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Old 07-24-06, 04:19 PM   #1
Hutch12
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Upgrading Suspension for Freeriding N Fluid3??

I have recently taken up the art of mountain biking after several years of hiatus, and unfortunately when I was purchasing my bike I was unaware of the advances that have arisen in the sport itself. Comming originally from a hardtail XC bike, i decided to purchase a 04 Norco Fluid 3, thinking that an all mountain approach would be my best bet to cover all aspects of my ride. After riding for about 1 month i realized that the bike that I just bought is very undersized in terms of suspension. There is very little XCing going on, everything is either Freeride or DH. The current set up is as follows:

Norco Fluid 3
Rear: Fox Vanilla R
Front: EXR Pro

I believe that this set up gives me about 4" and 4", and I was hoping that I would be able to get away with something much greater maybe 7"??? But, I dont know the first thing about changing the suspension on a bike let alone wheither or not this bike has the capability to handle any more than it already has. If someone could please help educate me on the do's and donts of this It would be much appreciated.

Cheers
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Old 07-24-06, 09:02 PM   #2
rasheed
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i've got a 2003 norco fluid 3, which is essentially the same bike but a with slightly different parts spec.

being that the bike is a vps (variable point suspension), the rear travel is adjustable from 4.5" to 5.1". you do this by moving the shock bolt from hole B on the linkage plates to the hole A (you can find some good detailed diagrams in the norco tech manual here; the fluids in the manual are the 2005 models with different frames than the frames on our fluids, but the linkage is pretty much the same deal).

it's possible to increase the bike's travel more than this (currently i've got 5"x5" on my fluid), but there are obvious limits to how much you can increase it. for example, one of the guys i ride with has a 2002 norco fluid. he's got a marzocchi z150 up front and he's running his rear at the 4" setting (needless to say his bike is raked out quite a bit). his bike's frame is also a lot stronger than the frame on mine or yours, so he can get away with the 6" fork up front. me, i opted to limit my travel increase up front to 5". i didn't want to risk damaging the headtube by going any more than that.

with your rear travel, like i said, you can increase the 4" to 5" by moving the shock bolt to the other hole on the linkage plate. if you want to increase the rear travel more than this, you're either going to have to get a new shock with a longer stroke and i2i length, modify your linkage plates, or both. keep in mind that making any of these changes (including the ones the bike was designed for i.e., moving the shock bolt from hole B to hole A) will change the bike's geometry somewhat and change its handling and feel. some of the changes will also definitely void any warranty on the bike's frame as well (specifically modifying your linkage plates).

if you check mtbr.com's review of the 2003 fluid 3, you'll find some guy named peter's review. he made a modification to his fluid's linkage plates that increased his travel to somewhere over 6". i wouldn't suggest doing more than what he did to his bike as it wasn't made for extreme freeride or dh. what it is is a good all-arounder. really, increasing the travel to 5x5 is good enough if you ask me. if you want more travel than that to start riding more extreme freeride and dh, i'd suggest getting a bike more suited to that, like a norco shore or another similar bike by other manufacturers. just my two cents ...

hope this helped somewhat.

peace.

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Old 07-24-06, 09:36 PM   #3
Hutch12
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Thanks for the helpfull reply

Just a couple of more things that will help paint the picture for me. When you mentioned that it is possible to modify the linkage plate, essentially are you talking about drilling new holes in the existing plate to fit the correct sized shock, or does norco offer a modified linkage plate for increased suspension. Also, you mentioned 'raking', I am unfamiliar with this term. I am assuming it is just an oversized front suspension for the frame thus causing the back end to sag a bit, but I am not too sure. One last thing, is it possible to place a larger front fork on the fluid 3 say a 7" while maintaining the 'hole B' 5.1" rear shock or will that completely mess up the geometry of the bike. I am aware of the 2" differential between the front and rear, but do you think firstly that the fluid could handle such an adjustment, and secondly do you think that it would negatively influence freeriding. I have seen fluids around with large tripple crowns on the front and want to know what they did in order to maintain functionality.

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Old 07-24-06, 09:54 PM   #4
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I sure wouldn't recommend having anything more than 130 mm of travel in front. I'd have to tell you to obey the 20 mm rule on this one. 7 inches will mess up the geometry of the bike, making it handle really weird, and will eventually cause the frame to crack and fail.

Although, you could probably buy a new FS frame with more travel, and swap the drivetrain and other misc parts over to save some money.






Or go rigid.
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Old 07-26-06, 06:58 PM   #5
rasheed
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hutch12
Thanks for the helpfull reply

Just a couple of more things that will help paint the picture for me. When you mentioned that it is possible to modify the linkage plate, essentially are you talking about drilling new holes in the existing plate to fit the correct sized shock, or does norco offer a modified linkage plate for increased suspension. Also, you mentioned 'raking', I am unfamiliar with this term. I am assuming it is just an oversized front suspension for the frame thus causing the back end to sag a bit, but I am not too sure. One last thing, is it possible to place a larger front fork on the fluid 3 say a 7" while maintaining the 'hole B' 5.1" rear shock or will that completely mess up the geometry of the bike. I am aware of the 2" differential between the front and rear, but do you think firstly that the fluid could handle such an adjustment, and secondly do you think that it would negatively influence freeriding. I have seen fluids around with large tripple crowns on the front and want to know what they did in order to maintain functionality.

Cheers
no problem.

first, about the linkage plates: yes, that's what i meant by modifying the linkage plates. by drilling another hole closer to the middle of the plates, you'll be increasing the bike's rear wheel travel. you'll also be changing the shock's leverage ratio (i don't know too much about this stuff, maybe someone else can explain) and raising the bike's bottom bracket height, which you may or may not want to do.

secondly, the term raked out refers an exaggerated headtube angle. the more raked out your bike is, the more of a chopper look your bike is going to have. slack is another term used to refer to the headtube angle, contrary to steep. with 4"x4" or 5"x5" the fluid's headtube angle is already a bit slack at 68 (this with you off the bike as well). having the rear travel more than the front will steepen the headangle, and having the front more than the rear will slacken it.

as for having the larger fork up front, i don't think the fluid was designed to have more than 5" up front and 6" would be stretching it. the only way to know for sure though would be to contact norco themselves and ask. i'm pretty sure that putting a double crown (or triple clamp) fork up front will void the frame's warranty, as the 2003 and later fluids weren't designed to be rugged freeride bikes. the 2002 fluid however (the all white frame with orange decals) was made to be a freeride bike and is able to handle having a double crown up front, which is probably the model fluid you've seen sporting the double crowns.

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