The new Norco Shore 1 is a thoroughbred freerider. The key ingredients? A bulky alloy frame, robust components and a high-pivot suspension design that generates a whopping 180 mm travel. Add to that, a massive 510 mm reach in size XL. But is the Norco as stable as it looks and is such a massive bike with small 27.5” wheels still fun?
Get an overview of the grouptest here: The best bike park bike of 2021 – 6 models in review
Last autumn, the Norco Shore made its big return after many years of absence. The latest iteration of Norco’s freeride bike rolls on 27.5” wheels, offers a whopping 180 mm travel and uses a high-pivot Horst-link suspension design with an idler pulley. The high-pivot allows the rear wheel to move backwards (and upwards) and thus ensuring better rollover characteristics. A chain idler helps reduce pedal kickback while the suspension kinematics are optimised for the use of a coil shock. The frame of the Shore was designed specifically for tough bike park sessions and rowdy freeride lines. Accordingly, the spec was chosen to ensure longer service life rather than to save weight. The € 6,299 Shore 1 feels at home on big drops and massive jump lines – and it’s also an excellent choice for fast, rough bike park tracks and steep technical trails. The striking alloy frame is super long, particularly in the biggest XL size, which is the one we tested. As far as we’re concerned, the plastic down tube protector is purely cosmetic. Ours fell off after just a few days of riding. Moreover, the cable routing is messy despite Norco’s tuning efforts, which include bundling the cables with spiral wrap. Our test bike ended up being extremely loud, with the cables rattling against the frame at the cable ports and the chain idler produces a weird whirring noise when pedalling.
The spec of the Norco Shore 1 in detail
The Norco Shore is built up entirely with aluminium components and doesn’t include a single carbon part. The robust-looking frame comes standard with frame protection covering all critical spots. On our test bike, the Canadians added more protection tape on the top and down tube and also installed a bash guard. The latter is a useful and inexpensive upgrade, especially if you spend lots of time smashing bike park trails. The Norco Shore 1 weighs in at a whopping 17.7 kg. The long-travel suspension consists of a FOX 38 Factory GRIP2 fork and FOX DHX2 Factory coil shock, both controlling 180 mm travel. Unlike Propain, Norco won’t let you choose the spring rate and deliver each frame size with a predetermined spring instead. If your weight is below or above the standard for your height, or if you have a particular riding style, you’ll have to buy a separate spring. That said, our test riders, weighing between 93 and 100 kg, got on well with the standard spring of our test bike. Braking is taken care of by powerful SRAM Code RSC four-piston brakes with big 200 mm rotors and the Norco rolls on an E*thirteen LG1 DH wheelset. Unfortunately, several spokes came loose just a few laps into our test, suggesting that the wheelset can’t handle the harsh reality of bike park life. We recommend securing the spoke threads with threadlock or even upgrading the wheel to a more reliable model. On the other hand, the 2.5” MAXXIS ASSEGAI tires with their DoubleDown casing and 3C MaxxGrip rubber compound are extremely robust and offer excellent grip.
Norco Shore 1
Fork FOX 38 Factory GRIP2 180 mm
Rear Shock FOX DHX2 Factory 180 mm
Seatpost TranzX JD 200 mm
Brakes SRAM CODE RSC 200/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM GX Eagle 12-Speed 10–52
Stem CNC Alloy 40 mm
Handlebar DEITY Ridgeline 35 mm Rise 25 800 mm
Wheelset eThirteen LG1 DH 27.5"
Tires MAXXIS ASSEGAI 3C MaxxGrip DD/ MAXXIS ASSEDAI 3C MaxxGrip DD 2.5 / 2.5
Size S M L XL
Weight 17.7 kg
The geometry of the Norco Shore
DThe Norco Shore is available in four frame sizes from S to XL, which should suit everyone between 155 and 192 cm tall. Although Norco recommend the biggest XL frame for riders between 182 and 192 cm tall, we felt that the bike was too long, with a massive 510 mm reach paired with a low front (638 mm stack). We recommend stacking a few spacers under the stem, although this will cost you precious style points. In combination with the very slack 63° head angle, the Shore feels like a tank. The seat tube is very short across all sizes (455 mm in XL), especially in proportion to the massive top tube. This allows you to choose the frame size based on your riding style and desired reach – awesome! If you find yourself deciding between two sizes, we recommend sizing down. With their Ride Aligned design philosophy, Norco aim to adapt each frame to the size of the rider, tailoring the chainstay length across sizes. On our test bike in size XL, these are 450 mm.
