Pedaling Response: 13.4/15
The Norco Search Carbon defines what a great gravel bike should be. It feels like a race bike — stiff and responsive — but it’s incredibly comfortable even after long hours on bumpy gravel roads.
The Search utilizes endurance road bike geometry like a 170-millimeter head tube for a more upright position and a 1,019-millimeter wheelbase for added stability. This makes for a comfortable ride over rough terrain or for very long events like the Dirty Kanza 200. Aiding in the Search’s comfortable ride are the bike’s bowed seat stays that work like micro-suspension to reduce road vibration without sacrificing pedaling efficiency, delivering a smooth yet exciting ride.
With room for up to 40-millimeter tires, the Search can accommodate a host of gravel-specific rubber. Clement’s USH 35mm tires come stock with the bike, leaving plenty of clearance in case of muddy conditions. The DT-Swiss R23 Spline tubeless-ready wheels are on the heavier side but they do help keep the complete bike’s price down. At $3,450, the Search is a steal with crisp-shifting Shimano Ultegra drivetrain and powerful yet reliable RS685 hydraulic disc brakes.
The slightly slack 72.25-degree head tube angle slowed down the bike’s steering just a touch. But this isn’t a bad thing when you’re on loose gravel roads and need to take corners a bit more conservatively. When exiting these corners, the Norco feels stiff, fast, and ready to jump at the first application of power. But its 19.06 pounds holds it back from fully accelerating as fast as we wanted it to. No, this is not a heavy bike, but a little less junk in the trunk would make it unstoppable.
Component Highlights: Shimano Ultegra drivetrain with 50/34 crankset and 11-32 cassette; Shimano RS685 hydraulic disc brakes; DT Swiss R23 Spline tubeless-ready wheels
Weight: 19.06 pounds (size 55.5cm)