Dirt Rag Magazine

First Impressions: Norco Torrent 7 Plus


Ed’s Note: This bike is part of our annual, sub-$3,000 bike test where the Dirt Rag staff spends significant time aboard less-expensive but fully capable offerings that we’d seriously consider buying ourselves. The final review will be out early 2016 in issue #189. Subscribe today so you don’t miss it!


Price: $2,425

Norco_Torrent-web-1

The Torrent name is not new to Norco but the plus-size tires certainly are. The Torrent name has been in and out of the Norco line since the 90s and was last used on a carbon 26-inch hardtail that looked like this:

torrent-carbon-1-full

I know which one of those two I’d pick.

The Torrent is a return to the all-mountain hardtail, a niche market that is near and dear to my heart. Say what you will about plus-size tires but they have companies reconsidering what a modern hardtail can be, and the Torrent is a excellent example of this new breed of bike.

Norco_Torrent-web-10 Norco_Torrent-web-9

Norco_Torrent-web-8 Norco_Torrent-web-7

There are lots of well-thought-out details on the Torrent, including Boost hub spacing front and rear, a hugely adjustable fork, internal dropper routing and sleek rear caliper positioning.

Norco_Torrent-web-3

So far, the Manitou Magnum Pro fork is very plush, although I’m still trying to properly tune it to use more travel on big hits.

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The Schwalbe Nobby Nic is, hands down, the best tire I’ve ever ridden on leaf-covered trails.

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The 16.7-inch chainstays are one of the reasons this is among the most playful bikes I’ve ridden. That nimbleness is balanced with a good bit of stability from the long front center (29.3 inches) and 67-degree head angle. The dropper post, stout fork and aggressive tires are treating me right, as well.

You’ll have to wait for the full review but, so far so great. See Norco’s website for more info.

 

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Inside Line: Devinci Enters the Plus-Size Market with the Hendrix


I might be speaking prematurely here, but in a few years this new bike from Devinci might just be what most trail bikes look like.

Hendrix - Front

Boost spacing, 120 mm front travel, 110 mm rear travel, 27plus tires, single-ring drivetrain, aggressive geometry, and an affordable price put the new Hendrix in a good position for 2016. Like all Devinci suspension bikes, the Hendrix uses the Split-Pivot suspension design.

Geo

The Hendrix uses a chip to adjust between high and low geometry, both of which are quite slack for a 120 mm bike. While I can’t call 433 mm (17-inch) chainstays “ultra-short” as Devinci does in the press release, I also can’t call them long. How about “just right” chainstay length? Top-tube lengths are obviously designed around short stems, and the bottom bracket height seems ready to carve.

Spec

Not a bad spec for $3,000, although I would budget for a dropper post too, this bike could use one.

Bikes will be ready to go November 2015.

Frameset will set you back $1599.

Hendrix - Side

Hendrix - Rear

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