Review by Sharon Bader
In 2009 Norco has completely revamped its DH line. Using the same hydroformed frame with adjustable 8-9inch of rear travel as the A-line Park edition and DH Frame the lower spec’d Aline makes up this worthy trio. Coming in three sizes for 2009 I was on the small frame which was a good fit for me for downhill riding. This new frame design lowers the standover, lowers the shock placement, allows for adjustable bottom bracket height and head tube angle, has an internal forged 1.5″ to 1 1/8th head tube, forged links and 150×12mm through hole dropouts.
Like all Norcos the A-line comes with the Horst Link rear suspension. This is the Specialized patent which locates the rear pivot on the chain stay. This separates braking and pedaling from the suspension and prevents Brake Jack since the wheel moves freely in the vertical direction during braking.
Marzocchi RCV – 200mm of travel, with RCV – Rebound and Compression Adjustment
Fox DHX3 Providing 8-9 inches of rear travel, this 0.79lb shock offers coil spring preload, adjustable tuning range via air in the Boost Valve, factory set pro pedal and rebound adjusment. Sag is adjusted via the coil spring. Rebound is easily adjusted via the small red knob at the bottom of the shock. Air between 125-200psi in the Boost Valve will control bottom out resistence.
The bike is equipped with Truvativ Hussefelt components – Hussefelt riser bar (334g), Crank(770g), generic pedals, WTB Silverado race saddle which is also used by ten-time DH world champion Nicolas Vouilloz!
For downhill riding only a single front chain ring with E-13 SRS, with white guard that looked quite flashy, durable SRAM X-7 rear derailier, SRAM X-7 shifters.
The Avid Code 5 brakes, keeping the 4 piston caliper and ease of maintenance of the higher end brakes, the Code 5 contains Dot 4 fluid and weighs in at 447g.
WTB Laser Disc FR 30, 32 hole rims weigh in at 570g with the UNBENDIUM bulge with ano green KT Q-Lite Hubs.
Comes standard with a replaceable and extra rear dropout.
I am 5’9″, weigh 154lbs. I have been riding for 18 years. As mentioned above I come from an XC hardtail background but have moved with technology and ride a Titus RacerX for XC, a Turner 6 pack for DH and Shore riding and a Knolly Endorphin set up for more freeriding/shore/technical XC riding. My Bikes!
Shore – Mt. Seymour
Mt Seymour is the local shuttle mountain in the North Shore. The DH trail of choice is Neds Atomic Dustbin. This is a trail with a consistent grade, wide and allows you to choose varying lines of smooth or technical. After a few minutes of getting used to the 64o head angle and handling of this bike it was like wearing an old hat. As this is a trail I have ridden many times on many different bikes I tried to ride the trail by trying to move the bike around the technical terrain. This required a lot of work, once I pointed the bike downhill and let it go it was able to move effortlessly. This bike soaked up jumps like they weren’t even there. As someone who prefers to keep the wheels on the ground, taking air with this bike was effortless and limited only by your fear. This bike definitely has a speed that it performs at and that speed is fast. If you are hesitant about getting air and would like to, this bike will give you the confidence you need to take you there. Just be careful since it may inspire more confidence then your skill level at this time. My neighbour (who weighs 190lbs) recently purchased a 2005 Norco A-line, I let him ride the 2009 A-line to get his impression. He found the bike much slacker and found added confidence at speed and on jumps with this bike.
Whistler Bike Park
The A-line is built for the park. Pointed down on any of the trails, technical, fast, steep or not this bike was in its element. Put it on the lift for the ride up and have a seat for the ride down this bike will keep you riding for hours. Very responsive to preloading it would lift off the ground and sail over the tabletops and step downs at speeds that I don’t normally reach. I was able to jump more jumps on this bike then with previous bikes. The main limitation was the WTB Dissent 2.5 tires on wet rocks and roots. The tires performed great in dry conditions and I was able to corner confidently and fast. I was able to enter steep rugged terrain with confidence due to the stability of the bike and because I was able to carry more speed which essentially flattened the terrain. If you are on a bike that you feel is limiting your ability to go fast, this would be the bike for you. The heavy frame and build will withstand many days of hard riding.
- Stable and maneuverable at speed
- Comfortable to ride all day in the Bike Park
- Burly components will last heavy abuse
- Wide turning radius
- Tough to move around at lower speeds
4.0 Very Good
3.0 Above Average
The Norco in Action!
Goats Gully in the Whistler Bike Park
For someone who doesn’t like to huck, well its ok on this bike.
Sharon being filmed on the Norco A-line riding Angry Pirate
Sharon Riding the Norco A-line down Schleyer filming.
The source for this information is Norco Suggested Retail of this bike is $ 3750.00
Specifications are as follows:
Frame Set – Hydraformed AL, adjustable travel, 199mm-227mm travel, adjustable bb and headtube angle, 1.5” forged headtube
Fork – Marzocchi 888 RCV, 203mm of travel, alloy steer tube
Shock – Fox DHX-3
Sizes – S, M or L
Color – Green
Wheelset – WTB Laser Disc FR 30, 32 hole, grey, Front Hub – KT Q-Lite, 20mm axle, Rear Hub – KT Q-Lite, 150 x 12mm, 9 spd
Tires – WTB Dissent 26 x 2.5, high grip compound, DH casing
Stem - Marzocchi direct mount, 31.8mm, 53mm / 63 mm exten
Bar – Truvativ Hussefelt 710 x 25 mm rise, 31.8mm, grey
Post – Truvativ XR, double bolt, 27.2
Saddle - WTB Silverado custom cover, chromoly rail
Headset – FSA Orbit E 1.5” R 1.5” to 1-1/8” internal reducer
BrakeSet – Avid Code 5, 8” rotor
Crankset – Truvativ Hussefelt, 170 mm, 36T, E-13 SRS, with white guard
Pedals - Flat pedal, steel pins, grey
Front Derailleur – None
Rear Derailleur - Sram X-7, 9 speed, medium cage, Sram PG-950, 9 speed, 11-32
Shifters – Sram X-7 trigger, 9 speed rear
Geometry for a S Norco A-Line is as follows:
Standover - 758mm/29in || 770mm/30.1in
Head Tube Angle - 64.0/64.8
Seat Tube Angle – 71.3
Effective Top Tube Length - 570/22.4in
Wheel Base – 1155mm/45.5in
Bottom Bracket Height – 360mm/14in || 372mm/14.6in
Bike Weight - 46lbs