Adventure, or gravel, bikes have been gaining momentum. With the surge in popularity, a few new ideas are poking through such as 27.5in wheels and wider tires, dropper posts and loads of accessory mounting options. Norco’s new range of Search XR bikes hit those marks and even include two steel options.
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Norco Search XR features
Rack and gear-hauling compatibility can be found all over the Search XRs. Ther fork blades are littered with eyelets and there is one on the crown for a fender. The rear dropouts have what Norco calls NINJA, which stands for ‘not instantly noticeable junk attachments’. They’re threaded inserts for bolting on fenders that can be removed when not needed.
Another acronym on the back end is SASSY: ‘secret attachable seat stay yoke’. Norco did away with the seatstay bridge in hopes of delivering a smoother ride. But without that bridge mounting fenders proved to be tricky, so the SASSY is a small plastic bridge that can be zip-tied in place when a fender is wanted.
The last detail isn’t all that tech-heavy, but does show Norco is keen on what this bike is going to get into. It’s simply a rubber boot that covers the seat clamp to prevent water, mud and debris from mucking up the inside of the frame.
Search XR Force 1
Starting the range is the Force 1 build. That’s not the interesting bit however. The Search XR Force 1 comes with 27.5 x 2.1in Maxxis Tread Lite tires on WTB Frequency Team i23 rims.
But that’s not all. The 45.5 and 48cm frames come with even smaller 26in wheels to maintain the handling and performance that Norco wants.
The other standout spec is the 65mm drop KS dropper post. A left SRAM lever serves as the post’s remote which is said to keep things looking right and remain intuitive to operate.
Lastly, a top-mounted chainguide relays that this adventure bike is meant for riding the rough stuff.
$4,199, UK and Australian pricing TBD. Norco states the Force 1 bike will be available mid-October.
Search XR Ultegra
Looking for a more traditional build? The Search XR Ultegra features a more standard kit with 700c Clement wheels and a Ultegra/Praxis 2×11-speed drivetrain.
A nod to dirt roads and adventure isn’t far though with the 40mm Clement tires, 12mm thru-axles, and Ultegra disc brakes with 160mm rotors.
The smaller 45.5 and 48cm sizes trade in the 700c wheels for smaller 650b hoops.
The Ultegra-equipped Search XR retails at $3,799 / AU$ 4,499 / £N/A. Expected availability is late Fall/early Winter according to Norco.
Search XR Apex 1
The base-level carbon frame and fork shares the same frameset as the spendier bikes above. The build is hung with a SRAM Apex 1×11-speed.
WTB handles the rims and Clement supplies 40mm wide tires. Braking is hydraulic with SRAM Apex 1 calipers squeezing 160mm rotors.
$2,899, UK and Australian pricing TBD. The Apex 1 bike should be available by mid-October.
Search XR-S Rival
Someone at Norco must be paying attention as the new Search XRs forego aluminum and instead start the line with two chromoly bikes. The chainstays of the steel bikes are 5mm longer for additional heel clearance when using panniers.
The more expensive build is replete with SRAM Rival gearing and a Praxis Zayante crank. Wheels are WTB, tires are Clement 40mm, and brakes are hydraulic Rival discs.
Like the carbon models, the two smallest sizes use 650b wheels.
$2,599, UK and Australian pricing TBD. Expected availability is late Fall/early Winter according to Norco.
Search XR-S 105
The starting point for the new Search XR bikes is the XR-S 105. The Reynolds 725 steel frame comes with a carbon fork, mechanical TRP twin-piston disc brakes, and a 105 11-speed drivetrain with a Praxis double crankset.
Wheels are supplied by WTB, the tires are 40mm Clements, and the smallest two frame sizes use 650b rolling stock.
$1,999, UK and Australian pricing TBD. Expected availability is late Fall/early Winter according to Norco.