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First Look: 2019 Norco Fluid FS brings big fun at smaller prices

Smart spec makes redesigned aluminum trail bike punch above its price tag

Norco’s Fluid FS trail bike has seen nearly two decades of change in mountain biking since first being introduced to the Canadian brands lineup back in 2002.
For 2019 Norco has completely redesigned the Fluid FS, introducing the next generation of its aluminum trail bike. It remains in the 120mm travel range, but that’s about the only thing that remains from the earlier generation of Fluid. The new bike features fully re-worked geometry, a more standard tire size than previous years. Add in a smart build kit that delivers 1x drivetrains and dropper posts across the board, and you have a sharp trail bike at a great price point.

Norco has aimed to make the Fluid FS a high performance bike without the high price tag. The Fluid FS comes in eight different models, and two wheel sizes. XS, small and medium frames are available with 27.5″ wheels while medium, large and XL frames are offered with 29″ wheels. As with other Norco frames, riders in the medium size range get their choice of wheel size. The 2019 Fluid FS line includes four women’s specific models. All eight bikes fall in a price range from $2, 000 to $3, 600 CAD.


2019 Norco Fluid FS

At the core of the Fluid FS line is an X6 Aluminum frame. The lightweight double-butted aluminum frame features size scaled tubing, which Norco says will maintain the same stiffness and ride quality between frame sizes.

Norco’s trail bike rides on 120mm of rear wheel travel and 130mm up front. A Rock Shox Revelation RC fork and a Rock Shox Deluxe R Debonair handle suspension duties for the Fluid 1 FS.


The big change for 2019 is in the Fluid’s geometry. Norco has set up the aluminum trail bike with thoroughly modern geometry meant for aggressive trail riding in a wide range of conditions. The head tube angle slacks out to 66-degrees (66.5 for L and XL) while the reach, now 440mm in a medium, is substantially longer than before. Norco’s brought the seat tube angle up to 76 to keep you centred and in control of the bike.

For 2019, Norco has moved the whole Fluid FS line to 2.6″ tires. The wider tires provide excellent traction, without pushing into the plus-size tire range. On the Fluid 1 FS, WTB supplies rims and rubber, with STP i29 TCS aluminum rims rolling on 2.6″ Trail Boss tires. All this is brought to a stop by SRAM Guide T brakes, with a solid 180mm / 160mm rotor combo.

SRAM’s new NX Eagle drivetrain helps Norco bring wide-range 12-speed to the Fluid FS while still keeping the bikes wallet-friendly price. TranzX supplies dropper posts to match the Fluids updated geometry.


2019 Norco Fluid 1 FS on the trail: numbers meet dirt

Norco’s update to the Fluid FS is intended to bring the confidence inspiring ride quality of modern trail bikes to a more budget conscious price point. On my first rides on the Fluid 1 FS, the bike did feel immediately comfortable. By the end of the first descent I was pushing the bike to see what it could handle, not if it could handle the trail. It feels impressively light and maneuverable on descents and rolling terrain, showing that you don’t need a high dollar super bike for well thought out design to improve your ride experience.

The suspension has a very balanced and capable feel to it, which contributes to the feeling that you can move the Fluid around on the trail where you want to. The 2.6″ WTB Trail Boss tires definitely add to that feeling of control. Updated for 2019, the Trail Boss is a great mix of capable cornering support and reasonable rolling speed to match the Fluid’s 120/130mm suspension range.

When the Fluid points up, it climbs efficiently. There’s no denying that it’s not a super-light carbon fibre dream bike, it’s not jumping up hills at the slightest touch of the pedal. But Norco’s suspension design does make sure the power you put down goes directly into forward momentum.

The 120/130mm travel range of the Fluid FS puts it squarely in the “trail bike” range, which can mean very different things to different riders. With the overhaul of its aluminum trail bike, it seems Norco has made the Fluid a very capable and fun bike on a wide variety of trails. It’s shorter travel should be quick enough to stay sharp on rolling or flat terrain while it’s slacker angles make it a confident descender.

My first few rides on the Fluid 1 FS have been positive. Stay tuned to Canadian Cycling Magazine for a full review of the 2019 Norco Fluid FS.

2019 Norco Fluid FS line:

Want to see how capable the new Fluid FS is? Watch Jill Kintner – Olympian and Queen of Crankworx – shred Bellingham, Washington on Norco’s new trail bike. You might not be able to ride like Kintner right away, but the Fluid FS has everything you need to learn.