First Ride: 2024 Norco Range VLT eMTB - The Bosch-Powered High Pivot Machine

Apr 8, 2024 at 13:55
by Mike Kazimer  



Norco's Range VLT and Sight VLT launch today, two new eMTBs that now use Bosch's Performance CX motor and a high-pivot suspension layout. Those changes shouldn't be too surprising to riders who have been following the brand's other recent releases – the Fluid VLT uses a Bosch SX motor, and the non-motorized Range, Sight, and Optic all have high pivot layouts, so the writing was on the wall.

The Range VLT is the big dog of the bunch, with 170mm of rear travel, a 180mm fork, and a 750 Wh battery. Along with the suspension layout change and a new motor system, the Range's geometry has also been updated, although the head angle still remains a slack 63-degrees, indicating the bike's downhill-oriented focus.

Range VLT Details

• 170 mm travel rear, 180 mm fork
• Mixed wheels
• Bosch Performance CX motor, 85 Nm torque
• 750 Wh battery
• Carbon or aluminum frame options
• 63° degree head tube angle
• Size specific chainstays
• Sizes: 1,2,3,4,5
• Weight: 57.6 - 60.3 lb (26.1 - 27.4 kg)
• Price: $6,999 - $8,999 USD
norco.com
There are two carbon versions of the Range, plus an aluminum option, with prices starting at $6,999 USD and going up to $8,999 USD. That's certainly not chump change, but it is good to see that not all e-bikes are being released with five figure price tags.

There's only one model of the Sight, which has 150mm of rear travel, and a 160mm fork. It's a bit of an underdog in the lineup, considering Norco also makes the lighter weight Fluid VLT with 140mm of rear travel; it seems like if you're going for a big, burly eMTB you might as well have the suspension travel to go with it.

Norco Range VLT 2024

Frame & Motor Details

The idler and the idler pulley are the most immediate visual differences between the old and new Range VLT, along with the brace that runs between the top and down tube. That triangular opening would be a handy place for a cute little zippered pack for holding repair supplies and snacks, or maybe stashing a perfectly shaped block of cheese.

The mode and battery indicator for the Bosch Performance CX motor is integrated into the top tube, and a wireless remote is on the left side of the handlebar for switching through the various modes. There are four modes to choose from, and what each of those modes does can be adjusted in the Bosch Flow app. You can even swap out different modes, say, swapping out Eco mode for Auto mode, or Turbo for Tour.

Norco isn't offering the a la carte battery size options that they did previously, but the battery is still removable, and there will be an external 250 Wh range extender battery launched in the future. A 750 Wh battery is the stock option, but the Bosch battery rail system can be adjusted to accommodate a smaller (and lighter) battery. For reference, the 500 Wh battery would be approximately 3 pounds (1.4 kg) lighter than the 750 Wh battery.


Norco Range VLT 2024
Norco Range VLT 2024



Norco Range VLT 2024

Geometry

Just like with the recently release Sight and Optic, Norco decided to go with a numbered sizing system for the new Range. There are five sizes, with reach numbers starting at 417mm and going all the way up to 517mm for the size 5. The head angle is 63-degrees across the board, and all sizes roll on a mixed wheel setup.

Size specific chainstay lengths have been implemented, with a 4 millimeter jump between each size. Those numbers may look like they're on the shorter side, but keep in mind that the bike's rearward axle path means that the chainstay length will increase by around 8 millimeters at sag, which would put the chainstay length for a size 3 at fairly standard 444mm.

The seat tube is straight and short enough to allow for long travel dropper posts, and Norco specs a travel adjustable post so that riders can fine tune the amount of drop.


Norco Range VLT 2024

Norco Range VLT 2024
Norco Range VLT 2024

Suspension Layout

The Range and Sight VLT use Norco's VPS HP suspension layout (written out that's a Virtual Pivot Suspension High Pivot, which doesn't really roll off the tongue). The idler is mounted on the chainstay, above and slightly behind the chainring, a positioning that's covered under a patent that Norco licenses from i-track. That layout gives a rearward axle path for the first two-thirds of the bike's travel, which equates to the chainstay length growing by a total of 15 millimeters.

The ant-squat levels are slightly lower than what's found on the non-motorized Sight and Optic, since outright efficiency isn't quite as high of a priority when there's a motor in the mix - the focus can be shifted to creating more grip on steep, loose climbs.

The idler pulley wheel is claimed to be extremely durable, and it's designed to be replaced at the same time you'd replace the bike's cassette and chainring.

