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Norco Bush Pilot

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Norco Bush Pilot

Old 09-29-22, 10:34 AM
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Norco Bush Pilot

Purchased from a local listing on Kijiji this Norco Bush Pilot is in decent condition and believed to be a 1989 model. The unique stem, undermount rear brake and uni-crown rear stays make it sort of iconic of the period. Most of the paint is still good but there is no saving the "Golden Boy" cracked tires. It should provide $60CAD of fun over the winter. Frame size is large 21" making it more appealing to me. I currently don't have a MTB in the fleet and I may even consider another drop bar conversion. The Chainring is SR Sakae Oval-tech.







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Old 09-29-22, 10:38 AM
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The alloy rims are in good condition and made by Araya. For sure that cockpit configuration will have to change!

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Old 09-29-22, 07:22 PM
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Best bike name ever.

If you squint your eyes, it looks like a DeHavilland Beaver.
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Old 09-29-22, 09:29 PM
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Originally Posted by browngw View Post
The alloy rims are in good condition and made by Araya. For sure that cockpit configuration will have to change!
I've got 1 or 2 white higher-rise Norco stems, same era if you go that way.
Love those dimpled Araya rims. Solid vintage gear, maybe the best of that period.

Last edited by clubman; 09-29-22 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 09-30-22, 09:53 AM
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Awwww- shucks

i was hoping it was going to be a takedown bicycle when i saw the name

That stepped seat tube lug made me look twice too
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Old 09-30-22, 10:12 AM
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Originally Posted by jonwvara View Post
Best bike name ever.

If you squint your eyes, it looks like a DeHavilland Beaver.
Ha! I love it, too.

We were up in the Yukon doing field work, and some hot shot pilot flew into camp doing some dumb, unsafe tricks. The old salt of the camp manager said disparagingly, "He calls himself a bush pilot!" One of our crew shot back, "Maybe it's a sex thing?" They both laughed. I still remember that.
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Old 09-30-22, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by browngw View Post
The alloy rims are in good condition and made by Araya. For sure that cockpit configuration will have to change!
Agreed - I think you need a longer stem!
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Old 09-30-22, 12:36 PM
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I was just looking at a bike on Kijiji with that rear brake and wondered how it functions, thanks for the pics!
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Old 09-30-22, 12:50 PM
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1989 is correct or maybe one year off. It's definitely not 1990, as while that year's Bush Pilot retained the chain stay mounted U-brake and same graphics, it rec'd the new 200GS group. It's definitely not as old as 1987, as that year used different graphics and had rear brakes. So, it's 1988 or 1989 and I'd be leaning to the latter.
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Old 09-30-22, 01:13 PM
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Originally Posted by .Slideways. View Post
I was just looking at a bike on Kijiji with that rear brake and wondered how it functions, thanks for the pics!
They're basically just a heavy duty, stud mounted, centre-pull brake. You can mount them in the normal position on seat stays but they were orignally conceived for mounting under the chainstays, as on the subject bicycle. The concept was to increase braking power by mounting them in a stiffer region of the frame where the tubes wouldn't bow and twist as much in reaction to the braking forces. They worked better than cantilever brakes of the era when they were kept clean but they would get caked in dirt, mud, grime, snow and ice, which decreased braking power. The tight confines also made them harder to maintain. Top that off with their weight penalty and they had a relatively short lived period of popularity. Frame designers found that they could beef up the seat stays and get comparable performance out of cantilevers, without the weight, maintenance and cleanliness issues.


I'm pretty familar with the 1000 Islands area. A friend has a cottage on Tar Island and I've visited it often. Nice region.

