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First Look: 2013 Norco Range and Sight Killer B, Made to Haul

<b>There's a new green machine on the loose - introducing the all-new 2013 Norco Range Killer B160.</b>

<b>Now that you're properly pumped, welcome to the official 2013 Norco launch. The company has an incredible 176 bike models, 52 of which are off road.</b>

<b>Would you have guessed that the boys were ripping a big-wheeled bike that hard in the intro movie? The new Range Killer B160 highlights the 2013 lineup, and it's a pure 650B affair.</b>

<b>Norco says it's all plusses for 650B - from relatively short chainstays (427mm on a medium), to an improved tire contact patch, better inertia, impact angle and more. Add a rearward axle path into the equation and you've got one fast rolling ride.</b>

<b>The Range has a 66.5-degree head angle, but the increased "trail" factor makes it ride like a slacker bike. This is why most 650B and 29-inch wheeled bikes have relatively steeper head angles.</b>

<b>Consistent with the Aurum, Norco's premier DH bike, the new Range uses "Gravity Tune," which is a unique way of sizing frames. Unlike most bikes, the front and rear end grow proportionally with each size. This is said to give the bike a similar feel across the entire size range. They do this by using a slightly modified front triangle for each size.</b>

<b>The bike's 160mm of rear travel is actuated by a one-piece Holloform link, and has a progressive leverage curve.</b>

<b>Also new for 2013 is 360 lock hardware, located in the two main pivots, which should improve bearing life and wear big time.</b>

<b>Removable ISCG05 tabs allow you to run it how you want it. A stout inner guard protects the stock 2X setup.</b>

<b>Check out the pivot area on the chainstay. Rather than welding the tabs on, they are cut from the tube, which makes for a stronger, lighter interface.</b>

<b>Norco went with the Syntace X12 system on the rear end, which couples a 142x12mm rear axle with a unique derailleur hanger. There's a spare hanger bolt located on the frame near the BB area if it's ever needed.</b>

<b>Because the left and right stays see different forces, Norco made them asymmetrical to meet the needs of each side.</b>

<b>To add to the package, the brake-side dropout is a stout one-piece design that incorporates the brake post-mounts, axle slot, and chainstay pivot.</b>

<b>On the drive-side, the stays have been bowed out a bit for improved chain clearance.</b>

<b>To keep the rear end as short as possible, the Range uses a direct-mount front derailleur, which gives a little extra room for wheel clearance.</b>

<b>Even the welds have been given some attention. "Smooth" double pass welding is said to make for a stronger bond, plus it looks good.</b>

<b>Goodbye zip ties. A custom cable holder keeps the front end nice and clean.</b>

<b>The clever little seatpost clamp features a movable cable guide, allowing you to dial in dropper routing just right.</b>

<b>Component wise, the high-end Range Killer B-1 features some of the best available, including SRAM's new Type 2 derailleur. Two other build options exist that use the same frame with more affordable parts.</b>

<b>Also new for 2013 is the Norco Sight Killer B140, a 650B equipped bike with slightly less travel and steeper angles than the Range. It uses much of the same frame technology.</b>

<b>We spent a short afternoon riding the Sight on some of Vancouver's mellower trails. Our take? It climbed exceptionally well, had noticeably better traction than a 26-inch bike in turns and over the loose stuff, appeared to get up and over roots a little easier, and the suspension was dialed. Coming off several days on a downhill bike, we found the Sight to be a bit twitchy, but we'd need more time on it to really get our bearings.</b>

<b>It's always interesting to hear what the pros have to say. Ben Reid, Dirt-Norco team rider and shredder of all things two-wheeled, joined us for the ride. It was his first go on the new wheel size, so we asked him for his thoughts.</b>

<b>Bryn Atkinson started the day skeptical and left impressed about the Range in many ways.</b>

<b>While 29ers suffer in turns and in the air, the new mid-sized option feels very similar to 26-inch wheels. You can still throw them around a fair amount.</b>

<b>That's a wrap from the Norco launch. Time for a post ride brew. Cruise over to <a href="http://norco.com" target="_blank">www.norco.com</a> if you're craving more details.</b>

Norco's 2013 lineup sees the introduction of two new 650B equipped bikes - one billed for aggressive all-mountain use and one for trail rides. Here's an in-depth look at some of the technologies and benefits that highlight the new bikes, as well as the first impressions from a variety of seasoned riders.

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