I’ve had a bit of a realisation the last few months. While it’s rather nice to have that full 160mm of travel you’ve hauled around just for that five per cent of your ride, sometimes it ain’t that necessary. Certainly not when there are some tasty, more aggressive, 140mm trail bikes available just now. And that’s just what the Norco Sight is. Well actually, I think Norco specifically calls this an all mountain machine, but let’s not get into the diminutives of mountain bike categories just now.
With a slackish 67.5° head angle, stacks of standover height, roomy cockpit and 760mm bars – this bike definitely hints at the more edgy side of trail riding. And with Syntace X-12 rear dropouts and a one-piece hollow-formed upper suspension link, the rear end is kept good and stiff too.
The Sight range includes four carbon models of varying spec and two alloy options. This is the Sight A 7.0, the most basic alloy model, but coming in at £2,250, it’s a superbly well specced bike for the price. A Fox Float CTD fork (32 FIT) and shock take care of suspension, with Shimano XT and SLX proliferating across the bike. XT appears in the front and rear Rapid Fire shifters and rear mech, with SLX brakes front and rear (180mm rotors), chainset, press-fit bottom bracket and front and rear hubs. And not to mention the RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper. With its subtle branding and streaks of popping orange, the Sight is certainly a looker and got plenty of approving nods on the trails.
The Sight employs Norco’s Gravity Tune geometry, a method of optimising and standardising rider weight distribution across all bike sizes. Petite and tall riders alike supposedly experience the same weight balance and handling control because Norco tweaks the geometry for each size of bike. Instead of using a standard-sized chainstay across the XS-XL range, chainstay lengths are kept proportional to top tube lengths. The bottom bracket nudges forward slightly to facilitate each size increase, so across all bike sizes the front centre to rear centre ratio remains the same.
Norco’s suspension design – Advanced Ride Technology (A.R.T.) – is used across all its full sus bikes. It’s basically a four-bar linkage design, but changing the position of the pivots depending on the bike’s intended application allows for fine-tuned suspension characteristics. For the Sight, Norco has positioned the rear pivot below the rear axle to create a pronounced rearward axle path. This supposedly enables the rear wheel to travel both up and backwards for smoother square edge performance, while offering predictable braking as the bike’s suspension remains fully active throughout the braking spectrum.
The Sight is a blast to ride. It’s fun, it’s responsive and I can’t get over that price tag. It’s a fabulous climber and feels much lighter than its 30.3lb when you’re in the saddle. It makes light work of technical climbs and stays planted while nimbling up rocky sections. I did find myself flicking lots between the shock’s Trail and Climb settings, as it’s not super forgiving if you find yourself in the wrong one.
It’s also important to get your rear damping settings spot on – while Norco’s A.R.T. does a fine job of minimising pedal bob, it only does so once you’ve faffed a fair bit with the shock.
On the downs, the Sight was agile and responsive. It was super fun along fast, flowy trails, and held its own through most technical descents. I say most, as it’s easy to forget you’re on a 140mm trail bike, until you find yourself upon that five per cent of trail and some serious chatter kicks in. Reining it in a bit and picking some sensible line choices solves this. The Fox 32 up front is good and supple too, though if you do want to take the bike to its limits, maybe consider the next spec up – or a fork swap.
The brakes were faultless: good and powerful and never seemed to fade – SLX can do no wrong in my book. Shifting was smooth and with three months’ hard testing, I didn’t once have to tweak the gears. Tyres-wise, most of my testing was done in the dry, for which the Ardents were great. Apart from them being steel-beaded, making for some soul/tyre lever/fingernail-destroying trail-side puncture repairs. For less predictable UK riding conditions, they’d be the first thing to go for me anyway.
It takes some fine-tuning to get the suspension working perfectly, and maybe a few component upgrades would be wise, but the Sight is a whole heap of fun for 95% of your riding. And did I mention the price tag?
First published in Singletrack Magazine issue 97
|Product:||Sight A 7.0|
|From:||Evans Cycles, evanscycles.com|
|Tested:||by Jorji for|