I got to chat with Norco’s Engineering Manager PJ Hunton about two brand new 650b prototypes. Shown here is the 160mm bike that is NOT the Range 650b. This bike has been completely designed from the ground up as a new model. This is a very early prototype and there are only 5 of these bikes (1 in each size) in existence.
650b Prototype features:
- 66 1/2 degree headtube angle
- Gravity tuned so chainstay length is different for each sizes ranges (from 419mm on xsm to 438 on xlg)
- Bottom bracket height is a touch lower than the Range 26″
- 73 degree seat tube angle
- 160mm front and rear travel
- Norco’s own suspension specifically designed for 650b wheels
- Tapered head tube
- Hydroformed tubing throughout
- Custom forgings
- Asymmetrical seat stays
- Completely new design specifically for this wheel size
- Butted clevis-less Horst link pivot
There is a Sight 650b that is also in development. The Norco design team has taken what they know from their 26″ bikes and their 29ers and blended that knowledge together to create a prototype that “out-of-the-box” is very close to where they want to be. This is a “round one” prototype, but round two will not be far behind, expect to see those rideable prototypes (rideable by cycling journalists and Norco team riders and insiders) later this summer.