Field Test: 2022 Norco Range C1 - The Pedal Friendly 'Downhill' Bike

Sep 6, 2021 at 21:10
by Matt Beer  

PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Norco Range C1



Words by Matt Beer, photography by Tom Richards


There are plenty of enduro bikes that claim to keep up with downhill bikes, but the 2022 Norco Range has the suspension to actually back it up, along with geometry that allows you to pedal to the top. It’s certainly garnered a lot of interest following the high pivot design trend and Transformer-like lines. We've seen the sharp looking bike appear at the Enduro World Series and a modified iteration on the World Cup Downhill circuit with a dual crown fork.

All of the models in the lineup feature 170 mm of front and rear wheel travel and exclusively use carbon fiber construction due to the complex shapes and voids. The frame can accept a 180 mm dual crown fork because this rig is as close to a downhill bike as it gets.

Range Details

• Travel: 170 mm front / 170 mm rear
• Wheel size: 29”
• Head angle: 63.25° (size L)
• Seat tube angle: 77°
• Reach: 480 mm (L)
• Chainstay length: 442.5 mm
• Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL
• Weight: 37.05 lb / 16.80 kg (w/ control tires)
• Price: $8,999 USD
norco.com
Starting at $5,599 USD, the Range C3 gets treated to a Shimano Deore/SLX drivetrain and a RockShox ZEB. Our top of the line Range C1 was spec’d with We Are One carbon rims on Onyx Vesper hubs, a Fox 38 Factory Grip 2 fork and SRAM Code RSC brakes for $8,999. In the middle is the C2 model for $6,999 or there is a frame and shock kit available for $3,799 to custom build yourself.

The virtual high pivot design is a departure from the previous generation Range and the new frame must be used with a coil shock; either a Fox DHX2 or RockShox Super Deluxe, due to clearance constraints and to match the leverage ratio.

Norco poured a ton of research and development into this suspension design. They applied their “Ride Aligned” system to adapt the angles and wheelbase for different size riders. Depending on the chainstay length, the main link arm and dropouts can change to keep the leverage rate optimized across sizes.

There are four sizes with the smallest starting with a 420 mm reach and increasing by 30 mm per size. Our size large had a generous 641 mm stack and 1285 mm wheelbase. The size small frame receives a 63.75º head tube and 76.50º seat tube angle. As you move up in frame size, those numbers decrease and increase by a quarter degree, respectively. This keeps a sky high seat on the XL frame further forward on the bike to avoid any unwanted wheelies while climbing.

Mullet rockers listen up. Dual 29" wheels must be used, but that doesn’t deter the Range from slaying jumps or cornering hard. During extensive testing, Norco received feedback from shorter riders that said butt buzzes from the 29” wheel were not an issue, due to the completely rearward axle path. I would still like to see an option to run a 27.5” rear wheel, making the bike easier to throw around at low speed. The bolt on dropouts would make this arrangement a cinch to swap out, but Norco has a firm stance that you should not play Mr. Potato Head with the size-specific parts - they will negatively affect the kinematics.

Speaking of bolts, there is a boatload of them. The Range’s exploded view document lists over eighty unique parts, but can accept SRAM’s universal derailleur hanger (UDH). There are also a ton of nooks and crannies for dirt to creep in between. During our two weeks of pushing this bike to the limit at Sun Peaks Resort, the dirt conditions were all time and not extremely dusty. We washed the bike frequently, but never experienced any creaking or loose hardware, although its something to keep in mind for longer term usage.

2022 Norco Range C1



2022 Norco Range C1
2022 Norco Range C1

Climbing

The Range loves a shuttle or chairlift to the top. It’s not going to knock down climb KOMs, but the lower gears allow it to twiddle up any climb. A steep seat tube angle keeps your hips more vertically inline with your feet, over the bottom bracket, and also straightens your back. With a bike of this nature, you do have to lean forwards a touch to keep the front wheel from understeering on tight switchbacks, but for steep pitches, it’s not going to loop out.

There is a climb switch to maximize efficiency, but the anti-squat level wards pedal-bob well and the bike has more traction on technical climbs with it the shock open. I preferred to rely on the "cheater switch" exclusively for surfaced climbs.

How about that idler? Well, it’s fairly quiet as the chain passes over the 18 tooth jockey wheel, which is larger than some other high pivot bikes, but there is still some noticeable drag when pedalling at lower speeds. This was most apparent when pushing through the twelve and six o’clock positions at a low cadence in the taller three cogs, basically any super steep grind. The chainguide uses a tab instead of a lower pulley wheel to keep the things on track, lowering chain wrap on the ring, but we never once had any drivetrain hiccups.

Looming below the chainguide skid plate is the lower rocker link. I did strike the link a few times while navigating some uphill rocks and lurching over logs, but it is a beefy chunk of aluminum with a thick plastic guard. Plus, it rotates out of the way when the suspension is compressed. It's only really on slower speed maneuvers where it could potentially make contact if you're off-line.


2022 Norco Range C1

2022 Norco Range C1
2022 Norco Range C1


Descending

So, are all of those intricacies worth the trade off for ultimate bump control and descending prowess? Hell yes. This really is a bike that's capable of keeping up with downhill bikes.

I kept wanting to call the Range the “Shore”, but that’s Norco’s 27.5 wheeled, aluminum freeride bike with a traditional high pivot Horst Link. I couldn’t imagine a riding zone more suited to the Range than Vancouver’s North Shore. A pure downhill bike with 200 mm of travel can be cumbersome in those steep, janky trails that the area is known for and sometimes require low gearing to get to the goods.

On jump tracks at Sun Peaks, the Range’s rearward axle path carried speed, but didn’t buck your weight forward as the wheel returned to full travel. In combination with generous standover height and seat clearance, the low center of gravity provided a secure feeling of being “in the bike” as opposed to on top of the bike.

Timed Testing

Previously featured in a Canadian National Enduro round, our timed section of trail was primarily made up of tight, fast corners with square edges rocks and roots. This offered the longer and heavier bikes a chance to show how their brute stacked up against the more spritely ones in the bunch.

Going fast isn't everyone's number one goal when choosing a bike, but it is one more metric we can use to differentiate the bikes in test.


Matt Beer: "I put down my third fastest timed lap on the Range. Although it carries speed well on flatter tracks, I think its weight and long wheelbase held it back on our timed laps. The Range would start to shine on longer, steeper, and rougher EWS courses when body fatigue would be more noticeable on a lesser bike."
The Range just eats bumps of any size and its linear kinematic nature could be compared to jumping onto an airbag versus landing on a trampoline. Energy is absorbed early and then dissipated, always using the right amount of travel. This made it dead simple to anticipate how the bike would react on any size impact and give you time to position your body weight accordingly. It was a touch firmer early in the stroke - not harsh, but more supportive than the Enduro. That virtual high pivot delivered traction on off-camber root sections and a gentle progression to handle large g-outs. Rarely did I find the bottom out bumper, even on stupidly long sends, well beyond the transition. The DHX2 coil shock was a breeze to setup and the clickers were very close to what Norco recommended using their Ride Align web tool. Given more time, I might experiment with a Sprindex system, to further fine tune the rate to something a touch softer than the 450 lb spring our size large came with.

If we dig a bit deeper, the head tube angle is a cool 63.25º, which is slack, but I found the dynamic geometry to be less aggressive than that of the Transition Spire. The chainstay static measurement is 442.5 mm and continues to grow through the travel, with both axles moving rearward. I found that to be a great balance of grip, playfulness, and balance between the front and rear centers.

A traditional four-bar linkage design keeps your center of gravity more neutral between the axles as the bike moves into the travel. Some high pivot bikes can push your weight forward when the bike compresses, but I never felt this on the Range. Nor did I notice any wild anti-rise effects from braking, like some single high pivots can induce. The bonus of the four-bar, virtual high pivot is that the braking forces can be separately tuned by mounting the brake on the chainstay.

The whole package of the high pivot and silent Onyx hub made for an almost eerie ride, like that of an electric vehicle. High pivot bikes can get a bad wrap for being sluggish at lower speeds, but I think that's just a perceived speed. They have that ability to mute terrain and propel you through bumps, instead of over them.

All that silence makes it easier to detect other sounds. From time to time, there was the odd tap from the housings inside the carbon frame that may have needed more insulation. The chainguide forgoes a lower pulley to reduce friction, but the chain did touch the pivot below the BB in the worst sections of washboard. Smashing out downhill runs on an enduro bike shed light on the tiniest flaws, but the Range was one of the quietest bikes on test.

