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LTP Staff Rides: Norco Search XR

A quick scan of the bike room at the west coast LTP HQ will prove just how popular the Norco Search XR is with staffers. The nimble yet rugged gravel bike is the commuter bike of choice for a huge number of staff. A bike respected for its playful geometry, with the durability to survive long commutes loaded down with gear, the Search XR is an ideal choice for those who want to have a little fun riding to work. And that’s what we’re all about here.

Andrew Carrino is on our inside sales team. If you work at a shop in the Greater Vancouver area you probably know him well. Andrew has a reasonably long commute to work, around 40 km, which takes him over an hour by car. Riding his bike, however, the commute via backroads and gravel paths gives him the opportunity to take in some beautiful scenery.

Andrew set his Search XR up to be a fun bike first, and a commuting workhorse second. His first major upgrade was a pair of WTB Horizon tires in 650b x 47C. The Horizon’s are a semi-slick gravel-ready tire, perfect for high-speed on-road and mixed surface rides. They weigh in at only 515g each, and are ready to set up tubeless if that’s your jam. The tan sidewalls are another nice touch with the blue of the Search XR frame.

“Road plus is awesome, much faster than you’d think, given the air volume of the tires. They’re also just more fun, probably becuase you feel more in control when you lay the bike into corners. The WTB Horizon tires are really confidence-inspiring year round, which helps a lot.”

Rain is inevitable on the ‘wet coast’, so Andrew equipped his bike with Roadrunner AR fenders and a waterproof Hydracore bar bag from Axiom Gear. The Rainrunner fenders are unique in that they can be mounted on virtually any bike, whether or not they have eyelets or QR axles. The rubber mounts are sturdy and secure, but still allow the fenders to be removed in the summer months. The Monsoon Hydracore bar bag holds 9L of gear (enough for a lunch or change of clothes). Its roll-top design means that it is truly, 100%, throw-it-in-a-lake waterproof, which is great when the heavens open up halfway through your commute and your dry clothes are all inside.

For early morning and late-night rides, Andrew runs a 1600 Lumen Serfas E-Lume 1600 mounted on his fork. The low position of the light keeps him from dazzling other road users, while the immense power of the light allows him to ride full-speed no matter the time of day. For safety, Andrew also runs a Serfas Thunderbolt USB rear light to keep him visible in traffic.

“The Serfas E-Lume 1600 is an awesome light. A charge easily lasts me a ride to and from work on high-power, and if I do forget to recharge it at night, I can charge it at my computer at work via the included USB cable”

On cool fall mornings, the proper cycling clothing can mean the difference between an enjoyable commute and a cold or sweaty chore. Andrew swears by Endura’s FS-260 pro knickers and Xtract jacket, which are great for temperature regulation. The Xtract jacket is water resistant, so even if the weather decides to turn, Andrew won’t get soaked.

“Temperature regulation is key for commuting. Nobody wants to arrive at work dripping with sweat, even if you have showers there. My tip is to be bold and start cold – you tend to warm up pretty quickly, especially on gravel!”

All the goodies to set your Search XR up like Andrews can be found through your local Live to Play Sports dealer. Drop by and get yourself set up for a season of enjoyable fall commutes!