Over the last couple years, Norco Bicycles have put a lot of energy into designing 650B trail bikes. At Last year's Sea Otter Classic, I was the first rider to test out this carbon sight, and it won a gold. Since then, a few modifications have gone on to make this bike a truly polished machine for the consumer.
Norco offers a few trail bike options; the 650 Carbon sight, 650 Aluminum sight, Carbon Range, and an aluminum Range. Bryn and I have ridden all of these bikes, except the carbon Range (which will arrive in the next few weeks:).
I use the sight as my number one all rounder bike. I feel like 5.5" of travel is plenty for any kind of xc, plus it pedals well, and is really versatile. You can use that much travel for really aggressive trails, as well as more mellow stuff. Prime example was going from the Northwest down to California where you have to do lots more pedaling over smooth terrain. We use a Fox Float 34 Talas fork, which I think is magic with this bike and makes the head angle spot on.
The range has 6.3" of travel, is bit slacker head angle, etc. It's also an awesome bike, and really comes alive through rough stuff. It's a tough choice. Bryn rides the Range because for the extra inch of travel plus the shock options, he uses the Float X by fox with a reservoir.
Either way, these new 650 Carbon bikes are beautiful. I built my new sight up the other day, and just wanted to share some of the details of this bike with you.
DETAILS OF THE NEW NORCO CARBON 650 SIGHT:
CARBON: Obviously having the material change is the biggest difference. Carbon can be made with so many options with how many layers they put, the direction of the fibers, width of the fibers, the bonding agents, etc. The engineering of these bikes has a lot to do with where loads are, how it pedals side to side, where they want flex or not, etc. You see this a ton with the Road bikes, so there is a similar application to mountain bikes considering forces and outside factors like strength upon landing, wear and tear, the elements, etc.
Carbon has a really nice ride feel, and very clean lines. The lateral stiffness was one of the most noticeable improvements, in my opinion. Plus it is a bit lighter, which is awesome on the climbs.
INTERNAL ROUTING: There are little portals for the internal routing on this bike. Accounting for the new internal routed dropper seat posts, brake lines, shifting cables, etc. We run a single ring, but the front derailleur set up is pretty clean just mounting off the frame above the front chainrings. They offer options to not have that post as well. Anyway, I feel like getting routing as clean as possible is so important, and this bike succeeded in that.
INTEGRATED HEADSET: I wasn't really expecting this, after my prototype, but norco took one more extra step to make an integrated headset. This means , no cups need to be pressed into the frame. The bearings sit directly into the frame, which is really cleaver. Take note that the cups are a bit different size for this new frame 42/52 for a tapered steerer.
PRESS FIT BOTTOM BRACKET: I haven't had a mountain bike with this kind of set up, but it all went together really simple, and looks nice. Bearings are in the frame instead of outside will give more strength.
DIRCT MOUNT HANGAR: This is sort of standard issue these days. Works well.
650B WHEELS: It doesn't take long to get used to the bigger sized wheel on these trail bikes. The suspension kinematics are designed around the bigger wheels, so the center of gravity feels perfectly balanced. We noticed a bit more grip on the corners, and a little smoother feel over rough stuff. The benefits are obvious now that tire selection has come around.
I love this bike!! Check it out..