2022 eMTB SHOOTOUT

NORCO RANGE VLT C1 2022 eMTB Review

Video by Brian Niles / Treeline Cinematic
Photos by Dusten Ryen

Norco built the Range VLT to offer an electrified version of their big mountain crusher, with aggressive geometry all round and 170mm of coil sprung suspension. We’ve already reviewed the Norco Range VLT at length before our 4th Annual eMTB Shootout, so we’ll keep this write up a bit shorter and more focused on the ride impressions and who we think the ideal buyer of this bike might be. If you want to see the longer, full-length written review of the Norco Range VLT, hit the link here and be sure to watch our full length eMTB Shootout video to see what we think are the best eBikes on the market for 2022.

QUICK HITS

• 170mm Horst Link Suspension
• HTA 63
• STA 76.9 (effective)
• REACH 475 (Large)

Price: $6,398 (A2 / 540Wh) – $10,298 (C1 / 900Wh)
Website: Norco.com

THE LAB

Like many others in our eBike shootout, Norco opted to equip their VLT eMTB’s with the Shimano Steps EP8 drive system with 85Nm of torque. They are powered by a removable integrated battery that can be purchased separately. Norco sells the bikes without a battery so the consumer can select the battery size that best suits their needs. The three different options are: 540Wh ($899); 720Wh ($1099); or 900 Wh ($1,299). We settled on the middle ground 720Wh battery for the eMTB Shootout to align it with the other contenders, but with a 1.5lbs difference in weight between each battery size, there is true merit in having the option to go bigger or smaller to tailor the bike to the ride.

Norco Range VLT C1 Profile Shot - 2022 eMTB Shootout

Like the Sight VLT, the Range VLT C1 and cheaper spec C2 models use a carbon fiber front triangle paired to an aluminum rear end, whereas the A1 and A2 use a slightly heavier full aluminum alloy frame. Regardless of the frame material and spec level, there’s a buttery 170mm Horst Link suspension system with a coil shock, and a pair of 29″ wheels.

The spec on the $10,098 C1 tested features a Fox Factory 38 180mm fork and Fox DHX2 coil shock; Shimano XT brakes and mix of SLX, XT and XTR 12spd drivetrain. DT Swiss E 1700 hybrid wheels are wrapped in ultra grippy Maxxis Assegai MaxxGrip DD tires as stock, but as Schwalbe was a sponsor of the eMTB Shootout, we equipped all the bikes in the Enduro category with a Schwalbe Magic Mary and Big Betty combo to keep tire performance consistent across the board. The build is rounded out with a OneUp dropper and a selection of parts from Ergon and Deity, tipping the scales at just under 57 lbs.

Santa Cruz Bronson V4 CC Rear Triangle

Norco’s Ride Aligned and size specific geo helps give riders of all sizes a bike that should fit them well. The Range VLT borrows the majority of the geometry from its acoustic counterpart, which places it firmly on the aggressive end of the spectrum with the longest wheelbase on test, offering great high-speed stability but lacking agility at lower speeds. This is a bike that’s set up to go fast. 

Norco Range VLT C1 Review - 2022 eMTB Shootout

THE DIRT

As with many of the bikes that came to our eMTB Shootout, the Norco Range VLT C1 saw plenty of miles on our PNW trails which gave us a solid understanding of where it excels and who we thought the ideal consumer would be. Being able to test that verdict head to head with many other bikes on new terrain yielded much the same result.

Our crew all loved how planted, plush and confidently the Norco Range VLT rode. This bike devours the trail beneath it. Whether we were charging gnarly rock gardens at Windrock Bike Park, or Baker Creek Preserve, the bike felt like it was floating on air. This bike helps to minimize trail impact while allowing the rider to look ahead and focus on going fast. Of course, the downside to that is it won’t be the ideal bike for riders who aren’t regularly attacking the gnarliest trails or want a playful ride.

