Table of Contents

Norco Sight VLT A1 Review (2024)

Norco Sight VLT A1

Table of Contents

Norco has come out fighting with this downhill-focused e-MTB.


They’ve pitched the price point for this bike far lower than much of the competition – with many top downhill electric mountain bikes costing $10,000 or more.


So undercutting by nearly $5,000 is a gamble and questions have to be raised about whether corners have been cut on the Norco Sight VLT A1.


It’s a very competitive section of the market and if Norco pulls it off, they could have one of the best value-for-money downhill e-MTBs we’ve ever soon.


Do they manage to pull it off?


Let’s find out in our Norco Sight VLT A1 review…

Our Verdict


The Norco Sight VLT A1 is the best downhill electric mountain bike you can find on a lower budget.


It competes well with some of the big names, which cost double the price or more.


With a huge battery, plush suspension, and a powerful motor – it can climb and descend like a beauty.


It’s made for the gnarliest terrain, with bags of travel and a decent level of playfulness.


There are a few areas to improve, such as the unnatural power delivery and the motor display – but overall, it’s a complete bargain for just over $5,000 with the largest battery.



Norco Sight VLT A1 Review

Norco Sight VLT A1 parts

Price: $3,899 (battery costs more, varying sizes available)


The Norco Sight VLT A1 is an aluminium framed, downhill-capable, e-MTB, which punches well above its weight for its price.


It is featured in our best electric mountain bikes 2023 guide, a real coup for what can be considered a budget bike.


Part of its success is due to the playful frame and aggressive geometry, which allows the bike to bridge the gap into the world of technical terrain.


The aluminum frame does bring extra weight though, with the Norco Sight VLT A1 weight coming in at 25.2kg (in the large battery size).

ℹ️ It does take a little taming, particularly for a lighter rider, so we would recommend it’s better suited to a stronger person.

For people who can harness its power and weight, the bike performs brilliantly – particularly in the descents.


It’s very capable when things get challenging on a trail and the frame has enough durability to take hits without so much as a whimper.


It comes in 4 frame sizes – small, medium, large, and extra large.


You can choose between three battery sizes on the Norco Sightly VLT A1.


At the point of purchase, you can select which one you fancy having – with the smaller one reducing the bike’s overall weight and the largest bringing the bike’s weight to 25.2kg.


The battery sizes vary – a 540Wh, 700Wh, and the largest is 900Wh.


These give you varying ranges – we managed well over 120km on the flats with the 900Wh battery, which we tested in this review, and around 70km with more than 3,000m of climbing.  


That’s outstanding performance for a bike weighing more than 25kg and the 900Wh battery released its power conservatively.


For most riders that’s a nigh on all-day riding potential and we found it offered enough for our needs.


The company claims the 720Wh battery can push out around 50km, with close to 3,000m of climbing, and around 40km with 2000m of climbing on the 540Wh battery.


The prices vary for each battery – the 900Wh costs an extra $1,299 on top of the bike price, the 720Wh is $1,099 and the 540Wh battery is an extra $899.


If you’re wondering how long does it take to charge a Norco Sight VLT battery? The answer is around 6 hours from empty for the 900Wh, four and a half hours for the 720Wh, and less again for the 540Wh.


The Norco Sight VLT A1 comes with a Shimano Steps EP8 motor, which can emit up to 85Nm of torque.

Shimano EP8 motor

It isn’t our favorite motor available on the market, but you can’t deny its power – it offers a ferocious kick, which helps drag that 25.2kg bike up challenging climbs without any difficulty.


It actually feels composed going uphill and its aggressive geometry allows you to feel reasonably nimble to take on technical ascents.


It’s far from perfect though – the power delivery can offer quite a nasty lag, which doesn’t make it the most natural feeling.


For a less experienced rider or a lighter rider, the power delivery could be a little tough to handle, but for a more confident or stronger rider, it shouldn’t be a problem.


Range anxiety isn’t an issue either – particularly when using the 900Wh battery – so you can feel confident to hammer the assistance throughout the ride.


There are 3 modes of assist – Eco, Trail, and Boost – they offer enough power variety to cope with most challenges, but the unnatural delivery remains.

