17/08/2011 | 38 comments
So we are just in the the middle of the whirlwind that is Crankworx in Whistler at the moment with races each day and parties each night but aside from the usual whistler goings on, some big news from this side of the pond came yesterday with the official launch of the new 2012 Norco bike range. This product line is headlined by the Aurum DH bike which is Norco’s new downhill bike for 2012 and of particular interest to us because this is the finalised version of the prototypes we have been testing and developing with Norco throughout the past year so we are very excited to see everything come together.
One of the big features which we have not been able to talk about until now is the ‘Gravity Tune’ system on the Aurum which we have been itching to talk about it because I think it is a pretty big deal for a production downhill bike. On other currently available production DH bikes, the bike is often designed around one size (say a medium or often whatever other size bike the main team test rider races on), then to get the other sizes in the range the front end is scaled up or down to give more reach. Uniquely on the Aurum however every size in the range has an individually sized rear-to-centre and front-to-centre balance as well as slightly tailored suspension kinematics to match. This means each size (small medium and Large) have exactly the same performance characteristics so the ride is not compromised to scale the design up or down. This is a really big deal for us as a team for example because myself and Ben are both very different sizes and have very different riding styles, however actually the testing we have been doing over the past year has shown that what we are after from a bike’s handling is the same. So for the first time now we are both able to get this as standard on the same production frame in different sizes without custom alterations necessary to correct either the small or the large accordingly.
This concept sounds common sense really, if years of testing and development have been put into getting the best geometry, weight balance and proportions for a downhill bike then this should be scaled up and down for every size in the range, not just optimised for one size and then the front end stretched, however I guess tooling costs and time as well as production factors all play a part. Anyway as a rider I am just pleased to see the ride quality getting top priority on this bike and with some clever engineering apparently this has been done without crazy prices too which is cool. (News recently has been released that Fisher will no longer be distributing Norco in the UK however I am told 2012 bikes will be available in the UK including the Aurum so I believe there will be a press release on this shortly.)
The gravity tune system is really the standout feature that has been kept secret until now however all the best features from the prototype bikes we have posted in the past have made it to production as well including the integrated bump stops, captive shock mounting hardware, ART suspension system and Syntace axle and hanger combo.
As well as the Aurum there was also a full line up of new bikes launched across the board but one other that stood out to me was the Sight. This is a 140mm travel bike designed to be light weight and pedal well but also to be good fun on the downhills. I can see this being a great trail centre and do-it-all bike for the UK and after having a lot of fun on this bike recently I think this one will be a big hit.
Ben Reid talked us through some of the details a few weeks back, did some riding, and narrowly avoided a pigeon related injury. Here it is for those who missed it.
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You can see the progress and development of the bike in previous videos here,
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