View the original article here - Norco
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View the original article here - Norco

From my first run at our local gravity park, the Aurum just felt right. Ialways struggle with sizing; I'm 5'10" and often fit right in betweena medium and a large frame size. This time I chose to run a slightlybigger frame and went with a large, where I've always tended to pick asmaller gravity rig in the past. It didn't seem to matter. The Aurum feltbalanced and responsive underneath me. The X-Fusion Vector paired upwith Norco's 4-bar A.R.T. (Advanced Ride Technology) suspension feltresponsive during my forays into baby-head-strewn rock gardens, andthe axle path allowed the rear wheel to move backwards as the Aurumwent through its travel. all the while maintaining active suspension,even through hard braking.One of the most radical design features of the Aurum is what Norcocalls Gravity Tune. Gravity Tune addresses uneven weight distributionof the rider as the frame size grows or shrinks. In traditional bike designthe rear-center length of a bike stays constant, adjustments for rider sizeare handled with top tube length and / or seat angle, leaving taller folkshanging out over the rear wheel, and shorter folks too biased towardsthe front of the bike. To combat this problemorca developed differentbottom bracket forgings for each of the Aurum's frame sizes. As the bikesize increases, this assembly lengthens the rear-center length by varyingthe location of the main pivot, keeping the riders weight more centeredbetween the wheels.Maybe it's just a marketing trick, or maybe it's a stroke of genius.I can say that I felt extremely comfortable on the Aurum. My body'sneutral position made for a very intuitive feeling ride, allowing me toattack the trail from the start with almost no time needed to adapt to anew bike. In other words, the bike did what I wanted with little fuss,tackling all types of trails from fast and smooth to steep and rocky.Up front, the RockShox Boxxer did a fairly good job at handling thebiggest hits I wanted to take. I noticed that the low-speed compressiondamping adjustment on the Boxxer really didn't feel like it did anything.I ended up just turning it full soft. I had a similar experience with my2011 Boxxer Team, so I chalk this up to factory tuning of the fork. Aftersending my 2011 Boxer to Kevin at Suspension Experts in Asheville,North Carolina, the harshness was gone, and plushness had taken itsplace. A custom fork tune is one of the few upgrades I would recommendfor the Aurum, or any DH bike really.Another possible upgrade would be to the brakes. The Avid Elixir5 brakes seemed to do well in normal operation, where I was doing arun, hanging out at the bottom with my friends, and then taking the liftback up for another go. However, during the Chomolungma Challenge Iexperienced significant fade in my brakes. For the 2013 Aurum 2, orcohas gone with the new Shimano Zee brakes, so my experiences with theElixirs may be a thing of the past.50 DIRT RAG #167_11.15.12

CHANGES FOR 2013These are all 2012 models, and changes are planned for each one in2013. The Aurum has minor modifications to cable routing and forkbumpers, and a big move to the promising new Zee group for brakes anddrivetrain. 2013 brings a new top-tier DH platform for Nukeproof, thePulse. This leaves the Scalp as a price point bike and frameset, with a lessexpensive build kit. With the introduction of the Carbon Wilson for 2013,the Wilson SL is no more, although the SL's aluminum frame with carbonswingarm will trickle down to the $5,000 Wilson RC.THE WRAP UPJUSTIN: I see the Wilson being an excellent option for racers looking fora lively, snappy DH race bike that can play double-duty as a park bikewhen desired. This same versatility will help new gravity riders transitioninto the sport-start in the HI setting and graduate to LO. On theflip side, the Wilson is not be the best choice for those looking for a longand slack race bike.JON: Aurum is Latin for gold, and the Norco Aurum 2 lives up to itsname. This is a phenomenal bike, especially for the price. I had a lot ofpeople on the slopes ask me about this one-I wholeheartedly recommendthe Aurum 2 be on your short list for a budget-friendly downhillrig. I also don't think you need to invest the extra thousands in theAurum 1, maybe just send the Boxxer away for a tune-up and enjoy thehours and hours of fun this bike will bring you.ERIC: It was eye opening spending so much time riding a bike thatencouraged me to go bigger and faster. I stepped up my game in the air,and was informed of my shortcomings as a rider when in came to flatterrocky bits that demanded a good line and commitment to speed. A cashstrapped racer would be very happy with this bike, or a rider like melooking for a bike "a few sized too big" to grow into as skills increase. Ifyour riding is always super tight and technical, the Scalp may be a bitlonger than ideal.FINAL THOUGHTSIn this case the ride impressions hold true to the geometry charts. Asthe longest and slackest of the bunch, the Scalp loves speed, berms andsending it. The Aurum is a perfect middle child, with neutral handlingmaking an awesome all round bike for a huge range of riders. The Wilsonbucks the super-slack trend of most modern race bikes, making this agreat choice for riders with the skill set to make a steeper bike perform.For the money the Aurum is a great deal for a solid bike, and thereis even a $2,865 Aurum 3 for"those looking to get into DH riding for theleast amount of cash. At $4,200 the Scalp isn't well spec'd for the price,but the 2013 model will be less; $3,450 with a Domain fork and Kageshock. The Wilson SL is the more than two grand more expensive thanthe other bikes. While it is lighter, more adjustable and has brakes thatdidn't fade, the less expensive bikes performed well enough for us, andthat $2,000 would go a long way towards a season of travel, upgrades,and entry fees. This isn't a knock against the Devinci in general (thereare other Wilson models around the same price as the Norco andNukeproof), but rather a comment on the level of performance that evenmid-priced downhill bikes offer these days.52 DIRT RAG #167_11.15.12

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