When I was in Park City, Utah, for the Scott Bikes week showing the 2015 line, I was able to ride a 2015 Scott Scale 29er carbon hard tail in the 910 version.  The HMF carbon frame was quite a smoothie, the geometry was unique for a racing hard tail, and even with a very good but not fancy build of mostly Shimano XT, it still flew up the trail.  I was intrigued.  I am not really a fan of geared hard tails.  Singlespeeds?  Oh yes.  But ‘sit down and pedal all day’ hard tails?  Not so much.  There is no doubt that if the trail is smooth enough there is nothing that turns pedaling effort into momentum like a light hard tail.  Yes, something like the Scott Spark would be faster the rougher things get and it sure would be a back saver over long miles.  But no matter how good an FS gets it will still be at a slight disadvantage on smoother terrain, especially on non-technical climbs.

Despite this performance advantage, I have found most racy hard tails to be a bit nervous steering or to ride harshly enough to where, for me, the gains in pure pedaling performance do not outweigh the beat down as the miles add up.  And if it is not really light, like well under 25lbs, then I might as well ride something like a light Spark or a Specialized Epic.  And the hard tails that have been really light have just not fired me up when it came time to decide what I wanted to pull out of the garage for the day’s ride.  The promise seemed to be there, but the reality was never quite what I was looking for.

scale geo cut

The Scott Scale geometry is not common, at least not for XC stuff.  Slacker than most at a 69.5° HT angle, it promises to allow for longer days on technical trails with less stress on the rider.  As well this bike has a reputation for being a very compliant frame, and the HMX version we have is said to be even more so.  Now all this on paper would not have gotten me all that serious about getting on one for a review, but that ride in Park City changed that.  Another bike in this market, the Pivot Les, which c_g reviewed here, has similar geometry and what has been lauded as a very compliant ride, much like you would expect from steel or Ti, but without the weight penalty.  If the sampling I had in Utah was any indication, and I think it was, the Scott Scale should be very impressive in the same way the Pivot LES is.

So this will be a frame-up build with a parts spec that will be pretty high end, but not weight weenie.  The goal will be to build a fast, light, all-day 29er hard tail that will not be a nervous, high strung filly or a beat-ya-down composite hammer for young racers only.  Will I succeed in doing nothing but frustrating myself again or will it be what I hope it will be – a smooth riding rocketship suitable for long, fast training rides and endurance events?

Hang out while we find out together.


Note: Scott Bikes sent over their Scale 900 RC hard tail for test/review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.