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Review: Norco Range VLT - The Purple Plow

Jun 19, 2024
by Mike Kazimer  
The Range VLT is the longest travel option in Norco's e-bike lineup, and falls into what I'd call the 'shuttle truck replacement' category. With DH-oriented geometry, 170mm of rear travel, and Bosch's Performance CX motor powered by a 750 WH battery, the Range is designed to get riders to the top of rowdy descents as quickly as possible.

There are three models in the lineup, with prices starting at $6,999 USD for the aluminum-framed Range VLT A1, and going up to $8,999 for the VLT C1 that's reviewed here. Component highlights include a 180mm RockShox Zeb Ultimate fork, Vivid Select+ shock, GX AXS T-Type wireless drivetrain, and Code RSC brakes.

Norco Range VLT C1 Details

• Wheel size: 29" front / 27.5" rear
• Carbon front triangle, aluminum swingarm
• Travel: 170mm / 180mm fork
• 63º head angle
• 77º seat tube angle
• 436mm chainstays (size 3)
• Weight: 57.8 lb / 26.2 kg (size 3)
• Price: $8,999 USD
norco.com






bigquotesThe Range VLT truly is a downhiller's e-bike, and its happy place is blasting down steep trails, plowing over whatever gets in its way. Mike Kazimer



Norco Range VLT 2024

Frame & Motor Details

The Range uses a stout looking carbon fiber front triangle and an aluminum swingarm, with the battery and mode indicator for the Bosch motor incorporated into the top tube. The layout leaves room for a water bottle inside the front triangle, and the straight seat tube makes it possible to run long travel dropper posts.

There's no silly thru-headset cable routing to be seen here; the housing runs through ports on each side of the head tube. The battery can be removed without too much hassle – it slides out through the bottom of the downtube, a design that I prefer over dealing with rattly side or downtube panels.

Chainslap protection is located on the seat and chainstays, and there's also a downtube guard to prevent any damage if the bike's loaded in the back of a pickup truck.

Norco Range VLT 2024
Norco Range VLT 2024

The Bosch Performance CX motor is controlled by the wireless remote located on the left side of the handlebar. If the remote battery died or if it was damaged in a crash there are buttons on the top tube display that can be used to switch through the four different modes. Those modes can be customized in Bosch's Flow app, and it's now possible to swap one mode out for another from Bosch's catalog of options.


Norco Range VLT 2024
Norco Range VLT review


Norco Range VLT 2024

Geometry

There are five sizes in the Range VLT lineup, with reach numbers starting at 417mm and going up in 25mm increments, maxing out at 517mm for the size 5.

The split between size 3 and 4 may leave some riders scratching their heads about what size to buy. Over the last few years many companies seem to have settled on 475 – 485mm reach for a size large, but with the Norco's sizing, riders will be deciding between the 467mm reach of the size 3, or the 492mm reach of the size 4.

The head angle is a slack 63-degrees across the board, and all sizes roll on a mixed wheel setup.

The rear center length increases in 4mm increments, starting at 428mm for the size 1 and going up to 444 on a size 5. Don't forget, the bike's rearward axle path will increase those numbers further as the bike goes through its travel; add 8 millimeters to each figure to determine the chainstay length at sag.

Norco Range VLT 2024

Suspension Design

The Range and Sight VLT use Norco's VPS HP suspension layout (or Virtual Pivot Suspension High Pivot, which sort of looks like word salad). The idler is mounted on the chainstay, above and slightly behind the chainring, a positioning that's covered under a patent that Norco licenses from i-track. That layout gives a rearward axle path for the first two-thirds of the bike's travel, which equates to the chainstay length growing by a total of 15 millimeters.

The anti-squat levels are slightly lower than what's found on the non-motorized Sight and Optic, since outright efficiency isn't quite as high of a priority when there's a motor in the mix - the focus can be shifted to creating more grip on steep, loose climbs.


Specifications
Price $8999
Travel 170mm
Rear Shock RockShox Vivid Select+ 230 x 65mm
Fork RockShox Zeb Ultimate 180mm
Headset FSA No. 55 Sealed Bearing
Cassette SRAM 1275 T-Type 10-52 tooth
Crankarms e*thirteen e*Plus 165mm
Pedals Bosch Performance Line CX / 750 Wh battery
Rear Derailleur SRAM GX AXS T-Type
Chain SRAM GX Eagle T-Type
Shifter Pods SRAM AXS Pod controller
Handlebar 6061 alloy, 800mm wide, 25mm rise
Stem 40mm, 35mm clamp
Grips WTB Wavelength
Brakes SRAM Code RSC
Wheelset Crankbrothers Synthesis E-Bike
Tires Continental Kryptotal-F Enduro 29 x 2.4 / Continental Kryptotal Enduro 27.5 x 2.4"
Seat SDG Bel Air V3 Lux Alloy
Seatpost TranzX YSI08FL RAD+ Travel Adjust Dropper



Norco Range VLT 2024

Norco Range VLT review







Test Bike Setup

At 5'11” / 180cm I fall almost exactly on the split between a size 3 or 4, at least according to Norco's size chart. I ended up going with a size 3, which has a reach of 467.5mm. Given the slack head angle, extra weight, and rearward axle path, it made more sense to go with the smaller rather than larger size, since I didn't want to feel like I was a passenger getting dragged along for the ride.

I ended up installing a 50mm stem instead of the 40mm stem I use on most enduro bikes these days, which helped ensure I didn't feel to cramped while climbing and had adequeate weight over the front wheel. I also swapped the 170mm post for one with 200mm of drop, since the vast majority of trails I planned on riding this purple beast on were steep and steeper.

