Spotted: Prototype Norco High Pivot DH Bike

Norco doesn’t currently have a dedicated DH bike in their lineup (there wasn’t a 2022 version of the Aurum HSP), but it looks like changes might be on the way. Aluminum test mules have been spotted at the Whistler Bike Park and the Snowshoe World Cup bristling with data acquisition equipment and shock coverings to keep prying eyes at bay.

Up until this point Norco’s team members have been using a modified Range that has a different shock link to bump the rear travel to 200mm, up from the stock 170mm configuration. Realistically, the geometry numbers on the current Range are pretty much in line with what’s found on many modern DH bikes, so using the frame for double duty isn’t as much of a stretch as what we’ve seen from other companies in the past .

Still, a frame that’s fully designed for DH racing and riding can be optimized for the single purpose of going downhill as fast as possible, and I’d imagine that’s what Norco are working on. The aluminum prototype looks to have a similar inverted high-pivot suspension layout, although the pivot at the front of the chainstay is in a different location than it is on the Range.

The frame also looks more refined than the crazy-looking mule that was used during the development of the Range – that frame had loads of geometry adjustments, and a headtube that was the size of a tin can. There don’t appear to be as many adjustments on this frame, although the replaceable dropouts would make it easy to experiment with different chainstay lengths. Personally, I’d love it if Norco came out with an alloy high-pivot DH bike, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

According to Norco, “The bike is a one-off, highly adjustable aluminum Norco DH test platform that allows for isolated tuning and testing of almost every geo and kinematic aspect of the bike so we can engineer and learn in real time.

Last year, Norco added Kirk McDowall to our engineering team because of his combined engineering experience and perspective as an Elite-level DH-racer. This gives us an incredibly powerful technical feedback loop right from the get-go. Kirk will be doing live race weekend testing on the bike in Snowshoe and Mont Sainte Anne, and possibly the Canadian Open.”

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