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Long Term Review

2022 Norco Range VLT Full Review

Words Trevor Hansen
Photos Deniz Merdano
Date Feb 23, 2022
Reading time

A Big Long Travel Beast

The Norco Range VLT C1 is a 180/170 mm big beast of good times. Over the course of 6 months I have had over 50 rides on it. The variety of rides included a long dual mountain trip, post-injury road rehabbers, quick time crunch rips, ride-build rides, shuttles, meeting shuttlers at the top rides, and railing as many trails until the battery dies affairs. Having experienced eMTBs that I wouldn't want to ride on my favourite gnarly trails, I was pleasantly surprised to be able to take the Range down anything and everything. The bike's generous suspension, planted feel, and handling at speed, through the hard and steep moments, gave me the confidence to explore all that an electric bike like this can offer. I have pondered whether or not I would ever want to own an eMTB. Previous experiences had me thinking they may be of value for a small array of ride experiences but never as a ride-all tool. The Range VLT had me wondering if my mind might be changed.

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Climbing turns this tight was easy; when the turning radius was shorter and steeper, I struggled a bit.

Driving up

The Range VLT climbs exceptionally well on all surfaces and terrain but it has some difficulty climbing trails with tight switchbacks. I found out early in my eMTB riding that I needed to make adjustments for the extra speed and torque these moto-bikes carry into and out of corners. I used braking and lowered the seat on some tight turns to help with this. I found the large Norco's long wheel base (1301mm – my Spesh Enduro is 1243mm) coupled with longer chainstays (462mm compared to Spesh 442mm), 475 mm reach (Enduro is 463mm) and hefty weight penalty made it harder than my real/regular/that name of an unplugged guitar that I refuse to use, bike. I found that if I prepared for the tight uphill turns well in advance (the parking lot) I had more success negotiating them successfully. Sometimes I climbed with the DHX2 switch on firm but most of the time I just popped the drive into boost and gave ‘er the onion all the way to the top with the switch wide open. I did not really notice much difference in performance switched on or off other than super steep tech climbs where the added traction with the shock open helped; however, at times I wasn’t sure if the extra sag caused more BB smashes.

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This move smashes most bash guards and BBs and it is a good example of the contact location for most hits I took.

I wanted to install the One Up Bash Guard I received from our friends up the Sea to Sky for my WRP mullet link review in order to keep the frame and the battery plate from taking more beatings. The Range comes with an MRP chain guide but according to Colin Ryan, Norco's senior development engineer, "the motor can make it challenging to incorporate a ISCG mounted chainring bash guard but the other reason we don’t spec one is that, sized for the 34T chainring on our Range VLT, it would not extend below the motor subframe to be the initial point of contact. We clocked the motor upward on our new VLT bikes for both the ability to remove the battery from the bottom of the downtube and also to improve ground clearance." The occasional BB banger hasn't caused any damage to the frame or the integrated bash plate.

Unlike the Range where Ryan found the Assegais slowed his climbing I did not notice that because, well, I had a motor. I would imagine the Assegais gave me extra traction on the slippery roots and rocks during the climb but I did not do a control so that’s my sloppy not so scientific anecdotal evidence for you.

On paved and gravel climbs the Ergon SM-10 E Mountain Sport Saddle felt comfortable for the first fifteen or so minutes then a minor pinching in my inner thigh would develop. After 20 – 30 minutes the pain was so bad I would have to stand and pedal which I find awkward at speeds of 15 km/h or more. I could have changed out the saddle but I wanted to suffer for my readers ( yeah okay I was too lazy and/or kept forgetting). The 76.9 degree steep effective seat tube angle provided a comfortable riding position on trails and roads even with the ass hatchet (Roggey’s term stolen from his Trek eMTB review ) Ergon saddle.

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I enjoyed high speed climbs through twisting and turning trails like this scenic route on Fromme Mountain.

