Norco Fluid Two – 2009
Review by Lee Lau and Sharon Bader
One of Canada’s biggest bike companies (and also a major distributor of parts and accessories), Norco is surprisingly not as well known south of the border as other celebrated Canadian bicycling brands. Formerly a company more focused on the recreational and family markets, Norco entered the world of high end bikes over the last decade by capitalizing on lots of local knowledge, smart targeted research & development, an understanding, generous and patient warranty department (dude I was just riding along!) and consistently superior customer service. However, even till a few years ago, Norco mountain-bikes were either known more for pure xc racing (mainly for East-Coasters) or for tough heavy, downhill and free-ride tanks (for West Coast hippies).
The introduction of the Fluid all-mountain lineup of bikes went a long way to changing this perception. In 2006, Norco re-designed the Fluid line by mating traditional front triangle s with four-bar Horst-link Specialized-licensed rear ends, refined frame details and used its buying power as a distributor to spec a bike that rode uphill and downhill exceptionally well yet was still reasonably priced. Now in its fourth generation with essentially the same design, the Fluid line is Norco’s bread and butter bike in the all-mountain category.
Norco has achieved the holy grail of a mature design that lives up to marketing expectations ie a one-bike-does-it-all for a rider on a budget. The Fluid Two is very versatile and is at home in an exceptionally wide variety of trails and situations. It can be ridden in cross-country trails or multi-day epics yet can also handle more aggressive technical trails (short of massive airs, or dirt-jumping). Although Norco markets the Fluid lineup as more biased to XC trails, this bike can be more appropriately described as a competent downhiller that also happens to climb very well. Simply adding a heavy duty wheelset or a heavier set of DH-casing tires would expand the Fluid Two’s range significantly .
Drive-side profile of the Norco Fluid Two
Lee Lau’s biases
I am 155 lbs and 5′ 11″ and have had over 15 years experience riding bikes in North Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, the Chilcotins and many other areas in B.C. and Alberta. I’ve also made many bike trips to Utah, Washington, Oregon, California and Ontario (for example) so I’ve had some experience biking in a variety of terrain. My bias is towards pedalling up and unlike many people who learned to ride bikes on North Shore trails, I actually enjoy riding (and sometimes bushwhacking) uphill.
Lee on the Fluid Two riding PHD, Pemberton, B.C.