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First Impressions

2022 Norco Sight VLT eMTB

Words Cam McRae
Photos Deniz Merdano (unless noted)
Date Jul 14, 2021
Reading time

Electric mountain bikes are going every which way right now. They are getting lighter, and they are getting heavier, both less and more powerful, pricier and cheaper, more widely accepted in some circles and despised more bitterly in others. It's a fast moving marketplace with technology that is trying to catch up with and anticipate riders' emerging desires and preferences.

This makes it an interesting time for eMTB riders, and even more so for those looking to do some long term e-doping. Like the bikes themselves, some riders are looking for less weight and an experience that is closer to a good old fashioned mountain bicycle (or at least they think they are), while others lust for more amps and watt hours and are willing to accept the weight penalty to get to the top of more hills in less time. It's a fierce battle and there is much at stake. Companies that establish early dominance in this slippery category will be well-positioned for market traction once the shake out slows down.

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The new Sight VLT C1 has 160/150mm of travel, 29" wheels, a (mostly) carbon frame, and top of the line suspension and components that are rated for the rigours of eMTBing.

Now that I've ridden quite a few eMTBs I can say that I'm on the side of more. I'm not looking for an experience that mimics my mountain bike time; I'm looking to cruise up the hills at 20km/h, do more laps than usual, and explore further, faster, and longer. I also have some work to do on the Spanish Underpants and getting to the top in a hurry, with tools, will be a big help. If you are the type looking for one of those sub 40 lb e-sleds, that's great, but that isn't what I'm after. At least I don't think so, considering I haven't tried one of those yet.

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Can a bike that weighs 55 lbs* be agile and dare I say, graceful? That's a stretch, but I was amazed by what I could accomplish on very technical trails that require bike handling that alternates between dynamic and precise.

*with the 740wh battery

Swappable Batteries

Norco came at their new line of VLT bikes with an eye on pleasing a wider range of riders; both those looking for less range in exchange for (somewhat) lower weight, and those who want all the juice to ride all the day. Companies who have gone the piggy-back battery route have had some success turning one bike into two, but who wants an extra battery strapped onto their frame? Keeping an eMTB as inconspicuous as possible is a goal I support,* and while the Sight VLT is rather audacious looking, it's not related to the power options available.

*not to hide their true nature, rather to preserve as much of the elegance of the bicycle as possible

2022-norco-sight-emtb.jpg

Dual bottle capacity came in handy during our wee heatwave. Actually the eMTB in general was great because faster climbing speeds kept me cool. Photo - Cam McRae

To address riders' diverse desires, the 2022 VLT line has a quick-change modular battery system. You aren't buying a bike with a battery from Norco any longer. Instead you'll choose the platform that suits your needs and then choose between three battery sizes to go along with it. There is a price for the bike and then another for the battery, or batteries rather, because you can pick up as many as you want. The power packs are available in standard sizes of 540 and 720 watt hours, but there's also an enormous 900wh unit, which Norco claims is the largest in the industry.* The batteries will be swappable with a single bolt and can be charged on or off the bike. Our test bikes both came with an extra battery, but Norco was short on some of the hardware so our swaps involved an additional 7 bolts and some extra futzing, but we could clearly see how easy this would be with the production batteries.

*Let's assume this distinction applies only within the world of mass produced and regulated class 1 eMTBs

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I only have good things to say about the geometry and fit of the Sight VLT (size large). The Range however, felt a little small and an XL might be better for me in that platform.

Aside from the obvious financial concerns, choosing a bike will involve asking yourself how you'd like to use your electric mountain cycle. Are you going to want to climb in boost for as long as possible, blasting the top in the shortest time, or would you be happier in trail or eco modes, doing more with your own juice and getting to the top in less of a hurry? Or maybe you're feeling flush and you'd like one of each? Our bikes came with the 900mh batteries installed, and taking range anxiety out of the eMTB experience is remarkable. I have ridden to the top of each of the North Shore mountains in blast furnace mode and only used one bar of 5, or 20% of the total available. Often charging between rides is unnecessary.

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One of the downsides of the new VLT design is the very low-slung frame. I bash it on most rides but not hard generally.