Norco Range VLT C1 Review - 2022 eMTB Shootout

The Norco Range VLT is at home on the chunkiest and roughest of terrain. When you put the Range on smoother, trail center trails, or mild flow lines, the soft suspension and hefty weight will be noticeable. Don’t get us wrong, it loves to jump and get in the air, it just needs a bigger lip or harder yanks to get it into orbit. Our best suggestion would be to evaluate what you ride and what you’re looking for most.

If you want stability, confidence, safety or the ability to take your hands off the brakes and plow, this is the bike for you. Impressively, it also climbed rather well for such a downhill-beast. Yes it’s a bit long and slack, so tight switchbacks and more technical portions of trail will require a bit more work. Nevertheless, if you want a backcountry explorer or like covering big miles before getting to your gnarly downhills, this could be a great option.

Of course, we can’t talk about backcountry missions on the Norco Range without talking about hardware issues. On both the Norco Sight and Range, we had issues with motor-mount bolts, shock and suspension linkage bolts coming loose. We tightened them multiple times but think it prudent consumers either apply a tiny bit of thread treatment or religiously check their hardware.

Norco Range VLT C1 Review - 2022 eMTB Shootout

The Wolf’s Last Word

Norco has accomplished a lot with their new VLT line of eBikes. The updated suspension is impressive and one of the most composed and smoothest on the market. We love how well the Sight and Range VLTs handle the roughest and chunkiest of trails. Confidence, safety and stability are available in spades while piloting the Range VLT C1 down the trail. Of course, the tradeoff to that plush and planted feel is that riders who want a light and poppy play bike will likely feel as if they’re in a trophy truck rather than a rally car, which you’d expect from a 180/170mm eBike. While the 2022 eMTB review of this bike showed it may offer tons of climbing comfort and prowess charging hard downhill, it’s slightly less versatile than some other bike, namely the Scott Ransom eRide.

Price: $10,098 (C1 / 720Wh Battery)
Weight as Tested: 56.4 lbs.
Website: Norco.com

VISIT NORCO TO FIND A DEALER NEAR YOU!

NORCO RANGE VLT C1 SPEC:

CHASSIS
Frame: Carbon Front Triangle and Seatstay, Aluminum Chainstay, 170mm
Fork: Fox Factory FLOAT 38, 180mm
Shock: Fox Factory DHX2, Custom Tune

ELECTRONICS
Motor: Shimano STEPS EP8
Battery: Integrated, Removable | 900Wh, 720Wh and 540Wh Options
Display: Shimano

COCKPIT
Brakes: Shimano XT | 203mm IceTech Rotors
Shifter: Shimano XT Sl-M8100 I-Spec EV
Handlebar: Deity Ridgeline, 800mm
Stem: CNC Alloy, 40mm Length
Saddle: Ergon SM-10 E-Mountain Sport
Seatpost: OneUp Adjustable Dropper | 120mm (S), 150mm (M), 170mm (L), 210mm (XL)

WHEELS
Hubs: DT Swiss 350H
Rims: DT Swiss E 1700 Hybrid E-Rated 29″
Tires: 
Maxxis Assegai 2.5″ 3C MaxxGrip/DD/TR/WT

DRIVETRAIN
Cassette: Shimano SLX CS-M8700, 10-51T, 12 Speed
Cranks: Shimano FC-M8150 E-MTB, 34T, 165mm
Derailleur: Shimano XTR M9100

Norco Range VLT C1 Review - 2022 eMTB Shootout

We Dig

Plush suspension!
Absolutely unfazed by chunder
Gives riders confidence to charge
Looks good
Capable and comfortable climber

We Don’t

Broken and missing hardware
Rides heavy

OUR 2022 eMTB SHOOTOUT WAS MADE POSSIBLE
THANKS TO THESE GREAT SPONSORS:

Norco Range VLT C1 Review - 2022 eMTB Shootout

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