Well rounded, do-it-all 29er that’s also a blast to ride hard
The 2018 Norco Sight A2 is the perfect prescription for big-wheeled trail fun. It’s a versatile aluminium trail bike with sorted components.
Norco Sight A2 29erneed to know
- Versatile aluminium 29er trail bike with sorted components for the cash.
- RockShox Pike RC suspension fork with 140mm travel, 10mm more than the FOX EVOL shock dishes out at the rear.
- Maxxis Minion tyres are among the best rubber in the business
- Modern sizing with Norco’s signature Gravity Tune geometry, where the effective chainstay length increase as you go up in size to maintain balance.
My first ride on this Sight A2 29er was a bit of an old-school throwback. Like most of my riding buddies, extended moorland blasts have pretty much been supplanted by the instant sugar-rush of chugging up fireroads to smash through the woods on handcut, enduro-style trails.
But on this beautiful spring day the Sight got hammered along rocky bridleways, dragged up brutally steep tarmac climbs and slogged across tufty wide-open spaces, before hitting trails that would have been at the pointy end of national-level DH racing 20 years ago.
And you know what? It was great. Not only was the route a pleasant change, it emptied my mind to the point I had to remind myself multiple times I was on a two and a half grand machine, not the usual £6k-plus, carbon-wheeled rig my pampered backside usually cruises round on.
In short, Norco’s latest Sight is the right choice for doing a bit of everything on. Redesigned for 2018, the Sight A2 has 130mm rear wheel travel with 10mm more up front. The component spec and geometry are sorted and as such it’s very easy to ride hard straight out of the box. Nothing grates about the riding position or frame shape, so you can just get on with enjoying the ride; whether it’s munching soggy miles, tackling technical climbs or making a nasty rock garden feel like a walk in the park.
It’s so capable in fact; the first thing I did on retuning from my ride was to double check I had the correct bike, worried that Norco had sent a longer-travel version by mistake. It hadn’t. The suspension genuinely feels more capable than its claimed 130mm travel, with smoothness and control you’d expect from a pricier, top-tier model. The big-wheeled Sight rolls well too and maintains decent speed whatever the gradient, and also responds to hard efforts and sprinting with plenty of zest, albeit with the caveat that it’s a bit heavy and the WTB i29-based wheels aren’t the fastest to accelerate.
Other than the wheel weight, the Canadian brand has pretty much nailed the best component compromises for this kind of money. Confident and tough Maxxis tyres are practical for UK conditions, Shimano’s bang-for-buck Deore disc brakes simply work, and there’s a wide 800mm handlebar and short stem, plus a dropper post. The icing on the cake though has the quality of the supportive, well-controlled suspension at both ends.
Having also reviewed the longer-travel Norco Range at an equivalent price, and being left feeing somewhat underwhelmed, this shorter travel Sight was a pleasant surprise. It feels way better rounded. The low bottom bracket helps you carve corners; it steers intuitively and the Fox shock feels perfectly in sync with the RockShox Pike RC fork up front, even if you push it hard. The frame has not got the slackest angles, so it never feels detached on mellower trails, but it still stable and surefooted at speed.
As an all-round trail bike that does everything well you’ll struggle to find a better option than the Norco Sight A2 29 without spending considerably more cash. It’s a blinder!