The Failed Triple E Crown

Trevor Hansen (who has been testing the Range VLT) and I decided to attempt an all-boost, all gnarl, North Shore triple crown starting from the bottom of Mount Seymour. We planned to ride the longest and most challenging trail on each mountain and do as much of the climbing as possible in Boost mode. We completed Seymour and Fromme and I made it back to our battery swap location without emptying the tank. Trevor ran out of gas about five minutes and a short climb from our destination. His Range seems to actually have less range than the Sight I've been riding, and Trevor contends it requires more effort in Boost mode compared to the Sight. Oddly, in Trail mode he seems to be faster than I am on the Sight using the same setting. If you are familiar with the Shimano drive system, you might be wondering why we don't just log in using bluetooth and adjust the power output in each of the three settings. Normally you'd be able to choose between high, medium, and low for each of Eco, Trail and Boost modes, but for some reason we have been unable to connect with these head units. In fact the menu item inviting you to connect with Bluetooth doesn't appear on either screen as an option. Norco isn't yet sure why this is happening to our pre-production bikes but I would expect it to be cleared up by the time market-ready bikes are in Canadian stores. (which should be a couple of weeks - but not until the fall for other markets)

In the end we were foiled by a battery that didn't charge (user error - it was likely unplugged by a member of my family) so we had to abort after only 2/3 of our adventure. We managed 1873 metres of climbing (6145') and 41 km of distance (25.5 miles) in 4:25, stopping for a beer at the bottom and top of each mountain. Unfortunately beer number 5 was the last of the ride,* but we had another to drown our sorrows when we eventually got a lift back to our cars that were parked near Horseshoe Bay.

*Note - this was over 5 hrs of time and our efforts burned off much of the alcohol. And don't try this at home. It's dangerous and a bad idea. And we didn't even actually have any beer. I just wrote that for no reason.

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I wondered about maneuverability on a bike of this girth, but it was quite responsive in tight quarters.

Ride Characteristics

Modular batteries won't make a lame dog run, so let's not get ahead of ourselves. If you've been paying attention you may have noticed that Norco has turned a corner in recent years and begun producing some high performing bikes that are often ahead of the curve in terms of geometry and suspension design. Beyond that, Norco has become an industry leader in terms of building frames that better fit riders by changing the rear centre for each size. Unfortunately that attention to detail hasn't crossed over here and each size has the same rear centre. Overall though the attention to suspension kinematics, tuning, and geometry shine through and the Sight is a bike that handles extremely well in every situation I've put it in. I have been comfortable on every trail I generally ride my pedal bike on, and in some cases I've been more comfortable. More on that. later, but the idea that eMTBs can't handle some terrain that a motor-less bike does well on seems to be moving further into obscurity. For obvious reasons, descending on the Sight VLT is more physically demanding and tiring in some situations, particularly in dynamic circumstances where the bike needs to get up and over obstacles or on long rough descents because of the extra weight you need to deal with during braking.

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Many refinements have improved the rider experience, and this is one of my favourites. The charging port is protected by an easy-close magnetic door, and that same magnet allows you to align the charging cable with your eyes closed. The door stays closed during rides, unlike the previous VLT we tested, but it's a little bit tricky to open.

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An integrated wrench fits the bolt holding the battery in and Norco recommends you tighten that before every ride. Trevor did not and his battery once fell out mid ride.

The rigid front end likes to be leaned on and while the Fox 36 does the job, I would have preferred the extra torsional rigidity of a Fox 38 or RockShox Zeb for a bike this capable and burly, but this is an 'e-rated' 36 and it felt fine. I'm just greedy. On my last pre-write up ride I wanted to re-verify my theory that the Sight is happy on technical trails, so I chose a couple of my favourites. I pedalled from home, (near where Lonsdale crosses the highway) up to the Fromme fireroad and climbed to Bookwus in 32 minutes. . Bookwus has a double black rating which likely refers to how frustrating it can be to new riders rather than the gnarl factor. I was pretty happy with how I rode it and the Sight was all over it. I dabbed once on my nemesis move, a blind and steep down ramp. I should try to launch it to flat next time. It was more work than it would have been on my Yeti, but I wouldn't have called it more difficult in most situations. Next up was Ladies Only, also rated with two diamonds, but a less difficult trail overall. I flowed the trail and took most of the optional moves and managed to ride clean. I had a little mechanical (more on that below) and got home in 66 minutes. This was a bonus ride that I wouldn't have had time for without the glorious wattage of the Sight VLT.