Builds & Pricing
Norco Range VLT 2024
Range VLT C1 / $8,999 USD
Norco Range VLT 2024

Norco Range VLT 2024
Range VLT C2 / $9,999 CAD (US pricing not available)
Norco Range VLT 2024

Norco Range VLT 2024
Range VLT A1 / $6,999 USD
Norco Range VLT 2024


Norco Range VLT 2024
Sight VLT C1 / $9,999 USD
Norco Range VLT 2024

Range VLT Ride Impressions

At 5'11” / 180cm I fall right on the edge of the size split between 3 and 4; in my ideal world I'd probably choose a size 3.5, since I've found that I prefer bikes with a reach number of 470 – 485mm. Things start feeling a little too stretched out for my proportions on bikes longer than that.

Since I'd rather have a bike that's a little smaller than too big, I'll be doing a long term test on the size 3, which has a 467mm reach. After my initial shakedown ride I ended up swapping out the 40mm stem for a 50mm one and installing some higher rise bars, which seems to have done the trick when it comes to the overall fit.

Out on the trail, there's no hiding the fact that this is a big, full powered e-bike – it requires extra muscle to move it around at slower speeds, and it feels best when it's ridden aggressively. In other words, this isn't the bike to choose if you're looking for some leisurely laps on mellower trails. There are lighter, easier to handle bikes out there that would fit that bill.

I'm still fine-tuning my suspension set up, but so far Norco's Ride Aligned settings have been a good place to start. I haven't had to make any drastic deviations to those recommendations, which means I've been able to focus on the riding rather than fussing with click and pressures.

The 170mm of travel is well supported, and overall the bike feels like it sits a little higher than other ebikes in this travel bracket. That is, until you really start pushing it through chunky sections of trail. At higher speeds it feels nicely settled – there's enough feedback to tell what's going on underneath you, but the hits aren't sharp or jarring.

I'll be making full use of that 750 Wh battery's range in the coming weeks and report back with a full review.




Author Info:
mikekazimer avatar

Member since Feb 1, 2009
1,743 articles

150 Comments
  • 146 5
 Pretty light for a WWII tank.
  • 6 2
 M4 Shermans were only 30 tonnes....it's more Panzer VIII Maus.
  • 18 1
 Yep, I scrolled straight down to say it looks like a military issue bicycle. They need a tandem version for the tail gunner.
  • 8 0
 Yea but the brake lines aren’t routed through the gun barrel, so who cares!
  • 5 10
flag stiingya (Apr 9, 2024 at 15:28) (Below Threshold)
 EXTREMELY light for a motorcycle though...
  • 10 0
 @stiingya: but it's not and you know it.
  • 3 0
 This puppy has roof rack all over it!!
  • 2 10
flag stiingya (Apr 9, 2024 at 20:01) (Below Threshold)
 @psullivan65: You're saying it doesn't have 2 wheels and a motor? OH right, it's got pedals.
That makes it a Moped. My mistake... Smile Smile Smile


Not gonna lie though. I'm coveting a Self Lift Down Hill Vehicle with all of those numbers except the weight. (Since that's too heavy to be called a mountain bike, I'm going with SLDHV!)

I should try and add as much weight as possible to my bikepacking gear and see if I can end up with a 60lb mountain bike just to see what the handling is like. Must be crazy...
  • 3 0
 Looks like the middle aged white guy in the mirror with some extra lbs around the middle, thinning legs and no ass.
  • 1 4
 @tauren58: Putting it on the roof rack is the only way to get any exercise when there's a motor on your bike pushing the pedals for you...

Smile Smile Smile
  • 65 2
 60lbs??
  • 22 0
 Time to start filling tyres with helium.
  • 14 0
 He ain't heavy, he's my brother
  • 23 0
 If that was a fish it would be a bragging point
  • 2 0
 First thing I was thinking as well.
  • 8 2
 I’m really interested in riding one but agree, can’t looks past the weight. Throw DH tires, a coil, and pedals on it and this thing will be up >65 lbs. Ouch.
  • 1 7
flag RedBurn (Apr 9, 2024 at 7:29) (Below Threshold)
 @bigtim: pressured, putting helium in your tire wont make it lighter
  • 5 4
 I can’t see buying anything other than an Orbea Wild in the full power category.
  • 5 5
 This. WTAF. My Levo that I just sold because it was too much of a pig was 52 lbs with pedals, a Zeb, and DH tires & rims. The Heckler SL I replaced it with is 44 lbs with pedals. Yeah it's got a 430w battery instead of a 720w like the Sight VLT, but it's still 11(!!!) lbs lighter than the Sight with the same or very similar parts.
  • 3 4
 We ride with a group here in the southwest and a few of them have big travel ebikes. They absolutely struggle on some of the steep hike-a-bike climbs we have to traverse to get to trailheads.

