The Norco Search is “a new way of thinking - a bike for those who want to continue onwards when the asphalt runs out.”

That’s the praise a panel of 40 industry experts from around the world heaped onto the Search when the bike won a coveted Design and Innovation award last year. Norco’s response? Dash back to the drawing board and make the bike even better for 2018.

I had the opportunity to put this retooled adventure seeker through its paces during a 70-mile gravel grinder that featured chunky primitive double track, deep gravel descents, soft, sandy 10% inclines, a little pavement, and a whole lot of opportunity to let it rip on sketchy terrain. For kicks, I took the Search XR on some local singletrack after I was done. When I finished for the day, there was one thing I could say for sure: I’d just begun to scratch the surface of what the new Search is capable of.

 

 

On a practical level, the Search XR is equipped for whatever two-wheeled schemes you dream up. It’s outfitted with enough bottle mounts - two in the main triangle, one underneath the down tube, and two on the fork - to pack more water than a dromedary. Take advantage of the myriad rack mounts to strap on frame-packs and panniers and go bikepacking for the weekend.

You don’t have to fret over the terrain you’ll traverse. Even fully loaded, the new Shimano BR-R8020 hydraulic disc brakes provide smooth, confident speed modulation and braking with just the squeeze of a finger. Singletrack on the menu? No sweat. The Search’s fork and low, curved chainstays make room for 27.5” x 2.1” or 700c x 45c tires with ample mud clearance to spare.