Norco 2012 Product Launch Part 1

by Mike Sarnecki

July 29, 2011 (Whistler, BC) – Pedal was stoked to be invited to the Norco 2012 Launch July 18-21 in Whistler, B.C., during the renowned Kokanee Crankworx Mountain Bike Festival. We were excited to spend time riding the 2012 offerings with the Norco engineers and product managers; the guys who design and build these great bikes. A total of five complete new lines and 11 rejuvenated platforms highlight the 2012 lineup from this 47-year old Canadian bicycle manufacturer.

The new platforms for 2012 include the DH 200mm Aurum, the Trail 140mm Sight, the 29er Marathon Revolver, the Cyclocross Threshold, and the Road Endurance Valence…

Valence Endurance Road Bike
One of the many new bicycle lines from Norco in 2012 is the Valence, the Road Endurance series. The Valence is geared towards a growing segment of road riders who do not race, but participate in Grand Fondos and charity rides. These warriors want a high performance machine but with a more comfortable set up and position than a pure road race bike.

The goal of this new frame design is to have a high performance product that offers compliancy for road vibration. These proprietary frames are designed by Norco and are not carbon frames picked off the shelf in Taiwan – rather they’re designed from the ground up in Canada and then test ridden by Norco staff. A big part of bike development at Norco is simply test riding new bikes.

Coined as the “Mullet” road bike by Norco engineers, the Valence is all business in the front & party in the back. A stiff chassis is formed with an oversized down tube coupled with a tapered head tube and oversized headset & proprietary full carbon fork make this bike a precise steering machine aka all ‘business up front.

In the back, it’s more of a “party” as the seat stays are thinner and curved to allow for a compliant, vibration-absorbing ride leaving you fresher after many hours in the saddle. Ride-tested and designed by Norco the carbon fork has been dialed in to allow for that supple feel. Small touches like a 27.2 seatpost allow for further compliance and more comfortable ride and the built-in fender mounts are a nice touch for those looking to stay dry when it gets wet outside.

The Valence uses an EPS (ethyl polystyrene) mandrel system to produce a smooth inner surface at important sections of the frame such as the bottom bracket and head tube. High Toughness Resin (HTH) is used in all of the 2012 Norco carbon frames to increase their resistance to impact by 20% claims Norco, which makes the frame stronger and more resistant to damage. With this stronger material less is required so the overall frame weight is further reduced.

There is a wide range of price points and the Valence is offered in carbon and alloy frames with a part spec ranging from the new Shimano Di2 Ultegra right down to a price-conscious Shimano Sora parts kit. BB30 is a standard choice for the carbon models so riders can benefit from the increased stiffness and versatility that the BB30 provides. Retail prices range from $799 for the base model alloy frame to $5,535 for the carbon Di2 Ultegra model. The Valence will be available at the end of 2011.

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