It's new bike season, and we've spent the day taking in the latest wares from the 2019 Norco and Merida range! Join us for a look at some of the highlights, including the Norco Range, Sight, Aurum HSP and Search XR Carbon, plus the new Merida One Twenty.
It’s a year of incremental improvements for Norco it seems… for now. There are big things coming, we just can’t talk about them yet! Anyway, let’s look at some of highlights of new line up, including the Range, Sight, Aurum and Search XR carbon.
Norco are hammering home the point that their bikes are built with downhill ripping in mind, right across the lineup, by increasing the fork travel on their Optic, Sight and Range series. Every bike gets a 10mm boost on last year, slackening the head angle and adding some grrrr.
As such, the Range now packs a whopping 180mm up front in the 27.5 version (170mm for the 29er), the Sight runs a 160mm fork (150mm in the 29er) and the Optic goes to 130mm (29er only). We really liked the balance of the bikes before, so hopefully that hasn’t been compromised. Having said that, we’re currently running a 150mm fork on our Norco Sight 29er long-term test bike (rather than the stock 140mm fork) and it rides well.
Hot pricing on the Aurum HSP:
Norco have gone for the jugular with the new Aurum. It looks unbelievable, and the pricing is pretty damn sharp too. $6199 is what you’ll pay to ride this full carbon, World Cup proven machine, available in 29er or 27.5. Considering the apparent complexity of the frame, it’s very light too.
More gravel options:
Norco were caught short by the success of the Search XR Carbon last year, running out of stock, and so they’ve gone deep with this versatile gravel beast for 2019. There’s a steel version for those so inclined, for just $2199, but it’s the base-model carbon version we liked the most. In a gorgeous glossy red, this bike looks out of this world. The frame is unchanged from 2018, and you can read our full review of that bike here.
Merida continue to ride the wave of the remarkable success of their e-MTB offerings, plus they’ve given the One Twenty much-needed makeover.
One Twenty gets gutsy:
Merida’s One Twenty now benefits from the same Float Link suspension system used on the One Forty and One Sixty series. Great news, as this system is a winner. Learn more about it in our review of the One Sixty and One Forty, both of which we’ve tested in the past few months. The geometry is modernised, with the usual longer and slacker treatment, which should transform this bike. We’ll have a review shortly!
No integrated battery, but awesome pricing:
There have only been small component and aesthetic tweaks to Merida’s e-MTB range, but if you were holding your breath in anticipation of an integrated battery, please stop. If you follow what we do here, you might have seen that we recently introduced a Merida eOne Sixty to our long-term test fleet. Check out our first impressions here.