We've praised Norco's Ride Aligned online suspension setup guide before, and those accolades still hold true – it makes it quick and easy to find a good starting place, and I didn't deviate by more than a click or two from the suggesting fork and shock settings.



2022 Trail Bike Field Test photo by Satchel Cronk.
Mike Kazimer
Location: Bellingham, WA, USA
Height: 5'11" / 180cm
Inseam: 33" / 84cm
Weight: 160 lbs / 72.6 kg
Industry affiliations / sponsors: None
Instagram: @mikekazimer



Testing Info

Testing took place in Bellingham, Washington, over the last few months, with conditions ranging from wet and dreary to sunny and perfect - typical springtime weather in the Pacific Northwest.

Norco Range VLT review

Climbing

With a 750 Wh battery (part of the reason it weighs so much) and Bosch's powerful Performance CX motor, the Range VLT is well equipped for knocking out long climbs in a short amount of time. On multiple occasions I was able to get over 6,000 vertical feet of climbing on one charge, and that was with a healthy use of Turbo mode. Tour+ saw plenty of use too – in that mode the motor automatically adjusts its output depending on if you're spinning on flat ground or grinding up a steeper grade, which noticeably increases the range.

The Range's weight wasn't too noticeable while climbing, at least until I had to get off and lug it over a downed tree, but you can feel the overall mass when working through slower speed, more technical climbs. The slack head angle comes into play too – there's plenty of stability, and the Range is great at clambering its way up rough, chunky climbs, but it's not the zippiest, easiest to maneuver thing. The suspension does a good job of balancing traction and support, keeping the rear wheel stuck to the ground without making the rider feel like they're bouncing around on an old waterbed.

It wouldn't be a high pivot review without a couple sentences mentioning the idler, but this time around there's really no noise or noticeable drag to talk about – the whir of the motor masks any idler pulley noise, and erases any noticeable drag.


Norco Range VLT review

Descending

The Range VLT truly is a downhiller's e-bike, and its happy place is blasting down steep trails, plowing over whatever gets in its way. It does an impressive job of knocking the edge off of square edge hits, and there wasn't any sense of the rear wheel getting hung up. I did find that the high pivot suspension layout didn't feel as, well, high-pivoty, as I'd anticipated. All the same, the Range maintains its composure remarkably well when faced with chopped up section of trail.

This is a bike that rewards a more confident rider – sitting back and hanging on isn't going to have the best results. That said, the Range VLT's geometry gives it a level of quickness you might not expect, all other factors considered. Even with the rearward axle path the chainstays aren't that long, which can make it easier to rip around tighter turns, or pop off the lip of a jump. The suspension feels like it goes through its travel at exactly the right rate – there's no wallowing or unwanted mushiness on smoother sections, and then there's very controlled impact absorption from larger drops or rougher bits of trail.

The weight of the motor and battery helps keep the Range VLT planted when ripping through high speed turns, although the bottom bracket height is on the higher side, with just 2mm of drop from the BB to the rear axle. It's a similar sensation to what I experienced on the Commencal Meta Power – cornering is aided by the extra weight from the motor, but there's not that totally locked in, carvy feeling that can come with a lower bottom bracket. The Nukeproof Megawatt (RIP) and Specialized Turbo Levo are two examples of bikes with relatively low bottom brackets that corner exceptionally well.

While an extra pound (or three) doesn't really matter as much as it would on an eMTB compared to a non-motorized bike, when the weight starts creeping towards the 60-lb mark it is noticeable. One of the reasons I enjoyed Orbea's Wild eMTB last season was that it came in under 50 pounds with a full power motor. Granted, that bike did have a smaller battery, but with more and more range extenders hitting the market I think that a slightly smaller battery (600 Wh or so) with the option to stick on a 250 Wh battery for longer rides is the way to go on these bigger full power machines.


Norco Range VLT 2024
Norco Range VLT C1
Norco Range VLT review
Commencal Meta Power

How Does It Compare?

I recently reviewed the Commencal Meta Power, which has the same motor as the Range, so a comparison seems fitting. Starting with the basics, the Commencal takes the win in the price department thanks to its aluminum frame and the Andorran company's consumer direct model.

The Meta Power has more of an all-round feel to it – it has a little less travel, and slightly sharper handling (depending on the setting, the head angle is either .6 or 1-degree steeper than the Range VLT). It has a more direct suspension feel, and doesn't smooth out the big hits to the same extent that the Range does. Speaking of range, the Meta Power has a smaller battery 625 Wh, although there is a 250 Wh range extender available. For pure downhill performance, the Range has the edge - it has a more DH-focused feel, and does a better job at handling steep, rough descents.



Norco Range VLT review

Which Model is the Best Value?


There are just three models of the Range VLT, and none really qualify as screaming deals. The C2 model is $1,000 less, and it still has a solid parts kit, with a cable-actuated SRAM GX drivetrain, Select+ level suspension components, and SRAM's mineral oil powered, 4-piston DB8 brakes. The A1 base model has a NX drivetrain, which isn't known for its longevity on non-motorized bikes – add a motor into the equation and it's not something I'd recommend. That model also has an aluminum frame, which is going to push the already-substantial weight even higher.