One of the arguments I have heard supporting eMTBs is that they are handy for people rehabbing or stuck with long term injuries. On the second day of my nine-week summer holiday (I bend minds and bodies at a high school for a living) I crashed and broke two ribs. After a couple weeks rest I was antsy to get back outside but whenever I breathed too hard my ribs ached. The Range came in handy for long road/gravel rides where I could go fast and keep my breathingmoderate to preserve my ribs. After I was ready to get some heavier cardio, I used the Enduro for the exercise benefit as I found it way too easy to slack off when the boost button beckoned on the climbs. In addition, I recently had a cold (not Covid according to the swish and spit results) and I wanted to give my lungs a break when I was ready to get back on the bike. Am I rationalizing again? Am I so addicted to biking that I can’t just wait to be healed before getting out there…well duh

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Ryan did say that his Range was a slow climber. This evidence proves him wrong in so many ways. I got cold beers for my service. (Note - towing is not recommended and may void your warranty in some circumstances - Ed.)

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Range and Range VLT communing in post-ride bliss.

Going Down on the Beast

It took me awhile to realize the extra weight on the bike wouldn't hold me back on the steeps. As a matter of fact, I found myself going down some of my steepest sections of trail slower and thus more confidently than on my Enduro. The first time I noticed this was a really steep rock face into a long steep narrow chute I ride on a local OG trail. Normally I creep down the rock until the bike accelerates and I hang on for a fast, wild ride where I gain control and slow down three quarters of the way down the chute. My first time on the Range I found that I had so much traction entering the chute I had to get off the brakes as I was going too slow to get the fun factor I was used to. The bike has so much control that I found my confidence increased on the steeps and gnar-gnar which usually resulted in higher speeds and more control (except in tight spots, jumps requiring pulls, and loading/unloading when shuttling of all things-explained below).

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The Range plowed up chunder like it plowed down chunder.

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I enjoyed plundering the chunderings.

In June I decided I wanted to experience what it would be like to only have an e-bike. I thought a solid 30 rides would get me the conclusion I was after. Over a 3 week period I rode with other e-bikers, I pedalled up and met friends who were shuttling at the top of the mountain, I rode slowly with friends, I towed friends, I even shuttled with the bike a couple of times risking back injury lugging the bike on and off racks and truck tail-pads. When trail building, I really enjoyed how the bike left me with energy to ride downhill after climbing up to work on trails. Normally the pedal up followed by work on the trails leaves me lacking energy and motivation for the ride down post-build. With the Range VLT, I could casually spin up, avoid soaking my gear with sweat, then build and maintain for a couple of hours. Afterward I still had the gumption to enjoy a sweet ride down.

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This is a photo I have dropping into the steep chute on another non-McRib day. It gets very steep after this spot and has a rib crash stump half-way down just for fun. It's a high speed hang on for the ride feel on the Enduro pictured here but the Range VLT slows it all down with its sticky traction and ground hugging capabilities. Photo - Ryan Walters.

After 14 rides, I missed my Enduro too much to keep going for another 16 rides; I had my conclusion, E plus SE (for Specialized Enduro) was the equation for me. On my first Enduro day I dropped into the steep trail I mentioned above. The trail was very dry and loose and I came off the rock with way too much speed having been lulled into the Range traction confidence of past rips down this trail. I lost control of the Enduro and slid into a stump. When I stood up I knew I had either bruised or broken ribs – after hiking up (my sherpa, Mr. Walters, carrying my bike), out and then rolling down the road to the car and the hospital, I got the diagnosis; two broken ribs due to E bike TTS (traction transference syndrome). Of course, I can only blame myself, not the fact that I got used to cheating traction.

vltchuteedit.jpg

Not a steep chute but I had to use Den's beautiful photo.

Speaking of cheating traction, when I rode the Range on wet trails, the bike’s weight, long wheel base, Assegais with inserts, 170 mm of coil shock, 180 mm of Fox 38 lovin’, and slack headtube angle all added up to me riding faster with more confidence. On some of the steep faster trails I ride, I have a speed game I play with a couple of my faster riding buds. If I can still see them after a count of 5 I am riding at a faster than normal pace. Of course, it could also be that they are riding slower than normal but I disregard that as it gets in the way of my inflated self-confidence. One such day occurred when chasing Mr. Walters on his test Range. After the first couple of sections he noticed I was staying close to him all the way down and that I was riding faster than usual. My bubble was burst a bit when he mentioned that he was riding without inserts and that the higher pressures were making him slow down a bit. Whatever! I was keeping up.

