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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello MTBR community! Newbie here, well not newbie but first post I guess. Looking for some opinions.

So I’m in the market for a new bike. I’ve never owned a 29er this would be my first one coming off of a Knolly Warden 27.5.

A little bit about me I am 5 10 and 215 pounds. I don’t ride as often as I’d like but usually about twice a week so I’m not exactly lance Armstrong when it comes to climbs. I mostly ride all mountain style with the occasional full enduro/dh (maybe 5 times a year) my favorite trails consist of some loose rocky sections with chatter. Not necessarily big hits, like there isn’t really any drops just mostly rocks, ruts and the occasional small boost jump.

Im looking for something that will ride great but still make it to the top without sucking all my energy (I know that’s what everyone wants) I come from a DH/dirt biking background so I definitely like to push it on the descents but I’m willing to give up some of the downhill fun in order to survive the climbs and be able to go on longer rides that my old 27.5 160 travel front and rear bike.

the bikes I’m looking at (and plan to buy within a week) are both used and both the same price.

2018 transition sentinel carbon stock GX build
but with upgraded e13 carbon wheels
lyrik rc with charger damper
fox dpx2
code brakes
the bike has been well kept and minor scratches or chips

and

2017 norco sight Carbon custom build
x01 components
guide ultimate brakes
lyrik 160 with push damper (stock comes with 140 fork)
super deluxe coil
onyx racing hubs (instant engagement)
bike is overall pretty good shape but shows more signs of wear vs. the sentinel

ALSO I demoed a sb130 cause it seemed to be pretty close to these bikes and I have to admit I wasn’t that impressed uphill or downhill to be honest.


Any info helps. Thanks.
 

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I am considering the Sentinel as well. My 5010 is a little under gunned on the black diamond trails. lol I think the Sentinel will work for a do all bike, I just do not know which model to go with. Alloy GX or Carbon NX? Anyway, I would go with the Sentinel, as it is in better condition. With pre owned bikes, do not get sucked in to the higher end parts before the overall condition of the bike, most importantly the whole bike lol good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That’s kind of what I was thinking but I keep tipping back and forth. The only thing I am worried about with the sentinel is the climbing capability. I actually think the seller is going to let me demo it and if so if I can make it to the top of my normal ride easier than my old bike than I will probably pull the trigger.

Still curious how the norco climbs though.
 

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high pivot witchcraft
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The Sight is a beautiful climber. Ultra comfortable climbing position and loads of traction in the tech. All day long. If you can’t clean something, trust me - you won’t be able to blame the bike.
 

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I absolutely love my Sight and it is the best all around bike I've ever had. Great climber and confidence inspiring downhill. I'm 5'9 and ride a medium, but could also fit well on a large. I have a 150mm fork.

Sent from my LG-H872 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Do you think it’ll still have good climbing characteristics with a 160mm fork. I know that changes the geo but I don’t know if it’s enough to drastically effect anything.
 

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The Sentinel should noticeably outperform your Knolly Warden on both the downs and the ups. It'll crush the Sight on the downs by a huge margin.

The Sight will just ride like a stereotypical old school 29er. A mile munching cruiser that can sorta do serious riding if you carefully practice technique, to merely clear features rather than rail them. Coming off a Knolly Warden and DH/dirt biking background, the sight will feel like an old man's ride.

How much are they anyways? Just curious, to compare to a Fezzari La Sal Peak.
 

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high pivot witchcraft
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The Sentinel should noticeably outperform your Knolly Warden on both the downs and the ups. It'll crush the Sight on the downs by a huge margin.

The Sight will just ride like a stereotypical old school 29er. A mile munching cruiser that can sorta do serious riding if you carefully practice technique, to merely clear features rather than rail them. Coming off a Knolly Warden and DH/dirt biking background, the sight will feel like an old man's ride.

How much are they anyways? Just curious, to compare to a Fezzari La Sal Peak.
With respect, having owned a 2018 Sight, I am unable to agree with this assessment.

As an aside, and while we can debate ulterior motives, idiot testers/editors, and other related issues, the 2018 Sight came out on top in terms of the Bible of Bike editors picks.


I would echo many of the comments in that review.

See also the following:

https://www.bikemag.com/gear/mountain-bikes/the-best-of-the-2018-bible/


In summary:

Travis Engel chose the Process CR/DL 27.5.

