Norco's new Sight VLT hits the trails with just about every feature we could want in a hard-hitting eMTB.
Norco Bicycles have just released their first eMTB, and they have powered up the ever-popular Sight trail bike. The analogue, or pedal Sight, comes in both 27.5 and 29” wheel sizes. The Sight VLT hits the trails with 27.5" wheels.
1. Travel is on the money
Norco have upped the travel numbers with the Sight VLT so it has 150mm out back with 160mm up front. This is a boost in travel compared to the regular Sight, and something that puts the Sight VLT right into the mix for an eMTB.
2. Norco fit 2.6” tyres as standard
We think 2.8” tyres (Plus size) tend to float around a bit too much, but a strong 2.6” tyre on a wide rim like the 30mm internal models that Norco build on the Sight VLT is spot on. With a heavier bike, the larger contact area of a 2.6” tyre is required. Bigger tends to get too squirmy at lower pressures, so we’re stoked to see Norco have hit the sweet spot.
3. The Sight VLT has proper trail geometry
Just because you have pedal-assist doesn’t mean you want a bike that handles badly. Norco have matched a 66 degree head angle with a 75 degree seat angle. The wheelbase is long for stability, although 440mm chainstays are pretty short for an eMTB, which should keep direction changes as fun as on the analogue Sight.
4. Norco use parts designed for eMTBs
It seems obvious, but Norco have made sure all the parts are meant for eMTB use. From the forks with stronger legs, through to single click SRAM 1x shifters, eMTB specific DT Swiss 370 hubs on the rear wheel, and then 165mm cranks. There's also a headset that prevents full bar rotation, to save your frame when you have a dirt nap. Along with suspension kinematics designed with a heavier bike in mind, this is not a Norco Sight with a motor added.
5. Shimano STEPS
Yep, we love it. Shimano’s eMTB system is smooth and intuitive. It’s a compact system which helps with frame design, and can assist in getting better battery integration into the frame – which is something evident in the Norco Sight VLT.
6. Got it in carbon?
The Sight VLT comes with a carbon fibre mainframe. While an eMTB is always going to be heavy, the use of carbon often lets engineers manipulate frame tubes, and therefore geometry, for a better riding bike that tends to be lighter and stiffer as well.
7. Proper brakes
There is no need to skimp on brakes with an eMTB! Norco have gone all in with 4-pitson stoppers from SRAM, running 200mm rotors. It is true that eMTBs can go faster, and it’s not really because of the pedal assist on downhills – it is because they usually weigh 22-27kg. So proper brakes make a huge difference for rider safety and enjoyment.
8. Long lasting batteries
The Shimano STEPS batteries have a 630Wh capacity, which means a longer life than the previous 504Wh. So whether you get more out of each charge, or just run it in Boost for thrills - it's up to you. But your play time is longer.
We have the SRAM NX Eagle equipped model on test, and it sells for $7999. The next model up moves to GX amongst other upgrades, selling for $9499. Find the full details online. Of course, while we love all these things we're concerned about the lack of a bottle mount, and the extra cables of the STEPS system from the shifter to the head unit. We'd love to see a way to run these internally on bikes with a STEPS system - just for a better looking bike and less chance of mishaps. We'll see how it goes on the trail.
Keep an eye out for a coming review!