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E-MTB V Pedal MTB Comparison

A short while ago, I was fortunate enough to get my grubby little mits on a Norco Sight VLT from FTR. With the upcoming Boomerang Farm round of the Queensland Enduro Series I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to skip the inevitable long shuttle queue experienced on pre-race practice days and get in some quick laps on the race stages. Overnight rain had left the trails in prime condition and the mood was electric between my E-Bike buddies (FTR Race Team member Ryan Leutton and NSD owner Aaron Cairns) and I as we prepared for the morning ahead. After checking the suspension sag and setting up the cockpit I jumped on the big blue machine as we made our way out of the car park and up the fire road.

Shop Norco Sight VLT E-Bike For The Riders MTB Shop Brisbane

 

My initial impression was one of pure joy… I have never ridden up a hill so fast! The whir of the Shimano Steps motor and was going to be the soundtrack to our morning and with the power mode set to “Boost” the Sight VLT and I were making easy work of this climb. Thanks to the assist of the electric motor we were easily able to get up the climb in under 6 minutes whilst still being able to chatter away about what we were expecting these machines to descend like. After choosing our trail of choice for practice run #1 we all donned our goggles and dropped in. 

Shop Norco Sight VLT E-Bike For The Riders MTB Shop Brisbane

This is where the real surprise came. While I was expecting this bike to be a massive advantage up the hills, I did not anticipate it to also be a complete weapon on the way back down! The long rear end, low centre of gravity and increased frame weight of the Sight VLT all combined to give an inspired feel when descending, particularly as the trail got steeper and rougher. The harder I pushed, the more the bike rewarded me with traction and momentum. Following this was another hour and a half of practice laps where I found that the Sight VLT exceled on steep, rough terrain. The other side of the coin here is that I found the bike to be more effort on flatter, undulating terrain. The combination of the 25km/h assist cut-off and long wheelbase meant that the bike felt heavier than what I was used to on my pedal bike when I was left to do the work without the assist of the electric motor. 

Following 1.5hrs on the E-bike I decided I should jump back on my Giant Reign 29" and do a few laps to ensure I knew how the stages felt on my normal race bike. At first, I thought the brakes were dragging - it seemed my legs had really enjoyed having some assistance on the previous 90 minutes of riding. After struggling up the first climb I soon found my rhythm and went on to complete a hand full of laps. While I did prefer the familiarity my personal bike on the descents, I found myself yearning for that electric motor at the base of each climb.

Now, the rides by the numbers:

 

Norco Sight VLT

Giant Reign

Climb HR (Average)

156bpm

165bpm

Climb Time (1 Lap)

6 Minutes

13 Minutes

Ride Time

1:38:20

1:40:12

Ride Distance

20.50km

12.49km

Ride Elevation

1,317m

786m

 

As you can see above, I covered approximately double the distance on the E-bike at a lower heart rate!

 

Shop Norco Sight VLT E-Bike For The Riders MTB Shop Brisbane

I had an absolute blast spending a day out on the Norco Sight VLT. The combination of the motor, bike geometry and componentry led to one of the most fun days mountain biking in QLD I have had in a long time. Not to mention that the electric assist meant my legs were not completely fried at the end of it all. While not a replacement to my current bike, I could see myself getting an E-Bike in the future. The electric motor just opens so many opportunities, whether that is getting out and smashing your favourite trail loop in half the time or skipping the shuttle queue at your local downhill spot. Catch the fever!

Check out our E-Bikes here.

Words by Hayden Wright.