Norco Range VLT review
Norco Range VLT review

Technical Report

SRAM GX Transmission: The GX derailleur worked well for the entire test period, firing off consistent shifting no matter how much I was mashing on the pedals. I do wish the Norco had used an auxiliary power cord to wire the derailleur into the main battery. I don't really like charging batteries as it is, so I'd rather only need to remember to charge one battery instead of two.

Continental Kryptotal Enduro tires: The enduro casing of Continental's Kryptotal tires is tough enough for eMTB usage, although I'm still waiting for that long-rumored combination of an enduro casing with the Super Soft rubber compound. The Soft compound is fine in drier conditions, but when things are wet and slimy the Super Soft rubber that's currently only available on the DH casing tires is the way to go.

Headset noises: The Range developed a creaky headset a couple times during the test period, which was fixed each time by cleaning and greasing the cups and bearings. I rode in some pretty miserable conditions, so this isn't entirely unexpected, but it did seem to happen faster than I would have expected.

Norco Range VLT review



Pros

+ Great downhill performance
+ Big battery allows for big rides
+ Quicker handling than the geometry would suggest
Cons

- Split between sizes may make sizing tricky for some riders
- Heavy, even for a full power eMTB




Pinkbike's Take

bigquotesThe Range VLT is a big, burly bike for riders who regularly seek out the steepest trail around, and it makes skipping the shuttle truck a totally feasible option. The overall weight and slack geometry mean it's not going to be the best all-rounder, but for its intended purpose the Range is a solid option. Mike Kazimer







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Member since Feb 1, 2009
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150 Comments
  • 36 0
 I'm scratching my head trying to figure out how they managed to get it up to nearly 58 lbs. The Levo I had last year was 52 including pedals, a Zeb & coil shock, aluminum wheels, AXS, and DH tires. That had a 720 Wh battery too.
  • 23 0
 i think the norco badging is made from tungsten, it explains the weight of their other bikes too
  • 17 0
 I have the previous version Range VLT in the A1 spec, my bike is 30kg on the dot (66lb in cheeseburger) this thing is light lol
  • 2 0
 My guess is that it’s a bunch of little things adding up. Slightly bigger travel suspension. Slightly bigger battery. Aluminum rear end. Etc. Not to be pedantic, but the battery on the Levo is 700 W hours.
  • 1 0
 I have one, and the weight is definitely noticeable. Not really sure where it comes from, though I do know Bosch is super proud of how energy dense their battery is relative to the competition, so I think a 750wh battery from Bosch is heavier than most other competitors.

In the real world, I've noticed I have slightly better range than my friends on S-Works Turbo Levos, so maybe there's something to it?
  • 5 0
 @stravaismyracecourse: The 750W battery weights 10 lbs on its own
  • 2 0
 The Bosch 500 Wh battery weighs 3.5 kg with the cover Frown
Trek Rail.....
  • 3 0
 The frame’s tubing is huge when you see it in person. I think there’s more carbon layering than one would expect in there—Norco meant to make this thing truly bombproof.
  • 22 0
 I feel like Maven's would have been a much better spec option on an almost 60 pound E-bike. I'd take the base level mavens over the code RSC's any day.
  • 13 0
 I suspect spec was set on this thing early 2023, many months before the Mavens were set to be released.
  • 16 0
 Possibly, but I didn't have any issues with the Codes, even on long, sustained steeps. I am on the lighter side, though. At the moment, I still prefer the feel of Codes over Mavens on all bikes. And yes, the spec on this bike was decided before the Mavens were available.
  • 8 4
 I'd go the other way. I want these bikes with the sx motor , 400w battery x 2 and a triple clamp and around the 45-48lb mark. 10-46 cassette will get me up the logging roads/climb trails to the dh trails. I'll keep tge cx motor grunt and big battery in my 150ish travel tech climbing exploration bike
  • 9 1
 The weight difference from a normal enduro bike is 20lbs. That's not that much, regular Codes would be fine to handle that extra weight. Weight between riders varies way more than +/-20lbs, but most riders have gotten away just fine on Codes for a long time now.
  • 19 31
flag spaced FL (Jun 19, 2024 at 11:15) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: I never understood why bike journalists like Sram brakes when literally no one else does.
  • 16 1
 @spaced: Me and most of my riding buddies are all using SRAM and find them fine. I came from using xt brakes before that and I didn't mind the swap. I don't understand the "literally no one else does" statement to be honest.
  • 7 3
 ~40% marketshare

practically nobody!
  • 16 1
 @spaced: I spent 4 years on code RSC and I now have the simplier code R on my new Kenevo sl. I live in the Alps, and have just done 6000m elevation today with the lifts, all good with the 220mm rotors! I also had some XT and SLX over the years and some MT5 on another bike. The Code are really nice, robust and easy to service, I don’t understand what people are doing to make them not work Big Grin
  • 11 2
 @spaced: I will happily take SRAM codes/maven over Shimano, more efficiency & control.
(i have both and People hating sram are the ones who cant set them correctly)
  • 2 0
 @spaced: most people I know use SRAM brakes, I'm not a fan though.
  • 2 0
 @spaced: I personally use SRAM code rsc and they are my favorite set of brakes I have used to date, plenty of customers in the shop also seem to like them quite a bit. When you get to the top end of bike components it quite literally just comes down to preference, some like the on off feel of Shimano brakes, some like the modulation of SRAM, if you thought SRAM was "weak" try a pair of hope brakes, and some people swear by them. At the end of the day no set of tires can even come close to overcoming the braking force of any pair of hydraulic disc brakes including Tektros on whatever budget hardtails so alas, after trying many different pairs of brakes, SRAM, Shimano, TRP, Hayes and etc all have great brakes, but maybe just catered to different people.
  • 1 6
flag spaced FL (Jun 19, 2024 at 15:29) (Below Threshold)
 @j-t-g: I said "likes" not "uses" Generally people favor Codes over non made for DH brakes but not on a DH brake vs DH brake.
So sure compared to cardboard MT5's and SLX they are okish but even compared to old Saints they are horrid with their mushy feeling
  • 2 3
 @HeatedRotor: so how do you set them up correctly? Please tell me.
  • 3 6
 @voler-1: Hope V4 Tech 4 is not weak. Tech 3 were a mistake and were weak. T2 was strong again.

