Compare-O Bottom Line: Born on the ‘shore’ Norco Range 7.1 packs proven DH chops in AM package

27.5 Enduro Enduro Compare-O 2014
Slack, but Nimble in the Corners

Contributing to the bike’s nimble but capable handling are the slack 66-degree head angle and 73.9-degree effective seat tube angle. The bottom bracket height is a somewhat standard 13.5-inches but the real magic lies in the short 16.8-inch chainstays which really help the Range rail.

Our medium size test bike offered plenty of stand over room, and Norco also spec’d some generous tire clearance for your big meats—something that comes in handy for places like the Shore.

Photo by Tyler Frasca.

Helping matters all-around is the Range’s tight lateral personality. Norco’s one-piece HolloForm Link Arms provides “hyper-rigid”stability, as Norco calls it. True-to-form, rear end flex was non-existent during our testing.

The pivots and shock mounts on the Range use bearings with expanded collets that apply even pressure against the bearings—a nice touch even if you can’t see it. We did have one of the pivots work itself loose during our test, but a tiny dab of LocTite took care of the issue.

Hi-Vis Orange Won’t be Mistaken for Carbon

The Norco Range Alloy 7.1 comes in only one color—bright orange. Its glossy, painted finish really stood out from the black livery of most of our Compare-O test bikes. The few graphic highlights are subtle, angular graphics that follow the clean lines of the bikes natural shape.

The Range Alloy doesn’t have the slick internal cable routing of other bikes, but the external cable routing is clean and tidy, and makes for easy maintenance. Though the Range 7.1 ships sans dropper post, Norco accommodated adding one aftermarket with cable routing and a slick, integrated seat collar guide.

Who’s This Bike For?

If you’re an enduro/all-mountain rider on a budget that likes to go big and take chances, you should take a close look at the Norco Range Alloy 7.1.

The Last Word

At $3150, the Norco Range Alloy 7.1 is the least expensive bike in our test by a big margin—it’s actually less that the frame-only price of some of the bikes here. True, there are certain concessions the price point demands—heavier wheels, no dropper post, no 1×11—but for what it is, the Range is a great value, and not just because it’s cheap.

Key to the Range’s value proposition is a well thought-out parts spec. With 1×11 drivetrains prohibitively expensive even in its cheapest form, 2×10 systems—particularly with a smart SRAM, RaceFace and Shimano mix as seen on our Range—deliver great value. And our wheels—a Sun Inferno rims/Shimano Deore hub mashup—aren’t the lightest, but they work, and in combination with Schwalbe’s excellent and sticky Hans Dampf tires, they deliver real performance.

The Norco Range Alloy 7.1 is a true blue North Shore all-mountain sled, offering outstanding performance and value. It’s a rugged ride that takes serious abuse and asks for more. What it doesn’t ask for is a big chunk of change.

YouTube Preview Image Video: Norco’s promo video featuring the Range. The video was titled before the model’s official name for 2014 was set in stone. You might never take your Range on a sea plane to ride, but you could. Video courtesy of Norco Bicycles.

Pros
  • Value: the Norco Range Alloy offers a lot of bike for $3150
  • Proven four bar suspension design made better with Norco’s A.R.T. optimization
  • Nimble handler, confidence inspiring, begs to go big
  • Fox 34 Float Evolution fork, Shimano Deore brakes, Schwalbe Hans Dampf tires
Cons
  • Weight (both the bike and the wheels are not light)
  • No dropper post, but easily upgradable and dropper post ready
  • No 1×11 option
Price and Other Versions

Range Alloy 7.1 as tested: $3150
Range Alloy 7.2: $2409
Range Carbon LE: $7345
Range Carbon 7.1: $5676
Range Carbon 7.2: $3630