Another note on cable management was the dropper post cable routing. It uses a small piece of hardware to pinch against the frame in the shock basement. The access was a tight squeeze and easy to crush the housing. Those are the couple of quirks you have to deal with when the first and foremost priority is suspension performance.

Norco proved that their super-enduro Range is a very adaptable and capable descender, picking up a win at the infamous Mount 7 Psychosis race last season and a podium at the Canadian National Downhill Championships this year. They’ve bridged the gap between downhill and enduro racing with a bike that can be pedalled for stage races, with a focus on absolute bump eating characteristics. It’s a machine that is really going to tempt some riders to condense their quiver of bikes; sell the downhill and long-legged trail bike and have one bike to handle shuttles and the bike park, but also access pedal-only descents.

2022 Norco Range C1
2022 Norco Range C1

Pros

+ Suspension performance is top notch
+ Quiet - minimal chain slap and rattles
+ Low standover with short seat tube and center of gravity

Cons

- Lots of hardware to keep an eye on
- Cable routing is convoluted
- Weight will discourage some riders




The 2021 Summer Field Test was made possible with support from Dainese apparel and protection, and Sun Peaks Resort. Shout out also to Maxxis, Garmin, Freelap, and Toyota Pacific.







280 Comments

  • 98 0
 Great review from technical point of view. Good mention of the fact that the bike has 80 individual parts. Insane.
  • 20 2
 Agree this was a pretty cool review. 80 parts is wowzer but still fascinating. Would love to see this paired with the wireless AXS drivetrain stuff because I'm a nerd.

I just picked up a used 2020 sight a1 literally because I felt like it was the perfect blend between downhill and pedaling, something I could throw a 155mm coil on the rear with a 170mm lyrik up front for the whistler trips if I wanted to (saw the norco team do this at one of the crankworx dh races last year and I've been intrigued ever since).. but this range looks like it's gonna do a better job at being a swiss army knife than my bike. Oh well Frown
  • 5 1
 @embi: 300mi in and it’s still quiet. Hoping that lasts, but with all that hardware I’m sure maintenance will be important.
  • 57 0
 I think I’ll go count the number of individual parts on my Orange Stage 6 Farm Gate Edition, then enjoy a beer while everyone else is finishing counting theirs.
  • 5 0
 I'm curious about the dangler. The Vital review made mention of it and the photo made the guard look well used.
  • 24 0
 If you put a NX cassette on it, you'll have 101 parts on your bike.
  • 4 1
 It really only has the idler to count over any other bike with a linkage driven four-bar or faux-bar: main pivot, chain-stay/seat-stay, drop-out pivot, chain-stay/seat-stay, rear/lower linkage pivot, main linkage pivot, front/upper linkage pivot, yoke/shock-bearing-assembly
  • 2 10
flag mattg95 (Sep 7, 2021 at 12:07) (Below Threshold)
 Soooo many parts to maintain and so many nooks for mud to get stuck in. I'll take an Orange, ta
  • 2 0
 The lower link pivots around the BB, right? That's a cool design but seems like a real potential maintenance hassle.

I've owned and loved 2 Norcos, but found them hard to live with occasionally. Stuff like cable routing, PF92 BBs and chain slap pads were not my fave, though Range seems to have the latter sorted. Good thing the important things (geo and suspension) are so dialed.
  • 1 0
 @anchoricex: but the Sight pedals really closely to a trail bike. I had a Sight last season and I kinda miss it.
  • 11 0
 @mattg95: I will take the extra maintenance for a better performing, less expensive bike that doesn't have brake jack.
  • 2 18
flag xxinsert-name-herexx (Sep 7, 2021 at 13:56) (Below Threshold)
 @Kamperk87: Brake jack is only a problem if you brake in corners or rough stuff, which you shouldn’t be doing.

Also Orange bikes are pretty cheap used, maybe not in Canada.
  • 21 0
 @xxinsert-name-herexx: What kind of mountain bike trails do you have where you aren't "braking in rough stuff"?
  • 4 2
 @xxinsert-name-herexx: I would be ok with that if the bike was priced accordingly. Not interested in paying a bunch more for a single pivot bike when I can get something much better like a Nukeproof for less.
  • 4 2
 Good technical review, but pretty lacking on the overall scorecard of riding performance attributes and soul of the bike. Yes I know the bases were covered, but reviews from other, more experienced journos typically give a better overall description of the bike's performance characteristics. Not taking away from Matt, this is a good review, just that presumably there is a scoring template that could be leveraged by the supporting editorial team to deliver a more comprehensive balance of technical features and performance characteristics. Just my two bits.
  • 4 1
 @anchoricex: I few like the sight is definitely the better all rounder. The range is HEAVY
  • 1 1
 did anyone put an 180 mil fork on one?
  • 58 3
 37lbs? My full on DH bike (Devinci Wilson Carbon) is only 38. Wow
  • 40 10
 Yep, amazing bike, but we're getting a bit too far on the Dh scale
  • 2 0
 Full on
  • 10 1
 My glory was 32-34 depending on tires.
  • 67 6
 @Jaib06: depends what you are looking for. Range has dropper post and extremely versatile geometry. It’s a pedalable DH bike, what some of us have wanted for years. Weight isn’t a big deal when you’ve already accepted that it’s not a 170mm xc bike.
  • 21 62
flag hbar314 (Sep 7, 2021 at 9:20) (Below Threshold)
 @bradwalton: Weight isn't a big deal, on a $9000 bike?
Be careful with any drug tests this week.
  • 4 0
 @Jaib06: Why “too far”?
  • 1 12
flag makripper (Sep 7, 2021 at 9:42) (Below Threshold)
 @bradwalton: I could literally have made my glory into an Enduro bike. Shoulda woulda coulda
  • 42 2
 Put a wide range cassette and a dropper on your Wilson and re-weigh.
  • 8 0
 I would just start to classify those kind of bikes as Freerider, they always were heavy but could almost keep up to a Downhill Bike
  • 3 19
flag bman33 (Sep 7, 2021 at 9:50) (Below Threshold)
 @gtill9000: doesn't make sense. The DH bike will still handle more tech and be stronger. If you are pointing towards a 'true' comparison, I will remove my DH tires and put trail rated tires. Most likely still be close in weight. A 'pedalable' DH bike doesn't make sense if it's pedaling close to 40 pounds around. NO reason a 170mm bike should weight that much.
  • 9 0
 @gtill9000: exactly! Downhill bikes these days probably should be a touch lighter than a big enduro bike with real tires
  • 13 0
 My specialized enduro is about the same
  • 4 0
 @makripper: alloy? What year? I think they were doing penance after their 10lb frame fun of the original glory hole dh bikes.
  • 3 0
 Boostmaster?
  • 15 3
 @hbar314: dude compare it to anything else with the exact same parts spec and tell me how big of a deal 1-2 lbs is. Take a dump before your ride and you’re fine.
  • 7 2
 My pivot phoenix single speed is 29.7lbs
  • 1 2
 @gtill9000: And inserts.
  • 18 5
 @bman33 @makripper The Range has a dropper post and wide range cassette, which downhill bikes do not require. It has 29" wheels and is much longer (more frame material) compared to the bikes you've mentioned; adding weight, but also upping its capability.

