marketing coordinator. “Whereas with 29er it’s very difficult to achieve reasonable lengths (head angle, wheelbase, etc.), particularly with longer travel designs.”
The prototype is running on Sun-Ringle Equalizer rims, which have been available in 650B sizes for a while.
The Aurum, which was launched last year at Crankworx Whistler, gets two fresh paint schemes and a few feature updates. Above is a new paint job, but the old frame details: rubber circle fork bumper on top tube and shift/brake cable guides on the rocker arm.
The 2013 models get new lower profile bumpers with a bit more surface area and the cables now bypass any attachment to the rocker. This helps things move a bit more freely and eliminates any effect the suspension movement may have had on rear shifting.
The other new paint scheme.
The Norco Fluid switches from 26″ to 29er wheels for 2013. It keeps the budget-friendly price and their A.S.R. suspension design. Frame is still hydroformed alloy with a low-standover design and post mount brakes. Plenty of clearance in the rear for fatter tires.
Claiming to be the “lightest and fastest” frame that Norco’s ever designed, the new Tactic is made to race and was developed with input from Team H&R Block. It uses their Smooth-Core Technology and ARC-Race stays for a strong frame that won’t beat you up over the long haul. Main features are mechanical/Di2 compatibility, tapered HT, PFBB30 and an aero seat tube and binder post but traditional seatpost.
Cable stops for internal routing get a bullet-shaped plug if you’re running Di2.
Nice flowing lines follow the downtube to the chainstays.
Look through the wheel and you’ll see the flattened shaping of the seatstays. A slight wheel cut out in the seat tube tucks it in close.
Claimed frame weight is 900g for a 56. They’ll offer four different spec levels for 2013, pricing TBD.