Norco Sight 2 SE review£2,500.00

Former Trail Bike of the Year

BikeRadar score4.5/5

The What Mountain Bike Trail Bike of the Year defending champion gets a new tubeset, plus a 650b wheel option, but is even this enough in 2013?

Ride & handling: Maximum control cockpit with poise

The Sight’s ultra-supple yet accurate and sustained flow couldn’t have been more obvious over the rocks and roots of a surprisingly dry but still sketchy Snowdonia test trails in early spring.

When other bikes were being worked hard, the Sight would just sit on their wheels without even trying. Straight-lining wet farm track rock-fests using big rooty corner banks and the biggest boulders as our berms and kickers became a sport in itself, and one the Sight excelled at. 

We also appreciated the simple chain tamer on more radical rocky trails, although there are ISCG tabs on the bottom bracket if you want full drivetrain insurance. 

Kit levels are fair for the price with the exception of the cheap compound Continental tyres, which were just horrible when wet. That aside, it’s a well-rounded package.

As we pushed harder to refine our Trail Bike of the Year reviews, the Norco started to flinch and flex up front, rather than hunkering down and hammering or ploughing straight through like some others. 

The short stem and wide bar steering, plus flex in the front of the frame, mean your brain will be as tired as your legs trying to hold the wheels straight up loose or low-traction climbs.

The imminent arrival of the 650b-wheeled Killer B version means the neutral but agile Sight signature will gain a naturally more stable, surefooted stance for those who prefer less needy handling.

Norco sight 2 se:
Norco sight 2 se:

Frame & equipment: Looks unchanged but is lighter

Despite indistinguishable looks, both versions of this year’s Sight get a new frame, with remapped hydroforming of the relatively slim tubes paring metal and dropping weight a shade under 29lb.

Fast rolling tyres and the impressively pedal-neutral but very smooth ART suspension mean it doesn’t feel that heavy through the pedals. Even with a rushed initial ‘too soft’ setup to catch dawn light for photos, a quick flick of the CTD TA lever was enough to keep the back end bob-free on fast climbs. 

Once set up properly the new rocker linkage moves so little, even when muscling a climb, that we ran it in Descend mode practically all the time just to get maximum plush and trail connection. The Factory shock is more controlled than the Evolution versions on other bikes.

The big bar and short stem add immediate response and authority to the slack-angled front, while the Reverb dropper post allows full body language in an instant. 

The increase in stiffness and accuracy for the 140mm Fox 32 fork over the 150mm unit is obvious. Even so, heavy braking on rocky-step mountain trails or the jolting section ends at our Coed y Brenin test trails need care, and we recommend adding oil to the spring side to reduce plunging through all 140mm at once. 

This bike was tested as part of magazine’s What Mountain Bike 2013 Trail Bike of the Year feature – read the full results in issue 147, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Jon Woodhouse

Technical Editor, UK
Jon's been working with bikes for as long as he can remember, from spanner monkey to product tester. He's always looking out for new kit that'll give an edge when the going gets rough and is happiest experimenting with geometry, rubber and suspension.
  • Age: 32
  • Height: 173cm / 5'8"
  • Weight: 62kg / 137lbs
  • Waist: 79cm / 31in
  • Chest: 92cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: If it involves dirt and bikes, Jon is there, whether big days out in the mountains or steep and technical plummets in the woods. It's all good.
  • Current Bikes: Mondraker Foxy Carbon, BTR Fabrications Custom hardtail, Scott Spark 700 Plus Tuned
  • Dream Bike: Nicolai Ion 16 Longest, made from carbon
  • Beer of Choice: Franziskaner Weissbier
  • Location: Monmouth, South Wales, UK

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