Power-assisted version of Norco's award-winning trail bike
The Norco Sight VLT C2 27.5 is the power-assisted version of Norco’s award-winning trail bike. Here’s the final verdict on our long term test bike.
Norco Sight VLT C2 27.5 need to know
- Shimano STEPS equipped e-bike with 150mm of travel
- 27.5in wheels shod with 2.6in Maxxis Minion 3C tyres
- Has a whopping 630Wh lithium-ion battery hidden in the down tube
- E-bike-specific SRAM NX groupset and ultra-short 165mm E8000 cranks
What attracted you to the Norco Sight C NX12 VLT?
Several things – Norco always gets its suspension and geometry dialled, and in this blood-red finish the bike looked amazing. I was also keen to try the Shimano STEPS motor, because I figured it would be more reliable than the Brose unit in my previous Fanatik longtermer.
Did you change anything straightaway?
Usually I have a list, like better tyres, 800mm handlebars and a comfy saddle, but the Norco was pretty dialled out of the box, although I did change the Shimano control switch. The bike came with the under-bar paddle design, which Shimano originally developed as an electronic gear shifter, and it didn’t work well with the dropper remote. Fitting the more compact E7000 control switch was a big improvement and it cost less than £50.
Did anything break or wear out?
I broke the Shimano control unit. I think water got in (didn’t we just have the wettest winter on record?) and it just gave up the ghost. In fact, the bike has been idle again because the replacement has also stopped working. Also, several dropped chains have taken a load of paint (and some carbon) off the frame around the bottom bracket. I’m on my sixth set of brake pads, second chain, cassette and chainring and the tyres have also been replaced. There’s a ton of play in the dropper post, and I can only describe spoke tension in the rear wheel as baggy.
Was the bike easy to set up?
On some bikes you go round in circles with the suspension set-up and positioning but I got the Norco dialled after just one ride. It doesn’t really have any weird quirks, so you can just jump on and start shredding pretty much straight away.
If you could change one thing about your longtermer, what would it be?
I’d re-position the battery charging port that’s currently above the motor, and I’d fit a rubber cover that either screws on like a bottle cap, or has a tag, so when you clean the bike it doesn’t fall out. I’d also make the battery easily removable, because I got sick of bringing the bike into the house to charge it. I’d also fit a chain device to stop the chain grinding into the carbon undercarriage, and stop it totally destroying the paint/carbon in this area. I’d also switch the RockShox Pike RC suspension fork for a Lyrik, because I think the damping would be a better balance for the rear suspension.
That’s a pretty long list, but what I really want is for the bike to be more reliable. I’ve had three major melt-downs with the Norco, which is such a mood killer out on the trails because there’s very little you can do to fix it – other than turn it off, then turn it on again, and that’s the standard advice! In fact, right now, as I’m sitting typing up this final update, the Norco is sat in my garage dead as a dodo, which is a crying shame because it’s a great bike and I can cram in more riding in an hour on it than I’d do in a week on a normal bike.
Would I buy this bike? No way. And not because of any of the issues outlined above. You see Norco has launched a new Sight VLT and it has similar geometry, travel and build to my bike, but you get 29in wheels and a chain device. You also have the option of a 360Wh range extender. So the bike I’d buy is the Sight VLT A1 29 because the aluminium frame is more chip-resistant than carbon, it’s not really much heavier, and it has a RockShox Yari fork fitted, so it will be much closer in feel to the Lyrik. Also, with the £1,000 saved on the overall price, I could make any upgrades I wanted to and still be quids in. The fact that it’s also blood red is simply a bonus.