The Norco Range has been around long enough that it was debuted as an alloy 160mm All-Mountain bike back in 2010, before Enduro was even a thing. Over the years it made its first jump to 27.5″ wheels, updated geometry, then went carbon for 2014, and stretched out with longer fork travel last year. But now after teasing us last fall, Norco is back with an all new uh.. range-topping Range Carbon. The new frame has been reworked around both 27.5 & 29″ formats with different travel for each to deliver the same fit and ride character with either wheel size in a new longer, lower & slacker trail-eating machine…

Norco approached the overhaul of the Range from the perspective of being able to offer long travel, playful all-mountain bikes that could still pedal efficiently. “We looked at the way Enduro bikes are being used – yes, they’re pedaled to the top.” But at the same time the Enduro racing format means the bikes have to be built stronger than they had been to essentially “go through four or five downhill races over a weekend”. So with that in mind they took lessons learned on their recent carbon Aurum DH update. So the new bike gets both headtube and derailleur hanger designs ported from the Aurum to beef up stiffness and durability.

The big change of course is adding the 29er option to the previously 650b-only Range. To match the same fit of the smaller wheeled bike, the 29″ bike is based off the same rear center lengths, which necessitated some slightly different solutions around the bottom bracket. At the same time the big-wheeled bike adds a longer front center, steeper head angle, a shorter stem, and then of course the 10mm less travel at both ends (160mm front/150mm rear) to balance the character of the 29″ wheels.

Go back to the 27.5″ bike and the Range sticks with 170mm of fork travel, paired with 160mm in the rear, for those who would rather stick with the faster acceleration and more nimble handling of 650b wheels.

Geometry of the bikes is based on the prior 27.5″ bike, but get 0.6° slacker in the headtube, 2° steeper in the seattube, and lower the bottom bracket by 5mm.

When you factor in the length of the stems to look at a stack & reach figures (dubbed Stack Plus & Reach plus by Norco), the fit between both wheel platforms is exactly the same.

With the addition of the larger wheel size, it is also important to note that the new 29er version doesn’t offer as wide a size range. To achieve the same fit and handling, Norco only developed the medium, large & extra large frames for the new wheels. Smaller riders will still have access to the Range Carbon in the 650B variant down to an XS.

Looking at the two different frames side-by-side you can see some of the small variations between them. The bigger rear wheel of the 29er pushed the main pivot forward a few mm, necessitates a bit of reshaping of the downtube, and raises the lower shock mount a bit. Otherwise the big wheel bike also gets slightly shorter headtubes to help keep that stack figure down.

The Range Carbon sticks with Norco’s same Horst-link, 4-bar A.R.T. suspension with a slightly updated layout, and Boost rear spacing. And while the mainframe and seat stays go carbon, the chainstay assembly sticks with alloy. Like many of their other bikes, the Range Carbon gets size-specific rear & front center dimensions to maintain a similar weight balance and ride quality across all frame & rider sizes.

The Range Carbon also makes the jump to trunnion mount metric shocks for improved volume, smoother action, and future-proofing. The bikes also integrate downtube and chainstay protectors to ward off rock strikes to the carbon and to silence chainslap on the alloy chainstay. Around the Pressfit BB92, the Range Carbon gets an ISCG mount and complete bikes come built with an MRP AMG V2 chainguide.

The new Range includes Norco’s modular internal cable routing setup with Gizmo stops that will work with anything from mechanical or Di2 drivetrains, plus stealth dropper routing. All of the bikes get spec’d with tubeless ready wheels and meaty Maxxis Wide Trail tires with their reinforced casings, with 2.4″ tires in the back and 2.5″ at the front.

The Range Carbon is available in three complete build specs and then again in each wheel size. The top Range C9.1 & C7.1 (29″ & 27.5″ wheels, respectively) share the same spec, with Kashima-coated Fox Factory suspension, SRAM X01 Eagle 1×12 drivetrains & Guide RSC brakes, Reverb dropper, and wheels built around DT 240 hubs & 30mm internal RaceFace ARC 30 rims.

Next down, the Range C9.2 & C7.2 bikes stick with X01 Eagle drivetrains, but drop the spec down a tier ditching the carbon crank, going over to RockShox Lyric RC/Super Deluxe RC3 suspension, and swapping in SRAM hubs.

 

The base of the new carbon offerings are the Range C9.3 & C7.3 bikes, available in blue or gray. They get Yari Rc forks, the same Super Deluxe RC3 shock, and the more affordable NX 11 speed groupset. Wheels stay wide, but put on a few grams with WTB I-29 rims and Novatec hubs.

In addition to the complete bikes, a frame kit will also be available for both the Range C9.1 & C7.1 including a Fox Factory Float X2 Kashima shock.

Norco.com

4 COMMENTS

  1. Norco has done an amazing job with their new models offered in 29 and 27.5 seemingly providing all the benefits of each wheel size without undue compromise. Choice is KING! (funny to see long time slash riders going to the Remedy to get their prefered wheel size! 🙂 )

    As much as everyone seems to be saying 29 is the future of Enduro, (which it may be?), the fact is larger teams have had access to 29er Enduro bikes for years. And while some riders clearly excel with the larger wheels, the majority of pro riders are still on smaller wheels. Again, maybe this will change? Probably to some degree it will always come down to horses for courses for those that have the means/support. But I don’t think we can count out smaller wheeled Enduro bikes just yet…

    I think one area long travel 29er Enduro bikes will excel is for the average riders bike park bike. Don’t get me wrong, no Enduro bike is ever going to be faster on legitimate downhill trails. Nor will it be better than a dedicated Park bike for big air, etc. BUT for the average mountain biker who is never going to take advantage of pure DH bike speed or Park bike big air a long travel 29er Enduro bike gives them the traction and stabilty boost to really make the best of lift days! And it trail rides 100 times better than a DH bike for when you don’t happen to have a lift/shuttle! 🙂

    My only disapointment is the slacker seat tube on the larger bikes. (I knew they were gong to do it, the Optic and Sight did it, but I was hoping maybe the small would get a 76* seat tube and the XL would get a 74.5* or something still relatively steep…)

    I get the longer chain stays on bigger bikes so that taller riders are kept in the center of the bike. Makes sense as long as we don’t end up too long and I don’t think they are. BUT then going to a slacker seat tube you’ve ended up putting my weight back farther anyway…??? I mean I guess it’s good they ALSO make the chainstays longer otherwise it would just FLIP! 🙂

    Great looking bikes though…

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