We were left very impressed following the initial ride time when filming the Dissected feature, and we couldn’t wait to get some more time on all of the Norco eBikes, especially the Sight VLT C1. Within a couple rides on a pretty big and burly jump line, we had a bit of a wild experience. In a train of our testers, I was mid air on the Sight VLT as I heard a loud crashing sound and saw a big black tube sliding down the landing. I avoided the lithium snake and rode it out fine, but was startled as I’m sure you could imagine. The hardware holding the battery in had worked it’s way loose, and after a long day of hard riding, it was the landing that broke the camel’s back. The battery survived but the plastic mounts to secure it to the frame were broken and we were a bit unsure as to how that could have happened.
We reached out to Norco and found they had made a running change to hardware after they sent out their early samples which would have prevented our issue. They stated that if the bolts were torqued exactly to spec, they hadn’t seen any issues, but if the torque wasn’t in the window, the bolt could work itself out, hence the running change to add a conical rubber donut, or grommet to prevent even a fully loosened bolt from sliding out and dropping the battery. We installed the new hardware and grommet and have not had an issue since. Long story short, check your bolts everybody!
Our only other component hiccup came from the rear wheel, which as you can see, suffered some pretty solid damage from a hit we’re not totally sure should have done this. Perhaps a sturdier casing tire, an insert or a more robust wheel would be in order for those in rocky areas.
With our gripes out of the way, now we can talk about the rest of our test time. As we’ve said in our other VLT reviews for the Range and Fluid, Norco has done a great job reworking their suspension platform. We love soft, supple suspension that floats over terrain yet doesn’t feel sluggish or slow.
Norco engineers experimented with different link arm options until they settled on a starting leverage rate, curves and progression that suited their team, and hopefully the majority of their customers. For our crew, the blend of sensitivity and confidence with progressive ramp is nicely done. We did add a slightly larger volume reducer for the biggest hits but think that the majority of riders will be stoked with the comfort and capable ride right off the bat.
Traction on the climbs and traverses is impressive with the reduced anti-squat and EP8 system. The upright seat tube angle also put our riders in efficient and comfortable positions for all day rides and steep, techy climbs. When it came time to drop the post and let the bike eat, the 485mm reach was spacious for our 5’11”-6’1” testers, but not unwieldy. Most of us would have liked a slightly shorter reach as it is a heavy bike and we feel a shorter front end would be the ticket to pull some weight and the center of gravity back, to ease initiating manuals and making mid-corner corrections.
This bike excels at speeds and over rough terrain. In fact it could lead to a couple other minor spec complaints for some. First up the brakes weren’t quite up to task and on long days full of downhills, the SRAM Code’s would squeal and howl for mercy, particularly during the TransCascadia bike race, which we took this bike to for days of backcountry abuse. Another area some may question is the fork spec, the 36 saves some minimal weight compared to the 38 and helps differentiate this bike from the big and burly Norco Range VLT, but we’d argue this bike is so heavy and capable, why not just put a 38 on there and cut the travel to 160mm? We doubt there’d be any complaints about that swap. That said, we don’t really know how much that Fox 36 held us back or will hold back other riders, but we all love to think we’re super gnarly shredders, right?
So, what battery size did we settle on? If we had to pick one battery it would be the 720Wh size. It’s 1.5 pounds lighter than the 900Wh, which helps this somewhat portly bike out, but still gets us plenty of range for big days or self-shuttle laps. The 900Wh is absolutely insane and if you live for just Boosting yourself up and down DH trails all day or getting out into the backcountry, by all means, get after it. For us, a 720Wh with the optional 504Wh backup for a spare would likely be the way to go. Then we could put a lighter battery in our backpack for epics, or drop another 1.5 pounds off the bike for shorter after-work ride days where mileage isn’t as big of a concern.