2014 Scott Spark 910: Out of the Box – by Grannygear
Unpacking the 2014 Scott Spark 910 took a bit of time as I had to do it twice. Yes, twice. The first time, based on the geometry charts and talking with the fine folks at Scott USA, I had a Large size bike delivered to my doorstep. Nope. That was a mistake as despite my best efforts the bike was just too small for me. At 6’2″, 34″ inseam and long arms, even with the 100mm stem and set back seat post it was cramped. I was an inch shorter than normal in the cockpit and for a XC/Endurance/Racy type bike that this Spark is, well that was not acceptable.
So an XL was next to my door and that has been a bang-on dead center fit for me. Based on how this went, I might suggest that the Scott’s seem to size a bit small as even the XL with a flipped to negative, 100mm, 10° stem I was not too far out there. Now that we had that figured out, we could move on. The 910 is a ‘half-‘caff’ approach in that the main triangle is HMF carbon (a bit lower level carbon construction compared to the HMX frames) and the rear end is aluminum. That puts the carbon where it really matters most and saves cost. The bike is good looking too with the house brand Syncros (part of Scott) bits and pieces including wheels, and the full kit Shimano XT group is a sweet, sweet spot to be.
From the Scott website:
The SCOTT Spark 910 boasts a super light HMF Carbon Fiber mainframe with an Alloy swingarm. Equipped with a custom FOX Nude shock, and our Patented TwinLoc technology, in combination with Traction Control, allowing for three travel/geometry settings to always optimize your ride. It’s the perfect partner for marathons, stage races, and all day fun.
Frame: SCOTT Spark 900 Series 29″ HMF Carbon
Fork: FOX 32 Float Factory CTD Air, 100mm
Shock: FOX Nude / SCOTT Custom/ 3 modes Climb – Traction Control – Descend
Group set: Shimano XT
Brakes: Shimano XT Disc
Parts: Syncros FL1.5/XR1.5
Wheels: Syncros XR2.0 29″
The suggested retail is $4849.99
Putting the stock bike on the fish scale of truth and justice (with XT SPD pedals) showed a 26lb/11.8kg weight. Not bad for an all around 100mm travel bike and it agrees with the official Scott claims. The Scott Spark has some unique technology in the way the rear shock mount ‘chip’ can be changed as well as the TwinLoc controls for both front and rear suspension. From the website:
The Spark employs an adjustable geometry by way of a shock mount chip in the linkage. By changing the shock mount chip–simply removing it and flipping it in either mounting position–you affect the bottom bracket height by 7mm, which also affects the head tube angle by 0.5 degrees. The Spark is the only XC/Marathon bike on the market that offers this feature.
So the bike can be tweaked by moving a “shock mount chip” that will affect head tube angle/seat tube angle/bottom bracket height and the TwinLoc allows us to change the suspension feel and rear travel while on the fly (full geometry chart at the bottom of this post). Interesting. From the website:
Our patented Twin Loc technology now offers simultaneous control of rear shock travel and fork lockout. The open position allows full travel, front and rear. One click switches the rear shock to Traction mode, while the fork remains fully active. Click again and rear shock and fork lock at the same time. No other bike in the world offers this user friendly system. Found on the Spark & Genius and Genius LT models. Only available for Nude2 shocks on 2013 or previous year models.
The Fox Nude rear shock is new this year, replacing the somewhat unloved DT Swiss rear shock from last year’s model. From the website:
Our new FOX Nude is the result of our successful partnership with FOX. The Nude project is a combination of both, SCOTT’s unique patents and technology as well as FOX’s suspension performance and experience. The goal was to create a rear shock that gains maximum performance in every riding situation while remaining lightweight. The FOX Nude works exclusively with our patented TwinLoc system and comes stock on both 27.5″ and 29″ versions.
This new shock is a completely new development with the most advanced air spring and damping system. It features positive air volume micro-adjust with replaceable volume reducers custom tuned for each model and size. Both travel modes have separate damper settings relative to their travel length and effective forces. When collecting data for the new shock project, we also calculated rider input data, including forces such as the rider’s gyro-scoping pedal stroke and its’ effects on the suspension. We simulated a rider’s pedaling and jerky motions made while pedaling or clearing obstacles, and measured their influence on the suspension. Many other designs assume that a rider is static and coasting, or they only include acceleration forces on the suspension and drivetrain. We are more concentrated on suspending the movement of the rider instead of negating pedaling forces.
The FOX Nude features a low profile rebound control and mode control pulley for uninterrupted access to water bottles. The lightest FOX Nude shock weight(6.5×1.5″) is 260g.
The rear dropouts are swappable for 142×12, 135×12, and 135x5mm to keep you ready to use most any wheel set you have around as long as it also does 15 through axle front. Speaking of the wheels, they are a Syncros house brand item made by DT Swiss. They are tubeless ready, being shipped with sealed tape in place and tubeless valve stems in the box. The rims are narrow at 19mm internal, but look good, what with the bladed spokes and nice graphics. The Schwalbe Rocket Ron EVO 2.25 tires should keep the rolling weight down. Although I did not strip the wheels and weigh them, I did grab the stock front wheel with the 180mm Shimano front rotor on there (Centerlock attachment) and with the tube still in it, it was less weight (by 5oz) than a front wheel consisting of the Roval Control Carbon wheel and a tubeless Geax Saguaro 2.2 tire. I converted the stock Spark wheels to tubeless in a few minutes using only a floor pump to set the bead. There was only a 1-2 oz difference after it was all said and done. So, with those light tires on there, that is a quite decent number of 3lbs-7oz (in case you are curious about the stock weight combo of the front wheel/tire assembly).
There are a lot of cables to manage, what with the TwinLoc control on the left perch. It is not a hideous tower of shame like the old Fox Shox control was but it does add clutter so it better work well enough to make all the trouble worthwhile. I will admit that I am skeptical. We shall see.
So that all done, we will be getting on this thing and riding it to see what Scott USA has going on here. There is really very little out there on Scott bikes, at least in the US of A. In Europe Scott is HUGE, but I have never seen a Scott bike while out on trail. I am curious about the geometry adjustment as well, so all in all this 2014 Scott Spark 910 has me rather intrigued. Stay tuned.
Note: Scott USA provided the Spark 910 for this test/review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being bribed nor paid for this review. We will strive to be honest with our thoughts and opinions throughout.