NORCO VLT EMTB FAMILY

THE NEW RANGE, SIGHT, FLUID

Words by Drew Rohde | Photos by Dusten Ryen
Video by Brian Niles/Treeline Cinematics

SPONSORED CONTENT

Norco’s new VLT eBike line has just launched and it could be the start of something new in how brands and consumers look at selling eMTBs and multiple battery sizes. The completely redesigned Norco Sight VLT and Range VLT are now supported by little sibling, the Fluid VLT, which complete Norco’s eMTB family giving an option for everybody.

Like their non-E siblings, the new Norco Range VLT will be for aggressive big mountain riders looking for airtime, and a bike with 180/170mm of travel. Stepping down in travel to 160/150mm, the Norco Sight VLT will be the bread-and-butter eBike for a majority of enduro and aggressive all mountain riders. The new Norco Fluid VLT is a 140/130mm trail bike that surprised us more than the rest in our short time aboard these three machines. Designed to be more of a conservative, trail eMTB for newer eBike riders looking to get into the sport without having to get such a burly bike, the current builds are not super fancy, yet this bike rode well above our expectations.

As with all of our Dissected Featuresthis is not intended to be a long term review or endorsement of a product but is instead a chance for our viewers and readers to get a deep dive look into some of the newest tech and products in the mountain bike space. We thank Norco for the opportunity to create this feature and working with us with exclusive interviews and video access. Our impressions of the bike are 100% our own and we will be working on a long-term review over the next few months.

Specialized Levo Gen 3 Dissected

DESIGN BRIEF

When Norco’s eMTB team set out to redesign their VLT line, several points were vital to the next generation. The Sight VLT is already on its third generation even though it has only been out a few years, a testament to the speed at which technology and consumer demands change but also the agility of Norco to react. Knowing that riders are no longer impressed to just have a mountain bike with pedal assist, the challenge became how to make a great riding bike with features and technology that will lead the category.

In short, Norco wanted to focus on a removable, future-proof battery; optimization for Shimano’s new EP8 drive unit; three unique platforms with the same fundamental principles; and the focus, fit and finish Norco customers have grown to expect from their Ride Aligned concept.

Norco VLT eMTB Family Dissected

WHAT’S NEW?

Battery & Motor – “One of the things we got a lot of flack about was the lack of a removable battery,” Norco’s eMTB project manager Jim Jamieson told us. “We redesigned the VLT line up specifically so the new battery could be slid in and out of the bottom of the downtube quickly for off-bike charging and battery swaps,” he continued. Norco is using proprietary, Shimano-approved batteries with 21700 cells, which are claimed to pack an impressive power density. To make the battery removable without compromising downtube integrity, Norco rotated the front of the Shimano EP8 motor up. This greatly increases ground clearance, which is huge!

As far as we know, Norco is the first brand selling their eBikes without a battery, instead letting consumers choose the amount of capacity (weight) they want. It is a neat concept and we are excited to see more brands do this rather than just offer a one-size-fits-all battery offering.

Norco VLT eMTB Family Dissected
Above is an image of the battery and battery attachment hardware. All three power options are the same dimensions. Prices are as follows: 540Wh – $749 / 720Wh – $999 / 909Wh – $1,199. 

BATTERY SIZES, PRICES AND ELAVATION CHART

BATTERY CAPACITY 504 wH 720 wH 900 wH
ELEVATION (meters) * 2,100 2,800 3,500
ELEVATION (feet) * 6,890 9,186 11,483
DISTANCE (km) * 38 50 63
DISTANCE (miles) * 23.5 31 39

* The numbers above are from tests under an accomplished Norco test rider on steep, demanding British Columbia terrain. Your mileage may vary depending on a number of factors.

We weighed all three batteries and were surprised to see a 1.5-pound difference between each size. Compared to the 7.03lbs (3,190g) 540Wh battery, the three extra pounds of the 909Wh battery 10.47lbs (4,750g) are noticeable. So was the increase in range though. While we would love to have two batteries for performance days or long-distance rides, we would probably pick the 720Wh as a one and only for the blend of range and weight. Plus, with the 380g weight savings from the EP8 motor, that 720Wh should not be too much of a penalty over the previous bike with a 540Wh.

