Looking at the brand new 2020 Norco Sight Carbon, you can immediately see that the Canadian brand has hit the nail on the head. Not only is the geometry sorted, but it also convinced us with lots of clever details – we took it to the trails for an exclusive first ride review.
The new Norco Sight Carbon offers 160 mm travel up front and 150 mm at the rear. Like its predecessor, it is available either with 29″ or 27.5″ wheels and has carbon fibre or aluminium frame options. However, these key data are not the bike’s biggest feature. The new bike’s geometry has been revised with a priority on balance, the top tube’s been kept low to give you maximum freedom of movement, every size comes with a long-travel dropper post and it’s full of smart details such as the bosses on the top tube for attaching a spare tube or tools.
Norco Ride Aligned – balance and centre of gravity are crucial
One of the keywords of the new Norco Sight is balance and Norco have aimed to achieve it with their so-called Ride Aligned system. To do so, the Canadian brand has taken a closer look at the sizes of riders to further revise its Gravity Tune geometry concept. The idea is to position the rider’s centre of gravity as optimally as possible on every frame size. Norco have made no compromises, varying the length of the chainstays according to the frame size and thereby balancing the rider’s weight between the front and rear wheels as best they can.
Besides the geometry and design, the leverage ratio of the Sight has been revised as well.
Knowing where the rider’s centre of gravity is on average, Norco have adapted the kinematics for every frame size. Overall, the leverage ratio of the rear linkage is much higher compared to the previous Sight (from around 2.8 to 3.2), making it respond even more sensitively. According to Norco, the shock has also been tuned to give the bike more mid-stroke support. If that wasn’t enough, Norco have developed their own app to facilitate the setup and thereby make sure that every rider can get the most out of the bike – we haven’t been able to test the app yet but it’s said to include a setup guide for all of Norco’s new models.
Balanced, steep, slack and long – the geometry of the Norco Sight
There are some standout features on the new 2020 Norco Sight Carbon that immediately catch your eye. The seat tube angle is very steep and the top tube is kept nice and low, which should allow for a comfortable pedalling position on the climbs and plenty of freedom of movement on the descents. Norco have kept the seat tube straight so it doesn’t hinder them or you from using a long-travel dropper post. The chainstays grow and shrink along with the different frame sizes to ensure that the weight distribution between the wheels stays optimal. Norco combine the slack head angle (64° on the 29er and 63.5° on the 27.5″ version) with short offset forks. The 485 mm reach in size L is on the longer side of the spectrum. Unlike the previous Sight, the new model has the same amount of travel regardless of whether it’s the 27.5″ or 29″ model. The geometry is the same on the carbon fibre and aluminium frames and all of them are available in four sizes from S to XL.
|Size||S 27.5″/29″||M 27.5″/29″||L 27.5″/29″||XL 27.5″/29″|
|Seat tube||370 mm/370 mm||395 mm/395 mm||435 mm/435 mm||465 mm/465 mm|
|Top tube||560 mm/564 mm||588 mm/593 mm||617 mm/621 mm||645 mm/649 mm|
|Head tube||100 mm/90 mm||110 mm/100 mm||120 mm/110 mm||130 mm/120 mm|
|Chainstay||430 mm/430 mm||435 mm/435 mm||440 mm/440 mm||445 mm/445 mm|
|BB Height||342 mm/350 mm||342 mm/350 mm||342 mm/350 mm||342 mm/350 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,180 mm/1,183 mm||1,220 mm/1,222 mm||1,259 mm/1,262 mm||1,299 mm/1,301 mm|
|Reach||425 mm/425 mm||455 mm/455 mm||485 mm/485 mm||515 mm/515 mm|
|Stack||585 mm/603 mm||594 mm/612 mm||603 mm/621 mm||612 mm/630 mm|
Sensibly specced from entry-level to flagship – the model range of the 2020 Norco Sight
The new Norco Sight comes in a total of four carbon fibre and three aluminium complete builds. With each, you can choose between 27.5″ and 29″ wheels. Prices range from € 2,799 for the Norco Sight A3 to € 9,999 for the Sight C SE. Norco are offering a women’s specific version of the various aluminium models, featuring a different paint job and adapted contact points – the frames themselves are identical. The carbon frame is also available as a frameset (€ 2,999).
The complete models all feature a 12-speed drivetrain, either Shimano or SRAM, and come with powerful four-piston brakes. You’ll find a long-travel dropper post fitted across the range in every size (150 mm on size S, 170 mm on sizes M/L, 200 mm on size XL). We also like that Norco invests in high-quality suspension instead of showy components that don’t make much of a performance difference such as an expensive rear derailleur, especially on the more affordable models. Even the entry-level model gave us very little to criticise. The bike we think offers the best value for money is the Sight A1 for € 4,599, specced with excellent suspension, great brakes and high-quality wheels.
All models at a glance
Good-natured, balanced and damn fast – the Norco Sight C2 on the trail
The moment we swung a leg over the Sight C2 and started cranking up the first climb, we thought to ourselves, this is precisely how you should sit on an Enduro or trail bike. Thanks to the steep seat tube angle you’re positioned very centrally and comfortably on the bike. No matter how steep the climbs get, the front wheel stays firmly on the ground, which saves you a lot of upper body strength. The rear suspension generates a lot of traction on the climbs without excessive pedal bob, which is a good thing, since there’s no climb switch on the shock. Overall, the Norco is a brilliant climber and the front wheel always remained calm and in control on technical climbs.
The Sight C2 truly comes into its own on the descents. As soon as you drop the saddle, your confidence skyrockets. Thanks to the low-slung top tube and the well-proportioned reach and stack you feel integrated with the bike and also have plenty of room to move around. This motivates you to keep off the brakes and if you do, the bike will reward you for it. It remains amazingly composed even over the nastiest roots or rock gardens. Only the EXO+ tire on the rear couldn’t quite keep up and punctured during testing. If you like pushing your limits, we recommend fitting a Double-Down model instead. But if you regularly ride long distances, you’ll be better off with the tire as specced.
The rear suspension performs very sensitively and defined, which not only generates a lot of traction but also makes it easy to catch air off drops and jumps. The weight distribution of the new Norco is nicely balanced, generating lots of grip on both wheels in the turns. If you want, the bike will let you corner as if on rails. The Sight is anything but boring or sluggish though and if you prefer you can easily flick the rear end out.
Our conclusion to the new 2020 Norco Sight C2
The new Norco Sight C2 left a very positive first impression. The bike seems to offer the perfect compromise of an agile trail bike and a capable Enduro bike. It’s comfortable and efficient on the climbs and offers just the right amount of composure and agility on the descents. Features such as the long-travel dropper posts across the range, the low slung top tube and very sensible componentry speak of a wealth of know-how and careful attention to detail – we’re very curious to see how the bike will fare in our Enduro group test.
- great riding position for the climbs
- very balanced handling
- instills you with confidence
- tends to be rather expensive
- No climb switch on the shock
- paint on the chainstay chipped off
Words: Christoph Bayer Photos: Finlay Anderson, Christoph Bayer