The Norco Fluid FS VLT is all-new for 2022, and it might just be the surprise package in the updated e-bike range.
When Norco released 10 new eMTB models earlier this year, they included a Fluid FS VLT range for the first time, adding to the Sight VLT and Range VLT in the line up. All three series of bikes share common features, including motor and battery technology. All of Norco's 2022 series of e-bikes use the new Shimano EP8 motor, and Norco used the smaller, lighter, more powerful and more efficient motor to optimise the design on all of the models. Instead of bolting the EP8 into the existing eMTB models, Norco engineers chose to rotate the motor counter clockwise, shifting the unit backwards and upwards, but letting the battery sit low in the frame. This also meant it can be fitted and removed from the base of the down tube while keeping the down tube complete for nearly the entire length, aiding strength, stiffness and the overall handling of the bikes.
Don't miss our review of the 2022 Norco Sight VLT C2
With a change to a horizontal suspension linkage with the Horst Link design, Norco opened up more of the main triangle for water bottle and spares storage. Less anti-squat was designed into the dual suspension system, as the need to have less pedal bob is reduced when riding with the help of the Shimano EP8 power plant. The huge down tube will swallow three different battery sizes, and Norco have opted to sell the bikes without a battery so you can choose what size suits your needs the best at the dealer. With 540Wh, 720Wh and a gigantic 900Wh to choose from, you can really customise your ride. There's a $200 difference between each battery size, but about 600g as well. There's a little multitool built into the base of the frame, so if you did purchase and carry a second battery – the 6mm tool is right at hand.
Check out some more of our recent eMTB reviews:
Canyon Spectral:ON CF 8
Merida eOne-Sixty 9000
Pivot Shuttle Team XTR
Specialized Levo Expert
Moustache Game 6
The Fluid FS VLT A1 is the top bike in the 2-bike Fluid FS series. While the Fluid FS shares the same Shimano EP8 motor and battery options as the Range VLT and Sight VLT, it has an ever so slightly more upright geometry and shorter reach to match a trail riding market. As such, travel is 140mm up front and 130mm in the rear, with a simpler build than most of the Range VLT or Sight VLT models.
The Fluid FS VLT A2 sells for $7799 with the 540Wh battery, we were sent the $8199 priced model with the 900Wh battery inside. The A2 sells for about $800 less but the parts kit does diminish – although the frame remains the same. The 29er Fluid FS VLT A1 is well-priced, and would be duking it out with bikes like the Merida eOne-Forty 700 on the shop floor. At $7999, the Merida has mixed wheel sizing and a slightly higher spec group set and a fork with more adjustments for spring rate. But, bikes should be bought on how they ride, not just the spec sheet! The Fluid FS VLT A1 might be the more entry level bike in the whole Norco range, but it still looks like a big battle ship ready to hit the trail.
The design aesthetic and suspension layout is just the same as the Sight VLT and Range VLT, however the frames on the Fluid FS VLT are different. The reach is shorter at 470mm on the large I had on test, and this is paired with a slightly longer 50mm stem. The head angle is a 'steeper' 65 degrees, while the seat angle is 76.2 degrees. The chain stays stay are still the same 462mm across all four sizes. While there are two mounts on the down tube, you can only fit a bottle cage on the lower mount – the top will need to be for an accessory mount.
Our full review is online, or check in with your local Norco dealer for details on when the Norco VLT e-bikes will be available.