Norco Fluid LT2 mini-review

This Saturday I demo’d a new mtb, Norco’s Fluid LT. Since most of the rides close to home are on the North Shore, I am interested in getting more of an All Mountain bike that works well there. My current mtb, a Rocky Mountain ETSX-30, is a nice bike but it gets kind of sketchy on steep trails. So after reading some reviews and checking out local prices, I saw that the Fluid can be bought from Different Bikes for a really good deal. They have the bike available for renting/demo’ing, so I took the opportunity to try before I buy. The bike that I would acutally buy is the LT2 model from 2009. Its original MSRP was around $3600 and DF is selling them for around $2100!

The Fluid actually climbed ok and it really helped with the 2′ drops coming down. The rear bobbed just a bit more than I’m used to but I was really impressed with the climbing. Coming down, whereas on the etsx I felt like I was really pitching forward (positioned with arms extended, way behind the seat), the Fluid took it all in stride no problems.

There were two things that I didn’t like on the Fluid, although I imagine they relate to all AM bikes. First, the Fluid was not as accurate as the etsx. Generally speaking I felt like I had more control on the etsx on the flatter sections. There’s no doubt that the etsx would be a lot better on xc trails. Mind you, the etsx isn’t as forgiving in sticky situations. Secondly, I don’t think I had nearly as much clearance with the Fluid as compared to my etsx. I’m sure bikes like the Pitch, Enduro, Slayer, etc, would all be the in the same boat, and maybe it doesn’t really matter all that much anyways.

While I felt that even though the Fluid made things easier on the NS, especially on the drops, I really think that I’m the biggest, weakest link. I guess that’s pretty obvious, as it’s the rider that matters most. But even with the Fluid I had a lot of problems going down trails like Pingu, Pangor and less so on Severed Dick. So even if the Fluid makes the ride better I’m still not sure that I can take advantage of it. The thought of wiping out on those steep rocky sections or falling off an 8″ wide log doesn’t appeal to me, I already have enough metal in my arm I don’t need any more!

I’m going to try and demo a Rocky Mountain Altitude 30. It was meant as a replacement for the ETSX, but it apparently is a lot better for descending, which is exactly what I need. It might end up costing a bit more than a Fluid but it’s more important that I get the bike that I can take the most advantage of.