Norco Sasquatch — Bike Magazine Australia

Imagine Miley Cyrus walking through Myer, painted bright blue and wearing only enormous furry ugg boots; she’d have gotten only about half the attention we did whenever we took the Norco Sasquatch out into daylight.

The premise of a fat-tyred bike is simple; broad-footprint tyres at very low tyre pressures equals massive traction and flotation on soft surfaces. Where there’s snow, in particular, there will be a fat bike lurking nearby. It’s an idea that works equally as well on sand, too. 

Norco’s Sasquatch is based on a hydroformed aluminium hardtail frame and Rock Shox’s fattie-specific 120mm-travel Bluto fork. The simply massive 26-inch rims are, at 80mm, some 50mm wider than the most aggressive downhill rims on the market. The Vee Rubber Snowshoe tyres are rated at 4.5 inches wide, as versus a typical mountain bike tyre’s 2.1-inch width. The bottom bracket and both hubs are also significantly wider than normal, too. The balance of the bike’s spec is more straightforward: SRAM Guide hydraulic brakes, a Shimano SLX/XT 2 x 10-speed drivertrain, FSA cranks and wide riser handlebars.

With tyres at a disconcertingly low 6.8psi front and back, trundling the Sasquatch through rough and rocky terrain is a surreal experience. It’s the monster truck of the bicycle world; simply engage a low gear and pedal right over the top of anything in your path. 

Despite fears that it would quickly turn into a slovenly mess once up to speed, the Sasquatch rode… well, like a hardtail mountain bike with really big tyres. Its steering stability was decidedly odd, thanks to that huge patch of rubber squashing itself into the ground, but it proved to be surprisingly nimble in the dirt.

On the beach, though, is where the Sasquatch was born to rule. It simply could not be stopped. Clambering up onto rocky ledges and across tidal flats was nothing short of hysterical fun. With the rock-crawlingly low 22t small front chainring and the 11-36t rear cassette, you simply motored over anything in front of you. 

There are some caveats. Your roof-mounted bike rack is rendered useless, as is your garage storage rack. It’s awkward to move around in tight spots, too. The bespoke hub and bottom-bracket spacings make it an orphan in your bike shed when it comes to parts sharing, too.

That said, it has a clever mix of good quality parts built onto a robust, lightweight and good-looking frame. You could use it as a ‘regular’ mountain bike but that slow steering in tight singletrack and heavy overall weight would overcome the novelty pretty quickly. And those tyres ain’t cheap.

The fat bike is a very task-specific machine that excels at one thing, but pays for that talent with a lack of versatility. Besides, being the centre of that much attention can’t be good for you… – Tim Robson

Groupset:
Shimano SLX/XT 10-speed

Wheels:
Novatec/KT hubs, 80mm wide rims

Weight:
14.1kg

Price:
$2699