Norco Search XR C 700c Review
- Price: $3,999
- Frame: Carbon
- Tires: 700c Aluminum
- Gear: 2×11
What we like about it: It’s good for all kinds of adventures, as well as great riding on surfaces like roads and trails.
What we don’t like about it: The lack of a dropper design is not conducive to quick adjustments in the riding position.
The Norco Search XR C 700c is Norco’s representation of the ultimate versatile bike. Norco has managed to strike a balance between gravel and commuting with the introduction of the Search XR C 700c.
As Norco mentions, the Search XR C 700c is suitable for any spontaneous, unknown off-road adventure. Whether you’ve been planning for months or just decided to go on a whim, it can take you anywhere for an adventurous journey. Therefore, the Search XR C 700c is a powerful combination of a road bike and a mountain bike, offering versatile performance.
In the following sections, we will analyze the riding experience, key features, components, and specifications of the Norco Search XR C 700c, as well as compare it to other versions. If you want to learn more about bike reviews, you can follow us.
When I first laid eyes on the Norco Search XR C 700c, I was immediately drawn to its appearance. Indeed, Norco has done a great job with the paint finish of this gravel bike, and it looks quite durable. Thanks to the carbon fiber frame, the overall frame looks smoother without the unsightly welds seen in aluminum alloy materials.
For this reason, I immediately booked my ticket on Skyscanner and couldn’t wait to bring the Norco Search XR C 700c to rural Vermont. The scenic countryside and country roads here were the main reasons for my choice. Coincidentally, there were also unpaved gravel roads and trails that allowed me to experience the versatility of this gravel bike even better.
Without further ado, I hopped on the Norco Search XR C 700c to see if it lives up to Norco’s claims of being an all-around performer.
Firstly, as I rode this Search XR C 700c uphill on country roads, the most noticeable sensation was the lightweight feel of the carbon fiber frame. For short uphill sections, I didn’t even need to shift gears.
And when I encountered longer climbs, thanks to the Shimano GRX FC-RX600 46/30T chainring and 105 CS-R7000 11-34T freewheel, I was able to handle them with ease.
When I rode on uphill gravel routes, the Maxxis Rambler 40c Exo tires provided me with better traction compared to the smooth tires of a road bike, with minimal risk of punctures.
The design philosophy of the Norco, positioning the rider in the center of the frame, allowed me to stay seated in the saddle for most of the uphill sections, without the need for too much standing pedaling.
I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the Search XR C 700c on descents. Thanks to the asymmetrical chainstay design, even without suspension, the frame manages to absorb vibrations from rough gravel surfaces to the maximum.
The internal cable routing by Norco also ensures a silent and quiet frame even when encountering bumpy terrain.
The longer wheelbase and relaxed angles of the Search XR C 700c allowed me to maintain stability during descents.
However, when the trails became narrow and twisty with switchbacks, the Search XR C 700c lacked the necessary agility to provide the same level of maneuverability as in open terrain.
Furthermore, during long descents, I also experienced excellent braking performance with the Shimano GRX RX600 hydraulic brakes paired with the Search XR C 700c. It enhanced my safety when descending long distances.
However, one aspect that disappointed me was the lack of a dropper post design in the new model, compared to the older version of the Search XR C. This prevented me from adjusting my riding position on steep downhill sections whenever I wanted.
As a versatile bike, the Search XR C 700c also had to prove itself as a commuter for everyday life. I used it for daily commuting for a while, and with the larger 46T chainring in the front and smaller 11T freewheel in the rear, I found it to be faster on flat roads compared to other off-road bikes.
The Maxxis Rambler 40c Exo tires allowed me to confidently tackle obstacles like steps without worrying about the risk of punctures. I also preferred using the Search XR C 700c for commuting compared to a road bike.
The Norco Search XR C 700c frame comes in six sizes, catering to riders ranging from 5’2″ to 6’5″ in height, and all sizes come equipped with 700c wheelsets.
The lightweight carbon fiber frame and fork of the Search XR C 700c create a sturdy adventure setup that maximizes riding comfort and reduces fatigue. Its geometry is more relaxed and longer compared to traditional road bikes, which contributes to greater stability when riding on rough surfaces.
Additionally, the Search XR C 700c features hidden rack and fender mounts, making it easier to commute. Multiple mounting points on the frame and fork allow for carrying more gear, enabling longer rides.
