One of the first brand's to embrace 650b wheels, Norco has produced a well balanced bike in the Sight, with supple suspension and 140mm of travel
Norco was one of the first brands to recognise the potential of 650b wheels. Its original 650b bikes even carried a “Killer B” slogan, as Norco knew that the writing was on the wall (or in this case, the top tube) for 26in wheels.
But Norco didn’t simply squeeze slightly bigger wheels into its popular and multiple mbr test-winning Sight platform. No, it completely re-designed the bike from the ground up, transforming it into an altogether burlier machine.
The new Sight retained Norco’s signature ART suspension design and kept travel at 140mm front and back, but it’s a much more solid bike with low-profile Syntace X-12 rear dropouts and a one-piece hollow-formed upper suspension link to improve stiffness.
More recently, Norco introduced its Gravity Tune geometry to the Sight range. By clocking the BB assembly around the main pivot, it is able to increase the chainstay length with every jump in frame size, and maintain the same weight distribution across the entire size range. It’s a great feature that was first introduced on Norco’s World Cup DH bike as a cost-effective way to offer balanced handling on all sizes. In fact, we’re surprised that more brands haven’t followed Norco’s lead.
The aluminium Sight frame is available in five sizes, from XS all the way up to XL. But the Sight Alloy 7 1.5 is a dedicated UK model exclusive to Evans Cycles and the biggest and smallest sizes have been eliminated, so if you’re over 5ft 11in or under 5ft 3in, you won’t be able to get one that fits.
For a 140mm-travel bike the Sight efficiently transforms pedal power into forward propulsion with the rider seated. This is mainly because the links of the ART four-bar suspension are configured in such a way as to give a high virtual pivot. Jump out of the saddle to sprint up a climb, however, and the suspension tends to extend the shock too easily, all to the detriment of rear-wheel traction. Running the rebound damping a little slower helps combat this, but sticking the Float shock’s CTD lever into climb mode is the best solution.
We’ve had something of a rollercoaster ride with Fox CTD forks over the past couple of years, but there were more highs than lows with this Fox 32. Maybe it’s the smaller spring volume or the reduced seal contact due to the smaller diameter upper tubes, but small-bump sensitivity was good and we never experienced the aching hand syndrome that has plagued a lot of rides on Fox 34s.
Evans Cycles deserves a red card for speccing a 95mm stem on a 140mm-travel trail bike — it even has the cheek to refer to it as “short reach” on the spec sheet. And while Maxxis Ardents are great fast-rolling tyres that are ideal for shorter travel bikes, we’d like to see more meat up front. A Maxxis Minion DHF would be a good choice here, because the front tyre washes out too readily when cornering hard. Also, Evans is cutting corners with the heavier steel-bead Ardents, which have no place on a £2k-plus bike. Even the entry-level Specialized Camber comes with lightweight folding bead tyres so there’s no excuse for speccing inferior rubber.
Ignoring the limited size range, the geometry and overall shape of the Sight are pretty good for a 140mm trail bike. The rear suspension is supple and reactive, and the Sight can be ridden surprisingly fast even if the spindly fork won’t let you push this bike near the limits of its travel. On rougher terrain it’s more a case of hang on and hope, rather than picking your way through a rock garden with pinpoint accuracy.
Verdict On the face of it, the custom UK spec on the Sight 7 1.5 looks enticing. The RockShox Reverb dropper post, Shimano brakes and gears, and the 15mm both-thru Fox fork are all quality kit for a bike costing less than £2,200. Dig a little deeper, however, and the skinny Fox 32 Float fork is a definite point of weakness. It’s not that it doesn’t perform well — it’s actually one of the most supple Fox forks we’ve tested this year — it just isn’t sturdy enough to match the attitude and 140mm-travel of the Norco Sight frame.