Archived General DB Blogs
We Ride - 2009 Norco Shore 1
Posted: Oct 27 2009
Another installment in our we ride series – 2009 Norco Shore 1
This is a quick review, as we only rode this bike for about 4 weeks before it was snapped up from our demo fleet!
From the time we received our first 2009 Shore 1, we knew it was one that needed to be test ridden for ‘We-Ride’. The 2009 carried over the new in 2008 frame with some tweaks and refinements as well as a great parts spec and cool graphics. Most of all, we thought it was an ideal platform to try the new Hammerschmidt crankset – so two tests in one.
As the name implies, the Norco Shore family of bikes has been driven by the Vancouver company’s years of experience building bikes for the hardcore local ground of Vancouver’s North Shore. These bikes are built for taking freeride abuse, with plush 170mm rear and 180mm front travel, burly frames and practical parts specs. In addition, many of the “North Shore” trails require human power to access so these bikes have geometry that seeks to make the climb manageable and not a bigger test than the challenging moves on the way down.
The Shore 1 is the top line model and for 2009 came with a great parts spec including a RockShox Totem Coil, X9 drivetrain, Hammerschmidt crankset, Avid Elixir CR brakes, Sun hubs and rims, with excellent small attention to detail including gold chain and cable end accents as well as a unique “newspaper article /monster” theme blended into the frame and handlebars on a sweet pearly white base paint.Suggested retail price was $5275, although mid-season price adjustments brought it to just $4300! Learn more details about 2009 Shore 1 here
The 2010 Shore 1, with similar parts spec and geometry but a revised tubeset, will retail for $5350 Learn more about the 2010 Shore 1 here
The Shore lineup includes two lower models with the same frame but a less expensive mix of components, starting as low as just $2150.
Our main test rider for this bike (your author) is pretty old school and tends to ride up to most trails, so the climbing ability of the Shore 1 was tested in full. It was ridden up Mt Seymour to the CBC trail several times as well as to some of the lower trails. Same for Fromme and Cypress, I climbed it to Seventh and to Mystery DH via road and trail where possible. First off, make no mistake this is not an XC bike! At 40-plus lbs, with DH casing tires, it required some serious work and more than a little sweat to muscle up the mountains (especially when riding with faster guys on lighter bikes). The stock 12-26 DH-oriented cassette definitely added to the uphill challenge when the trails got steep. But even with all of the mass and tall gearing, the bike climbed surprisingly well. The riding position was manageable despite the tight cockpit ( we added a telescoping seatpost for the climbs – we think all interrupted seat tube designs should come with these stock – and for 2010, Norco agrees!) and the FSR-licensed rear suspension kept the rear tire planted on all uphill technical bits under power. If you have the power and/or the patience this bike is a pretty respectable climber. The Truvativ Hammerschmidt# crank and shifting system worked well but its advantages on climbs were most noticed when things got quickly steep, a major downshift is available under power and instantly. On the flats, the planetary gear system has some noticeable drag, but on a bike like this it was not too much. The system is not yet ready for XC but we felt it was an excellent fit for this freeride application.
Once the trails turned downhill, this bike really came into its element. A tight cockpit, with responsive handling made it a great balance for technical north shore trails. The bike felt about 10lbs lighter on the descents and was very flickable. Not so slack that you didn’t have to work a bit to keep your weight back but generally confidence inspiring. Easy to manual and nimble feeling when the going was tight, this tester found himself hitting lines on familiar trails that were usually avoided or tiptoed nervously down. The Shore 1 demo bike also made a trip to the Whistler Bike Park to explore its capabilities there. (qualifying note: this tester is not a Park regular and was formerly generally scared of all trails that included drops of more than about 2’ and anything that induced flight.) Maybe it was the weather, the conditions, or the riding group – or maybe it was the bike – but I am now a park convert! We had a blast, and as confidence increased, the speeds grew and the drops got bigger, the Shore 1 never missed a beat. It handled everything I could throw at it without the least pause. Only on the steepest rock lines and at higher speeds did it seem like my riding mates on bigger 8” travel DH-style bikes were having an easier time than I was. (Their greater skills may have been to blame here as well) Twisty bermed trails, jumps, ladder bridges and drops were gobbled up by the Shore platform, often making me feel like a happy passenger on the easy train.
Not many. We think for the all-round “Shore” claim, this bike should have sported a telescoping seatpost and mountain-ready cassette (both fixed for 2010) out of the box. Otherwise, build quality and fit and finish were excellent. We’re also fans of anodizing rather than paint for bikes like this as pads quickly scar the paint on top tubes. (also fixed for 2010!) The rear end linkage could have been a bit stiffer, high speed berms and badly landed jumps even under this 150lb tester could cause some noodling at the rear end.
The bike lives up to its name. Ideal for “North Shore” style riding requiring some climbing, very happy in tight and technical trails with drops, jumps and skinnys. Solid construction, creative and appealing graphics with lots of nice parts and finish details. Excellent value parts spec, ready to ride hard with few upgrades possible.
The Shore is definitely not an all day enduro ride for epic riders and can be outgunned by lower, slacker bikes in lift-accessed trails where speed and steeps abound. But if you want a bike that can take tons of abuse, is ready to rip out of the box, can outrun the big bikes on many shore trails, can get up a mountain other than hanging over a tailgate, and generally induce a grin in most situations – the Norco Shore 1 could be your ride.
The Shore has seen some more evolutionary upgrades for 2010 with a new mainframe tubeset and parts choices. The Hammerschmidt remains on the top of line Shore One model. We expect the core strengths of this line will be the same or better for 2010.
2009 Norco Shores are still available in limited quantities and at excellent deals. 2010 Shores will be arriving soon!
Here’s a couple more reviews of the latest Norco Shore from around the web: