Scott Scale 900 RC HMX

I wanted to stretch out the review a bit to get a couple of other riders on it, Ed the Tall and Navy Mike.  Mike is still on the recovery trail from shoulder surgery, post-crash, so his time and efforts were a bit limited, but he was very impressed with the Scott Scale 900 RC HMX as he is a rider who loves a fast bike.  He also called out the Magura fork as, well, his words…” I loved the fork”.  I think he would have kept that frame had he not just bought a new house.

I also spent some time on the brakes after Ed the Tall had them and before Navy Mike got them.  I suspected something was up, especially with the front brake, as it just did not perform as I expected.  I sanded the pads F/R (the front looked slightly glazed) and cleaned the rotors with alcohol.  That seemed to help a lot and the brakes now feel like they are bedding in properly.  Perhaps the front pads/rotor got contaminated during the bleed process.  The rear brake is working as expected.



Scott Scale 900 RC HMX

From Ed:

Coming up with some words to sum up my experience aboard the Scale 900 RC has been a bit more difficult than I imagined. On paper this seemed to be a good match to my abilities, that of a reasonably strong cross-country rider with some experience in endurance MTB events. I’ve read most of the online reviews, and I agree with almost all the points made: great climber, surprisingly well-behaved on downhills and in high-speed sections, compliant, balanced, etc. So why is it that I came away feeling somewhat underwhelmed?  

 My first ride was a few miles of pavement to reach an 8-mile singletrack loop punctuated by a challenging climb and a couple of ridiculously steep and sharp switchbacks. What it lacks in rocks or technical features it makes up for by throwing a hard-packed, cratered trail surface defined by braking bumps and the unmistakable look and feel of horseback riders taking to the trail too soon after a rain. The Scale made great time going up the mountain. I came away impressed with the bike’s overall balance and sections of trail with cliffside exposure were no big deal. Going down, the bike cornered well and it felt quite nimble as I made my way through a couple of the tighter points on the trail. My only negative takeaway was the “In the end it is still a hardtail” realization; the body felt a bit worse for wear. Later rides were in terrain I felt better suited the bike; typical SoCal fireroad climbs along with a couple days spent at altitude riding forested trails.

Scott Scale 900 RC HMX

 Some individual items on the bike that stood out and deserve mention:

  •  The Magura TS8 R fork was a real highlight. It offered a supple ride and the chassis was plenty stiff. Definitely a highlight on this bike build.
  • This was my first time riding the American Classic Wide Lightning rims. The praise these wheels get is much deserved. They roll quite well, and the chance to run those lower pressures now has me figuring out a way to get a pair of these for my main ride. 
  • The Magura MT 8 brakes aren’t particularly well-suited to the long downhills I tend to ride. They modulate well, were quiet throughout the test period, but in the end just lacked in stopping power. (Note:  See above comments.  GG)

 For all intents and purposes, the Scott Scale 900 RC does everything it should, and does it well. My ambivalence towards the bike I believe is a function of where I’m going with my riding at this point. I’m doing fewer and fewer races, and the one I’m doing this year is on a “gravel bike” rig. I’ve turned a corner of sorts, and my thinking has come around to a view that the geared hardtail isn’t an “arrow” that I need in my quiver. Take me back a few years, and it’s a different story. This is a bike that I would have seriously considered owning.

 Ed the Tall


 Grannygear’s final musings:

chuck“When Chuck Norris gets in the water, Chuck Norris does not get wet.  Water gets Chuck Norris”. I love those sayings at Mr. Norris’ expense, although I doubt he minds very much.  But why bring that up?  Because that saying reminds me of how I have felt on all the carbon hardtail 29ers I have ridden.  Although they have varied in how compliant the frames were, and there has been a wide range in that regard, they all have left me with an impression of, well, I am not sure how to express it.

Un-yielded-ness.  Is that a word?  Likely not, and I am not sure if it really, truly is the right term in any case, but there it is.  In other words, there is a resoluteness about them that is less than fun when you are not trying to PR a Strava segment.  Now you have to expect that trade-off if the bike is called out as a high-end racing oriented steed, and this is the case with the Scott Scale 900 RC HMX.  It is unabashedly a bike you buy to go fast on.

In a way I am right there with Ed the Tall and we both came to this conclusion on our own.  As much as I appreciate the way the Scale rockets forward with any pedaling effort, and as much as it does seem like it gets better on rough trails the faster you go, and as much as it handles much more calmly than you would expect from a ‘race bike’, the experience left me feeling less than ‘in love’.  And I think that reflects my being largely done with the typical geared, go fast carbon hardtail as well.

I even have considered trading out of my carbon SS frame for steel or Ti, as those materials seem to be still quite viable for general trail riding, despite the way that carbon crushes all comers in many performance aspects.  Even when I was boxing up the frame, I was struck by how light it is.  That is hard to move away from, figuring that steel would be what…2 pounds heavier?  Maybe more?  Oh dear.  Strava would not be impressed.

So in the end, I will say that this is a great bike and is a compliment to any rider who is looking to make speed and acceleration a priority, yet have handling that does not require the reactions of a Ninja to stay on top of.  The components, especially the fork and the wheels, were stand-out pieces in the puzzle and as a whole it sang a fine melody.

I just think that my music tastes have changed.

Scott Scale 900 RC HMX

gg bio footer 2

Note: All the components shown here were sent 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.