Norco Sight Carbon 7 1.5 £3000

Well-regarded trail machine goes carbon

BikeRadar score 3/5

We’ve always been fans of Norco’s 140mm (5.5in) travel trail bike, the Sight, and couldn’t wait to get our hands on the new carbon framed, 650b wheeled version.

Frame and equipment: carbon conversion

The obvious and most recent change here is the carbon mainframe and seatstays (the chainstays remain aluminium). The result, according to Norco, is a 25 per cent weight saving over the old aluminium frame.

While many companies only adjust their bikes’ front triangles to accommodate larger riders, Norco’s Gravity Tune geometry means the Sight’s rear centre (bottom bracket to rear axle length) grows in proportion to the front centre (BB to front axle length) as you go up the size range. This helps promote a better riding position and more even weight distribution.

The sizing is on the small side so we opted to test the large bike instead of the medium. The 615mm effective top tube offered a great body position on the climbs even after we fitted a stubbier stem.

The Sight continues to use Norco’s Advanced Ride Technology (ART) four-bar suspension platform. The company claims this has ‘a pronounced rearward axle path’ that should make it better at tackling the really rough stuff.

We’re always happy to see a RockShox Reverb dropper post plugged into any bike, but unlike the pricier 7.1 model which has the internally routed Stealth version, the 7 1.5 gets the standard Reverb. It’s hardly a problem, although it does mean the finish isn’t quite as neat.

Ride and handling: impressive manners

Get the Sight grinding up a seated climb and you’ll notice a bit of pedal bob. This can be remedied with a flick of the CTD lever, sticking the Fox shock into trail mode. At slow speeds when standing up and really punching the pedals in the small chainring that pedal bob rears its head once again, as does some flex in the frame. It’s something you do get used to, even if it does sap some of the efficiency from your pedal stroke. Point the Sight back down though and any climbing niggles fade away.

The well proportioned trail geometry sticks you in a good position on the bike, letting you shift your weight and react to the trail easily and rapidly. We’d recommend ditching the over-long 70mm stem to liven up the steering and push you a little further back to increase confidence on steeper trails.

The ART suspension simply gets on with the job at hand, offering a plush and reasonably supportive feel when you really get trucking, with a good amount of rear wheel traction even when the Ardent tyre is caked in mud.

You’ll notice the flex from the Fox 32 up front when you rattle through repetitive hits at speed. A stiffer 34mm or 35mm stanchioned fork would unlock further potential and elevate the Sight’s impressive trail manners to another level.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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