Close to crushing the competition, the Norco gives a glimpse at the potential of Plus tyres
The Norco Torrent is one of a growing band of Plus bikes, running fat, high volume rubber at low pressures to improve grip and comfort.
To fit the Schwalbe Nobby Nic 3in tyres, the frame is wider, using Boost dropout spacing. There’s plenty of mud clearance, and with thru-axle security, stiffness is undiminished. The butted aluminium tubes get some serious shaping and manipulation.
Specced with a purposeful 1x drivetrain, short 55mm stem and broad 780mm bar, on paper the Torrent ticks all the boxes.
Our first ride was a revelation. It barrelled down rough, technical descents — deep braking bumps, fast corners, big jumps — sweeping over all obstacles.
The grip levels were off the chart and it magically plastered over cracks and holes in the trail. Climbing was equally astonishing, making rocky gullies seem like fresh Tarmac.
Then we took it on some typical trail centre singletrack, and while it steamrolled along at a ballistic pace, it pushed wide on off-camber turns and we struggled to find an edge with the rounded tyre profile.
There are other issues, too. The steering is twitchy (thanks to increased fork offset), the chain rattles noisily against the underside of the curved chainstay and the SR Suntour fork tops out with a violent metallic clunk. And yet the Torrent still had us shaking our heads in disbelief.
So close to crushing the competition, the Norco gives a glimpse at the potential of Plus tyres. With the imperfections ironed out and a bit more tyre development, the Torrent could be unbeatable.