In a recent issue of Australian publication Mountain Biking Magazine,
the editorial team put a 27.5" wheeled 2014 Norco Fluid 7.1
to the test. Through a rigorous gauntlet of tests this both value and performance conscious bike was hailed for being a fantastic all round trail mountain bike. Have a read through the article for yourself.
We haven't gone into a long-winded monologue about the pros and cons of the Fluid's so-this-minute 27.5-inch wheels; that's because functionally you can't separate the wheels from the rest of the package. Previously we've covered the differences between the various wheel sizes in great detail (FMA 2013 and ASO 2012), but it's the combination of wheels, suspension and frame geometry that dictate how any bike performs. Suffice to say that the wheels on the Fluid do what they're supposed to do (go around) and there's room for genuine 2.3-inch tyres plus mud. It should be as obvious as a boil on Jennifer Hawkins' bum that we really like the Fluid 7.1; Norco has
done a stellar job of bringing the performance of their top-tier bikes to a substantially more affordable price. No, it won't handle the big drops and ultra-gnar of its longer travel cousins. It's not quite as stiff, or as light, or as pretty either but it really is a proper do-everything mountain bike and it doesn't cost one or more appendages to buy. We don't know when sub-$3,000 bikes became this good, but thanks to trickle-down technology the Fluid 7.1 is good enough to justify component upgrades when necessary, and if you can't ride it up, down, or across something then chances are the limitation isn't the bike, it's you.
Download the full article as a PDF