Norco Revolver FS 1 120 review
A fast cross country bike that can take on descents
When Norco redesigned its full-suspension cross country Revolver FS platform for 2020, it had more than World Cups in mind. While the short travel Revolver FS 100 has spent plenty of time racing internationally, including several trips to the podium, the FS 120 has plans that range wider.
The longer travel bike is still intended to go fast. It was developed in tandem with the FS 100 and uses the same frame design, but with a longer-stroke shock to get the extra travel. Norco just wants you to go fast over longer distances and on more challenging trails than the pure XCO FS 100.
Norco Revolver FS 1 120
Drivetrain SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed cassette, SRAM X1 Eagle DUB carbon-fibre crankset
Brakes SRAM G2 RSC brakes with 180 mm front rotor and 160 mm diameter rear rotor
Suspension RockShox SID Ultimate fork with 120 mm of travel, RockShox Deluxe Select+ RL shock with 120 mm of travel
Wheels DT Swiss XR 1501 with 25 mm internal diameter
Sizes S, M, L, XL
Both bikes use a significantly updated geometry for 2020, designed to put riders more forward, and lower, on the bike. This forward position is balanced by a slacker 67.4-degree head-tube angle. On the trail, the Revolver FS 120’s geometry makes it easy to find power on technical climbs. Creating a more balanced rider position gives the bike a calmer feel that can disguise how fast you are actually going. Any twitchiness is replaced with a riding style that requires less effort to maintain speed.
The suspension feels efficient, but moves just enough to provide traction when you’re navigating roots, rocks and rough sections of trail. The Revolver requires less body work to power the bike up over bigger trail features.
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While the bike is subtly faster on rolling ground and climbs, the benefits of Norco’s new design present themselves when the trail points back down. Yes, the Revolver is a cross country bike, so Norco emphasizes the ways in which the composed descending saves you energy that can be used on the next climb. But to leave it there would be selling the Revolver FS 120 short. There’s more than just efficiency at play. The bike is full-on fun to descend. Instead of shaving grams, Norco has put weight where it’s needed. The bike’s solid shock linkage and back end result in a rear wheel that tracks through hard, high-speed corners and rowdy sections of trail better than an XC bike has any right to.
The Revolver’s descending chops open new ride options because you know that you will have fun, not just survive, when the trail gets rowdy going down. The bike does have limits; it is still a cross country bike. It’s just more fun pushing on fast, technical and steep terrain to find those limits.
Norco has found a winning formula in the Revolver FS 120. Whether you use it to push the pace at your local XC marathon or ride farther and faster on long days that don’t involve a start/finish line is up to you. The Revolver FS will be happy between the tape or speeding through your local trails.