Oak Bay Bikes staff member and Victoria Wheeler Nick Monette had a hard time waiting until the new Norco Search XR Force was out of the box.. Boom, here he goes:


“.. the all new Norco Search XR – a pretty pimpin’ bike with weird but wonderful features like a dropper post actuated by the left shifter and the ability to change wheel sizes from 650b to 700c. Pretty nutso stuff. Basically a fat tire cross bike.


The one I tested had 27.5 x 2.1 tires and Sram Force 1x. It’s a pretty futuristic bike, ready for anything. I rode out to Royal Roads to tackle the somewhat technical singletrack trails, littered with wet leaves and slippery roots. I was riding with Maxim who was on his Norco Threshold and the difference between the two bikes was definitely noticeable.


The Search was confidence-inspiring on stuff where I usually lack confidence. I was able to ride wet stairs and hop logs that I’d normally be too scared to challenge – maybe I should have raced cyclocross on the Search all season long?! The dropper post sure was handy on some hairy descents and the wheels rolled well on pretty much everything I threw at them, albeit a little sluggish on asphalt…but who needs asphalt if you can ride on traffic-free trails?! The width of the tires made cornering a breeze in the forest paper-machéd with wet leaves, where I’d no doubt be slipping all about on my Threshold.


The Search would be an unreal bike for anyone who wants to leave the road rage behind and ditch the vehicle-laden asphalt. The bike extends your boundaries and inspires confidence. It is also all ready to go for bike-packing and the like, with handy integrated rack and fender mounts, making the Search a very worthy candidate for some off-road touring (maybe the Great Trail?). May the Force be with you.”


(photos: Maxim Ellison)