The 2018 Norco Search XR drop-bar adventure gravel road bike takes their original off-road 700c model and updates it for modern wheel and tire sizes. The original Seach debuted a few years ago, during which time the market for gravel bikes has exploded and evolved. The new Search adds more mounts and more tire clearance, opening it up to 650B or 26″ mountain bike treads and more.
The Search uses a flat-section seat tube, their thin ARC seatstays and an ovalized chainstay shape to add compliance, but they borrow layup and carbon tech from their race bikes to ensure plenty of power makes it from your legs to the rear wheel, too.
Where things get really interesting is the wheel size. On most frame sizes, it will fit a 700×45 or 650bx2.1″ tire. On the two smallest frame sizes (45.5 and 48), they swap in 650b for the big wheels, and 26″ mountain bike wheels if you want to run bigger rubber. This lets them maintain normal geometry, keeping the stack and reach consistently scaled from biggest to smallest.
Other clever features include an integrated chain catcher/guide mount, sealed cable entry ports and a hidden rack mount on the seat collar. For the latter, simply mount your rear rack’s front arm to the bolt hole on the back of the seatpost clamp and it’s good for up to 20kg when also mounted to the lower anchor points. Called Das Boot, it also serves to keep mud and dust from getting down into the frame.
There are two attachment points on the rear dropouts – one standard threaded hole just able the thru axle, and another removable one that threads into the back of the dropout. For fenders, they have a removable SASSY (Secret Attachable Seat Stay Yoke). The idea was to give the bike all of the options, but keep it clean looking when you don’t need them.
The fork also gets fender mounts, plus additional cage/anything mounts further up the legs (visible on complete bike pics below).
Most of the complete bikes come as 1×11 builds. The top model is the Search XR Force 1 at $4,199 (not shown, but comes in the gray fade of the carbon frameset shown on right). The least expensive carbon frame model is the Apex 1 for $2,899.
Between the two is an Ultegra 2×11 build, replacing the chain catcher with a front derailleur mount. It runs $3,799.
New for 2018 is a steel version (the original Search came in carbon or alloy, and they’re still available on Norco’s website as of this posting). It has a Reynolds 725 Chromoly frame with their Search SL hi-mod carbon fork (same as what’s on the carbon models). Besides frame material, one key difference is these use external cable routing. It comes in two complete bikes, the Shimano 105 2×11 on the left for $1,999, and the SRAM Rival 1 for $2,599.
The bikes are available for pre-order now through Norco dealers.