If you’ve got young ones entering the MTB scene, Norco is definitely a brand to keep an eye on. Their line of Fluid youth bikes has just expanded for 2020 with two new full-suspension models on 20” and 24” wheels. These bikes offer solid builds with a clever mix of kid-specific and high performance components.
Fans of steel hardtails will be stoked to hear the 2020 Torrent has gone back from aluminum to a chromoly frame. Its geometry has also been updated, and the two complete models come at prices that rival some boutique builders’ hardtail frames alone.
2020 Norco Torrent hardtail:
Norco has had the Torrent in their lineup for some time now, but for 2020 the bike has undergone a full redesign. And it’s not just geometry that’s changed – the new Torrent has moved from an aluminum frame to chromoly steel, a more forgiving material for a hardtail.
The 2020 Torrent’s head tube angle is 64°, and the seat tube sits at 76°. I couldn’t confirm the reach measurement on this unreleased bike, but the Norco guys did acknowledge that it is definitely on the long side (the bike on display is a size large).
The Torrent rolls on 29” wheels, and its rear end is Boost 148 spaced. Cable routing is external and runs under the down tube, but there is a port on the seat mast for routing the internal dropper post. The frame also includes ISCG05 mounts, and a pretty cool looking rear caliper mount.
Pictured here is the Torrent HT S1 model, which is equipped with a Rockshox Lyric Ultimate 150mm fork. The HT S1 has a 12-speed SRAM GX shifter and derailleur, mated with an NX crank. SRAM’s Code R four-piston brakes on 180mm rotors take care of stopping duties, and a pair of 29×2.5” Maxxis Assegai 3C Maxx Terra EXO tires should keep you on your line.
Touch points are always important, but even more so on a hardtail. Norco was wise to equip the Torrent HT with a pair of Ergon grips and a fi’zi:k saddle. The Torrent HT S1 sells for $2999. There will be one lesser model coming called the HT S2, which retails at $2199. Availability is expected for fall 2020.
2020 Norco Fluid FS 4.1:
For young riders on 24” wheels, the 2020 Fluid FS 4.1 offers features and components that will surely incite ‘back in my day, my bike was crap’ stories from any adult rider. Kids these days, they’ve got it so good! The FS 4.1’s Manitou Machete fork offers 140mm of travel, with compression and rebound adjustments. Out back, an X-Fusion O2 Pro R rear shock provides 130mm of travel and also has both adjustments, so young riders can enjoy a properly tuned ride.
The FS 4.1 also comes with a 100mm Trans-X dropper post, plus 24×2.4” Maxxis Minion tires and rims that are tubeless-ready (the bikes come with tubes). Add to that hydraulic disc brakes, a 1×11 SRAM NX/SX drivetrain, internal cable routing, and the little shredders have nearly as good a bike as anyone.
What’s cool is that some of the FS 4.1’s components are specifically made for smaller riders. Norco put a 155mm crank on this bike, and the handlebars and grips are a narrower than normal diameter to better fit smaller hands. The bars do have a 31.8mm clamp diameter, so they’re easy to upgrade if your young rider has bigger hands. The Fluid FS 4.1 comes in Charcoal or Orange, and its MSRP is $2499. They will be available this fall.
2020 Norco Fluid FS 2.1:
And the goodness extends down to 20” wheels too – The Fluid FS 2.1 brings smaller tykes up to an almost equal level to the FS 4.1 model above. The suspension package is similar; Manitou’s 20” Machete fork offers 130mm of travel. The fork and X-Fusion rear shock still both have compression and rebound adjustments.
The FS 2.1 runs a 1×10 drivetrain with a Shimano Zee rear derailleur, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes, and a 100m Trans-X dropper post. The 2.1 comes with non-tubeless Schwalbe Smart Sam 20×2.35” tires, but the Sun Ringle rims are tubeless-ready so upgrading is an option. Even the 20” bike gets internal cable routing.
On the smaller bike Norco of course included the smaller diameter handlebar and grips, and they’ve stocked a 147mm crank. The Fluid FS 2.1 sells for $2399, and will be available this fall in Orange or Charcoal colors. None of these bikes are online yet, but keep an eye on Norco’s website for updates… I got the hint the full 2020 lineup is on the way!