Made we never want to buy a 50# plus bike
  • 4 2
 @ATXZJ: maybe they need to use the walk function if forced to walk?
If I ever need to walk my 51 lb bike it could t be easier.
  • 3 0
 @stephenthesquirrel: It's heavy, it weighs as much as my brother...
  • 1 0
 @BermJunky:


There is no walking mode on these goat trails. You're basically rock climbing and all they accomplished was tearing up heir shins.
  • 1 0
 @ATXZJ: sounds fun.
  • 1 0
 @BermJunky: we take what we can get out here in the borderlands
  • 2 0
 @ATXZJ: that’s fair!
  • 1 2
 But its for disabled, out of shape, old people. Should be easy on the lower back.
  • 2 0
 @slabba53: Tell all the pro mountain bikers that. See what they say.Wink
  • 2 0
 @slabba53: my latest Strava segment time on Mullet at Galbraith in Bellingham on this exact bike (Range VLT) would be 5th overall on the regular pedal bike leaderboard of almost 10,0000 people. But being disabled and out of shape it must not count.
  • 28 1
 NX on a $7,000 bike. COME OOOON
  • 4 3
 @TheGrey724: seriously, everyone must have a ton of SRAM drivetrains in their warehouse. This bike is the reason Shimano developed that CUES system. I'm probably not buying an ebike and I'm definitely not buying low end, 12-speed ebike with an idler.
  • 9 4
 On the Forbidden posted a couple articles after this it is $7300 for a GX build non-E bike... considering e-bike frames alone are $4-6k I'd say $7k for a NX build isn't crazy at all and it's nice they put together the NX option to make a slightly more attainable buy-in.
  • 5 3
 @venturavin: I’ve worked in the industry, I’ve seen the numbers, and if you think $7,000 for an NX build E-bike is “attainable,” then you are the exact market of folks they’re looking to rip off.

NX derailleurs are designed to fail over time even under light use so customers need to buy GX Derailleurs. “Oh I bought the GX derailleur, might as well get the GX shifter”

No excuse for garbage components when shimano group sets are cheaper, stronger, and actually be serviced.
  • 3 0
 Best part of an NX build is the HG driveshell easily enables a Linkglide conversion.
  • 1 0
 @TheGrey724: I've worked in the industry since you were 6 years old. Never once have I tried to throw that around in the PB comment sections for clout. Most of us here are pretty involved in bikes and the bike industry to some extent, hence why were are so emotionally over-invested in nit picking details about toys.
  • 2 1
 @venturavin: Cool, that still doesn’t make a $7k e-bike with a garbage drivetrain acceptable. Maybe if you work the sales floor it is lol.

I’m emotionally invested in not screwing over riders, as should you
  • 26 3
 Wow, Norco absolutely killing it with the frame colors.
  • 47 2
 Lead paint?
  • 31 5
 Lipstick on a pig
  • 7 1
 @rickybobby19: That's what happens when you crossbreed a Slash, a Maiden, a Meta and add 750 watts.
  • 16 3
 @rickybobby19: they should have written "PORKO" on the downtube instead.
  • 16 4
 I had the opportunity to ride this thing before it came out and I can tell you it does not ride as heavy as is. If you're looking for a bike that feels like a DH rig with an e motor this thing fits the bill. It's super fast and surprisingly agile once you point it down. I was actually surprised to see the posted weight today. I would have pegged it much lower based on my rides. It's certainly no SL but I had no problem riding faster than people on acoustic bikes I was with, or jumping it on fairly tech jump lines. idk...one persons personal opinion I guess.
  • 2 0
 Yep that's good to hear, since I ordered my C1 over here in Perth, cause I need a big travel big with large battery cause no SL bike is going to get me 30kms when I weigh 105kg. Anyway, you get a better workout throwing a heavy bike around and this Range Vlt will be a huge step up from my 2019 Merida e160. I use the eBike for DH traing so It will be perfect. All these little bitches that complain about weigt need to man up and get some muscles.
  • 2 0
 this bike shreds. I can also confirm. People just love to throw mud.
  • 1 0
 @Aussadian: It'll be perfect for DH training. I almost prefer it to my DH rig. The Tues sure does feel light after riding an e-bike though lol.
  • 14 0
 Most remarkable thing here is that finally maximum seat post insertion depth per size is given in such review.
  • 4 0
 When manufacturers make bikes with straight uninterrupted seat tubes with good insertion depth they can shout about the numbers.
  • 2 0
 @mark90: Haha. Very true. And sad.
  • 11 0
 I was wondering where all the high pivot e-bikes were. Trust Norco to make one. Looks interesting even if it's expensive.
  • 9 3
 Pinkbike: the execution of the ad in the tiny video is infuriating.