Enduro bikes, in general, have to last an entire day on semi-blind tracks versus a 3-4 minute downhill race run.
  • 6 0
 My Large 29 Inch Tues with Super Deluxe Coil, DH rear tyre, Cushcore inserts and a heck of dirt on it is same weight. Love Norco, that's why I got an '21 Optic to take my trail duties, but a seriously heavy bike to pedal.
  • 6 10
flag makripper (Sep 7, 2021 at 11:15) (Below Threshold)
 @mattbeer: I've done lots of hour long downhills and the dh bikes I've had lasted longer than 3-4 mins.
  • 27 11
 @bradwalton: Easy,
Nukeproof Giga 290 Carbon Factory $5500 gets you a 33.9lb bike with 180F/170R
Whyte G-180 Works V1 $6100 gets you a 34.2lb bike with 180F/167R
Spec Enduro S-Works $10500 gets you a 32.1lb bike with 170F/170R

A Norco that is $9000, 37lbs with 170F/170R misses its mark.
So yeah, spending an extra 3 grand more than the Nuke or Whyte above to pedal another 3-4 lbs up the mountain sucks.
I'll keep my cash and dump when I want to.
  • 5 0
 @hbar314: +1 to that, nukeproof is amazing value, some would even say Mega value.
  • 1 0
 @MorganBH: @MorganBH: inserts isn't included for the weight of the bike, mentioned weight is from factory without pedals (their control tires weighs about the same as stock ones)
  • 6 2
 @bman33: i have realized after riding heavy bikes that once you climb it a few times it gets easier to climb and you won't notice the weight very much
  • 3 1
 @hbar314: Spot on you should work for pink bike hahaha
  • 3 0
 @makripper: same here I do whistler open close every time I go 125km days on my dh bike, far from 3 or 4 minutes.
  • 5 1
 @luke12935: I've been riding since 94. Maybe because I'm late 40s now but I noticed weight and always have. As someone else posted a bug, nuke proof and a few other bikes with the same or similar component spec and same or similar travel three or four pounds lighter. The Norco looks great and I'm sure it is a blast downhill. Ever, I don't want to pedal 37 lb that pill all day
  • 4 3
 @hbar314: Weight is a preference thing, not an absolute "lighter is better" thing. My 43# 160/140 Orbea Rise is a better descender than my 35# 160/160 Sight was. Geo, weight, handling, suspension layout all add up to how a bike feels. Seems like you're reducing this to dollars for grams.
  • 2 0
 @bradwalton: This bike is on my short list to replace my 2016 giant reign after next year.
  • 2 0
 @Jaib06: Nukeproof Giga looks like a sick bike. Definitely on my short list for next bike. They are not very common in Canada but looks like it would be worth the hassle.
  • 10 1
 I'm so disappointed that it weighs 37lbs, this was at the top of my list for a new bike next year. I only care about how a bike descends but 37lbs is just incompatible with the amount of elevation I have to climb to get laps in, I'm not that strong of a climber. I would be interested to see how light people are able to make this thing without ruining it. Maybe an SLS spring with EXO tires would get it down to 35lbs which is probably the most amount of bike I would be able to lug up a mountain.
  • 4 0
 @singleandluvinit: keep in mind pb weighs w/o pedals. actual rolling weight would be about 38lbs.
  • 6 1
 @xy9ine: And this is for the top spec model, c3 is probably around 40-41 maybe 42
  • 4 0
 @mattbeer: downhill bikes have to last about 6000m of descending per day in European summer, and they do so without much fuss versus your average over-built enduro bike imo. Wonder how the Norco would cope in such conditions. It's an interesting bike.
  • 1 5
flag mhoshal (Sep 7, 2021 at 15:59) (Below Threshold)
 @bradwalton: since when were dh bikes not pedalable? I still ride my 08 flatline on trail rides all the time and it works just fine.
  • 4 0
 @Noeserd: For context / comparison I just threw a C2 large on my scale that's bone stock but w/ Cushcore pro in both tires and it was 39.8
  • 3 0
 @Noeserd: Stock C3 with no pedals is 39.
  • 3 0
 @scvkurt03: an 170 bike shouldn't be 18.1 kg
  • 5 2
 @hbar314: not the same spec. I tore down a S-works Enduro to build the Range, same parts just a frame swap, 1 lb difference. Reading numbers off a website you are off by 5 lbs.
  • 4 3
 @Noeserd: Equally narrow-minded: a pedalable bike shouldn’t descend as well as this one.

Weight is a legitimate consideration, and it might be too much for some. I get that. But limiting your opinion of a bike to its weight is just kind of dumb. Pros are REGULARLY running 35-36lb bikes on EWS. Swap out for lighter hubs, if you must, and XTR for AXS and you’re down to 36 right there. It’s not that far off.
  • 4 3
 @scvkurt03: i mean this bike wasn't the best decender but anyway
  • 1 1
 @bradwalton: What Brad said.
  • 2 2
 @makripper: Keep in mind you might be riding at a slightly different pace than a two time national champion.
  • 3 1
 @ybsurf: As I mentioned earlier, you might be riding at a slightly different pace than a two time National DH Champion. Matt would likely be out of sight in two corners for 95% of the people in this thread.
  • 3 2
 @Noeserd: Go ahead and buy that YT based on a Pinkbike time trial. Or a Grim Donut, for that matter.
  • 4 8
flag blowmyfuse (Sep 7, 2021 at 18:59) (Below Threshold)
 If it were a DH bike, it would only be good for racing DH. 170mm should just be referred to as "I bought it to convince myself that I don't need a real DH bike."

Every time you editors type that nonsense I just wanna slap a stranger. Nobody ever said a Supermoto was a GP bike...cause it's not. You might beat the locals in the twistys on it, but you're not winning a GP on it.

How bad does the Norco DH bike suck that they gotta pay Blenki to race the Range to try to convince us it's something it's not.
  • 1 0
 @singleandluvinit:
I think I’m dragging about 35 pounds of bike up most climbs around the springs. It ain’t that bad, and the extra travel on the range would be so nice. A little elk park shuttle would be appropriate too.
  • 2 0
 @Kamperk87: I have a giga comp, can't rate it highly enough,climbs great,has helped my riding progress in leaps and bounds because of the confidence it gives
  • 1 0
 And it's pedal friendly!
  • 2 3
 @hbar314: so the three requirements for picking a bike are travel, price and weight. Nothing else matters, like how it rides?
  • 1 3
 Canfield the one.2 Demo’d a slayer and 170 travel is enough to give the drawbacks of riding a sectional couch without the plush benefits. An idler on this? Must feel absolutely massive.
  • 1 0
 @gticket: Feels massive in the parking lot. Handles like a bike with a much shorter WB all but the tightest switchbacks.
  • 3 5
 Why are people so bothered about a few lb’s either way? Weigh yourself before and after your next ride, if there isnt a few lb’s difference you weren’t trying hard enough. The average guy on a bike must be at least 180lb, combined with the bike and gear weight 2lb different is less than 1%
  • 3 0
 @scvkurt03: Physics doesn't care about your preferences. Heavier is always going to take more energy to get up the mountain. And when you have to pedal that bike, weight isn't an after thought.

My 38lb DH bike is a better descender than my 25lb XC bike...not sure what that has to do with a $9000 37lb Enduro bike.
  • 3 2
 @hbar314: Your first paragraph speaks to preference. Some people don’t mind lugging a heavy bike up a climb if it descends better, some people do. Not sure why that’s hard for you to fathom.

Your whole argument that “9k is too much for a bike this weight” implies that price should be tied to weight regardless of a bikes intent. What the hell does price have to do with weight if you find the climbing/descending trade-offs worth it?
  • 4 3
 I can tell by how many downvoted my comment that there aren't any legit DH racers in this piece of discussion Beer

Keep pretending your single crown is fast because "reasons".
  • 7 3
 @scvkurt03: I get that some people don't mind lugging a heavy bike up a climb if it descends better. I've done it plenty with my DH rig.
What you seem to keep ignoring is why would you want a heavier bike that descends the same as a lighter bike?
Its not like this article showed that it was a great bike in spite of its weight. The author actually said that the weight held the bike back.

I don't think price should be tied to weight. It turns out its been forced upon us because of the engineering and materials required for lighter bikes. So price and weight are a lot of times tied together. But not always like you seem to keep asserting.
The reason that $9000 is overkill for this 37lb bike is because you can get cheaper bikes that are lighter that are in the same category. Why overpay?
  • 1 1
 @blowmyfuse: Upvoted :cheers:
  • 3 2
 @hbar314: thing is, it’s not the same. What is better? Faster time? More comfortable? More fun? Lighter weight? High pivot bikes ride way different. I still haven’t made up my mind whether I prefer it or not. I do understand what you’re saying, if things were the exact same aside from price, most of us would choose the less expensive one. But it’s not the same, there are always trade offs. It’s still crazy to me that the dirt bike industry has a dozen manufacturers, but the bike industry has hundreds of options, all with their own uniquely tweaked recipe. Great time to be alive!
  • 2 2
 @hbar314: Held it back on flatter tracks, like their test track. The Giga, for instance, is a sweet bike but you're not comparing apples to apples when it comes to pricing and component spec. $7800 vs $9000, XT vs AXS and DT1700 vs Onyx/WAO make up the price difference right there. Run a coil, Onyx hubs, and AXS on that Nukeproof and you're easily up to 35, at least. At best, you can argue that you can get a lighter bike for the same price. IMO, Norco has the geo, handling, and suspension feel absolutely dialed on this bike, which is worth 2 pounds since I don't care how long it's going to take me to get to the top when I'm riding in the areas that suit this bike. To be fair, I have an Optic and a Rise in the stable as well. Above all else, I'm prioritizing descending.