Other important areas of interest for the Norco design team focused around the new Shimano EP8 motor and suspension performance. Despite winning awards at previous eMTB Shootouts, Norco wanted more and since they were re-working the frame for battery and EP8 changes, it seems they wanted to throw in a suspension overhaul too. We are glad they did because these new bikes ride even better. The new suspension layout and kinematics now feature a horizontal shock configuration and a new feel.

Norco VLT eMTB Family Dissected

Suspension – When it came time to start testing bikes with this new shock position, Norco engineers and riders tested different link arm options, which alter starting leverage rates and overall progression. This allowed them to achieve the optimal ride feel for each category of bike. Each model has its own rates and kinematics as a result and mean the Fluid will ride best for its 130mm of travel whereas the Range will behave differently throughout its 170mm curve. Norco also reduced the anti-squat compared to their non-E siblings and predecessors, helping the new VLT bikes find extra traction in climbs up loose terrain.

Each bike also gets a custom-tuned shock for a light initial feel with a consistent increase in damper progression through the travel. Two standout features for our testers thus far have been the increased sensitivity and suppleness off the top, paired with some good support in the mid-stroke.

Like all of Norco’s dual-suspension bikes, their Ride Aligned setup guide was very useful in getting us on trail quickly and greatly reduced setup time and guess work.

Norco VLT eMTB Family Dissected

Fit & Finish – Another area Norco wanted to set these bikes apart is the details. Cable routing is internal with guide tubes to keep service and swaps simple. The Rosenberger ROPD self-locating magnetic charger plug is waterproof to IP67 standards and sits flush with the bottom of the battery and motor case. The undercarriage is very tidy and all the bits line up very nicely. There are no large gaps or edges to catch, which is important with such vital parts hanging in high-debris areas.

Also new is the speed sensor integration into the rear dropout, with the magnet being attached to the brake rotor. It looks neat and is tucked out of the way. Swapping the battery size takes about ten minutes as you will need to also swap the cradle, or parts of the battery that attach inside the frame. Simply removing it for charging or if you have another prepped battery is much quicker, only taking about two or three minutes. We did have some issues with one of the included Hex wrenches not wanting to slide back into its home as the rubberized grip treatment deformed. The others seemed to work fine but it could be an issue for those looking to rely solely on this tool for battery removal time after time.

Norco stepped it up when it comes to water bottle storage. All bikes will accommodate bottle cages with large and XL bikes being able to store two bottles on board, something we are sure many riders will enjoy. Although, we are not so sure why you’d need two water bottles, since everyone knows you don’t even get any exercise on cheater bikes…wink wink.

Norco Fluid VLT A1

FLUID VLT MODELS

Norco Fluid VLT A1

FLUID VLT A1
$4,799 w/o Battery

Frame: Aluminum, 130mm Travel, Ride AlignedTM
Fork: RockShox 35 Silver, 140mm Travel, 44mm Offset, 1.8” Tapered
Shock: RockShox Select R, Custom Tune, 210×47.5mm

Headset: FSA No. 55R, Sealed Bearing
Grips: SDG Thrice Lock-On, Thin (S, M), Thick (L, XL)
Handlebar: Butted 6061 Alloy, 800mm, 25mm Rise
Stem: Alloy, 50mm Length, 35mm Clamp
Seatpost: TranzX YS105 Adjustable Dropper, 34.9mm, 125mm (S), 150mm (M), 170mm (L, XL)
Saddle: WTB Volt 250 Sport

Front Brake: Shimano BR-MT420, 4 piston, Metallic Pads
Front Rotor: Shimano RT-64, 203mm
Rear Brake: Shimano BR-MT420, 4 piston, Metallic Pads
Rear Rotor: Shimano RT-EM600 203mm / Integrated Sensor Magnet

Shifter: Shimano Deore SL-M6100-R
Derailleur: Shimano Deore RD-M6100
Cassette: Shimano Deore CS-M6100-12, 10-51T, 12 Speed
Chain: Shimano Deore CN-M6100
Crankset: Shimano, 34T, Narrow Wide, 165mm

Front Hub: Shimano HB-MT410, 15x110mm Boost
Rear Hub: Shimano FH-MT510, 12x148mm Boost
Rims: WTB ST i30 TCS 2.0, 32H, 29”
Front Tire: Maxxis Dissector 2.4” 3C/MaxxTerra/EXO+/TR
Rear Tire: Maxxis Dissector 2.4” 3C/MaxxTerra/EXO+/TR

Motor: Shimano STEPS EP8
Battery: Sold Separately. Removable. 900Wh, 720Wh and 540Wh Options.

