2023 Norco Sight A3 Shimano 27.5 Review
- Price: $2999
- Frame: Aluminum
- Tires: 27.5 inches
- Gear: 1×12
What we like about it: A very cost-effective entry full-suspension mountain bike with all-around capability.
What we don’t like about it: The paired entry-level components don’t satisfy the intense riding of the masters.
Norco Sight A3 Shimano 27.5 is an entry-level aluminum full-suspension enduro mountain bike. So, what kind of performance does it offer? Is it suitable as a first full-suspension enduro mountain bike for beginner? Let’s find out.
Now, let’s analyze the riding experience, key features, components, specifications, and other versions of the Norco Sight A3 Shimano 27.5.
In the latter part of this article, we will also compare it to several other top bike models. If you want to learn more about bike reviews, feel free to follow us.
The Norco Sight A3 Shimano features a long and low geometry, with a wide reach and relaxed head tube angle. This design sets a high potential for the bike, as a good frame is the foundation of performance.
Even before I got my hands on this bike, I had already booked a ticket to visit my good friend MIKE through Skyscanner. He mentioned that they had built a new mountain bike trail in the hills behind his house.
The route mainly consists of dirt roads with interesting features like berms and jumps.
Now, I’m about to take my Norco Sight A3 Shimano on this trail to see if it lives up to the hype.
To my surprise, this Norco Sight A3 has good upward climbing ability. This is an enduro mountain bike with 160mm front and 150mm rear travel.
Thanks to the Maxxis Minion DHR II 2.4 WT 3C outer tire, I was able to grip the ground firmly when I climbed upwards, which made my pedaling more efficient.
Additionally, the Norco Sight A3 is equipped with a 32T chainring paired with a 10-51T, 12-speed freewheel. This gear ratio is more than sufficient for inclines of around 20°.
The Align Design System ensures consistent weight distribution across the front and rear tire contact patches, helping me maintain a good riding position and reach the top of the climb faster.
During the descent, the most noticeable component is the 160mm RockShox Yari RC fork. It’s very active, reacting to even the smallest bumps and undulations.
However, the RockShox fork’s downside is its average performance when it comes to supporting large drops.
Furthermore, when landing after jumping off a dirt slope, there is a noticeable chain bounce from the rear derailleur.
Fortunately, the Norco Sight A3 comes with a built-in chain stabilizer, preventing potential chain drops with the Shimano Deore M6100 rear derailleur during intense rides.
One great feature is the convenience of the Norco Sight A3’s TranzX YS105 dropper post. I can adjust my descending riding position at any time using the manual switch.
Moreover, during high-speed descents over long distances, the 63.5° head tube angle, longer wheelbase, and low center of gravity shine. The bike feels stable and instills confidence in me as I accelerate downhill.
The Shimano Deore BR-MT420, 4-piston brakes paired with Shimano RT-64 rotors (203mm front, 180mm rear) provide excellent stopping power, even at moderate speeds.
If upgraded to Shimano SLX M7120 or higher, the brake performance would be further enhanced.
The Norco Sight A3 is available in four frame sizes ranging from S to XL, and you can choose between 29-inch or 27.5-inch wheelsets. This allows riders who prefer agile handling or those who prioritize strong traction to select according to their riding style.
In addition, it comes with a 6061 alloy handlebar (800mm, 25mm rise) and stem (40mm length, 35mm clamp) that can withstand powerful impacts and provide responsive control. The 800mm handlebar can also be cut shorter based on personal riding preferences.
The internal cable routing design of the Norco Sight A3 offers a clean and neat appearance while reducing noise from cables hitting the frame during rides. The chainstay protector on the rear dropout also minimizes chain slap noise against the frame.
Finally, the Norco Sight A3 not only features water bottle mounting holes on the downtube but also provides mounting options on the top tube. This allows riders to carry some tools on the top tube during off-road rides, enabling them to go the distance.
The Norco Sight A3 is an all-around impressive full-suspension enduro bike. The frame also offers plenty of room for customization and upgrades.
Of course, as the name suggests, the Norco Sight A3 Shimano comes equipped with Shimano groupset. As such, we also offer the same frame but with SRAM components, called the Norco Sight A3 SRAM.
Norco Sight A3 SRAM
The Norco Sight A3 Shimano and Norco Sight A3 SRAM share the same frame, paint job, and front and rear suspension. The only difference lies in the groupset used.
The former features a Shimano Deore M6100 drivetrain, while the latter is equipped with SRAM SX Eagle.
