The Norco Sight C1 isn’t a full-on enduro bike according to the Canadian brand. Instead, it’s positioned between their trail bike, the Optic and the now somewhat outdated Range enduro bike. After a promising first ride review, we were excited to see how it would fare against the competition.
For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike 2020
Almost every enduro bike on the market today is “long and slack”. However, few are as packed full of smart details as the Norco Sight C1, which combined 160 mm travel up front with 150 mm at the rear. The stock bike comes equipped with a 170 mm dropper post, made possible by the very short seat tube and the equally low top tube to offer the most possible freedom of movement. Apart from that, Norco have opted to vary the length of the rear end to suit the length of the front triangle across the range of available sizes to achieve optimal weight distribution for each frame size. Besides offering enough space for a water bottle, there are additional mounting points in the front triangle for a spare tube and tools. The components on the € 6,999 Sight C1 are equally trimmed for real-world performance. The RockShox suspension consisting of a Lyrik Ultimate fork and a Super Deluxe Ultimate shock perform just as well as the CODE RSC brakes and the DT Swiss M1700 wheelset. Although the aluminium cockpit won’t wow you quite as much, there is nothing to fault with the Deity handlebar and Norco stem. A setup guide on the Norco website gives you all the information you need to dial in the setup to suit your weight and riding style – nice!
Norco Sight C1 29
Fork RockShox Lyrik Ultimate 160 mm
Rear Shock RockShox SuperDeluxe Select+ 150 mm
Seatpost RockShox Reverb Stealth 175 mm
Brakes SRAM Code RSC 200/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM X01 Eagle 32 - 10/50
Stem Norco Alu 40 mm
Handlebar Deity Ridgeline 800 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss M1700 Spline 29
Size S, M, L, XL
Weight 14.62 kg
Geometry and size of the Norco
Norco know that it takes more than long reach or a slack head angle to make a great bike. The Canadian brand are one of the few that haven’t spared the effort of adapting the length of the chain stays to suit the length of the front triangle on every frame size for a more balanced bike. On top of that, they’ve also kept the top tube low and the seat tube short and straight throughout. In combination with a long dropper post, this gives you as much freedom of movement as possible on the Sight and more fun and confidence on the trail.
|Seat tube||370 mm||395 mm||435 mm||465 mm|
|Top tube||564 mm||593 mm||621 mm||649 mm|
|Head tube||90 mm||100 mm||110 mm||120 mm|
|Chainstays||430 mm||435 mm||440 mm||445 mm|
|BB Drop||25 mm||25 mm||25 mm||25 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,183 mm||1,222 mm||1,262 mm||1,301 mm|
|Reach||425 mm||455 mm||485 mm||515 mm|
|Stack||603 mm||612 mm||621 mm||630 mm|
The Norco Sight C1 29 on the trail
The moment you swing a leg over the Norco Sight, you’ll hear a voice in your head whispering “Ride it like you stole it”. The long front triangle combined with the low slung top tube gives you plenty of freedom to move around. This motivates you to stay loose on the bike and get it sideways as you hit turns, flicking it playfully through corners. Despite its length, the bike is well balanced and you’ll always have enough weight on the front wheel. On the descents, you feel well integrated between the wheels. With the Super Deluxe shock installed, the rear linkage is rather firm and direct, resulting in a poppy feel that gives you plenty of feedback from the trail. While this makes for very agile handling, a little more sensitivity would improve the traction on offer.
The Norco Sight C1 29 rewards an active riding style with tons of speed!
On fast, big hits the rear end also hardens noticeably, transmitting the impacts on to the rider. If you want to go fast and rough on the Sight C1, it’ll do so without flinching but you’ll simply have to hold on to the handlebar that much tighter. However, what is annoying is the loud rattling from the chain hitting the metal chainstay where the protector is way too short. Thanks to its steep seat tube angle and efficient suspension, the Norco will get you up the climbs without issue. The rider is positioned very centrally and upright on the bike, making easy work of climbs.
Steep seat tube angle meets efficient suspension – climbing couldn’t be more relaxed on the Sight.
How does the Norco Sight C1 compare?
Norco might not be labelling the Sight C1 an enduro bike, but it doesn’t have any problems keeping up with most of the bikes in the test field. The suspension feels very similar to that of the Trek Slash, but the longer geometry is more composed and makes it more capable on the climbs. In rougher terrain, it’s the lack of traction on the rear that has it falling behind bikes like the RAAW Madonna or the Specialized Enduro.