If you go sideways while carving up the kicker, you’ll be able to get the Shore sideways in the air. Once you’re up there, the bike is incredibly stable.
|Seat tube||365 mm||395 mm||410 mm||455 mm|
|Top tube||558 mm||588 mm||617 mm||646 mm|
|Head tube||100 mm||115 mm||130 mm||145 mm|
|Chainstays||435 mm||440 mm||445 mm||450 mm|
|BB Drop||11 mm||11 mm||11 mm||11 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,203 mm||1,245 mm||1,286 mm||1,328 mm|
|Reach||420 mm||450 mm||480 mm||510 mm|
|Stack||598 mm||611 mm||625 mm||638 mm|
The Norco Shore 1 on the trail
“Long, longer, Shore!” is the motto of the Norco on the trail. While the rear wheel is still busy shralping through a berm, the front wheel is already kissing the lip of the next jump. This makes it difficult to have fun on flowing trails and requires significant strength and an active riding style to play with the terrain. The high-pivot suspension causes the wheelbase to increase in length as it compresses, especially in tight corners. In combination with the very slack head angle, this can cause the Norco to understeer at the exit of the corner. Active and skilled riders can prevent this by actively shifting their weight over the front wheel. Popping off ledges and waves can be challenging too: like the Propain, the Norco sticks to the ground like velcro and requires strong input from the rider despite the supportive suspension.
Blasting down the trail like there’s no tomorrow is what the Shore does best. However, as soon as the trail gets tight, the bike requires great physical strength to manoeuvre.
Tuning tips: clamp the cables at the cable ports | secure the down tube protector | more robust rear wheel | check spoke tension regularly or get a pro to check the wheel
On trails with big jumps and tall berms, the Norco knows how to impress and conveys huge amounts of confidence, offering endless reserves and excellent stability in the air. Even harsh landings and big cases are no problem for the Shore. On the other hand, whips, tabletops and scrubs, require great physical strength and are easier to pull off if you aim sideways while carving up the kicker. With the right approach, you’ll still be able to collect many style points with the Shore. The super-stable Norco remains unimpressed by any uncertainty mid-air and continues on its trajectory with stoic composure. This can be godsend for beginners and only the Canyon Torque:ON offers comparable stability in the air.
On technical terrain, the long reach, slack head angle and excellent suspension ensure a composed and smooth ride. However, evading obstacles isn’t really an option with the Shore – you can just roll over them instead. Despite the small front wheel, the Norco doesn’t threaten you with dreaded OTB moments and the plush suspension absorbs whatever gets in its way. On narrow trail sections, the length becomes an issue, forcing you to work hard to maintain your momentum and prevent the bike from getting stuck on obstacles. The Norco is very much like a downhill bike, allowing you to commit to the roughest lines on straight stretches. Here it only has to admit defeat to the Nukeproof Giga, which blasts right past it with its mind-boggling traction and more agile handling.
The Norco Shore 1 is an extraordinary bike with a very specific range of applications. It’s incredibly fun on big jumps, massive drops and high-speed bike park trails. With its huge reserves, the Shore inspires huge amounts of confidence and always begs for more speed. However, tight corners, flowing trails and stylish riding manoeuvres require great physical strength and can be challenging, especially for inexperienced riders. The spec would be perfect if it wasn’t for the weak wheelset and some of Norco’s tuning efforts, which didn’t work out quite the way we expected.
- lots of reserves
- confidence inspiring
- enables high speeds on bike park tracks
- freedom of movement thanks to super-low seat tube
- if you're not careful, you will become a passenger
- narrow, slow and winding trails require lots of strength and input from the rider
- loud as hell
- wheelset doesn't live up to the potential of the bike
You can find out more about at norco.com
Get an overview of the grouptest here: The best bike park bike of 2021 – 6 models in review
All Bikes in this group test: Canyon Torque:ON 9 (Click for review) | Norco Shore 1 | Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory (Click for review) | Propain Spindrift CF Mix (Click for review) | Specialized Status 160 (Click for review) | YT CAPRA 29 CORE 4 (Click for review)
Words: Peter Walker Photos: Peter Walker