I finished with Lower Digger, a popular bermfest with a drop that is similar to the one on Schleyer in the Whistler Bike Park. After hitting the drop and carrying speed into the next berm I felt a shudder that led me to believe the rear wheel was loose. I tightened it a little but it seemed to already be well-torqued. As I began to ride again it was clear my shifting was off and the bike continued to feel loose. I stopped again and noticed the derailleur hanger, that doubles as the threaded receiver of the rear axle, had popped out of its seat along with the axle. I turned the bike upside down, removed the axle and slid the hanger (maybe a SRAM universal hanger?) back into place. I haven't had a chance to talk to Norco yet but I've never had this occur previously on any bike and the experience was unnerving.

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The 'Ride Aligned' recommendations for the Sight VLT weren't too bad but I actually needed quite a bit more pressure in the front end. For the moment I've settled on 110 and it seems to be working nicely. I went a little lower in the rear than the suggested 204 psi as well, settling on 195.

MTB vs eMTB

I've made an effort to ride trails consecutively on my Yeti and the Sight VLT, to get a clearer sense of how the bikes perform in similar descending situations. I've noticed that I'm more inclined to get in the air off some features on the VLT than on my Yeti, and more comfortable once I get there. Chris Porter has spoken about the relationship between sprung and unsprung weight and how that impacts suspension performance. What I've gleaned from his musings is that while reducing unsprung weight is important, it's the ratio between sprung and unsprung weight that is truly vital for suspension performance. This bodes well for eMTBs considering the unsprung weight isn't dramatically different from a conventional bike, while the sprung weight is significantly heavier. My impression is that this weight. allows your bike to overcome stiction and get into the travel more easily. There's a move on a trail on Cypress Bowl that's relatively new and I did it for the first time on the Sight. It starts with a rock roll down to a short shelf which is followed by another roll, this time on dirt. Some fine trail builder has made an air over a stump on the second part of the roll and I hit it easily and confidently on the Sight. When I returned on my Yeti I didn't have the mojo the first time I was there and the second time I did it but almost shat myself because I got squirrely in the air before the steep landing. There are certainly situations where the Yeti is more nimble and effective but the gap is closing as I get better on eMTBs.

Component Spec/Motor

This is a well appointed machine and I've been pleased with all of the critical components. Fork, shock, wheels, and brakes all work exceptionally well. Norco's attention to detail is evident from the choice of a 220mm rotor up front and a 200mm rear to give the SRAM Code RSC brakes something to bite into, as well as the Double Down Maxxis rubber. I'm not sure how well the Dissector rear will do once things get mucky in the fall but so far it's been fine. I like DMR deathgrips but I prefer the firm compound version so I swapped them out. I'll be doing the same with the Deity bar which I have found much too stiff, to the point that my hands and wrists get sore quite quickly. Otherwise, from tires to post and saddle, I'm very happy with the choices Norco made for the Sight VLT C1. I really like Shimano's EP8 motor as well. It's quiet, powerful and incredibly seamless in use. The one proviso I have is that this is the second EP8 I've ridden that has a rattle while descending. The speculation the previous time, riding the Santa Cruz Bullit I believe, was that it was the freewheel inside the motor causing the sound, but this was never confirmed.

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Features

  • CARBON MAINFRAME AND SEATSTAY, ALLOY CHAINSTAY, 150MM TRAVEL, RIDE ALIGNED
  • SRAM GX/XO1 EAGLE DRIVETRAIN AND CODE RSC 4-PISTON BRAKES
  • FOX FACTORY FLOAT 36 GRIP 2, HSC LSC HSR LSR, 160MM TRAVEL E-RATED FORK
  • ONEUP ADJUSTABLE DROPPER POST 34.9MM WITH SIZE-SPECIFIC DROP
  • FOX FACTORY FLOAT X2 SHOCK WITH CUSTOM TUNE
  • 29" WHEELS
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As tested, with a 900wh and a 720wh battery, this beautiful beast will set you back 14,400 CAD. Bike alone is 11,500 while the batteries are 1000, 1300, and 1600. That makes the 540wh battery 1.85 CAD per wh, the 720 is $1.80, while the 900 is $1.77 per wh.

