Thing of the past: The Fluid has a 9-millimeter quick-release axle,
which surprised our test riders, as they thought dropouts were
a thing of the past in the mountain bike world. All considering,
Norco did manage to keep the rear end of the Fluid fairly stiff.
Moving out: The Fluid has a noticeably hefty feel; however,
the resulting extra momentum can be an advantage. Norco built
the Fluid for shredding B.C. trails, which are known for their large
roots, rock rollers and fresh loam. The Fluid is a comfortable trailbike that inspires confidence, even when challenged by technical
Climbing: Racing to the top of the mountain is not the Fluid’s
forte. This bike is designed for the rider who likes to stay seated
and find a smooth rhythm up the hills. The 1x10 drivetrain offers
a low ratio with its 40-tooth cog and 30-tooth chainring, allowing
riders to spin their cranks up steep climbs. The Monarch shock
has a lockout switch, but our test riders found Norco’s ART suspension supported them well. We did, however, use a few clicks
of compression damping on our fork during long climbs to help
support the front end.
Cornering: The Fluid is not a particularly snappy bike;
however, it handles the curves of the trails well. Its WTB tires
hug the ground tightly, and the geometry provides smooth and
predictable handling. This is a characteristic newer riders will
enjoy. Advanced riders will find themselves using a good amount
of body language when railing berms and flowing switchbacks.
Shred it: The Norco may
have an entry-level price,
but it sure doesn’t have
Our test riders thoroughly
enjoyed ripping the trails on
this sub-$2000 machine.
RockShox Sektor: The Fluid comes ready to rip with a
RockShox Sektor fork. This fork cleared our plus-sized tires
with no issues and provided us with a plush ride out on
the trails. The fork is, however, on the heavy side, adding
unwanted weight to the front end.