Compare to Similar Products
Norco Fluid FS 4
|Price||$1,899 List||$1,799 List||$1,899 List||$1,250 List||$1,450 List|
$1,450 at REI
|Bottom Line||A true singletrack slayer at an eye-popping price||A quick-witted and agile bike that boasts incredible uphill efficiency||A versatile hardtail that is comfortable in a number of situations||The reasonably priced Specialized Fuse 27.5 is capable, well-rounded, and a blast to ride||A simple trail bike that gives you access to the trails but won't wow you with its comfort or value|
|Rating Categories||Norco Fluid FS 4||Canyon Neuron 5||Trek Roscoe 7||Specialized Fuse 27.5||Cannondale Habit HT 2|
|Fun Factor (30%)|
|Specs||Norco Fluid FS 4||Canyon Neuron 5||Trek Roscoe 7||Specialized Fuse 27.5||Cannondale Habit HT 2|
|Weight||36 lbs 2 oz (tubeless)||33 lbs 10 oz (tubeless)||31 lbs 12 oz (tubeless)||29 lbs 14 oz (tubeless)||32 lbs 2 oz (tubeless)|
|Fork||RockShox Recon RL, 140mm||RockShox Recon Silver RL, 130mm||RockShox Recon Silver RL, 140mm||RockShox Judy Silver TK, 130mm||RockShox Judy Silver TK, 130mm|
|Rear Shock||X-Fusion 02 Pro R, 120mm||RockShox Deluxe Select||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Wheelset||Stan's Flow D Rims with Bear Pawls hub||Iridium 30||E*Thirteen LG1 Enduro rims with Shimano MT 510 hubs||Specialized Stout Trail, 38mm internal width||WTB STX I30 with Formula Hubs|
|Front Tire||Goodyear Newton 29 x 2.4" Folding||Schwalbe Nobby Nic 29 x 2.4"||Bontrager XR4 29 x 2.6"||Specialized Butcher GRID TRAIL, GRIPTON compound, 27.5" x 2.8"||Maxxis Minion DHF 29 x 2.5" EXO TR|
|Rear Tire||Goodyear Escape 29 x 2.35" Folding||Schwalbe Wicked WIll 29 x 2.4"||Bontrager XR4 29 x 2.6"||Specialized Slaughter GRID TRAIL, Gripton compound, 27.5" x 2.8"||Maxxis High Roller 29 x 2.5" EXO TR|
|Shifters||Shimano Deore 11- Speed||Shimano Deore 12-speed||Shimano Deore 12-speed||Shimano Deore 10-speed||Microshift Advent X Pro 10-speed|
|Rear Derailleur||Shimano Deore 11-speed||Shimano Deore 12-speed||Shimano Deore 12-speed||Shimano Deore 10-speed||Microshift Advent X 10- speed|
|Cranks||FSA Comet||Praxis||Shimano MT-511||Specialized Stout, square taper||ProWheel|
|Bottom Bracket||FSA Mega EXO||Shimano||Shimano SM-BB52||Square taper||Prowheel|
|Cassette||Sunrace 11-speed 11-51T||Shimano Deore 12-speed 10-51T||Shimano Deore 12-speed 10-51T||SunRace 10-speed, 11-42T||Microshift Advent X 10-speed 11-48T|
|Saddle||Norco Trail||Selle Italia X3||Bontrager Arvada||Specialized Body Geometry Bridge||Cannondale Ergo XC|
|Seatpost||SDG Tellis Dropper 200mm||Iridium Dropper 150mm||TransX Dropper 150mm||TranzX dropper XS-S: 100mm, M-XL: 120mm||TransX Dropper 130mm|
|Handlebar||E*Thirteen 800mm||Iridium Flat. 780mm||Bontrager Alloy 780||Stout riser, 750mm/780mm width depending on frame size||Cannondale 3 Riser, 780mm|
|Stem||Alloy 40mm||Iridium, 50mm||Bontrager Alloy 50mm||Stout||Cannondale Alloy 50mm|
|Brakes||Tektro HD-M535||Shimano BT-MT10||Shimano MT-200||Tektro HD-M275||SRAM Level|
|Warranty||Five years||Six Years||Lifetime||Lifetime||Lifetime|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Should I Buy This Bike?
The Fluid FS 4 makes a lot of sense for a lot of riders. Riders who are interested in a bike in this price range that can legitimately shred and hold its own on more difficult terrain will love this bike. While the 140mm RockShox Recon Silver fork and X-Fusion O2 Pro shock won't blow your mind, the components on this bike largely back up this bike's can-do attitude. The 11-speed Shimano Deore drivetrain works well, the Tektro brakes offer plenty of power, and the Goodyear rubber can handle high speeds and aggressive rider input.
Riders who put a lot of stock into outright efficiency may want to look elsewhere. This bike climbs well enough but there are better options if rapidly scooting up hills and logging big miles are important to you.
When assessing a bike, the fun factor is a somewhat subjective performance metric. We found this bike is exceptionally fun thanks to its adaptable attitude and ability to feel comfortable in most situations. The controlled and confident ride had us smiling ear-to-ear and quickly had us forgetting that we were riding a "budget" bike…we think that's incredibly fun.
