It’s been just over three years since Norco introduced the Aurum DH platform. Over that time a lot has changed in the world of DH racing, but the search for the podium remains the same. With races won by seconds or less, small improvements can have a big effect on the outcome of the race. Before the first Aurum was even on showroom floors, Norco engineers knew they wanted to explore the benefits of the bigger 27.5″ wheels.
After modifying early Aurum frames to run the bigger wheels, the focus turned to creating a new frame that not only provided the maximum advantage from a wheel size perspective but to create a bike was an improvement over an already excellent design. As it has been with most companies, that quest led Norco engineers to the use of carbon fiber. Stating that carbon fiber is much more than just a weight story, the use of composites allowed for more flexibility with tube shapes, improved strength, stiffness, and ride feel. Using the Norco Race Development program as their real world test lab, a number of prototypes led to the team putting the bike through the ultimate test – a full season on the World Cup circuit under Jill Kintner and Byrn Atkinson. After expanding their race program to include the Norco Factory Racing team, the design was finalized and the Norco Aurum DH C7 Killer B was headed to production and a store near you…
If there was any doubt, the front triangle is indeed carbon. Paired with aluminum seat and chainstays, the Aurum frame continues the use of their Advanced Ride Technology suspension linkage with a Gravity Tuned 200mm of travel. Inside the carbon front end the frame uses Norco’s SmoothCore carbon technology which forms the carbon over mandrels for a smooth interior for a lighter and stronger construction. Using what they call ArmorLite resin the frame is the “toughest, most resilient DH frame they’ve ever made.” Shown at the SRAM booth at the 2015 Taipei show, the model pictured here is not a stock build, but sort of a SRAM promo.
The rest of the industry seems to be going wider, but for the Aurum carbon Norco has gone narrower on the rear hub spacing. Completely designed around the new 7 speed DH drivetrains, the Aurum uses a 142×12 rear axle. The reasoning is that it offers an ideal chainline for a 7 speed drivetrain with the PF 107mm BB. Also with a dedicated 7 speed hub the rear end is just as strong but with better heel and obstacle clearance on the trail. Apparently we may be entering into a world where trail bikes have wider rear spacings than downhill bikes…
Carried through from the aluminum frame, the carbon Aurum has a super clean integrated seat post clamp.
Along with the new frame material and geometry suited to bigger wheels, the Aurum Killer B receives an impressive protection package that doubles as fork bumpers and cable guides. Split into three pieces, the armor protects the head tube, downtube, and chainstay. The recessed bolts on the downtube near the bottom bracket give you an idea of just how thick that armor is.
Available in small, medium, and large frames each Aurum uses Size Scaled Tubing to provide the same ride characteristics for each frame. Sold as a C7.1 Framekit for $2,585, or one of four complete builds (C7.1 ENVE – $9700, C7.1 -$7000, C7.2 – $5800, and C7.3 – $4230), the carbon Aurum C7 will be sold alongside the Aurum 6 which is a continuation of the previous aluminum, 26″ wheeled Aurum DH.