Norco really kept us on our toes! Although the new Fluid VLT light eMTB was unveiled last year, there weren’t any rideable specimens to get hold of until now. However, finally we got our hands on one of the first test bikes, and the concept is promising: Bosch SX motor, mullet wheel setup and 140/130 mm of travel. But is the Norco worth its eye watering € 12,999 price tag (and the long wait)?

Norco Fluid VLT C1 130 | Bosch Performance Line SX/400 Wh | 140/130 mm (f/r)
18.1 kg in size S4 | € 12,999| Manufacturer’s website

Although Norco took some time to join the ebike game, when they did, they took on the competition with sporty-looking, high-performance bikes. This is partly due to the brand’s own history and philosophy. Norco is a very established core brand in the mountain biking segment, and is based in British Columbia, Canada – the mecca of mountain biking! The Canadian brand has a long tradition, and is deeply rooted in the local scene. Needless to say, their ebikes had to do justice to the brand’s heritage. The new Fluid VLT is Norco’s first light e-mountainbike and relies on a Bosch SX motor. By the way, all of the Canadian manufacturer’s ebikes bear the VLT suffix in their name, which stands for Volt. We tested the C1 130 flagship model, which combines a mullet wheel setup and 140/130 mm of travel, tipping the scales at just 18.1 kg. However, if you want to call Norco’s full carbon e-bruiser your new N+1, you’ll have to fork out a whopping € 12,999 for the privilege.

The Norco Fluid VLT in detail

The Fluid VLT relies on a Bosch SX motor and slim, simple frame. Unlike Norco’s analogue trail bruisers, the Optic and Sight, it forgoes complex suspension designs with eye-catching idler pulleys and other fancy features. The black carbon frame employs a sleek design language, ensuring a discreet, understated look. As the name suggests, the shapes flow between the analogue world and the electric dimension, with discreet branding underlining the overall classy look.

“What kind of bike is this?” That’s the sort of question people asked when we rolled up with the Norco. The branding is elegant and understated.
Ebike? Yes, but! On the drive side, the Bosch Performance Line SX motor is integrated seamlessly into the frame, while the down tube looks very slim, despite the permanently integrated battery.

On the down tube, mounting points for a bottle cage allow you to carry water or the optional 250 Wh Bosch PowerMore Range Extender. There’s also a tool mount on the top tube where you can secure a tool strap with all your trail essentials. A chunky TPU plate in the bottom bracket area protects the carbon frame against nasty impacts, while a beefy shuttle guard prevents chafing when you throw your bike on the back of a pickup truck – a must for a Canadian bike! A soft chainstay protector is meant to prevent chain slap and paint chips, but unfortunately it doesn’t stretch all the way to the front of the chainstay. We recommend adding a little mastic tape to protect the frame (and your ear drums!). The chain slap is accompanied by a loud rattling noise from the cables, which are routed internally and disappear into the frame through conventional cable ports on the head tube. While the cable ports might not prevent rattling, they ensure a clean look, and make it easier to service the bike than an internal headset routing system.

The small mudguard on the main pivot point prevents small rocks from getting jammed between the main frame triangle and the swingarm.
The chainstay protector doesn’t extend all the way over the front section of the chainstay, which results in loud chain slap. Norco need to improve this!
Contrary to the current trend, the cables disappear into the frame through conventional cable ports on the frame.
The cable-operated OneUp dropper post adds one more cable to the cockpit – but without it, you wouldn’t have a massive 210 mm dropper post.