Nicole Formosa - Ibis Mojo HD4
Ryan Palmer - Orbea Rallon (Norco Sight 29 - Honourable Mention)
Mike Ferrentino - Orbea Rallon
Jonathon Weber - Norco Sight 29 and 27.5 (Santa Cruz Nomad also mentioned)
Kristin Butcher - Spot Mayhem and Ibis Mojo HD4
Lacy Kemp - Norco Sight 27.5 ("clear winner"); Honourable mention to the Ibis Mojo HD4
Will Ritchie - Evil Following MB (close runner up - Kona Process CR/DL 27.5)


Overall, they all seemed to really love the Norco Sight. So did I. Have you ridden it or are you basing your comments off a geo chart?
 

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I bet Stumpjumper owners would say the same thing if I told them their bike rode that way too. They were referred to the dentist bikes, since people often spent $$$$ on them to improve them before ditching them for new bikes. It's odd that they all blamed themselves, instead of the bike, for how poorly it rode out-of-the-saddle. That or they just spent 99% of the time in the saddle and defensively survived, progressively adapting themselves and their skill to the bike, whenever they had to get out of the saddle.

Ownership bias? The biggest problem with these bikes is they aren't built burly enough and their chainstays are too long (relative to the wheelbase). It takes an XL rider to feel at home on most of these, but they will notice the lack of burl most. Compare the Sight to the bikes in your sig, Mike.

The gravity/enduro-inspired 29ers are breaking out of the typical 29er stereotypes molds. The Sight isn't one of them. The SB130 in large is one of them. These make riding features that normally are said are better optimized for park/freeride/DH bikes and 27.5 wheels, like higher consequence drops and jumps, higher speed turns, etc. more effortless.

Honestly surprised that the OP wasn't that impressed by the SB130 (if demo'd in size L, rather than M). Maybe it felt so in tune with him, and he was expecting to be wowed by personality instead, that it flew under their radar. Or just felt like the ride matched the ride of the Warden, if demo'd in size M, and saw it as a mere side-grade.

P.S. I emphasize size, because CS length should ideally be tuned to the wheelbase (with geo change from susp compression considered), to get the front:rear weight bias dialed. The wheelbase changes every size, but the CSL doesn't on most bikes, so people tend to get mixed riding impressions based on what size they ride. Smaller sizes on traditional bikes have too much front wheel bias, which force riders to often shift weight back for everything, with high risk to send rider OTB. Larger sizes on gravity tuned models are better for shorties, but are too rearward biased for tall riders, which leads to understeer and risk of front wheel washout, but is rad since the it's a wheelie machine. The sweet spot between is hit by the Forbidden Druid that mike now rides, in all sizes. That is the huge difference, on top of the burly frame. A med SB150 or Process 29 153 might feel dialed, but a L might feel like it needs a more aggro rider (else a bit sketchy), and XL just feels too sketchy and make a tall rider feel unworthy of long travel bikes, and retreat back to short travel, since they fear the speeds and injury risk.
 

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high pivot witchcraft
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I bet Stumpjumper owners would say the same thing if I told them their bike rode that way too. They were referred to the dentist bikes, since people often spent $$$$ on them to improve them before ditching them for new bikes. It's odd that they all blamed themselves, instead of the bike, for how poorly it rode out-of-the-saddle. That or they just spent 99% of the time in the saddle and defensively survived, progressively adapting themselves and their skill to the bike, whenever they had to get out of the saddle.

Ownership bias? The biggest problem with these bikes is they aren't built burly enough and their chainstays are too long (relative to the wheelbase). It takes an XL rider to feel at home on most of these, but they will notice the lack of burl most. Compare the Sight to the bikes in your sig, Mike.

The gravity/enduro-inspired 29ers are breaking out of the typical 29er stereotypes molds. The Sight isn't one of them. The SB130 in large is one of them. These make riding features that normally are said are better optimized for park/freeride/DH bikes and 27.5 wheels, like higher consequence drops and jumps, higher speed turns, etc. more effortless.

Honestly surprised that the OP wasn't that impressed by the SB130 (if demo'd in size L, rather than M). Maybe it felt so in tune with him, and he was expecting to be wowed by personality instead, that it flew under their radar.

