As our last afternoon in Vancouver neared, we headed the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area for a cross country/all mountain ride (check the map out here , if you’re interested).  Bike choice for this ride varied from the 160mm travel LT 6.1 to the new-for-2010 Judan Belt Drive, a 29″-wheeled singlespeed.  The trails of Burnaby Mountain were fast, flowy and technical by cross country standards, but far less so than our previous North Shore ride.

My trusty steed for this particular ride turned out to be the 2010 LT 6.1, which is an updated version of a bike formerly know as the Fluid LT.  The LT series is keeping pace with the demand for bike falling between true freeride bikes and your average XC full sus bike.  The LT’s 160mm FSR licensed travel (adjustable to 140mm, too), and slack HT angles (68º) certainly felt great bombing downhill, hitting obstacles, and catching some air.  In these situations frame details such as the E2 headtube helping to keep things tracking true, and the uninterrupted seat tube allowing one to slam the seat all the way down certainly made for confidence inspiring descending.  When it came time to climb back up, the LT also held its own, so long as I kept in mind I was riding a 160mm travel bike.  The HammerSchmidt crankset on the 6.1 model made for a great pairing on a bike like this.  After getting over the backward shifting, the immediacy of the shifts was simply awesome.  Retail prices range from $4,450 for the LT 6.1, to $2,340 for the LT 6.3.

Click on pictures for larger versions.

justin-lt63.jpglt-61.jpg

Being the only female media participant at this product launch, Nicole Formosa, from Bicycle Retailer and Industry News, had the exclusive opportunity to check out the new for 2010 Phena, a 5″ travel all mountain bike.  Like the other models in Norco’s Forma women’s series, the Phena varies from the unisex models in terms of having shorter top and head tubes, a lower BB, and lighter tube sets, keeping weight down for lighter riders.  The Phena also has thinner grips, a women’s specific saddle, and adjustable reach brake levers.  Look for the Phena to sell for $1,775.

nicole-phena.jpgphena.jpg

Like many west coast companies, Norco was a bit late to the 29″ wheel game having introducing their first 29′er just last year.  For 2010, Norco’s 29″ lineup has doubled to four hardtail models: three aluminum hardtails, and the Judan–a 525 chromoly frame, belt driven singlespeed.  This hardail sports a Manitou Minute 100mm fork, and Gates Carbon Drive belt, with gearing equivalent to a very sane 32×20 tooth ratio.  Resident MTBR huckster Adam LaBarge was inspired to give 29″ wheels a whirl after hearing me wax poetically about their virtues.  Adam seemed awfully impressed by the Judan, and it certainly wasn’t holding him back on the trails.  A Judan belt drive will set you back $1,775.

adam-belt-drive.jpgjudan-belt.jpg

Rob Jones from Canadian Cyclist opted to check out Norco’s 120mm travel XC bike for our Burnaby trail ride.  The top-of-the-line Faze SL goes for $4,945, while the Faze 3 starts at $1,675.

rob-phase.jpgfaze.jpg

For all of you gram counting weight weenies out there, Norco announced just the bike for you.  The new Team XC carbon hardtail tips the scale to just under 20 lbs. with SRAM’s new 2 x 10-speed XX groupo.  There is a lot of interesting technology behind this bike, but I’m not going to bore you with it here.  If you’re in the market for a $6,265 hardtail race bike, head down to your closest Norco dealer for the full details.

3164_red.jpg

Our ride ended at the Burnaby Skills Park, built in 2008 by Hoots Inc., the skill park design and construction company owned by Norco team rider Jay Hoots.  Hoots, Ben Boyko, and Dylan Korba entertained us all by going big.  Check out our gallery for more images.

dr-coverage-action-2-of-15.jpgdr-coverage-action-1-of-15.jpg

dr-coverage-action-3-of-15.jpgdr-coverage-action-5-of-15.jpg

Thanks to Norco for facilitating some awesome rides, and giving us a peak at their 2010 offerings.  Action photos of the LT 6.1, Phena, Faze, and Judan by Derek Vanderkooy.  Product shots courtesy of Norco.  I took the rest.