Just a few weeks back, Norco was nice enough to send over a big bike box. Low and behold, inside that wondrous package of reinforced cardboard was a bike with one of the sexiest paint jobs on the planet: the Norco Aurum 1! I wasn’t sure if Norco was sending over the BoXXer or the Dorado version of this bike, and I was stoked to see that it was sporting the Dorado fork.
Surprisingly, it took just 30 minutes to assembly the Aurum. Norco did a great job preparing the bike for assembly.
Since the Aurum 1 is equipped with a mix of Shimano Saint and Truvativ parts, I used a set of Saint pedals to match. Aside from the pedals, all the other components come with the bike. If you’re looking for an out-of-the-box race-worthy DH rig, this is it. Check out the full specs for the Aurum 1 below:
Upon examining the build, there is very little, if anything, that I want to upgrade. This is really a top-shelf build, or at least, very close to it. If you truly want a top-shelf bike, be sure to check out the $7,825 (CAD) Aurum LE!
I did make a few minor changes to the bike prior to taking the Aurum out to Blue Mountain for its first ride. Since I’m a heavier rider and I know both the Dorado and the Cane Creek DB very well, I did change the factory settings a bit. The Cane Creek is pretty much spot on for most people under 170lb, but for someone like myself I needed to add two extra clicks of LSC and one click of LSR.
The stock spring was Cane Creek’s own 350lb steel version, but I swapped it out for a Kronos 450lb Ti spring from Spring Time (http://www.springtimetitanium.com/) . Why Titanium? Well besides, the fact it’s 50% lighter, they are less prone to fatigue, failure, and corrosion.
I really appreciate the Aurum’s integrated fork bumps that don’t slip out of position. Not only do they not slip, but they’re also replaceable. I also really liked the rear post-mount rear brakes. Not that this setup is unique, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction for rear brake performance.
Along with the post mounts, the Aurum is running the Syntace X-12×157 rear spacing and axle. The 157 spacing, like a 142-spaced rear, provides the axle a space to fit in, allowing for both easier axle placement and improved stiffness.
The effort Norco went through to make the frame as light as possible really sets this bike apart. The hollow-form link arm provides both stiffness and improved shock tracking. Up front, a tapered head tube provides an excellent blend of low weight and stiffness. Also, all the hardware has spent some time on a CNC machine, which further reduces weight.
As far as performance, I was instantly impressed with the Aurum’s out-of-the-box ride quality. After those small changes in the shop, the Aurum worked superbly! At Blue Mountain, I was surprised how well the frame worked with the Dorado and CCDB shock, and I was astonished at how quickly I adapted to the bike. In about the time it took me to get to the bottom of the first run, I was as comfortable as I would have been on my own personal bike. Jumping, racing over rock gardens, or carving berms–the Aurum 1 Dorado took it all in stride!
When it came to finally shutting it down and braking into the corners, the Shimano Saint’s worked equally as well. With one finger barely on the lever, I was generating generous amounts of force–damn, these brakes stop!
Stay tuned for more on the Aurum. Once I get some more saddle time in, and after more setting tweaks, I will let you all know how well this bike really rides!
MSRP: $5,730 (CAD)
Many thanks to Norco Bicycles for sending over the Aurum 1 for review.