The not-so-minor details
Norco Sight C 9.2
Nails the sweet-spot of agility and confidence.
Just the right amount of travel for just about anything.
Brings fun to big wheels.
Noisy grinding drivetrain.
Chainguide adjustment bolt thread damages easily.
Too tight water bottle space.
Norco’s Sight has scored a big makeover, and it’s damn fine. This new mid-travel trail ripper has been a real pleasure to ride, we’ve taken it to some amazing places, ridden all sorts of trails and had some excellent times together.
What is it?
The Sight sits in between the Range and Optic in Norco’s catalogue, a mid-travel trail bike available in both wheel size options. The Sight could be dubbed the middle child of the Norcos, with parts, and a shape that strikes a sweet spot between the lean cross country scene and the burly enduro crowds. In fact, we’d say that this is the type of bike we would hope more mountain bikers consider instead of being attracted to a race bike, or what the pros ride.
We have 140mm of travel up front, and 130mm out the back (the 27.5″ version has 150/140mm), it’s a good amount, not too much, not too little, just right for riding hard on rough trails up and down, right?
The frame is quite compact, low and drew many comments from onlookers it doesn’t look like a typical 29er at first glance. The proportions are nice, the finish is very classy, and the internal cabling managed by the rubber clamps at the frame ports hold the cables from making noise inside the frame and can be easily accessed too, it’s an excellent cable management system in an area that a lot of other brands still battle with.
The frame is quite compact, low and drew many comments from onlookers it doesn’t look like a typical 29er at first glance
The Sight C 9.2 a full carbon frame save for the aluminium chainstays and two-piece rocker linkage, and with no quick release axles at either ends the profile of the bike is quite narrow – great for sneaking past rocks – but make sure you have an allen key handy for wheel removal.
One thing that irks us is the super-tight space provided for a water bottle cage; we’re still experimenting on what size water bottle and cage combination doesn’t come into contact with the rear shock lockout lever and rub the underside of the top tube. Suggestions anyone?
We’ve got more details on the specifics of the new bike on our feature on the Sight release here – Meet the new Sight Carbon – read further on the unique frame geometry that changes with the frame sizing and more.
27.5″ or 29″?
While we admit rolling our eyes and letting out a sigh of disdain when we have to talk about wheel sizes, who wants what size, what’s the best size for what type of trail, blah blah, options are a good thing? The Sight (along with the shorter travel Optic) are available in both wheel sizes, big for momentum, small for agility. We chose the 29er because to review, in our opinion, this category of bike is well-suited to 29″ wheels. That said if you’re after a more nimble bike to ride on the trails and a more precise and sturdier wheel on your bike, the 27.5″ version is available. We rode the Optic in both wheel sizes recently, have a look at our thoughts on the two bikes here. Riding two wheel sizes of the same bike, the Norco Optic.
How’s the spec stack up?
Norco is always pretty good at choosing the right parts for the intended use, and this is no exception. We packed this bike and took it for a week of riding – not racing – in Derby to cover the Enduro World Series, and we didn’t change a thing, and it is still completely 100% stock.
Shimano takes care of most of the bits, with the robust and reliable Shimano XT, even down the hubs too. Unfortunately, the XT drivetrain fell victim to the notorious grinding and noise in the wet and dry, even with care taken in cleaning and lubing the chain still would grind and groan over the cassette when we got out of the saddle and put massive torque on the pedals. And we did drop the chain a couple of times too, a bummer for our confidence.
The bike is fitted with a One-Up S3 chain guide mounted neatly via the ISCG mounts, but as we assembled the bike, we found the screw holding the plastic guide to the backing plate overtightened and spinning in its thread. It’s an excellent little guide, but a plastic thread holding it together didn’t work out too well, so we had to ditch the guide and risk a dropped chain on rough trails.
The tyres are amazing too, we’ve not ridden the super-aggro Schwalbe Magic Mary on a bike with less that 160mm of travel
There’s plenty to be positive about the spec though, we loved the powerful Shimano XT brakes, the shifting was always precise, and the new 11-46T cassette may be heavy but offers up a great range of gears.
The tyres are fantastic too, we’ve not ridden the super-aggro Schwalbe Magic Mary on a bike with less that 160mm of travel, but in 2.35″ size on 30mm wide rims, it’s quite fast rolling yet still very grippy on the technical climbs and through the turns. Both the tyres are excellent; we found the Sight to have gobs of traction on the trails.
RockShox takes care of the bounce, at both ends with the new Deluxe RT3 shock with the trunnion (frame linkage mounts on the side of the shock, rather than on top) mount. We used the ShockWiz suspension setup tool on both the fork and shock to guide our setupconfiguration and with two Bottomless Tokens fitted inside the fork as standard we didn’t have to do too much to get it dialled, just fine tuning of the shock pressures was all we needed.
How’d it ride then?
This is the type of 29er that will actually win the wheel-size cynics over; it’s a very agile, quick handling and confident bike to ride. The suspension amount isn’t huge, so coming off a lot of other longer travel bikes we’re currently testing like the Canyon Strive, Norco Range, Trek Slash etc, this bike feels so light to ride and engages with the trail.
This bike feels so light to ride and engages with the trail.
The Sight felt at home manualling sections of trail, hopping up steps and nosing into tight landings, we quickly felt at home on it, and natural like we were on a 27.5″ bike but relished in the momentum and traction that the 29″ wheels have. The supple-yet-supportive suspension, frame geometry and grippy tyres let the Sight keep up with bigger travel 160mm bikes but drop them on flatter trails and climbs in no time.
The supple-yet-supportive suspension, frame geometry and grippy tyres make the Sight come alive through the singletrack when you need to think quick and maintain speed. On the amazing trails of Derby in Tasmania, we hooked hard through the perfect berms and tackled the raw and gnarly race tracks of the EWS without a worry at all.
If you watched any of the coverage of the EWS in Derby, Tasmania you’d understand the type of trails we took this bike through. While it may not have been our choice to race on – we’d opt for the bigger travel Range to let the speeds at race pace be more manageable – the Sight held its own so very well. Standing up on the pedals with one finger on the brakes the bike is confident at rolling down steep chutes, squeezing through tight gaps in massive boulders and pounding straight rock gardens at hectic speed.
What we’d change?
We’d fix the chain guide straight away, and look for a few areas to drop some weight out of the bike like the aluminium cockpit, saddle, etc. Other than that, the Sight is ready for it.
Who’d suit the Sight?
Because it strikes such a nice balance between a heavy-hitting enduro rig or a short travel trail bike, the Sight will suit quite a wide range of riders. The 29″ wheels give the bike high confidence and traction, the frame geometry is quick-handling, and the suspension supple and balanced.