Norco Fluid VLT A2

FLUID VLT A2
$4,199 w/o Battery

Frame: Aluminum Trail, 130mm Travel, Ride Aligned
Fork: RockShox 35 Silver, 140mm Travel, 44mm Offset, 1.8” Tapered
Shock: X-Fusion 02 Pro R Air, Rebound Adjust, Custom Tune

Headset: FSA No. 55R, Sealed Bearing
Grips: SDG Thrice Lock-On, Thin (S, M), Thick (L, XL)
Handlebar: Butted 6061 Alloy 35, 800mm, 25mm Rise
Stem: Alloy, 50mm Length, 35mm Clamp
Seatpost: TranzX YSP39 Dropper, 34.9mm, 125mm (S), 150mm (M), 170mm (L, XL)
Saddle: WTB Volt 250 Sport

Front Brake: Tektro HD-M285, Resin Pads
Front Rotor: Tektro 203mm
Rear Brake: Tektro HD-M285, Resin Pads
Rear Rotor: Tektro 203mm

Shifter: Shimano Deore SL-M4100
Derailleur: Shimano Deore RD-M5120
Cassette: Shimano Deore CS-M4100, 11-46T, 10 Speed
Chain: KMC Anti-Rust E-MTB
Crankset: Aluminum, 34T, Narrow Wide, Shimano Spline, 165mm

Front Hub: Alloy, 15x110mm Boost, 6-Bolt
Rear Hub: Alloy, 12x148mm Boost, HG, 6 Bolt
Rims: WTB ST i30 TCS 2.0, 32H, 29”
Front Tire: Goodyear Newton 2.4”, Folding
Rear Tire: Goodyear Escape 2.4”, Folding

Motor: Shimano STEPS EP8
Battery: Sold Separately. Removable. 900Wh, 720Wh and 540Wh Options.

Norco Sight VLT C1

SIGHT VLT MODELS

Norco Sight VLT C1

SIGHT VLT C1
$8,599 w/o Battery

Frame: Carbon Front Traingle and Seatstay, Aluminum Chainstay, 150mm Travel, Ride Aligned
Fork: Fox Factory FLOAT 36, Grip 2, 160mm Travel, 44mm Offset, E-Rated
Shock: Fox Factory FLOAT X2, Custom Tune, 210x55mm

Headset: FSA No.55R-1 Sealed Bearing
Grips: DMR DeathGrip A20 Soft, Thin (S, M), Thick (L, XL)
Handlebar: Deity Skywire Carbon 35, 800mm, 25mm Rise
Stem: CNC Alloy, 40mm Length, 35mm Clamp
Seatpost: OneUp Adjustable Dropper, 34.9mm, 120mm (S), 150mm (M), 170mm (L), 210mm (XL)
Saddle: Ergon SM-10 E-Mountain Sport

Front Brake: SRAM Code RSC, 4 Piston, Metallic Pads
Front Rotor: SRAM CenterLine 220mm
Rear Brake: SRAM Code RSC, 4 Piston, Metallic Pads
Rear Rotor: SRAM CenterLine 200mm
Shifter: SRAM GX Eagle Single Click
Derailleur: SRAM XO1 Eagle
Cassette: SRAM Eagle XG 1275, 10-52T
Chain: SRAM GX Eagle
Crankset: Shimano FC-M8150 E-MTB, 34T Eagle Ring, 165mm

Front Hub: DT Swiss 350H 15x110mm Boost, 6 Bolt
Rear Hub: DT Swiss 350H 12x148mm Boost, XD, 6 Bolt
Rims: DT Swiss E 1700 Hybrid E-Rated Wheelset, 29”
Front Tire: Maxxis Assegai 2.5” 3C MaxxGrip/DD/TR/WT
Rear Tire: Maxxis Disector 2.4” WT 3C MaxxTerra/DD/TR

Motor: Shimano STEPS EP8
Battery: Sold Separately. Removable. 900Wh, 720Wh and 540Wh Options.

