2024 Norco Fluid VLT C1 130 E-Bike

Vital Rating:
Where To Buy
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
King of the SL e-MTB Hill? Norco Fluid VLT Review
You may forget it has a motor and battery.
Vital Review

Light-weight e-bikes are here to stay, and with all the offerings from nearly every major brand, it's safe to say, like it or not, that the future of mountain bike riding for a majority of the population will involve a battery and a motor. If that's something you despise, move along. If you're down to embrace the power of electricity in a trail-riding application, then Norco's 2024 Fluid VLT lineup should pique your interest.

Norco Fluid VLT Highlights 

  • Full carbon frame or carbon front triangle, aluminum rear
  • 130mm rear wheel travel // 140mm fork (C1 130 bike (tested)), 140mm rear wheel travel // 150mm fork (C1, C2, C3 140 bikes)
  • RideAligned tuned Horst Link suspension design
  • Mixed-wheel configuration only
  • Bosch Performance Line SX motor, 55 Nm of torque, 600w peak power
  • 400 Wh battery (not removable).
  • 250wh PowerMore range extender available from Bosch for approximately $500. 3.8 pounds.
  • Bosch Smart System wireless remote and system controller interface
  • Five sizes (S1 - S5) for riders from 5'1" to 6'5" (152 to 182cm)
  • Size-specific chainstay lengths and seat tube angles
  • Five build kits
  • Verified weight (size S3 C1 130, WITH Burgtec flat pedals): 39.6 lbs (17.97 kg)
  • MSRP $5,999 - $11,499 USD ($11,499 as tested, C1 130)

Vital is quite familiar with the Norco Fluid line of trail bikes as they've been tester favorites over the years. They're simple bikes at good prices with solid geometry and well-performing suspension. What else does a mountain biker really need? As e-MTBs developed over the last half a decade, Norco's VLT models were present and powerful but generally bulky, industrial affairs. They were capable, yet reflected an average e-bike progression, not being terribly cutting-edge. Then in June of last year, Norco announced their leap into the SL e-MTB pool with the refined and updated Fluid VLT; a svelte, carbon, far-cry from their previous Fluid VLT offerings.

That Whole Sub-40-Pound Thing and Initial Impressions

Hitting the sub-40-pound label seems to be the goal of any SL e-bike maker, and in their press release, Norco claimed to have hit the mark by just a tenth-of-a-pound with their C1 130 build. More than fair, the comments were quick to point out that only one of the Fluid VLT models was under 40 pounds. The build on the C1 appeared to prioritize weight over performance with 180mm SRAM Centerline X rotors grabbed by SRAM Level Ultimate brakes, too. At least the tire spec wasn't semi-slick with paper casings.


Other riders were disappointed the bike didn't have an idler like their recently updated Norco Optic and Sight. We didn't care that the suspension layout was still a 4-bar, and we were hyped to try out the new, lightweight Bosch SX system. Those brakes, however, had us suspicious and even skeptical of Norco's motives, just like the commenters. After a few months of riding the bike in foothills and higher-elevation trail terrain, we're no longer skeptical (even if we'd opt for more powerful brakes or at least a 200mm front rotor). Oh, and the actual weight of our size S3 bike was even less than what Norco claimed; 39.6 pounds WITH Burgtec Penthouse Flat MK4 pedals.


Now that we're done talking brakes, the rest of the spec is top-of-the-line trail componentry with SRAM XX Transmission drivetrain, RockShox Pike Ultimate fork (140mm) and Deluxe Ultimate trunnion shock (130mm rear travel), carbon Crank Brothers Synthesis Enduro wheelset, OneUp carbon bars, Oneup travel-adjust Dropper, 2.4-inch Continental Kryptotal and Xynotal trail tires. We'll just put it out there now, the Fizik Ridon saddle can be GetRidOf.

