2023 Norco Sight VLT C1 Review
- Price: $9,898
- Frame: Carbon
- Tires: 29 inches
- Gear: 1×12
What we like about it: As an electric-assisted cross-country mountain bike, it allows me to ride all day and climb with particular ease.
What we don’t like about it: The overall weight of an electric-assisted cross-country mountain bike is less suitable for riders with less power.
The Norco Sight VLT C1 is a top-tier E-MTB. Norco has designed the Sight VLT C1 to be a rugged beast with a focus on durability, long-range capacity, sturdy specifications, and a balanced riding position.
So how does it perform? Is it just Norco’s exaggerated marketing or is there some truth to it?
Now, let’s analyze the riding experience, key features, components, specifications, and other versions of the Norco Sight VLT C1.
In the latter part of this article, we will also compare it to a few other top bicycle models. If you want to read more bike reviews, you can follow us.
Oh my goodness! When I first saw the Norco Sight VLT C1, the first thing that caught my eye was the Fox36 front fork and the X2 rear shock with a shiny Kashima coating. It impressed me how the blue frame of the Sight VLT C1 sparkled in the sunlight. It’s just beautiful.
So, I took the Sight VLT C1 to the nearest mountain bike park. And to fully experience its capabilities, I booked a hotel for a few extra days through Skyscanner.
The mountain bike park near me is transformed from a small hill. It features gravel trails, loose terrain, winding downhill paths, berms, and even some jump ramps.
Without further ado, I can’t wait to hop on the Sight VLT C1 and have a great ride.
In the past, I used to dislike climbing uphill on full-suspension mountain bikes. But this time, it’s different because I’m riding an E-MTB.
All I have to do is engage the electric assist, and the Shimano STEPS EP8 provides me with a maximum torque of 85Nm. Therefore, the climbing process is easy.
Moreover, my riding position during the climbs is comfortable, thanks to Norco’s Ride Aligned system that optimizes the frame geometry and suspension performance.
The mix of SRAM GX rear derailleur and X01 shifter is also excellent. The shifting is crisp, and the responsiveness is just right, which I enjoy.
However, in looser terrain, the Maxxis Disector 2.4″ WT 3C tire tends to lose traction due to the torque from the Shimano STEPS EP8. This situation could be changed if I switch to a 2.5-inch tire, matching the front wheel.
So, how does the Norco Sight VLT C1 perform on descents? Well, there are parts I like and some areas I feel could be improved.
Firstly, when I was descending quickly on gravel surfaces, the Fox Factory FLOAT 36 front fork and Fox Factory FLOAT X2 rear shock provided excellent support and responsiveness to the Sight VLT C1.
However, when landing jumps, the heavier weight of the E-MTB resulted in less support than I expected and a slightly unstable feeling. Switching to a Fox38 would enhance the potential of the Norco Sight VLT C1.
But during aggressive descents, I didn’t have to worry about the chain dropping on the Norco Sight VLT C1. Thanks to the included MRP suspension and the powerful X01 rear derailleur, I could confidently challenge high descending speeds.
And when I needed to brake urgently, the SRAM Code RSC paired with the SRAM CenterLine was still powerful and could bring this beast to a crisp stop.
Additionally, when descending on continuous winding trails, the Norco Sight VLT C1 didn’t exhibit excessive agility. However, as an E-MTB, I shouldn’t expect it to behave like an endurance mountain bike.
Overall, I think the Sight VLT C1 has good descending capabilities. Its 64° head tube angle provides stability without compromising maneuverability on flat trails.
Furthermore, the OneUp dropper post and Ergon SM-10 E-Mountain Sport saddle allow me to easily adjust to the optimal riding position for descents, providing a comfortable riding experience.
The Norco Sight VLT C1 has 160/150mm of front and rear travel and 29-inch wheels. It utilizes the Shimano STEPS EP8 drive unit.
