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″ wheels for so long that the adoption of 29? took much longer than expected; and there are still nay-sayers on any alternative to 26″.
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
Taking fit, stiffness, geometry and suspension together as a whole package left a problem. Stiffness and maneuverability could not be achieved using 29? wheels an