Norco Sight VLT C2

SIGHT VLT C2
$6,499 w/o Battery

Frame: Carbon Front Traingle and Seatstay, Aluminum Chainstay, 150mm Travel, Ride Aligned
Fork: RockShox Lyrik Select, 160mm, E-Rated, 44mm Offset, 1.8” Tapered, E-Rated
Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select + RT DebonAir 2, MegNeg Air Can, Custom Tune, 210x55mm

Headset: FSA No.55R Sealed Bearing
Grips: DMR DeathGrip A20 Soft, Thin (S, M), Thick (L, XL)
Handlebar: Butted 6061 Alloy, 800mm, 25mm Rise
Stem: CNC Alloy 40mm Length, 35mm Clamp
Seatpost: TranzX YS105 Dropper, 34.9mm, 125mm (S), 150mm (M), 170mm (L), 200mm (XL)
Saddle: Ergon SM-10 E-Mountain Sport

Front Brake: Shimano BR MT520, 4 Piston, Metallic Pads
Front Rotor: Shimano SLX RT-66, 203mm
Rear Brake: Shimano BR MT520, 4 Piston, Metallic Pads
Rear Rotor: Shimano RT-EM600 203mm, Integrated Sensor Magnet
Shifter: SRAM SX Eagle Single Click
Derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle
Cassette: SRAM Eagle PG 1210, 11-50T
Chain: SRAM SX Eagle
Crankset: Shimano FC-EM600, 34T, 165mm

Front Hub: DT Swiss H370, 15x110mm Boost 6 bolt, E-MTB
Rear Hub: DT Swiss H370 12x148mm Boost, HG, 6 bolt, E-MTB
Rims: e*thirteen LG1 DH, 32H, 29”
Front Tire: Maxxis Assegai 2.5” 3C MaxxGrip/DD/TR/WT
Rear Tire: Maxxis Disector 2.4” WT 3C MaxxTerra/DD/TR

Motor: Shimano STEPS EP8
Battery: Sold Separately. Removable. 900Wh, 720Wh and 540Wh Options.

Norco Sight VLT A1

SIGHT VLT A1
$5,999 w/o Battery

Frame: Aluminum, 150mm Travel, Ride AlignedTM
Fork: Fox Rhythm FLOAT 36, 160mm Travel, 44mm Offset, E-Rated
Shock: Fox FLOAT X2, Performance Elite Chassis, Custom Factory-Level Spec & Tune, 210x55mm

Headset: FSA No.55R-1 Sealed Bearing
Grips: DMR DeathGrip A20 Soft, Thin (S, M), Thick (L, XL)
Handlebar: Butted 6061 Alloy, 800mm, 25mm Rise
Stem: CNC Alloy, 40mm Length, 35mm Clamp
Seatpost: TranzX YS105 Dropper, 34.9mm, 125mm (S), 150mm (M), 170mm (L), 200mm (XL)
Saddle: Ergon SM-10 E-Mountain Sport

Front Brake: Shimano BR MT520, 4 Piston, Metallic Pads
Front Rotor: Shimano RT-64, 203mm
Rear Brake: Shimano BR MT520, 4 Piston, Metallic Pads
Rear Rotor: Shimano RT-EM600 203mm, Integrated Sensor Magnet
Shifter: Shimano SLX SL-M7100
Derailleur: Shimano SLX
Cassette: Shimano SLX, 10-51T, 12 Speed
Chain: Shimano SLX
Crankset: Shimano FC-EM600, 34T, 165mm

Front Hub: Shimano Deore HB-6010, 15x110mm Boost, Center Lock
Rear Hub: Shimano Deore HB-6010, 12x148mm Boost, Micro Spline, Center Lock
Rims: e*thirteen LG1 DH, 32H, 29”
Front Tire: Maxxis Assegai 2.5” 3C MaxxGrip/D/TR/WT
Rear Tire: Maxxis Disector 2.4” WT 3C MaxxTerra/DD/TR

Motor: Shimano STEPS EP8
Battery: Sold Separately. Removable. 900Wh, 720Wh and 540Wh Options.