P.S. I emphasize size, because CS length should ideally be tuned to the wheelbase (with geo change from susp compression considered), to get the front:rear weight bias dialed. The wheelbase changes every size, but the CSL doesn't on most bikes, so people tend to get mixed riding impressions based on what size they ride. Smaller sizes on traditional bikes have too much front wheel bias, which force riders to often shift weight back for everything, with high risk to send rider OTB. Larger sizes on gravity tuned models are better for shorties, but are too rearward biased for tall riders, which leads to understeer and risk of front wheel washout, but is rad since the it's a wheelie machine. The sweet spot between is hit by the Forbidden Druid that mike now rides, in all sizes. That is the huge difference, on top of the burly frame. A med SB150 or Process 29 153 might feel dialed, but a L might feel like it needs a more aggro rider (else a bit sketchy), and XL just feels too sketchy and make a tall rider feel unworthy of long travel bikes, and retreat back to short travel, since they fear the speeds and injury risk.
Thanks man. I do love my Druid. Bike of a lifetime.

That said, I have owned 3 creations of Owen Pemberton (formerly of Norco, now of Forbidden) - a 2015 Range, a 2018 Sight and now, a 2019 Druid.

I am sure you know this but on each of those bikes, the CS length is proportional to the wheelbase. I didn't check but I think Norco calls it "Gravity Tune".
 

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The Sentinel should noticeably outperform your Knolly Warden on both the downs and the ups.
I rode with a guy who owns both and his comment to me was that the Warden climbed much better than the Sentinel, but the Transition was the better descender. That fits with my own experience climbing on Knolly's 4x4 suspension design.
 

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Thanks man. I do love my Druid. Bike of a lifetime.

That said, I have owned 3 creations of Owen Pemberton (formerly of Norco, now of Forbidden) - a 2015 Range, a 2018 Sight and now, a 2019 Druid.

I am sure you know this but on each of those bikes, the CS length is proportional to the wheelbase. I didn't check but I think Norco calls it "Gravity Tune".
Norco's CS length changes without clear reason. I look for fore-aft weight bias. I like ~60:40 (rear:front) weight bias. Traditional bikes have ~55:45 weight bias.

2015 Range
Text White Line Colorfulness Black


2018 Sight 29
Colorfulness Text White Line Font


2020 Revolver
Text White Line Font Colorfulness


Druid
Text White Line Colorfulness Parallel


I was tired of having too much weight bias on the front when standing (with heavy feet, light hands position), which forced me to compensate by getting my body weight back. Many AM bikes have 60:40 balance in size L, and many short travel bikes have 60:40 XL and XXL. Since WB shrinks for smaller sizes and CS length stays the same, these bikes end up having closer to 55:45... even worse for those on size S who end up with 50:50 weight bias.



Toilet Elbow Toilet seat Plumbing fixture Knee


The above pictures illustrate what the rider needs to do to compensate for the forward weight bias--they shift their weight rearward. Skilled riders do this on their dialed geo bikes, but they do it on steeps. The biggest difference is that their legs are more in line with the pull of gravity, so in reality it's more like they're staying centered and upright, it's just their bike that is pitching forward and back. Having the ride pitch back and forward is like purposely bucking yourself...

The reason why I don't go too rearward biased, is because the bike's more likely to understeer. This means that when turning, the bike wants to continue straight lining, and ends up going wide and/or drifting (possibly washing out).

The reason why many are fine with forward biased bikes, is because they just blame themselves for lack of skill, and see progress with skill as they adapt to the bike. They start at a much lower level, working on stuff that comes more naturally to those on a balanced bike.

P.S. these are the CS-WB proportions that I estimate gets ~60:40: 415/1150, 420/1170, 425/1190, 430/1210, 435/1230, 440/1250, 445/1270, 450/1300... notice how close the Druid nails these numbers. Take into account sag...
 

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Sentinel: newer design, better condition. The Norco Sight is a fine bike too, 2017 was the first year for this bike, lots of changes to make it ride better, but they're in a different category.

The Sight is a “down country bike” ( I just had to say it), whereas the Sentinel is an enduro bike. The Sentinel will smoke the Sight on a serious downhill, the Sight will be the more efficient climber and it’s probably lighter; carbon vs carbon.

For over all playfulness and for getting rowdy, the Sentinel is the real deal mid travel 29er.

Edit: the Norco build is kinda whacked, 160mm fork, 130mm travel frame, running a coil? I’m nix hubs are nice, but it’s just a hub. Based on that build and the reported wear, I suspect it’s been ridden hard.

You should be able to find a Carbon GX Sentinel for a decent price, 3k is fair for a 5k bike. Just make sure you stick with 2018 or newer; better geo.
 

