Pipeliner
Last fall I was looking for a carbon gravel bike with 2x drive, gravel geo and could run 45c tires with plenty of clearance. That critera narrows the field so when I found a new Search xr frame for about half price I bought it. Over the winter I've added GRX 800 series drivetrain, Hunt carbon 30 gravel wheelset with 45mm Ramblers, secondhand carbon bars and chiner seatpost.

Weighs 19.7 lbs with 2.5 oz of sealant in each tire, ready to ride. A little more than expected but still not bad for a bike with that wide of tire. To save money, I went with the GRX 600 series crankset (46/30) and 105 cassette (11/32) and could've save a few ounces there for a couple hundred bucks. 

Took it out for a shakedown ride the other day. I used to run 40/32psi in 40 Ramblers on my old bike. Right away dropped to 35/30 with the 45s, think that is still too high. I'm real happy with that, wanted a softer ride and bigger footprint for out fluffy, sandy road conditions we have in the summer.

The GRX 810 shifting is awesome, need to bleed the brakes, they suck right now. Wish I'd put an 11/34 cassette on already. 

The frame is advertised as clearance for 700/45 tires and the front derailleur is the limiting factor on any larger tire. Gobs of tire clearance with the 45s though, which was another thing that was very important to me. 20200125_153721.jpg 
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widerisfaster
A mate of mine has the 2018 version of the Norco Search in the blue fade. He has run 650b x 49mm Maxxlite tyres on rough tracks and loves them.  if you find you want to go even wider, the frame clears up to a 650b x 2.1" tire.  
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karl
This bike was at the top of my list a year ago for all the same reasons you listed. Waited for a couple months for lbs to call when they got one . never did. Ended up getting the Giant Revolt 0. very happy with it, but not as cool as the Norco.
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beatnik_glory
Pipe - nice looking build.  I am starting a build on a 2019 Norco Search XR Steel.  Like you picked up the frameset at a 50% discount.  It is in that OD Green color scheme.  My favorite along with the Desert Tan that yours is in. 

I have most of the bits and piece parts gathered and about to start the assembly.  I will be building it with full Shimano GRX 800 series but in the 1x11 with their 34t cassette.  

What Bottom Bracket did you go with?  The BB and a wheelset are the last things I need to decide on.

Looking forward to hearing more of your reports.  
 
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biglmbass
Where do I look to find a 50% off frame?  Prefer steel...
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Pipeliner
I put a Wheels inc BB in it. Nothing spendy. 

I think theres a new carbon 58cm 2019 frame on Pinkbike yet. Same store I bought mine from. Guy is good to deal with and will negotiate.
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Pipeliner

Update... 

well, after a couple rides I hated the bars I had on it so switched them out for carbon Whisky 9 bars with 12 deg flare. Major improvement. Changed to a 11/34 cassette for the really tough climbs and soft conditions. I live where wind is a (hated) fact of life and I love the range this drivetrain gives me. Speaking of drivetrain, my last two dropbar bikes were SRAM and I love this GRX 800 stuff. The front derailleur is superior to the SRAM Red and Rival I had. Cable adjustment feature is great. Shifts like butter.

I scrounged up a used Ritchey Superlogic seatpost and swapped out the cheapo I had on it. Come to find out the Chinese one had as much or more flex than the Ritchey does (which is sold as a flexing post). I guess if you want a cheap flexible post, buy one of those EC90’s. The Ritchey is quite a bit lighter, apparent when holding them side by side.

The 45c tires and 35mm deep wheels catch side wind. Badly. I think I’ll just have to live with that. Probably try 40c for races I plan to ride this year but I do love those 45s for our roads. I weigh 240 so the added float and traction is great. Smaller tires tend to ping off rocks and squirm around in loose gravel at the pressures I have to ride. 

The bike itself rides as good or better than I expected. Coming off a Trek Boone that had just too much frame flex and squirrelly handling when pushed to high speeds on rough roads, this bikes handles speed and bumps as well as loose gravel like a rigid mountain bike. So much so that I’ve gotten a couple KOMs on downhill segments... and I’m closer to 60 than 50 now, but look like I’m 39.  🙂 758EC591-5E48-4301-8F43-040FADE01DD1.jpeg   

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Pipeliner
Put on a Selle Anatomica leather saddle 4iii left side power meter and new Garmin. Fine tuned brifter and bar position, have nothing left on my refinement list  . All of the races I was contemplating have been cancelled except for one that was moved to late Sept so not holding my breath on that one. I have spent a fair amount of time mountain biking and road riding but still have managed to put about 700 miles on this bike. Once the chain and cassette wore in the GRX shifting is just amazing.

Love the bike, super stable on loose and rougher roads at speed (due to the 45mm tires, no doubt). Climbs really well, rides very soft. It really handles everything I've ridden with no scary slips or twitches. You feel the penalty of the wide tires on pavement downhills and other high speed rides that I'm able to do with a road bike for comparison. But at the same time I can ride nearly any gravel road surface with little time spent dodging loose or fluffy stuff. I am also considerably faster with this setup on curvy gravel downhill segments.
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radouf
Awesome build, mate! I’m looking into the Search XR myself, I might just pull the trigger soon. Also I’m a huge fan of the Maxxis Ramblers ; running the 45s on my Kona at the moment, loving the ride but i’m left with ridiculous clearance. You mention that you have heaps of clearance still on the Search XR, do you think we could squeeze some bigger tires in there? Cheers.
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Pipeliner

radouf wrote:
Awesome build, mate! I’m looking into the Search XR myself, I might just pull the trigger soon. Also I’m a huge fan of the Maxxis Ramblers ; running the 45s on my Kona at the moment, loving the ride but i’m left with ridiculous clearance. You mention that you have heaps of clearance still on the Search XR, do you think we could squeeze some bigger tires in there? Cheers.


It would depend on the tire and internal width of the rim. The stays have plenty of room for 50s but the limiting factor will be the seat tube clearance. I’m guessing that a 24mm or wider internal rim would flatten a 50 out enough to clear.

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radouf
Hey again! You still enjoying the Search XR? I'm ready to pull the trigger now. I've narrowed down my build to these couple key elements:

- Norco Search XR C2 2020, size 53
- Ritchey Beacon 42mm (hyper-flared) bar -- gotta try it, looks dope! 
- with Ritchey 17 degrees stem in 80mm for fit
- Might stretch into a handbuilt wheelset eventually, but the question I come back to is:
- Tires. I just found René Herse Oracle Ridge 700 x 48mm (Endurance casing) that would fit my riding style & preferred, fatter width. They'd be mounted on 25mm internal rims, so would presumably stretch out to 49mm. As my build will run on a 1-by drivetrain, front derailleur clearance (which you've mentioned) is a non-issue. As for seat tube clearance, that's more what I'm trying to figure out before I order it all. 

How does this bounce off you? Maybe, would you be kind enough to take a couple of shots of the clearance you're left with, with 45s?

Cheers, thank you so much mate.

Pipeliner wrote:

 


It would depend on the tire and internal width of the rim. The stays have plenty of room for 50s but the limiting factor will be the seat tube clearance. I’m guessing that a 24mm or wider internal rim would flatten a 50 out enough to clear.

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