Share

cover art for Norco's New DH Race Bike

Bikes & Big Ideas

Norco's New DH Race Bike

Ep. 219

The Norco Factory Team has a new DH race bike, and the story of its development is an interesting one. So we sat down with engineers Adrian Ward and Kirk McDowall to hear their take on the goals and design intent of the bike; what they learned from the development of the existing Enduro bike, the Range (and its modified DH version); the original test mule for the new race bike; working with Greg Minnaar to continue the bike’s development; and a whole lot more.

RELATED LINKS:

BLISTER+ Membership

BLISTER+ Real World Testimonials

Blister Labs

This Week’s Gear Giveaway

Blister Mountain Bike Buyer’s Guide

TOPICS & TIMES:

Introducing Adrian and Kirk (2:03)

Origins of the DH bike project (3:59)

Racing DH on the Range (6:35)

The next steps (13:27)

Kirk’s testing (17:28)

Building “the fastest race bike” (22:53)

The design of the bike (28:41)

Wheel sizes & going MX (32:33)

Suspension layout (41:07)

Greg Minnaar & reconsidering 29’’ wheels (46:52)

Future development (56:26)

OUR OTHER PODCASTS

Blister Cinematic

CRAFTED

GEAR:30

Blister Podcast

Off The Couch

More episodes

View all episodes

  • 231. Neko Mulally on the Upcoming Frameworks Enduro Bike, DH Bike Testing & More

    01:03:12
    The first production batch of the Frameworks DH bike is sold out, but they’ll soon be opening preorders for the Enduro version. So we brought Neko Mulally back onto the show to tell us all about the new bike; the variants of the DH bike he’s been testing; the expanded Frameworks race team with Angel Suarez and Asa Vermette; and a bunch more.RELATED LINKS:BLISTER+ MembershipThis Week’s Gear GiveawayTOPICS & TIMES:Recapping the 2024 race season to date (2:16)The expanded Frameworks team (6:20)Tuning the DH bike for different racers (11:56)Frame materials & testing other variants (20:14)The Enduro bike (34:13)Balancing racing with team management / mentorship & Neko’s evolving role (57:29)OUR OTHER PODCASTSBlister CinematicCRAFTEDGEAR:30Blister PodcastOff The Couch
  • 230. Geometron Bikes on the Design & Development of the New G1

    58:33
    Geometron arguably did more than any other bike brand to kick off the geometry revolution of the late 2010s, but they weren’t content to leave their longstanding G1 alone — even though its geometry still looks pretty up to date five years after it first launched. So we sat down with Sam Robson and Marcel Lauxtermann from Geometron to talk about the development of the new G1, their goals for the updated bike, the testing that informed the updates they made, and a whole lot more.RELATED LINKS:Geometron G1BLISTER+ MembershipThis Week’s Gear GiveawayTOPICS & TIMES:Introducing Sam and Marcel (3:29)Updating the G1 (6:32)Refining geometry (9:04)“Loading patterns” and bike setup for customers (13:57)The new G1 (18:11)David’s bike setup preferences (25:52)Headtube angles and front wheel loading (30:47)Stem lengths and steering feel (37:29)Bottom bracket drop and geometry adjustability (41:31)Other updates (43:25)Suspension kinematics (47:39)Sam & Marcel’s personal bike setups (51:42)OUR OTHER PODCASTSBlister CinematicCRAFTEDGEAR:30Blister PodcastOff The Couch
  • 229. Reviewing the News w/ Mike Ferrentino (June 2024)

    51:01
    In this month's episode of Reviewing the News on our Bikes & Big Ideas Podcast, Mike Ferrentino and Simon Stewart debate the polarizing topic of bikes in Wilderness areas. There's plenty of bike racing to talk about — including the biggest one in the world, the Tour de France. And they’re excited to talk about Red Bull Rampage including a women’s category, Simon winds Mike up about a new tire valve standard, plus a whole lot more.RELATED LINKS:BLISTER+ MembershipBLISTER+ Real World TestimonialsBlister LabsThis Week’s Gear GiveawayBlister Mountain Bike Buyer’s GuideTOPICS & TIMES:Simon’s recent crash (0:53)Bikes in wilderness areas (7:30)Women’s competition at RedBull Rampage (18:41)World Cup DH racing in June recap (22:15)Nino Schurter wins his 36th XCO (29:18)Tour de France (30:32)The great bike valve debate (42:10)OUR OTHER PODCASTSBlister CinematicCRAFTEDGEAR:30Blister PodcastOff The Couch
  • 228. Reviewer Reports: Specialized Epic Evo to the RAAW Madonna, Lots of Tires, & More

    58:36
    We’ve been testing a big spectrum of bikes from the XC-race-derived Specialized Epic Evo to big Enduro sleds including the RAAW Madonna V3 and Marin Alpine Trail, so David Golay and Zack Henderson sat down to chat about a whole bunch of them, and along the way we take a deep dive into tire design & a variety of options we’ve been testing; discuss the wide variety of mid-travel high-pivot bikes on the market, and a bunch more.RELATED LINKS:BLISTER+ MembershipThis Week’s Gear GiveawayTOPICS & TIMES:Deviate Highlander II (2:00)RAAW Madonna (11:14)Specialized Epic Evo (21:38)Marin Alpine Trail (27:44)Schwalbe Tacky Chan (37:48Michelin Wild Enduro and DH (45:19)OUR OTHER PODCASTSBlister CinematicCRAFTEDGEAR:30Blister PodcastOff The Couch
  • 227. The Wild Tale of Constru-Bikes & Their Massive Bike Theft and Trafficking Ring

