Norco Fluid FS C1 Review


Words by Drew Rohde & Nic Hall
Photos by Staff

We’ve had a good time ripping around on our Norco Fluid FS Carbon review bike, and now we’re ready to share our thoughts and impressions on this 130mm travel trail bike. Last year, Norco made some serious waves when they released their completely redesigned and feature-packed Fluid FS Alloy line of bikes. Following the success of the Fluid Alloy and seeking to bring the design, engineering and other elements that made the Fluid FS Alloy an award-winning bike from many media outlets, Norco upped the ante, and yes, the MSRP, on the Fluid Carbon. Let’s dive in.


• 130mm Horst Link Suspension
• HTA 65
• STA 76.7 (effective)
• REACH 480 (Large)

Price: $4,099 (C3) – $5,999 (C1 – tested)


Built using the same features that Norco has become well-known for, the Fluid FS Carbon sports a carbon front triangle and alloy rear triangle that are size-specific and tuned according to Norco’s Ride Aligned Design System. What this means is chainstay lengths, seat tube angles, reach numbers and even suspension tunes, and kinematics get modified to give the best chance for an optimal ride for riders of different heights and weights. Working with Ride Aligned frame design elements, Norco has a very dialed Bike Setup Guide on their website that also helps ensure you get the best chance of setting the bike up quickly for your terrain, skill level and weight.

If you’d like to learn more about Norco’s frame, design and geometry features in more detail, check out our in-depth look at the launch of the Fluid Alloy here.

Norco Fluid FS C1 Geometry

Available as a $2,599 frame kit or in one of three models from $4,099 up to our top spec’d C1 at $5,999, the Norco Fluid FS Carbon line is designed to offer discerning riders and newbies alike the chance to ride a carbon mountain bike that has been painstakingly crafted to offer a ride experience usually found on much higher priced bikes. Something else to consider beyond the size and weight-specific tuning considerations is the dealer support by purchasing a bike from a local shop, which many direct-to-consumer bikes don’t offer. We feel this is worth mentioning, as the Fluid Carbon line is competitive with many other D2C brands currently selling similar spec’d bikes.

Norco Fluid FS C1 Brake Spec

Our Norco Fluid Carbon C1 review bike comes stacked with an impressive spec list from SRAM and RockShox. A RockShox Pike Ultimate 140mm fork leads the charge up front, while a Super Deluxe Ultimate rear shock handles the hits out back. Drivetrain duties are supported by SRAM’s GX AXS T-Type drivetrain with their new Pod Controller. A threaded SRAM DUB bottom bracket supports the new SRAM GX Dub T-Type crankset, spinning a 30T chainring. Norco kept things in the family with the SRAM G2 RSC brake specification, which is likely our only real criticism of the component list found on this bike. But more on that later.

We quite liked the 200mm SDG Tellis dropper post, and the CrankBrothers Synthesis Alloy wheels worked just fine. The Vittoria Mazza and Martello tires took a little getting used to and while they weren’t our favorites in certain conditions, we realize that conditions and region can greatly affect how a tire performs, so they may be great for you.

Norco Fluid FS C1


Much like our time aboard the Norco Fluid Alloy, the Fluid Carbon C1 impressed our riders from the get-go. We put three different testers aboard the bike, one of whom bought our aluminum Fluid from Norco after we wrapped that test up last year.

Notable differences compared to the alloy frame come from the front triangle stiffness. Nic, our Fluid Alloy owner, noticed it most while standing up and putting hard pedal strokes down. Similarly, he noticed increased stiffness in the front end while cornering, pushing hard into berms and also felt a bit more feedback and frequency chatter over extended rough sections of trail. This could be something to consider for riders who enjoy the compliance and smoothness of aluminum frames and is quite frankly why I’m personally riding alloy bikes so much more these days.

