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Hi all,
I like to look of this bike. I was looking at getting a second hand Giant VT, but this bike seems nice and isn't much more that I would have paid for a decent VT. Whats are peoples views of it? I cannot find any reviews on the net for it. I basically want to head out of a weekend to parks and such, and want it to be able to handle drops of 3-4 feet, and ride a few ks to work. I am about 80 kgs and about 6 foot tall. Main concern is the Tora and Float are more XC shocks, will they take 3-4 foot drops?
 

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Bunny Hugger
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217 Posts
2006 Fluid -- My Best XC/AM Bike

Hi, Schmo.

I own an 06 Fluid 3 that I purchased as a frame only and built it up using my many extra parts lying around :rolleyes: . The three bikes that were my main bikes before this Norco were the 05 Giant Reign (6" VPP), 03 Ellsworth Joker XC (4" Single pivot), and 04 Turner Burner (3.5" Horst link).

The Norco blows them all away in practically every category for me. It ascends better than all of them and descends as well as the Giant. I've done drops of only 12 to 18 inches on it with no problems. I'm an XC/AM trail guy who isn't into doing big jumps and drops.

The Turner was my most sluggish bike for climbs, though from its specs you would think otherwise. It did not have noticeable pedal feedback in granny gear climbs or brake jack on the descents though -- typical Horst link attributes. But it was also the worst for descents. I always felt that I would go OTB whenever the trail pointed down due to its 70 degree HA. I really wanted to like the Turner because I felt Turner was a good company that made good products and treated its customers well. My feelings haven't changed regarding the company, but this bike didn't do it for me.

The Ellsworth Joker really surprised me. I bought it for my GF when Cambria Bike sold these for $599. I broke up with my GF before the frame arrived and decided to keep it once it did arrive. It turned out so much better than the Turner even though it was a single-pivot bike. Surely, it had noticeable pedal feedback in granny gear and some brake jack, but it climbed so much better than the Turner that the feedback didn't hold me back that much. And the brake jack didn't affect the descents as much because the suspension was still much plusher than the Turner. I had mixed feelings when buying the Ells because of the single pivot and the not-so-great Ells customer service reputation. But my experience with their customer service department was great, so thumbs up to Ellsworth.

I didn't know what to expect from the Giant. But since I bought the frame for only $400 from Wheelworld, I wasn't too demanding. I wanted to try a VPP bike after riding my friend's Intense 5.5 and liking it. But I wound up not liking the Giant that much. Firstly, it was a big bike with a really long wheelbase. It felt big when I rode it -- not toy-like at all, and I was riding a size small frame. It climbed okay -- not as much feedback as the Ells but a little more than the Turner. But I didn't feel it was that sprightly (is that a word?) due to its size. It descended very well though thanks to the measured 68.5 degree HA and the 6-inch rear travel. The rear 2.2 and front 2.4 Spec Enduro tires also contributed to the glued-to-the-ground feeling.

The Norco Fluid blends all the great attributes of these three bikes with none of the weaknesses. I have the rear travel in the 5.3 inch setting and haven't even tried the 4.2 inch setting. It climbs so well in 5-inch mode that I don't even care to switch it to 4-inch mode to test it. The Horst link and adjustable (100-130mm) 06 Manitou Minute 02 fork contribute to a spirited and sprightly climber that doesn't fight you with excessive pedal feedback and bobbing. The HL, 69 degree HA with fork extended to full 130mm travel and my transplanted Spec Enduro tires all add to a comfortable and confidence-inspiring descender with minimal if any brake jack.

The negatives? Well, it won't accept a QR seatpost collar cuz the rockers would make contact at full travel. That's a real downer. But now I carry an allen wrench to adjust saddle height and deal with it. I heard Norco resolved this problem on the 07 Fluids. Other than that, I can't complain.

I don't usually get too high or low on my bikes and I don't associate myself with any brand since I paid my money for these products. But I do wholeheartedly recommend this bike based on my experience on it and other bikes. For now and the near future, this is my ONE bike. Hope this adds some perspective. Cheers.
 
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