The Norco Range VLT has been uncovered as a fresh new addition to the Norco eMTB line up for 2020. The progressive, big travel eMTB has got exactly what some riders have been asking for. Burly 180mm travel forks match 170mm of coil-sprung travel, with big brakes, a solid build, progressive geometry and a huge capacity battery to keep you on the bike for longer.

The Norco Range VLT comes soon after the Norco Sight VLT which we reviewed late in 2018. The Sight VLT was a glimpse of what was to come from Norco, with very direct, straight tubing, longer reaches, slacker head angles, steeper seat angles and an all-over more aggressive build to even recent Norco mountain bikes. The Sight VLT also hit the trails with about 20mm more travel than it's analogue sibling - but it was still designed to be a hard-hitting trail and all-mountain bike just like the Sight.

Norco have since released the new Norco Revolver FS, which also has a stiffer frame, updated geometry and even a 120mm variant on the same frame developed for the World Cup XCO races. That bike had a long development cycle between the racers and designers, as Colin Levitch found out when looking into how bikes are designed. And the Norco Range VLT eMTB really isn't any different in that regard. It's been designed to be right at the front of the game.

A closer look at the Norco Range VLT eMTB

The heart of the Norco Range VLT eMTB isn't the Shimano STEPS drive unit, but the frame and geometry. Even if you slap the best pedal-assist system on a bike, it's no guarantee that it will make a good eMTB. And Norco pride themselves on how their bikes ride.

There is a really long reach on the carbon frames with 480mm in Large, with a 63.5 degree head angle and effective seat angle of a crazily steep 77.7 degrees. Chainstays are 440mm on all sizes, which should nicely accommodate the 27.5 x 2.6" rubber while keep the back end short enough to ride well and the wheelbase long enough for high speed stability.

The super slack head angle is complemented by a 37mm fork offset, creating a trail measurement of 138mm thanks to the 180mm fork. With a 40mm stem as stock you should find that at low speeds the Norco Range eMTB will be agile for a long travel bike, but when it comes time to point and shoot, it will track super steady with the slack head angle.

Crank length is a nice and short 165mm, and the large size is built around a 170mm drop post. There's a few cool things going on, like the 90 degree rotation of the trunnion mounted shocks, to make room for bottles.

The mode adjuster keeps your options open for an under bar dropper as well, assiting control when the trail gets janky.

The Range Extender battery sits atop the downtube for really, really big rides.

Tell me about the power

Shimano STEPS does the assistance, with either an E8000 or E7000 unit depending on the model. There is a 630Wh in-tube battery (and a water bottle mount - yay!) plus the option for a Range Extender battery, which does exactly what you're thinking.

Models and pricing

Here in Australia, we will be getting all three models of the Norco Range VLT eMTB. The top dog is rthe Range VLT C1 27.5, and it comes with a curious mix of SRAM GX Eagle, with an NX Eagle cassette (11-50) and chain, and Shimano XT cranks with a SRAM Eagle chain ring. Suspension is by RockShox with a Lyric Ultimate and a Super Deluxe Coil Ultimate DH shock. The bike rolls on DT Swiss H1700 wheels and Maxxis Assegai tyres in 2.5". It sells for $9499.

Norco Range VLT C1 27.5

The Norco Range VLT C2 27.5 is the exact same frame but shod with a full NX Eagle drivetrain with a Shimano STEPS crank and Eagle ring, There is a Fox 36 Performance Elite fork up front with a Fox Performance Elite DHX2 coil in the back. The wheels use DT Swiss hybrid H370 rims (their hybrid or H classification means they are suited for eMTB use) with a DT Swiss H370 rear hub and Novatec front hub, coered in Maxxis Assegai tyres. This bike sells for $8699.

Norco Range VLT C2 27.5

In bright blue, the Norco Range VLT C3 27.5 uses SRAM SX Eagle for the shifty bits, Shimano BR MT520 4 pot brakes for the stopping bits, and RockShox suspension. A Yari RC takes care of business up front while a Super Delixe Coil Select R does the work in the back. Another H370 hub is in the back with a Deore on the front, laced to E13 LG1 DH rims with Assegai tyres. This bike has an E7000 drive unit with a 500Wh in-tube battery - and it sells for $7499.

 

There is a lot to like about the new Norco Range VLT eMTB models,