When looking at a lightweight enduro mountain bike, it doesn’t get much better than the Norco Range C3. The main features to look for are Norco’s High Virtual Pivot Suspension system, RockShox ZEB fork, and a Shimano Deore 10-51T 12-speed cassette. The Range C3 is built for all kinds of mountain bike trails from high-speed fire roads to gnarly downhill trails.
While the Norco Range models might not be for everyone, they are certainly a good addition to an experienced cyclist’s collection.
The Norco Range C3 has more than just the basics, and despite its subpar components, the Range C3 makes up for it in terms of both performance and style.
In our Norco Range C3 review, we’re going to take a closer look at the bike that many are calling a mix between an enduro bike and a downhill mountain bike.
The Norco Range C3 is a top-performing carbon enduro bike made for ripping corners, hucking jumps, and tackling technical trails.
Related: Full Review of Norco Bikes
With Norco’s own High Virtual Pivot Suspension design, the Norco Range performs as well as any enduro bike in the industry, and with a range of three models featuring low-end to high-end components.
Weighing 18.2kg, the Norco Range C3 is lightweight for an enduro bike, but nowhere near feeling fragile.
The front fork and rear suspension help dampen every impact, although the spring rate is not adjustable on Range models. Instead, each frame size comes with a predetermined spring rate that you’ll need to buy a replacement for if it’s unsatisfactory. The high-speed rebound dial is also difficult to reach, which is a bit of a pain for a bike so carefully designed otherwise.
Designed for all sorts of mountain bike trails from the casual to the professional, the Norco Range C3 has all the features that a serious mountain biker is looking for.
Solid front and rear suspension, a huge gearing range, lightweight frame, and 170mm of travel all make the C3 one of the best.
The Norco Range C3 features an all-carbon frame with High Virtual Pivot Suspension design and 170mm of travel.
Using carbon keeps the frame as light as possible, while also using Norco’s mountain bike-specific geometry to maintain handling and durability for a fast enduro mountain bike.
The Range C3 also uses Norco’s Ride-Aligned System, which alters the geometry of the bike in relation to its specific frame size.
In other words, the Range C3’s handling is high-performing regardless of bike size. The head tube angle of the Range C3 is about 63° depending on the frame size, with a seat tube angle of around 77°.
The suspension system on the Norco Range C3 is one of the most unique systems out there. The full Norco Range uses the High Pivot Rear suspension design where the seat stay and front triangle are connected up above the bottom bracket.
Related: Best Full Suspension Mountain Bikes
This results in the chainstay and wheelbase shortening or lengthening as the suspension compresses or extends.
Norco has mastered this unique design, and while it’s difficult to put into words, the improved ride feel and suspension action is fantastic.
At the front of the C3 is a RockShox ZEB fork and Charger R Damper, with 44mm Offset, and 170mm of travel. Combined with the Fox DHX2 Coil shock (205x65mm), the Range C3 offers the best pairing of cushion, speed, and handling on an enduro bike.
The rear suspension can be adjusted to multiple different settings, including rebound changes. For a bike that seems catered to the elite mountain bike crowd, the Norco Range C3 is actually very adjustable and fits the size and style of a wide range of riders.
One of the biggest drawbacks to the rear suspension design is that when it is fully extended, the lower rocker link protrudes out from the frame, leaving it exposed underneath the bottom bracket of the C3.
While Norco did include a bash guard on the frame, it doesn’t fully protect the lower rocker link from damage against rocks, roots, or drop-offs.
Maxxis Assegai DD 3C MaxxGrip (front) and Dissector DD 3C MaxxGrip (rear) tires help maintain grip on the slipperiest surfaces and most gnarly trails.
The front tire of the Range C3 measures 2.5 inches wide, while the rear tire measures a slightly smaller 2.4 inches wide. Both tires are mounted on Shimano MT410/510 Hubs & Stan’s Flow D Alloy Rims which have a 30mm inner width.
Brakes are one of the most important components on an enduro bike, and the Norco Range delivers with Shimano MT520 w/200mm Rotors, powerful disc brakes to help you maintain control even on the most technical trails.
Another crucial piece of any modern enduro mountain bike is the dropper seatpost. The Norco Range C3 features a TanzX Dropper (34.9mm diameters) with travel ranging from 150mm in the Small frame, to 170mm in the Medium frame, and 200mm in the Large and Extra Large frames.
The C3’s drivetrain is one of the biggest differences between it and the higher-end C1 and C2 Norco Range models. The C3 features a Shimano SLX 1×12 w/Deore Alloy 32T Crankset, with a 10-51T Cassette in the rear.
The 1x setup is a mainstay on modern mountain bikes, removing the need for a front derailleur, thus saving weight and decreasing the chances of a chain drop. The “T” refers to the number of teeth in each cog, and with a 32T ring up front, you’ll have plenty of range for both uphill and downhill trails.
Ranging from 10T to 51T, the rear cassette on the C3 offers a huge range of gearing when combined with the 32T ring up front. You’ll be able to sprint off the start line, hold pace in a group, and tackle the steepest of all climbs with the gearing range on the C3.
The Norco Range C1 is the top-tier model from Norco, sparing no expense compared to the C3 and C2.
Decked out with We Are One carbon fiber rims, Onyx Vesper hubs, Fox 38 Factory Grip 2 fork, and SRAM Code RSC brakes, the C1 is Norco’s ultimate enduro bike.
To round out the specs, the Range C1 features a top-end drivetrain in the SRAM X01 Eagle 1×12 with X1 carbon 32T crankset and 10-52T cassette. At $8,999, you’ll need to pay a premium to enjoy the Norco Range C1, which is why Norco offers the second and third-tier options in the C2 and C3.
The mid-range Range C2 costs $6,999 and features the same frame as both the C1 and C3. However, the C2 uses a different fork and suspension compared to the other Range models.
Specifically, the C2 has a RockShox ZEB Ultimate suspension system with a Charger RC2 Damper, 44mm of offset, 170mm of travel, and a Fox DHX2 Coil Factory Series shock.
The C2 also has an upgraded drivetrain compared to the C3, with a SRAM GX Eagle 1×12 with GX Alloy 32T crankset and 10-52T rear cassette – just to give you that one extra gear for the really steep stuff.
For comparison, the Norco Range C3 costs just $5,599, just over half the price of the elite C1.
Didn’t find what you were looking for? Take a look at our list of the best mountain bikes.
The Norco Range C3 is the most basic model of the Norco Range lineup. It includes High Virtual Pivot Suspension, Ride-Aligned System frame geometry, and a host of other features that make it a fantastic all-round enduro bike.
With 170mm of travel, the Norco Range can handle of variety of extreme terrain, as well as keep up on quicker sections of trail with its wide gearing range.
For mountain bikers who can stomach the price tag, the Norco Range C3 is one of the best enduro bikes on the market. The model is full of unique features that arguably put it above its actual price point.
Capable of handling hucks, jumps, tabletops, and drop-offs, the Range C3 is as versatile as it gets for an enduro bike.
Its components are far from cheap, but if you’re ever questioning them, you can always upgrade to the Norco Range C2 or Norco Range C1.