Norco have unveiled their new eMTB lineup, with three models whose intended uses run the gamut from trail to big mountain riding - the 130mm Fluid, the 150mm Sight, and the 170mm Range. All of the bikes use Shimano's EP8 motor, and have three different battery options. In fact, Norco lists the prices of each model without the battery included; it's up to the purchaser to decide what sort of capacity they're looking for.
Seb Stott has been putting in the miles on the new Sight, and you can read the full review of that bike here
. We're also going to have an eMTB category in our upcoming Field Test for the first time ever, and the Range VLT will be included in that group of long-travel machines - look for those videos towards the end of the summer.
Norco VLT Lineup
• Wheel size: 29"
• 3 models with 130, 150, or 170mm rear travel
• Carbon or aluminum frame options for Sight and Range, alloy only for Fluid
• Shimano EP8 motor
• 3 battery options: 540, 720, or 900 Wh
The new models all share a similar suspension layout, with the shock now mounted underneath the top tube, rather than the vertically oriented configuration that was used before. On the Sight and the Range the shock mount is offset, which provides more clearance for piggyback shocks. Don't worry, though, there's still plenty of room for a water bottle. In fact, the large frame sizes can hold two
water bottles inside the front triangle. All of that liquid storage capacity was made possible by the orientation of the EP8's motor – it's been tipped upwards, which also created more ground clearance, and allowed Norco's designers to achieve their desired kinematic goals.
The Sight and the Range are available with either carbon or aluminum frames, while the Fluid is only available with an aluminum frame. All of the head tubes are what Norco is calling 'super tapered' – that means there's a 1.8” lower diameter and a 1.125” upper diameter, in order to allow them to accept forks with 1.8” steerer tubes. It's a trend that's becoming more common on e-bikes, where the forces that a fork is subjected to are substantially greater than what occurs on a non-motorized bike. In Norco's lineup it's the RockShox forks that have the 1.8” tapered steerer, while the Fox forks still use the more common 1.5” tapered steerer.
All the frames have an integrated speed sensor on the non-drive side chainstay, which works with a rotor-mounted magnet. Other details include short, straight seat tubes to allow for longer travel dropper posts, internal cable routing, and molded chainslap protection. Battery Options
Running out of juice before the fun is over isn't ideal, which is why Norco developed their own line of Shimano-approved batteries that use 21700 cells. The new battery system has a greater energy density than the prior generation, which means higher energy amounts are possible at a lighter weight.
The batteries are available in 540, 720, and 900 Wh capacities, and are priced at $749, $999, and $1,199 respectively. Why wouldn't you purchase the biggest battery available? Well, other than price, there's also a weight penalty of 690 grams, or 1.5 pounds with each capacity increase. The claimed weights for each battery are as follows:
• 540 Wh: 3190g
• 720 Wh: 3880g
• 900 Wh: 4570 g
That means the 540 Wh battery weighs 3 pounds less than the 900 Wh battery. That 900 Wh battery happens to be the largest capacity battery currently on the market. All of the batteries can easily be slid out from the downtube for off-the-bike charging or for a quick mid-ride swap. Fluid VLT
The Fluid is the trail oriented option out of this trio of e-bikes, with 130mm of rear travel and a 140mm fork. There are two models, the Fluid A1 and the Fluid A2. Both options have aluminum frames and Shimano Deore drivetrains, but the $4,799 A1 gets 12-speeds, Shimano MT420 brakes, and a RockShox Select R shock, while the $4,199 A2 has 10-speeds, Tektro brakes, and an X-Fusion 02 Pro R shock.
Remember, those prices are without a battery – adding the least expensive battery to the A2 results in a price of $4,948; that's the least expensive option in the entire VLT lineup. Sight VLT
The electric Sight's geometry numbers mirror those of its non-motorized sibling, with the exception of the chainstay length. Key geometry numbers include a 64-degree head angle, 485mm reach, and a 77.7-degree seat angle for a size large.
There's 150mm of rear travel, and a 160mm fork. Four models are available, two with carbon frames (except for the chainstays), and two with aluminum frames. Sight VLT C1:
$8,599 USD - Fox Factory 36, Factory Float X2, SRAM GX / X01 drivetrain, Code RSC brakes, DT Swiss E1700 wheelSight VLT C2:
$6,499 USD - RockShox Lyrik Select, SuperDeluxe Select+, Shimano MT520 4-piston brakes, e13 LG1 DH rims, DT Swiss 370 hubs.Sight VLT A1:
$5,999 USD - Fox Rhythm 36, Performance Elite Float X2, Shimano SLX / Deore drivetrain, MT520 brakes, e13 LG1 DH rims, Shimano Deore hubs.Sight VLT A2:
$5,299 USD - RockShox 35 Gold, SuperDeluxe Select+, Shimano Deore drivetrain, MT420 brakes, Stan's Flow D rims, Shimano hubs.
*Prices don't include battery.Range VLT
The Range is the burliest option, and its 170mm of coil-sprung rear travel combined with a 180mm fork make its enduro / big mountain intentions clear. The slack, 63-degree heat tube angle also illustrates the fact that steep descents are what the Range was built for. Who knows, maybe this will end up replacing a DH bike and a shuttle vehicle for some riders.Range VLT C1:
$8,399 USD - Fox Factory 38, Factory DHX2, Shimano XT 4-piston brakes. Shimano XTR 12-speed derailleur, XT shifter, SLX cassette and chain. DT Swiss E1700 wheels.Range VLT C2:
$6,499 USD - RockShox Zeb Select, SuperDeluxe Coil Select+, SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain, Code brakes, e13 LG1 DH rims, DT Swiss 370 hubs.Range VLT A1:
$5,999 USD - Fox Performance 38, Performance Elite DHX2, Shimano Deore / SLX drivetrain, MT520 brakes, e13 LG1 DH rims, Shimano Deore hubs.Range VLT A2:
$5,299 USD - RockShox Zeb RC, SuperDeluxe Coil Select+, Shimano Deore drivetrain, MT420 brakes, Stan's Flow D rims, Shimano hubs.
*Prices don't include battery.