Norco Bicycles have been sneaking out clips of a bike that was making a mountain shudder over the past week, and they've just announced what many knew must be coming - the all-new Norco Range. With the Fluid, Revolver, Optic and Sight all having extensive make overs with suspension kinematics and geometry redesigns based around the Ride Aligned concept. Some were left what happened to the Range. While the Sight jumped up into the travel bracket of the Range, Norco then confused everyone a little more with the Norco Shore.


Take a look at our reviews of the recent Norco bikes
Norco Fluid
Norco Optic
Norco Sight


Was the range gone?

No, the Range was just busy being developed into an all-out, Enduro racing, big mountain riding, terrain eating monster. 

And that looks like a 170mm travel carbon 29er, with a high pivot and idler pulley suspension design. No alloy frames, no small wheels, and no mixed wheel (mullet) sizing. The Range is pitched as a high performance big mountain bike, and that means carbon for performance handling and big wheels for speed.

There are three models available - full specs and photos are lower on this page.

Range C1:            $9,999 AUD
Range C2:            $7,999 AUD
Range C3:            $6,799 AUD

All about the Norco Range 

The Ride Aligned concept has been the main driver for Norco for a few years. Norco were using Gravity Tune to compensate for rider size differences for a while. This meant bigger bikes had longer chainstays, and the reach grew proportionally as well. Or, these numbers shrunk. But the aim was to have the bike ride how the designers wanted, without it being optimised just for a medium or large.

Ride Aligned took that and put a lot more specific data in about people's position on the bikes, as opposed to just the data from the bike itself. That means a rider's position is used for determining how the bike will ride loaded, where the centre of gravity is, how the reach will feel, how the back end will feel, how the suspension works and yes, many other components as well. It's a very holistic concept, but one that has taken years of data acquistion and untold hours of testing with riders. Norco have said that the new Range was their most extensive testing yet.

Norco took Ride Aligned a little further with the frame designs for the Range, as not only do the rear centre lengths and seat tube angles change across all four sizes, but the head angle as well. The smaller frames have slightly steeper seat angles to help smaller riders keep the front wheel loaded and hooking in.

"Fractions of degrees and millimeters may seem insignificant on paper, but on-bike testing confirmed that these seemingly small changes made a big difference in how the different frame sizes performed," Norco stated in their product release.

Travel is 170mm, there's room for a full size bottle, an accessory mount, and you can run up to 2.5" tyres. The Range can even take 200mm dropper posts! Fork offset runs at 44mm to work with the 63-67.5 degree head angles. The seat tube angles are steeper on larger sizes, to help stop tall riders sitting over the back hub once their seat is at full height. Smaller sizes also get thinner grips, and shorter dropper posts.

Norco knew they wanted a low centre of gravity for handling, plus an idea of the ideal axle path, kinematics, shock tune and anti squat, all to deliver exceptional suspension and handling characteristics. Enter the High Virtual Pivot.

What's the High Virtual Pivot?

This is what Norco came up with, and yes it does look very similar to the Norco Aurum HSP (High Single Pivot). The pivot point is not fixed which means Norco can have a rearward axle path without the chain tugging on your pedals - or pedal kickback - and still have low levels of anti-rise, which is how the braking impacts the suspension. 



The result is exatly what you want, active suspension on rough terrain, that isn't influenced by braking, and doesn't get hooked up on square edge hits or give lots of pedal kickback. How active the suspension is under braking is what puts the High Virtual Pivot ahead of the HSP design of the Aurum. The idler is still required to accommodate the chain growth as the rear wheel follows it's rearward axle path, without rotating the cranks backwards (which is the pedal kickback you might feel on other bikes).

Each frame size has had its pivot locations specifically designed to match the overall design kinematics, which is no small feat when the rear ends are different on each bike.

Specificity

Norco are adamant that no, you shouldn't put a 27.5" rear wheel in as it will throw out the geometry. And no, you shouldn't try any offset bushings that might disrupt the suspension kinematics.

And to that point, the frame has been designed for the very linear Fox DHX2. A RockShox Super Deluxe Coil will also fit, but most other shocks may not. And if they do, they probably won't suit the frame, especilly if they ramp up much.

Norco have tested the Range with 180mm forks in single and dual crown, and give you two thumbs up if that's something you'd like to do. And if you looked closely, you might see the Norco Factory Team on these frames, albeit on different swing arms.

Specs and pricing of the Norco Range

With three models on offer, all bikes share the same carbon frame.

Norco Range C1 - $9999

The top dog sails in just under 5 figures, which is super impressive when you consider what this bike goes up against with the Specialized Enduro, Pivot Firebird, Forbidden Dreadnought or Yeti SB165 - amongst others.

Frame: Full carbon, 170mm travel
Shock: Fox DHX2 factory Coil, 170mm
Fork: Fox Float 38, 170mm travel, GRIP2, 44mm offset
Drivetrain: SRAM XO/XO1 Eagle
Brakes: SRAM Code RSC, 200/200mm, metallic pads
Wheels: We Are One Union rims on Onyx Vesper hubs
Tyres: Maxxis Assegai/Dissector
Cockpit: Deity bars, OneUp dropper, DMR grips


There are a couple of changes compared to the photo, that's to be expected right now. But it's a tonne of bike for 10 grand. Which seems odd to say, until you look around at the pricing for similar bikes.
 
Norco Range C2: $7999

Two thousand bucks back in your pocket (Maydena trip, anyone?) doesn't dial this model back a whole lot.

Frame: Full carbon, 170mm travel
Shock: Fox DHX2 factory Coil, 170mm
Fork: RockShox ZEB Ultimate RC2, 170mm travel, 44mm offset
Drivetrain: SRAM GX Eagle
Brakes: SRAM Code R, 200/200mm, metallic pads
Wheels: E*13 LG1 rims on DT Swiss 350 hubs
Tyres: Maxxis Assegai/Dissector
Cockpit: Deity bars, TransX dropper, DMR grips

The main saving here is not using carbon wheels. The We Are One Union wheels on the C1 really are amazing according to our tester Ryan Walsch - but there's very little performance difference for $2000 for the rest of the build. If you want the best brakes, wheels and drivetrain, the C1 is still the pick. But the C2 and a riding holiday sounds good, for the same price.

Range C3 - $6799

Last and by no means least, the Range C3. By no means cheap, it's the first step on the ladder in the, er... range Range.

Frame: Full carbon, 170mm travel
Shock: Fox DHX2 factory Coil, 170mm
Fork: RockSHox Zeb Chrager R, 170mm travel, 44mm offset
Drivetrain: Shimano Deore/SLX 12-speed
Brakes: Shimano MT520 4-piston, 203/203mm, metallic pads
Wheels: Stan's Flow D rims on Shimano MT410/510 hubs
Tyres: Maxxis Assegai/Dissector
Cockpit: Alloy bars, Trans-X dropper, DMR grips

This could be the ideal park bike, with the same terrain munching frame and rear shock, just with a slightly more cost effective drivetrain and wheels package - ready to be ridden into oblivion and replaced without costing the earth.

As you'd imagine, stock delivery is a little way off. Norco Australia don't have firm landing dates, but you can be sure stock will be limited. If you're after more details, drop in to your local Norco dealer. We're crossing everything we can get a test bike to play with, and if so, we'll let you know how this rig stacks up.