2015 Norco Range 7.1 – NSMB Intern Bike

Words Kaz Yamamura
Photos Kaz Yamamura
Date Sep 5, 2014

As with all things that are new; people, innovations, locations, objects – an introduction is in order. For the next half year or so, Matt Lee and myself will be regularly riding “intern bikes.” One objective is to review these bikes, but they’ll also help us test other components, tell stories, and maybe find some adventure. So here’s part one of our usual two-part review format, with some initial impressions and a look at the layout and component choices. Check the hashtag #InternBike on Instagram to see where these bikes are taking us.


Last week Todd Hellinga brought us a look into the new Norco Sight Carbon. While the Sight is suited for riders who like to focus on both the climb and descent, the Range puts more emphasis on the descent. With a 66° head angle (a full 1.5° slacker than the Sight), 160mm of travel (vs 140 for the Sight), 780mm bars and a 60mm stem, the Range is ready for aggressive riding right out of the box.

So far I am feeling comfortable on the Range; the descents feel good, and the bike is quite playful. It’s seen days in the park, on the Shore and over fast loam. The 780mm bars felt great in the park and on fast sections of trail, but I have since swapped for a 720mm Chromag Fubar Acute. The 780’s had me wandering on the climbs and it didn’t feel nimble. I’m 170 cm (5’7″) and that feels like more bar than I need.

Peruse the following photos for an overview of the build and some first impressions.

Ah, the 2015 murdered out Norco Range in all it’s glory. The 7.1 is the top end aluminum model, with the more expensive carbon models getting a little more bling.

The Range comes kitted with a Pike RC. Although it’s the low-end model, it still lives up to the Pike hype.

Mmm, Charger Damper. The compression dial goes from balls out descent to locked out climb mode.

Fox Float Evolution with CTD out back rounds out the Range’s suspension.

The Range come stock with the KS E-Ten post. At $175 it’s a very affordable dropper. I personally would have preferred at least 125mm of drop (the E-Ten is 100mm).

If you choose to run an internally routed aftermarket dropper, the option is there.

Gone is the welded HolloForm rocker, replaced by a bolted version. I haven’t noticed a stiffness compromise when compared to the 2013 model.

Direct mount Shimano Deore brakes with a 6″ rotor out back handle stopping duties.

A Shimano SLX derailleur with clutch manages the 10 cogs. After riding a bike without a clutch derailleur for half a year, it’s quite a relief to be clutched again.

RaceFace Evolve cranks keep things moving, with a 2x SRAM X-5 front derailleur. I’ve had my fair share of woes with the 2x system, and I secretly wish the bike was a 1 by. I guess it’s no longer a secret.

…however Shimano shifters for both the front and rear keep me happy. I’m a fan of Shimano’s index finger shifting option, and I find myself using both my thumb and index finger to trigger independent shifting duties.

Details like Norco’s in-house bars and stem help keep the price attractive. The aforementioned 780mm bar was too much for me – but cutting a bar is a lot easier than making it longer. There aren’t many companies spec’ing a bar this wide on a bike like this – especially at this price point. Well played Norco.

Sun Inferno 27’s matched to the shore favourite Schwalbe Hans Dampf tires.

There is ample room for a bottle cage on the medium frame.

A low pivot 4-bar linkage for the rear end. Norco calls this the ART (Advanced Ride Technology), and each model has a different pivot location to suit its riding purpose.

I’ve had some problems with the cable actuator not returning to it’s original position, resulting in the seat slowly dropping as I sat down. It’s gotten better with a little WD-40, but alas this wasn’t a permanent fix.

Norco’s in-house grips lasted about 3 weeks, but grips are meant to be changed.

Taller riders will rejoice at the XL option.

There you have it. This model (the 7.1) comes in at $3580. The affordable aluminum Range 7.2 is $2550, while the carbon models range (hehe) from $4015 to $8240 – with the carbon framekit sitting at $2995. Expect to see these hit the shop floor at the end of October.


With many bikes having “boutique” pricing these days, it’s nice to see a bike under $4000.

Trending on NSMB

Comments

jefferson-lord-lara
0
Jefferson Lord Lara  - Aug. 24, 2015, 7:59 p.m.

Im 5'6 and the only available here is a medium frame should i get it or look for a small one

Reply

peter
0
Peter  - Sept. 11, 2014, 8:52 a.m.

What would be required to convert this to a 1x setup? Est. cost?

Reply

hawker180
0
Hawker180  - Oct. 7, 2014, 8:36 p.m.

I just Ordered the Range 7.1 alloy and had a bit of a look at it. Basically purchase a 32 tooth Raceface WideNarrow front ring, sake some links out of the chain and see if it jumps off when going over rocky terrain. Remove the front derailer and shifter off the bars.

If you wish to put a large 42/40T rear cassette on you will need to upgrade to an XT or XTR rear casset, then purchase a wolf tooth rear cassette, take out your 16 or 17 tooth and fit the wolf tooth up top.

That's what I plan to do with mine but not straight away.

