Enter 650B – The Correct Wheel for the Bike.
When it comes to mountain bike wheel size it is difficult to see the big picture and how it all fits together. The world has been using 26″ wheels for so long that the adoption of 29″ took much longer than expected; and there are still nay-sayers on any alternative to 26″.
When it came to redesigning the 2013 Norco range it was not about building a bike around a certain wheel, but rather building a bike that is the best performing machine possible in its intended use. Wheel size came later.
Starting conceptually on a whiteboard the Range is a bike that pedals extremely well on the way up, handles the bumps on the way down and can excel pretty much anywhere in between. This is the ultimate all mountain machine. In order to make this vision a reality there were a few key aspects of design that needed to happen.
To make the Range perfect, Gravity Tune needed to be utilized. Creating a unique geometry that varies with the size of the bike can guarantee a frame that fits a rider of any height. Frame stiffness is also important. Adding a Sytace X-12 Axle, hollowform linkarm, tapered headtube and an uber-stiff tubeset helps keep it all together. Choosing the perfect geometry was also crucial as well as the integration of A.R.T. Suspension to propel the rider up the climbs while soaking up every last bump on the decent.
Taking fit, stiffness, geometry and suspension together as a whole package left a problem. Stiffness and maneuverability could not be achieved using 29″ wheels and the 26″ wheel would not have the rolling capabilities necessary to truly make this bike shine. Enter 650B.
With a 650B wheel, the XS frame can use the perfect chanstay length for the rider while the XL can accomplish the same ride characteristics in a larger sized frame. The 27.5″ wheel also gave the rolling characteristics we desired while not sacrificing our goals in strength, stiffness or an extremely long wheelbase.
Rather than rambling on for too long about this newly designed bike, we have a video for you to enjoy about the making, testing and production of the New 2013 Norco Range. Watch for more information on this and other 2013 models very soon.
Team H&R Block’s Summer Update
Team H&R Block has had a fantastic season so far this year. The group of racers has been traveling around North America showing off why they are such a great team. It has been a busy season and here are some of the recent top results.
The Banff Bike Fest, Alberta (Stage Race) – wrapped up a perfect West Coast Tour record with Aaron Schooler taking the overall win. Kris Dahl had two stage wins that resulted in him leading the event going into the final stage. Aaron was able to take the pressure off of Kris by getting into the winning move on the final road stage. This gave Aaron the lead while the other general classification riders were waiting for Kris to make a move. Craig Jones was the third member of the team at this tour and rode a strong supportive roll as they fought off other competing teams that had 5-8 members. Congrats to Aaron, Chris and Craig for bringing home the overall win for the team!
Tour de Beauce Stage Race, Quebec – was led by guest Team Director, Mark Walters who is a past US Pro Champion in 2002 and a 5-time Canadian Champion (elite road race in 1998 and 2001). Mark was a natural fit for this tour because he is a past winner of 2 stages and spent three days in yellow in the 2007 Tour de Beauce. As the team continues to grow, we will utilize the expertise of former Canadian riders like Mark to provide mentoring, leadership to all our riders. In return, this will help with the team’s maturity and growth as athletes work their way to turning Pro. Walters said, “This was a great experience and I look forward to the opportunity again next year”. At the tour, the team had its highest general classification finish with Rob Britton coming in 10th. During the last stage, Rob along with riders like Sebastian Salas (former H&R Block rider who is now racing professionally), established a lead that put them as virtual leaders on the road. However, they were brought back as the big teams were looking to keep their top GC riders on the podium. This is what racing is all about and we are really happy with how Rob challenged the top riders for the win.
Canadian National Road Championships – After some hard fought tours, the team came together for one of the biggest events of the season. There was minimal time to recover between these tours but were exciting to race for the opportunity to become National Champion. The team lived together during this event which allowed them to relax and focus on getting ready for the races.
The Individual Time Trial (ITT) was the first race of the Championships. It was a very hot day (38*C) that required the riders to warm up diligently. We would like to thank Team BC for allowing the team to share space with them under their canopies, as shade was a premium commodity that day. Jordan Cheyne had the team’s best result that day coming in 4th in the Under 23 category.