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Even tight, narrow downs were a breeze.

The weighted, planted feel of the bike allowed me to high speed plow through chunder, over roots and rocks while maintaining control most of the time. The occasional off-camber root still got the bike sideways, but in all occasions I can remember, the Range righted itself and kept on plowing.

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I think I gained strength in all the muscles required to pull this horse off the earth into the sky as witnessed by this giant two foot air.

I mentioned in my initial impressions that:

The only trails it does not perform exceptionally well on are those with tight corners and those with jumps and optional side hits. Yes, it will go over all the jumps but it is an effort and it doesn’t feel as fun and poppy as my Enduro or the Nomad I tested. But this is where a paradigm shift is necessary; this is a different ride and a different kind of fun than the usual bike ride. I am hoping that with more time on the bike I will learn new ways to get some of my old ways working with the hefty weight of this thing.

So, did I learn ways to work the weight over the next 30 or so rides? Kinda. I pre-jump more, I lift up more than J-hop and pull on small jumps. It reminds me of cheating jumps when I was clipped in; I could just pull straight up to get cheap air. With flats I just push down on the pedals and pull up on the bars – a lot.

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It rolls down steep rocks, ladders and chunder with a lot of control coming after the steeps.

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I found the weight of the bike harder to pull on features like this. Normally I would attempt my minimizer cheater air by pulling at the crest and landing near the bottom of the ramp. With the Range VLT, I just let it roll like a good Zen follower.

The upper body gets a workout if I try to get more hits and carve a lot of extra turns instead of just plowing straight down. My messed up elbow takes a beating wrestling this caboose all over the trail. I swapped the DMR Deathgrips out for Ergon gd1 grips to help the wrestling pain. I also installed a OneUp bar because I find that helps my tender lil' bows when riding my Enduro. The difference with elbow pain between the Deity Ridgeline aluminium bar and the One Up bar was vast.

Components and Frame

The Range C1 is well spec’d for enjoying the ride. Norco told us a lot of the components were spec’d based on availability relating to the ubiquitous supply chain issues globally. Regardless, they did a fine job on the Range spec. in my opinion.

2022 range vlt c1 spec.jpg

Pretty good specs...for over 10 K it better be, said every commenter ever. (info provided by Norco)

The highlight of the components has to be the suspension. Not only a Fox Factory Float 38 with Grip2 and some extra beef with the E rating but it comes with 180 mm of travel. That extra goosh was much appreciated. Speaking of goosh, I like how it comes stock with a coil. When you give up on weight issues why not go all in with coil? The Fox Factory DHX2 comes custom-tuned for the Range, which seems to be standard on most plus 5K bikes these days.

I had the same experience as Ryan did using Norco’s Ride Aligned Design System set-up tool for his Range review. The system “ includes data for a slew of current Norco bikes. The system takes input like rider height, weight, gender and riding skill, then provides some baseline settings for everything from cockpit arrangement to suspension settings and even tire pressures. For the most part, these baselines were fairly close to where I settled - although the fork settings were way off the mark.”

Once I upped the Fox 38 air pressure from their recommended 87 psi to Ryan's recommended 95 psi, for a more aggressive feel, I had a better experience. All of the other rebound and compression settings worked well for me.

The Assegai DDs are a treat for the gnar I like to ride but I wish they came with inserts installed like Rocky Mountain is doing on some of their eMTBs. It wasn’t a big deal because Nsmb HQ is stocked with a lot of inserts for testing purposes. I installed Cushcore in the front and Tannus armour in the rear. Again, some extra weight didn’t make any difference to the already stout Range so why not increase traction with lower pressures and prevent flats?

The brakes are XT BR-M8120 with Ice Tech and the rear rotor is the RT-EM810 Ice Tech with the integrated sensor magnet. This improves upon the spoke magnet the previous generation Range had mounted. Norco said they would have gone with Sram Code RSC’s so they could use 220 rotors but supply was an issue. Personally, I did not notice the 203 vs 220 difference (I have 220's on my Enduro); I never felt under-braked.

