2023 Norco Optic C AXS Review
- Price: $7,199
- Frame: Carbon
- Tires: 29
- Gear: 1×12 electronic
What we like about it: Excellent uphill ability, all-around short-travel mountain bike.
What we don’t like about it: No extra painting options.
NORCO is a Canadian bicycle brand that was founded when Canadians began to take up cycling as a sport. In 1964, Bert Lewis created the NORCO brand in British Columbia, Canada, which is known as an outdoor paradise.
Today, NORCO offers over 140 different bicycle styles that cover almost all types of bikes for the global market and has created countless firsts.
This includes road bikes with excellent adaptability, comfort, and A.R.C. technology, as well as mountain bikes with A.R.T. suspension systems. NORCO also excels in designing products for freestyle and jumping skills such as dirt bikes, BMX bikes, and climbing bikes.
In my experience riding it for a while, this is a versatile short-distance mountain bike that has no bad riding experiences. Therefore, considering everything, I give it a rating of 4.8 out of 5.
First of all, the Norco Optic C AXS has an astonishing 65° head tube angle, which provides me with great confidence during downhill rides.
Moreover, the RockShox Pike Ultimate RC2 fork and RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate DH Custom RC rear shock provide 140mm of front wheel travel and 125mm of rear wheel travel. If you love riding through forests, then the Norco Optic C AXS is your reliable choice.
Next, we’ll analyze the riding experience, specifications, and other versions of the Norco Optic C AXS. If you want to learn more about bike reviews, you can follow us.
To better experience the charm of riding the Norco Optic C AXS, we went to Mammoth Mountain, which is a skiing resort in winter but also a paradise for mountain bikers with its high drop and 22 available mountain biking trails.
Many people may remember Myles Rockwell and Missy Giove riding the classic Cannondale downhill bike Super-V in the dense pine forest of Mammoth Mountain like bombing.
The pine forest section of Mammoth Mountain is my favorite route, and the scenery of the pine grove makes me want to stop and enjoy the beauty.
For a full-suspension mountain bike, downhill riding is the most basic performance test. The RockShox Pike Ultimate RC2 140mm fork can handle most road conditions well.
At the same time, the sensitivity of the RockShox series front fork helps me filter out a lot of small gravel vibrations. It is worth mentioning that the 65° head tube angle and 29-inch wheel diameter of the 2023 Norco Optic C AXS give me a lot of confidence when taking on large drops, and let me stabilize the front of the bike better while navigating through stimulating road sections during downhill rides.
In addition, the SRAM Code RSC, 4 Piston hydraulic brake with front SRAM CenterLine 203mm and rear SRAM CenterLine 180mm discs provide me with strong braking performance on intense downhill rides.
Furthermore, the brake’s violent operating sensation of the SRAM Code RSC, 4 Piston is also very much to my liking. It is highly recommended for riders who enjoy long-distance braking and violent braking.
Going uphill is a huge physical challenge for a mountain bike with full suspension. The good thing is that the lighter weight in its class allows me to reduce a lot of energy on the uphill.
And the lockout feature on the front and rear shocks allowed me to feel less of a letdown on the less rugged uphill trails. At the same time, the SRAM GX Eagle AXS has a 1×12 gear ratio of 10-52T freewheel, which gives me the confidence to go up steeper slopes.
Compared to the Shimano series of mountain bike shifting, the SRAM GX Eagle AXS shifting finger paddle’s stiff operation is also my personal preference.
Finally, for those who choose electronic shifting, you should remember to make sure the battery is fully charged before riding.
The front and rear Crank Bros. Synthesis E Carbon wheels with Vittoria 2.4-inch front and 2.35-inch rear tire widths provide good grip and more agile handling. I can successfully pass through sharp turns when descending.
Moreover, the Vittoria Mazza also has an excellent grip on most terrain types during large drops. It has predictable turning lean angles, good tire body strength, and durability. However, the grip is not as good as claimed on wet roads, and the braking traction is limited.
In conclusion, the Norco Optic C AXS is a full-suspension mountain bike with overall performance higher than bikes at the same level. It is capable of handling most road conditions and is worth a try for interested riders.
The Norco Optic C AXS uses a carbon fiber front triangle and an aluminum rear end with 125mm rear travel and riding alignment. The internal cable routing design not only looks clean and beautiful but also allows riders to gallop freely in the mud without worrying about difficult cleaning.