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high pivot witchcraft
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Norco's CS length changes without clear reason. I look for fore-aft weight bias. I like ~60:40 (rear:front) weight bias. Traditional bikes have ~55:45 weight bias.

2015 Range


2018 Sight 29


2020 Revolver


Druid


I was tired of having too much weight bias on the front when standing (with heavy feet, light hands position), which forced me to compensate by getting my body weight back. Many AM bikes have 60:40 balance in size L, and many short travel bikes have 60:40 XL and XXL. Since WB shrinks for smaller sizes and CS length stays the same, these bikes end up having closer to 55:45... even worse for those on size S who end up with 50:50 weight bias.





The above pictures illustrate what the rider needs to do to compensate for the forward weight bias--they shift their weight rearward. Skilled riders do this on their dialed geo bikes, but they do it on steeps. The biggest difference is that their legs are more in line with the pull of gravity, so in reality it's more like they're staying centered and upright, it's just their bike that is pitching forward and back. Having the ride pitch back and forward is like purposely bucking yourself...

The reason why I don't go too rearward biased, is because the bike's more likely to understeer. This means that when turning, the bike wants to continue straight lining, and ends up going wide and/or drifting (possibly washing out).

The reason why many are fine with forward biased bikes, is because they just blame themselves for lack of skill, and see progress with skill as they adapt to the bike. They start at a much lower level, working on stuff that comes more naturally to those on a balanced bike.

P.S. these are the CS-WB proportions that I estimate gets ~60:40: 415/1150, 420/1170, 425/1190, 430/1210, 435/1230, 440/1250, 445/1270, 450/1300... notice how close the Druid nails these numbers. Take into account sag...
Ok. Fair enough. I would not pretend to have analyzed this nearly to the degree you have.

One thing for sure - the Druid is truly magical for me. After being disappointed one way or another with all my past bike purchases, I think I have finally found "the one".

It's usually about this time that **** has gone sour for me on a new bike purchase. I have figured it out and found its limits. Its weaknesses have come to the forefront. That's about when I get impatient and move on. With the Druid, it just keeps getting better and better as I keep figuring it out more and more.

After 25+ years of serious riding, I can do everything better on the Druid than any other bike I have ridden. Yeah, the downs are incredible (which I expected) but surprisingly, (for me at least), the cornering is fkn nuts. I can now rail berms with no braking. I lean that bike RIGHT over and it literally dances through tight turns in the trees. And climbing techy singletrack is next level. Hell, it seems that everything is.

I am in love with this bike --> I am riding more often and longer than I have in a long while --> I am in peak shape --> I am riding better than I ever have --> I am in love with this bike, etc. etc.

I CANNOT wait to wake up tomorrow, have a coffee, and get back out there. I have not felt this stoked ever. I'm finally there. It took forever and a small fortune, but I honestly think that I am finally there.
 

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What was Owen Pemberton credited for at Norco exactly? Seems like there's quite few people seemingly in charge of different things, based on the latest Norco interview featured at Pinkbike.

I was impressed watching videos of the Range 29's rear suspension action, such as in the bible of bike test coverage on it. The Range was glued to the ground, and from prior experience I knew that would kind of get polarizing impressions. That's what I consider suspension should be doing, but I understand it can suck the fun/challenge out of a trail. The Druid seems to hug the ground on a different level; maybe it sort of settles into a sweet spot between planted and poppy (modest bias towards planted).
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Alright so I took the Sentinel out this weekend on a very familiar trail (same one I demoed the sb130). I have to say that the sentinel isn’t the best climber which I expected BUT it’s not bad either. It got me to the top without too much fuss. I would say it’s at least as good as my old Warden. I had about the same time from trailhead to summit and I’ve been off a bike for a while now so I’m sure I can shave some time off that once I get back at it.

Now on the decent WOW, this bike rips. It’s everything I’ve wanted in a bike for my local terrain (chunky/rocky) I just set the sag and off I went. I felt very in control despite how dry it is out here. I know I can do more fine tuning with the suspension to get it even better which seems unreal because it was so nice already. This thing is like the lazy boy of bikes, she’s a little hefty & bulky but man it’s worth the comfort in my book.

I’m kind of bummed I couldn’t try the sight because I’ve heard great things but overall I think I’m going to be happy with my choice. I honestly was in this to get a bike that does up and down just as good but like I said this thing descends so good I just got hooked.

I really appreciate everyone’s input on the subject. I will report back after a couple more rides to see if anything has changed.

Thanks again everyone!!!
 