Also "modulation" ? All that is is them using super cheap brake lines that expand during breaking. It's not more control but cost cutting on their part.

Also "no brake can overcome traction limits". Ah yes that's why the top pros are on Sram Levels... That's not really an argument. People want stronger brakes so that their arms hurt less. I see a lot of people comparing codes to enduro brakes or cheaper brakes here. So sure if you compare a code RSC to a brake that's 60% of the price it looks good but apples to apples. I see no reason to use sram even if yes we can cherry pick bad products from the competition Sram has always offered a consistently mediocre product. Never absolute shit but also never good. Never previous gen Saint, OG Gustavs in 2003, TRP with correct rotors. Last gen Hope V2 before going V4 (or Tech4 now), Hayes or that weird Shimano Magura combo people are doing.
  • 6 0
 Good to see the sram brake hate-train is making it's way back around the horseshoe to "hey these things are alright"
  • 3 0
 Code RSCs felt pretty inadequate on my Bullitt which fits in the same category as the Norco reviewed here. Ditching the Codes for Hayes Dominions has been a game changer, worth every penny. Mavens would likely be a good choice but I've been scarred by bad experiences with SRAM/Avid brakes, going back to the Juicy era.
  • 6 0
 @spaced: They ride enough bikes every year to not still be bitter about a defective brake they had in 2015. Most people who still say they would never ride Sram brakes haven't owned sram brakes for a while.

Related note, I finally tried MTX pads in my Codes this year and they're incredible. Would definitely recommend to someone considering ditching Codes if power or squealing are on your list of complaints.
  • 1 0
 @j-t-g: brands are generally well aware of new to be released components waaaay before they're announced to the public
  • 1 0
 @codypup: I put the Maven Bronze's on my Levo and I'm super happy with them. However my only thing I wanted was outright power, I weigh 220 and am a pretty aggressive rider. I like TRP DHR-Evo's and Mavens slightly better than the Dominions I've had in the past. Maven Bronze is also an amazing deal, insane braking power for the price.

