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New bike time on a budget - need advice

June 14, 2021, 2:42 p.m.
Posts: 386
Joined: Feb. 11, 2004

I'm in the market, and I am pretty convinced I want to go new this time around. I've always taken advantage of a good used market in Vancouver, but the pandemic has messed with everything. So looking new, the pandemic has messed with that market too!

Anyway, heres my profile: long time North Shore rider, currently riding a 2013 Norco Range (L), it was pretty well upgraded when I bought it used 4 yrs ago (1x GX drivetrain, wheels, XT brakes etc), it's been a blast and I don't think the bike holds me back. I ride mostly Fromme (7th, expresso, LOC, Pipeline), some Squamish (Rupert, Half Nelson etc), some Whistler and a couple days a year of Bike Park (think Angry Pirate. Blue Velvet, Crank-it up, not A-line). I like old school tech in general and can get my way down most blacks. For drops and air, the big Bobsled drop is comfortable to me, but not much bigger. I am pretty much lost on dirt jumps if there is a gap!

Without being able to demo bikes these days, let along parking lot test anything, I think a Norco Sight A3 29er is within my budget, and the right bike. As much as a bigger bike is drool worthy, I really don't think I am going to see the limitation of the Sight over something like a Rocky Slayer, or a Commencal Meta. I am 6'2" and I think I'm ready for a full 29er, makes sense to leave the small wheels behind. The good news is that Sights in XL seem to be popping up in stores so I might actually be able to buy one.

The other questions is on the parts spec. The A3 (https://www.norco.com/bikes/2021/mountain/all-mountain/sight/sight-a3/) at $4199 is about my limits budget wise. I've done the research on the Yari RC (seems good enough for me, I am a set it and forget it guy) and the drivetrain (Deore 12 spd gets surprisingly good reviews, just a smidge heavier than the SLX etc). I am concerned about the brakes, being 200lb and liking to do some bike park and higher speed stuff, it's a concern. I know that I can upgrade later if it's a problem. Cockpit, wheels, dropper all seem reasonable enough quality.

So no specific questions, just looking for some input from the experts! Thanks!!

sign up for the nsmba here

June 14, 2021, 3:51 p.m.
Posts: 24
Joined: March 12, 2021

The Sight is a nice looking bike.  At 160mm front and 150mm rear travel, I don't think there will be too much that would hold you back.  Another bike at the same price point that you could look at is the Kona Process 153 29.  I think the spec is pretty similar, it just uses SRAM instead of Shimano, which for some people is an issue I guess.  I believe the shock on the Kona comes with a lockout (not sure if that is important to you or not - my shock has a lockout and I never use it.  I don't think I lose enough pedaling efficiency when the shock is open to warrant the dead feel I get when I lock it out).

For reference I am riding a 2019 Kona Process 153 CR/DL 27.5.  I bought it new direct from Kona in October 2020.  I did not have a lot of choice in what was available at the time.  I was basically limited to either a Process 153 in 27.5 or a Process 134 in 29er.  I'm glad I went with more travel over larger wheel size - but at 5'10" I'm right at the height where wheel size could be an issue.  I have tried a couple 29ers and while I freely admit they seem to be faster both up & down the hill, I did experience the dreaded butt grind while doing a steep roll which was kind of off putting - but for someone your height that is probably not going to be an issue.

Getting a new bike is always exciting.  Modern geometry and whatnot so is good I don't really think you can go wrong when you're talking about dropping $4k plus on a bike.  Congrats!

June 14, 2021, 4:01 p.m.
Posts: 1434
Joined: Nov. 8, 2003

485mm reach on a large. Wonder if you'd fit that, sure would make it easier to get around tight maneuvers with the shorter wheelbase. 515mm XL is a yacht. 

I test rode a L sight, at 5'10" reach felt about a foot too long.

I borrowed a buddy's bike with Deore brakes to test ride a section of trail I was building yesterday, surprisingly good power. Saved me from a crash

June 14, 2021, 4:55 p.m.
Posts: 386
Joined: Feb. 11, 2004

Yeah, size is another can of worms. I am 6'2" (squarely in XL recommended territory), but it's all in my legs. I probably have the legs of someone 6'4" and the torso of someone 6' (usually wear 36" leg jeans). So my current Large Range (435mm reach, 425mm EFTT) feels good in general. When I sat on an XL sight (515mm reach, 649mm EFTT) it felt big! My arms felt stretched out. But that is in the showroom, no pedals on the bike and the dropper wasnt working and was at full extension. I really need to at least parking lot test it back to back with a large.

sign up for the nsmba here

June 14, 2021, 9:08 p.m.
Posts: 32
Joined: Dec. 6, 2008

If you’ve got that length of inseam, the Sight’s stubby seat tube may be too short. Same with its low stack height.

