Throwback to the very late 90s and the North Shore of Vancouver, British Columbia, were all over our grainy screens and VHS tapes. The precarious ladder bridges, steep rock slabs, mist-shrouded forests and rock and root gardens had the mountain bike world's imagination well and truly captured. Riders and bikes were being pushed to their absolute limits. The Sun Rhyno and Rhyno Lite were king, and if you weren't practicing your wheelie drops on your local trails and picnic tables - were you really a mountain biker anyway?

Bikes were adapting and progressing very quickly, and local brands like Norco, Rocky Mountain and Cove were all at the front of the game. The Norco VPS was a clear leader early on, and in time it progressed to the Shore.

This type of riding was called freeride, and brands patented that and it all got a little messy on that front, but the riding developed, and that scene is a big part of what has got the sport of mountain biking to where it is today. Still, the trails of Vancouver, British Columbia’s North Shore are synonymous with big, burly lines that chew bikes up and spit them out.

This evolving trail system that defined freeride 20 years ago is the basis for Norco’s return to its mossy, muddy freeride roots with the introduction of the all new Shore lineup. Don't think of this as the new Range - it's the return of the Shore.

Early Norco VPS bikes were among the few bikes to withstand the drops-to-flat that typified the early Shore scene, and were some the first to bring disc brakes and modern long-travel, pedal-able suspension to prominence in an era when the rest of the mountain bike scene was still cutting calories and racing NORBA XC events. The new Shore is a completely different beast, built for the new demands of freeriding.

All about the new Norco Shore

The new Shore uses Norco’s Ride Aligned™ Design System along with the latest in suspension engineering to create a big mountain, freeride, park bike beast. There are three models, and they all share the same hydroformed alloy frame using 27.5" wheels. If you want big wheels, go get a Norco Sight. The smaller wheels deliver the strength and agility that Norco wanted for the Shore.

Read more about Norco Ride Aligned.

The high pivot, Horst Link suspension immediately stands out, and the idler pulley allows Norco to have a very rearward axle path. This helps the rear wheel move back and into the travel instead of getting hung up on hits, allowing for smoother travel and an ability to really soak up big hits. The idler pulley helps get rid of pedal kickback for efficient pedalling. Even on a bike with 180-190mm of travel! And don't worry, a standard length chain fits the idler pulley in just fine.

The frame has access to a bottle mount inside the main frame, but there is an accessory mount on the underside of the top tube as well. Cable and hose routing is internal on the main frame, and the frame has a threaded bottom bracket interface. Norco use a 34.9mm seat post size, like on the Sight, for greater reliability with long dropper posts, and better frame stiffness.

The frames can take a 2.6" maximum tyre size, and all four sizes from S-XL can fit a water bottle. That said, the small is limited to 620mL but that's still a good size. The bikes are long, with a 480mm reach on a large, and slack with 63 degree head angles. Effective seat tube angles are between 77-78 degrees depending on size, and likewise, rear centre length morphs from 435mm-450mm between S-XL. Norco have had size specific geometry for years, their Ride Aligned design has just let them make it better again.

Norco run a reduced offset fork at 44mm offset for 131mm of trail on the Shore 1 and 2. The Shore Park with 200mm fork travel has 46mm offset and 130mm trail. It also gets 165mm cranks, unlike the 170 across all sizes on the Shore 1 and 2.

If you're looking at this and thinking about a Mullet bike project, Norco don't recommend it. It would throw the head angle out too much and put a lot more weight rearward, ruining the suspension kinematics.

With three models in the Shore range, Norco have split them up. The Shore 1 and 2 are purely for freeride, while the Shore Park is aimed at lift and shuttle runs, with a little more travel and a lot more fork.

Befitting those roles, the Shore 1 and 2 offer 180mm rear travel with 180mm single crown forks and wide-range 12-speed drivetrains, This means you get the suspension, and you get the gear range for the pedal ups.

The Shore 1 selss for $7199 and sports a Fox Factory 38 FLOAT fork with a Fox Factory DHX2 Factory Coil shock. Norco designed the Shore around coil forks as they don't feel that the inherent characteristics of an air shock suit this long travel format. The SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain is matched with Code RSC 4-piston 200mm brakes.

The Shore 2 costs $5599 and has a RockShox Zeb R fork with a RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate DH shock, and the Shimano Deore 12-speed system for durable performance along with the 203mm Shimano MT520 4-piston brakes.

For those with some custom builds in mind, the Shore A frame sells for $3199 and is a raw/polished alloy.

The Shore Park is the bigboi, selling for $5799, and has 190mm rear travel paired with a 200mm dual crown fork and a 7-speed drivetrain for big days at the bike park. With the tighter drivetrain range this bike really is designed for places where you're getting help to go uphill. Be that a shuttle service, on the lift at Thredbo, or under your own two-footed power for some push runs.

The Shore Park has a RockShox BoXXer Select RC fork and a custom tuned RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate DH shock. The SRAM GX 7 speed 11-25T and 200mm SRAM Code R 4-piston brakes look after the go and whoa.

Why buy a Norco Shore?

If you think the Norco Sight is a nice little trail bike, but want something to charge laps at Thredbo, or to rule Maydena Bike Park and own Black Stump shuttle runs, then the Shore A1 Park bike might be exactly what you're after. 

If you live for the descents, but the reailty is you need to get high on your own supply (of oxygen) then the Shore A1 or A2 could be for you, if you think a bike like the Sight is just too under-gunned. Don't be mistaken, the Shore isn't a long travel bike to roll around on. It's a hard hitting bike designed to empower riders who want to progress their riding, and the sport. If that's you, Norco have what you need.

Get more details on the Norco website.