Geometry, Sizing, Norco's RideAligned Bike Setup

As mentioned, we're familiar with many-a-Norco and the new Fluid VLT's sizing and setup fall right into place with their efforts to make life easy on MTBers. Norco's RideAligned bike setup program is intuitive, asks the right questions and will put a rider at a fantastic starting point for tuning suspension, airing up tires and trimming the bars. Previously, we've questioned Norco's recommended sizing as they tend to point riders in the direction of longer bikes than they may be used to. Our tester at 5'9" is, according to Norco, in the sweet spot of their S3 (like a large) that has a 477mm reach. That's 16mm longer than his daily driver, but the size S2 only has a 452mm reach. Discussing this with Norco's development team, they quickly pointed out that a bike size is more than just a reach number alone, and that the combination of angles and measurements built into the Fluid VLT would ensure a good time and proper fit on the S3 for our tester. For the most part, they were right.

Setup with rider bias, rearward, soft suspension and low grip
Setup with rider bias, rearward, soft suspension, low grip and tech trail type.
Setup with rider bias middle, middle grip and mixed trail type
Setup with rider bias middle, middle suspension comfort, middle grip and mixed trail type.
Setup with rider bias forward, firm suspension, high grip and flow trail type.


The Ride Aligned system allows users to select different variables to hone in the bike settings. As one clicks around, suspension feel preferences, rider position bias and trail grip will alter tire pressure numbers, spring weights and other variables. The Fluid VLT is pretty short-travel, and we noticed that altering preferences impacted spring weights and tire pressures, but longer-travel bikes may see impacts to HSC, LSC, rebound or even cockpit settings. We settled on the middle settings with one click rearward rider bias to start.


The Fluid VLT 130's geometry sits comfortably in do-it-all trail bike turf featuring a 65-degree head angle, size-specific chainstays and size-specific seat stays. If you opt for a 140 VLT model, head angle slackens out to 64.5 degrees, reaches tighten up (4.5mm on S3) and BB height goes up to 350mm from 346.5mm. To the dismay of some, a 27.5-inch rear wheel is the only option at this time. Considering the trail category, a 29-inch rear wheel is often a preferential choice for many riders, so unless Norco offers some upgrade package in the future, flinging roost off a small meat out back will have to suffice. Additionally, there are no geometry adjustments on the Fluid. No flip chips, no headset cups, nothing. And that's fine with us.

C1 130 Geometry
C1 130 Geometry
C1 140 Geometry
C1 140 Geometry


Not a flipchip in sight.
Not a flipchip in sight.

Bosch's Flow App and Motor Tuning

With rider setup a breeze thanks to RideAligned, digging into the Bosch Flow app allowed for custom motor tuning within the four different modes, Eco, Tour, eMTB and Turbo. Output feel and personalization through the app is extremely extensive yet easy, allowing riders to adjust motor assistance, dynamic feel, max speed and max torque. Max speed and torque are self-explanatory, capped at 20mph (by law) and 55nm (the motor's highest power).



Assistance is described as "support level of the riding mode" with Dynamic Feel as "acceleration behavior when starting to pedal." In this test we settled on more powerful and exciting Turbo and eMTB modes, unchanged Tour mode and an Eco mode with lowered max torque. The app keeps track of rides and displays how many miles have been ridden in each mode, among other features like estimated mileage range and battery percentage since the on-board display is only a series of lights and bars. The on-board display is easy to read with five bars that have two different shades representing full bar or half bar equaling a total of "10 bars" worth of visible battery life on the top tube. The display is also neatly tucked into the top tube without any significant protrusions that could be hit in a crash. The wireless controller is a highlight of the system components. Discreet and wire-free, this is the e-bike future without a dangling, snaggable cable or hole drilled into a handlebar for routing...quite the departure from the Norco Sight VLT we tested just 4 short years ago. Going wireless does mean you'll have another battery to keep an eye on, but the indicator light on the left side of the controller keeps that front-of-mind when a change is required. If the controller battery dies, there is still a mode selector button on the top tube control.


