Best Hardtail of the Year under £1,000!

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 10

Norco Fluid 7.2 HT+

Pros:

  • A highly comprehensive package with incredible grip and comfort.

Cons:

  • Would benefit from a wider handlebar.

Product:

Norco Fluid HT+ 7.2 (2017) review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£999.99

In association with Sombrio

It’s been a few years coming, but the adoption of Plus size tyres on trail-focused hardtails has finally taken off and it’s a total game changer. The fatter tyre’s ability to take the edge off the roughest trails makes perfect sense when there’s an absence of rear suspension and the new Norco Fluid HT+ 7.2 offers a blissfully quite, smooth ride. Using the aggressive frame design found on the pricier Torrent, with adaptations to meet the more budget conscious buyer, you still get all the associated trimmings found on any top end trail bike.

Buy Now: Norco Fluid 7.2 HT+ (2017) at Evans Cycles from £999.00

Norco Fluid HT+ 7.2

norco fluid ht

Suspension

The 120mm travel RockShox Recon suspension fork uses a Solo Air spring, and it’s a cinch to set up. It feels incredibly supple and controlled on all terrain and to top this off, its 15mm Boost dropouts offer stiff, precise steering.

>>> Hardtail of the Year 2016: £500-£1,000 (VIDEO)

Components

This is where the Fluid really shines; it’s the only bike that features a dropper seat post. In fact, it’s the only hardtail we’ve ever had in this test to come with one. It’s one component that’s rapidly become a necessity on any mountain bike, and with the underbar remote you’ll never have to stop and adjust your saddle height.

SRAM’s 1x NX gearing eliminates any chain slap on the Norco’s dropped chainstay, making it easily the quietest bike in this test. The handlebar is a hair narrow for the bikes capabilities though, and the slip on grips would go straight in the bin. A simple tapered lock on grip such as the Santa Cruz Palmdale would solve both issues at once, with lock-on security and 20mm(ish) added to the bar width.

Performance

Naturally, the high volume WTB Ranger tyres take the sting out of the Norco’s tail, and after some fiddling with tyre pressures to find a balance of cushion and control, we were away. The benefits most pronounced on a steep gully that everybody dreaded riding but the Norco had us jumping in to it, trying to find the limit of speed.

The climb back out was a point and pedal affair; the steep seat angle and extra traction meant we could easily stay seated and ride through any obstacles in our path. Ultimately, it’s highly forgiving and begs to be ridden harder than the next normal tyred alternative.

Buy Now: Norco Fluid 7.2 HT+ (2017) at Evans Cycles from £999.00

norco fluid ht

Verdict

The Norco Fluid 7.2 HT+ rewrites the book on what can be produced for a penny shy of £1,000. With a modern trail-focused frame design, choice components, Plus size tyres and a dropper seat post, Norco has produce a standout package that will flatter any rider. Yes, it’s one of the heavier bikes in this category, but it certainly doesn’t ride heavy and a quick tubeless conversion would instantly save 0.5kg of rotational weight. Best of all, the Plus size tyres make everything easier. They are a lot easier on the joints too making it a great choice for long days in the saddle.

Details

Frame:Double butted X6 aluminium
Fork:RockShox Recon RL Silver, 120mm travel
Wheels:Joytech hubs, Alex MD35 rims, WTB Ranger 27.5x2.8in tyres
Drivetrain:Alloy Boost chainset, SRAM NX shifter and r-mech
Brakes:SRAM Level T 180/160mm
Weight:14.45kg (31.9lb)
Sizes:XS, S, M, L, XL
Size tested:L
Contact:norco.com