WHISTLER, British Columbia (BRAIN)—Norco built its newest line of mountain bikes specifically for female riders, but don’t expect to see any pink decorating the bikes’ frames.
“We didn’t just want to pink it and shrink it,” said Norco factory team rider Darcy Turenne, who helped design Norco’s first release of women’s bikes, “so on the first run we don’t have any pink in our bikes. It’s still feminine and distinguishable but not over the top.”
The foremost bike in the women’s line is the freeride Vixa, which has 152 millimeters of rear travel and weighs around 35 pounds. Instead of merely tweaking some paint color and graphics to create the Vixa, Norco started with its popular Six platform of men’s freeride light bikes, steepened the seattube angle, shortened the top tube, shaved weight by using a lighter tubing and added a WTB’s Speed She saddle.
Norco highlighted the Vixa, as well as its women’s specific line of hardtail mountain bikes, at its 2009 product launch for media, dealers and distributors in Whistler, British Columbia last week.
“We’re pretty excited to have a 6-inch freedride bike in the line that was developed by women within Norco and on our team. We’re actually one of the only companies that sponsor a full-time freeride female so I think that kind of helped us get this going,” said Jim Jameson, senior product manager for Norco.
Dave Overgaard, director of Norco’s bike division, acknowledged the company was a bit late entering the women’s market, but said Norco wanted to take the time to come up with a credible platform, not just rush into the category by marketing a smaller men’s bike for female riders.
“I think it’s really evolved and established itself now as a solid category. For sure in our line, you’re going to see it evolve into other categories, the pavement side of things, the all mountain side of things and the XC side of things, so it’s kind of just the start for us,” Overgaard said.
For more on Norco’s complete line of 2009 of bikes, including its new 29er series, as well as how the company has adjusted to rising inflation and materials costs, be sure to read the August 15 issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News.