Here is a picture of the Search XR Steel in the gray/black combo.
Sadly, there are no more of these available other than what is in stock at dealers. Norco won't be shipping any more until the new model year comes out in August 2018.
I'm really impressed with the frameset. Shaped Reynolds 725 tubes, Norco carbon fork, 12mm thru-axles, flat mount brakes, dropped chainstay adpated specifically to fit 650b
I'm not a weight weenie, and I'm building this bike for someone else (who is also not a weight weenie), so I never got around to weighing it.
Some people will be put off by the press fit BB shell. While I would prefer a threaded shell, I would never let this be the deciding factor in choosing an otherwise awesome bike.
In this case, I went with the Praxis Alba crankset and the Praxis press fit BB30 bearings. It's my first time using these, but the installation was a breeze. I followed the Praxis instructions to a "T", including using the recommended Loctite 609 reataining compound. I'm confident this is going to work out fine. If not, I'll just go with a threaded aftermarket BB/Adapter.
The rest of the build is a mix of spare components I had laying around and a few new things.
- Frameset: 2018 Search XR Steel (48cm - 650b only)
- Crankset: Praxis Alba 48/32
- Wheels: WTB Frequency Team 650b that came on my personal 2018 Search XR (I upgraded to Boyd Jocassee).
- Cassette: Shimano 8000 11-34 (may go to SRAM 11-36 if the new owner needs more gears)
- Shifters: Shimano 8000 mechanical
- Derailleurs: Shimano 8000 mechanical
- Brakes: TRP Spyre SLC Dual Piston Mechanical
- Tires: Compass BabyShoe Pass 42mm
- Stem: 100mm Redshift ShockStop
- Handlebars: Easton AX70 Gravel Pro (40cm)
- Seatpost: BMC Zero Setback (pull-off from another bike)
Note that this bike has not been fitted yet, so I have not cut the steerer or the seatpost yet. I'll do that after I get the detailed measurements from the new owner and get her fit dialed in.
One caveat with this bike. There is not a lot of room at the junction of the rear chainstay/seatstay for the rear brake caliper. I originally wanted to spec TRP Hy/Rd's new flat mount version, but these turned out to be too tall, and the actuator arm hit the seat stay. I ended up spec'cing the same brakes Norco specs on the full build (TRP Spyres Flat Mount). I would have opted for flat mount Ultegra 8000, but I was re-using a set of mechanical shifters from another bike and was trying to keep costs down. The dual piston Spyres have pretty favorable reviews, and the rider is relatively small and light, and won't be bombing down super fast descents in wet conditions, so I think they'll be fine. If they turn out to be a flop, I'll just bite the bullet and upgrade to the Ultegra 8000 hydraulic flat mound calipers and new shifters.
Also worth noting. These are brand new Babyshoe Pass tires I just recently purchased from Compass. I'm not thrilled with the color of the sidewall on these. I've used many compass tires in the past and have always been happy with them for road plus use, but the color of these is a bit off-puting. They actually have a bit of a green hue to them. I called Compass to inquire about it. I was told that they had to find a new source for some of the materials and they are still working through some details. They assured me the tires are fine from an integrity standpoint. My comment back to them was, for $80+ per tire, I would not expect this kind of a QC issue. If they aren't happy with the color, they should send them back to where they came and insist on them getting it right.
Lastly, some of the specs on Norco's website for this bike are incorrect. For example, the website calls for a braze on front derailleur mount, but there is no braze on. You need a clamp on FD for a 28.6mm seat tube for this bike. I let Norco know about this, and they promised to update the specs. Also note that this makes using the seat-tube bottle mount a bit of a challenge. You can use it but you'll need small spacers to account for the clamp in between the bottle bosses. There are plenty of alternate bottle mounts available (top and bottom of the down tube and both sides of the fork), so it's not a huge deal.
It will likely be a few weeks before the first rides on this one. I'll report back with updates.