Norco Sight VLT A2

SIGHT VLT A2
$5,199 w/o Battery

Frame: Aluminum, 150mm Travel, Ride Aligned
Fork: RockShox 35 Gold, 160mm Travel, 44mm Offset, 1.8 Tapered, E-Rated
Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Select+, RT DebonAir 2, MegNeg Air Can, Custom Tune, 210x55mm

Headset: FSA No.55R Sealed Bearing
Grips: SDG Thrice Lock-On, Thin (S, M), Thick (L, XL)
Handlebar: Butted 6061 Alloy, 800mm, 25mm Rise
Stem: Alloy 40mm Length, 35mm Clamp
Seatpost: TranzX YS105 Dropper, 34.9mm, 125mm (S), 150mm (M), 170mm (L), 200mm (XL)
Saddle: WTB Volt 250 Sport

Front Brake: Shimano BR MT420, 4 Piston, Metallic Pads
Front Rotor: Shimano RT-64, 203mm
Rear Brake: Shimano BR MT420, 4 Piston, Metallic Pads
Rear Rotor: Shimano RT-EM600 203mm, Integrated Sensor Magnet
Rear Shifter: Shimano Deore SL-M6100-R
Rear Derailleur: Shimano Deore RD-M6100
Cassette: Shimano Deore CS-M6100-12, 10-51T, 12 Speed
Chain: Shimano Deore CN-M6100
Crankset: Shimano, 34T, Narrow Wide, 165mm

Front Hub: Shimano HB-MT410, 15x110mm Boost, Center Lock
Rear Hub: Shimano FH-MT510, 12x148mm Boost, Micro Spline, Center Lock
Rims: Stan’s Flow D, 32H, 29”
Front Tire: Maxxis Assegai 2.5” 3C MaxxGrip/DD/TR/WT
Rear Tire: Maxxis Disector 2.4” WT 3C MaxxTerra/DD/TR

Motor: Shimano STEPS EP8
Battery: Sold Separately. Removable. 900Wh, 720Wh and 540Wh Options.

Norco Range VLT C1

RANGE VLT MODELS

Norco Range VLT C1

RANGE VLT C1
$8,399 w/o Battery

Frame: Carbon Front Triangle and Seatstay, Aluminum Chainstay, 170mm Travel, Ride Aligned
Fork: Fox Factory FLOAT 38, GRIP 2, 180mm, 44mm Offset, E-Rated
Shock: Fox Factory DHX2, Coil Spring, Custom Tune

Headset: FSA No.55R-1, Sealed Bearing
Grips: DMR DeathGrip A20 Soft, Thin (S, M), Thick (L, XL)
Handlebar: Deity Ridgeline, 800mm, 25mm Rise
Stem: CNC Alloy, 40mm Length, 35mm Clamp
Seatpost: OneUp Dropper, 34.9mm, 120mm (S), 150mm (M), 170mm (L), 210mm (XL)
Saddle: Ergon SM-10 E-Mountain Sport

Front Brake: Shimano XT BR-M8120, 4 Piston Metallic Pads,  Ice Tech
Front Rotor: Shimano SM-RT MT800, 203mm, Ice Tech
Rear Brake: Shimano XT BR-M8120, 4 Piston Metallic Pads, Ice Tech
Rear Rotor: Shimano RT-EM810 XT, 203mm, Ice Tech, Integrated Sensor Magnet\
Shifter: Shimano XT Sl-M8100 I-Spec EV
Derailleur: Shimano XTR M9100
Cassette: Shimano SLX CS-M8700, 10-51T, 12 Speed
Chain: Shimano SLX CN-M7100
Crankset: Shimano FC-M8150 E-MTB, 34T, 165mm

Front Hub: DT Swiss 350H, 15x110mm Boost
Rear Hub: DT Swiss 350H, 12x148mm Boost
Rims: DT Swiss E 1700 Hybrid E-Rated Wheelset, 29”
Front Tire: Maxxis Assegai 2.5” 3C MaxxGrip/DD/TR/WT
Rear Tire: Maxxis Assegai 2.5” 3C MaxxGrip/DD/TR/WT

Motor: Shimano STEPS EP8
Battery: Sold Separately. Removable. 900Wh, 720Wh and 540Wh Options.