So again, it comes down to preference, because you're not overpaying for this bike if you make direct comparisons.
  • 3 0
 @scvkurt03: No AXS on the Norco.
  • 3 0
 @AlanMck: I just did two weeks in Morzine at around 200k of decent on my Range. Shredded tires, brake pads and one pulley wheel. Other than bolt checks there were no issues at all for me. Mine is set up with a 180mm zeb to be my "big" bike. Where I am from there is no need for a DH as we have really good gnarly terrain you can pedal into. For me its a great balance. Adding an optic to my garage in the spring for the small bike
  • 1 0
 @sebbeaulieu: Ah my bad. Not sure why I thought the C1 came with AXS.
  • 2 2
 @adventuresbycole: Range, Optic, ebike: the perfect stable.
  • 1 0
 @adventuresbycole: were you in a van with Swiss plates? I think you may have been parked beside us in Carrefour haha
  • 1 0
 @adventuresbycole:

My Optic is still the best choice for 2nd bike next to my DH / park bike. Totally recommend it.
  • 54 0
 $243 per lb seems pretty low when you think about it like that.
  • 42 1
 I think this is how we should start pricing bikes
  • 16 0
 @toad321: Yeah, its a slippery slope to buying a tandem bike because you were able to get the price per pound so low.
  • 4 0
 @toad321: they only thing that will do is too rise the weight of the bikes!
  • 5 0
 @hbar314: Get a tandem Mt Bike. Cut off the seat tubes above the top tube, Cut a pool noodle in half so you can duct tape it to the top tube. Remove the rear pedals.

New Grim Doughnut 3.0.

Your welcome.
  • 35 0
 I love your Google search suggestions. The right amount of fun wasn't wasted, had me cackling.
  • 30 0
 What is a paywall?
Who owns michael levy enterprises?
Why do people comment 'looks like a session' on pinkbike?
How do i become a pinker?
Did pinkbike sellout?
What is a pinker?
Is mike levy real?
  • 1 0
 @traildad69: That last one is the question we should all be asking
  • 25 2
 They slipped one, seemingly random, line into the review that seems to compare this bike to previous year's favorite: the Specialized Enduro.

"It was a touch firmer early in the stroke - not harsh, but more supportive than the Enduro."

Is that a thing? Are we comparing this year's crop of enduro bikes to the Specialized Enduro? As the owner of the current Enduro, I love the context setting in an article. Smile
  • 17 0
 I would have loved to hear more on the comparison to the Enduro, since up to now this was deemed the most capable descender.
  • 6 0
 I would love that. I can't imagine a bike being better than my 21 enduro, and I've owned quite a few bikes. Would be cool to see a bike that is as capable but more nimble.
  • 4 0
 @Darwin66: Agreed. I truly love my '21 Enduro. I had come from a previous year's SB150 - a bike that I really liked - and by my 2nd ride on the Enduro I was setting downhill PR's like crazy. The confidence that the Enduro provides is wild, especially considering its reasonable climbing manners.
  • 20 0
 @KJP1230 We mentioned the inclusion of the Specialized Enduro as a baseline comparison since it was standout performer in our previous Field Test.
www.pinkbike.com/news/welcome-to-the-2021-summer-field-test-enduro-emtbs.html
  • 5 0
 Yeah, they said in the intro article yesterday they were using the Endura as a benchmark
  • 3 0
 Enduro (stupid autocorrect abs no edit function)
  • 4 0
 @mattbeer: That'll teach me to skip introduction articles. Thanks for confirming.
  • 4 0
 @CustardCountry: I like Endura better. Has a more relaxed sound to it.
  • 1 0
 @KJP1230: in your defense, that won't show up if you have the ebike filter, or just skip headlines with 'ebike' (like I did)
  • 5 0
 @mattbeer:

Matt will this include putting the enduro in any of the timed tests? I was stoked to read that in the intro article too, but just curious how the comparison will unfold
  • 1 0
 @Darwin66: Me neither. The bike is so good that I don't see myself wanting to ride any other bike. Plus it pedals so well, even better than my previous 150mm bike. Crazy.
  • 1 0
 Interesting. I have a 2021 Enduro and I honestly hate it. Can't wait to get something else, but covid has made that difficult! I far preferred my old 2017 Enduro.
  • 2 0
 @redridesrule: any thoughts on why you hate it? haven't seen much hate for that bike around, but to each his/her own
  • 3 0
 @Jcmonty: While I am not @redridesrule I can probably venture a guess (I also had a 2018 S-Works Enduro 29 with the x-wing frame design).

The new Enduro is much more of a pure bred race bike. It pedals very well for a 170mm, 63 degree HTA monster - but the previous Enduro was much more of a long-travel trail/backcountry bike by today's standards. It had a shorter wheelbase, shorter chainstays, steeper angles, and is therefore noticeably more lively and agile. The older Enduro also had a more lively suspension platform that prioritized midstroke support and benefited from a decent amount of sag.

That said, if what you are after is a true "Enduro" bike, the new 20-21 Enduro is worlds better than the older version. There's a reason it received universal praise when released (BikeMag, Enduro MTB, Pinkbike all picked it as the "it" bike that year.)
  • 2 0
 @redridesrule: Good news is that I bet you can offload it for as much as you paid for it!
  • 1 0
 @Jcmonty: a lot of what @KPJ1230 said. I ride mostly steep gnarly trails, but never felt like my old Enduro held me back. It was a far more playful bike, and pedaled waaay better. It also ran rockshox. The new bike I have is fox and the fork just doesn't really feel great. It's not the top end one though so I might have taken a step back in that regard. Also, my new Enduro is substantially heavier than my old one. I think like 4-5lbs heavier, and it's very noticeable. I also find the chain stays are too long for my preference.

I dunno, I basically pedal up roads or shuttle to ride DH trails like everyone in BC, and I just found I preferred my old bike. The new one definitely plows through rough stuff better and is stuck to the ground in a way the old one could only dream of, but I find it a chore to manual and pop off small stuff on the trail.
  • 1 0
 @redridesrule: Makes sense! Thanks for the feedback
  • 12 1
 The efficiency point is interesting, but I wouldn’t let it hold you back from buying this bike.

Rode the North Shore triple crown over the weekend on the C3 build of this bike and it was fine. 70km and over 2000M of ascending over one day, idler wheel/drivetrain didn’t make a peep the entire day, nor have I felt any added drag to the system due to this chain line.
  • 4 1
 @maxwharin1 The whole idler drag thing is fake news. Complete bullshit. I have a Druid and while some of the comments re high pivot idlers are true, the drag slag is bullshit.
  • 5 2
 @mtnbkrmike: I disagree but it’s just an opinion based on experience with three idler bikes, including the Range. You can hear the drivetrain on idler bikes. Any additional moving parts in a system introduce resistance, fact. It’s minimal but I perceive drag after a direct parts swap from a non-idler frame. It could just be perception, would be interesting to do a blind test, or better yet an actual scientific measurement. Additionally (and somewhat unrelated), my Range was frame only and I had a difficult time finding a chain guide/bash plate that would fit so I rode without one, and experienced multiple dropped chains, nearly new AXS drivetrain.
  • 16 5
 I'm sticking with my earlier initial prediction that high pivot will only remain a niche, and will likely end up as per PDA's of the 90's–IE obsolete.

Call it a hunch, and I'm fine with being wrong (check back in 2031 and heap abuse if needed). High pivot adds too much weight and complexity.
  • 17 0
 I will say that the drivetrain is a bit annoying on my Druid. Cleaning the idler to reduce noise and drag, setting it up with the right amount of torque and not too much grease so it squeezes out but not too little so the bearing runs smooth (it's a super exposed part that gets a lot of crud on it and moves a lot) and testing what chain lube attracts the least grit but keeps it running all day. But. The thing kills it on descents. It punches so far above its class it is kind of amazing. I don't think they will go away, we will see more refined designs in years to come.
  • 7 0
 @PTyliszczak: Thanks for the thoughtful feedback.
  • 2 0
 @PTyliszczak: You have summed up my Druid experience perfectly.
  • 3 0
 @Unrealityshow: The Jank Components idler kit is machined really well, much tighter fit with the stock hardware than the Forbidden idler pulleys. You can pack it with grease and it spins super smooth without squirting out grease onto your chain. It might be the same with the new NSB idlers, but since I have the Jank version with replaceable chainrings I doubt I'll ever buy the NSB idlers.
  • 1 2
 @PTyliszczak: I have the Jank moto foam holder, and that works really well. The cogs that are used with the Jank kit say they are not compatible with 12sp Shimano without a SRAM quick link. However, I will never use SRAM products on a personal bike ever again, too many failures.