The battery is removable and comes in three capacity options: 540Wh, 720Wh, and 900Wh. This allows riders to choose the battery size that best suits their needs, offering different levels of flexibility and pricing.
Moreover, the Sight VLT C1 has a 485mm reach for a more comfortable riding position. The 64° head tube angle provides excellent downhill stability, and the 77.7° seat tube angle shifts my weight forward, making it easier to tackle steep climbing challenges.
The two mounting positions on the downtube allow for water bottle cage installation while also carrying other riding tools, enhancing its long-distance riding capabilities.
The 40mm length CNC alloy stem paired with the Deity Skywire Carbon 800mm handlebar maximizes the Sight VLT C1’s maneuverability. The ability to accommodate up to 2.6-inch tires increases its potential and provides better traction.
Overall, the Norco Sight VLT C1 is an E-MTB that can handle various off-road riding environments but is better suited for long-distance mountain biking rather than chasing aggressive descent speeds.
With its special riding design, excellent geometry, and precise suspension, the Sight VLT C1 is a bike that feels stable and can handle various terrains.
Of course, the Sight VLT C1 comes with a significant price tag. We also found the Sight VLT C2, which has the same frame, for comparison. In the next section, we will introduce the Sight VLT C2, a full-suspension endurance electric bike.
Norco Sight VLT C2
The Norco Sight VLT C2 features the same frame as the Norco Sight VLT C1 and also offers three battery capacity options. However, the price of the Sight VLT C2 is $2200 cheaper than the C1.
The Sight VLT C2 features the RockShox Lyrik 160mm front fork and RockShox Super Deluxe rear shock, which effectively mitigate the bumps on gravel surfaces. However, the rear-end support of the C2 is not as reliable as the Sight VLT C1 with the FOX 36 GRIP 2.
Additionally, the drivetrain on the Sight VLT C2 offers a cost-effective mix. The SRAM SX rear derailleur paired with the SRAM GX rear derailleur ensures crisp shifting with the suspension, minimizing the chances of chain dropping.
Furthermore, the Shimano BR MT520 4 Piston brakes with front and rear 203mm Shimano rotors provide ample braking power for normal riding. However, if aggressive descents are your focus, this brake setup may fall short of expectations.
Therefore, the Sight VLT C2 is a full-suspension endurance E-MTB designed for comfortable long-distance rides. The Sight VLT C1, on the other hand, is better suited for more demanding riding routes. Of course, the final decision rests in your hands.
Next, we will provide a detailed list of the specific specifications of the Sight VLT C1 and some other full-suspension off-road mountain bikes from similar price ranges.
What do we like about it?
- The Norco Sight VLT C1 features the top-notch Shimano STEPS EP8 motor with various battery capacity options.
- Removable battery design for easy charging and quick swapping.
- Incorporation of Norco’s Ride Aligned design system.
- Integrated chain guide to prevent chain drops in aggressive riding conditions.
- Inclusion of a dropper post for quick adjustment of saddle height during rides.
- Two mounting positions on the downtube for carrying water bottle cages and additional riding tools.
What don’t we like about it?
- The overall weight of an electric-assist off-road mountain bike may be challenging for some riders to accept.
- What wheelset does Norco Sight VLT C1 use?
The front wheelset is DT Swiss 350H 15x110mm Boost, 6 Bolt, and the rear wheelset is DT Swiss 350H 12x148mm Boost, XD, 6 Bolt.
- What kind of environment is the Norco Sight VLT C1 suitable for riding in?
It can handle a wide range of riding terrains. However, due to the nature of an E-MTB, it is more suitable for long-distance trail exploration rather than high-speed aggressive descents.
- How do I choose the right size for Norco Sight VLT C1?
We provide a size chart for your reference. However, the best way to find the most suitable size is to try it out for yourself.
