The rider’s ride

Norco Va­lence SL 2016, £1,600, evan­scy­

Cyclist - - The Big Ride France -

This in­car­na­tion of Norco’s top-flight en­durance bike is now sadly dis­con­tin­ued, usurped by the unstoppable stop­ping power of disc brakes. While I can’t tell you what the new disc brake Va­lence is like, if it shares any­thing with this Va­lence SL rim ver­sion, Norco is on to a win­ner. Be­cause here I found a very rea­son­ably priced bi­cy­cle in­deed, in full Shi­mano Ul­te­gra spec with Eas­ton’s ex­cel­lent EA90 SLX tube­less-ready wheelset, qual­ity Con­ti­nen­tal rub­ber and even a branded sad­dle in the form of a Fizik Antares.

The head an­gle is rel­a­tively slack and the head tube rel­a­tively high to satisfy the ‘en­durance’ moniker, but thanks to a com­pact frame rem­i­nis­cent of Mike Bur­rows’ pi­o­neer­ing geom­e­try for Gi­ant, the Va­lence felt stiff (shorter tubes make stiffer frames) and highly flick­able through the cor­ners. With plenty of seat­post on show the Va­lence is springy enough in the rear to be com­fort­able, but if I had to be picky I’d change out the al­loy bars for some­thing more com­pli­ant.

Its sil­hou­ette is very pro­nounced and won’t be for ev­ery­one, and the lack of a pres­tige mar­que might put some peo­ple off. Others, though, will re­joice in such a good bike at a great price.

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