Test Rider name: Tiffany Allmandinger
Weight: 135 lbs
Bike Tested: Norco, Phena (Small)
- Good fit
- Needs certain components upgraded immediately: Handlebars, seatpost quick release, saddle
- Slightly over priced
When first asked to review the Phena I was, I admit, skeptical. I’ve been riding for long enough that I’ve graduated to high end equipment and gotten a bit snobby about what I’ll ride. I wasn’t sure how I’d approach the bike as a veteran cyclist, but I agreed to give it a try. Not surprisingly, the first thing I, and everyone else in my office, noticed about the Norco Phena was its seat. It’s big, puffy and pink like a huge piece of striped bubble gum. Not a serious looking piece of equipment for an all mountain bike. Granted it’s just the seat, but we are humans and the victims of first impressions. My initial response to it was, “uh-oh, what did I get myself into.” Pulling the rest of the bike out of the box, however, was a much nicer surprise. The paint job was fun and playful without being over the frilly top and the build kit was generally respectable. The rear link was clean and white, a nice visual touch, and the tires, small block 8’s, promised endless tacky traction on our dry and rocky trails. The fork, a Rock Shox Tora with lock out, appeared on the spindlier side of the spectrum, but I staved off judgement as best I could until after the first few rides. Everything else looked in order of what I was anticipating. After all the Phena isn’t meant to be a prohibitively expensive bike, so I didn’t expect a prohibitively expensive build.