The DT Swiss 1700 E-rated alloy rims were flawless with E-reinforced hubs and spokes. All of the other components are high-end (ahem – repeated every other commenter). The mix of Shimano XT, XTR (derailleur), and SLX (cassette and chain) performed exceptionally well throughout the test. I replaced the brake pads after about 30 rides. The chain was replaced when it showed about 50% wear around the the 40 ride mark.

The frame handled all the abuse I could punish it with. After about 20 rides there was play in the rear triangle seat stay/chain stay bearing. I sent it back to Norco and they replaced it with a new seatstay.

The E-stuff

One issue that scares me about eMTBs is the potential for motor and battery failure. Norco has spec’d their VLT line with lithium ion batteries manufactured for Norco by BMZ Germany. The batteries have 21,700 lithium ion cells. Even better, the waterproof charge port is called a Rosenburger; not sure why I like that but I do. Norco claims that their 900wh battery is the industry leader for capacity. With all that capacity, perhaps there is a downside. I experienced battery issues twice with the 900. Once it was my fault when I thought the battery was being charged and once when I was JRA (just riding along for those newbs reading this) and it just died.

The interface between the charging plug and the battery charge port is usually an easy click due to the strong magnets on the charging plug. On one occasion I thought I felt the click but when I went to turn it on the next day I noticed it had not charged. Upon inspection I saw dirt in the charge port. It was enough to prevent the bike from charging. That was my bad. From then on, I would ensure a clean connection then look at the lights on the port inside the downtube to ensure they were blinking which meant a charge was proceeding; also I forced myself to wait for the audible click of the charge unit. You have to listen for the plug unit to make a click sound to know it’s charging.

charge port.jpg

The magnetic door for the charging port.

The JRA battery death occurred on a ride while I was climbing in boost (as I always do – cuz I can) with a full charge. After about ten minutes on the climb the power shut down. After checking the battery interface (bike upside downz with riders going by - JRA: and revelling at my misfortune) I noticed that I still had no power. I called Norco Bike shop and they advised me to bring it in. To get to the shop I climbed up a steep paved road in low gear with no power for ten minutes. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was compared to the dread I had before the climb. It reminded me of the OG days pedalling my 48 pound Balfa BB7 all over the mountain with my kick down granny ring. Norco determined it was a faulty battery and replaced it.

The motor, the battery and the ETube app

The Shimano ETube app allows you to make a few adjustments including how much assist and how much torque you get in each mode. On paved and gravel climbs, biking with Cam on his test Sight, we noticed that while we were both in boost his Sight rode faster than my Range.

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The Norco Sight VLT (long-term review from Cam) and the Norco Range VLT in their natural environment.

Upon checking the Shimano ETube app, I noticed that my assist was at 9/10. My Range did weigh more than his Sight ( 55 lbs. for the Sight vs 60 lbs for the Range with inserts, pedals and mud), I weigh about 10 pounds more and the Range rear wheel ran on Assegai DDs vs the Sight’s Dissector/Assegai combo DDs. These factors all account for the fact that the Sight climbed faster than the Range because there is no way Cam is faster than me. (except on the way down - Ed.)

910_assist wide.jpg

9/10? What is that!? I pumped that up to a perfect 10.

To keep up with that Mr. Jones, I turned the assist dial up to 10 though I wished it would go to 11. He was still faster than me. I let that go and enjoyed the consolation of my hair being way better than his. It wasn't just me though. Other NSMB writers noticed that riders on different brands and models of eMTBs were faster than the Range and it required more effort to keep up. I took this problem to Norco and they updated the firmware in the EP8. I took the Sight and the Range out for a number of time trials and recorded data that shows the Range is slower than the Sight by 14 - 17%. On each trial I noticed the effort level on the Range was significantly higher than on the Sight. After that due diligence I followed the Norco service tech's advice and brought the Range in for a motor replacement which they ordered from the US. With a new motor on the Range, I repeated the same time trials with the Sight. What I found was very similar time trials and effort levels to the Sight. Problem solved. The final conclusion from Norco regarding the motor not generating enough power was simple: the original motor was faulty.

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EP8 display is big enough for my bad eyes and works easily enough for my bad tech skills.