Final Thoughts (for now)

I'm not sure I'd spring for a carbon frame if I was going to throw down for an eMTB, particularly at an entry price of 8400 CAD without a battery for the C2. I'd gladly trade a couple of pounds for a couple of grand when I've got a motor helping me up the hill. That said, I have really been enjoying this bike. I've got more knob twisting to do and I'm hopeful we'll get to the quick swap stage with batteries, but for now I'm going to keep sneaking out for quick rips and adding laps to big rides. And then there's that cheaters triple crown...

More at Norco.com

cam@nsmb.com
Cam McRae

Age - 55

Height - 6'/183cm (mostly legs)

Weight - 160lbs/72.5kg

Ape Index - 0.986

Inseam - 34"/86cm

Trail I've been stoked on lately - Fifth Horseman

Bar Width - 760mm

Preferred Reach - 485-500mm (longer with 27.5 wheels than 29)

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Comments

jgoodkind
-10 4Runner1 Joseph Crabtree cxfahrer Dogl0rd Lev WheelNut dualcrownscottspark thaaad Douglas Crossman jadias Matt Lee psyguy MuscogeeMasher Grif Scott Smith tdmsurfguy gregster77 Pete Roggeman
jgoodkind  - July 14, 2021, 11:24 a.m.

this website is getting ridiculous.  this is the third e-mountain bike article in a row.  who gives a shit about electric motorcycles?!  they're not legal on any of the trails in Central Oregon where I live, nor should they be.  I don't need more dip shits making moon dust and not giving a fucking penny or hour to our local trail building association.  

you want to ride a motorcycle,  by all means do so, but stay the fuck off my trails and to the bike industry, stop trying to sell me shit i don't want and promoting use of e-bikes on trails that cannot support their use.  

this site used to have articles about riders, trails, gear, and ACTUAL bikes.

Reply

cam@nsmb.com
+10 thaaad Lu Kz Douglas Crossman jadias Matt Lee trumpstinyhands psyguy Poz cornedbeef Pete Roggeman
Cam McRae  - July 14, 2021, 1:20 p.m.

These bikes were released today which is why these articles are visible today. I think if you scroll through our content you’ll see the vast majority of our articles are dedicated to mountain bikes. 

We may be getting ridiculous, as you say, but if you pay attention I think you’ll notice the vast majority of our articles  are about, “riders, trails, gear, and ACTUAL bikes..”

Cheers!

Reply

Jotegir
+14 Perry Schebel Dave Tolnai muldman Deniz Merdano Reed Holden jadias 4Runner1 Cam McRae trumpstinyhands thaaad psyguy cornedbeef Karl Fitzpatrick Jerry Willows Dogl0rd Grif Pete Roggeman jgoodkind Scott Smith Wanderlust
Lu Kz  - July 14, 2021, 1:36 p.m.

THESE BIKES ARE BANNED ON MY TRAILS IN CENTRAL OREGON AND THEREFORE THEY SHOUDLN'T BE FEATURED IN ARTICLES ON YOUR WEBSITE NAMED AFTER SOMEWHERE ELSE IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY.

Reply

jgoodkind
-6 Dogl0rd jadias Matt Lee thaaad psyguy Grif Scott Smith tdmsurfguy
jgoodkind  - July 14, 2021, 2:11 p.m.

They're banned on all trails built on USFS land and they're not allowed at most downhill mtb parks. If Canada wants all the ebikes, you can keep them. They're a bullshit excuse for cycling. And since my country has far more fat people than your country, maybe my people should pedal a bit more instead of seeking corner cutting options for impacting actual cyclists' fun. Oh, and don't give me the disabled or older person argument for ebikes. No one is objecting to their use of supplemental cycling aides. Those aren't the majority of ebike users.

To the prior response about content not being all ebikes, perhaps don't post 3 consecutive features on ebikes. Even if you're catering to content buyers, I'm the one buying the content you write about, so unless you're considering a change to your URL, NSEMB, as a avid reader, I want to see less ebike articles.

