The LT (or “long travel”) line of bikes evolved from Norco’s “Fluid” line of 5″ travel all-mountain bikes. Staff were tweaking the bikes by swapping in 6″ of travel and using the longer-travelled cousins in all conceivable situations.
Norco saw this demand and met it in 2008 with their first formal all-mountain long-travel iteration; keeping it within the all-mountain category and calling it a Fluid LT. Since then the all-mountain category has become more refined (in my opinion, arguably due to advances in suspension technology and ride geometry but that’s another topic). Recognizing that a 5″ and 6″ travel bike will be ridden in different ways on different terrain, Norco kept the Fluid line in the all-mountain category and created a new “Enduro” category for the LT category.
Of course this begs the question – what the devil is an Enduro bike? . It’s billed as a bike where “cross-country lungs and legs meet flat out freeride”. Marketing-speak aside, the accompanying picture on the Enduro category is the Lorna Pass downhill in the Chilcotin (think 800m self-propelled climb then descent railing alpine singletrack). There is a useful gizmo on the Norco site on the bike spec tag marked “Intended Use”. Click on that and it shows that the LT 6.1 is basically an all-mountain bike that’s biased towards downhill/freeride.
I mention all the above for context. I’ve spent some time on Norco’s 6″ and 5″ all-mountain bikes and suspect that the 2010 version will be a refinement of the long-travel line and will continue this line’s tradition of performance for value. Last year I reviewed the Fluid Two and provided background about Norco and its design philosophy (see the article intro) so won’t repeat what was previously written.
The LT 6.1 on Shore trails
The LT 6.1 weighs 32lbs in the size Medium tested. It has 6 inches of travel front and rear.
Front suspension is the proven, RockShox Lyrik 2-Step adjustable from 115mm to 160mm. Rear suspension duties are assumed by RockShox’s new Monarch 4.2 which uses a single adjustable cartridge with an internal “boost” cartridge. Obviously the Monarch is intended to go head-to-head with Fox’s gold standard RP23 and it’ll be interesting to compare and contrast performance.
Shifting is almost all SRAM X-9 except for a KMC chain. The low-geared 11-34 freewheel will undoubtedly help on grinding steep climbs. So will the spec’ed 22/36 Truvativ AM version Hammerschmidt – about which I am boundfully curious & suitably impressed even after a couple of rides.
Ride compartment is a mix of WTB, Syncros and Truvativ with the notable addition of an adjustable-on-the-fly Crank Bros. Joplin seatpost. Wheels are Sun hubs on Mavic rims with 2.25″ Schwalbe Nobby Nics.
Closeup of the bottom bracket area including the Hammerschmidt
The LT 6.1′s frame design is refined (the frame is identical down the line). Welds are clean. Cable routing is especially nice and there is very little cable rub on the head tube. I was initially annoyed to see no seat stay protector till I remembered that the Hammerschmidt keeps the chain tensioned. The sloping top tube with bend in the middle lends a lot of clearance for standover. The rear chain stays have been re-designed for even more tire clearance -so much so that a 2.4″ DH tire fits just fine (I probably could squeeze a 2.65 tire in there and will try at some point)..
Head tube and seat tube angles are an unsurprising all-mountain 68 and 73 degrees. A 70mm stem is spec’ed which makes a lot of sense given the downhill bias of this all-mountain bike. Combined with the 590mm horiz. top tube length, the rider compartment is also fairly standard.
The head-tube is tapered from 1 1/8″ to 1 1/2″. Different shock placements on the suspension linkage allow you to adjust the suspension between 5.3″ to 6.1″ of travel
Rear of the LT 6.1
Chainstay assembly pictured with 2.4 Michelin DH tire. Lots of clearance