NORCO VFR The Norco VFR Disc 4 is part of a grow ing style of multi-p urpose flat-bar road bikes, designed for city commuting, fit ness rides, bike paths, and tooli ng around the neighborhood. What makes this style of bike unique is the emphasis on versa til ity and performance. They are not road racing bikes, but they'r e not comtort/ hv brid bikes eit her. They're a pract ical alter nati ve to each. The VFR group bikes from Norco has a spectrum of compo nents and features fitting almost any budget, ranging in price from about $500 to $1 400 dependi ng on the model. Sitting nicely in the middle of this group is the VFR Disc 4 . a well aopointed and budget-triendly ride. The 7005 double-butt ed, hydroformed alum inum frame with understated graph ics and glossy black paint is nicely shaped for strengt h and aesthetics, but also in corporates rider-friendly geometry like a sloping top tube for step-over clearance, shorter 17" chainstays for snappy han dling, and a low 11" bottom bracket for stability. The 72° head tube and 73 " seal tube angles are closer to cyctocross geom etry than to road or mountain. The smooth lines of the glossy black, alloy bladed fork resemble a higher-end carbon fiber fork (an option available wit h the VFR Disc models 1 and 2). Both frame and fork have fender mounts and the frame has a rear rack mount. Speaking of fenders, one of the more interesting features of the frame is the chainst ay disc mount. With the disc cali per mounted all the cnainstay instead of the seatstay as is the case on most mou 1 tain bikes, the rear fender and rack can be mounted without the use of a spacer when bolted on to the rear dropout. Thls makes rack and lender installation a lot easier and cleaner. From top to bott om, t ile VFR Disc 4 in cludes B thoughttui spec package, wh ile leaving room for upgrades in ttll-: future. The Shimano Alivio front and rear derail leurs, and the triple FSI\ Dyna Drive crank (48/ 38/281) , make for an economical and durable drivetrain. FSA's Dyna Drive triple gives a wide range of gears for just about any kind of terrain. I 11Bve to admit I only used the granny gear once or twice, but it during the test period . Aft er my first couple of test rides I noticed my hands were tingling and falling asleep. Unfortunately, I usually experience th is on flat-bar road bi kes th at do n't have some kind of ergon omic grip or bar end . I put on a set 0 Ergon GX2 grips w ith magnesium bar ends and my ha nds have been happy ever sin ce. These made the stock was nice to know it was there if I needed street s, crushed lim estone rail- trail path . mo untain bike- style handlebar feel wid er Ulan it act ually wa s, a old rocky double-track rail road bed, and but if the bike were mine I would cut oi f couple of inches anyway. are an especiall y nice touch for a road count ry roads . Til e VFR handl ed th is w ide range of surface condit ions well. Obvi bike at this price point. They worked well ously t ire ch oice is c ritical for th is ty pe brake levers and shifter pods on tire it. The Avid Juicy 3 hydraul ic disc brakes It also took me a While to set up the and required no mai ntenance for the du of commute , and the stock 70 0x3 2rnm handlebar in a com for table posit ion . The rat ion of the test. Not all the VFR's corne Cont inental TownRID E touring t ires w it h a Alivio shi fte r pods and the .Juicy 3 brake levers both take up sizeable handlebar w ith disc brakes. but they'r e well w ort h reflective st ripe on th e sidew alls really fit the upcharge for maintenance-free opera th e bill. The bike felt quick in city traffic real estate. It took a few tr ies, but I fin all y tion and all- weat her stoppi ng pow er if you can afford the higher-end models . and stable on th e road even at 30 +mph . The upright riding position is also good for found a brake lever/sn ifte r pod arra nge ment t hat worke d for me. The JOOc WTB Cross Country Speed visibil ity in the cit y. On rougher sect ions Disc rims are a good match for this go of the tra il the VFR felt responsive and ca A!I in all , the Nor co VFR Disc 4 is a soli d, versatile steed . It 's really the kind 0 anywhere style of bike. The larger 700c pable , almo st li ke a mounta in bike w ith a bike that most peopl e could use. W hether Wheels are fast on the road, and both rigid fork . you' re commu ting to school or w ork , rid frame and wh eels can accommodate fat On family rides around town w ith th e ing tor fitne ss, doing a c har ity ride, or go ter tires (at least up to 700 x40rn m) for lig ht ofl-roadlng. A WTB Pure V Race Cus iBert child carr ier (reviewed in Bicycle Times # 2 ), the VFR showed its versat il ing to the grocery stor e, tile VFR is up to th e task. Norco deserv es credit for making tom sadd le and Ritchey Logic Zero head lty. With th e iBert on th e front and a rack a bi ke that's affordab le, comfortable, ver as stem, single bolt Rizer as handl ebar round seatpost and with panniers on the back , a tr ip to the sat ile and efficient. o ut the sol id grocery store tu rns in to a fun adventure. Word has it t hat t here are som e cha ng Aside from one pi nch flat th at was prob es to t ne VFR group of bikes for 2 0 10 . ably my fault , the VFR han ol ed everyt hi ng App arently there won 't be a disc mo del, I threw at it. but there will be a bike simi lar to the VFR Disc und er the Indy model name . Keep set. spec package. Most of my riding on the VFR Disc 4 wa s commuting to and from tile Bicyc le Times/ Dirt Rag office. The I3-m ile (one way) com mute incl ud es just about every rid ing su rface t his bike was buil t fo r-ci ty Wil ile I wou ld say 1I1 at the VFR Disc 4 is a we ll-s pec' d and affo rdable all- around bike, there are some notable issues I had an eye open for it. or snatch up a 2009 rnodel wh ile th ey're hot.