Reply

brent
0
Brent  - March 25, 2015, 11:15 p.m.

get a one up kit

Reply

bavaria-20
0
Bavaria 2.0  - Sept. 11, 2014, 7:51 a.m.

Almost perfect.

I'd buy based on a criteria of three - blacked out, price, does not have Avid brakes on it. With the exception of the Hans Dampf tires which have a solid reputation for the side nobs ripping off within the first dozen rides, this bike is a no brainer 650b deal of the decade.

But, speaking of deals. You can buy a mint condition, dressed to the nines 26″ carbon 160mm bike for the same price.

For example(not my bike) -

Reply

boomforeal
0
boomforeal  - Sept. 10, 2014, 10:20 p.m.

uh kaz, seems you forgot to mention this is a completely redesigned frame? mechanically shaped tubes, slacker (66*) hta, lower bb (!) - sounds like the range got better to go along with the nice price

Reply

jasper
0
Jasper  - Sept. 6, 2014, 2:40 a.m.

I wonder if the pike doesn't out-match the float ctd rearshock?

Reply

boomforeal
0
boomforeal  - Sept. 6, 2014, 9:53 p.m.

from my time on a range kb i'd say not. norco's engineers did an incredible job with the latest iteration of the ART suspension design - even with a 2013 ctd float it felt composed and bottomless. i bet it would feel even better with a proper shock, but its a much better match for the pike than the float 34s that norco used to spec

Reply

jasper
0
Jasper  - Sept. 7, 2014, 10:03 p.m.

Thanks for your reply.

Reply

zrider
0
Zrider  - Sept. 9, 2014, 12:33 p.m.

I have a 2014 Range and the rear shock is really at its limit. I have to ride a very high pressure (around 200-220 psi and I wiegh 175lb) and I have even put in a spacer kit in the shock to make it even more progressive. The shock has started leaking and it is about 6 months old. I don't think it was a defective shock or anything.
We all know the 2013 and 2014 Fox 34 is mostly junk and the Pike is a welcome change.

Reply

0
uncle duke  - Sept. 5, 2014, 6:59 p.m.

technically that is not the "murdered out" range..RS does the pike in a blk sticker kit as well..sexy ass bike tho. that seat does look too far back..maybe stem is too short?

Reply

earleb
0
earle.b  - Sept. 5, 2014, 1:39 p.m.

That seat slammed all the way back on the rails says to me that someone should be riding the next frame size up.

Reply

boomforeal
0
boomforeal  - Sept. 5, 2014, 1:56 p.m.

i was stretched out on a large range kb. that's a medium; i would have though kaz would have opted for a small if anything

Reply

nouseforaname
0
Nouseforaname  - Sept. 5, 2014, 4:20 p.m.

Wierd - I feel right at home on a Lrg range and you're a few inches taller than me too…

Reply

boomforeal
0
boomforeal  - Sept. 5, 2014, 6:38 p.m.

inaresin

(i thought you were on a process?)

the range has a super long top tube relative to other enduro/am bikes, but pretty standard reach numbers. perhaps my discomfort with the length of the range i rode had more to do with the lousy fork (2013 float 34 ctd) and its lack of traction/support than the dimensions of the bike

Reply

nouseforaname
0
Nouseforaname  - Sept. 6, 2014, 10:33 a.m.

Well I'll get to find out next week - hopefully a Range C large in my hands for a while. Basing my 'feel right at home' off the demo day I did with Norco a few weeks back. Still on my old Process, but desperately trying to buy a Range.

Reply

djenter
0
djenter  - July 9, 2015, 3:06 a.m.

I'm 174cm tall with shortish legs. I can order a runout 2015 Range in medium but based on this review I'm now thinking it may be too small as tester was shorter than me and had seat pushed all the way back. Whatcha think?

Reply

tungsten
0
Drinky Crow  - Sept. 5, 2014, 12:21 p.m.

Can we find another adjective besides "playful"?

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - Sept. 5, 2014, 3:04 p.m.

Randy?

Reply

hbelly13
0
Raymond Epstein  - Sept. 7, 2014, 1:10 p.m.

How about antic, puckish, jaunty, frolicsome or devilish?

Reply

andy-eunson
0
Andy Eunson  - Sept. 5, 2014, 9:49 a.m.

For that seat post issue, use a ferrule with the extended nipple and cut down a rubber Shimano sealing boot to just fit. Seals and helps push the lever back a bit.

Reply

boomforeal
0
boomforeal  - Sept. 5, 2014, 11:16 a.m.

or swap that post out for something with an inline clamp. the range already has a pretty slack "real" seat tube angle. getting your weight further forward will tame the bike's climbing manners and allow you to use a wider bar

Reply

lyledriver
0
lyle driver  - Sept. 5, 2014, 11:48 a.m.

Yeah that saddle is slammed back in endurance road position… though that may have nothing to do with the cable actuation problem.

Interesting note about the bolted link. Must have had alignment issues with welding.

Reply

Please log in to leave a comment.