Men’s Elite Road Race – was next and the team fought a tough hard as they climbed Mt. Megantic seven times. Rob Britton made two very good moves, the first was to establish the winning break before even getting to the base of the first climb. The second great move was when he made an attack up the last climb, just before the chase group could catch him. He rode all day in the break with four SpiderTech (professional riders) and Marsh Cooper, Optum p/b Kelly Benefits/Strategy (professional rider). The break had up to a 6min lead on the chase group which was made up of many World Tour professional riders. The chase group raced hard and resulted in the gap coming down to just under one minute going into the last climb. As Rob attacked to keep the pressure on, the only two riders that were then able to cross over were Micheal Barry, Team Sky Pro Cycling and Sebastian Salas, Optum p/b Kelly Benefits Strategy. Over the last 50km, Micheal Barry made multiple attacks that resulted in the lead group splintering.
Rob was able to hang on for a fantastic 5th place finish after riding at the front of the race for the entire day. Along with this performance, Mike Sidic, Garrett McLeod and Aaron Schooler rode very well as they stayed with the main group over the final climb. Rob’s 5th place finish was the best Canadian Road National result that the team has had to date.
Lots of fun on 2 wheels
You may have heard me rambling on about training this spring for an event in July. Well, time flies and that event date finally rolled up. With no time to cram any additional training into my busy schedule meant that I was as ready as I was going to get, so now go ride. The event I had been training for all spring was the Cascade Bike Club’s STP or Seattle To Portland ride. This event has been around for more than 30 years, and is one of the biggest one and two day events anywhere in the Pacific Northwest.
Our ride group consisted of 2 Norco staff, one of our Seattle retailers and 4 friends, but at times our pace-line would have another 10-20 riders tagging along enjoying the nice consistent pull. At any time during our event, there were riders up ahead of us as far as we could see… and as far back behind us too. It was really cool to ride with that many riders in such an event.
The STP took all 10,000 preregistered riders on a beautiful meandering relatively traffic free route south along Lake Washington, down through Kent, Spanaway, and zig-zagged along many kms of beautiful country roads before stopping in at Centralia for a major ½ way stop (the overnight stop for 2 day riders).
After a complete freshen up and change of clothes our group continued south through Winlock, Kelso then Longview, and over the grand bridge into Oregon. Now on the “home stretch” or last 90 kms, we followed the Columbia River through Rainer, St Helens Burlington and finally ended our 14 hour day at Holiday Park right in Portland.
The STP is officially measured at 204 miles, or more than 320 kms but by the time we added in our ride from our hotel in Seattle to the start line at 4:30 am, and back to our hotel in Portland after the finish line, my Sigma computer showed 345 kms total distance, in just under 12 hours of riding time. Yes, that put us at over 2 hours of stopped or pit area time but our rolling average was still high 28’s, pretty good for a bunch of desk jockeys. Yes, it was one BIG day in the saddle. BUT FUN !!! If you ever have the opportunity, check this event out. I’d recommend it to anyone. The organization was awesome… nice work Cascade Bike Club!! I’ll be back.
As if July wasn’t busy enough, we also had our 2013 Norco Bicycles Product Launch for Distributors, Dealers and our sales reps. This year was so great with 3 days of sunny skies, and some great riding including an urban ride down around the Sea Wall and Stanley Park, and road and mountain bike rides on the North Shore. I believe elsewhere in this e-news there will be some teasers of the new ’13 model year bikes… check em out.
So now jumping ahead to August. Kokanee Crankworx Festival (probably one of the world’s biggest and best mountain bike events) is just around the corner, then right after that I’ll be out on the bike course with neutral tech support at Ironman Canada event, helping keep those athletes moving towards the finish line and completing their huge challenge and goal. Finally after that things should calm down a bit – well that is for a few weeks then we will be off to Interbike down in Las Vegas. So, it is starting to seem like the bike season is just like painting a bridge… we are almost across and will be starting at the other end again –on the “bridge” or a whole new season of bikes again soon.
So now with us getting into August, there is still lots of summer left. I hope that you can get out on your bike and really enjoy the warm sunny skies and nice long days. If it has 2 wheels, you know it will make you smile. I know it does for me… See you out there. Steak Sauce
Source: Norco News