Charging is easy and obvious through the non-drive-side-mounted port at the bottom of the seat tube. When connected, there's an audible click and hum as the system begins to accept the juice. The port cover is so sturdy, however, that it can be difficult to get open. Our test bike's button would depress, but not far enough to let the door pop open. It took some finger-hurting force or even a tool to press the lever far enough to pop the cover. While this may be a bit of a literal pain, we'd prefer security like this over a flap that is prone to opening, ripping off and/or letting dirt and grime in.

The lever has to be pushed down enough to let the port cover open. This can be difficult to do, but we'll take security over ripped-off covers and dirt in the port all day.


Charged up and ready to rip, the Fluid VLT C1 130 is the epitome of "doesn't feel like an e-bike." In fact the first few miles out was with the motor turned off just to see what would happen. The weight of the bike is only four pounds heavier than the non-motorized Norco Fluid FS A3 we tested last fall. To put that in perspective, our fully blinged-out carbon Fluid VLT test bike is a wallet-melting $11,499 compared to $2,249 of the somewhat clunky, alloy budget Fluid we tested. So completely ignoring frame materials, components, electronics and motors, we're talking a difference of $2,312 per pound. But what's a few nickels among friends these days, right? We're kidding. Thankfully our five-figure bike has what is probably the best lightweight motor and battery combo on the market today to ease the sting on the wallet and the climb.


With the motor off, climbing wasn't easy but it was considerably manageable and those few miles without assistance mitigated any range anxiety we typically have with e-bikes. If we sunk the ship, we could easily pedal home on the Fluid VLT, so depleting the stack of bars on the top tube no longer contributed to high blood pressure mid-ride.


On the Trail

Most of you didn't come here to read how an SL e-bike performed with the motor turned off, so let's re-iterate that the Bosch Line SX system may be the best system on the market today. The weight, the app, its controls, the power and the on-trail feeling are unmatched. Having just come off of our SL e-bike test sessions event, memories of all major e-MTB systems were still front-of-mind. The Fluid was a bit too late to the party to be included in and we didn't have a Bosch SX system in that test, but it was easy to see right away that the Fluid's Bosch SX's performance was an instant challenger to the throne.

One our favorite things about e-bikes is hopping on for a post-work ride in street clothes before sundown. No time wasted.

55nm of torque isn't the most or the least of SL e-bike systems, but it may be Goldilocks. Blast to Turbo (especially with our +3 Dynamic setting) and there is almost no discernable power difference between a full-powered, 50+-pound ebike and our sub-40-pound Fluid VLT. Smash the pedals and get a major squirt of juice that rockets the bike forward, regardless of pitch. At +3 Dynamic (and the ability to go higher), motor power would continue for a second or so after pedaling stopped, too. Figuring out timing meant bursts of power could help a rider clean a tricky up or spit out of a corner making traversy, up-and-down trails feel like an eternal downhill. A constant higher speed could be maintained on terrain that makes a true trail bike a blast to ride. And the Fluid VLT felt like a true trail machine in the best sense. It felt like a mountain bike, not a mini-pig-of-a-half-moto-half-DH-bike. The bike's weight, angles and suspension were sprightly and agile making the Fluid VLT a perfect blend of technology and MTB thrill. That partnership was highlighted on fast, flowing singletrack with swooping corners and climbs that would normally flatten out a smile. Momementum-sucking rocks or roots on less-than-steep trails could be powered through without slowing down. The assistance of the motor combined with a distilled suspension platform helped the bike move ahead without hanging up. The Fluid has a poppy, playful nature on the trail, and the aggressive tread of the Continental tires provide excellent grip climbing and cornering. Oneup's carbon bars helped calm the short-travel sharpness when things became consecutively rough. Instead of finishing a ride with 8 or 10 standout corners, jumps and undulations on a trail, the Fluid VLT made the entire on massive highlight.

The only adjustments made to the original RideAligned suggestions were raising up the stem all the way on the steer tube instead of one spacer lower (Dak's bar height may be getting to some of us), and speeding up fork rebound a click. Running flat pedals with Fox MTB shoes and even Vans street shoes during some post-work quick rips, the suspension kept feet stuck to the pedals.


