I loved the way the bike handled with a small exception; When pushing hard into some corners, there is a slight hesitation, almost a stuttering, and it’s hard to tell if it is coming from the fork flexing, or from frame flex. I had observed a small amount of frame flex when sitting on the bike and pulling on the handlebars, and while there may be perceived effect when hard cornering, it has felt stiff and controlled when it’s really needed. The ride quality is very comfortable, the A.R.T. suspension doesn’t get hung up on rocks, and there is negligible harshness on rough terrain, the 140mm of travel soaks up the bumps, although a couple of times, it did feel like it was starting to wallow a bit, but that never seemed to slow it down.
The Shimano XT brakes and drivetrain have been amazing. The XTR Shadow+ rear derailleur is an expensive component, and I was concerned with how vulnerable it could be, but it is still working as well as it did on day one, and there are a few scuffs indicating that the derailleur got intimate with trailside objects. There is no chainstay protection to protect it from chain slap, but the clutch on the derailleur works exactly as advertised, and there are only a few dings from the chain, and chain drop was virtually non-existent. When the OEM pads wore out, I replaced the rear with a sintered metal pair of pads, and I found that not only was it noisier, it didn’t have the power or feel of the resin pads that came stock, but they are more consistent in the wet. When the original chain wore out and was replaced, the larger chainring would not cooperate and was skipping really badly, even though the original chain was not too badly worn. The teeth on the outer ring were quite badly worn from rock strikes, and for around BC, an ISCG mounted chainring protector would be a good investment if using the 2×10 system.
The wheels have been stiff, solid and have remained true and round, as good as the rims were, the freehub didn’t last so well. When removing the cassette for a routine cleaning, the freehub body fell apart, something had shattered it, and even in it’s broken state, it was working perfectly, held together by the cassette, and once apart, it was impossible to reassemble. Shimano replaced the wheel under warranty, and I was rolling once more in just over a week, and it’s been fine since.
The 26” Sight is returning in 2013 at a much better price, and definitely great value. It will be accompanied by the Sight Killer B (a 650b redesign). Not too much has changed with the new 26” model of the Sight 1, the Kenda tyres are replaced with Continental rubber, the uncomfortable Norco brand grips are getting swapped out with Ergon GA-1. A Bionicon chain tensioner has been added to supplement the XT Shadow+. The most notable, and needed, change is the chainrings have switched from 26/38 to a much more versatile 24/38.
At $5600, the Norco Sight 1 is still a very expensive bike, but the less expensive Sight 2 and Sight 3 come in at a much more reasonable price point, both with solid and sensible builds, they all share the same excellent platform with the A.R.T. suspension, which is still available as a frame only (The LE model). If you are looking for a really capable all-mountain bike that you can ride all day, then the Sight should definitely be on the short list. For 2013, the Sight 1 is $1000 less, and still offers a near identical spec, making the decision to buy this excellent trailbile a little bit easier. As mentioned earlier, the framekit is available, and at $2100 including the shock and a reverb, it is amazing value.
If your preference is for more gravity fed trails, Norco’s Range would be a bike worth considering, it still has the excellent A.R.T. suspension that is featured on the Sight, but much more aggressive geometry geared towards the downhill. That said, the Sight excels at everything, and even though there were a few minor problems, the spec and build quality are excellent. It’s easy to understand why it’s winning accolades such as “Trail Bike of the Year”.
- Nimble, yet sturdy, this bike truly is a do it all bike
- Climbs exceptionally well
- Excellent customer service supporting the bike
- Component spec is amazing
- Fox 32 TALAS really holds the bike back
- 2×10 gear ratios, and how exposed the Chain rings are
- Some tolerance issues (reportedly much better for 2013)
I have been riding bikes off road for over 20 years, and even though I’ve raced, I’m not really a racer, but I do like to push bikes as hard as I can. I live in Vancouver, BC, and ride anywhere there are trails, but spend a lot of time on the North Shore. I have no affiliation with any bicycle or component manufacturer, and I was loaned the bike to review for the summer.
The review was split between myself (Steve Sheldon) and Chris Barker, this review is a collaboration of our thoughts.