Long Term Test: Norco Sight – SRAM & Shimano, Best From Both Worlds?

Happy days on the Sight 29er, it’s a super-capable bike and boat loads of fun to ride.

Read our original review of the Sight before we began swapping parts for testing – Norco Sight C 9.2 review.
Our previous update with Wheelworks wheels and a BOX drivetrain – Norco Sight Long Term Update.
Current weight as pictured with pedals – 13.2kg.

What’s new?
Bontrager Line Pro 30 Wheels.
SRAM XX1 Eagle Drivetrain.
Shimano XTR Trail Brakes.
Specialized water bottle cage.

Carbon wheels, but pretty well priced!
Bontrager gave us something to be excited about with the release of their new carbon wheels at very appealing prices. When we’re used to seeing carbon wheels trickle up to and well over the $2000 mark, these for under $1700 were worth a look.

Bontrager’s excellent new carbon wheels, the Line Pro 30.

The rims are 30mm wide, they use a robust plastic rim strip to seal the internal rim area and roll on nice hubs, the freehub has 108 engagement points and has a very sophisticated feeling and sound.
How do they compare to the aluminnium wheels?
Swapping from the 35mm width aluminium Wheelworks Flite Wide wheels to the carbon Bontrager wheels had quite a dramatic effect, while they are lighter they are also a lot stiffer. The narrower 30mm Bontrager wheels are very responsive to your actions on the bike, and you can really feel how stiff they are when you push the bike around sideways into a corner or hammer hard on the pedals.
Coming off the 35mm wide Wheelworks they certainly don’t feel any near as smooth, in part due to the softer feeling material and the bigger air volume from a wider wheel, the Norco felt more supple and more planted with the Wheelworks. The change to the Bontragers has given the Norco a more racey and fast feel with more trail feedback transferred up to hands.
It has us wondering what we’d pick as the better wheel out of the two, smooth and grippy, or fast and stiff? Full review coming shortly.
In comparison to the 35mm aluminium wheels from Wheelworks, the Norco now rides a lot stiffer and therefore harsher.

We’re big fans of the hubs, very quick to engage and easy to service.

SRAM XX1 Eagle, the best drivetrain going?
It’s hard to argue that SRAM is driving ahead with mountain bike drivetrains causing Shimano to chase, it’s a competitive segment and we really enjoy watching it play out. SRAM Eagle solved any debate over the gear range that’s comparable to a double chainring setup, but for us, it’s more than just the range we like about Eagle. The shifting is ultra-crisp, the chain and chainring are dead quiet and it handles its enormous spread of gears without a hiccup.

SRAM XX1 Eagle, sublime stuff indeed.

10-50T range, plenty.

The little chain guide that the Norco came with stripped when we built the bike, luckily we haven’t dropped a chain and probably won’t with XX1.

Shimano XTR TRail Brakes, fickle but fantastic.
In the braking department, it is the XTR Trail brake that really seals the deal for the best trail bike brakes going. While they too are not without their inconsistencies, when you get a good set working well they are hard to match. It’s the power and heat management that edges out the SRAM Guide Ultimates in our opinion, most evident on long descents where you’re constantly on the brakes.

Fade-free power, it’s all about the power.

Cooling fins on the pads and the clever aluminium/steel disc rotors help manage heat.

Though there’s not a huge difference between the XT and XTR in performance, they are lighter and definitely sexier.

A water bottle cage that fits.
The Specialized cage fits the tight space for a water bottle just right, and the side-access was the only way.

A snug fit, but we can’t be without a water bottle for short rides.

Pro tip! These little cable management clips come on Specialized bikes, steal one from your mate’s Specialized for a nifty clean mod.

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