In comparison, the Shimano M6100 rear derailleur has a lockout function, and its overall tension is better than that of the SRAM SX rear derailleur, making it less prone to chain drops.
However, the SRAM SX rear derailleur provides a crisper shifting feel and faster gear changes compared to the Deore M6100.
Furthermore, the two bikes have different braking systems. The former utilizes Shimano Deore BR-MT420, 4-piston brakes with Shimano RT-64 rotors (203mm front, 180mm rear), while the latter uses Tektro Slate EVO, 4-piston brakes with Tektro rotors (200mm front, 180mm rear).
In reality, both braking systems offer similar performance. The Deore BR-MT420 brakes provide a more aggressive feel, while the Tektro Slate EVO brakes offer a more linear and progressive sensation.
When choosing between these two bikes, it primarily comes down to whether you prefer the Shimano or SRAM groupset. After all, the difference between the two is not significant, so it’s a matter of personal preference.
Below, we will provide specific details about the Norco Sight A3 Shimano, including its specifications, as well as some other brands of full-suspension mountain bikes at similar price points for your reference.
What do we like about it?
- The Norco Sight A3 Shimano offers multiple frame sizes to choose from, and you can opt for either 27.5-inch or 29-inch wheelsets.
- It features a slack head tube angle and a longer wheelbase, providing enhanced stability for downhill riding.
- It utilizes Norco’s Ride Aligned™ design system for optimized riding dynamics.
- The built-in chain stabilizer reduces the occurrence of chain drops during rides.
- The inclusion of a dropper post allows for quick adjustment of saddle height during the ride.
- Two mounting positions enable carrying additional tools during off-road rides, allowing you to venture farther.
What don’t we like about it?
- The entry-level components it comes with may not meet the demands of advanced riders seeking intense riding experiences.
- What kind of people does Norco Sight A3 Shimano fit to ride?
It is suitable for everyone riding, whether a novice beginner or a rider with a lot of riding experience.
- What kind of wheelset does Norco Sight A3 Shimano use?
The front wheel is Shimano HB-MT410 15x110mm Boost, Center Lock and the rear wheel is Shimano FH-MT510, 12x148mm Boost, Micro Spline, Center Lock.
- How to choose the right size for Norco Sight A3 Shimano?
Here we have a size chart for you. Of course, it doesn’t have to be according to this standard, and the best way to find the most suitable size is to try it on.
2023 Norco Sight A3 Shimano 27.5 Specs
|Frame||Aluminum All-Mountain, 150mm Travel, 27.5″ and 29″ Options, Ride Aligned™BB Standard: BSA, 73mm, ThreadedColors: Blue / Black; Grey / Grey|
|Fork||RockShox Yari RC, Motion Control, 160mm, 37mm Offset (27.5), 44mm Offset (29)|
|Rear Shock||RockShox Deluxe Select R, 185×52.5mm Trunnion|
|Bottom Bracket||Shimano Sealed Bearing, BSA Threaded|
|Headset||FSA #57 E Sealed Bearing, Tapered|
|Stem||Alloy, 40mm Length, 35mm Clamp|
|Handlebar||Butted 6061 Alloy, 800mm, 25mm Rise|
|Saddle||WTB Volt 250 Sport|
|Seatpost||TranzX YS105, Adjustable Travel, 34.9mm, 150mm (S), 170mm (M), 200mm (L, XL)|
|Grips||SDG Thrice Lock-On, Thin (S, M), Thick (L, XL)|
|Rear Derailleur||Shimano Deore RD-M6100|
|Crank||Shimano Deore FC-MT6120-1, 32T, 170mm|
|Shifters||Shimano Deore SL-M6100-R|
|Cassette||Shimano Deore CS-M6100-12, 10-51T, 12 Speed|
|Chain||Shimano Deore CN-M6100|
|Chain Tensioner||GW 1x Flip Guide|
|Brake||Shimano Deore BR-MT420, 4 Piston, Metallic Pads|
|Brake Levers||Shimano Deore BR-MT420|
|Rims||WTB ST I30 TCS 2.0, 32H|
|Front Hub||Shimano HB-MT410 15x110mm Boost, Center Lock|
|Rear Hub||Shimano FH-MT510, 12x148mm Boost, Micro Spline, Center Lock|
|Tires||Maxxis Assegai 2.5″ 3C Maxx Terra/EXO+/TR, Folding|
|Disk Rotors||Shimano RT-64, 203mm|
|Bicycles||Click to view||Drivetrain||Frame material||Brake Type||Travel|
|Canyon Spectral 5||Click to view||1 × 12||Aluminum||Hydraulic Disc||150mm rear, 150mm front|
|YT Industries Capra CORE 1 29||Click to view||1 × 12||Aluminum||Hydraulic Disc||170mm rear, 170mm front|
|Specialized Status 160||Click to view||1 × 12||Aluminum||Hydraulic Disc||160mm rear, 160mm front|
|Kona Process 153 27.5||Click to view||1 × 11||Aluminum||Hydraulic Disc||153mm rear, 160mm front|
Norco Sight A3 Shimano 27.5 vs Canyon Spectral 5
These two bikes have similar suspension travel but are two completely different styles of mountain bikes.
