Norco Introduces the New Revolver 100 and 120 | BIKE Magazine


It's really hard for a bike to surprise us these days. Kinda feels like we've seen it all before. And if we haven't seen it, we've probably seen it coming. 1300 millimeter wheelbase? Seen it. 64-degree head angle on a hardtail? Seen it. High-pivot trail bike? Saw one last week. But when an XC bike comes out, we can't help but get a little excited about how far it will push the envelope. The industry seems to be searching for the new high water mark in the race category, and there's no telling what brand will try to find it and how they'll go about it.

Norco doesn't exactly seem like the one who'll stick its neck out to set the curve. One of the best bikes we rode last year was the Norco Sight 29, a buttoned-up 150-millimeter trail bike that appears to want to please everybody and happens to have completely succeeded. But it doesn't take any risks in doing so. It's simply a good bike without a lot of eccentricities. Just maybe, though, the XC scene could be where Norco goes a little wild. After all, not one member of its factory XC team is a day over 29 years old. Maybe an updated Revolver would be a revolution. We just got the details and, well, it is and it isn't.

One step towards the revolutionary side is in the introduction of a 120-millimeter version of the new Revolver in addition to the very businesslike 100-millimeter version. The concept of offering a traveled-up model of the factory race bike isn't new. Giant, Specialized, Intense and plenty others do just that, but in those cases, the squishier bikes offer meatier builds. Burlier forks, often burlier shocks, bigger rotors and the like. But aside from a dropper post and an extra 0.1 inches of rubber, the Revolver 120 is truly just a longer-legged version of the Revolver 100. Same chassis, same rotor sizes, same race-only RockShox Sid fork. It gets a 67.4-degree head angle as opposed to the 68.5 on the 100-millimeter version. The seat angle drops to 74.9 degrees, but on a 120-millimeter bike, that's plenty steep.

And when you consider that that means the 100-millimeter Revolver gets a 76-degree effective angle, maybe this bike could be called a trendsetter. That steep angle is well-paired with a 490-millimeter reach and 1186-millimeter wheelbase on a large, both far past the bell curve for XC bikes. Also, as Norco tends to do, each size of each Revolver gets a unique chainstay length with aims on keeping riders of all heights balanced.

The 100-millimeter Revolver is a forward-thinking but race-focused platform while the 120-millimeter Revolver is a bit of a throwback to the ultralight ultra endurance machines that are being steadily replaced by heavier, more aggressive short-travel trail bikes.