In Turbo, with some management, squeaking out two hours of fun on a charge was possible for our 170-pound rider. When Turbo won't do because a longer adventure awaits, we found Tour mode to be a great compromise that provided plenty of battery life and power when needed. The stock Tour settings were a lot more pedally and less throttle-y. Power to the pedals was smooth and even without the herks and jerks that can accompany a hyped-up Turbo mode. The Bosch SX system didn't seem to favor lower cadences, however. Spinning the pedals more rapidly kept the bike and motor moving more happily than a slow grind.

The thing is, with the Fluid VLT, even Eco mode was more than ample enough with a frugal mindset. And that frugal mindset was easy find because of how much the Fluid felt like an actual mountain bike. Gearing up for a ride with annoyingly steep or long climbs that rewarded a great descent was less mentally challenging as long as one would embrace a non-Turbo pace. It's easy to just want to go full Turbo on a big ebike because, well, it's a big, lumbering ebike. When you feel like you're on a mountain bike, you're not expecting to throw roost for 20 minutes up a climb; instead you pace yourself and get to the reward of the descents. The Fluid VLT makes those rewards possible and, better yet, repeatable many times over on a single charge.


Brakes, Noise and Price

How many of you ran down to the comments before reading this far to call out the brakes? Your comments are valid. The SRAM Level Ultimate brakes do have four pistons, but especially when paired with 180mm Centerline X rotors (yes, front, too), it sure seems like chasing a weight took priority over quality stopping power. We understand this is a trail bike and it's not designed for dragging down Squamish steeps for hours on end, but the speeds that can be achieved on even mellow trails with a bike as capable as the Fluid VLT means slowing down is important. On the occasion the 130mm-rear travel Fluid VLT may find itself in a prolonged steep situation, the brakes will be sub-optimal without, at minimum, a front rotor upsize.

That's a 180mm front rotor.
That's a 180mm front rotor.

While not something that particularly bothers us these days, the Bosch SX system has a clacking noise on rough descents, just like a Shimano motor. When pedaling is finished and coasting is initiated, there's a ratcheting noise as the motor seems to wind itself down. On our home trails that have a lot of decomposed granite, noise from the tires is present enough to mute out many of these noises, but when we went into the woods with softer, quieter dirt, system clicks and clacks became noticeable. If you're a connoisseur of all things silent, be prepared for some annoyance in more peaceful environments. The general whir of the motor on trail, especially in Tour or Eco mode is incredibly quiet.


We've said it many times before, but Vital staffers generally aren't the kind of people who would pay $11,000 for a bike, with a motor or not. So despite the baller build of our Fluid VLT, we have to imagine the price will keep most people away from our test rig or at least anger them enough to leave comments. The bike may be worth it, but from a practical perspective, the $7,999 Fluid VLT C2 140 is probably where we'd try to enter the game. Even the $5,999 C3 140 for half the price of our test bike looks solid with Deore drivetrain and the same Bosch system for a five-pound penalty. Put that $5,500 you just saved toward a fork and wheels and that bike is ready to rip with stronger brakes than we had.


What's the Bottom Line?

Norco has matured their bike lineup over the last few years and this iteration of the Fluid VLT is proof of that growth. It is one of the most fun SL e-bikes that we've ridden when it remains in a true trail-riding atmosphere; a testament to their easy-to-use RideAligned setup guide, the Bosch SX system, refined geometry and nuanced suspension platform. Ride the Fluid VLT with the explosiveness of a full-powered e-bike for a quick rip after work or conserve power and be out in the hills all day, hitting more trails than you ever could. One may ask if they should go with the 140 over the 130? Those 140 models sure look like a hoot considering they have a 150mm fork that could open up wider terrain options, but brakes aside, we never felt under-gunned on the 130 in our neck of the woods. Take an honest look at the terrain you ride the majority of the time and get the bike that would best fit that terrain instead of going big just for the sake of going big.

