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2013 Norco Range 2 650B

Fromme on the Range

Words by Morgan Taylor. Photos by Morgan Taylor.
January 27th, 2013

The pedalable 6″ bike has been king for years here on the Shore – it was a logical evolution of big freeride bikes for riders who were still willing to sacrifice a bit of uphill efficiency for a forgiving descent. These bikes are still most at home on a fire road climb, but they’re getting lighter and faster.

For 2013 Norco has gone all in on 650B, killing the successful 26″, 160mm Range platform and adding the tweener wheel size to the 140mm Sight lineup. I had the chance to ride both of Norco’s new Killer-B bikes back in August, and you can find my initial thoughts HERE.

While the new 2013 Norco Range maintains its predecessor’s 160mm of travel front and rear, we see the lighter Fox 34 spec’d rather than the 36 or Lyrik which was on the 26″ Range. This parallels Specialized’s choice with their new Enduro; the 34 seems like a smart move if the category of 160mm AM bikes are to move on without being forced into obsolescence by the new generation of Trail bikes.

The other side of this coin is what the current 160mm bike is capable of, and how it has essentially pushed the 7″ freeride bike out of the market – and that leaves a question about Norco’s Truax, which does still have a spot in the 2013 lineup.

The Range 2 is Norco’s mid-level spec, with Fox CTD dampers, Schwalbe tires, Race Face cranks, SRAM X7/X9 drive, Elixir 5 brakes, and a decent build kit out of the box. Colour choice is both poppy and understated, a common theme in Norco’s lineup for the past couple years. Let’s have a closer look; click the first photo and sequence through…

2013 Norco Range 2 650B Killer-B AM 160mm North Shore Bike Review NSMB

Fromme on the Range. 66.5º head angle and a generous 625mm top tube on the Large frame. Meant to go fast in the rough.

2013 Norco Range 2 650B Killer-B AM 160mm North Shore Bike Review NSMB

Black with blue and grey is eye-catching. Norco’s done a great job with graphics in the past couple years.

2013 Norco Range 2 650B Killer-B AM 160mm North Shore Bike Review NSMB

Welded HolloForm rocker, a big part of the Range’s rear end stiffness.

2013 Norco Range 2 650B Killer-B AM 160mm North Shore Bike Review NSMB

Ano blue touches throughout.

2013 Norco Range 2 650B Killer-B AM 160mm North Shore Bike Review NSMB

Direct post mount, Syntace 142×12 through axle, and the low pivot ART rear end.

2013 Norco Range 2 650B Killer-B AM 160mm North Shore Bike Review NSMB

X9 Type 2 clutch derailleur and 11-36 cassette. Norco’s Gravity Tune gives a rear end length between 419mm on the XS frame to 436mm on the XL, making for a stable ride no matter what your size.

2013 Norco Range 2 650B Killer-B AM 160mm North Shore Bike Review NSMB

The Syntace X12 system is simple to use, helpful for when you get a flat on your first ride out on a bike…

2013 Norco Range 2 650B Killer-B AM 160mm North Shore Bike Review NSMB

Race Face Evolve cranks with Turbine 2×10, and SRAM X7 front mech.

2013 Norco Range 2 650B Killer-B AM 160mm North Shore Bike Review NSMB

Truvativ X-Guide 2-by pulley.

2013 Norco Range 2 650B Killer-B AM 160mm North Shore Bike Review NSMB

What the buzz is all about. Goldilocks.

2013 Norco Range 2 650B Killer-B AM 160mm North Shore Bike Review NSMB

Hans Dampf is quickly becoming a favourite winter Shore tire. Nice to see in the Range 2′s stock spec.

2013 Norco Range 2 650B Killer-B AM 160mm North Shore Bike Review NSMB

740mm bar and 70mm stem are good to go out of the box. I swapped out the Ergon grips for now as they necessitate a wider bar.

2013 Norco Range 2 650B Killer-B AM 160mm North Shore Bike Review NSMB

While the Reverb post is not stock spec on the Range 2, the Elixir 5 / X7 matchmaker clamp makes for easy integration of what has become a must have.

2013 Norco Range 2 650B Killer-B AM 160mm North Shore Bike Review NSMB

Lack of reach adjustment is a downside to the Elixir 5, but they are reliable.

2013 Norco Range 2 650B Killer-B AM 160mm North Shore Bike Review NSMB

While the Range 2 is not spec’d with a dropper post, it does come with a guide on the seat clamp and cable routing on the frame.

2013 Norco Range 2 650B Killer-B AM 160mm North Shore Bike Review NSMB

Fox 34 Talas 160 CTD. Feels good man.

2013 Norco Range 2 650B Killer-B AM 160mm North Shore Bike Review NSMB

120mm mode is good for fire road climbs.

2013 Norco Range 2 650B Killer-B AM 160mm North Shore Bike Review NSMB

Float CTD rear.

2013 Norco Range 2 650B Killer-B AM 160mm North Shore Bike Review NSMB

What’s black, blue, and grey all over? Stickers off the rims and this thing’s done. 31 pounds as it sits.


Does the 160mm AM bike still have a place in your stable? Does Norco’s 650 Range fit the bill?

  • cunningstunts

    no thorough review to go with the nice pictures? sure is a beautiful design. looking forward to doing a demo on my local trails, back to back with the current ride, the range and the sight. this could well be a great one bike option for many riders. my problem is that i’m getting too in touch with my inner weight weenie, and i’m jonesing for a sub 30 bike. but the price to break that mark in an AM bike get’s scary.

  • maaaatt

    thats a pimpin lookin rig! those elixers look super tidy! hanger system is awesome looking too!

  • DrewM

    Looks like the local folks (Norco & Rocky Mountain) are working to obtain a competitive cost savings by sharing a graphic designer…

    Range B-3 : http://www.norco.com/img/bikes/range-killer-b3-1.jpg
    Slayer 50 : http://www.bikes.com/DATA/BIKE/1193_header.jpg

    Range B-2 : http://www.norco.com/img/bikes/range-killer-b2-1.jpg
    Slayer 70 : http://www.planetecycle.com/contents/media/l_rocky%20mountain%20slayer%2070%202013.jpg

    -D

  • PinkRobe

    Oi, she’s a looker! It would be nice to have a full review though…

    Sub-30# in 6″ travel bikes is possible on a budget [LOL] with the right frame, air-sprung suspension at both ends, lighter wheels, tubeless, etc. Likely not a stock bike out of your LBS, but if you’re okay with a DIY build it can be done. If you already have a bunch of parts+fork+wheels you’re happy with, almost everything can be swapped to a new frame. I’m going from a Titus El Guapo to something else this year, with a sub-30# goal in my sights. The only thing that might not switch over easily is the seatpost, but it depends on the new frame.

  • morgman

    Thanks for asking… we are, of course, in the process of testing for a full review – keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks. Our intent with these image-based overviews is to give people a good chance to look at some nice, high-res photos, ask some questions, and talk about the bikes. So again, thanks for commenting!

    The possibility of affordable, sub-30 pound, 160mm bikes is definitely becoming reality. This bike is a good example of that. Keep in mind what a 6″ bike weighed in at just a few years back. These bikes had essentially just pushed freeride bikes out of the market, and now they’re being refined. Personally I’m happy to see this category getting lighter and faster – I like their descending characteristics but would usually reach for a shorter travel bike unless I really was looking to practice the dying art of freeriding.

  • C.Lee

    can’t you adjust reach on those with an allen key?? or did they change it for 2013

    • boomforeal

      you can’t see it in morgan’s pic, but yeah chris there is a 4mm bolt head tucked behind the lever that adjusts the reach. handy!