First, I watched the entire ad (about 10 seconds).
Then, I found out it was all for a 24 second clip. Great. At least now I can view the clip.
Oh wait, when I wanted to rewind the video 3 seconds, as soon as I clicked on the slider, another ad popped up.

So I had to watch about 20 seconds of ads for a 24 second video.
I'm now negatively biased against the 2 companies whose ads I had to watch.

At bare minimum, for super short videos, consider shortening the length of the ads to 3-5 seconds and limiting them to just once?
  • 2 0
 If you're on an iPhone download AdBlock plus, no more ads
  • 2 0
 adblock my man.
  • 2 0
 That's what ad blockers are for
  • 7 3
 I bought a aluminum 2023 Marin Alpine Trail E1 for $4300. Sick ride other than cheap cranks. 53lbs and plush & I consider that heavy. I worked at a shop for 8 yrs & when shit weighing 60lbs came in we called it a team lift to get it in the work stand. WTF Norco?
  • 8 5
 Yeah, weights are getting ridiculous. On mellow trails 25+kg bike ride like pigs
  • 4 1
 @KalkhoffKiller: would you consider the range as a bike that is build for mellow trails? they have the fluid vlt for that
  • 2 2
 @Sethimus: it also doesn't feel great when you want to place the bike, in corners or on steep stuff and in the air. Like this is a downside almost everywhere except maybe plowing down rough stuff in a straight line.
  • 3 3
 @KalkhoffKiller: so you ridden one already? do tell more!
  • 2 2
 @Sethimus: dickhead hes right tho
  • 6 0
 Norco always find ways to make bikes heavier than you'd expect. Used to own one, very good in a straight line.
  • 5 0
 Looks like a fun bike but went from a 50lb e-bike to a 40lb e-bike a couple years ago and would be tough to go up to 60lbs
  • 8 3
 60lb. OUCH. Looks awesome though.
  • 6 2
 wonder if we'll get e motors with non-concentric output shafts for high pivots. Would surely make more sense than an idler.
  • 1 4
 I might not understand what you meant but it would be a full electric bike then? Unless you want the crankarms in a weird place since they need to be attached to this shaft for electric assistance.
  • 3 2
 Like the rocky system? Or that upcoming Yamaha?
  • 2 2
 Yes! I have been dreaming of this since e-bikes have come out. Might be a challenge to make they not efficient with zero chain growth.
  • 7 4
 I’m all for high pivots but think that ebike manufacturers can piss off with all these linkages. Shocks are very tunable these days so more single pivots please
  • 1 3
 Too much anti rise.
  • 6 0
 This is basically a horst link bike that is similar if not borderline identical with what specialized has been doing for over a decade with the addition of an idler. It doesn't seem like anything worth getting upset over. Now, if you said it was horrible because it's like norco took all the ugly individual features from modern history and combined them into one, I could get behind that.
  • 1 0
 As a owner of two high pivot rigs, I completely agree. I wouldn't want all that extra torque going over the idler and its bearings.
  • 1 0
 @BuntyHoven1: really,.. Care to elaborate? I got an ebike with the typical dog’s dinner of linkages and a single pivot regular bike and basically the back wheel goes up & down over bumps. Anti rise isn’t something i notice on the single pivot.
  • 1 0
 That’s really heavy. My Pole is 60lbs with 29 F/R, DH casings, cushcore , and pedals. Suspension works better with a heavier bike, and they are pleasantly stable in the air, but I feel like the ideal weight for DH riding is probably in the 40-50lb range. I think my Kenevo SL was probably 45lbs ready to ride and that felt pretty close to perfect weight wise (but not powerful enough to really stack laps unfortunately).
  • 4 0
 27.4kg! wow thats some weight
  • 2 0
 How did the $8,999 price tag for a 2024 Range VLT A1 become $6,999 and the $13,999 for the 2024 Sight VLT C1 become $9,999….? Am I missing something?
  • 3 0
 canadian vs us dollars?
  • 1 0
 “Range extender in the future.” Hopefully, if the world doesn’t blow up, we have a long future ahead of us. Any potential range of the future it will be available? Sorry, this was not meant to be a pun.