I am happy with the overall performance of the NSB alloy idler. It has hopped a tooth on the chain once, on a really fast rough down hill though. This made one of the wide teeth not so wide anymore.
  • 1 0
 @Unrealityshow: That's only on X-sync 2. The standard X-sync which he provides works fine without a SRAM quicklink.

And you can get it with e-bike chainrings now too.
  • 7 0
 if gearboxes can ever take off, they can allow for high pivot bikes without idler pulleys.

If I had to predict, I'd say the best design would be something like Effigear, that allows a high pivot without the pulley. It would have to somehow have gear selection where only the engaged gears are driven; the rest of the gears don't spin unless they are selected/engaged (this is incredibly hard to do).

Another potential winner could be the derailleur in a box- but to get the 500% range thats expected it would have to be executed with two cassettes- think two road bike cassettes, where one acts as the front chainrings, one as the rear, and they are right next to each other. You would shift both cassettes at once to move up/down gears. This would also allow for a high pivot bike without an idler.
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: such bikes already exits and was even reviewed on PB in 2016... But effigear allows for not that high pivot since the max BB to sprocket distance is constrained by the gearbox lenght
  • 1 0
 @hamncheez: Yeeesss. I've been waiting for this! Either option, just hope one of the manufacturers makes this happen!
  • 3 0
 @lkubica: Effigear allows for three configurations, one of which does get decently high.

Effigear still has too much drag and weight for widespread adoption, because all the gears are always engaged and spinning (the same goes for Pinion) adding non-trivial drag. Cavalerie claimed, in 2019,

"We have done some test bench, the Effigear efficiency is close to derailleur on short gears and becomes better on long gear. Before publishing data we want to do more test to confirm the first result"

But that was two years ago and there hasn't been any updates or published results, to my knowledge. I suspect Effigear is marginally better than Pinion, but allows for the mostly high pivot.

If Effigear could somehow add a "double" gear selector, so that the only gears engaged are those transferring power, then perhaps they could get close to the efficiency of a derailleur.

Fun fact, Eagle is measurably less efficient than 2x11 setups in the lowest two gears because the chainline is so bad at the extreme ends of the cassette.
  • 1 0
 @PTyliszczak: both of the NSB idlers require no grease as they run a solid lube bearing, the labyrinth seal becomes moot.
  • 1 0
 @nickkozak: oooh good point.
  • 1 0
 @PTyliszczak: I was a little bit discouraged at first by the drivetrain on the Druid too. I've not been to picky about the idler, but switching from traditional chain lubes to a hot wax has been a game changer. It's more work on the chain lubing end of things, but I never have to clean sludge from anywhere on my drivetrain. I'm doing all my bikes with it from now on. I'm using the Molten Speedwax. I've only been doing it for a few months so I can't comment on drivetrain longevity with it.
  • 2 0
 Idler bikes are also even more expensive to manufacture (and maintain), which will restrict them to the hardcore enthusiast market.
  • 10 0
 I’ve had one for a month and the bike is insane. Been breaking long standing PRs all over my local area and not by a little. Weight is felt as a negative while climbing, but not at all while descending. Could say more but between PB and Vital, better writers nailed it.
  • 1 0
 How is the pedal feedback if any? High speed chatter, chunks ect
  • 3 0
 @pdxjeremy: There's absolutely nothing. Results in way less fatigue on long runs.
  • 2 0
 @scvkurt03: can't wait till mine shows up. Thnx!
  • 12 1
 Talked to a guy in the WBP line about his the other day...I was sold on this bike till homie says to me 'its a lot of bike for Squamish' - my trails are nowhere near as rowdy as Squamish...so there you have it.
  • 10 0
 Matt Beer drifting the Range in the intro sequence is almost as cool as Bryn Atkinson slow-mo drifting the Optic in that Norco commercial.
  • 6 0
 @BenTheSwabian I've got a long way to go before I reach levels of control like Bryn, Sam Hill, Jack Moir, and Chris Kovarik. What is it with those Aussies?!
  • 3 0
 @mattbeer: 360 days in the year of super dry and dusty trails.
  • 11 3
 “ During extensive testing, Norco received feedback from shorter riders that said butt buzzes from the 29” wheel were not an issue, due to the completely rearward axle path.”

Marketing on overdrive!

A rearward axle path it may well have, but that big wheel is still moving UP as the damper goes through its stroke and it has got to go somewhere!
  • 5 0
 @TheRoadWarrior marketing aside, this is an actual thing. I have always been buzzed by rear 29’er tire until the Range. The axle is rearward enough to make a difference. Parts swap from Enduro, same trail, was hit by rear tire multiple times on Enduro but have yet to be with Range. Was definitely considering mullet setup for Enduro, not necessary with Range.
  • 2 0
 @bradwalton: fair play, sounded like marketing speak to me but actual user experience I cannot argue with! Enjoy the new ride
  • 1 0
 @bradwalton: Have any thoughts comparing it to the enduro?
  • 1 0
 @Wormfarmer: scroll down a bit, I commented when someone else asked
  • 8 0
 I love my new Range. Everything Matt is saying is spot on. Its worth the pedal to the top to ride this bike down!
  • 6 1
 Lets say one night you happen to go to a 60's party and you wear flares. You would be arriving in ya pants by the time you get to the party with that chain so high up. Not sure about the whole rectangle giant chain look on the bike personally.. The frame and everything else looks absolutely incredible.
  • 14 0
 Yes, the number one thing I look for in a mountain bike is how compatible it is with 1960s bell bottom pants. It's ridiculous that the reviewers didn't even mention this! It's like they're completely out of touch with what the modern mountain biker really cares about!
  • 5 0
 @kcy4130: Totally. I think we need a different approach on how we review bikes these days. Its clearly a massive oversight.
  • 4 0
 In our market in Australia things are not so far apart cost wise - for instance the YT tested is $9k, the Transition GX carbon is $9.9k and the Norco C1 is $10k. For the money the spec on the Norco is better than the others for not a great deal more (IMO of course) and the only one cheaper is the GT at $7500 which does look like a steal in comparison and good luck getting that We are one here....I think Henry's comments about value are not only subjective to an individual but also to a market as well. With prices that much closer between some of the bikes does that change your opinion on what is the better option from a value position? @mattbeer @mikelevy curious for your thoughts
  • 1 0
 Same here in NZ, the Spire is $1500NZD more than the YT and they have the same USD RRP of $6000. So yeah the 'value' in these reviews are only useful for the North American market. Cant compared GT yet but will probably be near the Spires price.
  • 2 0
 @Dangals Those are great points and I agree that value can be subjective, plus sizing and weight. I'm sure the pricing will vary across all markets, but we did our best to compare the USD value. With that said, I would keep watching the Field Test reviews and focus on the components that stood out to us and then use your judgement to see if they fit your needs and value in your market.
  • 1 0
 @mattbeer: thanks for the reply, appreciate the effort that goes into making these. I will certainly be watching the rest with great interest as I am on a new bike hunt and there are some definite contenders here.

Shame stock is so hard to come by though, if I want any of those I am looking at Jan/Feb '22 at the earliest Frown
  • 4 1
 Personally I couldn’t give a shif how this style of bike climbs but I do care about how a bike like this sprints on the way down. Be it riding with mates or racing (I wrote that for effect, I don’t race) gaining an edge here or there out of a corner, after a mistake or on a brief flat makes more difference than just about anything.

So maybe time to ditch the uphill stuff (that’s all mtb media) instead comparing and talking about sprint ability, power measured or otherwise?
  • 4 0
 Enduro stage with an uphill section would be a great test for these kinds of bikes.
  • 3 0
 Excellent point! Too often (not just this review) they focus on how it goes up... and how it goes down as though everyone rides a fire road and then descends. I think most of us ride 'trails' even if we are riding in a general up direction to ride in a general down direction.
  • 2 0
 @PTyliszczak:
That would do it nicely. Timed overall stage with a times uphill sprint section within it.

