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The Shore lives! Norco revives freeride bike in High Pivot form

Canadian brand goes back to its roots with a refined version of the classic big bike

2021 Norco Shore Photo by: Norco

Norco is going back to its freeride roots, bringing back the classic Shore lineup for 2021. Still inspired by the burly North Van trails that defined the early freeride movement, the new Shore benefits decades worth of development in mountain bike design.

The result is a mix of toughness and technology. All three Norco Shore’s run tough alloy frames and 27.5″ wheels, and near-downhill bike travel numbers. Borrowing from the high tech Aurum HSP, though, that squish is delivered by a refined High Pivot Horst link suspension design. Add Norco’s very well received Ride Aligned geometry, and the Shore is a modern freeride bike.

2021 Norco Shore

2021 Norco Shore – modern freeride

Vancouver’s North Shore defined freeride in the late 1990s. Big, burly lines quickly developed a reputation for beating up bikes and bodies alike. Two decades later, that reputation remains. The trails, though, have continued to progress. Massive rock features, drops and steep trails still set the iconic B.C. trails apart.

Built to thrive in this harsh environment, the new Shore series brings three models – and two distinct approaches – to freeride. Two 180mm travel models toe the line between earning your turns and shuttle-access trails. The Shore Park takes freeride to the extreme with 190-mm rear travel and a full 200mm dual crown fork.

All three models share the same hydroformed alloy frame and are designed around coil shocks. That frame is built around 27.5″ wheels, adding durability and agility on technical trails when compared to 29″ wagon wheels.

While the Shore looks brash, it still has all the details that you would expect from Norco. Size-specific chainstay lengths ensure a consistent feel across sizes. This extends the seattube angle, which steepens from 77 to 78-degrees as the sizes grow from small to XL. That steep STA is part of Norco’s Ride Aligned system, putting the rider forward enough to balance the long reach and very slack 63-degree HTA.

2021 Norco Shore

Why High Pivot Horst Link?

While Ride Aligned geometry and alloy frames are all found in Norco’s existing All-Mountain bikes, like the Sight, the Shore’s suspension design borrows from the other end of the scale. The World Cup downhill Aurum HSP‘s high pivot makes its way into single-crown fork territory, via the Shore’s High Pivot Horst Link.

The design, which differs from a standard Horst Link by the addition of an Idler Pulley above the chainring, is more common in downhill and gravity-focused bikes. There are a few benefits to the distinct looking design.

The Idler Pulley is used to minimize pedal kickback when the suspension is active. This allows Norco to use a more rearward axle path, letting the wheel move in-line with the direction of impact on landings or when hitting rocks on the trail. This should mean the rider isn’t thrown as forward as much, and more forward momentum is maintained.

Combined with the idler pulley, the rearward axle path minimized pedal kickback on heavy landings and through rough terrain. Additionally, this separation of chain and suspension should provide more efficient pedalling.

While historically high pivot designs were mainly found on downhill bikes, they are becoming more common – and more accepted on trail bikes. The Shore is still one of just a few bikes using this interesting design.

2021 Norco Shore

2021 Norco Shore

Three Mountains – Three Models

Vancouver’s North Shore is famously comprised of three mountains. Seymour, Fromme and the more DH-style Cypress. Likewise, Norco’s Shore line features two bikes that mix pedal access and shuttle capability, and one that is purely gravity focused.

Norco Shore A1 and A2

Two of the three Shore bikes, A1 and A2, are designed with pedalling in mind. The 180-mm travel frames are still very freeride-worthy. But, with 12-Speed drivetrains, dropper posts, single crown forks and Ride Aligned geometry, they’ll get you to the top of ride-access only trails and all-day adventures.

The Shore 1 runs a burly combo of Fox Factory 38 Float fork and Fox Factory DHX2 Factory Coil shock. A SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain mixes reliable performance with durability, while 200-mm Code RSC 4-piston brakes will keep your speed in check through long shuttle days.

2021 Norco Shore

The Shore 2 uses RockShox ZEB R fork with a RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate DH shock. Shimano’s Deore 12-speed drivetrain and 203-mm Shimano MT520 4-piston brakes mix pedal-access ability with DH worthy parts.

Both bikes run 34.9mm, adjustable-travel TranzX dropper posts.

2021 Norco Shore
2021 Norco Shore Park
Norco Shore Park

Norco’s Shore Park is designed exclusively for descending. Norco ups the travel to 190mm rear and 200mm front, via a big dual crown fork. That’s enough for days in the park, as its name suggests, or in the back of a truck shuttling. With a 7-speed DH drivetrain and no dropper post, it’s all about chairlifts and shuttle roads.

A RockShox BoXXer Select RC fork works with a custom-tuned RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate DH shock, tweaked to reflect its gravity focus. SRAM GX handles the shifting, with a 11-25T cassette, while 200mm SRAM Code R 4-piston brakes will survive long days in the bike park.

2021 Norco Shore
Matt Macduff rides 2021 Norco Shore in B.C.