Reply

Wanderlust
0
Wanderlust  - July 20, 2021, 10:59 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

cam@nsmb.com
0
Cam McRae  - July 20, 2021, 3:48 p.m.

Ummmm...  Firstly, Lu Kz is definitely not stupid. Secondly, if you read the entire comments thread you'll notice that his reply is e-sarc aimed at the first poster in this thread - who is actually from Oregon. 

Just a friendly heads up!

Reply

douglas-crossman
+4 jadias Matt Lee Cam McRae thaaad
Douglas Crossman  - July 14, 2021, 2:31 p.m.

Let's see if I get this right:
"This website is ridiculous!  How dare you write articles about new bikes when they're released!  
I obviously don't care about these specific bikes, and therefore you should never write about them!  

In fact, I can't ride them in this small part of the world where I live, and because of that, you should never write about anything that I can't ride in my backyard!  I expect you to only discuss topics that are relevant to me and my specific preferences!

Something something something about people with large disposable incomes not supporting local trail crews, despite not having any evidence to support it.

Conflating eMTBs with motorcycles (but not dirt bikes?)."

Pretty sure that I nailed it.

Facts are that the eMTB market good for the sport.  It's introducing swaths of new riders to a sport that they may have never been able to approach before, and it's allowing other riders to ride more, ride longer, and ride at an age that they never thought possible. 
Sure, you whine about it.  But unless you're riding a rigid steel frame bike with coaster brakes and a banana seat, then you don't have a leg to stand on.  Every single advancement in the biking industry has been complained about because it's "ruining" the sport, and yet here we are, enjoying it more than ever.

Reply

jgoodkind
-3 Dogl0rd jadias Matt Lee thaaad psyguy
jgoodkind  - July 14, 2021, 3:23 p.m.

They are not bikes. They are motored cycles. They don't belong on trails designed for bicycles.

If introducing riders to a sport at a $5-10,000 price point is your idea of getting a whole bunch of people interested, then you're entirely out of touch with reality. Your statement that ebikes are good for the sport is not fact it's opinion, which is why I'm debating it.

Like many of us, I started riding before suspension existed and still ride a rigid on occasion. The sport is not out or reach because it's too difficult. It's out of reach because most of the public doesn't live near an adequate trail system that's funded and maintained. Also, so what if it's challenging? Not everything needs to be for everyone, especially if it comes at the expense of the trail system and the original intent of the trail work.

e-bikes staying off of single-track trails is relevant to anyone who rides a bicycle.

There's ample trails for motored cycles, and ebikes are welcome to use those.

believe me, i'm not whining, i'm warning. e-bikes are not welcome on Central Oregon single track.

Reply

jadias
+6 thaaad Cam McRae Deniz Merdano cornedbeef Douglas Crossman 4Runner1
jadias  - July 14, 2021, 5:42 p.m.

Long time lurker, first time poster. But I’m choosing to use my first post to call you out - you’re a bit of a nob.

Sorry if you’re bitter that your niche sport is becoming ever so slightly less niche as new technology allows new people to enter the sport. God forbid they should be able to engage in the same fun that you have!

A pedal-assist e-bike is as close to a motorbike as a lawnmower is to a Ferrari F40. They amplify the power of the average Joe to that of an Olympic athlete. Do you really think this is enough to do serious damage to trails? No.

Are there assholes with terrible trail etiquette riding e-bikes? You betcha. But there are plenty of assholes riding normal bikes too. You come across as one of these, and at least trail etiquette can be taught, whereas bigotry and jealousy are hard to overcome.

I’m due to take delivery of an e-bike soon. It won’t replace my normal bike, but you bet your ass I will have a laugh riot riding it. Sorry you’ll be missing out.

Reply

jgoodkind
-1 Dogl0rd thaaad psyguy
jgoodkind  - July 14, 2021, 9:37 p.m.

I'm a nob, but the people who buy ebikes for mtb use, which cost more than a non-powered model and allow them to travel further on trails they probably didn't build or donate to, are all good in your book? 

We'll see how you like it when your trails get fucked because all those pedal assisters are just trying to enjoy the trails.  Just because someone can get somewhere on an ebike doesn't mean they should.  Don't you care about trail sections you had to earn because you had to build the strength to get there? 

