After the launch of the highly anticipated 2022 Norco Range, we caught up with Pro Enduro Racer, Lewis Buchanan, to get up close and personal with the new High Virtual Pivot Suspension layout. Lewis isn’t on the Norco Factory team, so it was cool to see an alternative setup with suspension from DVO, brakes from TRP and components from PNW.
Lewis Buchanan’s 2022 Norco Range
Marketing shots of new bikes don’t always show all the angles we want to see. In fact, they almost never do. So, when we heard that local pro Buchanan had built up his 2022 Norco Range we were falling over ourselves to see it in the flesh.
Lewis was fresh back from the Trans Madeira where he took a very respectable 6th place, even after some unfortunate mechanicals left him back in 16th on Day 3 of the five day enduro stage race. He raced the Norco Sight in Madeira, but will be seen from here on out aboard the 2022 Norco Range, to be christened this weekend at a Downhill Race on home turf in Scotland.
Lewis stands at 5′ 11″ and weighs 78kg in riding gear. That puts him on a size large Norco Range with a DVO Jade Coil shock with a 425 x 475 lbs ProRate Spring. Norco specifically developed the Range with custom-damper tunes on FOX and RockShox Coil Shocks. A specific damper tune for the Range doesn’t exist (yet) so Lewis is currently experimenting with four different damper tunes from DVO. At the moment, Lewis is choosing to run that 170mm rear wheel travel with the compression damping set to fully open.
The Range frame doesn’t quite accommodate the DVO Jade Coil Shock either, so Lewis has to shave some material off the shock body to make sure it sits within the frame cavity without rubbing.
Up front, Buchanan’s Norco Range features a DVO Onyx SC D1 Air Fork, running 170mm travel. Pressure is set to 78 PSI with the low speed rebound dial at 17 clicks from fully open. On the compression side, he chooses to run things well damped at two and three clicks from fully closed for the LSC and HSC, respectively.
The Range rolls on 29″ We Are One carbon rims; a Union (Enduro Spec) with a 30mm internal width up front and a Strife (DH Spec) 30mm internal width in the rear. Those are laced to a popping green-anodized Industry Nine Hydra Hubset.
Seated to those Canadian-made composite rims are Maxxis Tires; DH Casing front and rear for maximum pinch flat protection. On the front is a MaxxGrip 2.5″ Assegai with 20 PSI and on the rear is a 2.4″ MaxxGrip DHRII running 22-23 PSI. Both tires are running with CushCore Pro tire inserts (our review here), making this what should be an absolutely bomb-proof setup.
The most eye-catching part of Lewis Buchanan’s Norco Range build would have to be those limited edition gold TRP DH-R EVO brakes. These are the most powerful 4-Piston brakes TRP have ever made (read Steve Fisher’s review here).
Lewis runs a monster 223mm rotor up front and a 203mm rotor in the rear, both of which are 2.3mm thick. To learn more about why you’d want to run larger, thicker rotors, check out our tech feature here.
The brakes aren’t the only piece of TRP real estate on this build. Lewis also runs TRP drivetrain components with TRP shifters and a 12-Speed TR-12 rear mech. That extra long chain (thanks to the high pivot requiring a chain idler) shifts through a SRAM Eagle GX 10-52T cassette pulled by a Unite Components 34T chainring. He opts for 175mm crank arms in the form of Shimano XT.
Lewis Buchanan’s Norco Range has a PNW finishing kit. In the cockpit, the 50mm PNW range stem secures the PNW Range alloy bar with a 31.8mm clamp diameter. The bar has a 30mm rise, 10° backsweep and 5° upsweep. Lewis cuts his down to 760mm, and opts for the PNW Loam grips with a soft rubber compound.
Lewis is able to run a 170mm travel PNW Loam dropper seat post on his large Norco Range, topped with an Ergon saddle. Lewis clips into his enduro race bike, preferring Crankbrothers Mallet DH pedals.
A unique feature of Lewis’s bike is the Mudhugger front fender. This one is a prototype bolt-on design that Mudhugger are developing specifically for DVO forks.
For more information about Lewis’s journey with the 2022 Norco Range, you can head to his YouTube Channel where you can see him testing the bike out for the first time at the Fort William World Cup DH Track, and keep up with him as he trains for the Loudenvielle and Tweed Valley EWS Races going ahead later this season.
A closer look at the 2022 Norco Range HVP Suspension
The 2022 Norco Range runs an all-new High Virtual Pivot suspension platform, soon to be seen on Norco’s as-of-yet unreleased downhill bike, too. Unlike on other high pivot bikes (like Lewis’s previous Forbidden Dreadnought), the Range rear end does not pivot about a fixed point in space; rather, it pivots about a location that changes throughout the 170mm travel.
The high pivot at the seat tube allows the rear end to move upwards, while the lower link that moves about a pivot concentric to the bottom bracket extends out and backwards, ensuring the rear axle has a 100% rearward path.
As such, the lowest pivot on the suspension sits very low on the bike, much lower than the bottom bracket itself. The Range features a plastic guard bolted to the link, designed to protect that part of the frame. As you can see, Lewis has already smacked this off a rock (while testing at Fort William). While the guard didn’t snap off, it does look to have bent enough to result in a small frame chip.
You can read more about the 2022 Norco Range in our tech post here, where we also have details on models, pricing and availability.