download the pdf. - Norco

norco.com

download the pdf. - Norco

Norco is a Canadian bike brand

that started back in 1964, and over

the years the company has continued to

show a certain relish for all forms of

cycling. Although more popular in the

mountain bike world, they are an up-andcoming

brand on the road as well.

Thanks to their relationship with elite

road teams, such as the Canadian-based

H&R Block team, Norco's 2011 line of

entry-level carbon bikes are enhanced

with the perpetual "trickle down" effect

from elite-rider input and use of

advanced materials. And, keeping their

carbon bikes affordable has been a priority,

because they believe that bikes seiling

around the $2000 price point should

serve as a good foundation worthy of

future upgrades and still provide a great

riding experience from the get-go.

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Norco offers four carbon fiber models

in their CRR road line. And contrary to

its numeric nomenclature, the high-modulus

CRR 2 is the third most expensive

at $2065, right behind the SL ($4770)

and 1 ($3020) models. All CRR carbon

frames feature Norco's exclusive High

Toughness Resin (HTR) carbon-except

the $1585 entry-level CRR1, which uses

92 www.roadbikeaction.com

lower-spec carbon. When used in

Norco's carbon layup methods, HTR

provides a 20-percent increase in

impact resistance and overall durability

over previous model years, as well as a

reduction in weight. A rather straightforward

silhouette is broken up by a triangular

downtube, in addition to thin seat

stays that curve inward toward the

rear wheel.

Forgoing traditional frame measurements

in favor of more generic "small,

medium, large" designations found on

the tags of jerseys or bib shorts, Norco

offers the CRR 2 in five sizes. Our

Medium test frame was equivalent to a

51-centimeter frame. It featured a 52.7­

centimeter top tube, a relatively tall

14-centimeter tapered head tube,

72-degree head tube angle and 74­

degree seat tube angle. Like the frame,

the fork features Norco's HTR and

includes a full-carbon steerer tube.

The CRR 2 is built up with SRAM's

Apex drivetrain-however, Norco chose

not to spec the CRR 2 with Apex's

signature 11-32 cassette and instead

opted for an 11-26 version. Coupled

with FSA's Gossamer 50/34 compact

crankset, the setup still provides the

CRR 2 with ample gearing suited for a

variety of road conditions, including

some tough mountain routes. Mavic

supplies hoops in the form of their

entry-level Aksium wheels wrapped in

Continental Ultra Sport 23c tires. A

Ritchey Comp 4-Axis stem, Comp Curve

handlebar and Comp seatpost make up

the CRR 2 hard-parts selection. Norco

topped the Ritchey seatpost with their

own Race model saddle-decked out in

black, silver and yellow-to complete a

color-coordinated build.

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From the first rollout, this new CRR 2

proved comfortable and pleasant to

ride, which was significant, if not

surprising. That's because not all carbon

fiber is created equal, so the carbon

you'll find on a bike at the CRR 2's price

point will not perform in the same

manner as the carbon found on bikes

selling for thousands more. And that's

precisely the fact Norco intended to

emphasize. Because what the CRR 2

lacks in stiffness, it more than makes up

for in vertical compliance. The chewedup

roads surrounding the majestic RBA

offices threw some nasty ruts, rocks and


BIKE-~cE

NORCO

The CRR 2's silhouette is highlighted by thin'lll~i;";;=ii~;iii;;;;;iilIIlII""

seat stays and a thick downtube and is built

with a selection of parts from SRAM, FSA,

Ritchey, Mavic and Continental.

refuse at the CRR 2, but the plucky

Canadian took the bulk of it in stride.

An abundance of vertical compliance

often comes with a reduction in stiffness,

and such is the case with the CRR

2. The same characteristics in the

carbon fiber that allow the frame to soak

up road chatter also cause a noticeable

amount of flex during powerful pedal

strokes, particularly in out-of-the-saddle

efforts. The mixed Apex and FSA drivetrain

provided great all-around gearing

for a variety of ride types and distances,

and a combination of Mavic wheels and

Continental tires rolled smoothly without

any trouble. However, at this price point

and based on the bike's intended demographic,

we feel that larger 25c tires

would have been a better choice in

order to fully emphasize the bike's

comfort and versatility. For example,

while the CRR 2 proved a confident

descender in fast turns, it would have

had even greater cornering fortitude with

larger tires by virtue of the larger contact

patch on the road.

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While the CRR 2 didn't astound in

anyone particular area, it proved more

than capable in most. From fast-paced

RBA lunch rides to leisurely excursions

along chewed-up asphalt, from 12-mile

climbs averaging 5.5-percent grades to

speedy switchback descents-the CRR

2 carried us through them all. It's

precisely the bike Norco set out to build;

94 www.roadbikeaction.com

Norco's Race model saddle was very plush

and comfortable for most-but a bit too soft

for others-and matched well with the

frame's color scheme.

and it's one that we'd recommend to

someone who understands the value of

a good platform that's worthy of

upgrades. Some larger tires would be

our first upgrade in order to improve the

bike's versatility and cornering prowess,

and SRAM's Apex drivetrain could be

upgraded to Rival or Force. Also,

weight weenies might be tempted to

procure some additional carbon components

to further lighten things up.

The FSA Gossamer crank with 50/34 chainrings

and SRAM Apex 11-26 cassette provided

a good all-around gear spread.

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• Entry-level carbon provides a

compliant ride

• A do-it-all bike at a great price

• Easily upgradeable

....... - I - r-..

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Price: $2055

Weight: 19.4 pounds

Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL, XXL

www.norco.com

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