Norco Optic C2 Shimano Review
- Price: $4,799
- Frame: Carbon
- Tires: 29 inches
- Gear: 1 × 12
What we like about it: The carbon fiber frame with excellent components makes for an all-around powerful, full-suspension Lindo bike.
What we don’t like about it: The outer tire is not good enough to grip on wet roads.
Norco Optic C2 Shimano is a short-travel full-suspension trail bike. Thanks to its modern and aggressive geometry, it provides added confidence during descents.
The bike comes with a solid component package at a relatively affordable price, eliminating the need for future upgrades.
In this article, we will analyze the riding experience, key features, components, specifications, and other versions of the Norco Optic C2 Shimano.
In the latter part of the article, we will also compare it to several other top bike models. If you’re interested in more bike reviews, feel free to follow us.
The Norco Optic C2 Shimano boasts a geometry rarely seen in short-travel full-suspension trail bikes, offering excellent climbing performance and surpassing other bikes in its class when it comes to descending.
The exceptional component selection complements the Optic C2 frame and maximizes its potential.
Excited about the bike’s capabilities, I immediately purchased my ticket on Skyscanner and headed over to Mike’s place. There, I found smooth climbing routes, winding downhill trails I enjoy, and some challenging drop-offs.
Without further ado, I hopped on the Norco Optic C2 Shimano and ventured into the mountains.
I’m quite satisfied with the climbing ability of the Norco Optic C2 Shimano. First, the dropper post design allows me to maintain a well-balanced position toward the front and center of the bike, enhancing pedaling efficiency.
When encountering steeper slopes, the combination of the Praxis Girder Carbon M30 32T crankset and Shimano XT CS-M8100 12-Speed freewheel provide ample traction, allowing me to ascend with ease. The carbon front frame and aluminum rear triangle combination reduce weight, further saving energy during uphill climbs.
Additionally, the Vittoria Mazza 2.4″ Trail tires offer excellent traction on dry surfaces, ensuring each pedal stroke propels me upward.
After a satisfying climbing session, I finally arrived at the starting point for the downhill segment. Without a doubt, the Norco Optic C2 Shimano outperforms other bikes of similar travel when it comes to descending.
First and foremost, the Fox Performance Elite FLOAT 36 fork absorbs a significant amount of impact as I land from drops, and its excellent support prevents bottoming out.
As I progressed into longer and faster downhill sections, the relaxed head tube angle, longer wheelbase, low center of gravity, and 29-inch wheels of the Optic C2 delivered the desired speed with strong stability and exceptional roll-over capabilities.
Furthermore, the Norco Optic C2 Shimano performed well on the twisty singletrack. The Shimano XT BR-M8120 4-piston brakes provide excellent stopping power and a comfortable lever feel.
They allow me to avoid premature braking during corner entry, ensuring minimal loss of speed. The rear suspension remains responsive enough for continuous turns. However, on damp muddy surfaces, the Vittoria Mazza 2.4″ Trail tires can experience some slight slippage.
Finally, the Norco Optic C2 Shimano comes with a chain guide, and combined with the excellent tension provided by the Shimano XT rear derailleur, I have no concerns about chain drops even when riding over rough terrain.
The Norco Optic C2 Shimano is available in four sizes, ranging from S to XL, and comes in two color options with a carbon fiber frame. It is equipped with 29-inch wheels.
The internal cable routing design gives the bike a cleaner appearance, and the quiet cable management ensures minimal noise from cables rubbing against the frame.
The integrated dropper seatpost allows for quick adjustments of the riding position during climbs and descents.
The Norco Optic C2 Shimano frame features two mounting holes. The lower hole on the down tube accommodates a full-sized water bottle, while the upper hole on the top tube allows for the installation of portable tools.
These design features support riders in embarking on longer rides.
Additionally, the protective sticker located at the bottom of the down tube effectively prevents damage from flying rocks to the carbon fiber frame.
The chain stay’s protective sticker effectively addresses the noise caused by chain slap. Furthermore, the thru-axle wheel mounting method, although less convenient than quick-release, offers greater stability and safety in intense riding conditions.
The Norco Optic C2 Shimano is a versatile and high-performance full-suspension trail mountain bike. It offers excellent climbing and descending capabilities, along with a visually appealing frame design.
However, for riders who prefer non-Shimano mountain bike drivetrains, we also offer alternative versions.