The spec of the Norco Fluid VLT C1 130

The Norco Fluid VLT C1 130 comes equipped with a Bosch Performance Line SX drive. As long as the 400 Wh battery lasts, the motor packs quite a punch, delivering 60 Nm of torque and 600 W peak power, which is the same peak power as a full-fat Bosch CX drive – pretty impressive figures for a lightweight motor. However, the motor also requires more physical effort from the rider, as it only delivers its maximum power at a very high pedalling cadence. The small Bluetooth remote on the handlebars and Bosch System Controller in the top tube perfectly suit the bike’s sporty orientation while underlining the tidy look, with just three cables on the handlebars. The wireless SRAM XX Eagle Transmission drivetrain relies on a direct-mount rear derailleur and ensures butter-smooth shifting, even under load, proving a perfect match for the Norco. The SRAM Level Ultimate Stealth brakes, on the other hand, are a little too weak for a bike in this category, delivering poor deceleration on the trail and requiring strong fingers – and the small 180 mm rotors don’t make your life any easier.

The lightweight but rather big Bosch Performance Line SX motor delivers up to 600 W peak power, but only delivers its full power at high pedalling cadences.
The power of the motor is transmitted to the rear wheel via a SRAM XX Eagle AXS Transmission drivetrain with a direct-mount rear derailleur.

For the suspension of the Fluid VLT C1 130, Norco rely on RockShox, combining a Pike Ultimate fork and matching Deluxe Ultimate shock which generate 140/130 mm of travel, unlike the other Fluid VLT models, which combine 150/140 mm of travel. The fork offers countless adjustment options, while the inline shock offers only limited adjustability.

Less insertion depth for more travel: the 210 mm OneUp Dropper V3 dropper ensures plenty of freedom of movement on the bike.
The SRAM Level Ultimate brakes and small 180 mm rotors don’t do justice to the bike’s character and intended use, quickly leading to fatigue and arm pump.

The OneUp Dropper V3 dropper post offers a whopping 210 mm of travel and can be inserted all the way into the frame from frame size 4 upwards, ensuring plenty of freedom of movement downhill – it’s really worth putting up with the additional cable in the cockpit. OneUp Components also supply the 800 mm handlebars, which have plenty of built-in compliance to ensure a high level of comfort. To keep the weight of the flagship model in check, Norco chose a Crankbrothers Synthesis Carbon Enduro wheelset, which allows for a total system weight of 18.1 kg in frame size 4. The wheels are paired with a rather rare Continental tire combo, with a 2.4” Kryptotal at the front and 2.4” Xynotal at the rear, both in Conti’s trail version, with the hard endurance rubber compound and thin trail casing. While this combination is perfectly suitable for the bike’s orientation and travel category, tires with softer rubber compound and more robust casing would ensure better trail performance, especially in wet conditions. The lightweight carbon components might help reduce weight, but they also push up the price to a hefty € 12,999.

Not exactly Kryptonite: the Continental Kryptotal front tire.

Norco Fluid VLT C1 130

€ 12,999

Specifications

Motor Bosch Performance Line SX 55 Nm
Battery Bosch CompactTube 400 Wh
Display Bosch System Controller
Fork RockShox Pike Ultimate 140 mm
Rear Shock RockShox Deluxe Ultimate 130 mm
Seatpost OneUp Dropper V3 210 mm
Brakes SRAM Level Ultimate Stealth 180/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM XX AXS Eagle Transmission 1x12
Stem Norco SL 40 mm
Handlebar One Up Carbon 800 mm
Wheelset Crankbrothers Synthesis Carbon Enduro 29"/27,5"
Tires Continental Kryptotal FR Trail/ Continental Xynotal Trail 2,4"/2,4"

Technical Data

Size S1 S2 S3 S4 S5
Weight 18,1 kg
Perm. total weight 138 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 119 kg
Trailer approval no
Kickstand mount no

Specific Features

Tool Mount

Different spec variants of the Norco Fluid VLT

The Norco Fluid VLT is available in the three variants; C1, C2 and C3, all of which generate 140 mm of travel, except for our C1 130 test bike, which has 10 mm less travel both at the front and rear. The entry-level C3 140 model retails at € 6,499, while the mid-range C2 140 variant costs € 7,999. The biggest difference between these two models is the frame material: while the C3 combines a carbon frame and alloy swingarm, the more expensive C2 model relies on a full carbon frame. Weight is 20.3 kg for the C3, 19.9 kg for the C2 and 19.3 kg for the C1 140.

