Saturday, January 23, 2010

Size does Matter & Friction is the Issue

The Blue Norcross is only the 3rd cx bike I have ever raced, or ridden for that fact. However, it is by far the best cx bike I have been on! First of all, the original paint scheme was great, with clean lines and metallic red on black & white. But, the colors did not match real well with the MWI kit. So, me being the guy I am, I had mine custom painted (green replaced the red). Oh yeah, all built up as you see it, this thing weighs nothing at just over 16 lbs without compromising durability with chincy parts.

My first ride was while pre-ridding the USGP Madison course the Friday before racing began. The stiffness of the bottom bracket was amazing with all the power I was putting into the pedals causing direct forward motion. Another primary enjoyment of the Norcross is the lack of fork shudder. In only one race was I able to make the front fork shudder, a great improvement over my pit bike (Blue CX6.5, which I also love).

I would talk about the Norcross and it's corning capabilities, but as all the MWI riders know, the bike is WAY better at corning than I am. I'm sure in no way did I push this rig to it's limits.

Geometry was comfortable for me with the ML size frame while riding, but the length of the seat tube/height of the top tube left little seat post showing and less stand over height. This is actually quite a bit different than my ML size Blue CX6.5. In fairness though, the only time I'm standing over the bike is at the start.

The other main complaint I have is mud clearance. We had a couple muddy races this year, Jingle Cross being the worst, were mud got really packed between the tire and frame at the seat stays and the "ledge" where the chain stays converge with the bottom bracket. I was running 34mm Dugast rhinos and was dreaming of more clearance at a couple moments during those races. I also noted that when running low pressures in the 34mm rhinos that I could get the tire to rub the frame in certain situations.

Another small issue is the water bottle cage mounts. In a full on race rig like the Norcross, I don't see any need for them. Period.

Durability was not an issue for me. As most of you know, I crashed this year, multiple times. Pavement, grass, mud, sand and wooden stakes to the face may have slowed me down and given me bumps and bruises, but the Norcross has barely a scratch to show for it!

Overall, the Blue Norcross is a GREAT bike. There are a few things I would change, but hay, we are all a work in progress. I would buy another Norcross in a heartbeat, just make sure to get your sizing correct.

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