New technology is not allowing people to enter the sport.  You can ride the trails on a single speed bmx bought at a garage sale for $50. New technology, as you stated, is allowing riders to perform up to the level of an Olympic athlete.  The only people who can afford this new ebike technology are wealthy folks and their children.   

My point has been that if a growing population of "e-riders" suddenly starts using trails not designed for a dramatic increase in traffic, it will have a damaging effect. Blown berms, run down features, illegal trails, trash, impacts to wildlife, etc.  But you're right, I'm the asshole with poor etiquette only thinking about me.   

It'd be a different story if ebike sales were taxed and annual licenses paid to support the upkeep of local trails.  And since advocates of ebikes want to get people into the sport, to me, this seems like a reasonable compromise.  It's a motorized vehicle and we tax and license all other motor vehicle sales and usage.  

Also, show me an ebike manufacturer who's contributing to the upkeep of trail systems nationwide (Canada or US).  Where are their battery recycling centers/programs to minimize waste?

Reply

tdmsurfguy
+1 Pete Roggeman
tdmsurfguy  - July 18, 2021, 10:17 a.m.

Norco specifically has done a lot here in Oregon to help build trails. Norco’s  Oregon rep is at build and dig events all over the state and I don’t think I’ve seen a brand rep spend as much time building as him. Norco also helped our trail group raise over $18k for a new trail system on the Oregon coast. So yeah Norco has been contributing to the build and upkeep of Oregon trails. 

Also most recycling centers will take used batteries at no cost.

Wanderlust
0
Wanderlust  - July 20, 2021, 11:11 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

OregonNative420
+1 jadias Scott Smith Dogl0rd
OregonNative420  - July 14, 2021, 10:09 p.m.

Typical Cali transplant to Central Oregon. Thinking the world revolves around them. I'm sure you have a $10k bike you only take to Phil's trail and got pissed off that an ebiker passed you on the way to the trail head. You frantically check Strava and see your fat old ass is going down on the leader boards but it can't be because someone is a better rider! It must be all those darn kids poaching your trails with ebikes!

The world is changing old man. Sorry you don't like it. Change has been pretty hard on the boomer generation. Try to still have some fun in your old age while not ruining other people's good times.

Reply

jgoodkind
-2 thaaad psyguy
jgoodkind  - July 15, 2021, 9:02 a.m.

OregonNative420 - instead of throwing a tantrum because someone called you out for either illegally riding your motored cycle on local trail or because you realize you're not that strong of a rider to begin with, why don't you try responding to any of the points I made about trail overuse, maintenance, funding, wildlife, or the act of doing something like pedaling a bike independent of assistance.  Maybe then we can have an adult conversation.  But you know what, why don't you hand the iPad to your parents and let them respond for you. 

Additionally, I'm not ruining anyone's time.  As I stated above, feel free to use the OHV trails and fire roads to your heart's content.

Reply

OregonNative420
0
OregonNative420  - July 16, 2021, 8:16 a.m.

This is OregonNative420's mother responding on his iPad. After reading all your comments I have come to the conclusion that you a nob.

Reply

tashi
+9 Cam McRae thaaad Grif jadias Douglas Crossman Niels Scott Smith 4Runner1 tdmsurfguy
tashi  - July 15, 2021, 7:33 a.m.

Holy hell please go back to Pinkbike or wherever the heck you came from.

Reply

Emailsucks98
+1 Pete Roggeman
Scott Smith  - July 16, 2021, 9:27 a.m.

Wade said it best, "it's like having a chairlift in your garage".

Anyone who has taken a Dh bike up a shuttle or chairlift is the prime demographic for these. You get over the weight pretty quick... usually by the 4th lap!

In Wa state, most of our trails are on DNR lands. The DNR did a survey and found that the only user group that had any significant concerns about eBikes was.... other mountain bikers. All other user groups did not discern between class-1 eBikes and regular old mountain bikes.

IMO, it's just another option. Horses for courses!

Reply

pete@nsmb.com
0
Pete Roggeman  - July 20, 2021, 3:40 p.m.

But proof doesn't help with rage! Aaargh e-bikers are ruining everything ever!