Norco claims the Shimano EP8 drive system is “whisper quiet.” Shimano claims that Despite its power, the EP8 operates with little noise so you can still enjoy the natural sounds of the trails without distraction. Now I have a few friends who, after a number of drinks, think they are whispering quietly, despite their drunken ramblings reverberating throughout the room (no names mentioned but rhymes with Bike Ballace). The EP8 on the Range is quieter than other e-bikes I have ridden and those others around me have ridden, but it is definitely not whisper quiet. I think the copy writers dialled their hyperbole up to 11 on that line. I really notice the sound of the motor when I am following another rider and patiently waiting for an opportunity to pass. When they hear the motor disrupting the natural sounds of the trails, and they always do, they usually pull over and let me pass. (I am however, happy to wait for an opportunity that does not require them to slow down or dismount. I have the motor advantage and I feel that that advantage means I should wait, not the rider on the real bike in front of me. Don’t get me wrong though, I love passing them, saying hi, and boosting up, up and away.

The VLT line gives riders the option of purchasing the battery size they want separate of the bike's cost. Or they can buy more than one if they are greedy for juice.

There are three batteries to choose from:

  • 540Wh = 3190g and $1149 CAD
  • 720Wh = 3880g and $1399 CAD
  • 900Wh = 4570g and $1699 CAD

I have ridden all the three batteries and, other than picking up the bike. I did not notice the weight difference. But did I ever notice the distance difference. So much so that after suffering for you with the puny little batteries so that I could provide an informed opinion I stuck to the big 'ole 900 for max trail time.

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After going 'round and 'round I have made up my mind.

Wouldya?

Or more appropriately/importantly/all about me, would I? Well as I mentioned above, I need a bike like this in my bike barn with my Enduro. But the $13,000 CAD price tag (with the 900 big boy battery cuz go big for another $550 I say) is a tough pill to swallow. I see the warranty covers the frame for 3 years (not sure why the Sight VLT gets 5 years). Also, all the parts are covered for one year for manufacturing defects. The battery is claimed to still provide 60% capacity after 1000 charges so that's easily at least 5 years of riding at my current e-schedue. But what if the motor goes after a year? Or the battery dies post warranty period? That’s a big hit when we already have to worry about high suspension tuning costs, wheel breakages, new drivetrains, etc. But did I mention how this moto-beast changes everything in my bike life? I am definitely going to have to use some explaining, rationalizing, and justifying skills on this decision. Perhaps this toy is like the Porsche in Cam’s mid-life crisis article justifying spending too much on bikes. Or as one commenter in Uncle Dave's article on losing interest in mountain biking said, "Use an eMTB to invigorate, the trick is- buy a new eMTB. Experience the Up hill flow - it’s magic."

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The End.

After all the testing, the writing and the posing I have come to the bottom line:

I am going to buy me a big beast of an eMTB. As weird as it is I am going to be an electric bike owner. Good gawd Who am I?

Trevor Hansen

Age - 57

Height - 5'9"

Weight - 175lbs

Ape Index - 0.992

Inseam - 31"

Trail I've been stoked on lately - Bukwus

Bar Width - 780mm

Preferred Reach - 465-480mm

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Comments

olaa
olaa
4 months ago
+11 Albert Steward cxfahrer LWK Shoreboy thaaad Znarf Cr4w Velocipedestrian Dan ehfour trumpstinyhands

So, in only 50 rides you've had battery failure, engine problems and chainstay replacement? That would be about 3 months of riding for me, and none of my bikes since the a RM Altitude back in 2014 have had any issues at all for 3-4 times the amount of riding each on them. I'm not anti-ebike, but having to deal with that kind of issues continually doesn't seem very appealing.

Reply

dan
Dan
4 months ago
+1 YDiv

Second that. And this was on my shortlist after the Altitude PowerPlay Coil. I dig the choose-your-battery approach but that list of failures in such a short period of time is pretty off-putting. This would be about 3-4 mo of riding for me too. Awesome it was all replaced quickly and under warranty but geez, I’d really be getting nervous after the first season of riding (if I hadn’t blown the damn thing up by then.) Also the difference in warranty coverage compared to the Sight is odd. I’d be inclined to choose the shorter-travel bike with the same big battery if I was still going to consider a Norco.