  • 1 0
 I have no idea what Norco was thinking. Who is actually going to buy this thing at 57-60lbs? I mean no one wants a heavier emtb in 2024, let alone one of, if not the heaviest one available.
  • 4 0
 I will be !
My 2022 C2 VLT Range is 61#s with 900wh.
5800kms
half in bike park
half in Alpine or desert .. ...
Stable Fast Durable good value....... Cant go wrong if you like rough fast tech
  • 3 0
 Looks like a high pivot slayer
  • 3 0
 Would have made more sense if it was engineered around a Pinion MGU.
  • 2 0
 Damn 60lbs!!! These rack companies better start making some heavy duty trays.
  • 3 0
 Looks ready to Slay.
  • 2 1
 On point here
  • 3 1
 New chain required weekly??
  • 3 0
 Just the one?
  • 3 0
 Godspeed Idler bearings
  • 3 0
 Heavyweight fighter!
  • 1 0
 ...
  • 3 5
 Checks all the boxes...no headset routing, Bosch, 750, removable battery. But I'm with Kaz here...3 is too short and 4 is too long for me at 6'. Most brands have settled on 475-480 reach in a Large and that's what works for me.
  • 2 0
 The sizing is weird and its a tank.
  • 1 0
 I am curious how the results of downsizing to a size 3 actually go. I prefer 175-185mm reaches, and would have opted the size 4 and slammed a 31mm stem on it to get the 440mm chain stays. Curious to see how it goes.
  • 1 0
 @dmackyaheard: "I prefer 175-185mm reaches"
Is that a typo? Your other measurements all make sense, but that one seems a bit off.
  • 1 0
 @thekaiser: HA... it is. 470-485mm reaches lol.
  • 2 0
 e-Bike watts are going to eat idler pulleys that much faster
  • 1 1
 I would consider buying it if I didn’t have to ALSO consider buying an SUV so I could switch from a sedan with roof rack to a a truck/suv with hitch mount rack
  • 2 0
 Why is no one talking about the sight VLT?
  • 1 0
 Please, add a picture with a rider on the bike, at SAG. I want to see the seatstay being parallel to top tube.
  • 2 0
 10 lbs heavier than other ebikes. Come on Norco. Do better.
  • 4 3
 Specialized called, they want their 2015 Enduro back
  • 3 2
 Why do their ebikes always look like an after thought...
  • 1 0
 Will there be more than only 1 Sight model available ?
  • 4 3
 60 pound ebike without a gearbox, for 10k lol
  • 1 0
 Do you really need a high pivot on an e-bike though?
  • 1 0
 I've enjoyed it very much. I think you need to look at this bike more like a DH rig with an e motor. It's for people who have always wanted to get their DH bike into places they just can't pedal to.
  • 1 0
 Curious if this drops chains, there's not a heap of chain wrap
  • 1 0
 I've had none yet
  • 4 5
 The joke's on those of us who purchase these beta machines and test them for Norco. No thanks, I'll wait until more debugging has happened.
  • 1 0
 Holy Boat-Anchors Batman!! : 0
  • 1 0
 Hope the frame bolts have more than 2-3 threads on them.
  • 1 0
 Any ideas why Norco has dumped Shimano motors?
  • 2 4
 This is I was waiting for, A high pivot e-bike but the reach still short and its a big battery powered ebike. Please Forbidden make an SL ebike.
  • 6 5
 Dawg, it's a no from me.
  • 3 2
 God loves ugly.
  • 4 7
 A high pivot on an ebike? Trying to fix a problem that doesn't exist? Maybe I'm wrong, but there is no pedal kickback on an ebike due to the cranks not being engaged when you spin them backwards.
  • 5 0
 Maybe - but the Rocky’s consistent get killer reviews for their descending prowess. The other thing with HP bikes is the rearward axle path. There has to be something so it since almost every single DH bike has gone HP in the last 5 years (Canyon this year being the latest to join).
  • 1 0
 My bullit has all the kickback dude.
  • 3 2
 60lb hahahaha
  • 1 0
 seriously. I won't play along with a "fun/jump/go hard" e.MTB till it's 44lb MAX and running that Pinion MGU gearbox w/beltdrive. 165mm rear travel, lets run it. 170mm+ bikes seems to go into the 50+lb camp. I'm good on that.
  • 1 0
 Already looks dated
  • 1 0
 Looks like a slayer
  • 1 1
 Pass the eye bleach. Challenging looks usually reserved for a Pole...
  • 2 2
 ahhhh my eyes
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