I have a 37” inseam and ride a XL Process which has about 20mm more seat tube length than the Norco. Here’s a photo of where my saddle height is at. You can see how far back I am over the rear wheel.

I have also gone to 50mm rise bars to get more front end height, not pictured here.

If you can manage to get out for a proper test ride on the XL, do it. It may fit you, but may not. I love my Process, but I do wish they made a XXL.

Being big is hard!


 Last edited by: gdharries on June 14, 2021, 9:37 p.m., edited 2 times in total.
June 14, 2021, 9:35 p.m.
Posts: 820
Joined: June 29, 2006

I ride a large Madonna, 485mm reach and am 6ft with 36“ inseam and long arms.

I could ride a bigger bike and couldn’t imagine riding a smaller!

If you chose the proper stem length and bar roll/height, I’d say the XL should be a better fit than the XL. But a test ride, at least with pedals on the road should help a lot.

Without pedals you’ll feel stretched out, because your feet and hips will take a lot of your wait from your hands. Try it on you old bike with the feet off the pedals, it will feel weird even if it is short…

Two of my riding buddies with pretty much your height and also the long inseams are on XL frames with 505 and 510mm reach as well. They like the fit and don’t look stretched out.


 Last edited by: Znarf on June 14, 2021, 10:28 p.m., edited 2 times in total.
June 14, 2021, 9:47 p.m.
Posts: 7
Joined: June 19, 2020

Since your coming off old school shitty short geo anything new is going to feel unfamiliar and huge at first.   You have to get used to it, which doesn’t happen during a parking lot test ride.  Trust the manufacturer size recommendations, and size up or down slightly if your on the bubble.  Geo is king.

June 14, 2021, 10:10 p.m.
Posts: 1259
Joined: March 18, 2017

1.75m puts myself on a Large Sight.

June 14, 2021, 11:43 p.m.
Posts: 864
Joined: March 15, 2013

5'9 and my Sight is a large and it feels great. I got to ride both a medium and extra large around. Large feels perfect. I also got to ride all 3 sizes (M, L , XL) of Optic and the large felt the best in that bike as well.

Edit - For more context all the Sights I rode were 27.5, and the Optics were all current gen so 29er.


 Last edited by: thaaad on June 14, 2021, 11:48 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
June 15, 2021, 12:46 a.m.
Posts: 1434
Joined: Nov. 8, 2003

Posted by: thaaad

5'9 and my Sight is a large and it feels great. I got to ride both a medium and extra large around. Large feels perfect. I also got to ride all 3 sizes (M, L , XL) of Optic and the large felt the best in that bike as well.

Edit - For more context all the Sights I rode were 27.5, and the Optics were all current gen so 29er.

At 5'10 I fit a L in 27.5 Sight too. But M in 29.

I guess it depends on where you ride too. For riding on the Shore I tend to get tangled up on long 29ers on tight steep turns.

June 15, 2021, 8:23 a.m.
Posts: 116
Joined: Feb. 16, 2013

Bike aside, I would not worry about the power with the Deore brakes. If they are 4-piston (and they should be on that bike), they are every bit as powerful as the XT brakes, they just lack the lever position and bite point adjustments.

June 15, 2021, 11:33 a.m.
Posts: 386
Joined: Feb. 11, 2004

Thanks all, I put a deposit (refundable) on the XL sight A3. It's really the only way to secure the bike to even be able to parking lot test it. They really don't even hit the shop floor, they are spoken for already. So it should be built up next week for a test ride. I've got a Squamish and Whistler trip planned for End of June so fingers crossed!

June 16, 2021, 11:39 a.m.
Posts: 124
Joined: Jan. 21, 2013

Renting is always an option to get a good,proper test ride. Ridehub in Squamish was renting Norcos last summer ... but it sounds like you've committed. That XL should do the trick.

June 16, 2021, 12:10 p.m.
Posts: 864
Joined: March 15, 2013

You're gonna love the Sight. I have been super happy with mine, by far the easiest new bike transition I've made.

June 17, 2021, 10:26 a.m.
Posts: 386
Joined: Feb. 11, 2004

Thanks guys. I managed to find a shop that had a L and XL on the floor (props to North Shore Bike Shop) and they let me parking lot test them back to back. The Xl felt totally fine, it's big for sure, but when standing and going down a slope it felt totally fine. Unfortunately that XL was an A2, out of my price range, so I'll wait for the A3 from Norco North Shore next week.

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