High pivot point rear suspension designs make a lot of sense. But then again, so does affordable healthcare. It’s just not easy to pull off, and there are some scenarios that it will simply never work.
It does work in downhill racing. High pivot pints, I mean. Not affordable healthcare. High pivots mean rearward axle paths. Rearward axle paths mean the wheelbase increases as the suspension compresses, not decreases. That’s what you want. As the terrain is packing up your rear suspension, you want to be more planted and centered on the bike, not less. A rearward axle path also means the suspension allows the wheel to move in the direction of the impacts that are moving it, even when the brake is on. So, yeah. It makes a lot of sense.
But (there’s always a but after a paragraph like that) high pivot points demand high chain positioning. Without an idler aligning the driving section of the chain with the main pivot position, pedaling a high pivot point bike would be like riding a giant inchworm on wheels, which is not as fun as it sounds. And idlers tend to conjure images of late-nineties science experiments from Brooklyn Machine Works or Balfa.
But not anymore. We recently saw the Canfield Brothers Jedi and Commencal Supreme drop idler-driven high pivot point bikes. And just this morning, Norco joined the club with possibly the cleanest-looking high pivot point design since the concept was conceived. The Aurum is a 200-millimeter-travel carbon race machine that will likely bring high pivot designs into the mainstream.
But there’s more to the Aurum than where it puts its bolts and bearings. Like nearly all Norco bikes, it features size-specific chainstay lengths. The larger the size, the longer the rear-center. And the front-center has its own unique features. There’s an eccentric in the top and bottom headset cups that allows you to adjust the reach to suit your needs. It also has size-specific ride characteristics. On smaller sizes, the frame tubes are slightly smaller to keep the Aurum from feeling too stiff under lighter riders.
And this may be burying the lead, but it is also available in a 29-inch version in the Med/Lg and Lg/XL sizes. The Aurum is available with either an $8,000 or a $5,400 price tag.