The Norco Sight has won many accolades and fans over the last 12 months, taking the trails by storm and quickly becoming one of our most popular mountain bikes. We know this bike’s great but wanted to find out a little more about how the guys at Norco set about developing this awesome all round trail weapon.
The Norco Sight started as an idea — an idea of a perfect trail bike. The predecessor Fluid line had been hugely successful and met the needs of the everyday rider. Trail riders were beginning to shift what they wanted to get out of the bikes though. Riders were becoming more and more aggressive in how they were pushing their bikes; they wanted to climb faster and descend quicker all in one perfect package.
This was the thought process back in 2009 when the Norco design and engineering team started conceptualizing the Sight. The project was led by fellow Brit Owen Pemberton who started out as an engineer with Rolls Royce before his love of riding took him to Canada. The teams first development step was to access what the Fluid was and wasn’t then look at what other bikes in the market rode like and how they could be improved upon. The evaluation of Norco’s and competitor’s bikes involved rigorous research on and off the trails. What was determined was that there were a few near misses on the market but we needed to make something different. Norco, nor the competition had what the consumer was asking for. The Sight needed to be the perfect trail bike.
Owen explained to us that from their testing it became clear that developing the Sight needed to hit a few key aspects such as: increased rearward axle path, short seatstays, optimized top tube lengths, slacker headtube, better stand over and improved features. Needless to say this was a ground up build: “Incorporating A.R.T. suspension into the bike helped to achieve both the pedaling characteristics and suspension performance on climbs and descents. Pairing this with a 425mm chainstay length and a 67.5 degree head angle would give the bike a very playful feel while descending. With the shorter rear end we steepened the seat-tube to keep the weight forward while improving tire clearance. We also widened the range of top-tube lengths through the sizes to improve rider fit. Lastly we outfitted the frame with a tapered headtube, hydroformed tubing, ISCG 05 tabs, post mount brakes and a Syntace X-12 rear axle system. This is the bike we wanted!”
From design through to prototyping and production there were tweaks and modifications along the way. A half degree here and a few millimeters there was the difference between good and great. When Norco launched the final version to the public in 2011 they had achieved their ultimate goal: To make a bike that sped to the top of a mountain and plummeted down the other side. The Sight is a bike that is designed for trail riding but in the testing process they put this bike down DH race tracks, over backcountry mountains, on local freeride trails and in Cross Country races. This really is a bike that can do it all and that’s why it is one of our best selling mountain bikes.
Time rolls forward and the theory of perfection changes. Two years after launching the Sight and winning Trail Bike of the Year from What Mountain Bike magazine, Norco has gone back to the drawing board to create something that achieves the goal of manifesting the “idea of the perfect trail bike.” In 2013 this includes an all new 650b (27.5” wheel) model with Gravity Tune and a stiffer, stronger and even more intricate design. The new bike that can “climb faster and descend quicker all in one perfect package” is the 2013 Norco Sight Killer B. The 26” bike remains an amazing design, with the Sight 2 scoring 10/10 in MBR magazine for the second year running, and the Sight 3 winning What Mountain Bike’s £1600-£1800 full-sus trail bike group test in issue 144 prove it’s still a serious contender. The SE versions have been custom spec’d by Evans Cycles for the UK market and boast some great value upgrades.