Norco Shinobi 2011 Review

29er Pro Reviews Video


Norco Shinobi 2011 Review

Review, photos and videos by Lee Lau


 

Overview and summary

Norco is one of Canada’s biggest bicycling brands and, as such, has a large lineup of bikes. Till this season Norco lacked a full-suspension 29er. With the introduction of the Shinobi, Norco addressed this omission and did so with style. The Shinobi’s design goes against some conventional thinking. Namely geometry tweaks to “standard” 29er geometries, using a new standard for rear ends and changes to the tried and true FSR suspension; all of which I will canvass more in this review.

In producing the Shinobi, Norco has managed to combine value and performance (uphill and downhill) yet managed to distinguish itself from the pack. Until recent times, 29ers were the domain of the buff less-technical trail fans. If you wanted to try a 29er that could handle even moderately aggressive technical terrain your choices were limited. The Shinobi is a strong candidate for any rider who wants a full-suspension 29er which can climb decently well yet can also handle aggressive lines.

 




Shinobi in the alpine (pictured with the pre-production 120mm front fork)

 

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About the author: Lee Lau

Lee Lau calls North Vancouver and Whistler BC home. He's had over 15 years experience riding bikes mainly in western North America and in Europe. Unlike many people who learned to ride bikes on North Shore trails, he actually enjoys riding (and sometimes bushwhacking) uphill.


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  • Nitsuj says:

    Nice use of the word conflates. For some reason I thought you were an FSR fan, didn’t you love the Pitch and the LT?

  • leel says:

    Thanks! I really enjoyed the Pitch particularly because it combined so much value in one package and also really liked the Fluid LT that I tested.

    In the Fluid LT I tested I thought the bike really needed platform when going uphill; since then I’ve come to the conclusion that year’s model of DHX Air rear shock suffered from mid-stroke wallow. Its quite possible that its been rectified since other DHX Air’s I’ve tried haven’t had that same deficiency. Bottom line though was that, imo, the Fluid LT’s implementation of FSR was very active. Good for downhills. Hard to control for uphills therefore necessitating platform shocks.

    The Pitch Pro I tested didn’t seem to need platform and would stay planted while pedalling uphill. I’d think these are good datapoints for the perhaps trite observation that the pivot location for FSR implementations is quite important.

    Fluid LT One review here for reference – http://www.nsmb.com/2607-2008-norco-fluid-lt-one-and-two-review

    Pitch Pro review where I guest – reviewed here – http://reviews.mtbr.com/2009-specialized-pitch-pro/4

  • leel says:

    Some more information from Norco:

    Frame weight with shock is 3300 grams (7.27lbs), no shock is 2940 grams (6.48lbs).

    The frame is available on its own and the MSRP is $2280

    Planned changes for 2012 are as follows:

    - Changed tires (Nevegals will be stock)
    - Wider bars
    - Shorter stem
    - Added an outer guard

  • justin says:

    Thanks for the follow up LeeLau. I think I missed the part about the Fluid’s active ride. Would be interesting to have bikes that were favorites a year or two back to be re-ridden and mini reviewed to see if the conclusion at the time has held up or if their performance hasn’t held up over time relative to the new crop of bikes.

    BTW, got change for $.05?

  • Pingback: MTBR’s Two Cents on the Shinobi « News « Norco Bikes

  • Lee Lau says:

    That’s a tough one Justin. It’s hard enough just reviewing a bike let alone doing that kind of compare.

  • Matt B says:

    I enjoyed reading your review. It has stoked my interest in the Shinobi.

    I am definitely looking for an FS 29er XC but with a bit of an all mountain bias. Clearly you found the bike was a capable climber. Any thoughts on gearing, – did you feel the 24 x 36 granny on a 29er was low enough for extended mountain climbs ? Do you think the bike might be a bit on the heavy side for something like the BC Bike race?

  • leel says:

    Matt – I think it would be a bit overkill for the BC Bike Race but only because I know the course and the course favours lighter bikes. Thinking about it that’s because not many races involve 7 days of that much singletrack. While the Shinobi is a pretty good climber all that weight will hurt over the long haul. Consider the Revolver instead which is Norco’s 100mm travel version

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