Will increased wheel size and travel equate to more fun?
Will the increased wheel size and travel eqaute to more fun on the new Norco Sight A2 29? Long and low geometry with increased reach and slacker head angle.
Norco Sight A2 29 need to know
- New 150mm-travel Sight platform with 29in wheels
- Long and low geometry with increased reach and slacker head angle
- Shorter seat tube on all sizes allows longer dropper post fitment
- Powerful Code R disc brakes with 200/180mm rotors boost stopping power
This is the new Norco Sight A2 29, and the big change recently was the switch to 29in wheels. Travel has also increased, the latest version getting a 160mm-travel fork and 150mm out back. Price-wise, the alloy A2 29 featured here is pretty competitive, but if you want to spend more (or less), there is an A1 above it and a A3 bike below, and if money is no object, there are also two carbon bikes, called the C1 and C2. Most models are available in women’s build and also come as an option with 27.5in wheels.
To keep the price competitive, Norco fits a second-string Performance series Fox 36 suspension fork and a Float X2 rear shock to the Sight A2 29. These feel totally in keeping with the new aggressive all-mountain attitude, but the rear suspension did feel a little lifeless. I’m not sure if this is the shock tune or just that the bike needs more time to bed in.
Size-wise, the Sight A2 29 is available in four options, and to keep the handling consistent they all get size-specific chainstays (430mm small, 435 medium, 440mm large and 445 extra large). Norco also fits size-specific dropper posts – there’s a 150mm on the small frame size, 170mm on the medium and large and a whopping 200mm on the XL.
In keeping with the refocused Sight, Norco has updated the geometry. With its 64° head angle and a long 1,250mm wheelbase, the Sight A2 29 feels incredibly planted and confidence-inspiring on fast gnarly terrain. Drop the saddle, point it downhill and this bike is literally out of sight.
The effective seat tube angle is around 77° and this puts you in a great position for keeping on top of the gear and the front wheel down on the climbs too, just don’t expect to set any hill-climb KOMs on this bike. And that’s primarily because the Sight A2 29 isn’t particularly light – the hefty frame, entry-level components and budget SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain are really punishing on the scales. Thankfully, the Sight doesn’t ride heavy, but it’s not a lithe or agile bike either.
So it’s clear that Norco has got the basics right, but it’s also sweated the details – like the extra frame protection on the underside of the down tube, a proper water bottle mount, a secondary fitting for tube/tool carry under the top tube, easy access internal cable routing, stiff rocker link, mini ISCG chain device and vast rear tyre and standover clearance.
How does it ride?
Fettling is par for the course with any new bike, but setting up the Norco was easy, and this is because the company has just launched a new web-based app called Ride Aligned that helps simplify suspension set-up. Obviously, this isn’t a new idea but Norco’s system is skill-centred and not just based on body weight, so the more skilful or faster you are, the firmer the suspension settings.
When I tapped my details into the app I got back fork and shock pressures, damping settings, tyre pressures and even a recommended bar width and bar height. I used the suspension and tyre pressure guidelines on my first ride, but to be honest I didn’t chop the 800mm handlebars down or run extra spacers under the stem, simply because I like a wide bar, and with the conical spacer on top of the headset the bar was already too high.
There are a couple of things I would change though — I’d swap the 60a Minion DHR II front tyre for the softer compound Maxx Terra 3C option and I’d maybe add a thicker Double Down casing tyre to rear, just because you’re going to be slamming that rear end into a lot of nasty stuff. I’d also upgrade the inner cable in the dropper post because the stock one is sticky, causing the remote to jam open a few times. The grips need to go too, sure they have a nice profile and texture, but they’re way too hard.
Despite some minor concerns with the spec, the Sight A2 29 is still excellent value. It’s not lightweight or the quickest uphill , but if you’re looking for an aggressive all-mountain bike to take to somewhere like BikePark Wales, the Norco Sight A2 29 is an absolute shredder. And with Norco’s Ride Aligned app easing set-up, that adrenaline rush is also going to come sooner than you think.