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Trail and Enduro Bikes

Norco Range C2 – Dirty Dozen

Big wheels and long travel from British Colombia

Norco has always been high on my list for trail bikes that really interest me and with the previous Range being a Dirt 100 pick there is no need to question why this 29er is here in the Dirty Dozen..

Words: Ieaun Williams, Sean White  Images: Ieuan Williams

With the likes of Bryn Atkinson, Jill Kintner and the DH team of Joe smith and Sam Blenkinsop there are some real names to help with the development of the new Range 29er and any other new bike that is to come from Norco.

For 2018 Norco has addressed sizing with the new much more up to date fit. The extra large size bike’s reach at 483mm is a welcome revision compared to the previous model, which only ran up to a size large. The 29” wheels are also a new addition to the latest Range model (and run alongside the 27.5″/650B option) and the 150mm travel frame is paired with a 160mm fork. A 65.5° head angle, size specific chainstay lengths and 40mm stock stem lengths give strong hints on this bike’s intentions. This fits nicely into what we here at Dirt feel is a modern enduro bike. Long travel, good chassis size and 29” wheelset.

With three sizes on offer from medium to extra large the height range seems to be covered. Our size large test bike feels spot on for riders around and just over the six foot mark.

There are also three specification choices bit this seems to change depending on where you are buying the bike. Three specs in Canada and the US then over in Europe only the mid range bike and top build can be purchased. In the UK on the other hand Norco only offers one build and this is what we have here. With a full round up of SRAM equipment being backed up by some E-13 hoops it’s not lacking that’s for sure.

Specification – 2018 Norco range c2

FRAME: Range Carbon 29 150mm travel ,

FORK: RockShox Lyrik RCT 3 160mm 29, 170mm 650B, 15×110

REAR SHOCK: RockShox Super Deluxe piggy back Trunnion

RIMS: E-13 TRS 30mm

FRONT TYRE: E-13 TRS Race Sticky Triple Compound 2.35

REAR TYRE: E-13 TRS+ Dual Compound 2.35

HUBS: DT 350 Boost 110×15, 148×12

TRANSMISSION: SRAM GX Eagle 12 speed

CASSETTE: SRAM XG 1150 10-50T cassette

BOTTOM BRACKET: SRAM GXP Pressfit BB 92

CRANKSET: Truvativ Decendant Eagle Boost 32T

CHAIN TENSIONER: E-13 TRS ISCG 05 No Bash

SEATPOST: RockShox Reverb Stealth 1x lever 125 M/ 150mm L/XL, 31.6mm

SADDLE: SDG Duster RL Cro-mo rails

STEM: Race Face Aeffect R 40mm (29),

HANDLEBAR: Race Face Turbine R 35mm, 800mm, 20mm rise

GRIPS: SDG Stage 1 lock-on

BRAKES: SRAM Code R (Rotors: F 200mm, R 180mm)

PRICE: £4600

(Review continues below)

OPINION: IEUAN WILLIAMS

Norco are no stranger to big hitting and fast paced bikes and with some clean cut lines and stealth paintwork this new carbon Range 29er looks bang on too. Norco has paid attention to detail here with great cable routing and large amounts of frame protection. There really should be no noise from this machine. It took no time at all to realise that the sizing here is on the money with a reach figure of 461mm on this size large test bike. This matched with a good shaped cockpit (40mm stem, 800mm bar) makes for a comfy and fitting place to sit.

With a RockShox suspension platform on offer reliability should be no issue. A 1×12 transmission from SRAM and a set of the new SRAM Code RSC stoppers on offer mean that things are looking good from the start – no compromises here. The aluminium wheels are a great thing to see though as they add some give and flex to the bike. This wheelset when matched with the stock E-13 Tsr+ tyres did hook up well.

No noise…. and I mean no noise too. Zero chain slap with the stays being far enough away to stay out of mischief. Although with the amount of slap protection as standard it wouldn’t matter if it did.

Ride wise is where the Norco Range gets a little unstuck. There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of urgency to the feel of the bike. When picking it up through sections or playing through a technical line it feels a little numb. This was improved after some further set up on the dampers but still not a comparison when compared to the Orbea Rallon or the Specialized Enduro 29. These are both carbon framed bikes but don’t have as stiff a ride and give a more playful feel.

Don’t get me wrong, the Range has some benefits when charging. It’s quick to pick up speed when pushed hard and will reward the effort put in. There just is not much of an involving feel to the ride.

Fast, incredibly quiet but slightly bland. It may be that this bike is so easy to ride and efficient it makes things feel a touch boring. The Range C2 will be a bike that will be looking at putting against the clock as some point in the future.

OPINION : SEAN WHITE

This carbon framed Norco range was one of the first bikes I tested in the Dirty Dozen line up. As a trail rider I’m a long time 29″ wheel fan and many years ago (2012?) I ran a Norco Shinobi as a Dirt long term test bike. This bike was one of the first 29ers to win us over and prove itself useful in technical terrain. It went on to take a place in the 2013 Dirt 100. So Norco were in early on this wheel size and I was intrigued to see how this brand has progressed now that the 27.5″ size has almost become the default choice for many. The Range was the only Norco 29er I had ridden since the 2016 launch of the shorter travel Optic.

‘Silent’ and ‘efficient’ are the two keywords that stuck with me through my time on the Range C2. It’s a very well finished bike with plenty of attention to detail throughout. At 6′ 2″ I’m always at the turning point between a L and XL frame size but like the Whyte S-150 I felt this size large frame to be both roomy and comfortable, whether sitting and spinning or standing and attacking.

I’m sold on SRAM’s 1×12 Eagle drivetrain and its slickness in all conditions was surely a part of the Norco’s silence. In fact the parts mix is hard to fault and although this bike weighed in at a shade over the thirty pound mark (13.6kg) it felt lighter than that on the trail.

Along with the geometry, the sizing felt up to date (along with a sorted bar and stem), although as Ieuan has mentioned above there seemed to be a touch less personality to this bike. A quality that may well not matter to many riders but something that raised its head when testing twelve similar bikes and after all, the grip and handling are spot on. The Range C2 is fast, smooth, quiet and less tiring than many here and has an easy to ride nature that is in some ways similar to the Marin Wolf Ridge. It’s a bike I immediately admired but didn’t get emotionally attached to. However, I feel with more time on the Range this could be a real grower. I struggled to let that old Norco Shinobi go at the end of its test period, as after twelve months it had really got under my skin. It could very well be the same with the Range…

norco.com

evanscycles.com

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