2023 Norco Sight VLT C1 Specs
|Frame||Carbon Front Triangle and Seatstay, Aluminum Chainstay, 150mm Travel, Ride Aligned™ Color: Blue / Copper|
|Fork||Fox Factory FLOAT 36, GRIP 2, HSC/LSC, HSR/LSR, 160mm Travel, 44mm Offset, E-Rated|
|Rear Shock||Fox Factory FLOAT X2, Custom Tune, 210x55mm|
|Headset||FSA No.55R-1 Sealed Bearing|
|Stem||CNC Alloy, 40mm Length, 35mm Clamp|
|Handlebar||Deity Skywire Carbon 35, 800mm, 25mm Rise|
|Saddle||Ergon SM-10 E-Mountain Sport|
|Seatpost||OneUp Adjustable Dropper, 34.9mm, 120mm (S), 150mm (M), 170mm (L) , 210mm (XL)|
|Grips||DMR DeathGrip A20 Soft, Thin (S, M), Thick (L, XL)|
|Rear Derailleur||SRAM XO1 Eagle|
|Crank||Shimano FC-M8150 E-MTB, 34T Eagle Ring, 165mm|
|Shifters||SRAM GX Eagle Single Click|
|Cassette||SRAM Eagle XG 1275, 10-52T|
|Chain||SRAM GX Eagle|
|Brakes||SRAM Code RSC, 4 Piston, Metallic Pads|
|Brake Levers||SRAM Code RSC|
|Rims||DT Swiss E 1700 Hybrid E-Rated Wheelset, 29″|
|Front Hub||DT Swiss 350H 15x110mm Boost, 6 Bolt|
|Rear Hub||DT Swiss 350H 12x148mm Boost, XD, 6 Bolt|
|Tires||Maxxis Assegai 2.5″ 3C MaxxGrip/DD/TR/WT|
|Disk Rotors||SRAM CenterLine, 220mm|
|Motor||Shimano STEPS EP8|
|Battery||Removable. 900Wh, 720Wh and 540Wh Options.|
|Bicycles||Click View||Drivetrain||Frame material||Brake Type||Travel|
|Trek Rail 9.8 XT Gen 4||Click View||1 × 12||Carbon||Hydraulic Disc||150mm rear, 160mm front|
|Canyon Spectral:ON CF 9||Click View||1 × 12||Carbon||Hydraulic Disc||150mm rear, 150mm front|
|Santa Cruz HECKLER X0 AXS RSV 29 / Carbon CC||Click View||1 × 12 Electronic||Carbon||Hydraulic Disc||150mm rear, 160mm front|
|Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 Rally Edition||Click View||1 × 12||Carbon||Hydraulic Disc||160mm rear, 170mm front|
Norco Sight VLT C1 vs Trek Rail 9.8 XT Gen 4
I have to admit that both the Norco Sight VLT C1 and the Trek Rail 9.8 XT Gen 4 are excellent representatives of their respective brands in the E-MTB field.
They both feature the important motor component, with the Norco utilizing the Shimano STEPS EP8 and the Trek equipped with the Bosch Performance Line CX high-performance motor, both capable of delivering a maximum torque of 85Nm.
However, the Norco offers three battery options, while Trek only has two. Moreover, the Norco can accommodate a maximum battery capacity of 900Wh, providing longer battery life.
Now let’s look at the groupsets. The Trek comes with the RockShox ZEB Select+ front fork, which has a pressure check device. This is quite appealing to me as it allows for convenient monitoring of the air pressure in the fork.
However, for a heavier E-MTB like this, I would personally recommend using a FOX fork, as FOX provides better support.
When it comes to the drivetrain, there’s no question that I prefer the mix of SRAM GX and X01 on the Norco Sight VLT C1. Compared to the Shimano XT on the Trek Rail 9.8 XT Gen 4, I appreciate the crisp and precise shifting of SRAM.
However, I like the carbon fiber frame with the OCLV technology of Trek. During the molding process, high pressure is used to compress the carbon fiber against the inner walls of the mold, resulting in thinner yet stronger construction.
