British Columbia’s Norco Bicycles has a rich history in mountain and drop bar bikes. The company started in 1964 as Northern Cycle Industries with the stated goal of “getting more people on bikes.” Interestingly, the company shortened its name to Norco because Northern Cycle Industries did not fit on a compact logo for head tubes and down tubes.
In the decades since its founding, Norco has produced BMX, road, mountain, cyclocross and recently, gravel bikes, and it currently sponsors an impressive roster of cross country and downhill mountain bike racers. We saw Norco’s Search and Search XR gravel bikes at Interbike in 2014 in the early days of dedicated “gravel” rigs, and we have also reviewed its Threshold cyclocross bike.
Norco had its updated carbon Search XR gravel bikes on display at Sea Otter this year. The Search XR comes in carbon and steel models, and at Sea Otter, the company showed off two of its carbon builds.
The carbon Search XR comes in three different builds that, with the exception of the smallest frames, are compatible with 700c or 650b wheels. The two smallest frames—45.5 and 48cm—fit 26″ or 650b wheels to maintain the bike’s geometry.
The highest-end model is the $4,200 XR Force 1, which is followed in price and build by the $3,800 XR Ultegra and $2,900 XR Apex. The company also offers the frameset for $2,000.
Norco bills the Search XR as a do-it-all adventure bike. It has a 72-degree head tube angle and 7cm bottom bracket drop for the 55.5cm model, which puts it in line with many other gravel bikes. The company also offers a Search model that has less BB drop, slack and tire clearance that it bills as an “all-road” bike.
Given its adventure leanings, Norco outfitted the bike accordingly. It includes rack and fender mounts and an attachable seat stay yoke to provide a mount on the bridgeless seatstay if you need one. Similar to bikes likes the Rocky Mountain Solo, the drive-side chainstay is dropped for more clearance. Norco claims room for up to 700c x 45mm or 650b x 2.1″ tires. The XR Rival model comes stock with 650b tires while the Ultegra has 700c versions.
Cable routing is internal using the company’s “Gizmo” routing system. It provides room for a dropper post, and in fact, the XR Rival model comes stock with a KS Lev Integra dropper. One other bit of gravel-oriented design is the “das boot” protector that covers the seat clamp to keep grit and grime out.
See the photo gallery below for a closer look at the Norco Search XR Rival and Ultegra gravel bikes on display at the Sea Otter expo.
More info: norco.com
See what’s new this year with our coverage of the 2018 Sea Otter trade show.
Photo Gallery: Norco Search XR Rival and Ultegra Gravel Bikes