The price of admission may be a bit steep with the high-end models, but sacrificing a bit of weight in return for saving some coin with their mid- or entry-level models will net any mountain bike rider a playful, nimble experience with some assistance to boot. If you want a full 29er, you'll have to look elsewhere (for now), but Norco has created a trail slayer with their new Fluid VLT. Hit up norco.com for more.

About The Reviewer

Shawn Spomer - Age: 50 // Years Riding MTB: 28 // Weight: 170-pounds (77-kg) // Height: 5'9" (1.75m)

If he's not answering info@vitalmtb.com emails, pondering YouTube video counts, moderating forum users, ignoring "where are the slideshow" comments, spreadsheeting riders for Vital DH Fantasy, filming Jason and Jonny having fun on bikes, podcasting with other bike nerds, talking surfing with Johan or getting smoked by his kids on the uphills, he's out on the trails riding bikes.


Post a reply to: King of the SL e-MTB Hill? Norco Fluid VLT Review


Norco Fluid VLT C1 130 E-Bike
Model Year
Riding Type
Sizes and Geometry
Wheel Size
27.5" (650b)
Other: Mullet
E-Bike Class
Class 1: Pedal Assist (Pedelecs)
Bosch Performance Line SX, 55 Nm max torque, 600 W max power
Bosch PowerTube, integrated
Option: Bosch 250 Wh range extender battery
Battery Capacity
400 Wh
Bosch top tube display and remote
Turbo, Sport/eMTB, Tour, Eco, Walk Assist
Max Speed with Assist
20 mph (32.2 km/h)
Frame Material
Carbon Fiber
Frame Material Details
Carbon front and rear triangles; molded chainstay, lower down tube, and shuttle guard protection
Rear Travel
Rear Shock
RockShox Deluxe Ultimate, trunnion mount, 185mm length x 50mm stroke
RockShox Pike Ultimate, 44mm offset, includes mudguard/fender
Fork Travel
Head Tube Diameter
Tapered, 1.125" top, 1.5" bottom
FSA No.57 ZS, carbon top cover
OneUp Carbon, 800mm width, 20mm rise, 35mm clamp diameter
Norco SL, 6061 alloy, 40mm length, 35mm bar clamp
WTB Wavelength
SRAM Level Ultimate, 4-piston, SRAM CenterLine X 180mm 6-bolt rotors with titanium hardware
Brake Levers
SRAM Level Ultimate Stealth, carbon blade, tool-free Reach Adjust
SRAM Eagle Pod Ultimate Controller, 12-speed, AXS electronic wireless
Front Derailleur
Rear Derailleur
SRAM XX SL Eagle Transmission, 12-speed, AXS electronic wireless
Upper slider
Praxis Carbon, 165mm length
SRAM Eagle Transmission
SRAM XX Eagle Transmission, 12-speed
SRAM XX Eagle Transmission XS-1297, 12-speed, 10-52 tooth
Crankbrothers Synthesis Carbon Enduro, 29" front, 27.5" rear
Industry Nine 101, 6-bolt, 15mm x 110mm (Boost) front, 12mm x 148mm (Boost) rear with XD driver
Crankbrothers Synthesis wheelset
Front: Continental Kryptotal Trail, 29" x 2.4"
Rear: Continental Xynotal Trail, 27.5" x 2.4"
fi'zi:k Ridon
OneUp dropper, adjustable travel; OneUp remote lever
Drop: 125mm (S1), 150mm (S2), 170mm (S3), 200mm (S4/S5)
Seatpost Diameter
Seatpost Clamp
Single bolt
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions
12mm x 148mm (Boost)
Max. Tire Size
27.5" x 2.6"
Bottle Cage Mounts
One inside front triangle, plus accessory mounts under top tube
5 years frame, 2 years battery
39 lb 14.5 oz (18,100 g)
• Four-Bar Horst-Link rear suspension design
• Mixed ("Mullet") wheels: 29" front, 27.5" rear
• Internal cable routing
• SRAM UDH (Universal Derailleur Hanger)
• Power settings customizable via Norco/Bosch eBike Flow Mobile App
What do you think?
Where To Buy
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.

The Latest