Norco Judan 29er Belt Drive Review

29er Pro Reviews

 

Norco-Judan-WhiteBG

Norco Judan (large) $1799
¤ Reynolds 525 Chromoly frame with custom belt compatible dropouts with integrated belt tensioning system
¤ Lightweight Manitou Minute 29er fork
¤ Innovation at its finest! Gates Carbon Belt Drive with a 48T front sprocket and 28T rear cog; equivalent to a 32Tx20T chain drive
¤ Gates Carbon Drive—lighter, quieter, cleaner and longer lasting than a conventional chain
Pros:
1. Natural and comfortable body position
2. Stable and controlled stearing
3. Good component specs
4. Carbon Belt Drive
Cons:
1. Tires – lack of side knobs
2. Carbon Belt Drive
Reviewer: Adam LaBargeAge: 32 Height: 6’4” 

Weight: 230 lbs

Bike Size: L

 

Introduction -

After the ’10 Norco product launch, I asked Norco if I could spend more time on the Judan Belt Drive 29er. When in Vancouver for the ’10 product launch I was able to spend an amazing day mashing around on the bike at the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area.  You can find my initial ride report here.  Funny enough, even after having the bike for several months, my initial characterization still stand.  I’d tell you now, but, that would ruin the fun of reading the review.  And just so you are a little the wiser, Judan is the 10th degree of black belt ranking in the Japanese Dan martial arts ranking system. And this is a belt drive bike that looks like a ninja.  But you get it, right, belt and belt?

A little about me.  I typically ride downhill, but after jumping on the Judan in Vancouver and having such a blast I’ve been slowly crossing over to riding aggressive XC and doing it on simple and lightweight single speed 29ers.  What I look for in a bike is something that has stability at high speeds, agility in turns, the geometry and fork performance to make technical downs exhilarating instead of scary, and the ability to get me up the hill without too much unnecessary effort.  There is a comment section below, so if you like, use it.

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First glance –

At first glance the Judan is one sexy looking bike.  At least to me.  I know bikes aren’t all about looks, but this one still shines above many others in terms of color choice, sticker design, component coloring, and frame angles.  I don’t know about you, but I see a bike this nice and I just want to keep in on my wall as a piece of art.  But to delve deeper into the design and components, one can tell Norco designed and made this bike to appeal to the aggressive 29er rider.  The higher positioning of the handlebars thanks to the frame angle and 100mm fork, the steep cut angle of the top tube and shorter seat tube, Avid Elixir 5 brakes, and flexible but solid chromoly tubing, are all confidence inspiring for aggressive riding.   The Judan is made solid, stable, and tough.

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  • LeeL says:

    That’s a strong, comprehensive review Adam. FWIW I totally agree that the Conti tires suck in almost all possible conceivable situations.

  • adam says:

    Thanks LeeL

    - I wouldn’t though say they sux in almost all conditions, I know of better tires, but I also know of worse ones.

    I never pinch flatted – and they do roll very quickly – but if you try to ride more aggressively I’d go for something else.

    Thanks though for the kind words!

  • UniballerJimmy says:

    You don’t look anywhere near 225 lbs. (Does that score me any swag?)

  • rkj__ says:

    Nice review on a very interesting bike. You clearly stated what was your opinion, and what your background and expectations were. The review was quite complete, and well written. Thanks for posting.

  • a2cm says:

    I agree itz a grreat lookin bike and very good quality parts ………with one exception the tires I had the 26″ version of the the Mountain queens and by far the worst tire I have ever owned ! lasted 90 days and too many flats to even try and count absolute garbage designed with one purpose in mind and that is to take your money ! otherwise looks like a great ride

  • francois says:

    These tires are awesome but they are not ideal for all conditions. For most, these work great in the rear then complemented by the Rubber Queen in the front.

  • Paul says:

    Would really like to finde out how tall you are Adam???
    I am a heavy and tall rider so to see in comparizon whether the bike will be suitable for me too
    Thanx

  • James says:

    Do you offer a version with the Shimano Alfine hub?

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