Back in December of 2015 I bought my new 2016 Norco Torrent 7.2 from the good guys at Totally Spoke'D in Stratford. I bought the bike for $2258 with taxes. I wrote about my initial thoughts on the bike after riding it for a few weeks here: My Norco Torrent 7.2.
I've put 10 months of riding on the bike now and love it. The slack geometry and high traction make for a very aggressive ride that likes to be pushed to the limits. Speaking of traction, this bikes had gobs of it. The Nobby Nic tires hooked up on everything and I actually swapped out the rear tire to a Rocket Ron 3.0 as I didn't need all that grip, even in the sandy trails of Turkey Point. I always liked the Nobby Nic / Rocket Ron combo on my 29ers and it didn't disappoint here.
The fork is a little hit and miss. The SR Suntour Raidon works well and the air spring is reliable, but I've had to remove the lowers a few times and clean the seals and bushings then reapply a thin spray-on grease to the insides of the lowers as there is no oil bath to lubricate the bushings and the fork gets a little sticky after a couple of months. I've heard of lots of failures and warranty replacements of this fork but mine has been doing good up until a few weeks ago when the compression damper began to leak. It is fine other than a slight leak if I hang the bike in the garage by the front wheel. Looks like I'll be contacting Totally Spoke'D soon for a warranty claim.
The wheels have been good. The hubs are reliable and the rims keep true. I did have to rebuild the rear wheel with Sapim Force (triple butted) spokes, but that has more to do with my weight than anything else. I popped a number of spokes and the wheel came apart, a quick rebuild and I was good as gold again. The rim and bead interface on these wheels are tight, I imagine tubeless would be an easy conversion.
The Shimano SLX driveline is great. Typical Shimano quality and never misses a shift. I was a bit apprehensive at first going to a 1x system but the 1x10 has proven to be all the gears I need. The 28 tooth chainring makes for some low gearing to grunt up steep hills and surprisingly holds it own everywhere else. I've only ever spun out my top gear on a long road section moving faster than I normally would (about 35 km/h).
The Norco brand bar / stem / post combo is of typical OEM quality and works great. The handlebar and stem have a 35.0mm interface and makes it much stiffer than the old oversize of 31.8mm. Can't fault anything here.
I did have to ditch the OEM Norco saddle. It was a lesson in pain riding that thing. I swapped it for a Specialized Phenom (review coming soon) and couldn't be happier. The Norco saddle was tossed into the bin of saddles I've somehow collected that are all torture devices.
The Shimano brakes work. They are not as powerful as I'd like but as a lower end Shimano brake they use resin pads that wear quickly and lack grabbing power. They fade quickly. I'm going to upgrade the pads to sintered metal and the rotors to something that can handle the abuse of the upgraded pads. If that does not work, I'll just throw on a set of XT brakes (when cash allows) and put these M396 (Acera level FYI) brakes on the fatbike.
Those are all the points I felt I needed to go into depth with. Here is a summary of what a like and dislike about the bike.
I love this bike. It feels like its almost the perfect bike for a guy my size, with traction and toughness built for a big guy. The thru axles do a great job of keeping the bike stiff and handling fast. The drivetrain is simple and reliable. The frame is setup for hidden dropper post cable routing if your rides get super gnarly. Norco did a great job spec'ing this bike out and the 2017 model has upgraded to a Rock Shox fork instead of the hit/miss Suntour.
This bike decends and handles technical trail sections like a dream. Norco's north shore heritage proves that they can tune a bike for the gnarliest of conditions. It laughs in the face of rock gardens and root sections. It climbs great and never spins out, the perfect balance of rear/forward weight. Bike fit and feel are great, you feel like you are in the bike and not on top of it. Alot of other bike brands I've bought in the past needed the stem length changed or a handlebar with a change of sweep, but the Norco fits me great as it is. The bars fell at just the right spot from day one.
Going forward I believe that the 650b+ / 27.5+ wheel platform will be the "go-to" size for people who just want a trail bike or live in areas where conditions are loose (aka Turkey Point). It also seems like the perfect Clydesdale wheel size in the fact that the wheels are smaller and stiffer than a 29er but still have the 29er diameter.... with a ton more traction.
I couldn't ask for much more from this bike. Its an easy 5/5 for me.
The Bric...._ mountain biker, road rider, heavyweight gear abuser. Built like a brick sh*thouse. No bike is safe.