Reply

Nickh
+6 Cam McRae tashi thaaad Dogl0rd Scott Smith Pete Roggeman
Nickh  - July 14, 2021, 12:50 p.m.

Let the migration from that other bike website begin!

Reply

Poz
+3 Lu Kz thaaad Pete Roggeman
Poz  - July 14, 2021, 9:52 p.m.

Good, good. Let the hate flow through you. 

Like Nickh says above I guess there may be a bit of a migration going on

Reply

RAHrider
+2 Cam McRae Pete Roggeman
Reed Holden  - July 15, 2021, 12:47 a.m.

I have to agree that a min $7000 price tag is not exactly making mtb more "accessible."

In fact, if out of shape wealthy people need an emtb to get into the sport, who cares if they join us on the trails or not? I would far rather see way way more time and $ spent getting people affordable good quality bikes rather than more emtb in terms of growing the sport. I love the Ibis AF bikes for what they are, providing great bikes to riders with a limited budget who want to shred. Wouldn't it be great if bike companies put more effort into making the inexpensive parts work well and last rather than trying to get ebike parts to work and last. They have had no shortage of ebike specific parts being developed yet $1000 bikes still work like shit and need half the parts replaced after 1 month of real riding.

Although I totally disagree with his position that NSMB shouldn't cover topics he is not interested in, I can understand his frustration with a bike industry that seems to be wholly interested in everyone upgrading their bike every year with limited interest in building the sport at its grass roots base.

I'm happy for people to chime in and educated me on great companies that give lots back. (I believe santacruz gives back to trails although I am unsure how successful their program is). I feel like Knolly and chromag are the types of companies that make bikes they intend for people to ride for what should be the lifespan of the product. I'm glad to support people developing products like this. I also always buy several hundred dollars of raffle tickets every time Knolly puts up a warden to support trail societies; still waiting for my lucky number to be drawn :(

In any case, it's great that someone can come on here and spout off a whole bunch of toxic frustration and everyone responds with a shrug and no one escalates things too much. That is the main reason I always come back to NSMB. It's also one of the few sites where I feel like the reviews will be somewhat honest. It's interesting to hear how Cam compares this emtb to his regular sled and the types of use he is finding for this emoped.

Reply

Jotegir
+1 Cam McRae
Lu Kz  - July 15, 2021, 6:25 a.m.

Sadly the prices were far more accessible and frankly downright exciting when we saw the price list when the models were announced internally. Due to various COVID related delays, that was a long time ago. Small companies like Norco and Rocky have been bent over the barrel with the delays and back end price increases. Their fixed contracts are for shorter terms and smaller quantities. They can't bully suppliers with buying power dickswing like Trek and Specialized (who also had somewhat drastic price increases on some models). 

I hope in a few years things will calm down and Norco can go back to offering fantastic bikes for incredible value. They clearly had their supply chain logistics and internal efficiencies hammered down to make that happen, but forces outside their control seem to have thrown that away. There was a short window when consumers got to enjoy the price structure of old Norco (often dubbed the "Canadian Giant") with serious top-of-the-line contender performance brought by their more recent internal bike revolution.

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cam@nsmb.com
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Cam McRae  - July 15, 2021, 9:33 a.m.

Excellent insight as usual Lu Kz.

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DogVet
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Hugo Williamson  - July 16, 2021, 7:22 a.m.

But could equally go the opposite way, similar to car purchase in the UK, namely a PCP (90% of cars in UK) , the bike bought entirely on finance and dropped back at end of period for next generation of E bike. 

Headline car prices have increased dramatically in the UK, as few pay cash outright, the only parameter that people worry about is the monthly repayment. The monthly repayment is usually based on the depreciation of the vehicle, which can be bought outright at the end of the contract  ( balloon payment) most don’t have the cash so just stay on the conveyer belt!!  Not sure if this contract hire occurs in other countries, but certainly in the UK, it allows folk to drive a big expensive car on a modest income, that is until it ultimately comes to the end of the conveyer belt, when sometimes the ballon payments are very considerable.

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olaa
+6 Lu Kz Cr4w Cam McRae Velocipedestrian 4Runner1 Pete Roggeman
olaa  - July 15, 2021, 1:56 a.m.

