The Valence Carbon Ultegra is an endurance bike from Canadian brand Norco

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 7

Norco Valence Carbon Ultegra

Pros:

  • Quality components
  • Fast ride feel
  • Light

Cons:

  • Not very compliant on rough surfaces
  • Uncomfortable saddle

Product:

Norco Valence Carbon Ultegra

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£1,700.00

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Frame

The Norco’s carbon frame has sloping geometry with an overbuilt head and downtube. Although the seatstays are slim and bowed to dampen vibration, the chainstays are quite wide, supporting power delivery.

Bowed seatstays aid road shock absorption

Bowed seatstays aid road shock absorption

There’s an all-carbon fork with slim legs to help with vibration damping, while the shorter seat tube allows significant extension of the carbon seatpost which should also help ride comfort. Norco claims a frame weight of under 1kg, which is light for an endurance bike at this price point. The bike’s headtube is quite short, which together with the slammed stem resulted in quite a low riding position for an endurance bike.

Specification

The component spec of the Norco is unusually good. With Ultegra shifters and front and rear mechs, coupled with a 105 chainset, it’s a step up from the norm at this price.

Ultegra shifting is a quality item

Ultegra shifting is a quality item

The brakes are non-series Shimano R561, whilst the Fulcrum Racing 7 LG wheels are a quality, reasonably light budget choice with a wide-ish rim and are shod with grippy Continental Grand Sport Race 25mm tyres.

Carbon seat post is a quality addition

Carbon seat post is a quality addition

The Fizik saddle is well padded and sits atop a carbon seatpost and with a 50/34 chainset and 11-32 cassette there is plenty of gear range for fast descents and steep climbs.

Ride

Beefy tube junctions for power transfer

Beefy tube junctions for power transfer

The Norco feels fast for an endurance bike, with a low riding position and wheels which spin up well due to their relatively light weight and fast tyres. Although more comfortable than a full-on road racing bike its ride is still quite firm, so that you feel the miles after a longer ride. I did not find the Fizik saddle very comfortable, its raised edges on either side of the central pressure relief channel being just a bit too firm. Handling in higher speed descents, although fine on smoother roads, was a bit jittery on rough and uneven surfaces.

Value

Internal cable routing can be switched out for electronic shifting

Internal cable routing can be switched out for electronic shifting

The quality drivetrain components and wheels make this a good value package at this price. However, the frame, although light, lacks compliance relative to the other bikes on test and this is reflected in the ride, handling and long distance comfort. This feels like a bit of a halfway house between a road racing bike and a full-on endurance machine – but this is not necessarily a bad thing if you are looking for a more engaged ride feel.

Verdict

Fast and with quality components but not the most comfortable ride

Details

Weight (without pedals):8.33kg
Size Tested:53cm
Frame:Valence Mid-Modulus Carbon
Fork:Valence Mid-Modulus Full Carbon
Shifters:Shimano Ultegra 11sp
Front Derailleur :Shimano Ultegra 11sp
Rear Derailleur:Shimano Ultegra 11sp
Chainset:Shimano 105 50/34 compact
Bottom Bracket:BB86 pressfit
Cassette:Shimano 105 11-32
Chain:Shimano HG600
Brakes:Shimano R561
Wheelset:Fulcrum Racing 7 LG
Tyres:Continental Grand Sport Race 25mm
Handlebar:Ritchey Comp Curve, alloy
Stem:Norco alloy
Seatpost:Norco composite carbon 27.2mm
Saddle:Fizik Ardea VS
Sizes:51, 53, 56, 58, 61cm
Colour:Black
  • mark abrahams

    I have also recently purchased one of these for under 1400. I have found it to be a pleasure to ride and it just seems to want to keep taking you forwards.

    I have found the ride to be both comfortable and responsive. The Ultegra components with 105 cassette at this price seems great value to me. Am much happier with this than I was with my Cannondale Super Six Evo which came with a Sora cassette for more money……you do the maths.

    Sometimes you have to question whether a bike test completed by one person provides a fair and true overall reflection of a bikes performance. I would definitely put this at 8 1/2 to 9.

  • Ian Campbell

    I recently bought one of these, took it out for an 81 mile ride having had it a couple weeks. Thought it was fantastic, especially at that price point!
    Fast on the sprints, stiff and responsive, great climber. Found no real issues with handling on fast/rough descents, smoother than other bikes I have ridden, on smooth descents it is fast and fluid.
    Component list at this price point is impressive, is a good weight and wheels do the job well.
    To rate this as a 7 in my opinion is unfair and somewhat picky…saddle comfort is of course subjective and not something which the bike should be marked down for.

    Bike looks great, rides great and (for me) is comfortable at the same time as being responsive and fast.