NORCO FLUID 1 20 REVIEW
KIDS DUAL SUSPENSION MOUNTAIN BIKE
Words and Photos by Rob Dunnet
Over the past five years or so Youth mountain bikes have been getting better and better. With more companies entering the kids mountain bike category they will continue to improve in quality and performance. For the most part, Youth bikes can be broken down into three categories: 20”, 24” and 26”. Twenty-inch and 24” have seen the most growth in the past decade with 26” having been the standard in mountain bikes for a long time. It could even be argued that the largest leaps have been made in the 20” market. Companies like Spawn, Norco and Commencal all have their own 20” kids mountain bikes and even YT has recently come out with 24” and 26” Youth bikes. One of the best looking bikes in the niche however, is the Norco Fluid 1 120 and we couldn’t wait to get it dirty.
We know the price tag may have many parents hesitate, but in this review we hope to address some of the bigger questions that parents have about getting their kids a “real” mountain bike. A concept that took a seeing is believing moment for my wife. One of the questions heard a lot from parents is “What makes this $2,500 bike better than the $400 bike that I can get from my local bike shop?” After several wet months of British Columbia riding, the simple answer is, everything.
We are planning on reviewing a couple of different Youth bike brands to show the difference between those models, but ultimately we want to show the differences between a quality “mountain bike” and the $400 model that can be found in a department store or at a local bike shop.
The Norco Fluid comes in both popular Youth wheel sizes and comes in two build options. The Fluid FS 2 20 and the Fluid FS 2 24 retail for $1,599 and $1,699 respectively. The Fluid FS 1 20 and the Fluid FS 1 24 retail for $2,199 and $2,299 respectively.
The bike that we received is the Norco Fluid 1 20, I am not sure who was more excited about it, me or my kids?
The build spec is pretty impressive for a Youth bike, the frame is aluminum and has 100mm of travel courtesy of a Fox Float rear shock. The fork is a Manitou Machete JUnit with 120mm of travel and stopping power is supplied by Shimano disc brakes. Shimano’s 10-speed drive train helped the little legs spin while still offering a durable and easy to tune system. The Fluid FS 1 rolls on Sun Ringle Duroc wheels wrapped in Schwalbe Smart Sam tires. A standout feature is the kids-specific handlebar, grips, saddle and pedals made by SDG Components. To top it all off this build option comes with a dropper post to make the climbs and descents more comfortable; I think my kids were most excited about the dropper post.
It is great to see that a large percentage of the parts on these bikes are 20” specific. Norco has done a great job of sourcing products from brands that are doing Youth specific parts. Hats off to Manitou, SDG, Sun Ringle and Norco for coming together to product a great looking 20” bike.
But why should parents spend the money to buy a “real” mountain bike?