Review: Norco Range Killer B-Three 650b/27.5 All Mountain Bike

27.5 Enduro Pro Reviews

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.

Author Biases

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.

Pemberton singletrack

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.

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About the author: Lee Lau

Lee Lau calls North Vancouver and Whistler BC home. He's had over 15 years experience riding bikes mainly in western North America and in Europe. Unlike many people who learned to ride bikes on North Shore trails, he actually enjoys riding (and sometimes bushwhacking) uphill.


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  • Izzy says:

    “If you’re outside this range you’ll need to change the stock spring”
    Huh? You mean add/remove air???
    Where’s Francis’ video as mentioned on the last page?
    How does the Sight Killer-B’s climbing performance compare to the Range’s? Particularly the way the suspension behaves?

  • LeeL says:

    Sloppy on my part – Francis’s video is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1EnL5wf2MOM

    Actually check out the X-Fusion site via the link and the other link in the story re the mod. There’s a coil spring and an air spring. You actually have to change the stock coil spring. IMO if you’re going through that trouble spring the extra 300 and get the HLR damper which gets you HSC and LSC

    Sight Killer B pedals better with substantially less bob particularly in the small ring

  • Maple says:

    Lee,

    How’s it compare with the RM Altitude? Like you I’m more of climber, which would you prefer on a trail like Pipeline (Fromme), or Cardiac (Bby), or Salamander (Seymour), or Franks (Burke)… as a wide assortment of trails?

  • Oscar says:

    Which trail on Fromme is that jump on? (If it’s not a secret) Looks like fun!

    • Paul Snyder says:

      Oscar – all the trails in this video are on Seymour. None of them are secret. They are listed (not in order of appearance) under the video on Vimeo.

  • LeeL says:

    Maple – the Altitude is more comparable to the Sight. The Ranges quality of suspension is more plush and better for absorption of small hits and/or multiple hits than the Altitude/Sight but IMO the Altitude and Sight are better climbing bikes

  • Angel says:

    What size bike are you riding on these video ?

  • Lee Lau says:

    Angel – I’m on a size Medium

  • M@ says:

    Do you feel that the M was the best fit at 5’11? I’ve always landed in the middle of sizing charts at 5’8″. Curious if the small would be a better fit or throw a 40/50 stem on a M. Ordered my 2014

    • Lee Lau says:

      M@ – I thought the Med was a good fit for me but I tend to prefer smaller sizes. You’ve got a tough problem – I tend to think that you might be a S but that’s a guess

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