The front and rear thru-axle design also provide added stability on rough sections, minimizing the risk of accidents. The thru-axle design ensures that the brake calipers do not rub against the rotor even after removing and reinstalling the wheels.
Moreover, the Search XR C 700c has increased tire clearance both in the front and rear, accommodating wider tire sizes and enhancing the bike’s versatility.
The Norco Search XR C 700c is a gravel bike that caters to a wide range of use cases and is suitable for anyone to experience the joy of riding.
I must say, the Norco Search XR C 700c is an excellent gravel road bike. I am very impressed with its overall riding experience and the groupset it employs.
Of course, we also compared the Norco Search XR C 700c to other models in the Norco Search series. Let’s take a look at the Search XR S1.
Norco Search XR S1
Compared to the Norco Search XR C 700c, the Norco Search XR S1 is $700 cheaper. So, let’s see what sets these two bikes apart in terms of the $700 price difference.
The Search XR S1 frame features Search Reynolds 725 Chromoly Steel. Although it is heavier than carbon fiber, Chromoly Steel offers greater durability. Similar to the Search XR C 700c, it has mounting points on the frame and fork and provisions for fenders and racks on the rear.
Both bikes share similarities in terms of drivetrain and braking components, with reliable and durable bike groupsets.
What pleasantly surprised me is that the Norco Search XR S1 features an X-Fusion Manic Gravel 50mm dropper post, allowing you to adjust saddle height on the go. It also has wider tires and two additional frame sizes compared to the Search XR C 700c.
Therefore, the Search XR S1 is better suited for riding in challenging environments, while the Search XR C 700c is more of a versatile bike. Of course, it ultimately depends on what kind of bike you need.
Next, we will provide a detailed list of the specific specifications of the Norco Search XR C 700c and similar gravel bikes.
What do we like about it?
- It has a lightweight frame and versatile riding capabilities.
- The internal cable routing design not only gives it a clean appearance but also reduces noise during riding and protects the cables, resulting in lower maintenance needs.
- The numerous mounting points greatly increase its carrying capacity.
- Its more relaxed and longer geometry compared to traditional road bikes contributes to excellent performance on rough surfaces.
- The adaptable port covers secure internal cable routing, preventing water ingress and noise.
- Its excellent lateral stiffness provides efficient power transfer and control for maximum pedaling efficiency.
What don’t we like about it?
- The lack of a dropper post design makes it challenging to quickly adjust saddle height during rides.
- Is the Norco Search XR C 700c frame sturdy?
The frame is constructed from carbon fiber, achieving a balance between lightweight construction and frame strength.
- What kind of riders is the Norco Search XR C 700c suitable for?
It is suitable for riders who want a bike that can handle various riding environments and styles.
- How do I choose the right size for the Norco Search XR C 700c?
We provide a size chart for reference, but the best way to find the right size is to try this bike and see how it feels for you.
Norco Search XR C 700c Specs
BB Standard: BSA, 68mm, Threaded
Color: Black / Silver
|Fox Performance Elite FLOAT X, 190x45mm
|Shimano BB-RS500 PF86
|FSA Orbit No. 42
|Norco SL Aluminum
|Easton EA50 AX Aluminum, 16deg Flare, 42cm (50.5), 44cm (53, 55.5), 46cm (58, 60.5)
|Selle Royal Vivo, Mag rails
|Norco SL Alloy, 27.2mm
|Shimano GRX RD-RX810 Shadow RD+
|Shimano GRX FD-RX810
|Shimano GRX FC-RX600, 46/30T, 170mm (50.5), 172.5mm (53, 55.5) 175mm (58, 60.5)
|Shimano GRX ST-RX600
|Shimano 105 CS-R7000, 11-34T, 11 Speed
|Shimano GRX BR-RX400 Hydraulic Disc, Resin Pads
|Shimano GRX RX600 Hydraulic
|WTB ST Light i23 TCS 2.0, 32H, Tubeless Ready, 650b (45.5, 48), 700c (50.5-60.5)
|Shimano HB-RS470, 12x100mm, Center Lock
|Shimano FH-RS470, 12x142mm, HG, Center Lock
|Maxxis Rambler 40c Exo, Tubeless Ready, 120TPI
|Shimano SM-RT70 160mm, Ice Tech
|Giant Revolt X Advanced Pro 2
|1 × 11
|Canyon Grizl CF SL 7 eTap
|1 × 12 Electronic
|650b / 700c Aluminum
|Canyon Grail CF SL 8 Di2 Stetina
|2 × 11 Electronic
|Jamis RENEGADE C1
|2 × 11
Norco Search XR C 700c vs Giant Revolt X Advanced Pro 2
When comparing these two bikes, the Giant gravel road bike will be more focused and better suited for off-road riding. Whether it’s the 40mm suspension fork or the wider 45c tires and dropper post design, it constantly demonstrates itself as a pure gravel bike.