Moreover, this bike is equipped with the X-Fusion Manic, 31.6mm, 125mm (S), 150mm (M, L), and 170mm (XL) dropper post, which has different travel options to choose from.
Furthermore, the most noteworthy feature is the 65° head tube angle of the frame paired with 29-inch wheels. It is a stable mountain bike for downhill riding among bikes at the same level.
Another great feature is that regardless of the frame size (S), (M), (L), (XL), all come standard with 29-inch wheels. It is very friendly for riders who are not tall or female. After all, 29-inch wheels are now mainstream and provide better passability and downhill stability than 27.5-inch wheels.
Finally, the design of the handlebars also allows for more agile handling during rides.
Through enough time and actual riding on different terrains, we have gained a more intuitive understanding of the overall performance of the 2023 Norco Optic C AXS. It is indeed a powerful full-suspension off-road bike.
However, I think the price of $7,199 will make it difficult for many users to make a decision. However, the Norco Optic C AXS is not the only option, so we have done more research.
2023 Norco Optic C1
Compared to the Norco Optic C AXS, the Norco Optic C1 is $1,200 cheaper. The frame and geometry of these two bikes are the same. The difference is that the Norco Optic C1 uses a Fox Performance Elite FLOAT 36, GRIP2, 140mm Travel front fork and a Fox Performance Elite FLOAT X, 190x45mm rear suspension.
The kit part uses the Shimano XTR M9100 1×12 drivetrain and Shimano XTR M9120 brakes. It is also a top-level Shimano mountain bike kit. The main difference is the operation feel of the rider’s preference for SRAM or Shimano drivetrain or brake operation, which is the difference between electronic and mechanical drivetrains.
Therefore, the cost performance of Optic C1 is slightly higher than that of Norco Optic C AXS, and it is more suitable for riders who do not want to waste money and prefer the operation experience of the Shimano kit.
What do we like about it?
- The high-performance suspension system provides excellent support for large drops and filters out small rough ground vibrations.
- The design of the carbon fiber front triangle and aluminum alloy rear fork reduces the weight of the vehicle while ensuring its strength.
- Compared to other bikes in its class, it is easier to ride uphill.
- Its long wheelbase and excellent head tube angle make me feel more stable and confident when riding downhill.
- This bike comes standard with 29-inch wheels, providing powerful traction and stability even for smaller riders who can benefit from the same advantages as larger riders.
What don’t we like about it?
- Single paint color.
- What kind of shock does Norco Optic C AXS use?
Front shock: RockShox Pike Ultimate RC2, DebonAir, 140mm Travel, 42mm Offset, Rear shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate DH Custom RC, 190x45mm
- What is the drivetrain of Norco Optic C AXS?
It with SRAM GX Eagle AXS 1×12.
- How do I choose the right size for Norco Optic C AXS?
Size Chart for Norco Optic C AXS.
2023 Norco Optic C AXS Specs
|Frame||Carbon Front Triangle, Aluminum Rear, 125mm Travel, Ride Aligned™BB Standard: BB86/BB92, Press FitColor: Grey / Gold|
|Fork||RockShox Pike Ultimate RC2, DebonAir, 140mm Travel, 42mm Offset|
|Rear Shock||RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate DH Custom RC, 190x45mm|
|Bottom Bracket||SRAM DUB PF92|
|Headset||FSA Internal Sealed Bearing|
|Stem||OneUp EDC Compatible, 50mm Length, 35mm Clamp|
|Handlebar||OneUp Carbon, 800mm, 20mm Rise|
|Saddle||Fizik Alpaca Terra, Wingflex|
|Seatpost||X-Fusion Manic, 31.6mm, 125mm (S), 150mm (M,L), 170mm (XL)|
|Rear Derailleur||SRAM GX Eagle AXS|
|Crank||SRAM GX Eagle DUB Lunar, 32T, 170mm|
|Shifters||SRAM GX Eagle AXS|
|Cassette||SRAM XG1275 Eagle, 10-52T|
|Chain||SRAM GX Eagle|
|Brakes||SRAM Code RSC, 4 Piston, Organic Pads|
|Brake Levers||SRAM Code RSC|
|Rims||Crank Bros. Synthesis E Carbon, 28H, 29″|
|Front Hub||Crank Bros. Synthesis E Carbon, 15x110mm Boost, 6-bolt|
