For 2013 Norco actually has two All Mountain 650b bikes. The Sight Killer B has 140mm of travel and the Range has 160mm of travel. Being on the more "trail" oriented end of all mountain, it is no surprise that the Sight is a snappy handler that does well in all aspects of riding. It uses the FSR four bar suspension design but Norco puts their own take on it by using what they call A.dvanced R.ide T.echnology. The pivot locations are relocated a bit to increase the rearward axle path for increased square-edged bump compliance and it works. The 140mm of travel feels like 160 and the bikes geometry provides crisp handling characteristics.

In this video, Francis gives us his opinion about the Norco Sight Killer B and describes why it's his favorite.


The frame is hydroformed aluminum with very swoopy curves. The bike has a very low overall center of gravity which contributes a lot to its handling prowess and overall neutral balance (not front or rear heavy). The compact frame features very short 16.8 in chainstays and it is also low to the ground with a 13.3 in bottom bracket height. The head angle is also on the slack side, which is great for bombing downhill. Even when we switched to a 160mm front fork (which slackened the head angle even more) the handling was still responsive and not sluggish.

Here is some action video by one of our test riders who is using this bike and a 650b for his very first descent. He said he felt like a hero and he is buying one.


The Sight Killer B also climbs better than other FSR-type bikes due to the lower pivot that Norco uses in their A.R.T. version of the four bar suspension. The Sight suspension does remain more active than other designs ridden in our comparison, which may or may not be to your liking. But if you are the kind that likes to stand up and mash, you'll want to be sure you turn on the rear shock's climbing mode.


We were fortunate to have attended the world wide media launch of the Norco Sight Killer B this past summer and we have this video featuring lead engineer, PJ Hunton describing the development and technology that went into making this bike.


Where the 650b platform also shines is in the air. Often we hear riders who want something more nimble than a 29er for jumps and drops. We took this bike out to the Executioner trail on the North Shore and it revealed to us the promise of 650b. Here was a bike that had big wheels and tires with the Schwalbe Hans Dampf 650b's. And it was mated with a lot of travel with 140mm for the Sight. Yet through it all, we still had a bike that could handle the tightest trails and root-infested switchbacks. The Norco Sight Killer B also shows its Vancouver roots, as it provides a dynamic personality for those of you who like to air it out. Is 650b better than 29er in the air? Yes. Is it better than a 26er on the rocks and roots? Yes.

With a real world weight of 29.62 lbs, the Norco Sight Killer B was lighter than the other bikes in our test except for the two carbon models. Note as well that unlike all the other test bikes, the Norco includes chain guide from MRP.



One of the things that makes the Norco Sight Killer B rank so high in our comparisons is the quality of the parts spec. The Race Face carbon bar and Atlas stem gave nice feel and feedback. The Rock Shox Reverb is our favorite dropper post, currently. The mostly XT drivetrain (SLX front derailleur and cassette) worked great. The Norco also came with the best wheels in our comparison: Sun Charger Pro wheels with licensed NoTubes technology which were mated with Schwalbe Hans Dampf tires.



The Norco Sight Killer B is available in 3 models and price points. The B-1 is the top of the line version at $4985 with mostly XT components, RockShox Revelation RCT3 fork, Fox Float Factory CTD rear shock and Sun Charger Pro wheels. The B-2 is $3695 and has mostly SLX components, RockShox Revelation RL fork, Fox Float CTD rear shock, Formula hubs with Sun rims. The B-3 is a bargain at $2480 with mostly Deore components, RockShox Sektor TK fork, X-Fusion 02 RL rear shock, Formula hubs with Sun rims.

The Norco Sight Killer B is also the bike that comes in the most sizes. It is available in 5 different sizes: XS, SM, MD, LG, XL. Providing such a variety of sizes makes finding the right size for you much easier. Considering that a couple of other models in this comparison only come in 3 sizes, if you are on the small side or the very large size, the Norco might be the best option for you.


The only downsides we had with the Norco were minor. Aesthetically, the cable routing at the front of the bike looks a bit messy with the cables just pinned to sides of the down tube near the head tube. Also, the cable to the dropping post all the way to the bottom bracket looked a bit out of place as it bowed out when the saddle was down. Also, Norco is not as popular here in the US as they are in Canada, so it may be harder to find and test ride at a local bike shop that stocks Norco, but this is a problem we don't expect them to have for long, especially if they keep building such great bikes as the Sight Killer B.

Strengths:
  • Snappy geometry makes for a very nimble handler
  • Agile climber
  • Great parts spec
  • Available in 5 sizes and 3 builds
  • 2x10 gearing is ideal
  • The higher travel sibling called the Norco Range is on the ready
Weaknesses:
  • Messy cable routing
  • Norco dealers not always easy to find
  • Pivots are a not pretty with a big nut exposed on one side
  • The Sight comes in both 650b and 26er and we think the 26er is just a confusing distraction
Conclusion:
All of our testers agreed that the Norco Sight Killer B was a very snappy handler that was fun and easy to ride fast. It was extremely versatile and works great in a variety of trail conditions. Add in the great component spec and variety of sizes and you've got a winner!

For more information: www.norco.com



Related Links
650b/27.5 All Mountain Bike Round Up »
650b Bike User Reviews »
650b Discussion Forum »