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Old 09-30-22, 01:55 PM
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The thing that stands out for me is the claw type rear derailleur on a bike that otherwise looks to be decent quality
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Old 09-30-22, 02:10 PM
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Originally Posted by clubman View Post
I've got 1 or 2 white higher-rise Norco stems, same era if you go that way.
Love those dimpled Araya rims. Solid vintage gear, maybe the best of that period.
Thanks for the offer clubman , I may go that way. I'll let you know. If you look closely, it is already extended full height and I don't have any white ones.
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Old 09-30-22, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by alcjphil View Post
The thing that stands out for me is the claw type rear derailleur on a bike that otherwise looks to be decent quality
I see lots of other cost concessions. The rear axle is nutted. The chainrings are steel. The brakes are Chang-Star clones of obsolete Dia-Compe. Resin pedals. Six speed freewheel at a time when 7 speeds and cassettes were just staring to trickle down into entry level. Also, the frameset is hi-tensile steel. It's pretty typical for an entry level ATB of its era.
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Old 09-30-22, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
I see lots of other cost concessions. The rear axle is nutted. The chainrings are steel. The brakes are Chang-Star clones of obsolete Dia-Compe. Resin pedals. Six speed freewheel at a time when 7 speeds and cassettes were just staring to trickle down into entry level. Also, the frameset is hi-tensile steel. It's pretty typical for an entry level ATB of its era.
That weird seat tube lug is also some sort of cost saving measure.
The low end steel chainrings are also soft steel and are much different than the high-quality steel track chainrings.
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Old 09-30-22, 04:32 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
I'm pretty familar with the 1000 Islands area. A friend has a cottage on Tar Island and I've visited it often. Nice region.
Oh wow, thatís just up the road. Feel pretty lucky to have moved here. 30+km bike trail and kayaking right in front of the house.

Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Six speed freewheel at a time when 7 speeds and cassettes were just staring to trickle down into entry level.
I just picked up a ladies Mountaineer SL (late 80ís-early 90ís) that surprisingly has a 13-30t 7 speed cassette.
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Old 09-30-22, 04:35 PM
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Originally Posted by browngw View Post
Thanks for the offer clubman , I may go that way. I'll let you know. If you look closely, it is already extended full height and I don't have any white ones.
If you go that route, here's what I have. Both have ~115 reach. the 2nd is two bolt clamp. Looks like about 20 and 45 degrees respectively. Both have some rust, the steep 45 has more. Yours for shipping. Or straight trade...I like long stems


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Old 10-01-22, 10:13 AM
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Originally Posted by .Slideways. View Post
Oh wow, that’s just up the road. Feel pretty lucky to have moved here. 30+km bike trail and kayaking right in front of the house.

I just picked up a ladies Mountaineer SL (late 80’s-early 90’s) that surprisingly has a 13-30t 7 speed cassette.
I've ridden that bicycle path several times, though the last time was probably over a decade ago. It would have been better served to put it on the south side of the road, adjacent to the river. As it is, most of it is in the roadside gulley on the opposite of the road. Consequently, you can't see the river scenery for much of its length, it gets covered with debris after heavy rains and every driveway crossing is littered with gravel. I've even come across people parking their cars on it. However, my understanding is the primary purpose was to protect Bell's fibre optic cables, which are laid unbderneath it. Bell reportedly paid for the paving, so it's hard to look a gift horse in the mouth, but as a dedicated bicycle path, it leaves a lot to be desired.

I'm down to Tar Island at least twice a year, to help my friend open and close his cottage. In which section are you located? Brown's Bay , Mallorytown Landing, Rockport, Ivy Lea or Gannanoque? The friend has a mooring at one of the marinas in Rockport and we take his boat downriver, to his cottage. He used to have a mooring further downriver, almost directly across from his cottage. Some years, the water level was so low that we could have probably walked across channel between his old mooring and the cottage.

The Mountain SL was below the Bush Pilot, so if the OP's bicycle is a 1989 model and uses a 6 speed freewheel, the 7 speed freewheel on your bicycle should place it into the 1990s. If you're interested in determining the exact year, we may be able to determine it from the serial number and some photos. Ignore the forum warnings about requiring 10 posts before posting photos. The photos will upload to a gallery album under you user name, where forums members can view them.
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