Reading my post this morning it sounds more negative than intended. I really like these reviews just wish the media as a whole would focus on the sprint rather than the climb. I was going to write “If a bike climbs efficiently it will probably sprint well too” but I’m not sure that’s true.
  • 4 1
 Regarding the weight, I wonder if Norco is really beefing up the frame layout to avoid costly & problematic failure rates (as they've had in the past) Devinci did this, and the result were carbon bikes which weighed only 100-200g less than aluminum versions.
  • 3 0
 Great review not a bike id buy but like review of a supercar who doesnt like looking at some top of the end kit

@mikelevy an chance in the future you can maybe punch henry's audio up a little as he is quite soft spoken compared to you and matt
  • 16 0
 He's such a quiet, polite Englishman that I overpower his dulcet tones with my yelling. We'll bump it a bit.
  • 6 0
 @mikelevy: It wont take much i think. The contrast between the three of you is and appreciated henry and matt are definitely great additions to the team Smile
  • 25 0
 @McMeta666: I'm guessing henry's grown accustom to talking very quietly around other bikers. I mean this is the guy who says things like "internal cable routing is better' and "the less standardization and more proprietary parts the better". I'm guessing he said such things loud enough to be heard by other bikers and was beat up a few times before he wised up and adopted a quiet speaking voice.
  • 6 0
 Great review....keep it up fellas!
  • 3 0
 Hey Man!
I really like your rig! 8,999$ is a little over my budget would you be into a partial trade for my clapped out patrol!? Thanks in advance!

Am I in the right place?
  • 4 0
 For years everyone has claimed their Enduro bike is a DH bike killer, but now the reviewer says that wasn't true. But this one is...
  • 3 1
 For everyone complaining about weight, just buy a light trail bike or get fit. My Megatower weighs ove 37lbs and I frequently do 1200m climbs no problems. Yea it's not fast uphill but that's not why you bike an enduro/DH focused bike.
  • 5 4
 A very desirable bike, but I'm scratching my head with Norco size recommandation. At 176cm, they squarely say I need an L sized frame and its gigantic 480mm reach. I'm usually in M size territory with the other manufacturers. Given my rather short torso, I'm afraid to be a passenger on a L. Is there a Range owner with advice regarding sizing ?
  • 3 8
flag DavidGuerra (Sep 7, 2021 at 10:07) (Below Threshold)
 They are trying too hard to be "cutting-edge". You'll find plenty of sizing advice for a specific reach regardless of brand. With this fork travel and relaxed head angle, reach could even be smaller than usual.
  • 2 2
 I'm 182cm on a 515mm reach.
  • 13 1
 480mm reach for 176cm could be considered leaning towards long, but it isn't crazy. Helps get the CG pulled forward to load the front wheel.

"they squarely say I need an L size... I'm usually in M size territory with the other manufacturers"

Really? 176cm (5'9"ish) is usually right on the cusp of Medium and Large for many manufacturers. It's definitely at the bottom half of the L range (172.5 - 182.5), and just 2cm out of the Medium range (164 - 174) on Norco's site. That sure seems like it's down to personal preferences:

*if you like long bikes and/or trust Norco, go large, and get used to how forgiving and freeing it is to ride gnarly shit with the extra space to move around between the extremes of front-to-rear balance.

*if you feel that the reach is just too long, go medium, and have fun tossing around a "small bike", just look out for the "edge" because it'll sneak up on you relatively sooner.

Also remember that just because a bike _can_ be plowed down a trail without picking good lines and not kill you, it doesn't mean it _has to_ be. You can still pick lines on a big bike, and it just goes faster or saves energy or both. It's a lot harder to do the reverse on a smaller, less plow-y bike: you _must_ pick lines more often or risk getting tossed or breaking the bike.
  • 4 0
 @justinfoil: This is a really good description of how the Medium vs. Large sizing works for someone at this height.
  • 4 0
 @justinfoil: Just to throw in some disagreement... A long reach isn't really necessary to "attack" obstacles. I never felt limited in that regard with my 26", 460mm (if even that...) reach bike (I'm 1.85m). That's just a matter of the angle between the grips and the front hub, as determined by the head angle/stem length combination. The rest is just a feeling, not really an ability. And on the other hand, a longer bike might have some real limitations on the tighter stuff. Just to counter what you said... When I got my current 480mm reach bike I did feel some small limitations from its comparatively large size, but no big deal, I was indeed cramped on the previous one. I think 480 is appropriate for my size regardless of trends, and I would never call it a "small" bike or a really "tossable" bike as you imply by suggesting that that's what a Medium would feel like for someone who is 1.76m. Brands just moved recommendations up one size, that's all, for exactly the same rider they are now recommending one size higher to keep up with the trends. But one doesn't really need to feel like he's inside a big boat to attack stuff!
  • 1 2
 Keep in mind that you can't evaluate reach against other bikes you know without taking effective seat tube angle into consideration (roughly 1cm per degree).
  • 2 0
 Norco's sizing is bang on. I'm exactly your height, running with a 32 stem and 770 bars and it feels perfect. I could easily run 35 or 40, but I prefer the steering feel of a shorter stem.

176cm is a L in a lot of brands. Transition, Yeti, Specialized (S4), Commencal all have similar reaches on their L bikes and put riders our height on those bikes. The reach won't feel long, it's the wheelbase that will have you feeling like you're on a boat in the parking lot. Once you get it moving on dirt, it rides a lot smaller.
  • 2 1
 Go with a Medium. Worse case toss in a 50mm stem.
  • 3 0
 dude I totally relate. I am like 5’11” so 180cm but I kind of have long legs for how long my torso is. I had a s4 enduro but I sold it because 487mm reach was just way too long. There are some trails here that hit 30% average and you get stretched out on long bikes. The S4 was incredibly sketchy and definitely made me feel like a passenger (idk maybe some people want that). You don’t want the front to slide (it slid alot), so you go forward, then your rear lifts and then when it comes back down it like kicks to the side. I get that you can like shift your weight and stuff, IF your going slow enough (which is hard when it’s steep). But if your going fast making all those movements gets exponentially harder the faster you ride. The other thing is for 170mm of travel I never had the confidence to send air like 170mm of confidence should feel like. I knew the bike could do it but I didn’t think my body could take the impact when I was so stretched out. Was the bike faster than what I was riding before? Yeah but it’s not like it was much contest. In the case of the enduro (not the range cause they did that ride algined thing) I would have still gotten 442mm chainstays and a 63.9 degree head angle and 170mm front and rear, and thats what really defined the bike, not its huge reach. I also rode a S3 in bend (which may have influenced my feelings cause the trails are made for bikes there) along with a medium altitude and sentinel. The S3 was basically exactly what I originally envisioned the enduro to feel like. I could corner without slipping, I could hit jumps without thinking about the landing and case them without problems, and I never hit my pedals even when I climbed over like boulders and stuff even though the s3 and s4 had the same bb height. the range and sentinel were good too but they just didn’t have that endless plow, but they were maybe more nimble and thats more on the bike than the reach. So when I looked at the range sizing I was like “dude I am not going to get another 480 reach bike that I can’t ride properly” and ordered the medium, and now I have to wait till like July 2022 oof. Now I think for me I could ride a large since I have a epic evo in large and that bike is so much fun. If you add the reach 460mm and the stem 60mm you get 520mm which is rough math. And the range in large is 480mm 40mm stem so also 520mm. But I already get pretty pitched on that thing on seriously steep trails and off my enduro experience I went medium. Hope it’s worth!
  • 1 0
 This Norco is a plenty big bike, because it also has a very generous stack. People have very different body proportions and saying I'am 180cm and I ride large means nothing. The only solution is to ride the bike. If cannot you could use the RAD measurement (www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHagRovHSY), hit me on pm, and I will give you a google spreadsheet with RAD calculations for this Norco,
  • 2 0
 @GrandMasterOrge: jesus dude. I just sold an XL bike with a 510 reach because it felt huge at 188cm. I could hardly manual the thing. You must be all arms.
  • 1 0
 I'm not on a Range but after being in the same situation when getting my Sight 29 I was right in the middle of the size guide at 175cm. I tried both large and medium 29 Sight and went with the medium cause it actually allows you to corner faster with more grip, and it didn't feel like a boat. And if I got a Range id be getting a medium.