I ride with friends on e-mtbs once in a while. Obviously i make fun of them for being old and out-of-shape, but they can take that considering that i am coughing up my lungs trying to keep up :)  So, in general i don't mind the e-mtbs, even though i haven't found them to be for me so far.

Trail riding having gotten way trendy does attract new riders, and the e-mtbs seem to attract a larger percentage of d-bags with all the attitude, all the ego (size of a medium-sized planet usually) and definitely all the gear. For them, the fact that it is expensive is a positive and matches the brand new lifestyle-correct jacked up truck. All the trails where i live are multi-use, so having people with outsized egos and an inflated amount of self-importance charging the trails at max boost creates quite some issues. (Note that i do not mean that all e-mtb'ers are like this!)

But, my main gripe with e-mtbs is quite different. Now that more and more people are on them, they do tend to break down as well, and people are finding out that many of the motors (and obviously batteries) cannot be repaired. If they break, you throw them away and replace the whole thing. At great cost. That just strikes me as consumerism at it's worst, and has really nothing to do with e-mtbs as a concept but the responsibility of the producers as well as how legislation regaring recycling is set up. So my main issue with e-mtbs right now is that we are buying a bunch of crap made out of rare metals and plastic that is designed to end up in a landfill in too short of a time. Until that is sorted i'll just keep pedaling up those climbs.

Rant over :)

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Jotegir
+4 Cam McRae jadias Velocipedestrian Pete Roggeman
Lu Kz  - July 15, 2021, 6:17 a.m.

Oh yeah. It's kind of crazy.

Respect to Rocky Mountain for designing and manufacturing their drive unit in Canada, having people around who know how to fix them, and making a genuine effort to teach techs how to work on their almost completely break-down-able platform. Perfect? No. Very good? Yes. 

Shame on Bosch for making their motor unit a sealed unit. It breaks? Hope you still have warranty. In to the landfill, suckers!

We need right to repair legislation. Emtb consumers need to be ready to pay ebike certified techs who can actually fix this stuff.

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craw
+2 Dogl0rd 4Runner1
Cr4w  - July 15, 2021, 6:56 a.m.

All the guys in my sphere who had an e-bike enjoyed them for different reasons and none ever saw the e-bike as becoming their only bike. They tended to use them for trail building access or days when they had limited time. They all preferred their regular bikes. And now those bikes are all gathering dust and unsellable because of unsolvable battery/motor issues pending supplier issues.

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Emailsucks98
+1 Pete Roggeman
Scott Smith  - July 16, 2021, 10:34 a.m.

Cr4w, that's interesting. I actually have a 2019 Sight VLT C1, and had some issues with it early on, but it's pretty trouble free at this point.

eBikes need aftermarket support- I think that will come. Fanatik has taken good care of me, but I also figured out 95% of the issues I had were moisture related, so I save my eBike for summer & dry days. By the time mine is out of warranty, I hope there will be 3rd party aftermarket support shops (like has happened with suspension). These bikes do go through parts faster and require more maintenance. Longer rides on a heavier bike, no surprise there.

As far as this update goes, I'm stoked they went to a removable battery. That's key when you're traveling and want to grab a quick charge at a brewery. Also good they rotated the motor because I've cracked a few lower plates. And that the slacked out the head angle, because my v1 site was 66d (before angleset)! I wonder if there is are ISCG tabs? eBikes need a taco type thing. I am bummed it's 29" only though, I'm happy on a 27.5" rear.

Overall I am really stoked to have an eBike, but it's great to have a hardtail too, in case I want to ride some of those flat boring central oregon trails.

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olaa
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olaa  - July 15, 2021, 1:56 a.m.

This comment has been removed.

ManInSteel
+6 Cam McRae thaaad Dogl0rd Douglas Crossman Niels Pete Roggeman
ManInSteel  - July 15, 2021, 8:28 a.m.

Today I sensed that angry Pinkbike readers have moved over to NSMB for comments....

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Shoreloamer
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Greg Bly  - July 19, 2021, 7:26 a.m.

Pink bike has a motor bike filter . So I see no motor bikes except for adds showing lightning bolts and riders floating into space? 

Anyways this is entertaining. Sort of like a passing a car wreck entertaining.

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