Norco Optic C2 SRAM
The Norco Optic C2 Shimano and Norco Optic C2 SRAM share the same frame and have identical front and rear suspension travel. The main difference lies in the drivetrain components.
The Norco Optic C2 SRAM features an SRAM mountain bike drivetrain. It utilizes the RockShox Pike Select + RC fork and RockShox Super Deluxe rear shock, providing improved suspension performance on small bumps but with slightly less support compared to the Shimano version.
In terms of the drivetrain system, the SRAM GX series is used in the Norco Optic C2 SRAM, delivering crisper and more direct shifting compared to the smoother operation of the Shimano XT drivetrain.
Lastly, in terms of brakes, the SRAM DB8, 4-piston brakes offer more aggressive stopping power, while the Shimano XT M8120 brakes provide a more linear and comfortable feel.
Below, we will provide a detailed list of the specific parameters of the Norco Optic C2 Shimano and some other full-suspension endurance race bikes from other brands with similar price ranges for your reference.
What do we like about it?
- The Norco Optic C2 Shimano offers multiple frame sizes and features 29-inch wheels.
- The built-in chain guide design reduces the risk of chain drops.
- The integrated dropper seatpost allows for quick weight distribution changes during climbs and descents.
- The carbon fiber frame with aluminum alloy rear stays reduces weight while ensuring rear-end stiffness.
- The upper mount on the top tube provides a convenient location for carrying portable tools during long rides.
- The Ride Aligned™ design system creates a customized platform that matches the rider, enhancing the overall riding experience.
What don’t we like about it?
- The traction of the tires is not optimal on wet and slippery surfaces.
- What kind of wheelset is used on this bike?
The front wheelset is Shimano XT HB-8110-B, 15x110mm Boost, Center Lock. The rear wheelset is Shimano XT FH-8110-B 12x148mm Boost, 32H, Micro Spline, Center Lock.
- Is this bike suitable for new riders?
This bike is suitable for riders of all levels. Its responsive handling and excellent componentry provide strong overall performance.
- How do I choose the right size for this bike?
We provide a size chart for reference, but it’s best to try out different sizes to find the most suitable fit for you.
|163cm – 175cm
|Carbon Front Triangle, Aluminum Rear, 125mm Travel, UDH, Hangerless Interface Compatible, Ride Aligned™BB Standard: BB86/BB92, Press FitHanger Standard: UDHColors: Blue / Copper; Silver / Chrome
|Fox Performance Elite FLOAT 36, GRIP2, 140mm Travel, 42mm Offset
|Fox Performance Elite FLOAT DPX2, 190x45mm
|Praxis M30 BB92
|FSA Internal Sealed Bearing
|Norco 6061 Alloy, 45mm Length, 35mm Clamp
|TranzX Butted 6061 Alloy, 780mm, 20mm Rise
|Fizik Alpaca Terra, Wingflex
|X-Fusion Manic dropper, 31.6mm, 125mm (S), 150mm (M,L), 170mm (XL)
|Shimano XT RD-M8100
|Praxis Girder Carbon M30, 32T, 170mm
|Shimano XT SL-M8100 I-Spec EV
|Shimano XT CS-M8100, 10-51T, 12 Speed
|Shimano XT CN-M8100
|Shimano XT BR-M8120, 4 Piston, Metallic Pads
|Shimano XT BR-M8020
|Stan’s Flow S1 29″, 32H
|Shimano XT HB-8110-B, 15x110mm Boost, Center Lock
|Shimano XT FH-8110-B 12x148mm Boost, 32H, Micro Spline, Center Lock
|Vittoria Mazza 2.4″ Trail G2.0
|Shimano SM-RT70 Ice Tech, 203mm
|Canyon Neuron CF 9 SL
|1 × 12 Electronic
|130mm rear, 140mm front
|Trek Top Fuel 9.7
|1 × 12
|120mm rear, 120mm front
|YT Industries Izzo CORE 4 29
|1 × 12 Electronic
|130mm rear, 130mm front
|Cannondale Habit Carbon 2
|1 × 12
|130mm rear, 140mm front
Norco Optic C2 Shimano vs Canyon Neuron CF 9 SL
Both of these bicycles feature carbon fiber frames and have similar suspension travel.
Firstly, although the suspension travel is the same, the first one has a thicker diameter in the Fox fork, providing better support during significant drops. On the other hand, the second one has a Fox fork with a Kashima coating, offering a smoother rebound.