I had Codes on my Levo before and they were woefully underpowered, even with 220 HS2 rotors.
  • 2 0
 @voler-1: the new tech 4 hopes are unbelievable in terms of power. Nothing but trick stuff can match them. However I find them too much tbh. The old tech 3 were seriously weak though.
  • 2 0
 @spaced: well in my personal opinion the codes feel really great, I really don't want to change anything about them, and they have been plenty reliable for me. I work around the shop so I get to try lots and lots of brakes and I know how they feel, slx, XT, xtr all have an amount of "mush" to them somewhat similar to the SRAM brakes, but it doesn't feel really quite the same as having air in your system. If you really wanted brakes with absolutely no mush that are straight to a wall when the pads close, tektro Orion brakes feel that way, but I truly think most people won't like the feel, some amount of give is preferred by most people in my observations. How you perceive sram's brakes is ultimately up to you, but I don't think il be getting rid of mine anytime soon.
  • 1 0
 @davehuffstetler: I put the Maven Silvers on my Levo and still have the stock organic pads in it. I really like them, I can modulate easy and then grab a fingerful when needed. I find I can hit the brakes a little later and erase speed like crazy. I like codes (moved them to my light bike) but wouldn't go back to codes on such a big bike. Once the organics wear out I'll try the metallic ones.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: I couldn't agree more, I have Code RSC's on my Levo and they have more than enough power and the modulation is just perfect. Controllable power takes the cake for me.
  • 37 15
 This is what us obese Americans need a way to get uphill with little effort so I can get more laps in
  • 7 8
 Depends on where you go. If you're riding hard trails regardless you don't see many obese riders. Maybe you're just biased because of where ride.
  • 5 0
 Speak for yourself
  • 14 14
 motorized recreational vehicles
  • 8 2
 @psullivan65: I see some big boned riders sessioning some big features and looking really good. But yeah, any sustained, steep descents require a ton of strength and endurance work, including cardio.
  • 40 19
 dont the analog riders just use shuttles/chair lift and then login into pinkbike while doing said thing and complain about lazy ebikers?
  • 20 5
 @HeatedRotor: Gee I dunno, how do you think we rode before eebs ? Believe it or not, some of us don't live near all two bike parks in California, and the best spots are not shuttle friendly. So we still pedal up, it's not that complicated.
  • 30 10
 @fentoncrackshell: I do both so im not worried, but listening to analog only riders next to me on the chair lift talking about how lazy ebikers are will forever be funny.
  • 8 33
flag lenniDK (Jun 19, 2024 at 11:54) (Below Threshold)
 @HeatedRotor: Have ever ridden an mtb or have you only ridden ebikes? If you try hard enough maybe one day you can climb without an electric motor
  • 13 6
 Dude. More than 39% of you guys out there are obese. Another 31% are overweight. That leaves only 30% of potentially normal weight human beings. Ebikes should sell like crazy. Even in Florida.
  • 18 2
 @goroncy: Maybe, just maybe the BMI of mountain bikers in the US does not follow that of the general population. Also, looks like Germany is not innocent "In Germany, 53.5% of the population (46.6% of women and 60.5% of men) is overweight (including obesity). Obesity is present in 19.0% of adults." per www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9520353/#:~:text=In%20Germany%2C%2053.5%25%20of%20the,present%20in%2019.0%25%20of%20adults.
  • 14 1
 @lenniDK: what? I literally wrote I have and do both.....
Ebikes are great training for the upper body, you should try it.
  • 14 2
 @lenniDK: plenty of us have ridden mtbs for years. It's not that we can't, we just don't want to anymore. Very few riders that have only ridden emtb's are on PB.
  • 2 1
 @fentoncrackshell: What does eeb mean ? I mean it's e-bike but I see it everywhere but can't figure out what the acronym means... "Electric-???-bike" ? "???-Electric-bike" ?
  • 1 0
 Broken record
  • 4 0
 That or pickups, or lifts....I'd rather ride an ebike up and get SOME exercise than sit in a truck with 5 other dudes or on a lift, YMMV
  • 16 0
 Headset cups that adjust reach +/- 5mm would be hugely helpful in this bikes sizing restraints
  • 1 0
 Totally. Making like a dozen different frame sizes so the reach only grows by 10-15 mm between them is not realistic. But if you design your frames with the ability to go +/- 5mm on the reach, combining that with +/- 10mm on stem length, you can really bridge the gap between sizes without drastically altering the characteristics of the bike.
  • 3 1
 @exastronaut: If reach adjust is an option, I would play with that even before stem changes. I feel like riding position on a long travel bike needs to feel right when using a stem length of 32-42mm. If I need to go outside if that range, the handling is either too slow or too twitchy, and I'm probably on the wrong reach.
  • 1 20
flag eugenux (Jun 19, 2024 at 13:55) (Below Threshold)
 @fentoncrackshell: this 100%!, I was surprised, in a negative way, when Kaz elected to go a size smaller but them compromise on the bike's geo by putting a 50mm stem; ffs, this is a bike meant to go down a DH or enduro track, not to casually trail ride or going full cross country. Times have changed and geometries have changed; that's why I am stoked that Kaz didn't get that and choose to compromise in the wrong way around, on a bike that's meant to have a 40mm stem.
(and that was just because he thinks he knows better than the engineers and designers of this bike)
free advice: if it no longer your generation, let others do it!, in the second you compromised in the wrong way, because you chose a smaller bike that proved indeed to be to small, because of your conservative and fixed ideas, that second should come with the realisation that you should give up on testing and let other ppl, more grounded in current realities, more open to new things, do this job!, you are not fit for it anymore, from a mental POV!
  • 7 0
 @eugenux: Bruh, It's a bicycle, not a space ship. 50mm stems are fine, and humans are adaptable. Much like us, the terrain around the world is just as variable, and no singular set up is going to be the only way it works.

I have a 50mm stem on Nomad 5 and it's fine. I've also tried it with 40 and 42.5, and have 32, and 35 on my other bikes. They all rode fine. 5-10 mm isn't going to make your suddenly make your bike useless.

I think the guy who literally gets paid to ride every bike out there over the last decade knows what kind of feeling/ set up he wants from a bike.

Also, most DH direct mount stems are 45-50mm...
  • 1 0
 @fentoncrackshell: Sure, start with the reach adjust, then go from there. Changing the rise, sweep, roll, and position of the bars up or down on the steer tube will all have an effect on reach too, before you even get to the stem.

I like the reach adjust built into the frame as a great starting point to close that gap between sizes. Then you can fine tune it from there.
  • 1 7
flag eugenux (Jun 20, 2024 at 13:53) (Below Threshold)
 @leon-forfar: hi man; this bike is designed to work with a 40mm stem; Kaz's pref stem size is of 40mm; he simply made a wrong choice regarding size and fir, the prof being its immediate change to a 50mm stem in order for him to be comfy on the bike.

as for what stem you have on your nomad, has zero relevance; important is what is the length of stem, the bike's designers decided it needs to have; you can put a 80mm stem if that's your think!, it will not mean the bike is at best with one; and also, there is a significant diff in how a bike rides, feels and behave with a 40mm stem vs a 50mm stem and vice-versa; don't pretend it isn't.

All of these just reconfirm you just can't teach new tricks to an old dog.
  • 9 1
 @eugenux, I think you’re blowing this way out of proportion. Stems come in different lengths for a reason. I do typically prefer a 40mm stem, but I also prefer a 480mm reach, and that reach number isn’t an option for the Range. I’ve ridden enough bikes with reach numbers of 490mm or above to know that they typically feel too long or cumbersome for my preference. I know what my local trails are like, and I know my riding style, so the size 3 made the most sense. If I’d gone with a larger size I would have probably ended up running a stem shorter than 40mm, and then you’d still be in the comments telling me I was doing it wrong.
  • 2 0
 @eugenux: You do realize product managers also put whatever stems are largely available through their affiliated brands AND work for the masses over what is the *optimum* set up for any one person. My Nomad is literally the same situation as Kaz has with putting a longer stem on the Range VLT. The Nomad technically was specced with a 42.5mm Burgtec stem (as every Santa Cruz was before Pon bought One Up). 50mm was what I had lying around and what I preferred the feel. Designers don't design a bike to only work with one stem length. If that were true, DH racers would NEVER touch their bike set up ever, and just run a stock, out the box bike. Ultimately the best set up is the one you feel the most comfortable and at home with. UNless you are racing on the WC, in which case, they aren't running stock length stems and calling it a day on almost any bike. Are you about to tell Dakotah Norton his high rise bar isn't the optimum set up because Mondraker didn't spec it stock?

