Category Archives: Norco

Inside the mind of a cyclist

There are tons of people I’m sure that buy one bike, ride it, and are perfectly happy doing so. There are also tons of people – like myself – that follow a formula for bicycle ownership, and it goes a little like this;

S = N + 1

Where S is the number of bikes you should own, and N is the number of bikes you currently own.

What I love about this formula, is coming up with reasons for another N + 1 in your life.

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The value of things

This is the stickiest question in all of Vintagedom; How much is my insert vintage thing here worth?

And nobody likes it.

Most forums will have a separate thread for these questions to keep them out of the regular, useful, conversations.

But you can’t blame people for asking. The last thing anyone wants is to sell a part and then see it for sale again right away for 50% more.

I like to think that my knowledge of market value is above average, if for no other reason that I spent a lot of time looking at Kijiji. I see all of the bikes for sale here, and it’s pretty easy to see which ones are selling right away, and which aren’t.

So to that end, there’s this;

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The ugliest bike ever

The Specialized Hardrock.

Specialized Hardrock

Specialized Hardrock

Now, I just found this bike on kijiji, so if you happen to be selling it, please know that I’m not saying that your Hardrock is the ugliest bike ever. It looks like your bike is rather smartly set up to roll around town, and that’s fine.

In fact, it’s not even really the Hardrock that’s the ugliest bike ever, it’s this style of bike that’s ugly.

Actually, it’s not even this style, it’s the thinking behind it.

I’ll explain.

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Norco

When talking about the brands that vintage guys are looking for, Norco is rarely mentioned.  I can’t even picture what their good bikes from ’91 or ’92 looked like.  I’m not entirely sure they even existed.  Cheap Norcos from that period are out there, but I’ve never seen a Norco from that time period with XT parts.

They were just late to the party though, as they had some very nice bikes by 1994.  I think they are underrated as well, because when most people think Norco, they think cheap bikes and kids bikes. Let’s have a look at some of the good ones.

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1999 Norco Team 853

The owner of the first shop I worked at had a Team 853 like this one here.  And it was a beauty; XTR parts, RaceFace cranks, and a Marzocchi Z.2 Superfly.  I should have bought it from him, but he always liked to ride a size bigger than I wanted.

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1999 Norco Team Ti

One of the kids that worked in the shop raced this Team Ti that ran the same parts group as the 853.  Of course he rode a size smaller than me, so no Ti for me. (Sometimes I wonder if I’m destined to never own a Ti bike…)  Another great bike that flew under the radar.

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1999 Norco Torrent

According to Bikepedia, which sadly only goes back to 1993, Norco had high end Ti and steel bikes with XTR and Rock Shox forks.  I’d say these bikes are the hardest to find nowadays.  It used to be that there were zero old Fishers out there, but now it’s these Norcos that hold the rarity crown for me.

I’m not sure why that is though.  I think part of it is that Norco didn’t really gain a reputation as a maker of really good bikes until the VPS line came along.  Norco was always the brand you found in small town shops, or in the shops that sold hockey equipment in the winter.  It just didn’t have the same reputation as Rocky Mountain or even Specialized.

I really doubt that for bikes from 1994, there is a great deal of difference between Norco and KHS, or Specialized, or Kona, or Marin.  They were all made overseas, all had good parts and were made from good frame tubes.  Somehow, the other brands are just cooler.