Rob Dunnet of the Loam Wolf is a die hard mountain biker, who also happens to be a father. Like many cut from this cloth, he dreams of sharing his love for the sport with his kid, in hopes of riding becoming a family affair. But for kids, the gap in strength, coordination and gear can make family rides and interesting affair. So, Rob checked out the Fluid FS1 20”, to see if upping the gear game for his son had the same effect that new bike day has on the rest of us.
Words and Photos by The Loam Wolf
I am not sure I would have described my son as a mountain biker before we started this test. I had taken him on the occasional trail ride and we spent a fair amount of time at the pump track and skate park but we had not spent a lot of time riding single track. He had never really ridden a trail with roots and rocks on it before he started riding the Norco Fluid.
It is great to see that a large percentage of the parts on these bikes are 20” specific. Norco has done a great job of sourcing products from brands that are doing Youth specific parts. Hats off to Manitou, SDG, Sun Ringle and Norco for coming together to product a great looking 20” bike.
But why should parents spend the money to buy a “real” mountain bike?
The big difference between this bike and the sub $400 bike that we first bought for our son is quality components. The drivetrain, brakes and suspension are all mountain bike specific parts that are easily replaceable. Twenty-inch wheels means that the rear derailleur is more susceptible to rock strikes but the short cage Shimano Zee derailleur is an inexpensive part to replace and is more durable than a lot of the other options out there. It will survive a number of impacts before it will need replacing. Suspension for kids mountain bikes has come a long way over the past couple of years. A lot of kids didn’t weigh enough to make suspension on youth bikes work. Both the Fox rear shock and the Manitou front fork have exceeded my expectations
This bike opened my son’s eyes to how fun mountain biking really is. It made it easier for him to ride uphill and helped him earn his downhills. It ignited the passion to try something over and over again until he got it right. He has spent countless hours trying to do pop-a-wheelies in the driveway and riding sketchy stunts in the yard. This is something that I am sure he would have eventually tried but I think having a bike similar to mine gave him the idea a lot quicker. It was a monkey see monkey do situation. A real “If dad can do this on his bike, maybe I can do it on mine” situation.
But enough about Dad’s opinion…I asked David what he though of the Norco Fluid test bike and this is what he said, “It has really good shocks, it’s easy to ride uphill because there is a seat post that goes up and down. I think it’s good for me because the handlebars are just the right length for me. And there are good grips and I really like the brakes!” There you have it. If only all our reviews could be that simple.
To see more of the Norco Youth MTB lineup, click here.
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