2014 Norco Range Alloy 7.1 Key Specs
  • MSRP: $3150
  • Weight: 31.76 pounds (size medium)
  • Wheel size: 27.5 inches
  • Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Color: orange
  • Frame Material: hydroformed alloy
  • Fork: Fox 34 Float Evolution 27.5
  • Rear Travel: 160mm
  • Rear Shock: Fox Evolution Float CTD Shock
  • Headset: FSA #57 E (semi integrated ) 1.5- to 1-1/8-inches
  • Handlebar: RaceFace Evolve 750mm bar
  • Stem: RaceFace Ride stem
  • Grips: Norco design lock on grips
  • Seatpost: Norco Lite 2014 alloy double bold seatpost 30.9mm
  • Brakes: Shimano Deore Hydraulic Disc, 180mm front,  160mm rear
  • Brake Levers: Shimano Deore
  • Shifters: Shimano SLX
  • Front Derailleur: SRAM X-5 10 speed front derailleur
  • Rear Derailleur: Shimano SLX Shadow Plus Direct mount type
  • Cassette: Shimano HG-62 10 speed cassette
  • Crankset: RaceFace Evolve crank 2×10 22/36
  • Rims: Sun Inferno 27.5 Trail/AM rims
  • Hubs: Shimano Deore center lock hubs 15mm front/142×12 rear
  • Spokes: Black stainless steel 2.0
  • Tires: Schwalbe Hans Dampf 2.35
  • Chainguide: no
  • Head Tube Angle: 66.5 degrees
  • Seat Tube Angle: 69.0 degrees (actual), 73.2 degrees (effective)
  • Chainstay Length: 427mm
  • Bottom Bracket Height: 344mm

For more information visit www.norco.com .

This story is part of Mtbr’s 2014 Enduro Compare-O. Check out our intro story here for all the ground rules and goings ons.

Compare-O Bottom Line: Born on the ‘shore’ Norco Range 7.1 packs proven DH chops in AM package Gallery
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Norco Range 7.1 Bottom Line

Photo by Tyler Frasca.
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Norco Range Alloy 7.1 Back

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Norco Range Alloy 7.1 Front

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Norco Range 7.1 Dropper Post Ready

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Norco Range A.R.T. and HolloForm

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Norco Range 7.1 Honed

Photo by Tyler Frasca.
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Norco Range Alloy 7.1 Frame

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Norco Range 7.1 Climb

Photo by Tyler Frasca.
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Norco Range Alloy 7.1 Climb

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Norco Range Alloy 7.1 Bottom Line Thumb

About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato has been the Site Manager of Mtbr.com for over 14 years and enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.


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  • Roger says:

    32lbs well duh, it’s not a carbon bike! It’s single pivot…the shock that does all the work! Does it have enve wheels? Makes all the difference!

  • Roger says:

    This compare-o is ridiculous! It’s apple and oranges! We know carbon and aluminum bikes are too different rides, also carbon and aluminum wheels! Also factor in rider fitness! Let’s see some pro credentials!

  • Shawn says:

    Roger,it’s not a single pivot bike. Norco licences Specialized’s four bar Horst link suspension design.

  • Ian says:

    Some carbon and alu bikes are very close. Pivot 5.7 is within half a pound and rides great in alu. Well build alu wheels will be as good as carbon and less,prone to fail on hard rock hits. Most of us are still on alu frames with alu wheels.. So it is very relevant NorCal sight in alu got a lot of praise so I have hopes for this one too

  • David says:

    How have you selected the bikes that are under test?
    I see a number of boutique brands, niner, yeti, ibis etc, but a brand like Transition have a couple of bikes both 29 & 26 that fit this category yet are nowhere to be seen.
    Their Bandit29 is an awesome ride and the Covert to more agressive again.
    Any thoughts?

  • Chez says:

    I agree mostly with this review. It is a portly bike(I have last year’s Range 2) but can be lightened up very easily with the money you save. It climbs EXCEEDINGLY well for how heavy it is. I switched mine up to a narrow wide front and it has been great. It’s like having a mini DH bike that can climb. Bike design has come a long way in just a few short years. Now to get some lighter wheels.

  • Doctor says:

    I like how all the pics are of someone on a 6″ bike on a trail that’s smooth as a baby’s butt.

    Also agree with others, this review is pretty useless with the disparity of build kits. Why ding a low-cost bike for lacking a dropper post or being heavy? Is there some other equally cheap bike doing a better job?

    Also: there’s basically no actual “compare” in this compare-o.

  • Zrider says:

    I have this bike and it is pretty amazing. It is not a light bike, but I am running DH tires on Raceface wheels and swapped out a lot of the shimano stuff for X9. I am also running 203F/180R disks so wieght wasn’t my concern. It comes in at 33 lb and rides great and climbs better then my 2011 Spec Stumpy FSR. The Fox fork is really a POS. They did improve, but FOX is still riding on there name and not quality. I would buy this bike again and truly use the bike to the limit (I also have a DH and DJ bike, I ride hard and this is my XC/all mountain bike). The paint and finish do not get enough credit, because the orange pearl paint looks amazing.

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