SURE, it’s nice to have a choice of bikes to grab for a day out… but let’s face it. Most of us have one good rig that has to do a variety of jobs.
That’s where bikes like Norco’s Range come into their own, and the alloy ones in particular. The Range A3 retails for $3699, and packs a clever spec list along with its bountiful travel.
Key to the Range is the fact that it’s sold in two wheel sizes. XS and S sizes come with 27.5-inch rims exclusively, while M, L and XL sizes are available with either 27.5- or 29-inch rims.
You get 170mm of Rock Shox Deluxe RL air-enabled rear travel with the smaller wheel size and 10mm less with the larger rim set, a travel-matched Rock Shox Yari RC fork and a solid, reliable mix of parts from Shimano and Race Face.
An SLX drivetrain is supplemented with SunRace’s hill-slaying 11-46t 11-speed rear cassette, while a 30t direct-mount chainring adorns the Aeffect crankset. And praise be… a threaded bottom bracket!
The brake spec is interesting, too, with four-piston Tektro hydraulics clamping a 203mm front and 180mm rear rotor. Wheels, meanwhile, are WTB i29/Novatec units, running Maxxis High Roller IIs.
If there’s a weakness in the Norco arsenal, it’s in the area of wheelsets – they’re occasionally too narrow in the rim profile to properly match the bike, and the 29mm wide (internal) WTBs could stand to be wider.
Geometries between the two wheel sizes are very similar, with a slightly longer top tube and shorter head tube for the 29ers. Wheelbases are within 3mm of each other, though.
At first glance, the Range A3 is a well-specced bike for the money, and we’re very keen to throw our legs over one. Watch out for a full review in a future issue of MBA.
BIKE: Norco Range A3 27.5/29er
BASIC SPECS: Rock Shox Yari SC/Deluxe RL suspension (170/170mm 27.5, 160/160mm 29er) Shimano SLX 11sp, Tektro M785 brakes, WTB i9/Novatec wheels