Early season Lost Lake trails – Whistler
A funny thing happened when I started riding the Norco Range Killer B. I forgot to analyze how the bike rode. I forgot to fixate on the differences between the 650b wheel size and how they rolled compared to other wheel sizes. I forgot to micro-parse obscure geometry details. Instead I enjoyed the unseasonable dryness of our local trails and just rode and rode and rode.
Eventually overcoming the feeling of contentment and satisfaction that comes with riding a bicycle that feels just right, I remembered that I had a job to do and started taking notes. Norco is a pretty conservative company; by that I mean they’re not known for bold moves. The Range was their bread and butter high-end pedally “North Shore” dual suspension bike; a 6-and-6 Horst-link machine that was well-received. But it’s not a bike that one would accuse of standing out from the crowd. Norco turned that reputation on its head last year when they announced that the Range (and Sight) line of bikes would go to the all-so-fashionable 650b wheel standard.
In the interests of breaking a trend of reviewing super-expensive specs, Norco made the relatively affordable $2,800 Range Three available for review. Having had a lot of time on Norco bike, I was prepared to enjoy it on the downhill. I wasn’t prepared to also love it on the uphill — but love it I did.
Bottom line, this bike was one of the best value-for-money bikes I have ever had the pleasure of riding. But beware. Demand for the Norco Range has been so great that the entire lineup of bikes is almost completely sold out. First world problems for Norco but a real world problem for consumers. Onward to the review.
I’m 160 lbs, 5’11″ and have had over 15 years experience riding bikes in North Vancouver, Squamish, Whistler, the Chilcotins and many other areas in B.C. and Alberta. I’ve also made many bike trips to Switzerland, Tyrol, Utah, Washington, Oregon, California and the Yukon, so I’ve had some experience biking in a variety of terrain. My bias is towards pedaling up, and unlike many people who learned to ride bikes on North Shore trails, I actually enjoy riding (and sometimes bushwhacking) uphill.
My personal bikes are a Santa Cruz Tallboy, Pivot Mach 5, and a Specialized Demo 7. I’ve had very little experience in the 650b category and, in that tire size have ridden the Rocky Mountain Altitude, the Norco Range and the Norco Sight but only for short rides. This is a test bike that will be given back to Norco at the end of the test period. I am not sponsored by Norco and have no commercial association with Norco.