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At Sea Otter this year we were introduced to Norco's prototype 650B all-mountain rig, shown above. It was one of the first aggressive bikes to utilize the wheel size so it was turning a lot of heads. A few months later, Norco is ready to launch the all new 650B Range. They sent us some additional details about the new bike that will interest you. Check those out, below.

We'll be riding it in Norco's BC backyard over the next few days and will let you know what we think. From what we've heard and seen so far, it should be a good time.


via Norco Bikes

When it comes to mountain bike wheel size it is difficult to see the big picture and how it all fits together. The world has been using 26-inch wheels for so long that the adoption of 29-inch took much longer than expected; and there are still nay-sayers on any alternative to 26-inch.

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When it came to redesigning the 2013 Norco range it was not about building a bike around a certain wheel, but rather building a bike that is the best performing machine possible in its intended use. Wheel size came later.

Starting conceptually on a whiteboard the Range is a bike that pedals extremely well on the way up, handles the bumps on the way down and can excel pretty much anywhere in between. This is the ultimate all mountain machine. In order to make this vision a reality there were a few key aspects of design that needed to happen.

To make the Range perfect, Gravity Tune needed to be utilized. Creating a unique geometry that varies with the size of the bike can guarantee a frame that fits a rider of any height. Frame stiffness is also important. Adding a Sytace X-12 Axle, hollowform linkarm, tapered headtube and an uber-stiff tubeset helps keep it all together. Choosing the perfect geometry was also crucial as well as the integration of  A.R.T. Suspension to propel the rider up the climbs while soaking up every last bump on the decent

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Taking fit, stiffness, geometry and suspension together as a whole package left a problem. Stiffness and maneuverability could not be achieved using 29-inch wheels and the 26-inch wheel would not have the rolling capabilities necessary to truly make this bike shine. Enter 650B.

With a 650B wheel, the XS frame can use the perfect chainstay length for the rider while the XL can accomplish the same ride characteristics in a larger sized frame. The 27.5-inch wheel also gave the rolling characteristics we desired while not sacrificing our goals in strength, stiffness or an extremely long wheelbase.

Rather than rambling on for too long about this newly designed bike, we have a video for you to enjoy about the making, testing and production of the New 2013 Norco Range. Watch for more information on this and other 2013 models very soon.

Video by Dan Barham

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