For anyone in-between size or near either end the guides need to be taking with a grain of salt. As it is all down to personal preference like @justinfoil explanation above.
Imo (if in between sizes) it's down to:
Smaller size: faster more agile around corners( faster cornering wins races too)
Larger size: more stable at high speed and less likely to get pinged off line

Reach isnt everything too, Jack Moir rides a large Canyon Strive which has a reach of 461mm and he is over 190cm.
  • 2 0
 I just bought a c2 in large. I’m just under 5 foot nine. My recommendation would be to follow the ride aligned setup completely, as a starting point. the norco engineers put a lot of work into that system. Mine fits great in a large and you are taller than I am. I followed the ride aligned setup, including bar width and stem height, as well as the suspension tune and haven’t changed a thing.
  • 1 0
 I had that same issue choosing Norco Optic this year. I took M - 450 reach (i'm 177cm - norco recommandation was L size wwith 480 reach).
I am in M/L territory in almost all manufacturers.
M size on trail bike was great choice i think.
I have L Megatower for enduro riding with is still cool (470 reach).
I have no idea which size in Norco Range would be better for me, i would like to test both. Actually there are none to test or buy in PL at all ;//
  • 1 0
 I have just done some calc, comparing to my Meta AM 29 2019, me being 180cm with long legs: when set up for the same handlebar height norco in L has ~10mm more RAD but 1deg slacker RAAD (angle, or reach to stack ratio), with 35mm stem things get very close, but the RAAD angle is flat at 57deg. The M-sized Norco has almost the same position (as my meta) with 50mm stem (and 30/40mm rise bars). The moral of this story: if you are 180cm, you can go for L, but it will be a very stable bike (thus hard to manual and bunnyhop). M is on the other hand a tad small. Would have a hard time to decide, my current bike is definitely in the end of "bunnyhoppiness" spectrum for me, so would go with M, but M has so short seattube that the seatpost will look quite funny. All in all Norco's geo is not for me. Or maybe this is a bike intended to be extremely stable and the bike is not for me really.
  • 2 0
 @lkubica: If you increase the stack, reach must be reduced to maintain RAD. So a bike with more stack than another should have less reach, not the opposite. At 1.85m, my 480mm reach bike is at the right spot to maintain RAD. It feels good with a 32mm stem for a 170mm Fox 36 or a 45mm one with a 180mm Mezzer because of the reduced reach from the increased stack height, even though this last setup goes beyond my recommended RAD. With a slacker head angle (from the higher stack) I also like a longer stem. The RAD of a 480mm reach bike would always go beyond what's recommended for a 1,76m rider, unless he used a 0mm stem.
  • 3 0
 @lkubica: That said, Lee McCornack's RAD recommendations aren't to be followed blindly. A more vertical seat angle does ask for more reach, although there's ample space for regulating the effective seat angle by moving the saddle along the rails.
  • 3 0
 @DavidGuerra: slight disagree. Yes, the "out-front" (that's what I call it) measurement of axle in front of hand is def part of how hard you can "attack" obstacles, but attacking a whole trail takes more than just having your hands far enough behind the front wheel. You weight is held up by both your hands and your feet, and reach (plus head angle and fork offset) tells you how far behind the front wheel your feet are. With a slack/modern head angle but a short reach, sure your hands are behind the front axle, but your feet will be relatively close to the front wheel, thus bringing your entire CG closer to the front.

The other bonus of a long (but not too long) reach is just the room to move around without getting the extreme ends of the cockpit space. Attacking an entire trail or section means managing traction and balance as the entire bike goes along. Having the room to move around and make fine tweaks to front & rear wheel loading, but without getting close the edges where endo or loop-out potential is high, makes it much easier to really smash through things.

On my previous size L suspension bikes with 400mm-ish reaches, I could still ride down the steepest stuff around, and relative to the front wheel my hips were in generally the same place, but the short reach meant my hips were way closer to the rear axle. So in order to prevent a loop-out or just smashing the rear wheel at the bottom, I had to quickly adjust from getting back to getting centered or even forward. Not to mention I was basically riding in a wall-sit position and just melting my quads without even pedaling. With new size L bikes at 455mm or more of reach, those extra inches mean I can ride more centered on the bike more of the time. Hands to front axle distance isn't far off from the older bikes, but with my feet relatively further back, there is more room to move and remain in that centered position which makes it easier to make adjustments.

It's like the old adage "good riders can ride any bike". Yeah of course, I mean I've ridden these same trails on
26" hardtails with like 370mm reach and survived... but it takes waaaay more work to smash through steep and janky trails on a bike that doesn't have the room to move around "inside" the cockpit.
  • 1 0
 Just to put some info out there, I just measured my 2021 XL Rallon with very precise methods. This bike allegedly has a 485mm reach, however this measurement is only virtual, because it corresponds to a bike with a 100mm head tube (which in reality for that size is 125mm). It's understandable that Orbea does this, by measuring the reach of all sizes with a constant (virtual) head tube size, which is that of the S size. Otherwise the reach of all sizes would be quite similar, because reach is reduced with an increase in head tube length, and head tube lenght is increased with size. So the actual reach for my bike, with a 125mm head tube and the fork length that Orbea used for their numbers, is 473mm. And with my current 170mm Mezzer, which is 20mm longer than that (yes, 20mm longer for the same alleged travel - which probably means that Orbea is basing the numbers on the 160mm Fox fork, since the Mezzer normally has only 10 extra mm for the same travel), the actual reach is 463mm. Just to let you know that the supplied reach info might vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, depending on what head tube length they use for their numbers, and if Norco used the actual head tube length of each size for their reach numbers, these must must be really big bikes.
  • 2 0
 Any thought on reviewing these bikes against previous years winners? Since this bike looks so much like the winning enduro sled from two years ago (the enduro), it would be sweet to see how to stacks up!
  • 2 0
 This what they mentioned they'd do, in the introduction article. Unfortunately there isn't much regarding the differences in descending between Range and Enduro in this article.
  • 3 0
 @FloImSchnee: hopefully not spoiling a future PB article here, but I came off S5 S-works Enduro with stock X2 air shock to the XL Range stock DHX2 coil shock, direct parts swap.

Enduro more poppy and playful, more plush suspension, slightly lighter, climbs better, more versatile, outdated geometry. Range smashes, in high speed chunk it wants to go faster, gains momentum with rider input, handles harsh landings and compressions with ease, rides a bit front heavy/harder to get front end up since the rear end lengthens under compression, more comfortable seated position, I don’t get hit with rear tire unlike Enduro. I haven’t completely figured out cornering on Range yet so yet to be determined comparison there. They are so different that I haven’t decided which I like better.

IMO the difference in handling is exclusively related to rear axle path- one bike gets shorter wheelbase under compression (snappier handling, relaxed rider position), the other gets longer (more stable, attack rider position). Both bikes offer “in the bike feel”. DH=Range. Freeride=Enduro.
  • 1 0
 @bradwalton: thanks a lot for your comparison, very much appreciated!
  • 5 4
 That's great Norco - now do a 140ish trail bike that is as playfull as and pedals like a 110/120 and which still smashes like a 160mm enduro. I'd love to see that suspension system used on other bikes aswell. I live in europe, not in canada. My hometrails are a lot more nimble but I still want to go to the alps with the same bike and have fun there.

Otherwise I'll have to buy another HPV bike from a canadian brand, even though its single pivot and I don't want that...
  • 6 0
 I think it's an Optic and it won the first field test? It just doesn't put the horst link upside down.
  • 2 0
 @j-t-g: yep have an optic, it definitely punches above its pay grade when you point it down hill.
  • 6 0
 The Optic is your bike for sure.
  • 2 0
 I agree with Levy. Probably sounds like I'm such a Norco fanboy, but: Buy an Optic. You won't regret it, I promise.
  • 2 1
 If it's desired to be a HP bike, the Deviate Highlander could be interesting too.
  • 1 1
 @mikelevy: Thanks for the hint to the optic, didn'T have that in mind.

But I would be looking for a High Pivot Bike, because I think it makes sense and would love to try one.