Motor Display

Shimano EM800 display

The display on the Norco Sightly VLT A1 is a real issue for us.


The Shimano EM800 has one major problem – it displays the amount of battery life left as 5 percent lights.


The 20% increments are far too broad to get an accurate gauge of how much battery life you have left.  


That’s unnecessarily stressful, however, due to the big battery size and conservative power release, it softens the blow.


On many bikes, the display causes problems and can catch you out if you aren’t careful.


The display is far too simple for what we expect in this day and age.


Fox Rhythm FLOAT 36

The suspension setup on the Norco Sight VLT A1 is an impressive feature.


You get a burly 160mm of travel at the front end and 150mm at the rear – which allows you to take on some of the wildest terrain out there – from gnarly, woodland downhill lines, to jump parks and the big drops.


It’s fitted with FOX Rhythm 36 forks and  FOX Float X2 Performance Elite Shocks – it’s a strong pairing, which we’re surprised to see on such an affordable e-MTB.


An all-out downhill capable e-MTB often costs a heck of a lot more, yet the Norco Sight VLT A1 offers challenging trail capability for around the $5,000 mark.


The set-up offers a lot of give, which gives you confidence when flying hard and fast downhill, but it can feel a little spongey on the climbs as a result.


Fortunately, the powerful motor takes the edge of the sponginess, but it isn’t as proficient on the climbs as some bikes with a lower amount of travel.


Certainly a set-up to admire though and you can’t knock its descending ability.


e*thirteen LG1 DH, 32H, 29"
Maxxis Assegai 2.5" 3C MaxxGrip/D/TR/WT

As you would expect from a downhill-orientated e-MTB, it has a pair of 29-inch wheels at either end.


These help soak up impacts when things get lumpy and offer a good level of traction to keep you steady on the trail.


You need a high surface area to maintain enough bite into the dirt when you’re pushing things hard into the corners.


The wheels are provided by e*thirteen, with their LG1 downhill models fitted – they’re durable and reliable – and there’s a pair of Maxxis Assegai tires on there too.


The tires have a toothy tread pattern, which fight well when things get challenging in the corners and they lend themselves to be pushed hard – just what you need from a downhill bike.


Shimano BR MT520

The Norco Sight VLT A1 is fitted with a pair of Shimano MT520 brakes.


There are better Shimano models out there, but to keep the overall price down, Norco has gone with a middle-of-the-road model.


They offer just about enough to cope with the demands of the bike, but they are certainly an area we could identify for improving.


The brakes can sometimes feel a little slow to act and there’s the ever-so-slight feel of slippage when you’re moving at the highest pace.


We have no issues with the 12-speed Shimano SLX drivetrain on the bike – it offers pacy enough shifting to cope with the demands of downhill riding and it’s durable too.


It could be slightly better tuned in its performance, but for the price you’re paying, we think it's enough to do the job.

Price – $3,899 (before battery choice)

We’re mightily impressed with the bike that Norco has managed to produce for the low price tag.


When you add on even the largest battery, it only comes in at $5,198 – and that gives you a downhill bike, which can compete with models twice its price.


It performs well downhill, can be taken to some very rowdy terrain, and offers other excellent features too.


There are one or two areas we aren’t happy with, such as the display and the unnatural power delivery, but the former of those is an easy (non-expensive) fix.


It’s a steal at this price.

Norco Sight VLT A1 Facts & figures

Size configurations

WHEEL SIZE29"29"29"29"
SEAT TUBE LENGTH395415440455
HEAD TUBE LENGTH100110120130
TIRE SIZE2.35" – 2.6"
WATER BOTTLE COMPATIBLE1 x 620 mL1 x 750 mL2 x 620 mL or
1 x 750 mL
1 x 750 mL and
1 x 620 mL