Norco Fluid VLT C1 140 | Bosch Performance Line SX/400 Wh | 150/140 mm (f/r)
19.3 kg (Manufacturer’s specifications) | € 10,499 | Manufaturer’s website

If you’re not too fussed about weight and you’re looking for more downhill performance – at least in terms of spec – then the € 10,499 Norco Fluid VLT C1 140 might be your best option. It comes equipped with FOX suspension consisting of a 150 mm 36 Performance Elite fork and matching 140 mm Float X2 shock, both of which offer countless adjustment options. The shock relies on a piggyback reservoir and is aimed at sporty riders looking for consistent rear suspension performance to tackle long descents. Unlike our test bike, the C1 140 features powerful SRAM CODE brakes with 200 mm rotors, and is therefore our top tip for sporty, downhill-oriented riders.

Norco F Fluid VLT C2 140 | Bosch Performance Line SX/400 Wh | 150/140 mm (f/r)
19.9 kg (Manufacturer’s specifications) | € 7,999 | Manufacturer’s website

The C2 140 model retails at € 7,999 and relies on a mixed suspension setup, with a RockShox Lyrik fork and FOX Float X2 Performance Elite shock. Particularly striking is the electronic SRAM GX Transmission drivetrain, which delivers butter-smooth gear shifts even under load.

Norco Fluid VLT C3 140 | Bosch Performance Line SX/400 Wh | 150/140 mm (f/r)
20.3 kg (Manufacturer’s specifications) | € 6,499 | Manufacturer’s website

The entry-level C3 140 model retails at € 6,499 and employs more basic RockShox suspension with limited adjustment options, and an affordable Shimano DEORE drivetrain. Braking is taken care of by TRP brakes, which are a rare sight on off-the-shelf builds.

Norco’s Ride Aligned concept

Norco came up with a clever feature for all MTB newbies and those who hate setting up their bikes! It’s the Ride Aligned setup guide, which makes it easier to choose the right frame size and helps you with the initial setup, whether it’s the suspension, tires or saddle height. As a result, the maiden voyage with your new Norco won’t be a wild experience dictated by a guessing game of pressures and settings. All you have to do is select your bike from the homepage and punch in a bunch of basic information, such as your body measurements, riding style and preferred riding position. What comes out on the other side are countless (and very accurate!) setup recommendations. We followed those religiously and couldn’t be happier – the settings suited our needs almost perfectly!

The geometry of the Norco Fluid VLT C1 140

The Norco Fluid VLT is available in 5 frame sizes, offering a suitable option for riders between 155 and 195 cm tall. Our C1 130 test bike in size 4 combines a 65° head angle and 77.75° seat tube angle, which are both half a degree steeper than on the Fluid VLT models with 140 mm of rear travel. From frame sizes 2 to 5, the chainstays grow with the frame size in 4 mm intervals, from 432 mm to 444 mm, which is meant to ensure consistent handling across all sizes. Overall, the Fluid VLT is on the long side for a bike with 140/130 mm of travel.

 

Size 1 2 3 4 5
Top tube 568 mm 592 mm 617 mm 641 mm 665 mm
Seat tube 385 mm 395 mm 415 mm 445 mm 475 mm
Head tube 100 mm 110 mm 120 mm 130 mm 140 mm
Head angle 65° 65° 65° 65° 65°
Seat angle 76.5° 76.8° 77° 77.3° 77.5°
Chainstay 432 mm 432 mm 436 mm 440 mm 444 mm
BB Drop 31.5 mm 31.5 mm 31.5 mm 31.5 mm 31.5 mm
Wheelbase 1,177 mm 1,206 mm 1,239 mm 1,273 mm 1,306mm
Reach 427 mm 452 mm 477 mm 502 mm 527 mm
Stack 607 mm 616 mm 625 mm 634 mm 643 mm

