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2013 Norco Aurum 1 Dorado

Testing Norco's Sleek DH Racer

Words by Morgan Taylor. Photos by Morgan Taylor.
March 25th, 2013

Norco did it right for the 2012 model year when they introduced a DH bike that both looked fast and went fast by modern standards. For 2013 the platform sees minor revisions and an updated spec range. Pricing structure has been updated, expanding the available models to five options from a previous three, with the Aurum 1 coming in either a Boxxer / DHX RC2 or Dorado / Double Barrel as seen on our test bike.

As soon as I jumped on the 2013 Norco Aurum 1 Dorado, the reason for this bike’s popularity was evident; generous top tubes and solid out-of-box spec make for confidence-inspiring gravity sled. Connor Macleod did a great job of covering the Aurum’s heritage in his initial overview last year and wrapped up its riding characteristics in the long term review – both with photos from Derek Dix. Using those articles as a backbone, this one can stay short and sweet.

Through the photo set below I will detail the Aurum’s changes for the 2013 model year and give my thoughts on a few months with the low slung racer. Click in to the first photo to enlarge and advance through using the arrow keys…

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The 2013 Norco Aurum 1 Dorado. The Aurum’s geometry numbers are as follows: 25″ top tube on the Large frame lines up with a lot of other companies’ XL size, but surprisingly the bike doesn’t feel too big. At 6 feet even, I am running the stem all the way forward in the 55mm setting with a 780mm bar. Low, slack, and fast like the graphics indicate. Riding photo by Jason Lucas.

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The Aurum 1 model has two suspension spec options, with four different damper manufacturers represented. Our tester is the Manitou Dorado / Cane Creek Double Barrel spec, while the other Aurum 1 option is a RockShox Boxxer / Fox DHX RC2. The Dorado is extremely loud in the colour department, but they’re just stickers if you’re put off by the graphics.

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Last year the Double Barrel was only available on the top-spec LE model. It’s nice to see Cane Creek’s trusted coil trickle down to the Aurum 1.

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The Aurum 1 is spec’d with Manitou’s Dorado Expert which, while 125 grams heavier than the Dorado Pro, shares its air spring and TPC+ compression damper. With a good damper and adjustable spring, the Dorado can be dialed in to almost any rider’s preference.

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No complaints in the slowing down department with Super Tacky Minions and Saint stoppers.

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The Saint M820 clutch derailleur. Making the quiet even quieter.

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i-Spec mount for the Saint shifter makes for a clean bar setup. Nice integration.

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Cockpit adjustment via a a 45-50-55 adjustable Easton stem, a reasonable length bar, and a whole pile of stem spacers on top of the Aurum’s tiny head tube.

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Ergon grips will make the stock 800mm Easton bar feel more like a 785. I’ve already got a 785mm bar and regular grips on the bike, but the big Havoc is definitely better than last year’s 760mm bar.

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The Aurum’s integrated seat clamp is nice and clean, but it’s a bit of a pain to reinstall your seat when you take your post all the way out.

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In 2013 the Aurum sees two new models being added spec-wise, and graphics updates that make the bikes look even faster. Last year the fade paint was only on the Aurum LE, this year we see it on all bikes except the Aurum 2 and the Dirt Team frameset, which are both black.

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Low, slack, and long, the Aurum received good review through its first season and continues to be a choice for DH racers. The race-ready Aurum 1 comes in at a touch over $5700 CAD in either suspension spec.

On the whole the Aurum 1 package has increased in price by a few hundred dollars, but its value for spec has also improved with upgrades to the brakes, drivetrain, and cockpit, refinements to the frame, and a wider range of spec choice.

This year we’ve taken on the 2013 Aurum 1 as a long term test platform. With a trustworthy and reliable start, we will see this bike cycle through a number of changes in the coming months.


Does the new Aurum look like your kind of gravity machine? What are your thoughts on the two suspension spec options on the Aurum 1 model? Weigh in below…

  • hampstead_bandit

    good review, bike looks solid, I got play with the 2012 and found it very competent

    really like whatever tech you used to make this happen:

    “Click in to the first photo to enlarge and advance through using the arrow keys…”

  • satn

    I saw a 650b prototype the other day. Great bike. Good bang for the $$$