On to the fun stuff, downhill. It is how mountain biking began after all, isn’t it? The Bay Area has some great riding if you know where to go. Demo, Pacifica, China Camp and Santa Cruz. Needless to say, if you know where to go, you can have a fantastic time riding down a variety of trails in a variety of terrains. Every where I took the Fluid LT, I always left the trail with a smile on my face.
So, what specifically makes this bike ride the way it does? For one, body position. The Fluid LT put the body in a neutral position on the bike. What I mean is that if you are just going along, not thinking about where your body is in relation to the handlebars, pedals, saddle, front and back wheel, you’ll find you are just about center. This bike’s geometry naturally encourages correct riding position. When in the correct body position on a solid all mountain bike you’ll find the bike becomes very easy to maneuver and as such is very enjoyable to ride and confidence inspiring. You aren’t fighting the bike, or even riding the bike, you are riding the trail.
The second factor is that the bike is very stable at high speeds and it corners well. The stability comes from a good length wheelbase, plush suspension, thick tires and fair weight. The cornering comes from being able to easily get up over the front, tilt the bike and weight the knobs and counter weight the pedals. Add to that a proper chainstay length and the bike corners very crisply.
On straight, fast sections the bike flies with confidence and tracks well. On single track trails with flow or tight over grown trails with blind turns, the only thing that ever held me back was my knowledge of the trail. On the rough gnarly stuff, the steep downhill, over rocks, into chutes, loose baby heads and treacherous ruts, the bike performs admirably for an All Mountain bike. Obviously there is a bit more line picking and finesse than with a big bike. But I was able to get down the trails just fine and didn’t feel like I was going so slow that it wasn’t fun or too sketchy and out of control to ever want to ride that trail again.
The rear suspension is fairly plush without ever feeling disconnected to the trail. I was able to get good trail feedback while riding. No bump was ever too sharp and no drop was ever bottomed out. There was just enough trail feedback to make the riding fun and engaging.
The Fluid LT 2.0 doesn’t appear to have any major drawbacks. It has slight issues with pedal bob, and there are some parts I would recommend replacing, the stem at very least. But there is nothing wrong with this bike. In fact, it does what it is supposed to do and it does it well. Get you up the trail with minimal effort so you can bomb down and do it all over again until your body gives out.
I think Norco has a real winner on their hands. The bike is very fun to ride, has good components, and is very solid. The only thing I would suggest for future versions (which I hear is on the table) is slackening out the head angle to 67 degrees.
4 out of 5 Stars
4 out of 5 Stars