Cyclocross Magazine - Digital Edition

Cyclocross Magazine Issue 9 - Digital Version

Cyclocross Magazine - The Digital and Print Magazine Dedicated to Cyclo-cross and Veldrijden

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From left: Full rear derailleur cable housing from top tube; Massive mud clearance despite short chainstays; Close-up of housing stop; Bar tape, housing, bars, stem all match. coordinated to create a stunning race bike, with a white Ritchey cockpit (alloy bars) with red tape and a white WTB saddle with red scuff guards, which round out the attractive package. Although Ritchey does make a white seat post, I’m thankful Norco passed on that, as it’s a one-bolt post, not the best design to keep a saddle secure with cyclocross mounts. The CCX came shod with the fast rolling Kenda Small Block Eight tires—perfect for some of the dry, hard NorCal courses. You may want a more aggressive tread if you live in a wetter area, and if you’re so inclined, you can put some pretty fat rubber on the CCX and enter your local mountain bike race. The Ride My initial ride impressions on the CCX SL suggested that Norco has put together either a perfect or forgettable bike, depending on your perspective. Out on my local ’cross training grounds, the CCX offered up a stable ride, nimble-but-not- quick handling, and a comfort level that was neither harsh nor cushy. Neutral, in the varying conditions of ’cross, is not a bad thing. For cyclocross racers ready to upgrade their race bikes, the CCX could be the perfect choice, as there aren’t any strange quirks to get used to. Most racers, unless used to some funky geometry or an old whippy ALAN frame, should be able to hop on this bike and race. While I like to hit my familiar cyclocross training course to decipher a bike’s handling qualities, in the heat of racing, with different courses and conditions, I don’t typically pay much attention to the specific handling of a bike. On a good race bike, you don’t even notice these things during an event. What I do notice in a race is the acceleration, cornering, weight (which affects portage and acceleration) and mud clearance. This bike accelerates under power without noticeable flex and corners aggressively without fault. The frame and fork boast a lateral rigidity that makes the bike feel like an integrated unit in corners incredible value for not much more than two grand. In an increasingly crowded space of aluminum cyclocross bikes in that price range, the Norco CCX sets itself apart from the field with a tightly color-coordinated style, and during acceleration, again without undue harshness over bumpy terrain. That being said, it was definitely not the smoothest ride on a ’cross bike, but I generally liked the balance of ride qualities. Part of that rigidity can definitely be attributed to Norco’s carbon cyclocross fork, which was quite stout. As set up with the wide-profile TRP EuroX brakes, the fork was shudder free in all circumstances—an impressive accomplishment and something we’re just starting to see on OEM forks (the German Focus Mares Team, as reviewed in Issue 8, has another stout shudder-free OEM fork). NorCal eventually gets some sloppy conditions, but typically after most of our ’cross racing is over. But when the rain came, the CCX SL showed its British Columbia heritage. With its massive chainstay mud clearance, wide profile brakes, and sealed shift cable, the bike feasts on mud even if the Small Block 8 tires do not. Live in an area without much mud? Have no fear, as the bike’s mud- loving features won’t detract from your dust bowl escapades. The Verdict The Norco CCX SL is an impressive package. It’s eye-catching for sure, as the scandium alloy tube set and the white and red graphics and matching components add panache, but it’s not all just style—practicality is offered with bosses for two bottle cages, fenders and a rear rack. Combine all these features with the workhorse Ultegra group and great rear tire clearance and you’ve got a very race-worthy, versatile bike that’s an CYCLOCROSS MAGAZINE | ISSUE 9 The Specs: Model: Norco CCX SL Sizes: 50, 53, 56, 59 (tested), 61cm Frame: 700c Scandium cyclocross frame Fork: Aprebic ACC-A619N full carbon monocoque Headset: Ritchey Logic Zero Pro Handlebar: Ritchey WCS Logic II wet white Brake: TRP EuroX cantilevers Shifters: Shimano Ultegra ST-6600 Front derailleur: Shimano Ultegra FD-6600 Rear derailleur: Shimano Ultegra RD-6600-SS Cassette: Shimano 105 CS-5600 Chain: Shimano 105 CN-5600 Crankset: FSA Energy Compact 46/36T Bottom bracket: FSA MegaExo Wheelset: Mavic Ksyrium Equipe Black Tires: Kenda K1047 Small Block Eight Stem: Ritchey: WCS 4-Axis wet white Seatpost: Ritchey: WCS 1-bolt shiny black Saddle: WTB Silverado Team - custom white/red Pedals: none MSRP: $2195 Country of Origin: Vietnam Weight: 18.9 pounds (without pedals) More info: 7 5 a mud-friendly set up, a Canadian heritage and a made-in-Vietnam frame. Are those all good differentiators? Only you can decide. ⌂ Stoked • Mudders (who don’t mind swapping tires) • Dreamers of flashy yet practical bikes • White kit lovers (and frequent bike washers) Bummed • Double Tappers • Believers that scandium equals featherweight

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