In terms of traditional definitions of fun factor, this bike is happy to get airborne and snap through corners. That being said, we wouldn't call it the most peppy or lively bike when it comes to boosting jumps and finding trailside obstacles to launch off of. The slack 65-degree head angle and long reach paired with the lengthy 1284mm wheelbase (size XL test bike) don't feel all that eager to get airborne. If you are in between sizes and prefer a playful ride, we highly recommend sizing down.
The Fluid FS A4 is a very competent descender. In fact, it is a clear standout in terms of downhill prowess within its test class… in fact, its not really close.
There are a few key elements that contribute to this bike's downhill skills. First, the slack 65-degree head tube angle is very modern and aggressive among 130mm trail bikes. Rolling into gnarly or steep sections of trail, there is a distinct sense of confidence and it feels a little like a small enduro bike compared to a beefy trail bike. Next, the long effective top tube and size-specific chainstays (445mm on our XL bike) create a long wheelbase that lends itself to incredible stability. When flying down singletrack at high speeds, this bike feels incredibly confident, calm, and planted. When other bikes in our test class might begin to stutter, the Fluid FS remains stable at speed.
The simple and effective four-bar suspension design delivers a predictable and comfortable ride. When charging over choppy trails the bike feels calm and does a nice job smoothing out the ride. On bigger impacts, the suspension is supportive and doesn't blow through its travel too easily. Running about 28% sag seemed to be the sweet spot in terms of balancing bottom-out control and small bump sensitivity.
The Goodyear Newton 2.4-inch front tire was a pleasant surprise. It was aggressive enough to provide a confident front end and could handle aggressive movements and loose surfaces pretty well.
Given the longer wheelbase and long reach, this bike didn't necessarily corner like it was on rails. It thrives on faster, wide-open corners or berms as opposed to working through super-tight ones. To be clear, it corners well enough, but if your local singletrack is littered with ultra-tight switchbacks, this could prove to be important when making a purchase decision.
The Fluid FS 4 has a comfortable position and can-do attitude when it comes to grinding uphill. There is no mistaking it for a cross-country bike, but it gets the job done.
This bike has a comfortable seated climbing position that feels fairly relaxed. The 77-degree effective seat tube angle is pleasant by modern-day standards. The bike has a fairly upright feel to it when climbing and, despite its long reach, it doesn't feel like you're being pulled forward over the bars. Instead, the positioning is comfortable and feels like you could sit and spin for all day if you're not in a huge rush.
Our XL test bike hit the scales at 36 pounds without pedals and set up tubeless. It's definitely no featherweight but it also doesn't feel that heavy when climbing. The X-Fusion rear shock does not have a climb switch and the suspension remains fairly active when climbing. On one hand, this is a positive when climbing technical trails as active suspension lends itself to improved rear-wheel traction. On the other hand, there is a noticeable amount pedal bob when climbing a steep fire road and you start to put the power down.
The Fluid FS isn't an especially swift climber, but it's very comfortable and can get you to the top of any climb so long as you are not in a huge rush. The Shimano Deore 11-speed derailleur is paired with a 30-tooth chainring and SunRace 51-tooth cassette which allows for a very light climbing gear comparable to a 12-speed drivetrain.
When evaluating the build kits on budget bikes it is easy to get hung up on a mediocre fork or shock. In the case of the Fluid FS 4, the suspension might be underwhelming but the rest of the package works extremely well for the price.
Fork- Our test bike came fitted with a 140mm RockShox Recon Silver fork. This fork uses the Motion Control damper and has low-speed compression and rebound adjustments. We had to run significantly more air than normal to achieve enough support out of this fork. Our 195-pound tester used about 120 PSI and a healthy amount of low-speed compression damping to keep the fork from diving into its travel too frequently. This fork might not be particularly plush, but it works.
Shock- The X-Fusion 02 Pro shock was a solid performer. While we would have liked to see a climb switch for double-track climbs, the shock performed quite well on the descent. We were able to identify the ideal settings very quickly and were able to focus on shredding this red rocket.
Drivetrain - The Fluid FS 4 came with a Shimano Deore 11-speed derailleur and shifter paired with a SunRace 51-tooth cassette. A 30-tooth chainring helped provide a very breezy climbing experience that rivals a far more expensive 12-speed setup. We really liked the use of a Shimano 11-speed derailleur instead of a low-end 12-speed derailleur. Simply put, we find the entry-level 11-speed drivetrains are a bit more crisp than the entry-level 12-speed drivetrains. Shifting was tidy throughout the entire testing period.
Brakes- Stopping duties were performed by Tektro HD-M535 4-piston brakes. These brakes offer plenty of power and despite having a fairly simple lever design, they just work. We never felt held back by the brakes.
Wheels-The Bear Pawls rear hub started making noise very quickly. This became annoying and frustrating on a brand-new bike. The freehub still functioned perfectly as this noise persisted.
Tires- Our test bike featured a Goodyear Newton 29 x 2.4-inch tire up front paired with a 2.35-inch Goodyear Escape in the rear.
We had never ridden any of the Goodyear tires and we were pleasantly surprised. The Goodyear Newton offered plenty of bite in loose conditions and at high speed. The faster-rolling Goodyear Escape on the rear wheel delivered a solid blend of traction and rolling speed. The sidewall support was fine although we could feel these tires squirming a bit at 25+ PSI.
The Norco Fluid FS 4 is an easy choice for our coveted Editor's Choice award. This bike is the most capable out of all of the bikes in its test class by a healthy margin. Downhill performance is spectacular and the climbing experience can be defined as comfortable. We loved this bike and we think you will too.