Therefore, the Trek E-MTB is slightly lighter than the Norco due to this carbon fiber technology.
In reality, both bikes are excellent E-MTBs with their unique features. No matter which one you choose, you won’t regret your decision.
Norco Sight VLT C1 vs Canyon Spectral:ON CF 9
The Norco Sight VLT C1 and the Canyon Spectral:ON CF 9 are both highly comparable E-MTBs. They both feature the Shimano STEPS EP8 motor.
Additionally, their similar chainstay construction provides a similar riding experience. However, the Norco’s head tube angle makes it more stable compared to the Spectral:ON CF 9, while the latter offers more agility in terms of handling.
The drivetrain experience differs between the two. Although the Spectral:ON CF 9 is equipped with the top-tier Shimano XTR groupset, which is lighter than the SRAM drivetrain on the Sight VLT C1, I still prefer the crisp feel of SRAM.
However, the Canyon Spectral:ON CF 9’s Shimano XTR 4 Piston brakes outperform the SRAM Code RSC on the Norco in terms of both brake operation and design.
In conclusion, with a $998 price difference, the Canyon Spectral:ON CF 9 may offer more competitive pricing compared to the Norco Sight VLT C1. However, it is undeniable that Norco remains an excellent E-MTB in its own right.
Norco Sight VLT C1 vs Santa Cruz HECKLER X0 AXS RSV 29 / Carbon CC
Firstly, compared to the Santa Cruz HECKLER X0 AXS RSV 29 / Carbon CC, the Norco Sight VLT C1 indeed doesn’t have many advantages. However, the former allows for the option of a larger battery capacity, enabling longer rides.
Of course, Santa Cruz has always been a top presence in the mountain bike industry. This Santa Cruz E-MTB continues the VPP (Virtual Pivot Point) suspension design and features a 29-inch front wheel and a 27.5-inch rear wheel.
The VPP structure consists of two linkages that connect the front and rear frames and move in opposite directions. This design maximizes pedaling efficiency by directing the chain tension towards the virtual pivot point during pedaling.
The 29-inch front wheel and 27.5-inch rear wheel design strike a balance between maneuverability and powerful rollover capability.
Indeed, Santa Cruz also incorporates the latest SRAM X0 Eagle AXS T-Type rear derailleur. This rear derailleur can be installed on the frame without a derailleur hanger and is extremely durable and reliable.
Overall, this Santa Cruz E-MTB is almost flawless in all aspects, but its corresponding price is also quite high. So, if you have sufficient funds, Santa Cruz can be a good choice for you. However, the Norco Sight VLT C1 does offer good value for money.
Norco Sight VLT C1 vs Rocky Mountain Altitude Powerplay Carbon 90 Rally Edition
These two bikes are two distinct E-MTBs with different characteristics.
From the 170mm Fox 38 front fork and Fox DHX2 coil rear shock on the latter, it’s evident that it has a longer travel and better suspension performance compared to the Sight VLT C1, making it more suitable for aggressive descents and jumps.
However, the Dyname 4.0 motor used by Rocky Mountain provides more torque than the Norco. It’s just that the sound from the motor does get a little annoying. I still prefer the Shimano STEPS EP8 on the Norco as it gives me more peace of mind.
In terms of choosing between these two E-MTBs, the Rocky Mountain would be more suitable for experienced riders seeking high performance. However, the price is indeed quite steep. If you’re looking for comfortable off-road riding, the Norco Sight VLT C1 would be the best choice.
Above is my review of the Norco Sight VLT C1. In our view, it is a suitable bike for most off-road terrain with impressive performance. Considering all aspects, this is why we give it a high rating of 4.8.
Of course, if you’re interested in other bikes of this type, we also review bikes at various price levels, making it an exciting subject. Feel free to check out our other reviews as well.
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