Norco Tactic – Reviewed by a Victoria Wheeler
Duncan Bryson is one of the Victoria Wheelers’ young guns who is in his first dedicated road season. Duncan is a solid mountain biker who brings a big motor in a small package to the road. His goals this season include gaining enough upgrade points to race in the Elite cat1/2 field and support overall Wheeler dominance. He’s a great guy, a young talent, and we’re lucky to have him on the squad. Expect big things from Duncan in the future, he’s got it going on.
Here is what he has to say about the Norco Tactic SL:
This season I was lucky enough to be provided a Norco Tactic SL from Oak Bay Bikes to race and train on. Straight out of the box I was impressed with how sleek the bike looked. The Ultegra build pairs perfectly with the head turning stealth black and grey paint scheme. This is a bike that doesn’t need any obnoxious highlights to show off just how fast it is.
I decided to set up on a 55.5cm frame, which was the perfect size for me at 180cm tall. A slightly smaller frame gives improved aerodynamics and handling, but I was very impressed at how it still remained super comfortable with such an aggressive setup. The only modifications I made to the stock build, which came in at 7.76kg, were adding a 4iiii power meter and some zippy Easton aero 55 wheels. Adding deep carbon wheels took this bike from an already good looking build to a race machine that screams free speed. There was plenty of clearance in the direct mount Ultegra callipers to handle the wide rim profile of the Eastons along with a 24/26mm front/back tire combo.
In this golden age of bike technology there are so many options to choose from. With aero frames, climbing frames, gravel grinders, endurance geometries, fondo geometries and many more it can be tough to find the right fit. The Tactic is a fantastic blend of all of these needs. While the geometry is definitely geared towards racing, the Tactic can handle just about anything you throw at it. Off-road excursions onto bumpy dirt and gravel trails, or all out sprints up the dirt path up beacon hill or along the Vic high track, the Tactic handles it all without complaint. This is not a bike that will hold you back!
There’s a magic moment when you get out of the saddle on a bike and feel instantly connected to it. The pedals turn over smoothly and no effort seems too hard. It’s a rare feeling to get on most bikes, but Norco absolutely nailed the geometry on the Tactic. This bike flies both up and down. Getting out of the saddle for a climb, or into the drops for a sprint there are no second thoughts about putting the power down. Between the stiff frame and well chosen tube angles it feels like every last bit of power is going directly into the road.
While the Tactic is capable of handling just about anything, this is definitely first and foremost a racing bike. If you’re looking to drop bombs at group rides, crush some local races, or gain an edge on your friends then this is the bike for you! This bike is very comfortable for a race geometry, but if speed isn’t something you prioritize then there are slacker options. Eugene Hahn, Wheeler team member, posted an awesome review of the Norco Valence, which is a great option for riders looking for a slightly more forgiving geometry.
Overall the tactic is a very well engineered machine designed for a broad audience. While the stock wheels are pretty solid. A nice wheelset is all this bike needs to transform into a speed machine at a very attractive price. You’d be hard pressed to find a better performing bike at this price point!