The Range Killer B - 2 (left) retails for $4150 USD and uses a SRAM X7/X9 drivetrain and FOX suspension, while the Killer B - 3 (right) goes for $2899 USD with it's X-Fusion Vengeance fork, O2 RL rear shock, and SRAM X5 running gear.
Norco is jumping into 650B headfirst, with six different models utilizing the 'tweener wheel size for 2013 - There is no 26" wheeled Range option for 2013. The 160mm travel Range Killer B platform consists of three of those models, with the top-tier Killer B - 1 ridden here. Norco has designed the Killer B lineup with hard charging riders in mind, and the bike has a 66.5° head angle to match those intentions, as well as replaceable ISCG-05 tabs and some very clever dropper post cable routing.
Further enforcing the the bike's aggressive ambitions, Norco has employed their 'Gravity Tune' geometry ethos onto the Range. A geometry layout that was first used on their acclaimed Aurum DH platform, Gravity Tune sees the bike's rear/center measurement (chain stay) change to match each frame size's front/center length. Most frames use one length of rear/center regardless of frame size, but Norco's goal is to preserve weight distribution throughout the sizing range. It is also worth noting that the 2013 650B Range actually uses shorter chain stays than that of the 26" wheeled 2012 model.
• 650B all-mountain platform
• Rear wheel travel: 160mm
• FOX 34 Talas fork, 120 - 160mm
• Dropper post routing
• Tapered head tube
• ISCG-05 guide tabs
• 360 locking pivot hardware
• 'Gravity Tune' geometry
• MSRP $5850 USD
The Range's A.R.T. rear suspension is a variation of the Horst Link that Norco has tuned to have slightly more rearward axle path than what is found on many other Horst Link designs. The goal is one that is talked about often: better square edge performance, which in turn can result in a bike that carries good speed over rough terrain. The bike's rearward axle path can also be used to tune in a certain amount of anti-squat by way of chain tension, something that Norco says they have used to improve the Range's climbing abilities.
A sturdy looking, one-piece welded rocker link (left) is used to active the shock. Both the main and the rocker link pivots utilize an interesting hardware arrangement that has been designed to take point loading off of the sealed bearings to increase pivot life. A split, expanding collet is used up against each bearing's inner race, with the pivot axle than pushed through the collets (usually it would simply be the axle up against the bearings). As the pivot is tightened, the collets expand and exert even pressure on the inner bearing race. Contrast this to a standard pivot axle that must fit lose enough to be pushed through the bearings, which then allows it to rock ever so slightly and apply a concentrated load to one specific spot on the bearing. Will it make a difference in the long run? Only time will tell.
The bike's chain stays feature clevis pivots that forgo using a welded on pivot location. Instead, the tubing thickness has been increased slightly at the stay's ends, allowing Norco to machine-in the clevis joint rather than weld one on.
Norco employs a Syntace X12 thru-axle out back, as well as a sturdy derailleur hanger that is held in place with a break-away bolt (left). This greatly lessens the chance of bending the hanger and putting the derailleur into the rear wheel, simply because the hanger bolt has been designed to fail before that can happen. A spare hanger bolt is threaded into the frame just above the bottom bracket (right), keeping it out of the way unless it's needed.