There comes a time when you need a new bike, and for the past year I’ve been wanting to add a trail bike to my collection.
And right now the trail bike market is pretty hot, with lots of options from fast trail bikes with short travel, to light and long-travel bikes like the Scott Genius 920 I tested last issue.
Like anyone looking for a new bike, I put trust in friends and of course brand preferences, and after speaking to Lachlan McKillop, the Norco Sight Carbon sounded like the bike best suited for my needs. The 29er has 130mm out back and 140mm up front. “If you need more, just pull the fork out to 150mm” was Lachlan’s suggestion. Lachlan was one of the first riders to test the new Sight Carbon when it was released, and he rated it highly while he had it for AMB.
As it is, the Norco Sight Carbon in the 29” version does a pretty good job of ticking the boxes for a modern trail bike. It has Boost spacing for stiffer wheels and a shorter back end. The reach is long, the head angle is reasonably slack at 67 degrees, there’s a chain guide mount and they’re built for long dropper posts and plenty of stand over height.
Best of all, Norco import frame sets for the Sight Carbon and Range as well, if you’re after a longer travel bike aimed at the EWS racer inside you.
My Norco Sight Carbon build
I chose a few favourites for my own bike, and set the Norco Sight Carbon up with a Shimano XT 11-speed drivetrain, but did use a set of XTR Race cranks that were left from a group set changeover on my cross-country bike at the start of the year.
With the Shimano XT 11-46 cassette, clutch rear derailleur, and a 32t chain ring it’s a versatile and dependable setup, The range is just a little lower than what I ride on my cross-country bike, which should suit getting up steep pinches on a bigger bike but I suspect I’ll be putting a 34t chain ring on pretty soon for more top end speed.
As the frame comes with a Fox Float EVOL Performance rear shock, I matched this with a 34 Performance fork, with 140mm travel. I also put a 125mm Fox Transfer dropper post in, with an under the bar lever.
Since the initial build I’ve swapped out the bars and stem. The new ones are from Funn, with the King Pin 785mm bars in 15mm rise and 35mm clamp matched to a Strippa Evo 45mm stem. The stock build comes with a 800mm bar and 50mm stem, and I’ve got the Funn combo slammed to keep some weight on the front wheel.
The wheels are something special and I had the DT Swiss XMC 1200 on test. These wheels have a 29mm internal diameter, DT Swiss 240S hubs and a rim profile that absolutely locks the bead in when set up tubeless. I started with a Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5” WT on the front and Aggressor 2.35” on the back, but have since fitted a Minion DHR 2.3” on the rear.
On the trail
So far, it is as expected. Norco claim the Sight Carbon is a ‘versatile trail killer’ and I’m not here to argue with that. It’s been plenty of fun on cross-country rides pinning it up down and along my local trails, to shuttled runs at Maydena Bike Park on our preview there, and bombing some of the steeper and looser trails around where I live.
The Sight carbon is stable when pointed down, but thanks to being built around a 50mm stem and wide bars, it’s agile when needed, especially when moving the bike on the trail thanks to the 435mm chainstays.
On steep, extended descents a few things do remind you that it isn’t a bigger bike. Namely on really steep terrain the 67 degree head angle all of a sudden doesn’t feel very slack, and the 34 forks don’t seem as beefy as they could. The rear shock has been feeling a little wooden so I’ll look at having that serviced, but the Sight is a great platform to test a Fox Float DPX2 on – watch this space.
The bike as shown weighs in at 13.3kg, and with an efficient suspension platform it’s showing that the Sight Carbon truly is a versatile trail bike, and very suitable to the trails that are being built around our country.
I’ll be using this bike to test all manner of trail and all-mountain parts through the year, so that versatility is really going to be put to the test.
Words: Mike Blewitt