Reply

trumpstinyhands
trumpstinyhands
4 months ago
0

"Norco determined it was a faulty battery and replaced it. I was told that it had happened to about 7 other 900wh batteries of thousands produced "

The shop I know that returned at least four dead batteries before the bikes even got to the floor must have been reeeeeaaaaalllly unlucky then...... That only leaves around 3 for the rest of the planet ;)

Reply

rockford
rockford
3 months, 3 weeks ago
0

I've heard of quite a lot of "troubleshooting by battery replacement" on these things.  One shop - 3 batteries.  Real issue: Connector misaligned so it wasn't seating properly and the communication pins weren't working.  We've had no battery issues...yet.

Reply

LoamtoHome
Jerry Willows
4 months ago
0

I don't think an ebike is a your only bike unless your not an avid biker....  I don't know anyone who has an ebike that doesn't have another one and the ebike isn't their first choice when riding.  #dentistsport

Reply

YDiv
YDiv
4 months ago
+4 4Runner1 Cr4w Dan ehfour

"Whisper quiet" haha - I think someone might need to get their ears checked!

Have you experienced any clunking or rattling when going downhill? Seems to be an issue with the EP8 motor in general, curious if you found that to be the same in your case.

The motor and battery warranty are definitely the most concerning parts, and it doesn't seem like reliability (across the industry) is good enough yet for these two components. I think buyers looking at used ebikes need to be really thorough, otherwise those repairs can cost a lot if they're not covered.

Reply

Tbone
Trevor Hansen
4 months ago
0

No I have not experienced any clunking or rattling

Reply

rwalters
Ryan Walters
4 months ago
+4 Jerry Willows YDiv Dan Tim Coleman

It still blows me away how fast you were able to throw that bike around on the descents. My expectation that all e-bikes are slow descenders has been shattered.

E-bikes aren't for me - but friends with e-bikes towing me up climbs certainly are.

Reply

dan
Dan
4 months ago
0

Give an eMTB a spin, you’ll almost certainly be blown away at how planted they can be. The ebike I’ve had the most time on was the Canyon Strive and I was continually surprised at how confidently i was blasting over and through the spiciest features on my local laps.

Reply

cxfahrer
cxfahrer
4 months ago
+2 Cam McRae NewGuy

So this would be a "bare minimum bike" ;)

Reply

DanL
DanL
4 months ago
+1 Cam McRae

Nice to see some less-gnar but beautifully maintained trails getting a look in as well

Reply

impressedbyyourwokeness
impressedbyyourwokeness
4 months ago
+1 AndrewR

got one a couple months ago. same age, but 220. knees, time and fitness no longer allow climbing to the best trails, which are the highest up, without undue suffering. with this rig, everything is on the menu, and it's all fun, including the uphill flow, and then more time spent descending, linking together creative routes i would never have done otherwise. yeah, it's been an adjustment in some aspects, both up and down, but with time comes adaptation and the bike is turning out to be every bit as capable on steep descents as my regular bike. the whole thing is a bloody game changer and it's incredible fun.

Reply

Tbone
Trevor Hansen
4 months ago
+1 partswhore

Hey Pho,

22km with 1200 seems about right for the rides I did and still had one bar - the red bar of doom. The only way I knew the motor was faulty was riding with others with EP8s. both Cam and I felt a bit of drag when we first had the bikes but it went away pretty fast - part of the break in process I have been told.

As for the slop my buddy borrowed the bike and gave it back to me saying he noticed it before riding - ya right Ryan. Best way is to grab all the stays and push for play...or push play on your music to drown it out.

Hope that helps.

Reply

partswhore
partswhore
4 months ago
0

Cool thanks, I’ll just keep abusing it until it’s unbearable.  👍🏻  

New meat powered bike imminent so it’ll be seeing lighter use I reckon.

Reply

4Runner1
4Runner1
4 months ago
0

Interesting that you found the Ergon saddle so uncomfortable. I have an SM 10 (non “E” ? version). It is THE most comfortable saddle I’ve owned. Period. Just goes to show that one must really try things out for themselves.

Reply

cooperquinn
Cooper Quinn
4 months ago
+1 thaaad

Everyone's nether regions are different.