The more relaxed head tube angle of the Norco Sight A3 compared to the Canyon Spectral 5 indicates that the former will provide greater stability when descending.
On the other hand, the Canyon Spectral 5 offers more agility than the Norco. However, the Norco Sight A3 has the advantage of being available with 29-inch wheelsets, further enhancing its capability for tackling obstacles.
Ultimately, these two bikes have different focuses. The Norco Sight A3 is more of a traditional enduro mountain bike, while the Canyon Spectral 5 resembles a long-travel all-mountain bike.
When it comes to choosing, to be honest, I would lean more toward the Norco Sight A3 because the enjoyment of downhill riding is what matters most to me.
Norco Sight A3 Shimano 27.5 vs YT Industries Capra CORE 1 29
Firstly, they are both entry-level full-suspension mountain bikes with representative aluminum frames from their respective brands.
The difference in the drivetrain systems between the two is not significant. However, I prefer the SRAM NX groupset on the YT bike. While it lacks the Shimano rear derailleur lockout feature, I enjoy the crisp feel of SRAM’s operation and the sound of gear shifting.
Moving on, the YT Industries Capra CORE 1 29 comes equipped with a ROCKSHOX ZEB front fork and a ROCKSHOX SUPER DELUXE SELECT R rear shock, which are more advanced than those on the Norco Sight A3.
It offers longer front and rear suspension travel, making it more suitable for more aggressive riding.
Both of these excellent enduro mountain bikes are great choices, regardless of which one you choose. However, with its cool design and longer travel, the YT Industries Capra CORE 1 29 is more to my liking.
Norco Sight A3 Shimano 27.5 vs Specialized Status 160
In a situation where the prices of these two bikes are almost the same, their geometry is also quite similar.
The drivetrain components of these two bikes are also at a similar level. The latter also uses the same SRAM NX groupset as YT.
The brakes feature SRAM Code R, 4-piston calipers paired with 200mm rotors. This makes its braking performance comparable to that of the Norco Sight A3.
However, one complaint I have is that the Specialized Status 160 uses Butcher 29×2.3-inch tires. The narrower tires result in a reduced contact patch with the ground. So, when it comes to quick descents on loose terrain, the traction may not be as good.
When it comes to these two bikes, there is no definitive answer as to which one is better. They are both excellent enduro bicycles, and it mainly depends on which bike’s design you prefer.
Norco Sight A3 Shimano 27.5 vs Kona Process 153 27.5
Among these two bikes, I would lean towards choosing the former. It offers a longer travel, which I prefer.
Additionally, the latter only offers a 27.5-inch wheel size, while I enjoy the powerful traction and stability provided by a 29-inch wheel.
Furthermore, both bikes feature Shimano Deore drivetrains, but the latter only has an 11-speed freewheel, which means fewer gears for speed variation.
However, compared to the internal cable routing design of the Norco Sight A3, I dislike the Kona Process 153’s external cable routing.
Although external routing can make maintenance easier in daily use, it tends to accumulate dirt and is difficult to clean in muddy conditions. Additionally, the noise that can occur with external routing during rides is something I don’t appreciate.
Considering these factors, I would highly recommend the Norco Sight A3, especially since it is also slightly cheaper. Unless you have a strong preference for the Kona brand, the Norco would be a great choice.
Above is my review of the Norco Sight A3 Shimano 27.5. In our opinion, it is a great bike for riders who want to get into enduro.
The frame is also customizable with upgrade potential, and it is currently on sale for just $2,699. Taking everything into account, this is why we give it a high rating of 4.9.
Of course, if you’re interested in other full-suspension enduro bikes, we also review a variety of bikes at different price points, and they are equally interesting. Feel free to check out our other reviews.
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