Norco Range VLT C2

RANGE VLT C2
$6,499 w/o Battery

Frame: Carbon Front Triangle and Seatstay, Aluminum Chainstay, 170mm Travel, Ride Aligned
Fork: RockShox ZEB Select, 180mm, C5, 44mm Offset, 1.8” Tapered
Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Coil Spring Select+, Custom Tune

Headset: FSA No.55R Sealed Bearing
Grips: DMR DeathGrip A20 Soft, Thin (S, M), Thick (L, XL)
Handlebar: Butted 6061 Alloy, 800mm, 25mm Rise
Stem: Alloy, 40mm Length, 35mm Clamp
Seatpost: TranzX YS105 Adjustable Dropper, 34.9mm, 125mm (S), 150mm (M), 170mm (L), 200mm (L)
Saddle: WTB Volt 250 Sport

Front Brake: SRAM Code, 4 Piston, Metallic Pads
Front Rotor: SRAM CenterLine 220mm
Rear Brake: SRAM Code, 4 Piston, Metallic Pads
Rear Rotor: SRAM CenterLine 200mm
Shifter: SRAM GX Eagle Single Click Trigger
Derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle Lunar
Cassette: SRAM PG 1210 Eagle, 11-50T
Chain: SRAM SX Eagle
Crankset: Shimano FC-EM600, 34T, 165mm

Front Hub: DT Swiss 370, 15x110mm Boost, 6 bolt
Rear Hub: DT Swiss 370, 12x148mm Boost, HG, 6 bolt
Rims: e*thirteen LG1 DH, 32H, 29”
Front Tire: Maxxis Assegai 2.5” 3C MaxxGrip/DD/TR/WT
Rear Tire: Maxxis Assegai 2.5” 3C MaxxGrip/DD/TR/WT

Motor: Shimano STEPS EP8
Battery: Sold Separately. Removable. 900Wh, 720Wh and 540Wh Options.

Norco Range VLT A1

RANGE VLT A1
$5,999 w/o Battery

Frame: Aluminum, 170mm Travel, Ride Aligned
Fork: Fox Performance FLOAT 38, 3 Position, 180mm, 44mm Offset, E-Rated
Shock: Fox Performance Elite DHX, Custom Tune

Headset: FSA No.55R, Sealed Bearing
Grips: DMR DeathGrip A20 Soft, Thin (S, M), Thick (L, XL)
Handlebar: Butted 6061 Alloy, 800mm, 25mm Rise
Stem: Alloy, 40mm Length, 35mm Clamp
Seatpost: TranzX YS105 Adjustable Dropper, 34.9mm, 125mm (S), 150mm (M), 170mm (L), 200mm (L)
Saddle: Ergon SM-10 E-Mountain Sport

Front Brake: Shimano BR MT520, 4 piston, Metallic Pads
Front Rotor: Shimano RT-64, 203mm
Rear Brake: Shimano BR MT520, 4 piston, Metallic Pads
Rear Rotor: Shimano RT-EM600 203mm, Integrated Sensor Magnet
Shifter: Shimano Deore SL-M6100-R
Derailleur: Shimano SLX RD M6100
Cassette: Shimano Deore CS-M6100-12, 10-51T, 12 Speed
Chain: Shimano Deore CN-M6100
Crankset: Shimano FC-EM600, 34T, 165mm

Front Hub: Shimano Deore HB-6010, 15x110mm Boost
Rear Hub: Shimano Deore HB-6010, 12x148mm Boost
Rims: e*thirteen LG1 DH, 32H, 29”
Front Tire: Maxxis Assegai 2.5” 3C MaxxGrip/DD/TR/WT
Rear Tire: Maxxis Assegai 2.5” 3C MaxxGrip/DD/TR/WT

Motor: Shimano STEPS EP8
Battery: Sold Separately. Removable. 900Wh, 720Wh and 540Wh Options.

