Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Dec 8, 2014 – The Norco Threshold, may have been the most eagerly anticipated ‘cross bike of the season. It was due to a combination of the previous bike’s well-respected performance, the vibrant colors and the sneak peeks Norco trickled out prior to ‘cross season. It was the Threshold 105, the entry-level carbon bike that passed our UPS driver’s tailgate. Other than a lower modulus carbon recipe it comes from the exact same mold as its higher priced siblings and with its new Shimano 105 11speed group and nuclear-fallout green paint job it looks a lot more expensive than its $2115 price tag.
Norco’s goal was to not only create a ripping ‘cross bike, but give the bike the performance it needs for real adventure riding. It sees the new Threshold as an alternative to a hard tail MTB for a lot of riding. The two standouts, after your eyes adjust to the paint job, are the through-axles, 15mm up front and 142×12 in back, and the huge fork. It looks like a 2×4 bent over your front wheel, and it’s a beauty. The rest of the bike continues to place a premium on stiffness, with big tube shapes down low called the ‘Power Chassis’. It uses impact resistant resin so the Threshold is no carbon lightweight holding up its skirt at a river crossings. The higher modulus Threshold frames are under 1000grams, the 105 version is not as light and the entire bike hits 20.6pounds for a 58cm.
The Threshold is indeed a ripping ‘cross bike. Its super low bottom bracket and short front center conspire with the stout axles and frame to produce a bike that is nimble and precise, making quick work of an inside pass, then giving you the power transfer to make the pass stick on exit. All of that stiffness does mean the ARC seat stays, designed to dampen the ride, seem a bit overwhelmed. Not an issue on most ‘cross courses, but something to think about if you trend to the adventure side of things.
Admittedly the heavy Alex wheels and Hayes cable discs don’t shine, but some concessions had to be made to hit the price point. The 11speed Shimano 105 group was a bit of a let down as well. While Ultegra nips at Dura Ace’s heels, 105 lags far, far behind with a mushy, hesitant feel. We’d much rather see a SRAM Rival or CX1 build on the entry level Threshold. But that’s the beauty of the Threshold – potential. Get started for a tad over $2000 and you have a platform worthy of any upgrade, from Di2 to carbon wheels.
Price: $2115 More: norco.com