reviewed by Stuart Kernaghan
Norco is another bike brand that has embraced 27.5″ wheels wholeheartedly. The Canadian company offers mid-size wheel bikes for virtually every discipline, with the majority of them finding a home in the Sight line of 140-mm-travel all-mountain bikes. The Sights come in carbon, aluminum and women-specific models.
The Sight C 7.3 I tested is the third model in the carbon series. All the carbon models feature a carbon front triangle/seatstay combo with an aluminum chainstay, 42-mm rear spacing and internal cable routing.
The 2×10 drivetrain on the 7.3 is a collection of Shimano parts: XT shifters, a Deore front derailleur and XT Shadow rear derailleur, an SLX 38/24-tooth crankset and an off-spec SRAM 11–36 tooth cassette. Brakes are Shimano SLX, and come with 180-mm rotors. Suspension is handled by a Fox Float 32 FIT CTD fork with 140 mm of travel and a Fox Float CTD BV shock. The parts package also includes a Rockshox Reverb Stealth dropper post, a Schwalbe Hans Dampf 2.25″ tire on the rear, and Magic Mary 2.35″ rubber on the front and Sun Helix TR 25 tubelessready rims. A size XL bike with tubes and Shimano XT Trail pedals weighs in at 30.6 lb., putting it on the heavy side by about 2 lb. more than comparablesize carbon-and-aluminum 27.5″ bikes.
“A shorter-than-average wheelbase makes for snappy handling, increased manoeuvrability and a bike that’s lively at speed.”
Norco has designed a very good allmountain bike. The 67.5-degree head angle works well in steeper terrain without being too raked out on singletrack or climbs, while the 73.5-degree seat-tube angle improves the bike’s climbing prowess. This was one of the first bikes I’ve tested in a while that didn’t feel like it would have benefited from a travel-adjust fork.
At the cockpit, Shimano brakes and Reverb levers generally don’t play nicely together, and the SLX levers are an even worse pairing than an XT/Reverb combo: I had to run the Reverb lever parallel to the ground.
The Sight is a particularly competent technical descender, and it gave me the confidence to tackle (and clean) a steep rock face on one of my regular trails for the first time. There is less front-to-back flex on this Fox fork than on earlier models, which is a very welcome improvement. The burly Schwalbe tires have great traction on North Shore trails, but they may be a little beefy in some riding areas.
A shorter-than-average wheelbase makes for snappy handling, increased manoeuvrability and a bike that’s lively at speed. The Sight does display the positive traits of mid-size wheels, but I did get hung up or bounced around on rough sections of trail that I typically clean when riding a 29er.
Although the Sight as a whole has a lot going for it, this particular model has some shortcomings. Probably the biggest was the lack of a rear derailleur with a clutch mechanism to take up slack in the chain. My test ride on the 7.3 suffered from a very noisy drivetrain, several dropped chains (all of which got stuck between the granny ring and the carbon frame) and feedback from the chain when the suspension was compressed. I would have gladly traded the XT parts for a full SLX drivetrain with a clutch derailleur.
The Sight is a very capable all-mountain bike and the geometry is definitely dialed, but the component choices on the 7.3 put a bit of a damper on the ride experience. Talk your Norco dealer into making some changes before you leave the store, and you’ll have a great bike.
Norco Sight C 7.3
Components: Shimano XT
Suspension: 140-mm Fox Float 32 Fit CTD performance fork, Fox Float CTD BV performance level shock
Wheels:27.5″ Sun Helix TR 25 tubeless-ready
Sizes:S, M, L, XL