Reply

xy9ine
Perry Schebel
4 months ago
+1 DanL

you've never heard of perineal doppelgangers?

Reply

velocipedestrian
Velocipedestrian
4 months ago
+1 Dan

T'aint twins?

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
4 months ago
0

I like it as well. It's a little larger than saddles I normally prefer but I often climb with my saddle a little lower than normal on eMTBs.

Reply

materials-guy
materials-guy
4 months ago
0

Which bike is the spec sheet for?

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
4 months ago
0

Updated now. Sorry for missing that.

Reply

NewGuy
NewGuy
4 months ago
0

How was the Range's range? Seems like a serious omission for an e-bike review, like marketing an electric car with no comment on its expected range. 

What's left in the tank after a 1500m day on Seymour?

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae
4 months ago
+3 YDiv Pepe partswhore

On the day we attempted the All Gnar 2-Battery Triple Crown, We rode from the base of Seymour to the top and then down into Indian Arm. We then climbed up the Baden and across toward the powerline before descending to twin bridges. From there we climbed well beyond the 7th switchback on Fromme and down the burliest line over there. We headed towards Lonsdale to swap batteries and Trevor ran out of juice about 5 mins from home. But that was on his old motor so his range may have been compromised. I made it to our battery swap without running out. I have done 4-hour rides on the site, mostly in boost, and arrived home with watt hours to spare. The answer is; shitloads of time and distance with the 900 wh battery.

Reply

NewGuy
NewGuy
4 months ago
0

Based on that I am guesstimating Trevor made it ~1,700-2,000m of gain (depends on your definition of the 'top' of Seymour) ~40-45kms for that loop (with faulty battery/motor) ? Very good if that's all on boost, that's bigger than any day I'm likely to do on leg power alone (~2x a typical Saturday ride for me) so definitely a big bonus. 

I see a huge benefit from the e-bike for those that live close-ish to the trail but not so close that they'd normally want to pedal (especially if time crunched). With the e-bike you can pedal out from lonsdale or moodyville on boost to bust out a quick lap and be home in less than 2 hours without any car. That's friggin awesome.

Reply

denomerdano
Deniz Merdano
4 months ago
+1 Ryan Walters

E bikes are incompatible with Seymour .. something about signal jammers on the mountain...except if they are towing me up.. then they are compatible...

I don't think Hansen exhausted the battery on the Range riding Seymour.. he may have exhausted himself..

Reply

NewGuy
NewGuy
4 months ago
+2 Pete Roggeman Tim Coleman

Now you have me thinking of a shuttle-tow service to subsidize the cost of an expensive e-bike while still getting plenty of descent in.

There have been plenty of days on Old Buck where I'd happily throw a 5er at a passing e-bike with a rope for a tow! haha

Reply

Tbone
Trevor Hansen
4 months ago
+1 Ryan Walters

Ya dragging these goombahs up the mountain gets in the way of my boost buzz dropping me down to eco mode levels of output

Reply

NewGuy
NewGuy
4 months ago
0

Eco? Ew.

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YDiv
YDiv
4 months ago
+1 Cam McRae

That's actually an interesting question because you can climb Seymour 3 different ways, either paved road or Old Buck, and then the actual climbing route.

Guessing there's not a noticeable difference between Old Buck and the road, but it would be cool to see how battery consumption differs for on trail vs road climbing, if at all.

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grimwood
grimwood
4 months ago
0

Nice review Trevor. My early experiences with my Marin Alpine E2 closely mirror your with the Range. One thing I have noticed is that the rides are not any easier, I just go faster. I try to tell myself to take it easy on the way up, but going fast is fun! I've found the Marin jumps fine, just as long as the lip is long enough to change the momentum of the e-bike. Short lips end up acting like small speed bumps vs a jump.

I haven't done any long rides, but I figure I could get about 1600 m vert on Seymour if I don't run on boost. Most of the time, I'm out for a short lunch time rip and the e-bike works really well for that. Still get fun trails in a shorter time.

Jerry brought up a good point above; an e-bike is fun, but I don't think many people would have it as their only bike. Meat powered bikes are just so much fun.