The Norco Fluid VLT on the trail

At first glance, the Norco Fluid VLT looks extremely long. With its 1273 mm wheelbase, it would have been the 4th longest bike in the latest trail bike group test of our sister magazine ENDURO, which included 15 of the hottest trail bikes of the season. However, as soon as you swing your leg over the saddle and fully extend the 210 mm dropper post, the bike doesn’t feel as long as it looks. The steep seat tube places you comfortably close to the handlebars, ensuring a well-balanced, roomy pedalling position, which is both upright and relaxed, and comfortable enough for long days in the saddle. Talking of long rides, the frame features a bottle cage for big 750 ml bottles, as well as a tool mount under the top tube for a spare inner tube, CO2 canister and tire levers. While on steep, technical uphills, the Bosch Performance Line SX motor requires high pedalling cadences, it pushes hard for a light motor. It’s so powerful, in fact, that you’ll have to actively weight the front wheel to keep it tracking.
 

When gravity takes over, the Norco integrates you nicely between its wheels, with the weight evenly distributed between the front and rear. Together with the long wheelbase, this inspires huge amounts of confidence, encouraging you to open the taps and hit the roughest lines. But beware: here the short-travel suspension quickly reaches its limits and puts an end to the rowdy fun. This is a real shame, because you can clearly feel how the bike wants more! If you hang out on demanding trails, we recommend taking a closer look at the version with 150/140 mm of travel, which strikes a better balance between composure and reserves.

Helmet Giro Tyrant MIPS | Glasses Sweet Protection Memento | Backpack Camelbak Chase | Jersey Picture Osborn Printed SS | Shoes Crankbrothers Mallet E Speedlace | Socks STANCE

During this test, we came to the conclusion that it’s easier with the Fluid VLT C1 130 to pop off natural kickers and gap rougher trail sections, rather than just close your eyes and plough through them – the poppy suspension and low system weight really help with this. Whether you want to collect air miles or simply avoid obstacles, the Norco Fluid VLT C1 loves taking off into the air. If you smell something burning, it’s not the forest catching fire, but the SRAM Level Ultimate brakes and small 180 mm rotors, which require strong fingers and tend to overheat quickly, delivering inconsistent braking performance and an inconsistent bite point. However, on flowing singletracks they’re still fine, while the progressive suspension makes it easy to generate speed by pumping through rollers and berms. In open corners, you’ll have to actively shift your weight over the front wheel to generate traction – and if you upgrade to a front tire with soft rubber compound this will be a lot easier.

Who should take a closer look at the Norco Fluid VLT?

The Norco Fluid VLT C1 is a very decent trail eMTB. However, its confidence-inspiring character encourages you to hit trails which are gnarlier than the suspension can handle. As a result, it’s more suitable for experienced riders who are looking for a fast bike, and also have the skills to avoid more daunting features – whether by gapping them or shralping around them. The spec doesn’t quite do justice to the bike’s character and intended use, slowing down the otherwise super-fast Norco.

Our conclusion about the new Orbea Rise 2025

The Norco Fluid VLT C1 130 is a no-bullshit trail eMTB with a low system weight and good-natured handling. It encourages you to push harder than the suspension travel suggests, but it soon reaches its limits if you get carried away. With the expensive variant we tested, the eye-watering € 12,999 price only gets you a lighter bike, so if you want more bike, we recommend picking the Norco Fluid C1 140, which has more travel and a more downhill-orientated spec but also weighs a smidge more.

Tops

  • Balanced riding behaviour
  • Very composed for its travel class
  • Ride Aligned setup guide offers excellent recommendations for the initial setup

Flops

  • Spec doesn’t do justice to the bike’s character and intended use
  • Undersized braking system

For more info, visit norco.com


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Words: Julian Schwede Photos: Peter Walker