However, I prefer versatile gravel road bikes like the Search XR C 700c. It not only satisfies my off-road needs but also provides a smoother and more convenient ride for commuting on well-maintained city roads. Additionally, the Search XR C 700c is also more affordable in terms of price.
The choice between these two bikes ultimately depends on what you are looking for. If you desire the ultimate pure off-road experience, then the Giant bike would be a good choice.
However, if you want a bike with a powerful all-around performance at a more affordable price, I would recommend the Norco Search XR C 700c.
Norco Search XR C 700c vs Canyon Grizl CF SL 7 eTap
From the frame geometry of the Norco Search XR C 700c and the Canyon Grizl CF SL 7 eTap, we can see that the latter leans more toward a modern road bike. This inherently means that the Canyon gravel road bike may not be as comfortable as the Search XR C 700c during long rides.
Additionally, the lower stack of the Canyon gravel bike affects its handling on narrow descents and the distribution of the rider’s center of gravity, making it less impressive compared to the Norco Search XR C 700c.
However, the Canyon Grizl CF SL 7 eTap still has some notable advantages. Firstly, its paint job and design have a strong vintage style, which can attract a lot of attention.
Secondly, the SRAM Rival XPLR eTap AXS drivetrain it employs offers more precise shifting and is less susceptible to external environmental interference.
In conclusion, considering the lower price of the Canyon Grizl CF SL 7 eTap, it can be a cost-effective option. However, the excellent riding experience provided by Norco will make you fall in love with the sport.
Norco Search XR C 700c vs Canyon Grail CF SL 8 Di2 Stetina
First and foremost, for the Norco Search XR C 700c and the Canyon Grail CF SL 8 Di2 Stetina, the latter has a very cool and eye-catching design. However, we need to understand that aesthetics are just one aspect of a bicycle.
The Canyon with its GRX Di2 RX815 2×11 electronic shifting system offers better shifting response and a smoother feel compared to the Norco. But I also find the shifting performance of the drivetrain on Norco to be good.
However, the most important point is that the Canyon gravel bike has a very high stack height. While this may increase speed on flat roads, it also makes it more susceptible to side wind interference.
Additionally, the grip of the Schwalbe G-One R 40mm tires used on the Canyon is not as good as the Maxxis Rambler 40c Exo tires used on the Norco.
Of course, both the Canyon Grail CF SL 8 Di2 Stetina and the Canyon Grizl CF SL 7 eTap will have faster cruising speeds on flat roads compared to the Norco Search XR C 700c. However, none of them are suitable for long-distance bike touring, and their prices are also quite high.
Norco Search XR C 700c vs Jamis RENEGADE C1
I have to admit, the Norco Search XR C 700c and the Jamis RENEGADE C1 are gravel bikes with nearly identical specifications and component choices. It feels like they are just different in terms of paint job and branding.
However, the RENEGADE C1’s narrower tires perform slightly better for commuting, while the Search XR C 700c excels on gravel surfaces.
Additionally, the Fizik Aliante Delta saddle on the RENEGADE C1 provides better support and reduces pressure on the perineum compared to the Selle Royal Vivo saddle on the Norco.
Furthermore, the Search XR C 700c’s asymmetrical and slightly more compact chainstay design enhances its flexibility and better absorbs bumps on the road compared to the RENEGADE C1.
Regardless of which of these gravel bikes you choose, you won’t regret it as they both offer strong all-around performance. However, I lean more towards the Norco Search XR C 700c because its paint job is more appealing to me.
Above is my review of the Norco Search XR C 700c. In my opinion, it’s a bike that makes me want to keep riding. Taking everything into consideration, that’s why we gave it a high score of 4.8.
Of course, if you want to learn about other gravel bikes, we also review a wide range of bikes at various price points, and they are equally interesting. Feel free to check out our other reviews.
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