Probably then will need to go with a Druid or Highlander (but having had a single pivot morewood izimu back in the days, I'm really not looking forward tot that hardening up on the brakes)
  • 1 0
 Sort of touched on here, but a good question to ask would be which bike would they buy at 5, 6, 7k budget etc - i'd love to hear how a lesser bike (but assuming they're all pretty good) but reasonably priced with a good spec, fares against the 'dream bike' on it's cheapest spec.
  • 1 0
 @mattbeer any knowledge on if the different link the downhill team are using is ever likely to be an aftermarket part? Would be an even more flexible option if you could go from this setup to a full DH ride with just an evening spent in the workshop with some Allen keys to swap a link and forks on.
  • 6 0
 @secondtimeuser There is a very insightful video discussing the development of the Range here:
www.pinkbike.com/news/video-behind-the-creation-of-the-new-norco-range-in-forged.html

If you compare the Gehrig twin's and Blenki's bike check articles, you might notice different length bars coming off the main link arm. However, we haven't received any official words about this setup from Norco.

www.pinkbike.com/photo/21235816
www.pinkbike.com/photo/20849446
  • 3 1
 It will be. Along with the longer drop outs.
  • 3 0
 @BrianColes: I want to believe this.
  • 2 0
 Thanks for the test!
Please add a few more words on how it performs vs the Enduro. This review confirms all the other reviews, but I am really missing the comparison with a bike that has been known for 2+ years now.
  • 2 1
 All those high and tight haircuts I thought I was about to watch a training video for my airline job. On a less serious note, I do love my Norco Range. I've added an AXS seatpost and shifting and I couldn't think of a better set up.
  • 4 0
 How does it compare to the Norco Shore?
  • 1 0
 we'll find out in about a week.
  • 5 6
 my shore is a small, but it's 38 pounds compared to the range being 37.. and i absolutely love it, best bike i've ever had. i've heard mixed on the range. also, i pedal my shore up the same places i used to ride on a carbon enduro
  • 1 0
 I have one as well, built up as a DH bike with a 200mm Boxxer, 190mm of travel out back and a -1 degree headset. I'm interested in how different they feel kinematically, with the Shore being "freeride" oriented.
  • 2 0
 @djjohnr they actually feel a lot different. The rotating concentric lower pivot on Range accentuates rearward axle path. The Shore felt more like a traditional 4-bar bike to me, plush and progressive suspension feel with decent pop for jumps but rides much heavier. Range is more responsive (stiffer/lighter frame) yet also has a more plow-like ride at speed, sacrificing some off-the-top plushness for mid-stroke support and better overall stability. Range gains momentum with zero hesitation even on nasty harsh landings. Some of this is just the difference in wheel size, playful vs stable. IMO the Shore is easier to ride for the most part, but the Range is significantly more stable for hard-charging riders. Just opinion, Shore owner 4 months, Range owner 4 rides.
  • 6 2
 that's a sick dh bike, wouldn't pedal it uphill though
  • 6 3
 High pivoet is da best : ) ,,,, 420 YO ! ! ! ! ! ! ! .... In mother russia we like that
  • 3 0
 Fantastic review, wow. I'm on Onyx Vespers, which I love, so I am glad to see them on the C1 build.
  • 1 1
 my only concern with this beautiful bike is collection of mud, ice, snow and horse crap on the coil shock it looks like a collection tub. As far as the idler goes I think for hot laps at a bike park or Enduro it would be nice to control braking and chain compliance but for me the regular trail dude it would not be necessary and seems like an additional spot for tech issues.
  • 3 0
 Seeing these new guys really makes the fact that Levy is really good on camera stand out.
  • 2 0
 Norco is on fire lately! Everything they brought out the last couple of years was pretty damn good. Excellent review from a technical perspective.
  • 1 0
 Looks like chain only wraps around slightly less than a quarter of the chainring. Will be interesting to see if this causes quicker wear to both those parts. Wait and see I guess.
  • 2 0
 I think on a normal chain wrap the pressure is only on a few teeth anyways...
  • 3 0
 When the Field Test series is over, can we please see a full-speed raw video of all the @mattbeer footage from Sun Peaks?
  • 1 0
 The first second I thought that Mike recorded it at collage with some students. What's this, a kindergarten? Wink Sh*t, I'm old.
  • 6 7
 Good start to the field test, well done. Could tell you were a little nervous there on camera Matt but a solid effort. Not gonna lie, I miss Sarah Moore's energy and laughter on this field test. Hope we see her back in front of the camera in the future!
  • 3 1
 I don't want to be friends with my DH bike !! I want to mistreat her and she must do what I tell her!
  • 2 3
 170 travel will never compare to a downhill bike. Maybe if all you do is race and ride trails but sending big features nothing compares to being behind a dual crown with 200 millimeters front and rear. With all these freeride events coming out, I really hope bike companies will be forced to make bikes designed for more than just racing down a trail.
  • 4 0
 Norco's Factory DH team runs this very bike with a longer shock and different link for 200/200mm of travel. Hopefully they will sell this kit to the public for $300 or so and all you would need is a 250x75 shock.
  • 1 0
 @vanillarice19: agreed. It would make owning this bike that much more compelling
  • 2 0
 This is a funny comment, as Norco has always marketed a full DH bike in their lineup, and this isn't meant as a replacement. As the other comments mention, if you're paying attention, you may notice this could one day turn into a two-bikes-in-one-frame scenario.
  • 3 0
 @mammal: Yeah Norco has some great DH bikes. This bike does look sick, I'm just babbling about how reviews of enduro bikes always say "this bike makes DH bikes obsolete" like no, no it does not.
  • 1 0
 @vanillarice19: Interesting to know. I wondered how they got around the lack of rear travel.
So _all_ you need to convert to a DH bike are:
Fork, new shock link, new shock and possibly new drivetrain (short cage mech), DH wheels, tyres, then remove expensive Enduro bits that you don't want to wreck e.g. dropper.
Not a cheap conversation in terms of time or money. I'd rather run a separate, DH bike with cheap with heavy components designed to take some punishment.
  • 1 0
 I wish the review included a little about if the bike had any pedal feedback if any. i assume it didn't, but you know what they say about assuming
  • 6 0
 @pdxjeremy High pivot bikes with an idler on, or very close to the pivot, have negligible or zero pedal feedback and chain growth.
  • 3 0
 @mattbeer: thank you for the response, I really enjoyed the review!
Have a XL frame on the way
  • 2 0
 @pdxjeremy: Cheers! Enjoy!
  • 3 0
 You guys aren’t going to make me wait and review the Spire last are you?
  • 5 1
 Highly likely tbh
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: damnit. That hurt
  • 1 1
 If you care about weight, you should not be buying this bike. The majority of the spy shots of this bike were of Norco's DH team using it as a DH bike. It's a DH bike with a different fork/shock/link.
  • 2 0
 Did you guys use the same tires on all the bikes for the efficiency test?
  • 5 0
 Yes. Same tires, same PSI.
  • 2 0
 I'll wait for a downhill-friendly XC bike.
  • 2 0
 I cant get over the levy eyebrows
  • 1 0
 Do you think levy is going to start an outside XC website (guess they have one)? Seems to be way into the upping these days
  • 3 0
 No, I can barely keep up with this website let alone another one.
  • 3 0
 Oh lawd he comin’
  • 3 0
 My Slayer is 41lbs...
  • 1 1
 This is a joke
  • 1 0
 Come on @mattbeer , forget Sugar, I know you rode it on Honey Drop, how was it there?
  • 2 0
 My nerves were the only thing holding me back on that trail Smile
  • 3 1
 This would make a sick ebike!
  • 1 0
 Great review but the best part was the “what is a paywall” in the google search history
  • 2 0
 Pedal friendly dh bike, Canfield One.2...
  • 2 1
 Pedal-friendly DH bike? At that point, might as well get an e-bike with a lot of travel.
  • 2 0
 Very pretty!
  • 2 1
 The antidote still looks much better.
  • 1 0
 I think a side by side test with the RM Slayer would be good......
  • 1 0
 I have the Range VLT coming in and cant wait!
  • 1 0
 Great review. Turn Henry up!
  • 1 1
 Why don't you use a time reference to evaluate climbing performance for enduro bikes ?
  • 1 0
 Marketing con its a DH bike with single crown forks.
  • 1 0
 Do we know which bikes are being included in this Field Test?
  • 1 0
 @Matt Beer
Large comes with 500lb spring, not 450lb
  • 1 0
 When does the new dh bike come out?
  • 2 0
 Where is Kazimer?!?!
  • 1 1
 I want his dogs
  • 1 0
 Haha, that helmet is so ugly. Sick bike!
  • 1 0
 Can't wait for a 150-160mm lighter version (sub 15kg)
  • 1 0
 Now that's what I call a next-level mud-shelf!
  • 2 0
 I like this bike.
  • 1 0
 I still just want this head to head with the Dreadnought.
  • 1 0
 overprice garbage
  • 2 3
 9K for 17kg is this a joke ? Stop this shit!
  • 5 8
 Looks like a forbidden
  • 5 0
 Linkage is totally different. But, Owen Pemberton designed the Aurum HSP and then left to start Forbidden.
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