And as for feel, yes a 40 vs a 50 will feel different. But ultimately, by the end of the first lap, I (and most people) would have adapted, and it becomes just your bike again. If that seriously makes you not be able to ride suddenly, then you should work on your skill and adaptability, because after all, this is mountain biking. Where adaptability is one of the most important factors with being a well rounded rider.

Hilarious you are calling someone who has ridden more bikes than 99% of the population as his job that he can't learn new tricks. It sounds like you are the one who can't learn new tricks, or what you actual prefer feel wise.
  • 1 0
 Okay… so my main point here was 100,000% about adjustable headset cups and not stems or stem lengths.. lmao, think y’all replied to another comment entirely ;-p
  • 1 1
 @leon-forfar: you and Kaz are both correct; the idea I was pushing was/still is the place in which a 50mm stem vs a 40mm stem puts you over the bike; that 10mm more over the FC changes the dynamic reactions of the bike beneath you; honestly, you need to ride it differently on steeps, plow and in turns.I am all for adaptability...but adapt your riding style, not the equipment; if you take a shorter bike on purpose, than adapt to that shorter bike, not try to mimic your pref reach by physically changing the stem, on a bike that has been designed around a 40mm stem; it will physically place you in a different position over the bike! - basically, what I was trying to say is that Kaz made a DH e-plow machine into a cross-country with a motor(exaggeration at both ends, of course) -
  • 1 0
 @eugenux: If he slapped a 70+mm stem on, I would agree. But 50mm is not outrageous by any means. Yes, it will ever so slightly change your position, but that doesn't mean it is making it worse, because we all come in different shapes and sizes. Certainly more than the amount of bike sizes that are made. That is why different stem lengths, and bar widths and yadda yadda exist. The bike was not "designed" to only be used with a 40mm stem. They spec that stem size because it will work for the masses, not because "that's the only way the bike works". People have different length legs, arms and torsos. Maybe Kaz's inseam is spot on for how the Norco engineers designed this bike, but he has longer arms than their testers. That's why for him, a 50mm stem will work better, and ultimately place him in the right spot relative to someone with shorter arms. Putting a slightly longer stem on this bike is the same idea as someone chopping the stock 800mm bars down to 780mm.
  • 2 0
 @leon-forfar: ya lots of the worlds best enduro riders are seen running 40-60mm stems and don’t bat an eye.. take Richie Rude, Sam Blenki and many of the current best racers and they are sporting upwards of 50mm stems. Not uncommon at all, PinkBike commenters seem to think if people run anything other than what they run they must be wrong.. lol
  • 14 0
 The purple paycheck eater! jk! The colorway on this monster rules!
  • 8 1
 Been running one of these for the past two months, and have been waiting for this review! Love the way this thing climbs, super intuitive and powerful with the Bosch and no extra wires - and descending this thing rips - more traction than my analog Range. Overall, the weight is felt on flatter trails while descending, the more steep, the more at home this thing feels.
  • 16 7
 If you already own one, why have you been waiting for the review?
  • 10 3
 @gabiusmaximus: curious to hear PBs thoughts! Because I’ve been enjoyment maxxing on this rig thus far
  • 4 12
flag IllestT (Jun 19, 2024 at 14:17) (Below Threshold)
 Looking for confirmation bias much?
  • 7 0
 @IllestT: yeah, thats the term for it. Exactly.
  • 6 0
 @chrismac: It's nice when Kaz approves of your bike. Enjoy it!
  • 6 1
 I like the commentary on battery size vs. weight. I'm sure there are cases where its terrific to have all that range, but I have to imagine the vast majority of rides/riders would call for much less range and 6-7 less lbs. This could also help drive down cost, with mountable range extenders offered as an add-on for those that need it.
  • 9 0
 If it had a 540wh battery it would be approx 1.5lbs lighter. Not that much weight difference.
  • 6 0
 @Paco77: I weighed the 500Wh and 700Wh Levo batteries, and yep, 1.5lbs difference between them.
  • 3 1
 I was curious how much weight difference there are amongst batteries. Found this on an emtb forum