One difference I've had to Trevor is with rotor size. I noticed a massive difference in hand comfort going from 200 to 220 mm rotors.

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impressedbyyourwokeness
impressedbyyourwokeness
4 months ago
0

did the same, 223 Galfer rotors, procured pleasantly, in stock, from Bicicletta. that place is doing a nice job in the wasteland of Cdn online bike retail.

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partswhore
partswhore
4 months ago
0

Great review Trevor, very thorough.

I’m on a 900wh range vlt as well but the c2.  I’ve done a few 22km rides with about 1200m of climbing and my battery is down to 1 bar after those rides, mostly in Boost.  I wonder if my motor is perhaps faulty as well or perhaps my extra weight at 195lbs is factoring in?  

I do notice in Trail it almost feels like the motor is dragging when not pedaling.  

Also wondering, how did you determine the bearing slop in the chainstay?  I’ve been chasing a strange creak around the frame for a few weeks now.

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Emailsucks98
Scott Smith
3 months, 4 weeks ago
+1 impressedbyyourwokeness

Battery life is completely relative to rider weight. My 130lb/59kg girlfriend, on a Turbo Levo, gets so much more range- no surprise. Lighter rider, lighter bike.

Other things I've learned- based on my 2019 27.5" Norco Sight VLT (E8000 motor & 630 battery) - I replaced the stock shimano display with a Garmin 530 that shows battery % instead of bars. Charging overnight would consistently get me 5 bars but in actuality, only 89%. Charging <3.5hrs gets me 100% everytime. 11% battery is quite a lot of vert...So... don't leave your bike connected to the charger longer than necessary- or use a timer.

Eco doesn't necessarily save you battery. The most efficient mode is when you can keep the cadence above 90rpm in the lowest assist mode. For me that's typically trail mode with short bursts in detuned boost mode- and using Eco with a slower cadence uses battery faster.

At 185lbs (w/o gear) I know I can repeatedly get 4500-5000' / 1500 meters of singletrack vert climbing in trail mode. You'd think the newer motors would be more efficient- but a heavier bike/rider might not be.

Don't be afraid of error codes and don't hesitate to tear the bike apart, clean the connections with contact cleaner and dialectric grease. This is no more complicated than bleeding brakes and needs to happen with the roughly same frequency.

It's been cool to see the progression of eBike attitudes in these reviews. For me, my eBike will never replace my pedal bikes- but it's definitely killed my interest in lift-assist or shuttling.

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Tbone
Trevor Hansen
3 months, 4 weeks ago
0

That is great intel Scott. I will try the 3 hour charge. Is the swap to a Garmin 530 an easy instal?

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Emailsucks98
Scott Smith
3 months, 4 weeks ago
0

Right on, happy to help. 

Switch to the garmin was easy, on my bike I needed a shimano ew-en100 which was $50usd on eBay. You may not need this on the newer motor. 

A bonus of this ew-en100 is you don’t need a display at all beyond that unless you want more than 3 leds. So you at least have the option of no display and it’s also less cables. 

I like the garmin- It tracks all my rides to trailforks, but keeps them private by default.

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rockford
rockford
3 months, 3 weeks ago
0

The issue they had/you're having with the motors sounds like one I've seen before. These motors have baseline Shimano firmware, and then each bike OEM tweaks a set of parameters to tailor it to the bike it's going in. Things like gear ratio/range, wheel OD, and motor installation angle are all functions of the frame integration by the bike brand.

We had a Norco VLT come in with erratic power application. Turned out it had the baseline firmware in it, rather than the SightVLT-specific version. We worked with Norco's e-bike techs (as opposed to Shimano) to get the bike-specific parameter set into the motor and it behaved much better.

Like my comment above, I find that a lot of troubleshooting for these things at shops is trial by replacement, rather than trying to find the issue. I will acknowledge that unless the software chucks a code and you get diagnostic data from the software, they (Shimano) don't have good manuals or guides to go by. 

But using some intuition, and good sense, there are lots of ways to fix things in-place, rather than plunk out a good motor for one that just has the right software in it.  That motor may have been shot, but in my experience so far, when a motor is shot - it gives no joy and generally makes angry (or no) noises). When a motor is misbehaving, it is generally software, or wiring.

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