In terms of brakes, both bikes have excellent braking systems. The Shimano XT brakes on the former offer a more linear feel, while the SRAM Code RSC brakes on the latter are more powerful.
The biggest difference lies in the drivetrain. The Shimano XT on the former provides a smoother and more refined shifting experience, while the SRAM GX Eagle AXS on the latter offers crisper and more direct shifts.
Lastly, considering the geometry, the relaxed head tube angle and lower center of gravity on the former are more advantageous for downhill riding, while the latter excels in climbing ability.
Norco Optic C2 Shimano vs Trek Top Fuel 9.7
These are two different styles of full-suspension mountain bikes. The latter has shorter front and rear suspension travel, which provides better pedaling efficiency during climbs.
However, the Optic C2 features a Fox 36 fork with a larger diameter and longer travel compared to the Top Fuel 9.7’s Fox 34 fork. This gives it better damping performance and support during descents.
In terms of brakes, the former uses the higher-level Shimano XT M8120 brakes. The Shimano M6120 brakes on the latter have inferior performance in terms of both braking feel and power.
Finally, in terms of the drivetrain, the former utilizes a complete Shimano XT drivetrain, while the latter combines Shimano SLX and XT components. Considering the similar price range of both bikes, the latter seems less competitive.
For the choice between these two mountain bikes, I would highly recommend the former. What the Top Fuel 9.7 can do, the former can also achieve. However, when comparing the downhill advantages, Top Fuel 9.7 falls slightly short.
Norco Optic C2 Shimano vs YT Industries Izzo CORE 4 29
Let’s take a look at the comparison between the Norco Optic C2 Shimano and the YT Industries Izzo CORE 4 29. These two bikes have similar capabilities.
In terms of front suspension, the YT Industries Izzo CORE 4 29 features a Fox 34 fork with Kashima coating, which provides a smoother rebound.
On the other hand, the Norco Optic C2 Shimano has longer travel and thicker stanchions with the Fox 36 fork, offering better support.
When it comes to the drivetrain, the YT Industries Izzo CORE 4 29’s SRAM X01 Eagle AXS electronic shifting is crisper and more precise compared to the Norco Optic C2 Shimano’s Shimano XT drivetrain. In the mountain biking realm, I prefer the SRAM groupset.
Moving on to the braking systems, both bikes feature reliable braking capabilities, whether it’s the Shimano XT M8120 on the Norco Optic C2 or the SRAM G2 RSC on the YT Industries Izzo CORE 4 29. However, I lean towards Shimano’s design and linear brake feel.
Both bikes are excellent full-suspension mountain bikes. Given the choice between the two, I would prefer the Norco Optic C2 Shimano, which offers longer travel and a stronger advantage in downhill performance.
Norco Optic C2 Shimano vs Cannondale Habit Carbon 2
Norco Optic C2 Shimano and Cannondale Habit Carbon 2 have similar front and rear suspension travel.
However, the Cannondale Habit Carbon 2’s RockShox Pike Select fork offers better sensitivity than the Norco Optic C2’s Fox 36 fork, making it more comfortable on longer rides with small bumps.
On the other hand, the Fox 36 excels in providing strong support, which is useful for handling large drops.
Moving on to the drivetrain and braking systems, the Cannondale Habit Carbon 2 utilizes lower-level Shimano components compared to the Norco Optic C2.
Therefore, the performance of the Norco Optic C2 is better in these aspects. Additionally, the Norco Optic C2 comes with a chain guide design, reducing the risk of chain drops during intense downhill rides.
Lastly, looking at the geometry of these two bikes, the Norco Optic C2 has a lower center of gravity and a more relaxed head tube angle, resulting in greater stability during descents.
On the other hand, the Cannondale Habit Carbon 2 has an advantage in uphill and flat terrain riding.
Considering the price difference between these two bikes, if you desire a more well-rounded capability, I would recommend the Cannondale Habit Carbon 2.
However, if you prioritize stronger downhill performance, then the Norco Optic C2 Shimano is worth considering.
Above is our review of the Norco Optic C2 Shimano. In our opinion, it is an excellent full-suspension mountain bike with versatile performance, suitable for various terrains, and reasonably priced. That’s why we gave it a rating of 4.8.
Of course, if you want to explore other full-suspension mountain bikes, we also review a wide range of bikes with different price ranges, all of which are quite interesting. Feel free to check out our other reviews.
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