First Look | The New 2020 Norco Torrent HT Is A Super-Slack Hardcore Hardtail

Norco’s big-forked hardtail is back, and it’s back in a very big way! The 2020 Norco Torrent sees the Canadian brand go back to its roots to produce a properly hardcore hardtail that possesses some seriously progressive geometry numbers. Equipped with an all-new 4130 chromoly steel frame, a huge 150mm travel fork and aggressive 29in rubber, this is one burly hardtail that you definitely don’t want to get in the way of.

2020 norco torrent
The Norco Torrent is back for 2020, but it takes a radical departure from the previous model with a steel frame, 29in wheels and much more progressive geometry.

4130 Chromoly Steel Frame

Gone is the alloy frame of the previous model, and in its place is a double-butted 4130 chromoly steel frame. To manage that big fork up front, the top and down tubes receive additional gusseting around the straight 44mm head tube. Maximising standover clearance, the low-slung top tube is also reinforced where it meets the seat tube. Out back, the Torrent gets slender seatstays that are there to soak up vibrations and impacts from the rear wheel.

With a focus on durability and ease of maintenance, Norco has kept the cable routing external on the Torrent frame, and the bottom bracket sticks to the old fashioned threaded variety. No press-fit cups here!

As well as two complete bikes (see the specs below), Norco will also be bringing the Torrent HT frameset into Australia for 2020. With a retail price of $999, it looks like impressive value alongside other steel hardtails like those from Chromag.

Properly Progressive Geometry

Norco has been increasingly pushing the geometry envelope with its latest mountain bikes, and the Torrent goes ahead to take the Gravity Tune concept one step further. Up front you’ll find a raked-out 64° head angle, while the seat angle is a very-steep-for-a-hardtail 76°. Reach measurements are generous, coming in at 420mm (Small), 450mm (Medium), 480mm (Large), and 510mm (X-Large).

Despite the huge front centre length, Norco has kept the chainstay length tight at 420-425mm, depending on the frame size. To get the back end so short with those huge 29×2.5in Maxxis Assegai tyres, there’s a tidy forged and dropped chainstay yoke, which takes up minimal space between the tyre and chainring.

2020 norco torrent steel hardtail
The 2020 Norco Torrent HT 1 is the top-end model, and features 4-piston SRAM Code brakes and a 150mm travel RockShox Lyrik fork.

2020 Norco Torrent HT 1

2020 norco torrent steel hardtail
The Torrent HT 2 drops a grand off the sticker price by shifting to SRAM SX shifting and a RockShox 35 Gold fork.

2020 Norco Torrent HT 2

maxxis assegai 29x2.50wt tyre
Both complete Torrents get Maxxis Assegai 3C tyres front and rear.
Proper head tube badge – we like.
2020 norco torrent
How’s the metallic paint job on this bad boy?

The 2020 Norco Torrent has only just been released, so you won’t find any information on this bike on the Norco website just yet. If you’ve got any questions for us about it though, make sure you drop them into the comments below. And as always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this new slacked-out steel smasher, and whether Norco is on the money with its refreshed Torrent!

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