Mountain Bike Action Bike Test: Norco’s Sight Carbon Trail Bike
Suspension front/rear: 160mm / 150mm
Tire Size: 29″
Norco has taken full advantage of the digital age to make its 2020 bikes the best fit yet. With Norco’s Build Your Ride program and its Ride Aligned tuning guide, riders can confidently purchase a new Norco, knowing the components were custom-tailored to meet their needs and that tuning information will be provided to make their bikes as dialed as possible. This month the wrecking crew got a hold of Norco’s 2020 Sight Carbon and used Norco’s online tools to see how well this Canadian bike could handle our Southern California trails.
Norco focused on the small details to make the all-new Sight the best trail weapon possible. Features such as its shuttle guard protection and its accessory mount under the top tube are things riders may not have known they needed but will be excited to have. Additionally, Norco added clearance for tires up to 2.6 inches wide and made sure a water bottle would fit inside the front triangle.
The frames are built around 27.5-inch wheels or 29er wheels. Our 29er bike had a carbon front triangle and seatstays along with aluminum chainstays. Riders looking to save some money can opt for a full aluminum frame.
Through Norco’s Build Your Ride online experience, you can pick the component spec that best fits your budget and needs. Norco offers a list of component packages ranging from the base-model Shimano XT/SLX build to SRAM’s wireless XX1 AXS kit. Our test rig fell right into the middle of those two options, offering an X01 Eagle 12-speed build along with SRAM Code RSC brakes, Deity handlebars and DT Swiss M1700 wheels.
This Norco came spec’d with a long-travel Reverb dropper post on our size medium and had an E∗thirteen chainguide to ensure no dropped chains.
The Sight is available with either a Fox or RockShox kit, offering riders the option to choose their team. Our test bike came ready to rip with a Lyric Ultimate fork and a super Deluxe Select+ shock. This, however, is not even the most exciting part. What shocked our test riders was the attention to detail in Norco’s Ride Aligned online tuning guide. When you enter your height, weight and riding level, Norco will build you a complete tuning guide with recommendations for fork and shock air pressure, rebound and compressing settings and even tire pressure.
While the system might not give you the exact tune you desire, it gave all of our test riders an excellent starting point. Once we got out on the trails, we only made minor adjustments here and there to our rebound and compression settings, depending on the trail in front of us.
DOWN AND DIRTY
While the Sight offers slightly less travel than its big brother the Range, it’s undoubtedly an aggressive trail-ready bike with enough travel for the rough stuff and a confidence-inspiring geometry.
Once we got the Sight out on the trails and headed up a steep climb, we quickly felt as if we were on a bike in a longer-travel category. While the Sight is still an efficient climber, our test riders noticed the bike’s small-bump compliance tends to give a slight bob when mashing the pedals out of the saddle; however, seated, high-cadence climbing was met with a much more supported feel. We suspected this had a lot to do with the neutral seated position offered by the steep seat tube angle. The bike’s long reach also seemed to play a role in the Sight’s balanced feel. In technical sections, the Sight flipped the script and started to surprise us with easy-to-navigate handling due to the planted front wheel.
Ride Aligned is more than just a tuning guide, it’s Norco’s philosophy. Through studying rider kinematics and weight distribution, Norco was able to pinpoint a rider’s weight between his or her bike’s contact patches. Out on the trails, the Sight feels absolutely dialed. It didn’t matter if we were charging a fast line or mixing it up on a more playful section of trail, the Norco felt intuitive and easy to ride.
When we really started to get comfortable, we noticed the suspension bottoming out during harsh hits, so we added air volume tokens for a more progressive ride. With that said, our bike’s front and rear suspension felt beautifully balanced and provided an unparalleled grip.
In a way, Norco has already allowed you to make all the mods and upgrades you desire by letting you build your bike in the first place; however, Norco’s build options are fairly limited should you want to swap grips, tires or other small parts. But after spending time testing the Norco’s Sight in its mid-level trim, we’re confident little would need to be changed other than touch-point parts.
The Norco Sight is a trail weapon built to handle any situation. It’s the bike you’d happily take out for a long day on the trail or load in the truck for shuttle runs at the bike park. It makes its way up climbs in a timely manner and blasts down descents like a true enduro bike. Riders who don’t need to brag about how much travel they have but still want a bike built to take full advantage of the descents will find the Sight the perfect option. Meanwhile, a rider looking for a little extra cushion might find the Sight’s bigger brother their ideal counterpart. Regardless, Norco’s attention to detail and excellent engineering make the Sight a pleasure to ride.
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