2017 Norco Sight - First Look

Late last year the carbon Sight and Range models mysteriously dropped off the Norco website. At the time nothing else was said but the speculation began. Teaser videos appeared a few months later and it was clear that their all-mountain and enduro models were set to be relaunched.

Well the time has come – for the all-mountain range anyway – and the all-new Sight is now out of the closet. Like the recently released Optic, the Sight now comes in both 27.5 and 29-inch versions and carries much of the same DNA, just with a little more travel.

Sizing & Wheel Options

The 27.5 version has 140mm of travel on the rear and a 150mm fork while the bigger wheeled Sight runs 130mm on the back with a 140mm fork. Where the smaller wheeled bike comes in five sizes, from XS through to XL, the 29er only comes in medium, large and extra large.

Aside from this the geometry is very similar between the two wheel options. As in the past, Norco varies the chainstay length with each frame size to maintain more balanced proportions for different size riders (they call this ‘Gravity Tune’). What’s really interesting is that the chainstay length remains the identical on both big and small wheeled options; 430mm on a medium, 435mm on a large and 440mm on an XL — that’s pretty short for a 29-inch dually with some decent travel.

Both versions only differ by half a degree in the head angle too; 66.5-degrees on the 27.5 and 67-degrees for the 29er. That’s pretty slack for a 29er and certainly consistent with modern trends. Geometry-wise, the biggest changes can be seen in reach and front centre lengths, where the new Sight is much longer.

A medium Sight used to run a 414mm reach but this has now grown to 427mm in the 27.5 version. The large has gone from 435mm to 449mm and this theme continues throughout the size range. Previously some ‘medium’ riders may have chosen to ride a large to gain more cockpit length but this is no longer necessary as the new medium is almost as long as the old large. Overall the reach is long but not excessively so — it’s nowhere near as long as a Mondraker or a Nicolai Geometron for example. This should allow most riders to run a short stem for improved handling and descending confidence without feeling cramped when climbing.

Suspension Tweaks

While the wheel size options and geometry updates are the most obvious change, Norco has also tweaked their ‘ART’ suspension design. It’s still a four-bar Horst-Link design but the actual pivot placement has a huge bearing on the end result. Previously the Sight (and most other Norco models) ran the rearmost chainstay pivot very low; it was placed a good way below the rear axle. This created a distinctly rearward axle path and high levels of anti-squat in the suspension. This design brought with it pros and cons (as with any suspension system); some liked the way it firmed up the suspension under hard pedalling but for others the feedback between the suspension and the drivetrain was too much — it may have pedalled responsively on a smooth surface but it suffered lots of pedal kickback on bumpy terrain.

The revised ART system is closer to a traditional Horst-Link and it will remain more active under pedalling loads with a lot less drivetrain feedback. It may also be more reliant on the shock platform when it comes to smooth surface climbs but we’ll find out for sure once we get to ride one.

Aside from the reduced anti-squat and more active suspension design, the Sight retains a progressive leverage rate. This allows it to be soft and supple over small bumps for great traction whilst still offering good support and bottom out resistance. If anything the suppleness should be improved, as Norco is now running a metric style shock with trunion mounts and bearings (rather than bushings) at the upper linkage.

Finishing Touches

Like the Optic, the new Sight now incorporates ‘Gizmo’ cable ports. These covers lock the cables in place to minimise the chance of rattles and they also cater for all manner of cable routing options — a good thing for the Aussie market where most tend to run with a left lever to rear brake setup.

Most sizes will still fit a water bottle within the frame and they’ve retained front derailleur compatibility, despite the big wheels and short chainstays. Both 27.5 and 29-inch versions feature loads of tyre clearance too — they’re non plus tyre bikes but they’ll clear up to 2.6-inch wide rubber all the same.

Spec & Options

In Australia we’ll see three spec levels in the Sight and both wheel size options. They’ll start with the C9.3 (and C7.3) at $4,999; Rock Shox Yari fork, SRAM NX 1X11 drivetrain, Guide brakes and a Reverb Stealth dropper. For $6,599 there’s the C9.2 (and C7.2) with Shimano XT 1X11, a Pike fork and a whole bunch of Race Face gear. The range topping C9.1 (or C7.1) goes for $8,199 with Rock Shox suspension, SRAM Eagle X01 1X12 and a carbon Race Face cockpit.

While the spec varies, all models feature the same frame construction with a carbon seat stay and main triangle (the chainstay is alloy). They’re all 1X equipped with a tidy little One-Up top-mounted chain guide and all models feature nice wide rims straight out of the box (all measure 29-30mm internally).

And what about the longer travel Range? Well we’ll have to wait another month until that is released. Until then we can only speculate but we suspect the Range will receive a similar makeover, and based on recent sightings it may well be offered in a choice of wheel sizes too.

Keen to know more? Here's an overview from the crew who designed the bike; Senior Design Engineer Owen Pemberton, Product Manager Jim Jamieson and Engineering Manager P.J. Hunton...


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