Norco Range 7.1
It looks more expensive than it actually is, doesn't it? The $3,095 USD Range 7.1 is a stunner.
How's this sound: a 160mm travel platform that's one of the best handling out there, with a RockShox Pike up front and a KS dropper post from the factory, all for $3,095 USD. Oh, and it's black on black, with some more black added on for good measure. Norco's Range 7.1 is likely going to be getting a lot of attention in 2015, despite its subdued colours, due to an excellent shred-to-dollar ratio and an all new aluminum frame that makes that possible. How so? The frame's deeply shaped tubes are now the result of a mechanical process rather than more expensive hydroforming, a change that has allowed Norco to add said dropper post and switch from a FOX 34 to the Pike fork without increasing the bike's asking price. I remember when three grand got you a hardtail with a terrible fork and questionable brakes, and now look where we're at.
A Pike and dropper post from the factory make the 7.1 a killer deal at $3,095 USD. The all-new aluminum frame now sports welded-on ISCG tabs rather than the splined adapter on the old version.
Norco's entire aluminum Range lineup is built around the new frame, and while it looks a lot like the old frame from a few feet back, there are actually some changes worth mentioning. The first is the bike's geometry, with Norco backing off the head angle by half a degree to 66 even (which now matches the carbon Range
), as well as dropping the bottom bracket height by just a touch. Slacker and lower all around, which usually isn't a bad thing. The back of the bike still sport's Norco's Gravity Tune that sees different sizes use different length rear ends, which makes a lot of sense.
Lighter, easier to put on, and more reliable. The LG1+ gets a re-design for 2015.
Chain guides have come a long way. I remember grinding the mounts off of my Giant ATX-1 DH bike that held its AC guide on so I could rig something up that kept my chain on for my than thirty feet of trail, but that seems like so long ago now, especially after checking out e*thirteen's latest offerings for 2015. The new LG1+ guide is all about easier fitting, a sleeker appearance, and improved reliability. Longer ISCG mounting slots add a few more degrees of adjustability, which e*thirteen told me is nice given that so many frames out there sport tabs that are clocked too far in one direction, and the upper slider now clips apart (just the forward part, the rear pivots
) so you can fit the chain through without needing a tool - golf claps from bike mechanics world wide can be heard if you listen carefully. The guide's lower assembly, including a roller that's smaller and softer than the 2014 version, can also be completely removed if you don't think you need maximum chain security thanks to your narrow / wide chain ring and clutch derailleur, and the bolt-on taco guard is now available in three sizes (30, 34, 38 tooth protection
) so you can get maximum ground clearance for whatever size ring you're running.
Noise and reliability have also been addressed, with a new co-moulded Shore A rubber on the upper slider that should help keep things quiet so you can really be at one with your thoughts while on your downhill bike. Remember how some World Cup riders' guides were sporting Velcro glued onto the same spots? Yeah, this is way nicer and less hairy looking. All of the guide's composite bits are also now made from a material that is more resistant to all lubes on the market, which means they piece won't get brittle after a few years of having a trouble causing lube dripped all over them. Weight runs between 136 and 167 grams depending on the size of the taco fitted
It's all in the details: a small change to the crank spindle taper is said to up strength, while new tubeless valve stems and sealant should have you ditching the tubes out of your e*thirteen wheels.
e*thirteen had a some other things on display as well, including an updated P3 Connect crank spindle that sees the taper go from three degrees to one degree. Why does this matter? The change sounds pretty slight, but e*thirteen says that it results in a stronger connection due to the longer contact face that it now provides. This is further enhanced by them dropping the integrated crank arm remover that used to come in the non-drive side arm, thereby allowing for a bit more material in a high-stress zone.
Tubeless valve stems generally suck pretty bad, don't they? They're usually just a steel valve with a glob of rubber on one end that gets pulled down tight onto the rim bed by you over-tightening the locknut on the opposite side, followed by much finger crossing that you've created an airtight seal. e*thirteen thought that sucks, and rightly so, and have come up with their tubeless aluminum valves that use pre-shaped rubber sections that mate to their rim, as well as a thread-together design via a 3mm hex key used on the inner end. The tubeless equation is completed with e*thirteen's new sealant that they told me features an exclusive chemical makeup that seals punctures quickly. It's also non-toxic, which is good because it comes in a white bottle that could be mistaken for one of those tasty yogurt drinks.
Fouriers Drivetrain Components
Big cogs and clever chain rings in the Fouriers booth.
Not having to skip breakfast for two years in order to save up for a new wide-range drivetrain is really nice, and Fouriers is yet another company to offer a solution for that exact challenge. Their Mage SK cog is available in 40 and 42 tooth sizes, and the $86 USD kit also includes a new 16 tooth cog that keeps the jumps in the right range after you've dropped the 13 and 17 tooth stock cogs, as well as a longer B-tension screw to push the derailleur's upper pulley out far enough to clear your new dinner plate cog. Ten speed Shimano cassettes only, though. They had a nifty little display that let me shift through the gears, and although it doesn't really replicate the loaded use that a drivetrain would see in the real world, the whole thing did shift rather smoothly. Their $74 USD narrow / wide chain ring is the other key to the system, and features some really nifty machining that sees the chain nest right into a shoulder below the teeth that has been shaped to match the profile of the chain. It's available in 30, 32, 34, 36 and 38 tooth sizes, as well as BCDs to fit both Shimano and SRAM cranks.
Look familiar? It's not the same thing, though, as the Spaco lets riders convert their ten speed road cassettes to seven speed setups.
The Spaco might be a pretty clever little piece of kit for downhillers, but we're not sure about the name
. Maybe something was lost in translation? Anyways, it's a machined aluminum spacer that replaces the largest three cogs of a ten speed road bike cassette to provide some spoke protection. The 25 gram spacers is available in red, green, gold, blue and grey, and retails for $41.99 USD.View entire Interbike 2014 Product Gallery Here