2020 Norco Sight - We Ride the Radical New Geometry of this Next-Generation Trail Bike 11

Fear no trail. With enough suspension travel to tackle any descent after a hard climb, and the geometry to optimize it all, the 2020 Norco Sight aims to set up riders for absolute trail domination.

2020 Norco Sight - We Ride the Radical New Geometry of this Next-Generation Trail Bike

The 150mm trail/all-mountain bike market is fiercely competitive as new contenders step up their game to make this category of bike more versatile, albeit, with a greater emphasis on descending prowess.Hot on the heels of their new Optic, the 2020 Norco Sight is a bold offering from the Canadian brand and has been reimagined from the ground up with an entirely new and boundary pushing geometry.


Highlights

  • Carbon frame with alloy chainstay (tested)
  • Aluminum frame options
  • 27.5-inch or 29-inch wheel options
  • Sizes small through extra-large
  • 160mm travel fork, 150mm travel frame
  • All-new, aggressive geometry
  • Internal cable routing
  • Custom build kits through Build Your Ride, Ride Your Build program
  • Women's specific builds available
  • Four-piston brakes on all models
  • Most models equipped with Maxxis EXO+ casing
  • Downtube features shuttle guard and bottom bracket protection
  • A plethora of custom build options via Build Your Ride, Ride Ride Build program


Ride Aligned

The 2020 Sight uses a new approach from Norco that they have dubbed "Ride Aligned," the short of the long is that Norco built proprietary, in-house software to develop a bike geometry that is focused on a rider's weight distribution via fit, geometry, suspension and final setup. Norco compiled a ton of data and built up a system of geometry and bike setup that they feel optimizes on trail performance and bike fit. To help, they have a web page dedicated to getting riders properly set up on their new Sight. Norco's new geometry is a touch more radical than most of the major players in the game with a proportionally longer reach, lower seat tube and slacker head angle combination than possibly any other major bike-shop brand.

Norco engineers evolved the Gravity Tune concept to consider the rider’s center of gravity for each frame size, giving consistent weight distribution at the contact patch across the entire size range. By carefully selecting reach and seat tube angles along with precise steering geometry we were able to create the distinct mix of crisp, confident handling and maximum grip on climbs and descents.
Ride Aligned frame geometry places the rider’s center of gravity – both seated and standing – at an optimum position for ideal weight distribution between the wheels for maximum grip and control. This means tack-sharp tire traction during the entire ride: whether grinding up or pinning it down.

 Part of the Ride Aligned system is a new approach to suspension kinematics. As shown in the charts below (text provided by Norco) they sought to find balance in wheel force and suspension activation, as to optimize trail performance.

The Sight suspension was developed by looking at wheel forces and energy absorbed by the air spring, rather than leverage alone. Wheel force curves provide a complete picture of spring forces that factors in both air can properties and volume spacer configurations.
By carefully balancing the overall progression of the system we can optimize the wheel force curve to maximize spring support in the midstroke portion of the travel while still absorbing the same overall energy as a more progressive suspension design on larger impacts.

What will stand out most to riders perhaps, is the Sight's geometry numbers. Many of these individual measurements have shown up on bikes from other manufacturers but to see them all together, on a trail bike no-less, had us curious how the Sight would handle in the real world. Our 27.5-inch wheeled, medium test bike showed up with a 455mm reach, 77.3-degree effective seat tube angle and a downhill bike worthy 63.5-degree head angle. The stubby, 395mm seat tube length meant that our 175mm RockShox Reverb dropper stuck out of the frame a bit, even for a 5'9" tester with a 30-inch inseam. Slalom bike low, trail bike high. Small touches like Maxxis EXO+ casing tires and SRAM Code RSC brakes let us know that this bike was intended to be ridden in the real world. The offer was made and we were eager to take the Sight for a dance in the woods.

Build and Pricing

The new Sight comes in three aluminum trims, all with a female variant as well as a frame only option. Pricing starts at $2,799 USD and tops out at $4,499 USD for complete bikes. The alloy frame can be had for $1,649 USD

2020 Sight A1 - $4,499
2020 Sight A2 W - $3,599
2020 Sight A3 - $2,799

There are four carbon builds, with the entry level spec being offered in a woman's variant. The Carbon-SE is the top shelf offering, built out with FOX Factory suspension and a SRAM AXS drivetrain. Moving down the line sees a variety of suspension from both RockShox and FOX as well as Shimano and SRAM drivetrains. The Carbon-SE tops the price range at $8,697 USD and models move down to $4,299 USD. A carbon frame-only option is available for $2,899.

2020 Sight C, Buildkit 1 - $8,697
2020 Sight C, Buildkit 2 - $7,097
2020 Sight C, Buildkit 3 - $5,848
2020 Sight C3 - $4,299

Should you want to choose your own build, the new Sight is part of Norco's Build Your Ride, Ride Your Build program, meaning riders can go to Norco's website, select their frame (carbon or aluminum), then specify their suspension and then which parts kit they want outfitted. There are a plethora of options.

Riding the Norco Sight

Norco was kind enough to send out Carbon Buildkit-2 model for a long term test, look for our in-depth report in the coming months. For now, here is our first-ride shakedown which consisted of a small loop on our local cross country trails, followed by a 15-mile ride that included 3,000 feet of climbing. We felt this would be a solid initial cross-section of what a modern trail bike will be used for.

The Sight's climbing manners are refined. The slack front end is mated to a 37mm offset fork and a 40mm stem. The Sight did not seem to wander or suffer from front wheel flop on steeper grinds or through switchbacks. Rider weight was well balanced via the upright seat angle, allowing us solid rear-wheel traction as well as keeping the front wheel well-weighted.

Suspension action felt efficient and effective as we encountered more chunky and technical sections of our climb. The 27.5-inch models come equipped with a 34-tooth chainring while the 29-inch models use a smaller, 32-tooth ring. There was ample room at the bottom end of the gear range to just hang out and spin, we never wanted for an easier gear.

Turning the Sight down the trail was an absolute treat. At higher price points, quiet bikes have become the norm, the Sight left us with nothing more than the sounds of rubber on dirt as we glided over granite stones and braking bumps. The suspension actuation was off the charts, the Sight holds grip and is like a mother's arms to the riders in rougher sections of trail. With 160mm fork and 150mm at the rear, the Sight is not short on travel but is a far cry from the big numbers of the enduro bikes that is could most likely upset.

Rider balance and weight distribution were quite intuitive on all but the mellowest of grades. It's only on the super tame, very low angle portions that the Sight's geometry is noticeable but those sections of trail are lame anyway. This is a bike that wants you to push harder and harder. While only a first look, we are far from touching the sketchy end of this bike's abilities, we are very much looking forward to digging deeper into the Norco Sight's trail manners over the coming months.

Learn more at Norco.com

  Harrison Mendel

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