Norco Range VLT A2

RANGE VLT A2
$5,299 w/o Battery

Frame: Aluminum, 170mm Travel, Ride Aligned
Fork: RockShox Zeb RC 180mm, DebonAir, 44mm Offset, 1.8 Taper, E-Rated
Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe Coil, Select+, Custom Tune

Headset: FSA No.55R-1 Sealed Bearing
Grips: SDG Thrice Lock-On, Thin (S, M), Thick (L, XL)
Handlebar: Butted 6061 Alloy, 800mm, 25mm Rise
Stem: Alloy, 40mm Length, 35mm Clamp
Seatpost: TranzX YS105 Adjustable Dropper, 34.9mm, 125mm (S), 150mm (M), 170mm (L), 200mm (L)
Saddle: WTB Volt 250 Sport

Front Brake: Shimano BR MT420, 4 piston, Metallic Pads
Front Rotor: Shimano RT-64, 203mm
Rear Brake: Shimano BR MT420, 4 piston, Metallic Pads
Rear Rotor: Shimano RT-EM600 203mm, Integrated Sensor Magnet
Shifter: Shimano Deore SL-M6100-R
Derailleur: Shimano SLX RD M6100
Cassette: Shimano Deore CS-M6100-12, 10-51T, 12 Speed
Chain: Shimano Deore CN-M6100
Crankset: Shimano FC-EM600, 34T, 165mm

Front Hub: Shimano HB-MT410, 15x110mm Boost
Rear Hub: Shimano FH-MT510, 12x148mm Boost
Rims: Stan’s Flow D, 32H, 29”
Front Tire: Maxxis Assegai 2.5” 3C MaxxGrip/DD/TR/WT
Rear Tire: Maxxis Assegai 2.5” 3C MaxxGrip/DD/TR/WT

Motor: Shimano STEPS EP8
Battery: Sold Separately. Removable. 900Wh, 720Wh and 540Wh Options.

Q&A TIME

Over the last couple of months, we have had several meetings with Norco managers, engineers and even pro riders Bryn Atkinson and Jill Kintner to discuss the bikes we’ve been testing.


TLW: Something we really noticed, specifically comparing the previous Sights to the new Sight VLT, is an improved suspension feel over a great variety of terrain. Are we imagining this or does the new Sight feel better?

Colin Ryan (Engineer Norco): Well, thank you and you are not imaging it. We did a lot of work on these bikes and focused on starting leverage curve with a light compression tune yet having enough progression in the leverage curve to get support while cornering or compressing into lips.

TLW: Awesome to hear it. So, across the board, all the bikes have a great feel and although they are in different categories, they just feel very similar, but different for their applications. How did you do that?

CR: Our testing process was very thorough, and we had a bunch of link arms that we could install on all three bikes with different shock extensions so we could test the exact same leverage curve on all bikes. As you would expect, shorter travel bikes require more progression, but it is always great to verify and test things and do our test loops with different settings and tunes.

Some of our bikes are spec’d with Rock Shox rear shocks and we were lucky enough to work with them to develop the bikes. We are actually going to spec the shock with a MegNeg can, which is something they don’t really do. It is a neat feature that really helps the bikes feel awesome.

Norco VLT eMTB Family Dissected

TLW: Bryn and Jill, how has it been spending more time on eBikes on your local trails? Have you encountered many people asking for the real scoop, and why Norco is “forcing you to say eMTB is rad”?

Bryn: Oh man, for me at the beginning I was a bit unsure, but they have progressed so much that now it is just so much fun to ride them! I am so stoked on this new Range VLT. I was instantly hyped on it. My first ride was on a training trail that I am very familiar with, and I am just loving how I can do anything my pedal bike can do. I am never limited by the bike, and I am honestly just so pumped I do not even care about it and having fun on a bike that is not limited by any type of terrain.

