Canadian brand Norco reckons it’s on to a winner with the 2019 Norco Fluid FS 1 and we might have to agree. For 2019 Norco continues to work closely with Evans Cycles to offer UK only bike builds that rival buy direct models for value for money. The 2019 full-suspension range of bikes kicks off at just £1195 and tops out at £1850 for this flagship Norco Fluid FS 1.
In a year where we’ve seen top-end bike prices increase and with some brands now charging £10,000+ thanks to Fox Live Valve and Shimano’s 12-speed XTR, it makes a refreshing change to see a brand focusing on building sub £2000 mountain bikes that aren’t only great value but promise to perform well too.
The Norco Fluid FS 1 promises both in boat loads!
Designwise the Norco Fluid FS 1 get’s a similar suspension layout as the Sight A9.2 we tested earlier in the year, but this isn’t the same frame. The 2019 Fluid has 10mm less rear wheel travel than the Sight we tested, 120mm in total, and gets a much cleaner finish, and more compact main link. Norco has also gone for size specific wheel sizing on the Fluid so sizes S and M come with smaller 27.5in wheels while sizes M to XL get 29in wheels.
Our test bike is a size medium with 29in wheels. Reach on this bike is 440mm, about average by today’s standard. The seat tube is just 420mm meaning there is lots of room to size up if you wanted to go longer. Small and Medium-sized bikes get a 66° head angle, L to XL a 66.5°. All bikes have an effective seat tube angle of 76°.
Out of the box, the Fluid FS 1’s frame and attention to detail really took us by surprise. All the welds have been smoothed off, and with the neat internal cable routing it looks almost like a carbon frame from a distance (if you squint).
The main linkage is a 2 piece design and is very compact, and is much more visually pleasing than the bolted together linkage of the Sight. All in, it’s a great looking frame, one that we would expect to demand a price of £1850 by itself let alone as a complete bike.
Despite the great looking frame, and lovely grey finish, Norco doesn’t seem to have had to cut back on the build kit to keep pricing below £2000.
Suspension is supplied by RockShox. A Revelation RC up front with 130mm of travel might not have the same ring to it as a Pike, but remember both the Revelation and Pike share the same chassis now meaning many of the damping upgrades are interchangeable between the two. The rear shock is a short stroke RockShox Deluxe Debonair, with rebound control but no lockout, so let’s hope the kinematics of the frame make for a good climber.
The quality suspension package is backed up by the surprise inclusion of the 2019 SRAM NX Eagle 12 speed groupset. If we were expecting any type of cost-cutting on the Norco FS 1 it would be on the drivetrain, but here we have a 1×12 drivetrain and massive range for climbing even steep terrain. We’ve tested NX Eagle already, read the review here, and it’s good stuff.
SRAM also provides stopping power via a set of SRAM Guide T 4 pot brakes. Again, these are a great set of brakes and offer decent power and modulation.
Handlebars, grips and saddle are Norco own brand, while the 50mm stem comes from Tranz X. There’s also a cable operated, stealth routed Tranz X dropper post as standard too.
Wheels are made from Novatec hubs laced to 29in WTB STP i29 rims shod with WTB’s own 29×2.6 Trail Boss tyres.
The whole bike looks incredible value for money, and it has already been nabbed by Hannah who plans to test the Norco Fluid FS 1 at Bike Park Wales this weekend. Keep your eyes peeled for more first looks this week and for the 2019 Norco Fluid FS 1 review later this year.
Tell us what you think of the 2019 Norco Fluid FS 1 in the comments section below.