Is this a one-off or a proper proto?

New Sam Blenkinsop video from Camelbak appears to have accidentally leaked footage of some new Norco bikes that feature idler-based suspension designs.

To save you the bother we’ve gone to the trouble of getting some screenshots on some key revealing bits in the video (which is nominally about Blenki showing off his native New Zealand’s trails)…

norco idlers

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So we can confirm that Blenki is riding at least one bike featuring an idler couple of bikes. It’s hard to make out if the first bike in the video (a single-crown forked enduro bike) has an idler or not, so we’ll not comment either way on that.

And although we initially got a bit carried away and even thought the bike featured a pull-shock, the rear shock does just seem to be a regular shock albeit one actuated by a funky looking linkage.

The whole stealth decal-free look of the bike – especially the aforementioned funky looking linkage – make us think that this is still very a bike in prototype guise. More like a deep MY18 (2018) bike than anything we’re expecting to see this year. Then again, it depends when this video was shot really doesn’t it?

Blenki’s idler past

Blenki using an idler-ed Norco is actually nothing new. He ran a modified DIY-idler-ed Aurum at some events last year. But this new stealth black proto(?) appears to be much more of a finished product.

Here’s a pic of Norco’s current (2016 actually) downhill bike, the Norco Aurum for comparison…

What’s an idler for?

An idler is a little jockey wheel sort of thing that sits on the seat stay above and behind the chainset that the chain passes over on its way to/from the rear cassette.

We’ve seen idlers make something of a mini-comeback in recent years on bikes from Commençal and the ARBR Saker.

The basic idea of using an idler is to reduce/remove the drivetrain’s effect on the suspension. Reduced pedal kickback and high anti-squat (chain induced suspension compression) are common benefits. Idlers also allow designers to use a high pivot location.

Without going via an idler, a high pivot pivot location would lead to a bike with awful pedal kickback and suspension stiffening. With the idler guiding the chain around the location of the high pivot, this interference is greatly removed from the system.

Norco have certainly released some innovative models so far in 2017, is this bike going to be their biggest statement yet?