FIRST LOOK | Holy Freeride – The Norco Shore is Back For 2021!

It’s been well over a decade since we last saw it, but the Norco Shore is finally back, and it is bigger and more terrifying than ever before. Wedging its way into the Norco full suspension lineup between the 160mm travel Range (enduro) and the 200mm travel Aurum (DH), the Shore is aiming to reignite our teenage freeride dreams with a burly alloy chassis, coil shocks and 180mm of huck-ready travel. If ever there was a bike to invoke the spirit of your local hospital’s emergency department, then this would be it.

2021 norco shore a1
Freeride is back! Or did it never leave?
2021 norco shore a1
Geez that’s a bloody big bike. Collarbones all around the world are twitching right now.

Is It Post-Freeride? Diet-Downhill? Beyonduro™?

Downhill bikes have always been highly focussed race machines, with very little concern for anything outside of lift-assisted race pursuits. Despite it being absolutely thrilling to watch, it’s no secret that purist downhill bikes represent one of the smallest segments of the market, particularly in Australia where we’re not exactly tripping over chairlifts.

And that’s sort of where the new Norco Shore comes in.

While it is an enormous bike, those features are likely to make the Shore more appealing to those who are still holding onto the DH dream, but know they’re not always going to be able to rely on shuttles and chairlifts to get to the trails they want to ride.

Norco calls it ‘Freeride & Big Mountain’. It comes equipped with 27.5in wheels, aggressive 2.5in tyres, a coil shock and big 4-piston brakes. That’s been paired to a burly alloy chassis that features a slack 63° head angle and a truly enormous wheelbase. Unlike your typical downhill bike though, the Shore comes with a steep 77-78° seat tube angle, presenting a far more tolerable proposition for pedalling this thing up in the first place. It’s also got two different mounts inside the front triangle – one for a water bottle, and the other for a tool keg.

While it is an enormous bike, those features are likely to make the Shore more appealing to those who are still holding onto the DH dream, but know they’re not always going to be able to rely on shuttles and chairlifts to get to the trails they want to ride. That said, Norco didn’t include any climbing photos in the press kit, so there’s still currently no evidence that the Shore does actually go uphills.

2021 norco shore a1
Hmm, maybe it is only meant for going down.

There Are Two Versions

While there is a single frame, Norco will be offering the Shore in two different platforms. There’s the regular Shore, which features 180mm of rear wheel travel and a beefy 180mm travel single crown fork (a Fox 38 or RockShox ZEB), along with a dropper seatpost and wide-range 1×12 gearing.

The other model is called the ‘Park’, and it’s exactly what you think it is. Rear travel is lifted to 190mm (thanks to a 5mm longer shock stroke) and it’s balanced out with a 200mm travel RockShox Boxxer dual-crown fork. Designed with bikepark thrashing, and very little pedalling in mind, the Park model skips the dropper post and comes with a small-block 7-speed cassette. It is for all intents and purposes, a downhill bike. Serious racers will still want to go the Aurum route, but we do see the Shore Park being popular with park-rats and for businesses running alpine rental fleets.

2021 norco shore a1
The Shore is built around a high main pivot, four-bar suspension platform with an idler wheel.

I Want To Get High (Pivot)

Freeride fantasies aside, the Shore is particularly interesting for its new suspension platform, which is something of a mash-up of the Aurum HSP and the Sight. Like the Aurum, there’s a high main pivot that sits about a third of the way up the frame’s seat tube. Unlike the Aurum though, the Shore isn’t a single pivot bike. It actually uses a four-bar platform with a Horst-link on the chainstays just by the rear axle, along with a vertically-mounted shock that’s driven by the floating seatstays via a rocker link. This gives it similar bones to the Sight, and there are industrial design cues shared between the two platforms.

2021 norco shore a1
The standard version shown here gets 180/180mm of travel, while the Park model moves to 200/190mm of travel.

Why the high pivot? Norco says it creates a more rearward axle path, so that the rear wheel is free to move in the same direction as oncoming impacts. High pivots are very trendy at the moment – brands including Commencal, Forbidden and Deviate have all enjoyed commercial success with their modern take on the concept. As with those brands, Norco has added an idler wheel in order to control the chain line and mitigate some of the negative pedal kickback – an issue for bikes that have a lot of chain growth as the suspension moves deeper into the travel.

Norco Shore Geometry

I Think I’m Ready To Huck – How Much Is A Ticket?

Norco clearly believes there’s a solid market for the new Shore, because there are four options coming into Australia for 2021. All models are built around the same hydroformed frameset, which you’ll be able to get on its own with a coil shock for a bit over three grand.

Prices for complete bikes start at $5,599 AUD, with the range consisting of the A1 and A2, along with a single Park model (that’s the one with the Boxxer).

2021 norco shore a1
The spec isn’t quite right in these photos – the Shore A1 is meant to come with a Factory Series Fox 38 fork and a DHX2 coil shock (like the bike in the images further up in the article). Love that silver frame finish, so tough!

2021 Norco Shore A1

2021 norco shore a2
From mild-to-wild. The Shore A2 is your entry point into the freeride favela, though with a ZEB and Super Deluxe shock, and a Shimano Deore groupset, we reckon it’s banging value for money.

2021 Norco Shore A2

2021 norco shore a1 park
If you only ride park, there’s only one model for you. Complete with a 200mm travel Boxxer fork, a slightly longer stroke shock and 1×7 SRAM GX drivetrain, this one is only fluent in downhill.

2021 Norco Shore A1 Park

2021 norco shore a frame
And there’s a frameset too, for those who have much more specific freeride fantasies.

2021 Norco Shore A Frame

2021 norco shore a1
Oh so that’s what it’s for.
2021 norco shore a1
Oooh moody!

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