With tire clearance up to 700 x 45c or 650B x 2.1”, rack, fender and bottle mounts, as well as details such as ‘NINJA’, ‘SASSY’, and ‘Das Boot’, the Norco Search XR looks like an interesting new all-road bike…

Posted by Logan Watts

UPDATE: We have since published an in depth review of the Norco Search XR Carbon here. Just released, the Norco Search XR is another adventure bike platform aiming to push the limits of what you’d expect from a drop bar bike. With generous tire clearance, rack, fender and bottle mounts, and the choice of a carbon or steel frame, it has all the makings to do just that.

Norco Search XR Carbon All-road bike

  • Norco Search XR Carbon All-road bike
  • Norco Search XR Carbon All-road bike

Like others in the category, it offers roomy clearance that can fit up to 700x45mm tires or 27.5×2.1” mountain bike tires; the high-end Search XR Carbon Force 1 is specced with 650b Maxxis Tread Lite 2.1” tires.

So what makes the Search XR different? According to Norco, the Search XR uses their “adventure geometry”, and the Power Chassis design that is found on their race bikes to make it an efficient pedaler and improve power transfer. For added comfort on long days, Norco employed something they call “ARC Endurance” bridgeless seat stays and curved, ovalized chainstays which increase vertical compliance and help temper road vibrations. In addition, the Norco Search XR has a few interesting details such as NINJA, SASSY, and Das Boot, to name a few. At this point you might be asking…

What is Das Boot?

As Norco puts it, “… sometimes you end up wading through a river, speeding through thick mud, and getting caught out late at night. To help protect your bike from the elements, we created Das Boot. This is a seat clamp cover that prevents water and mud from entering the frame.” Das Boot also has a rack mount.

  • Norco Search XR Carbon All-road bike
  • Norco Search XR Carbon All-road bike

What is SASSY?

SASSY is the SECRET ATTACHABLE SEAT STAY YOKE. To make the Search XR more comfortable, Norco removed the seat-stay bridge to increase vertical compliance and the bike’s overall ability to absorb chatter. So essentially, SASSY is a custom plastic bridge that fits into place to provide a fender mounting point when needed.

  • Norco Search XR Carbon All-road bike
  • Norco Search XR Carbon All-road bike

What is NINJA?

Well, Ninja stands for NOT INSTANTLY NOTICEABLE JUNK ATTACHMENTS. NINJA threaded inserts add another level of functionality to the frame, allowing full fender capability, while remaining inconspicuous when unused.

  • Norco Search XR Carbon All-road bike
  • Norco Search XR Carbon All-road bike

While normally I’d be giddy about steel, the three carbon models are certainly the most interesting; for some reason, according to the photos, Norco decided to ditch the under downtube and fork bottle mounts on the Search XR steel models EDIT: Norco’s communications team has informed me that the steel models will indeed have the same fork with 5 bottle mounts total… sweet. Based on the quoted specs, both the carbon and steel models get a PressFit 86 bottom bracket and 12mm thru-axles, front and rear. The Norco Search XR Steel comes in two models, the $1999 XR-S Shimano 105 and the $2599 Rival 1. The Norco Search XR Carbon starts at $2899 (USD) with an Apex drivetrain. The mid-range Ultegra is priced at $3799 and the top of the line Search XR Force 1 sells for a cool $4199. Watch their press video below and learn more over at Norco.com.

  • It’s also cool to see the XR Force 1’s smaller sizes (45.5 / 48) being spec’d with 26″ wheels, which often makes a bit more sense for smaller riders! So many options…

  • Great point… I missed that one :)

  • Peter Chesworth

    A shame to remove the seat stay bridge. Hard to see how two zip ties effectively replaces a welded stay for fender attachment.

  • Interesting eh? A lot of stuff like that going on here… I like to see the big brands trying stuff out though!

  • For what it’s worth, there are two indentions on the stays that are molded to work with the plastic insert, so it does seem that the downward forces would be kept in check…

  • This is the “Das Boot” I have been using since a few years ago. A piece of inner tube http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9c1becf156a92802d4af18f12a6f0df4c99c41103efdcf9f7712b8bc9585bcb1.jpg :-D

  • Tim Rice

    what are you doing sitting on your fenders?

    Walmart sells 60 pound hiten steel bikes for people like you.

  • Peter Chesworth

    No, custom steel thanks, compromised design for, as you say, people like you. Stick with Jesus Christ Superstar.

  • Tim Rice

    the number of people that run fenders/mudguards are few. the people that will appreciate the missing/unneeded/unnecessary bridge are many.
    So question, is the bridge missing on the steel version of the Norco Search XR? Or are you just here to bitch about a carbon, bike when you ride custom steel anyways?

  • Peter Chesworth

    Seems you feel you have to stick with the majority. Cycling’s a broad church. Material does not matter, only usefulness. You led off with your caustic 60 pound comment.

  • Tim Rice

    no I am a minority (I am in the mudguard camp mostly) and I agree with the removal of a useless item. Especially when it comes to the benefits gained by its removal. Well I am mostly in the mudguard camp. I usually just ride my single speed in inclement weather. Fenders are for commuting when you can’t arrive with grit and road grime down your back. So if I was to take another Guess at the market, most people buying the Norco Search XR with more of a commute in mind would be looking at buying the steel version. And those that bitch, whine cry, sniffle, sob, rant, rave about a missing part on a bike they will NEVER buy/ride anyway, is absurd, and loco. So sticking with your Usefulness argument. The item you’re crying about is plentiful useful enough to hold a fender on, for about maybe a1% of the buyers that might actually use fenders, on this bike.
    As for zip ties.. I put a my fender on with a ziptie at the chainstay bridge, as a zip tie is less voluminous than a bolt head. again it’s about usefulness, clearance is more useful than a bolt. and a ziptie is a fraction of the weight that a bolt is, and the zip tie is just as secure. zipties = useful!
    lots of newer carbon bikes are deleting the seatstay bridge. It makes sense. Choose your camp, fenders or performance. You will argue that cycling is a broad church, yet you are the one bitching about what people in the other churches are doing? Go back to your church….. your steeple is all fluff.
    http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f119375e045f1608cf8ff931eb88cd69d55cf739b7ac36481d0c65143c24ff25.jpg

  • Peter Chesworth

    Merry Christmas Tim.

Follow Us

and join the conversation.