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PostPosted: Thu Oct 17, 2013 8:06 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:11 pm
Posts: 1129
Location: Left Coast of Canada
Last weekend I bought what I believe to be an almost stock 1994 Norco Rampage in very nice condition. The previous owner replaced the original Marzocchi suspension fork with an aftermarket rigid cromolly one. For those non-Canucks, Norco is one of the Canadian brands that started up back in the 60's when Canada had significant tariffs on bicycle imports to protect the domestic market. Norco sold under a number of brand names - Norco, Sekai, Fiori, Nishiki are some I know of. Bikes were designed here and manufactured overseas. I would guess that Norco is one of the few old companies that managed to be competitive in the free trade market we have today. Their bikes were never particularly exciting back in the 70's and 80's, but in the early 90's they started to produce more exciting products. Based on my faulty memory I believe this bike's predecessor (1992 was the first year) was a key milestone on that transition. Tange prestige tubing, a mixed XT/LX build and suspension geometry optimized for suspension. I drooled over this bike when my boss brought one down to Moab.

I bought this to replace my Zaskar as my work bike because the Zaskar just seems to beg to have a suspension fork mounted on it and be ridden on the trail. Besides, GT's just look stupid with racks and fenders. I'm torn though - its a fun bike to ride.

Some of you may have read my thread on canti cable hangers over in the chat room. This is the bike that generated that thread. Paint's in pretty good condition. Some deep chips, but not any significant rust. I'm going to rust proof the chips and touch them up. Previous owner also cut the bars down short. I've got an Axiom flat bar that I'm going to replace these on (for at the least the short term) because I want a bit more width.

I can't believe the length of the stem - holy stretched out position. Did I really ride like that 20 years ago?

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:40 am 
Devout Dirtbag
User avatar

Joined: Tue Sep 17, 2013 6:25 am
Posts: 123
Location: Ontario
That's a lucky find. I remember wanting a 93 Norco TNT back in the day, it was the first bike I saw outfitted with XTR.

PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:18 pm 
Old School Hero
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Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2008 3:19 am
Posts: 200
Location: Edmonton
I recall seeing the catalog from that year, and it may have been my partly colour-blind eyes, but every bike was identical save for the name on the downtube and the part group.

They may have been the quietest, least attention grabbing bikes ever made. And given how rare they are - I don't think I've ever seen one in person - I bet they didn't sell very well either. Which is too bad, because they were probably really nice.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 3:40 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 11:09 am
Posts: 9443
Location: Devon
Great find. Lovely bike.

PostPosted: Wed Oct 30, 2013 8:00 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:11 pm
Posts: 1129
Location: Left Coast of Canada
Thanks guys. I remember the Norco's of that era being fairly stealthy - I think the colours were muted, but different. Deep purple for the Rampage, dark green for the Nitro.... Not sure how many units they moved. Norco is/was a mass market company so I would have thought they sold a fair number of these locally and in Canada.

I've been working on the bike a bit since I posted this. I've replaced the stock pads with koolstops - because I like to stop. I figured out why the rear brake was actining strange (big kink in the cable hidden by the cable guide) and sorted it out with a new cable. I replaced the fork with a similar surly 1x1 I was running on my Zaskar because it had a longer steerer tube and I didn't like the funky cable stop they previous owner used. As part of the fork swap I've stuck a few spacers under the stem to get it a bit higher to save my aging back. Just swapped the tires for city tires as well. I want to repack the hubs and other bearings as well and rebuild the pedals maybe (they're the only thing in bad shape).

I'm really torn about this bike. It rides so beautifully it seems a shame to convert it to a work bike. These high quality old steel frames really handle nice. This bike deserves to have a nice suspension fork and Panaracer Smoke/Darts mounted to it and be ridden hdard on trails.

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