For 2011, Blue Competition Cycles reworked their cyclocross line and amped up the support for their sponsored rider, Jonathan Page. The two top-end ‘crossers, both in carbon, bear Page’s signature on the chainstays and take a lot of his feedback from racing the pro circuit.
The Blue Norcross, so named for the conveniently ‘cross sounding name of Blue’s home base in Norcross, GA, will come in three versions, the SL and EX, both carbon fiber, and the SP aluminum model.
The SL, shown above, tops the range and uses Blue’s “Virtual Lug” tube-to-tube* construction with a tapered headtube and full carbon fork with carbon dropouts. It gets a revised chainstay bridge in front of the rear tire to replace the mud collecting shelf on the prior model and some other trick little features we haven’t seen anywhere else.
All the pics, deets and pricing after the break…
The Blue Norcross SL frame is just a hair over 1000g, and the complete bike built with SRAM Force is 16.9lbs and retails for $4,300. Frameset is $2,300, or you can get it with Ultegra ($4,500). These builds include an American Classic Hurricane wheelset and TRP Euro Mag brakes.
Redesigned from the previous model, the chainstay section behind the bottom bracket now has a cut through to keep mud and muck from building up. They’ve also added a bit more tire clearance into the stays to further reduce clogging.
The SL bikes will come with the SPEEN Umlenker front derailleur gizmo. It converts any bottom-pull front derailleur into a top pull capable shifter, allowing for traditional cyclocross top-tube cable runs without relying on a pulley. As shown in the picture above on left, there’s a mount for the pulley in the usual spot, but complete bikes use the Umlenker for a cleaner run and slightly less weight. For more info on the Umlenker top pull adapter, you can download this PDF.
The wide downtube and slightly flared seat tube (which looks exaggerated thanks to the paint scheme) add stiffness to keep power translating into forward motion rather than frame flex.
Jonathan Page approved.
Directly below the SL is the Norcross EX, which gets an 1100g carbon fiber monocoque frame rather than tube-to-tube.
It gets a tapered headtube with full carbon fork, also.
The monocoque construction gives it a bit more svelte appearance than the SL.
The EX gets a BB30 bottom bracket shell, but complete bikes are considered “BB30 Compatible” since they use adapters to hold standard outboard bearing bottom brackets and cranks.
JP signed off on these, too.
The fork is pretty stout, as is the overall headtube area. The Norcross EX is available as a frameset ($1,700) or complete bike with SRAM Apex, American Classic 30 wheels and Avid Shorty brakes ($2,400 – also known as a steal).
Lastly, the Norcross SP is a new alloy model for 2011. For $600, you get a BB30 compatible frameset (frame, fork, headset), or you can get it full built with SRAM Apex for $1,800.
Despite being their “low end” model, the SP has plenty of features that make it quite worthy of future upgrades…like the tapered headtube with the same full carbon fork that Jonathan Page raced on last season (not the actual fork, silly, just the same model).
BB30 compatible bottom bracket.
The downtube takes full advantage of the BB’s width.
Above and below, the fork is pretty beefy at the tops of the legs, which should help it track true through snow and crud.
The frame and bike come with the traditional pulley converter, but there’s no reason you can’t install your own Umlenker.
JP even signed off on this one. Note the fender/rack mounts above the dropouts…you could use this as a winter commuter. Heck, summer probably wouldn’t mind, either.
A portion of every JP signature series bike goes to help fund his racing campaign against the Euros. Along those lines, a portion of every mountain bike Blue sells helps fund IMBA/SORBA’s trail building efforts, too.
*Virtual Lug – all of the carbon tubes are separate pieces that are mitered to fit against each other tightly. Tubes and pieces are then placed in a jig and bonded directly to each other. Once the glue is cured, the frame is removed from the jig, then each section is overwrapped with more carbon layers. So, rather than using lugs, the overwrap functions as the lug, hence the term “virtual lug.” From there, frames are put into a mold where pressure compacts the wrapped section to remove any air or space, then it’s put in an oven to cure the “lugs” and create a ride-ready frame.