Norco Sight VLT 1
eMTB of the Year
Photos By Chili Dog
It’s crazy to think that in less than two years out entire staff (all 3 of us, plus some friends) have gone from haters to converts. No, we’re not fat, we don’t smoke cigarettes and sadly, we weren’t even paid by bike brands. Our bank accounts will attest to that. So what caused the 180-degree change in our position? Evolution, of both our mental and equipment states. Norco’s Sight VLT 1 is the latest evolution in mountain bike-riding e-bikes that allow you to ride farther faster. It also got our brains going a million miles an hour thinking about where the 2021 Norco Sight VLT will take us. We’re not saying goodbye to our human-powered bikes, but, this thing sure does make the decision on which bike to ride a lot harder.
Before riding the Sight VLT 1, e-bikes were fun, almost novel. We enjoyed the benefits of scouting new terrain, allowing us to ride on days where motivation or time were short, or to transport tools to our new trails. They rode, but nothing like our favorite mountain bikes and the best part about them honestly, was just the fact that they had a motor. That’s no longer the case.
Built around a Shimano Steps E8000 powerplant, the Sight VLT houses an In-Tube 630Wh battery that fully charges in 4.5 hours. Power output, rider weight and terrain influence the total range but Norco claims you can achieve over 4,500 vertical feet of climbing assistance. If we rode in Eco mode (weighing 170lbs) we found this to be a fairly achievable number.
Shimano’s Steps E8000 system offers three built-in modes, (four if you count Walk Assist) they are Eco, Trail and Boost. You can also download the Shimano app and customize the modes to match your terrain, riding distance goals and desired assistance levels.
Norco designed a smooth carbon fiber frame to wrap around the motor and battery while offering riders a confidence-inspiring feel that could tackle the ups as well as the downs. The Sight VLT has a slightly longer wheelbase than the Sight and a steeper seat tube angle to give more stability at speed and also maximize climbing performance that comes inherently with e-bikes.
Sporting 150mm of Horst Link, four-bar rear wheel travel and 160mm of travel up front, the Sight VLT is able to blend playfulness with stability. The geometry compliments the travel nicely to make this bike a very versatile trail slayer.
Norco tuned the suspension kinematics on the Sight VLT for the added demands of e-biking. The trunnion-mounted rear shock has a very bottomless feel while remaining supple off the top and was definitely a highlight of the bike’s performance.
The Sight VLT also utilizes Fox’s e-bike rated fork, heavie duty wheels, eMTB rated hubs, 165mm cranks and SRAM’s single click e-bike specific shifter to make this dedicated e-machine ride reliably for countless miles.