Shawn Spomer of Vital MTB and The Inside Line Podcast has been riding long enough that he classifies every ride that doesn’t include a chairlift as a “cross-country” ride. Nowadays, that term has been diluted or lost for many rider's due to the variety of mountain bike categories emerging and taking over the average riders vocabulary. In keeping with his original terminology, Shawn hopped aboard Norco’s newest XC bike, the Revolver FS 120 to see what “cross-country” means in 2020. See some of the highlights below.
The first ride was an eye-opener on the climbs and pedally pieces of trails that I’m quite familiar with. The uphill was fast and easy, how I wished every climb was. Pedaling actually propelled me faster when hitting a flat section to connect corners or features. Momentum wasn’t just conserved, it was increased.
When the time came to hit a trail with some rough sections, I was nervous. The first run through the short-but-rowdy fake rock garden was approached with skepticism. The bike survived the rocks (not that I really doubted otherwise), I survived, and after a few more laps, speeds through the rocks and pieces of technical trail got back to what felt like trail bike speed.
As I rode the Revolver more, my outlook toward familiar trails changed. Places I would normally coast to recover were now pedaled. Places I would normally pedal were now sprinted. There was significant reward for the effort I put forth without taxing me to the limit. Lighter tires and wheels, combined with a suspension platform design to squeeze out every watt of rider input was incredibly inspirational to a normally begrudging uphiller like myself.
I finally took the Revolver out of the Boise area into the “real” mountains a few hours away. Pine trees, bugling elk, real rock gardens and natural, less-developed singletrack were on the menu. If the Revolver had a home, it was in terrain like this. Long-radius turns, janky, unpredictable rock gardens, flat sections that rewarded pedaling and a couple of grunting climbs made it the perfect bike for this environment.
When hopping on other bikes with a more stout nature, they felt over-built and unnecessary when I was regularly riding the Revolver.
If I had to choose between the Revolver or a long-travel enduro 29er for the typical trails and riding conditions near me, I would, no doubt, choose the Revolver. It’s a bike that makes sense where I live and where I ride.
To see more on the Revolver FS 120, click here.
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