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high pivot witchcraft
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What was Owen Pemberton credited for at Norco exactly? Seems like there's quite few people seemingly in charge of different things, based on the latest Norco interview featured at Pinkbike.

I was impressed watching videos of the Range 29's rear suspension action, such as in the bible of bike test coverage on it. The Range was glued to the ground, and from prior experience I knew that would kind of get polarizing impressions. That's what I consider suspension should be doing, but I understand it can suck the fun/challenge out of a trail. The Druid seems to hug the ground on a different level.
Based on my reading, Owen Pemberton is primarily credited for the 2015 and onwards Range and, more recently, the Aurum HSP (which obviously bears a striking resemblance to the Druid, driveline-wise).

I owned the Range and now own the Druid. They are similar bikes in their ability to tame the gnar, and hold speed through square edged hits, although if the Druid is a 10 on this, the Range was a 7.5 (despite having 30 more mm of travel in the ass end). The differences though are plenty.

The Range had a freakishly high amount of AS and noticeable pedal kickback in certain situations (although that bothered me much less than others). The Druid has no pedal kickback that I can sense. Zero.

The Range was in fact a ground hugging, straight lining missile. The Druid CAN be that, but I am also in the air with it whenever I want. It's a blast to pop off natural features - something I was never really able to do with the Range.

Interestingly, I had a tough time doing that at first with the Druid (along with lifting the front end off the ground at lower speed). I don't know if it was because of the increasing wheelbase on compression, but it was a very foreign feeling. Now, it is second nature and effortless. I can get as much air whenever I want (and raise the front end with ease). I don't know whether that evolution has been because of my growing familiarity with the bike, suspension tweaks, or both.

Also of interest - with the Range, the rear tire would get hooked on square edged hits if the shock was not inflated pretty high - no more than 25% sag, and better if closer to 20.

The Range could be a sloppy mess on anything but downs. That could be due to how I had the suspension set up, although I will say that I constantly fiddled with that Rubik's Cube, SRAM, POS, product of the devil himself, suspension setup, oftentimes with the aid of a double ShockWiz, trying to find the optimum settings. I don't know if I was ever able to completely solve that riddle.

The Druid has been SO much easier to dial in. It took me no time at all, and I have no desire to fiddle with it at all. It feels absolutely perfect in all terrain.

While the Range was a bit of a squish bucket, the Druid is very compliant, especially at lower speeds. When things ramp up, the suspension seems to come alive proportionately. I never have any issues with Druid in any terrain, at any speed. It is an absolute joy to climb with (including, unlike the Range, the perfect riding position with the steep STA), ride tight rolling single track, and descend fast bermy new school terrain or old school gnar. The Range was good at maching the downs, in a ground hugging manner, and not much else (IMHO).

There is so much to say about the Druid. I am not yet aware of any shortcomings. It does everything extremely well. I just hope to God I do not break it or hurt myself trying to find its limits on the downs. It is so addictive to slam the downs on that bike as fast as I can possibly ride. Seeing the trees blur by while I am hammering down stuff, partially in the air, is just too intoxicating to let caution interfere.

EDIT: from a quick Google search, looks like Owen Pemberton is credited with virtually all of Norco's more recent trail, all mountain and DH bikes, including the Optic and Aurum, and everything in between.
 

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high pivot witchcraft
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Alright so I took the Sentinel out this weekend on a very familiar trail (same one I demoed the sb130). I have to say that the sentinel isn't the best climber which I expected BUT it's not bad either. It got me to the top without too much fuss. I would say it's at least as good as my old Warden. I had about the same time from trailhead to summit and I've been off a bike for a while now so I'm sure I can shave some time off that once I get back at it.

Now on the decent WOW, this bike rips. It's everything I've wanted in a bike for my local terrain (chunky/rocky) I just set the sag and off I went. I felt very in control despite how dry it is out here. I know I can do more fine tuning with the suspension to get it even better which seems unreal because it was so nice already. This thing is like the lazy boy of bikes, she's a little hefty & bulky but man it's worth the comfort in my book.

I'm kind of bummed I couldn't try the sight because I've heard great things but overall I think I'm going to be happy with my choice. I honestly was in this to get a bike that does up and down just as good but like I said this thing descends so good I just got hooked.

I really appreciate everyone's input on the subject. I will report back after a couple more rides to see if anything has changed.

Thanks again everyone!!!
Congrats! Now ride the hell out of it and let us know your thoughts as you discover more and more about it. Exciting times!
 
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