The name's the same, but the Norco Sight has received a dramatic revision for 2020. Version 4.0 has more travel combined with longer and slacker geometry than ever, which pushes it into territory formerly occupied by the Range. It's still available with either 27.5” or 29” wheels, but the rear travel has been bumped up to 150mm, and there's a 160mm fork up front.
The head angle now sits at 64-degrees, which is a whopping 3 degrees slacker than before, and the reach on a size large is now 485mm, up from 460mm. We'll dive deeper into those numbers in a bit, but the main takeaway is that Sight is an entirely new beast.
Norco Sight Details
• Wheelsize: 29" or 27.5"
• Carbon w/ aluminum chainstays and aluminum frame options
• Travel: 150mm (r) / 160mm (f)
• Chainstay length varies by size
• 64-degree head angle
• Weight: 32 lb (as pictured, size L)
• Complete price: $2,799 - $8,697 USD
• Carbon frame only: $2,899 USD
• Aluminum frame only: $1,649 USD
Along with two wheel size options, the Sight is also available with either a carbon or an aluminum frame. There's even a youth Sight
, which comes in one size that's intended for groms between 4'9" and 5'2" tall. That bike, which retails for $2,799, has 140mm of rear travel, 27.5" wheels, and suspension that's been tuned for lighter riders.
Norco are calling the Sight an 'all-mountain' bike, a term that's been overshadowed in recent years by the popularity of all-enduro-everything. Given the changes that have been bestowed upon the Sight and the Optic
, it'll be very interesting to see what the Range morphs into. There were rumors of an HSP version of that model, but there isn't any official news to report at this time. Frame Details
The overall look of the Sight hasn't changed too dramatically, but a number of changes were made to fully modernize the new bike. Those changes include shorter seat tubes to provide room for longer travel dropper posts; medium and large sizes are spec'd with 170mm posts, and the XL gets a post with 200 millimeters of drop. There's the requisite room for a full size water bottle inside the front triangle, and there are also two other bolts on the underside of the top tube that can be used to secure a tube or tool holder.
The derailleur, dropper, and brake line are all internally routed through the front triangle, and there's a port on the underside of the downtube that makes it possible to run a zip tie around everything to prevent any unwanted rattling. In addition, the derailleur housing is no longer routed underneath the bottom bracket shell, which means it's less likely to get pinched or smashed. Two rubber pads are affixed to the downtube for extra frame protection, and there's a contoured chainstay protector to minimize chainslap noise. Norco's 'Ride Aligned' Philosophy
The Sight marks the debut of Norco's new Ride Aligned philosophy, which focuses on four main principles: fit, geometry, suspension, and setup. I'll admit, I tend to cringe a little when I see a trademark symbol attached to a new catchphrase, but in this case Norco's goals are sound – to create bikes that fit a wide range of riders and feel stable and balanced out on the trail. Fit / Geometry
During the development of the Sight, Norco's designers examined anthropometric data to help them understand where the center of gravity would be for a variety of rider heights. Achieving a balanced bike was the goal here, in order to have a 5'2” rider feel just as centered and in control as a 6'2” rider.
One of the tactics used to attain that balance was giving each bike a different rear center length. In this case, a size small Sight has a chainstay length of 430mm, while an XL's chainstay's measure 445mm. This isn't a new concept for Norco – they've used varying chainstay lengths for years, but this time additional attention was paid to the seat tube angle.
In many cases, seat tube angles tend to get slacker as frame sizes get larger, which isn't exactly ideal – that scenario means that taller riders, who often have more seatpost extension, end up further over the back of their bike than their shorter statured counterparts. Norco flipped the script with the Sight, and the seat tube angle gets steeper as the frame size gets larger. The seat tube angle ranges from 77-degrees on a small up to 78-degrees on an XL.
It's also interesting to see that the geometry numbers are nearly identical for both wheel sizes, other than the .5-degree head tube angle difference. The reach, chainstay length, and wheelbase numbers are all closely aligned, which means that deciding which model to go with will boil down to wheel size preference rather than choosing based on another geometry metric. Suspension
Norco stuck with the tried-and-true Horst link suspension design for the Sight, with a different rocker arm shape and pivot position compared to the previous model. The overall leverage rate has been increased, which was done to improve the bike's small bump compliance and grip. That means higher air pressures are required in the shock, but there's also more leverage to counteract the friction of the shock's seals. The shock's tune has been altered to complement that leverage rate change.
The Sights anti-squat number is 126% off the top, and 110% at sag, numbers that were selected to give the bike a supportive platform while climbing no matter if the rider is seated or standing.
The leverage rate goes from 3.2 to 2.6, a change of 18.75%. Norco's goal was to create a smooth ramp-up with plenty of mid-stroke support without going overboard on the amount of progression. All models come with an air shock, although it should be possible to run a coil shock for riders who want to go that route.
Norco's new app provides suggested suspension and tire pressure settings.
Having an accurate starting point for suspension settings can help minimize the amount of time spent tinkering with a new bike, and maximize the amount of time available to enjoy it on the trail. More and more companies are building suspension calculators where riders input their heights and weights, and a list of air pressures, rebound, and compression settings are spat out. Norco's Ride Aligned setup guide does just that, and it even includes tire pressure and bar height suggestions.Build Kits
There are three complete build kit options for each model, but a further level of customization is available with Norco's Build Your Ride program. Potential buyers start by picking their desired frame material – carbon or aluminum – and the color. Next is the suspension, with multiple packages from either RockShox or Fox to choose from. The final step is to select the drivetrain and brake packages, choosing from SRAM or Shimano.
The Build Your Ride program doesn't allow for every single part to be selected individually - that's why there's a frame only option - but it does allow for a wider range of potential build options that what was available in the past. There are a total of 12 complete bikes, which includes a women's version of the C3, A1, and a A2 models. What follows is a selection of the available models.
I've been able to get in a handful of solid rides aboard the Sight so far, enough to start getting a good feel for its trail manners.
It may be significantly longer and slacker than its predecessor (there's a 71mm wheelbase difference between the new vs. the old model), but it actually has a less stretched out, more upright climbing position thanks to that steepened seat tube angle. The centered position makes it easy to maintain traction on tricky climbs, partially due to the fact that drastic weight shifts, the kind where you end up perched on the nose of the saddle, are much less necessary. There's minimal unwanted suspension movement, and I haven't felt the need to use that lockout lever yet, even on the paved road approach to my local trailhead.
On the descents, the Sight is all about traction. The slightest impact will get the shock to begin moving through its travel, a trait that helps the rear end stayed glued to the ground, even when that ground is covered with slippery mud. I've been playing around with a few different suspension setup configurations, and at the moment I've been happy with running 30% sag and one additional volume spacer than stock. I added that spacer for a little extra bottom out resistance on larger jumps and drops, but I'm going to keep experimenting – I'll report on my final settings in the long term review.
Not surprisingly, the Sight feels more composed and stable on steeper descents than ever, and it seems to hit the sweet spot as far as downhill handling goes. It's roomy but not unwieldy, and it's still manageable on tighter trails – I'd say that all-mountain designation is accurate here. It has lost a little bit of the poppy quickness that the previous version had, but I think many riders will find the improved downhill prowess makes up for that change. If not, there's always the shorter travel Optic.
Stay tuned for a more detailed report once I get enough muddy miles in over the next few months.