Norco has replaced some of the Shimano XT kit with SLX in order to squeeze a dropper post into the 2013 spec, so the Sight 2 clocks in at a very competitive price.
The swoopy, hydroformed aluminium frame remains unchanged for 2013, and while the back end of the Sight looks quite spindly, the welded Holloform rocker link and 142x12mm Syntace bolt-thru rear dropouts ensure that the 140mm-travel frame does not feel as though it is lacking in stiffness.
There are post-mount brake studs out back and the frame also has ISCG tabs for fitting a chain device, although the inclusion of a clutch-style rear mech helps keep the chainunder control from day one.
We’re not sure if RockShox has upped its game with the new Solo Air spring design or if Fox has simply dropped the baton with its CTD forks, but the 140mm Revelation RL led this test with controlled damping, good tracking and unequalled sensitivity. The Fox Float rear shock on the Sight uses a standard-sized air-can, and progression is well matched to the Revelation fork, with stacks of grip, especially in the Descend position. In fact, the latest CTD unit adds another dimension to the character of the Sight from last year — it retains its excellent, punchy, tight-pedalling feel in Trail mode, but gains extra sensitivity and cornering bite in Descend.
Because the Mavic XM119 rims have no spoke eyelets, they are cheaper and lighter than the rims on the Orange. They’re laced to Shimano SLX hubs, which use traditional cup and cone bearings, so you’ll need to keep an eye on any play that develops. Left unchecked, these wheels could easily end up good only for the bin.
We detected no difference between the excellent Shimano SLX and XT cranks in terms of performance, and combined with the effective and crisp-shifting XT Shadow Plus rear mech, you could hardly call the change of specification a downgrade. The SLX brakes were easily the best performers on test: light lever action, good power and excellent mud clearance.
Top marks for being the only bike here to make our ride easier with a dropper post, even if it’s the basic X Fusion HiLo model. A Bionicon C-Guide helps keep the chain in place, and a 60mm stem and 740mm bar complete a bang-on match to the Norco’s fun character.
Straight out of the box, the Sight 2 feels well balanced and easy to ride. It’s a great technical climber, with instant response to power inputs either seated grinding up steeps or for out-of-the-saddle sprints. The tracking of the ART suspension is excellent across choppy wet rocks and roots, especially in Descend mode on the CTD shock, in part aided by a small amount of frame or wheel flex. The flex wasn’t an issue for us, but we suspect heavier riders may notice the Norco frame twisting a tad more under extreme forces than the other bikes in this test.
Rider position is near perfect, helped by the stabilising qualities of the best-on-test RockShox Revelation RL fork, which offers real-world support and control both in compression and rebound — keeping your head and hands steady and eyes focused on the trail ahead. The dynamic geometry on the Sight also sees your centre of gravity low down in the chassis, and it’s perfect for slashing corners and flinging the bike around, while actively encouraging pumping and jumping on any trail.
The Norco Sight 2 is fun and flattering, combining efficiency with strong handling and playfulness. The geometry is near perfect for trail riding, and the component package is well thought through, with powerful brakes and a dropper post as standard, without being any heavier or more expensive than the competition.
To sum up, the Norco’s colour-scheme and graphics look modern, it’s the cheapest bike on test, and the overall ride performance has that secret ingredient — it makes you want to go fast and mess about — which is an irresistible quality in any bike.
MBR rating: 10
Frame 6061 hydroformed alloy 140mm-travel ART suspension
Suspension Fox Float CTD Evolution shock/ RockShox Revelation RL fork
Wheels Shimano SLX hubs, Mavic XM119 rims, Conti X-King tyres
Drivetrain Shimano SLX 2×10 chainset, SLX shifters and XT Shadow Plus r-mech
Brakes Shimano SLX
Components Norco, X-Fusion HiLo, WTB saddle
Weight 13.2kg (29.1lb)
Size tested M
Head angle 67.5°
Seat angle 72.6°
BB height 335mm
Front centre 714mm
Down tube 665mm