Tuning tip: properly fasten the cables | extend the chainstay protector
The Norco Sight C1 29 is one of the best bikes on the market for those who are out to have fun. It’ll win you over with its lively, agile handling, excellent climbing characteristics and huge freedom of movement. It is only when the trail becomes very rough that the firm tune of the rear suspension can’t keep up with the better bikes in the test field. There is also room for improvement in terms of the quality of the workmanship.
- very lively and fun handling
- excellent climbing characteristics
- a lot of freedom of movement on the descents
- rear-end struggles absorbing hard impacts
- rattling cables
- paint damage to the chainstay
You can find out more about the Norco Sight C1 29 at norco.com
The test field
For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best enduro bike 2020
All bikes in test: Canyon Strive CFR 9.0 LTD | CUBE Stereo 170 SL 29 | Giant Reign Advanced 29 0 | Ibis Mojo HD5 | Norco Sight C1 29 | Nukeproof Mega 275C RS | Nukeproof Mega 290C Pro | Orbea Rallon M-LTD | Pole Stamina 180 LE | RAAW Madonna V2 FOX Factory Built | Rocky Mountain Slayer Carbon 90 29 | Santa Cruz Megatower CC X01 Reserve | SCOTT Ransom 900 Tuned | Specialized S-Works Enduro 2020 | Specialized Turbo Kenevo Expert | Trek Slash 9.9 X01 AXS | Yeti SB150 T2 | YT CAPRA 29 CF Pro Race
This scale indicates how efficiently the bike climbs. It refers to both simple and technical climbs. Along with the suspension, the riding position and the weight of the bike all play a crucial role.↩
How does the bike ride and descend? How spritely is the bike, how agile is it through corners, how much fun is it in tight sections and how quickly can it change direction?↩
Is the bike stable at high speeds? Is it easy to stay in control in demanding terrain? How composed is it on rough trails? Stability is a combination of balanced geometry, good suspension and the right spec.↩
This is all about how balanced the bike is and particularly about how well it corners. Balanced bikes require little physical effort from the rider and are very predictable. If a bike is unbalanced, the rider has to work hard to weight the front wheel to generate enough grip. However, experienced riders can have a lot of fun even with unbalanced bikes.↩
How sensitive is the suspension over small bumps? Can it absorb hard impacts and does it soak up repeated hits? Plush suspension not only provides comfort and makes a bike more capable, but it also generates traction. The rating includes the fork and the rear suspension.↩
This aspect mainly comes down to the suspension. How much pop does it have, does it suck up the rider’s input or is it supportive, and how agile and direct is the bike?↩
We don’t calculate value for money in an excel spreadsheet or based on how high-end a bike is specced. We are more concerned with how a bike performs on the trail and how the bike benefits the rider. What good are the best components if the bike doesn’t perform well on the trail? Expensive bikes with a lower-end spec can offer very good value for money – provided they excel where it matters. Just as supposedly cheap bikes with good components can get a bad rating if they don’t deliver on the trail.↩
No, it’s not about racing, it’s about efficiency. Fast, fleet-footed and efficient – those who want to speed along flowy singletrack and gravel roads need a defined and spritely bike that accelerates with ease and efficiency. Nevertheless, reliable components are important too. We interpret XC more like the Americans do: big back-country rides instead of a marathon or XC World Cup with the ultimate in lightweight construction! Uphill-downhill ratio: 80:30 (not everything has to be 100%!)↩
...also known as mountain biking. Classic singletrack with roots, rocks and ledges – sometimes flowy, sometimes rough. For this, you need a bike with good all-round qualities, whether climbing or descending. Uphill-downhill ratio: 50:50↩
Even more extreme and challenging compared to Trail riding, riddled with every kind of obstacle: jumps, gaps, nasty rock gardens, ruts and roots. For this, you need (race)proven equipment that forgives mistakes and wouldn’t look out of place on a stage of the Enduro World Series. Climbing is just a means to an end. Uphill-downhill ratio: 30:70↩
Strictly speaking, a 200 mm travel downhill bike is the best choice for merciless tracks with big jumps, drops and the roughest terrain. Those would be the black or double-black-diamond tracks in a bike park. But as some of the EWS pros (including Sam Hill) have proven, it’s the riding skills and not the bike that define what you can ride with it. Climbing? On foot or with a shuttle, please! Uphill-downhill ratio: 10:90↩
Words: Christoph Bayer Photos: Christoph Bayer / Finlay Anderson / Markus Frühmann