Aside from frame stiffness being notably different, our testers found the RockShox-equipped Fluid Carbon pedaled a bit more efficiently than the Fox-spec’d Fluid Alloy we have. The platform was a bit more supportive and meant the bike felt like it rode a bit higher in the travel. This also traded off in the form of a bit more hand and foot feedback in chattery bits of trail, but also made the bike so fast and poppy in corners and off little features or jumps.

Norco Fluid FS A1 Action

Norco selected the spec sensibly on our Fluid Carbon C1, with little to wish for in terms of improvement in terms of spec. The only items we’d change if we were to spec the bike to our exacting specifications are the brakes and tires. SRAM’s G2 RSC brakes lack the out-and-out power of their CODE or the likes of Shimano’s XT or TRP DHR brakes, which is notable when you get the Fluid C1 into steep terrain or attack a sustained descent. We never quite gelled with the Vittoria tire spec as much as some more familiar options, but they felt to perform reasonably well.

Overall, we really like the Norco Fluid Carbon but regularly felt the bottom of the travel when pushing it hard. It lets you know it’s just a 130mm bike out back, and if that’s all you need, then you’ll likely enjoy this spritely jibber. It rides like a hyperactive kid who just snuck his first Red Bull energy drink. The rear end will snap, slide and lift with just a notion of direction change, and the Fluid C1 rewards riders who enjoy pumping and popping. For heavier riders, or those who like drops-to-flat or going big, be prepared to invest some time installing volume reducers to get a bit more progression, as the Fluid’s 130mm of travel does seem to come quickly. If that sounds like it may be you, perhaps moving up to the Norco Sight would be a better call, as the extra travel will certainly smooth out rough, chundery trails and landings from big hits. The Fluid remains a very fun and capable all-around trail mountain bike.

Norco Fluid FS A1 Action

The Wolf’s Last Word

It’s safe to say that the Norco Fluid Carbon is a sweet machine all around. We really like this bike’s performance, looks and all-around playful demeanor for a 130mm trail bike. If it came to us having to spend our own money however, we’d likely still buy the Fluid Alloy for a few reasons. The value component is undeniable on the Fluid Alloy and my personal preference is towards comfort and compliance, which the aluminum frame gives a little more of. There is an undeniable weight saving for sure, and for those who want to have the newest SRAM T-Type and RockShox suspension spec will likely disagree with me, but that’s alright! We’re in a day and age where brands can offer a variety of specs and products to meet different riders’ needs. If you prioritize frame stiffness, weight savings, and want a lively, playful trail-shredding mountain bike that’s comfortable at speed, jumps effortlessly and is an absolute treat in the corners, the Norco Fluid Carbon line could be worth a trip to your local bike shop or

Price: $5,999

Norco Fluid FS C1


Frame: Carbon Fibre Main Triangle, Aluminum Stays | 130mm
Fork: RockShox Pike Ultimate | 140mm
Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate | Custom Tune | 210x50mm

Brakes: SRAM G2 RSC | 200F/180R Centreline rotors
Handlebar: OneUp Carbon 35mm | 800mm | 20mm Rise
Stem: 6061 Alloy 35mm | 40mm Length
Headset: FSA Sealed Bearing
Seatpost: SDG Tellis Dropper 34.9mm | S: 150mm; M: 170mm; L/XL: 200mm
Saddle: Fizik Terra Alpaca

Wheelset: Crank Brothers Synthesis Enduro Alloy | 29″
Front tire: Vittoria Mazza Trail G2.0 | 29″ x 2.4″
Rear tire: Vittoria Martello Trail G2.0 | 29″ x 2.35″

Bottom Bracket: SRAM DUB BSA Threaded
Cassette: SRAM 1275 T-Type | 10-52T
Cranks: SRAM GX DUB T-Type | 30T | S:170mm; M-XL: 175mm
Shifter: SRAM Pod Controller with MMX
Derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle AXS T-Type

We Dig

Insanely playful rear end
Poppy, lively, snappy
Pedals well
Well-rounded trail bike
Stiffer than alloy

We Don’t

Not as great value as alloy builds
Stiffer than alloy
Can’t get this green color in USA


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