That might sound quite a bit like an aluminum version of Norco’s other mid-travel Trail bike, the Optic, but Norco is quick to dispel that notion. Norco’s take is that, while both bikes evolved from the prior-generation Fluid, the Optic is focused more on high-speed descending capability, and the new Fluid FS is meant to be a more well-rounded, versatile option. And they talk a lot about the Fluid as being approachable for less-experienced riders while making it clear that it’s not supposed to be just that:
“It can elevate beginner riders to intermediate. And carry intermediates to experts. It can take your weekend hobby and turn it into a lifestyle. While so many bikes are made for a specific something or somebody, what the world needs is a bike built For Every Rider and Every Trail. That’s the Norco Fluid.”
Bold claims, perhaps, but the ~130mm-travel category is home to a lot of super-versatile bikes that can do a whole lot of different sorts of riding reasonably comfortably, and the Fluid does look like well rounded, nicely thought-out one — to the point that it’s not hard to imagine working for a lot of people, from beginners to much more advanced riders.
Despite its clear goals to keep pricing in check, the Fluid FS has a pretty nice feature set, too. You get internal cable routing through the front triangle, molded rubber protection on the chainstays, and room for a water bottle inside the front triangle — plus an additional accessory mount under the top tube (which can be used for a second water bottle on the XXL). The bottom bracket shell is threaded, and while there aren’t any flip chips to adjust the geometry or anything like that, that’s a fair place to save a few bucks on a frame that Norco says offers “boutique-level fit and finish” while still being relatively affordable.
Tire clearance is stated at 2.6’’ for folks who want to bump up for some extra grip (stock tires are all in the 2.35’’ to 2.4’’ range) and apart from the top-spec Fluid FS A1 (which comes in a very cool metallic green), each model has two choices for frame color, one fairly muted and the other brighter.