|Rear Hub||Crank Bros. Synthesis E Carbon 12x148mm Boost, XD, 6 Bolt|
|Tires||Vittoria Mazza 2.4″ Trail G2.0|
|Disk Rotors||SRAM CenterLine 203mm, 6 bolt|
|Bicycles||Click View||Drivetrain||Frame material||Travel|
|2023 Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT||Click View||1 × 12||Carbon||120mm rear, 130mm front|
|2023 YT Industries Izzo UNCAGED 7 29||Click View||1 × 12 Electronic||Carbon||120mm rear, 120mm front|
|2023 Ibis Ripmo V2S SLX||Click View||1 × 12||Carbon||147mm rear, 160mm front|
|2023 Specialized Stumpjumper Pro||Click View||1 × 12 Electronic||Carbon||130mm rear, 140mm front|
Norco Optic C AXS vs Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT
First of all, the Norco Optic C AXS is $550 more expensive than the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT. However, the Norco Optic C AXS is equipped with the SRAM GX Eagle AXS 1×12 electronic shifting system, which has a better overall feel than the Shimano XT M8100, 1×12 speed.
Additionally, the Norco Optic C AXS has better front and rear suspension travel than the Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT. This means that the Norco Optic C AXS can handle more rugged terrain and more complex road conditions.
However, Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT’s OCLV mountain carbon fiber technology is recognized as superior. Additionally, Trek Top Fuel 9.8 XT has a wider range of body colors to choose from. Its design with a 29-inch front wheel and a 27.5-inch rear wheel can also provide more flexible handling.
In summary, both bikes are excellent mountain bikes, and either choice would be a good one.
Norco Optic C AXS vs YT Industries Izzo UNCAGED 7 29
Although the YT Industries Izzo UNCAGED7 29 is a very classic and excellent woodland mountain bike, the YT Industries Izzo UNCAGED7 29 is too expensive. And its 120mm of front and rear shock travel is difficult to handle on some rigorous surfaces.
However, the overall appearance of the YT Industries Izzo UNCAGED 7 29 looks good to me. But for me, I still prefer a full-suspension mountain bike with longer travel to challenge more difficult routes.
If you prefer a lighter ride and not too many complicated roads, the YT Industries Izzo UNCAGED 7 29 is also a great choice.
Norco Optic C AXS vs Ibis Ripmo V2S SLX
First of all, the Ibis Ripmo V2S SLX has a longer travel than the 2023 Norco Optic C AXS and is paired with a wider outer tire. This makes the Ibis Ripmo V2S SLX smoother on the downhill and easier to overcome rough obstacles.
However, the Ibis Ripmo V2S SLX is equipped with a Shimano SLX m7100 shifting kit that may cause a lack of tension on intense descents, which may cause the chain to come off. Finally, I don’t think the Ibis Ripmo V2S SLX looks as good as the Norco Optic C AXS.
In short, for more intense downhill use scenarios, the Ibis Ripmo V2S SLX is a good choice. But the Norco Optic C AXS is a more balanced vehicle choice by comparison.
Norco Optic C AXS vs Specialized Stumpjumper Pro
The Norco Optic C AXS and Specialized Stumpjumper Pro are both excellent full-suspension mountain bikes. The design of the Specialized Stumpjumper Pro has always been beloved by riders. Its SRAM X01 Eagle AXS, 1×12 drivetrain is also my personal favorite.
However, I prefer the RockShox Pike Ultimate RC2 suspension on the Norco Optic C AXS for its handling of rough terrain over the FOX FLOAT 34 Factory, GRIP2 fork on the Specialized Stumpjumper Pro.
Although the Specialized Stumpjumper Pro may be a dream bike for many riders, the high price of $8,200 may be difficult for many to justify.
Of course, both bikes have received positive reviews from riders. Ultimately, your choice will depend on your personal preferences and needs.
Our review of the Norco Optic C AXS highlights its powerful overall performance and its ability to greatly increase a rider’s confidence on the trails. If you’re interested in experiencing the joys of riding, we’ve also reviewed some affordable mountain bikes under $2,000. Feel free to check them out.
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