Sea Otter News: Norco Makes the Leap to Carbon

Carbon Sight model will be the first model...more to come

Words by Seb Kemp
Photos by Anthony Smith

One of the themes at the Sea Otter pits this year is the emergence of carbon fiber in the product lines of a number of smaller manufacturers. Kona, Turner, and Norco are all embracing the magic plastic. Norco has been making some very exciting bikes recently, so when we spotted a stealthy, black prototype front and center at their booth, we had to find out more. We sat down with Pete Stace-Smith from Norco and delved into the details surrounding this bike and Norco's future plans for carbon.

BIKE: So, Pete, what is the story about this mystery bike in front of us? There seems to be one obvious talking point – the material it is made from – but is there more?

Pete Stace-Smith: Yep, this here is the 140-millimeter travel Sight, a great trail bike that we have had in our range for a while, but now we have a carbon-fiber version. We are not changing anything about the geometry or suspension of the bike because that is dialed. All we are doing is making a carbon main frame and seat stays, while the link and chainstays will remain aluminum.

Carbon fiber meets aluminum. Norco chooses to mix up the materials just to make the lightest frame possible.

BIKE: What was your reason for going to carbon fiber?

PSS: Our whole goal with this was weight. We wanted to make it 25 percent lighter than the current aluminum bikes, and we achieved that with this prototype. Saying that, we found that we could use aluminum to make certain parts lighter. For example, the one-piece link can be machined to be lighter than a carbon one and the chainstays remain aluminum because we wanted durability.

A heavily-machined, aluminum link helps keep the weight down.

BIKE: So the bike we see in front of us is the Sight, but will Norco be producing more bikes in carbon fiber?

PSS: We are working on the carbon Range. We are working with our world Enduro team in Switzerland. They probably have some prototypes about now and so for the summer they will be racing and testing them. Hopefully the Range will be ready for 2014.

We will also have a carbon Revolver. The Revolver is a hardtail 650b bike. So just in the mountain platform we will have three distinct bikes in carbon fiber.

The carbon-fiber Norco Sight is beautifully sculpted and retains the familiar Norco headtube styling.