The annual Pinkbike Field Test for the Trail category wrapped up this week, with a round table discussion with of the publication’s tech editors and tester riders for the category: Mike Kazimer and Mike Levy. Ultimately the two were asked to pick one winner from the field of four bikes and the Norco Optic
came out on top, particularly for Mike Kazimer.
Here’s what Kazimer had to say about his winner:
The Norco Optic is my pick out of this batch of trail bikes, in large part due to how much fun I had aboard the green machine. I'm not sure what the unit of measure for fun is (Smiles per mile? Cackles per kilometer?), but my fun number was the highest on the Optic.
If I'm on a shorter travel rig I'm typically going to be heading out for longer, more pedally rides, and an engaging bike like the Optic makes it easy to squeeze the maximum level of enjoyment out of mellower sections of trail, with plenty of capability in reserve for when things get more technical.
The Optic's shorter chainstays and slightly steeper head angle help give it a more lively nature, making it the kind of bike that encourages you to goof off, to go for the bonus doubles and creative line choices. And don't forget about that rear shock – that Super Deluxe Ultimate DH took everything I threw at it without missing a beat, include laps in the Whistler Bike Park on trails I wouldn't typically consider riding on a 125mm trail bike.
At the end of the day, it's the Optic's high level of versatility that puts it on the top of my list for the trail category.
Mike Kazimer climbing the Optic up Pemberton's trail network that has unrelenting views of Mt. Currie.
Mike Levy was still torn between the Optic and another ride when the time came to name a winner, but he explained his reasoning as to why the Optic stood at the top of his list:
Norco has some modern numbers for the new Optic while also touting how they're focusing on where the rider's center of gravity is over the bike. Whatever they're doing, it's working; the Optic is a hoot to ride, and far more capable than you might think 125mm should ever be.
I just rode the Norco yesterday and holy shit was it a good time. They've done some serious wizardry to make 125mm feel this well-rounded, and the handling is out of this world. Put those two things together and you have a bike that's just as much fun toodling down a flow trail as it is taking questionable lines on sketchy singletrack or doing a five-hour epic. What more could you want from a modern trail bike?
To sum up their thoughts on the Optic in short, Kazimer wrote:
In the short-travel corner is the 125mm Optic, Norco's all-new reminder that geometry rules all. Those smart numbers, along with a sturdy build kit and suspension that does nothing but impress.
We covered their in-depth review of the Norco Optic here.
to check out the Norco Optic C2, which was used as the test bike in this series. For the full lineup of 2020 Optic’s, visit here.
To see the full Pinkbike article, follow this link.