Full Specs

FrameRear ShockSuspension Fork
Aluminum, 150mm Travel, UDH, Hangerless Interface Compatible, Ride Aligned™Fox FLOAT X2, Performance Elite Chassis, Custom Factory-Level Spec & Tune, 210x55mmFox Rhythm FLOAT 36, 160mm Travel, 44mm Offset, E-Rated
Rear ShifterRear DerailleurCrankset
Shimano SLX SL-M7100Shimano SLX RD-M7100Shimano FC-EM600, 34T, 165mm
Shimano SLX CS-M7100-12, 10-51T, 12 SpeedShimano SLX CN-M7100
Front BrakeFront Brake RotorRear Brake
Shimano BR MT520, 4 Piston, Metallic PadsShimano RT-64, 203mmShimano BR MT520, 4 Piston, Metallic Pads
Rear Brake RotorBrake Levers
Shimano RT-EM600 203mm, Integrated Sensor MagnetShimano BR MT520
Butted 6061 Alloy, 800mm, 25mm RiseCNC Alloy, 40mm Length, 35mm ClampTranzX YS105 Dropper, 34.9mm, 125mm (S), 150mm (M), 170mm (L), 200mm (XL)
Dropper LeverHeadsetSaddle
Norco Dropper LeverFSA No.55R-1 Sealed BearingErgon SM-10 E-Mountain Sport
DMR DeathGrip A20 Soft, Thin (S, M), Thick (L, XL)
Front HubRear HubRims
Shimano Deore HB-401, 15x110mm Boost, Center LockShimano Deore FH-510, 12x148mm Boost, Micro Spline, Center Locke*thirteen LG1 DH, 32H, 29"
Front TireSpokes / NipplesValves
Maxxis Assegai 2.5" 3C MaxxGrip/D/TR/WTDT Swiss Stainless Butted Front, Alpine RearTubeless Presta
Stan's - 200ml
FSA Comet 35
Fork steer tube diameter: 1 1/8"
Clamping diameter: 35,0 mm
FSA Comet Alloy 35 Riser
Width: 760 mm
Rise: 25 mm
Canyon Lock-On
Shimano SC-E7000Shimano Steps E7000
Shimano STEPS EP8Removable. 900Wh, 720Wh and 540Wh Options.

How Does it Compare?

We’re going to compare the Norco Sight VLT A1 to another downhill ride, which is featured in our Best Electric Mountain Bike 2023 guide as well – the Santa Cruz Bullit 3 CC MX X01 AXS RSV.

Firstly, the Santa Cruz costs double the price of the Norco, even with our largest 900Wh battery on – the Santa Cruz comes in at $10,499.


For that, you get a carbon frame and it’s lighter than our Norco, at 22.32kg over our 25.2kg bike – that makes it easier to handle and lighter to play around with.


However, our Norco offers far more in the battery department, with just short of 300Wh more and that offers us far more range.


The motor pairing is exactly the same – with a Shimano EP8 on both, which have the same issues, with the unnatural power delivery.


The Santa Cruz’s suspension is superior, with 170mm of travel at both ends and a higher spec FOX set-up. That allows the bike to tackle even gnarlier terrain than our already well-accomplished Norco.


The SRAM Code RSC brakes on the Santa Cruz are on another level compared to the Shimano brakes on the Norco and the SRAM X01 Eagle AXS drivetrain is also far more highly tuned compared to our lower-spec Shimano gearing.


At double the price, you’d expect the Santa Cruz to have higher-spec components and it does in many areas. However, the battery size is inferior to our Norco and the motors remain the same.


Unless you’re an elite-level rider or a very serious amateur, then many people wouldn’t be able to tell a huge amount of difference between the two bikes.


Both are excellent in their own right – it just comes down to your budget and experience level for these two.

Final Thoughts

The Norco Sight VLT A1 is a tremendous downhill e-MTB for the price.


It can take you to some of the wildest terrain and keep you going all day long thanks to that enormous battery.


It’s why the bike is featured in our Best Electric Mountain Bikes 2023 guide – there isn’t another downhill electric mountain bike that is this cheap and performs so well.


There is room for improvement and it isn’t perfect, but it still remains a complete showstopper for the crew at Norco.


This is an e-MTB you absolutely have to ride, so get out here and hit the pedals.

Along with featuring in our Best Electric Mountain Bikes 2023 guide, the Norco Sight VLT A1 also featured in our Best Entry Level Electric Mountain Bikes guide & our Best Electric Mountaim Bikes Under $4,000 guide.