We let Mike the Bike loose on a test rig, and although at first we live to regret it, he comes up smelling of roses with a new found friend!Buy Hard Tails on
Hirsute Beauty - The Legend of Bigfoot
In the dead of night, a distant phone rings. Struggling from my slumber I manage a muttered response. “Get round here Mike! I've caught Bigfoot!” yells our editor Rou, agitation clear in his voice. I throw on the nearest clothes and dash out the door... What monstrous beast awaits me? What legendary mountain man? What... “What the hell are you wearing?” Rou ushers me inside, my flip-flop / hot pant / poncho combo flapping in the cool night air.
I shortly discovered one of Norco's finest nestling in the basement. Despite sharing its name with the beast, Norco's Bigfoot bears little resemblance to the footprint making, hairy-assed, monkey-faced hoaxer that had woken me. Its slab-sided, graphite grey, 6061 frame has clean welds, subtle graphics and not a trace of fur. Square profiles and a gusset the size of the one in Bigfoot's shorts give a feeling of imperviousness, airy dropouts make a nod towards weight saving but are cursory on a 36lb hardtail.
SRAM X5 shifters feel fairly solid, firing through the 9-speed block via an X5 derailleur whilst the front mech is from Shimano's Acera range. Slightly under geared, a brief commuting blast saw top gear uphill whilst down it runs out of cogs rapidly. A Truvativ Ruktion 2 crankset with a double and bash setup is weighty but tough enough for most. Maybe not a dream wish list of components, but the drivetrain is solid and dependable even though it adds up to a considerable weight.
Sun Black Eye rims in white look good and are tough, despite coming in at only 22mm wide. Being capable of supporting enormous Schwalbe Big Betty tyres on a hefty 2.4 carcass is a chore for them though and low pressures allow the tyres to wallow, a shame as the rigidity of the frame makes running a high volume / lower pressure tyre a necessity. Quando hubs and quick releases are nothing to brag about but are functional.
Marzocchi bring their forks to the yard, with a DJ3 up front, ours was supplied with Norco specific graphics rather than the standard Bomber logo. It was plush enough and suitably rigid but adjustment is tricky as the cap is set low into the crown requiring a little more care with the tools than some other designs.
A short, fat, freeride saddle from Norco, with almost 300mm of seatpost and a decent, forward facing quick release give plenty of adjustment and comfort when not pinning it and can be dropped fully for playtime.
The Funn bar and stem combo are what give this bike its personality though, at 720mm wide and 50mm long respectively, they turn what could otherwise be hefty and hard going into aggressive and hard hitting. With hands spread wide on the bars and massive leverage available, the rider is prompted to stand up and crank hard. Once up to speed the weight, grip and tyre volume, combined with a short and low front end, start to make sense. On any trail pointing vaguely downhill the bike's heft becomes secondary to its chuckability, the control through the well specced cockpit giving a rugged confidence. Whilst not slack enough for true downhill work, Norco brands the Bigfoot as a Shore bike. Heavy yes, but with low enough gearing that it can be easily grumbled to the top of a mountain where a primal urge will take hold of you.
Not having a mountain readily available meant that IMB blasted sections of our favourite secret trail. Cranking wildly, arms and shoulders hauling at the bars to gain speed, then the rush of a bike that you never thought could do it showing that good geometry is more than a match for basic components. A brief respite as you cruise to the next trailhead and then it's all go again. Some might find this all or nothing approach a bit binary but the schizophrenic personality of this bike rewards immediately with a big payout in fun-bucks, which are gratefully accepted the world over. Norco's Bigfoot may not be the stuff of legends, but it's a big, hairy, bush-pounding beauty none the less!Buy Hard Tails on
This review was in Issue 5 of IMB.For more information visit Norco Bicycles