Jill: That hardest part for me is kind of feeling guilty and apologizing for passing people on a climb, but then I go by and realize that I have got twice as many laps done and getting way more practice time and getting better at riding, so I do not feel too bad. The community aspect and group building component is so much better because we can all ride together, get to the top and it can help make rides more fun.

TLW: So, what battery sizes are you two running?

Bryn: Give me all the power! I will take that 900 and go. It really does not hold me back.

Jill: I could totally see wanting to run that smaller, lighter battery in the bike parks or quick playful trails and short rides, but I love that I can put in the big battery for epics with a crew.

Norco VLT eMTB Family Dissected

TLW: Back to the engineering team, what do you guys have to say about the new headtube/steerer tube size you are running and how readers are going to react?

Jim Jamieson (Norco eBike Manager): It was primarily an aesthetic decision which drove us to consider the 1.8” tapered headtube – The larger crown and bearing size allows us to have a larger headtube that works nicely with the larger volume e-bike downtubes.

TLW: So along with looking at things like headtubes and frame design to keep your VLT eMTB line durable and up to task, what other things do you look at?

JJ: Well beyond the critical points discussed earlier, we really wanted to make sure the bikes are durable and ready to handle rough BC riding, or extended use wherever you ride. We use eMTB certified products across the board, like forks and burly tire spec. Norco VLT eBikes come with reinforced spokes, e-approved freehub bodies and strong, stiff rims. We also spec eMTB saddles, brakes and drivetrain components to ensure longevity and optimal performance.

NORCO VLT FAMILY GEOMETRY CHARTS

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THE WOLF’S FIRST IMPRESSION

As we said before these Dissected Features are in no way supposed to be long term reviews but in the last month, we have spent quite a few hours on each of these bikes to film the video and learn about them. During that period, our testers have all walked away with some solid first impressions on these bikes, from the awesome metallic-flake paint to how they ride. Across the board Norco has impressed us greatly with the new Range VLT, Sight VLT and Fluid VLT. The improved suspension design stood out instantly coming off lots of time riding previous Norco Sight VLT models. All three models are supple and sensitive off the top with a solid amount of progression and support. The Fluid VLT certainly required a bit more work to set up correctly as it is the bike with the most basic spec. Volume reducers do wonders and really helped turn this modest bike into the most surprising bike in the lineup. We would love to see a higher end model, or better yet, a frameset option for riders who want to build a burly 140/130mm eBike! This will be a great option for newer riders or those who do not need tons of travel.

The new Norco Sight VLT is still the do-it-all eMTB in the lineup and while we did not love some of the changes made to last year’s 29er version, it seems the updated suspension have helped make up for the somewhat sluggish feeling the really long reach gave the bike last year. It is still a bit long for those who are not regularly riding super steep, high speed modern trails, but it is more manageable than last year’s Sight. We are very happy with the poppy feel, how the suspension handles hits of all sizes, and we expect to be riding this bike a lot more over the summer.

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The big brother Norco Range VLT is an absolute beast and had our riders seeking out bigger sends and higher speeds. We like the shorter reach compared to the Sight and are still unsure if we will pick this bike over the Sight for more regular riding. It is very capable on the downs, but still has enough support in the mid-stroke to make it fun on mellower trails. We’re pretty damn excited to log more hours on this beast and see where it’s limit of capabilities lies.

As far as points of concern go, our only real issue right now comes from the forward-biased weight distribution, specifically with the 909Wh battery. A few of our testers noted that with the 909Wh battery the bike felt like it had a weight in the headtube, making it hard to manual or lift onto bike racks, or to turn it around on the trail. They still jump and ride fine, for the most part but the large battery just seems to hold more weight up towards the head tube and is certainly something we noticed on the trail. For that reason, we would opt for the 720Wh size unless all day missions are regularly on the menu.

Beyond that we are yet to find any major red flags or issues on these bikes in the roughly 20 hours of riding so far. It appears that Norco’s eMTB line has just gotten a whole lot better and the only thing left to see know is how they hold up under long term testing, and if consumers will embrace the modular battery concept. We think it is a neat option and hope that it paves the way for more companies to follow suit in the future. and can’t wait to see how months of abuse on these bikes is handled.

VISIT NORCO’S WEBSITE TO LEARN MORE
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