Norco has a broad selection of successful full suspension mountain bikes in its arsenal: the Revolver is a potent cross-country race weapon, the Sight is a good choice for aggressive trail riding, the Range will see you through the ups and downs of enduro racing, and the Aurum is a downhill demon. While Norco’s line-up hits many of the target markets, the company has lacked a critical player: the short-travel trail bike.
The all-new Optic is going to be a nightmare for the terminally-indecisive mountain biker coming, as it does, in your pick of 27.5in or 29er wheels. Add in carbon or alloy-framed variants and you’re spoiled for choice.
Norco is very keen to stress that the Optic may have two different wheel size options, but that it’s very much designed to be one bike. The project originally started as a geometry experiment, but it led Norco to believe that it could create machines that brought out the best attributes in both wheel sizes while retaining a common handling feel. According to Norco, which one you choose should come down to how you feel about the intrinsic properties of each wheel size.
Same, same, but different
Norco’s engineers managed to create this familiarity by matching key geometry numbers as well as suspension feel across the bikes. While the big-wheeler has a 120mm of fork travel and 110mm from the four-bar rear, the 27.5 bike has a 130/120mm split, with Norco saying that having a little less travel is masked by the roll-over ability of the bigger hoops.
29er versions come with 50mm stems, while the 27.5 models use 60mm stems
Something for everyone
Two wheelsizes, four bikes, two testers = one opinion
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