    42:39
    Bryan Hance is a bike enthusiast and web developer who combined those two interests in co-founding Bike Index, a database that tracks ownership to help recover bikes that end up stolen. Through that work, Bryan uncovered a sprawling bike theft and trafficking operation, which he traced back to one man, operating out of Jalisco, Mexico — and the story only gets crazier from there. So we sat down with Bryan and Chris Solomon, who wrote a piece for Wired on Bryan’s work, to hear all about it. RELATED LINKS:Bag BalmBLISTER+ MembershipThis Week’s Gear GiveawayTOPICS & TIMES:Bike Index & Bryan’s interest in bike theft (2:14)Constru-Bikes’s operation (7:46)What did this network look like? (13:41)How Bryan uncovered Constru’s trafficking (22:20)Arrests in the US (29:11)How to shut this down? (34:56)OUR OTHER PODCASTSBlister CinematicCRAFTEDGEAR:30Blister PodcastOff The Couch
  • 226. Dan Bacon of Wheelbased on the (Potential) Future of MTB Tech

    49:44
    Bike companies file a lot of wild patents, spanning from “nearly released product” to “outrageous pie-in-the-sky idea.” Dan Bacon of Wheelbased chronicles many of the more interesting ones, and we brought him back on the show to talk about some recent highlights, from Bilstein’s proposed fork damper to Shimano’s multiple electronic brake concepts, a carbon fiber cooler from Yeti (the BIKE company), and a whole bunch more.RELATED LINKS:Bag BalmBLISTER+ MembershipThis Week’s Gear GiveawayTOPICS & TIMES:Bilstein’s wild fork damper (2:28)SRAM’s gravel linkage fork (7:48)Fox’s new Live Valve (17:04)Shimano’s piezoelectric shifters (25:10)Shimano’s electronic brake (31:11)Yeti (the bike company) making a cooler?? (38:45)Dan’s Big Idea (43:48)OUR OTHER PODCASTSBlister CinematicCRAFTEDGEAR:30Blister PodcastOff The Couch
  • 225. Reviewing the News w/ Mike Ferrentino (May 2024)

    01:01:55
    Mike Ferrentino is back again as co-host for this month’s iteration of Reviewing the News, and Simon is delighted to have him in the studio to help try and make sense of the Red Bull Hardline drama. There were two exciting DH World Cup races to talk about, as well as an XC World Cup in Nova Mesto to cover. And in a fun change of pace, they get into the recent Giro d'Italia and the upcoming Tour de France. And there’s much more than just racing to go over, including an exciting update about Kona and a whole bunch more.RELATED LINKS:BLISTER+ MembershipBLISTER+ Real World TestimonialsBlister LabsThis Week’s Gear GiveawayBlister Mountain Bike Buyer’s GuideTOPICS & TIMES:The MegaVolt eMTB festival (0:59)Red Bull Hardline’s insane canyon gap (3:46)Moto rider Johnny Walker’s mindblowing run down the Hardline course (15:10)Mike’s microphone is safe (for now) (20:47)Loic Bruni dominates (23:13)Ronan Dunne and Mondraker (26:56)Bike theft (30:56)Nova Mesto XC World Cup (33:51)Tom Pidcock (34:59)Nino Shurter’s incredible career (35:49)The Giro D’Italia (42:39)The Pog (43:39)Tour de France predictions (46:46)The return of Kona (53:57)
  • 224. EXT’s New Storia and Arma V4 Shocks

    01:00:18
    We’ve been very impressed with the EXT Storia V3 on a whole bunch of different bikes over the years, but EXT is launching a new V4 iteration soon, and they’ve found a lot to tweak. So we brought EXT founder, Franco Fratton, back to Bikes & Big Ideas to give us a rundown on the new Storia and Arma V4; talk about the potential for truly “active” suspension systems in the bike world; tease some more upcoming EXT products; discuss the state of patents in MTB suspension; and a whole lot more.RELATED LINKS:Bag BalmBLISTER+ MembershipThis Week’s Gear GiveawayTOPICS & TIMES:The Storia & Arma V4 (2:27)Aria vs. Storia (26:55)Active suspension in MTB (41:27)Future EXT products? (46:45)Patents & the bike industry (48:59)OUR OTHER PODCASTSBlister CinematicCRAFTEDGEAR:30Blister PodcastOff The Couch
  • 223. Cane Creek on their “Air-Charged Coil” Tigon Shock

    45:40
    When it comes to rear shocks for mountain bikes, there are tons of options for both air- and coil-sprung versions, but the Cane Creek Tigon is both — an “air-charged coil shock,” as Cane Creek describes it. So we sat down with Cane Creek’s Will Hart to get the rundown on the Tigon, including why Cane Creek decided to make it; what its pros and cons are relative to their other shock offerings; who it’ll work best for; and more.RELATED LINKS:BLISTER+ MembershipThis Week’s Gear GiveawayTOPICS & TIMES:Introducing Will (1:38)The Tigon (3:34)“Air-charged coil” shock (10:29) Setting sag & air / coil interplay (15:31)Cane Creek’s shock lineup & choosing between their offerings (18:50)Suspension kinematics & what the Tigon is best suited for (22:56)The Tigon damper (27:03)Base tunes vs. wide adjustment ranges (34:18)Durability (40:26)OUR OTHER PODCASTSBlister CinematicCRAFTEDGEAR:30Blister PodcastOff The Couch