Norco Search XR Car­bon

Find con­fi­dence and ad­ven­ture on rough roads

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - re­viewed by Dan Walker

Find con­fi­dence and ad­ven­ture on rough roads

If you’re gravel cu­ri­ous and won­der what you need and what matches your skills, take a look at a frame like the Norco Search XR Car­bon. It’s an ex­cel­lent plat­form from which you can build your gravel rid­ing chops. The Search’s long and slack geom­e­try can grow the con­fi­dence of even the most timid gravel rid­ers

With a com­plete Shi­mano grx Di2 build, the Search XR Car­bon has been my plat­form for off-road and gravel ad­ven­tures this past fall. From the Scrappy Bad­ger gravel race to the lo­cal CX cour­ses and even a mel­low moun­tain bike net­work, I’ve been able to do a wide va­ri­ety of rid­ing with Norco’s Search XR.

The Search XR cer­tainly leans to­ward ad­ven­ture and bikepack­ing. With a fairly re­laxed seat-tube and head­tube an­gles, the bike places you in a con­fi­dent and sta­ble po­si­tion for when the road or trails be­gin to shift un­der­neath you. In one par­tic­u­larly gnarly de­scent at the Scrappy Bad­ger, I was able to throw my weight back and let the big tires and slack geom­e­try carry me down most of the scarier roots and rocks. Pre­vi­ously, in events like this, I’ve rid­den a tra­di­tional cy­clocross bike. I think the geom­e­try of the Search helped me get the most out of my skills.

Even though the Search seems de­signed for the ad­ven­ture side of the gravel spectrum, it cer­tainly doesn’t feel slow when you need to pick up the pace. When I needed to chase back to a group in a gravel event or ride up a punchy, steep climb on a new trail, the bike re­sponded well to each pedal stroke.

For the bikepacker, the Search does come with mounts all over the frame. There are the tra­di­tional two wa­ter-bot­tle mounts in the main tri­an­gle, a third on the un­der­side of the down tube, plus rack mounts and mounts on each fork blade, all of which should have you set for the long haul. The large area in­side the main tri­an­gle can ac­com­mo­date a frame bag, sus­pended above the wa­ter bot­tles.

Keep­ing with the theme of ad­ven­ture and adapt­abil­ity, the Search can run both 700c and 650b rims. All mod­els ship with 700c hoops, ex­cept for the size 45.5 and 48 frames, which come with 650b. If you want to run wide tires on the small frames, you can do so on 26" wheels. The wheels you choose can in­crease your per­for­mance on a par­tic­u­lar ride and, pos­si­bly, com­pen­sate for one part of your skillset that might be miss­ing. For ex­am­ple, I liked putting the bike in what I call “full party mode” with 650b wheels and 47-mm-wide tires. That setup, with file tread tires, meant I’d give up very lit­tle on the smooth sec­tions, but got the ex­tra trac­tion I need when things were rocky and rooty. A party in­deed.

For 2020, Norco has three Shi­mano grx builds on its Search XR Car­bon and one sram Force etap axs model. Whichever one you pick, it will take you where you want to go.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.