Shimano 504w = 2.6kg
Bosch 750w=4.9kg

I would prefer the smaller battery and a range extender over the bigger battery. But I’ve never ridden a lighter ebike, so don’t know if 5 lbs feels that different with a motor.
  • 1 5
flag nickfranko (Jun 19, 2024 at 10:19) (Below Threshold)
 @wutamclan: Two people already told you the weight difference. It's 1.5lbs, and adding a range extender to a smaller battery isn't saving you anything worth mentioning.
  • 3 1
 @wutamclan: I have a Kenevo Sl and an Ari Timp Peak. The weight difference is between 7-8 pounds and is very noticeable for me. If I’m doing a long steady climb where I can use eco mode, I’ll take the Kenevo every time. In longer rides with lots of punchy, technical climbs, (where I will need to be in Trail mode more often at my age), I’ll take the Ari as range is a concern. For what it’s worth I have an accurate scale and the Kenevo is 44.5 lbs and the Ari is 52 lbs. Santa Cruz Reserve wheels and Continental Kyrptotal DH Super soft on both bikes. If you want to go crazy with carbon bars, stems, cranks and lighter casing tires you can lose a couple more pounds off each bike.
  • 4 1
 It's important for your Range to have as much range as possible. If you need to, you can mount a range extender for when you want longer range when you are out on the range. If you were a Ranger surely you'd prefer a Range with the most range you can get.
  • 3 0
 @wutamclan: The disadvantage of choosing a Norco with Shimano is that even though it's 2.3 kg lighter, it doesn't actually work.
  • 7 1
 Am I the only one who doesn't care about high pivot/idlers? The suspension on my 2022 Sight VLT rode really well. And I really don't want my bikes to have MORE parts.
  • 4 2
 Agreed. And as Mike says in the review "e-bikes already have minimal chain-growth induced pedal feedback due to the freewheeling chainring mechanism"... so the only benefit you are getting is the slightly rearward axle path - definitely doesn't feel worth the complexity and weight penalties.
  • 7 0
 @Paco77: weight penalty of an idler on an eeb, good one
  • 2 0
 Added complexity is more the issue. But weight also adds up.
  • 1 0
 @Mr-Gilsch: I mean, 80% of the the comments on this review are people b*tching about it being 4 lbs heavier than the competition... I personally rode and loved my ~60lb sight VLT, but I do see how a little lighter can be more fun to ride.
  • 1 0
 You're just ignorant to how good they are. Smile
  • 1 0
 @stravaismyracecourse: Certainly true, have not ridden any of the modern high pivots out there and I would love to try one. I have a hard time imaging they can possibly ride THAT much better, but I promise you I'll try one as soon as I get the opportunity Smile

But basically all it gets you on an ebike is just smoother square edge hits, right? And arguably less smooth than a bike with linkage-induced rearward axel path, no? I'm much more a believer on analog bikes where the pedal feedback might actually be relevant. But even then, I've never once been riding and thought "damn, got a ton of kickback in the cranks on that one"
  • 2 0
 @Paco77: this is not correct though. For chain growth to not cause pedal feedback the ratchet would have to be the opposite way round and then when you pedal you wouldn't go anywhere... Surprised Mike thinks otherwise on this. I installed an ochain on my previous gen range and it's night and day difference.
  • 1 0
 @JD81: thanks for this, I haven’t had my morning coffee but Mike’s comment about the freewheel doesn’t make sense to this engineer.
  • 1 0
 Oh yeah... very good point! I just assumed Mike was right too and didn't give it any further thought...
  • 1 0
 @JD81, you’re right, I got stuck on a runaway train of thought here. Chain growth could still cause pedal feedback on a non-idler eMTB, although I can’t say I’ve noticed it on any that I’ve ridden recently.
  • 8 2
 This is how I know they are brainwashing us into wanting an e-bike. No interest until this. The rest of you hold outs are next.
  • 8 1
 Norco Sleyer
  • 7 0
 High pivot slayer
  • 7 1
 58 LBS?????? Like intentionally made that heavy???????????????
  • 2 0
 From a general industry trend perspective this is an interesting one when looking at the geometry. The gaps from S3 to S4 to S5 are less than S1 to S2 to S3 which somewhat makes sense but the gap for the rider size between S3 to S4 seems so big in practice and for what seems like such a large population of riders. I do think that as a bike gets heavier the reach can be reduced and stability is maintained but I feel like I would have a hard time deciding on S3 or S4 on this one. Seems like they Norco went back a few years when reach kept getting pushed longer and longer. Stack is fairly generous too so going to the recommended size for my height, S4, sure seems like it would like a very large bike.
  • 1 0
 I should add that I'd sure like to try an S4. It might allow for a more stood up riding style vs bent over attack position. Similar to what Dak is going for or how Jackson Goldstone rides. I did have a S5 Stumpy Evo for a while with a 500mm reach and it felt good sometimes but I often felt like a passenger.
  • 1 0
 @heatproofgenie: I think the more upright position is less fatiguing and more realistic for us non-racers, who may not have the core strength to stay in a deeper hinge. That said, I think Dak is an anomaly and his upright posture creates significant drag in straight fast sections.
  • 1 0
 @fentoncrackshell: Dak is certainly an anomaly! I think I might agree with you on the upright position being less fatiguing and better for most riders. For me I learned my technique way back in the 90s so hinged, attack position is just how I ride. I would however like to spend a couple weeks with a bike that let me be more upright with big stack and reach to see if I could adapt. I have a feeling it would just feel weird and long anytime things get tight or when needing to be active on the bike.
  • 2 1
 Thus is one of the few use cases where an ebike really makes sense as a replacement for a mountain bike. If this replaces a shuttle rig on the ups and is only ridden on gnarly downs, there are no issues with uphill speed on multi-use trails, beginners cheating their way into the hard trails in stacked systems etc. Hell, bring a spare battery or 3 and get laps at the park without buying a lift pass!!!
  • 1 1
 Also, this is THE category where regenerative braking would be awesome. It'd get you even more party laps AND preserve the pads and rotors. If an eeb already costs and weighs this much, might as well go all-in.
  • 7 6
 Norco's recent HP bikes haven't had the size specific chainstays I was expecting. Guess we'll have to wait on Forbidden to release an e-power Dreadnought with a proportional rear end.
  • 1 1
 what were your expectations? The rear center is adjusted to the frame size... RC

