Pinkbike’s annual field test is the ultimate proving ground for bikes, and this year we had the 2020 Norco Optic C2
sent out to the team for their examination, which took place in the steep, technical and rocky terrain of Pemberton, BC.
With a 65-degree head angle and relatively long reach and wheelbase, the Optic's geometry numbers are a departure from what you'd traditionally expect to find on a bike in this travel bracket. But while it's not exactly the ideal machine for those awkward, slow speed chess matches that have most of us only dreaming of going dab-less, it does just fine on singletrack that the average rider would still consider enjoyable.
If you're still equating suspension travel with climbing abilities, the new Optic might not be the rapid ascender that you're expecting. But, consider it as a trail bike bent on making you laugh while snatching a few KOMs on the way back down, and the picture that Norco's painted makes much more sense.
Geometry rules all, and Norco nailed it with the Optic by using numbers that let you ride not just above its (impressive) 125mm of travel, but also like your only goal is to have as much fun as possible out there. After all, that's not a terrible plan.
Something else that rules: the Optic's rear suspension. It's efficient, but that's expected and boring. Less expected is how slippery and active it is for just 125mm of travel, especially at the top of the stroke. There's support, too, and neither Kazimer or I had any end-of-travel, end-of-life incidents when we clanged into the bottom unnecessarily. All of that is expected from a bike with more cushion, but it's not all that common from one with this little.
The Orbea Occam and Intense Primer both have more travel, sure, but it's the Norco that felt less skittish and on-edge during our timed testing.
In case you can't tell, the new Optic impressed everyone who rode it during our two-week-long Field Test session. It's also yet more proof that when your geometry is on-point, short on travel doesn't have to mean short on capabilities.
Check out the full review here: https://www.pinkbike.com/news/2020-field-test-norco-optic-short-on-travel-not-on-capability.html
Learn more about the Norco Optic here.