Rear Centre Length s1/ 428 s2/ 432 s3 /436 s4/ 440 s5/ 444
  • 3 1
 Literally part of the design plan. "featuring size-specific rear-centres & seat tube angles"
  • 4 0
 @TOflat: Size specific does not = proportional. Haen has a valid point.
  • 3 2
 @getonyourbike: here is the definition of proportional : If one amount is proportional to another, the two amounts increase and decrease at the same rate so there is always the same relationship between them. the rc is increasing by 4mm from s1 to s5 . I think it fit the bills.;-) I just want to understand
  • 3 0
 @criscoe: *sighs*
*opens Excel*
Be back shortly.
  • 2 0
 @getonyourbike: I am with you and haen on this one as well. Makes sense to me, "size specific" doesn't mean anything if they aren't actually proportional.
  • 4 0
 @criscoe: If all the sizes were proportional, with the same FC:RC as the S3, the rear centres would 405mm, 420mm, 436mm, 451mm, 466mm. 4mm is bugger all difference.
  • 4 1
 @getonyourbike: ah I see now what you're all saying. these are numbers and the designer have probably a good reason for that. Best to try the bike....and see how it rides
  • 5 2
 @criscoe: "Best to try the bike....and see how it rides" is the correct response to all the armchair engineers.
  • 2 0
 @getonyourbike: Unfortunately, all things can't be proportional. I think size specific is better than one size fits all. But it's different in different scenarios. We all ride mostly 29" wheels despite being 5' tall or 6' tall. So that's not proportional at all, or size specific. We also have seat tube lengths that aren't proportional, but they are size specific, and most brands are utilizing size specific seat tube angles that get steeper on larger bikes, but I'm not sure how to measure the proportionality (is that even a word) of angles to reach. But despite size specific seat tube angles, we all get the same head tube angle.

While 4mm per size isn't a lot, I would argue that it's better than one size fits all especially since the difference between the shortest and the longest is almost 20mm.
  • 3 0
 @getonyourbike: Thank you for your service. I was about to crack open excel but you beat me to it
  • 3 1
 @criscoe: the designers literally have no performance driven reason for not doing truly proportional geo. The reason they don’t at the small end of size range is because they need a long enough rear center to package the wheel clearance and suspension layout that they designed for the M/L sizes. The reason the don’t at the larger end of the size range is because they don’t want to turn off prospective buyers with a rear center number that looks unfamiliar. Rear centers are not like head tube angles - they need to scale in proportion to the front centers to keep the bike balanced. Owen Pemberton had to start Forbidden in order to design bikes proportionately - Norco wouldn’t let him do it (that’s my understanding anyway).
  • 1 1
 @Spencermon: Bro, I didn't even offer an opinion. Why am I getting an essay?
  • 3 0
 @getonyourbike: because I'm bored at work.
  • 1 0
 @getonyourbike: I appreciate your excel work
  • 2 0
 @Spencermon: I respect it
  • 2 0
 @haen: Happy to serve
  • 1 1
 This definitely looks better than the abomination that was the 2nd gen range vlt, but it still isn't nearly as nice looking as the first gen. Though it does look like that head tube bracing would be a great place to stash a gas station sandwich in one of those triangle plastic containers.
  • 4 0
 FSA headset being hot garbage? Yup, checks out with my findings too...
  • 1 1
 I don't know wheter Norco bikes are good or bad (they sure look good) but the complete redesigns every 2 years or so completely throw me off. I mean, how much time and effort can you put into a bike model if you are going to release a new version every couple of year? That's fishy to me.
  • 1 0
 I had the old norco range and it was pretty sluggish. sold it after 5 months. So although I agree this is welcoming news to see this bike totally re-designed.
  • 1 0
 Lots of things done well on this bike/build. A few misses, especially a headset reach and angle adjust. How hard is it to include a +/-1 degree cup?
  • 3 0
 Dual crown compatibility?
  • 1 0
 How much for the batteries? Or does the price of the bike include the battery? I believe Norco doesnt include batteries with the bike.
  • 2 0
 Includes the battery now, no more mix and match batteries with the Bosch bikes.
  • 1 0
 As a 6’2” person who is usually caught between a L and a XL with “industry standard” reach and stack, I feel seen by Norco’s size 4 here.
  • 1 0
 Ahh this is what we all wanted to see. A high pivot eBike. I’m not an eBiker myself but I do like the evolution.

How come it looks nothing like the Range though?
  • 1 0
 A little Etsx inspired Norco. I like it.
  • 2 0
 Too expensive
  • 7 0
 Too expensive? There is an Outside/Velo article post about a $500 saddle just below this...

Which, I sooo wish they allowed comments on.
  • 1 0
 26 kg ? I want a Bosch CX Race !
  • 1 0
 Giant Reign E gets as good geo and much better spec for the cash
  • 1 0
 Looks like an old Spesh Enduro?
  • 1 0
 Was really looking forward to the new Range but it's priced way to high.
  • 1 0
 For the right application, it's a good tool.
  • 1 3
 58lbs is too much - I'm a lighter rider @ 160lbs, so I'd elect for a lighter option. I should have a FS ebike in ~10yrs so we'll past the beta testing.
  • 4 0
 So eat more
  • 1 1
 You don't really need an e-bike at 160lbs. lol
  • 1 0
 @mariomtblt: [duplicate]
  • 2 0
 @CaSentLeTabarnakMonHomme: In 10yrs I'll be in my mid 60's, so will probably appreciate it then.
  • 1 0
 26kg Big Grin
  • 1 2
 You can buy a Yamaha YZ 250 for a grand less, and it has a real motor.
  • 3 0
 But then we couldn't stealthily poach trails
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