Scott bikes

Camp Scott at Deer Valley, Park City, Utah.

Scott Sports Rolls Out 2015 Bikes  – by Grannygear

“A year of consolidation and refinement.”  That was the phrase used by one of the Scott Bikes engineers as he introduced the 2015 changes to the MTB line of bikes.  Fine tuning, rather than great big leaps, was what we saw as the curtain was drawn back and the shiny goodies were unveiled.  Nothing wrong with refinement, especially since the Genius, Spark, and Scale line-up was already fresh and selling well.  We will not spend time on the more gravity rated Voltage AM/Freeride bike (freshly re-engineered around 27.5″ wheels) or the Gambler DH bike (also 27.5″, but can run 26″ wheels as well), but we will highlight a couple of 29″ bikes, one 27.5″ ringer, and some assorted accessories.

Scott Voltage

Voltage AM/Freeride bike

Scott Gambler

The Gambler

“What more people should be riding”:  Let’s begin with the Genius line and work our way along from there.  I am very familiar with the Genius 910 as we have one on long term test duty.  It is a bike I have come to appreciate for its darn near ‘do-all’ nature, although it is dead on as a general purpose trail bike.  But we all think to ourselves, “what would make my bike better?”  And I had thought that the HMX version of the carbon frame, which brings to the trail a lighter lay-up and an all carbon frame (front and rear sections), along with XX1 driveline and spiffy wheels would bring the Genius into the weight and performance class that would allow you to, especially with the Twin Loc control, consider endurance racing the thing or at least pull off some epic rides at a muy rapido pace.

And so we have the Genius 900 Tuned (and there is a Genius 700 Tuned as well as the Spark version shown below) hitting the showrooms for next season.  Scott shaved 90g out of the frames of the Genius line and the HMX frame of the Tuned model is 20% stiffer for the same amount of material compared to the HMF frame.  It was good to see the orange highlights as well, as the ultra-stealth treatment of the 910 Genius we tested was a bit too obscure and almost drab.  I do think I could do without the orange grips and saddle though.  Of note across the board is a Twin Loc system that is now integrated into the lock-on grip.

Genius 900 TunedGenius 900 TunedGenius 900 Tuned

Scott Spark 900 SL

Spark 900 SL

So XX1 drivetrain, XTR brakes, Syncros carbon hoops, full HMX frame…wow.  Quite the scooter.  And quite the price I expect, although we did not have that number at the press launch.  It was told it will be under 10 grand, but not by much I bet.  I spent some time on the trails of Deer valley on the Genius 900 Tuned and while it was in no way a test, it was a good sampling.  And what I found was a bit lighter, a bit more responsive, and a bit snappier ride.  No surprise.  Without getting one at home on familiar trails, I cannot really say if those changes got me to my dream trail bike, but a lighter, more responsive and zippier bike is pretty much always more fun, but at a higher cost per playtime.  Bikes are getting very, very expensive and I came away impressed with the 910 Tuned, but I was perhaps even more impressed with how well the Genius 910 I have on loan compares to it at a much lower cost.  Note the new Schwalbe Nobby Nic tread pattern on the front tire for the Genius 900 Tuned (last pic below).

Scott 900 Tuned

Scott 900 TunedScott 900 TunedScott 900 Tuned

Scott 900 TunedScott 900 TunedNew nobby nic

Next on the docket was a Scale 910 carbon (HMF) hard tail 29″er.  I had never ridden a Scott hard tail, but having recently tested the Fuji carbon hard tail, and having just raced on an aluminum 29″er hard tail, I was fresh with impressions of somewhat racy XC 29″ers.  I passed on the more gravity focused ski lift assisted trails and pedaled out with a co-journalist on a two hour XC jaunt on Mid Mountain trail.  Flowy, techy here and there and with some climbs too, the trail was something I would ride in my dreams.  I have been very curious about Scott’s approach to the build on their carbon hard tails, and from the first pedal stroke the Scale impressed me.  I think that Scott knows their way around carbon layups as the Scale made pushing any gear feel easier.  The frame was stiff enough and snappy feeling, yet the ride was surprisingly supple on 2.2 Schwalbe Rocket Rons.  The only downers here were the oversize seat post that was unyielding and the narrow Syncros saddle that seemed sized for 13 year old boys.  A 27.5mm seat post and a wider saddle would have made things downright cushy, in a rigid rear end kind of way, and low pressure tubeless tires would be even more so.  You could not get much bigger rubber inside the chain stays, but something like the American Classic Wide Lightnings and the 2.2 Rocket Rons would be killer.  A slackish head tube angle of 69.5° and chain stays at 438mm/17.2″ kept it calm in the rougher sections yet agile in tight turns.  I do not agree that high performance XC has to mean steep and nervous as far as geometry goes.  Dialed, it is, this Scale, for all day rides or fast efforts.

Scott scale 910

Scott Scale 910Scott Scale 910Scott Scale 910

Scale 900 RC

Scale 900 RC

I read with interest the test of the Pivot LES that c_g loved .  It had the geometry I am finding I like very, very much…semi slack in front, semi short in back, and long in the top tube. The Pivot LES has a reputation for a very compliant ride.  And while I cannot directly compare the two, I feel that the Scale hits those geometry and ride quality points as well and is a bit easier to find at a dealer near you.  I would love to see Scott offer this as an single speed frame in the HMF level and, although geared hardtails are not really my thing, this one has me thinking I could make room for it in the garage.  Super fun, even in the more financially approachable 910 level of spec.  I imagine the 900 RC  bike (shown above) is pretty amazing.  Actually I was more impressed with the Scale 910 than I was with the uber-Tuned Genius 900.  Surprise!


MTB Hall of Famer, Jimmy Mac cruises Mid Mountain trail.

The Ringer:  One more bike made the cut time wise and that was a Genius 710 with the 150mm travel and 27.5 wheels.  I wanted to try a Genius LT, but they were all taken.  However, being able to compare the 27.5″ Genius to the 910 (that I know well) and to the 900 Tuned I just rode the previous day would be quite interesting.  So I headed up the lift with Nic Sims from Scott and padraig from Red Kite Prayer and proceeded to chase Nic down a few of the middle level trails and although there were no double black diamonds involved, we still got into some ‘off the back of the saddle’ ledge drops and rooted corners.  Dropper posts…how did we ever ride trails like this without one?  I am always conflicted when I ride a longer travel (150mm) 27.5 bike on a trail like this.  I like them.  Very much.  And you know how much I like 29″ers, right?  What tilts a bike like this to my favor the most…the longer travel and typically slacker head tube angle of a 27.5 trail bike or the mid-size wheel?  Hard to say.  It’s a complete package, really.  What you give up in roll-a-bility with the 27.5″ wheels, you gain in a quicker turning, pop-pier bike.  As much as I am impressed with the engineering and execution of bikes like the Specialized Enduro 29″er and the BMC Trailfox, I have to say I would very likely go 27.5 if I was looking for a longer travel, more aggressive bike for tight, techy trails.  Fun bike.  I bet the Genius 700 LT at 170mm just rocks.

Other stuff:  We also looked at new helmets for the MTB side (as well as one road and one street helmet) that are engineered with the MIPS system (the yellow plastic insert built into the helmet liner in the pic here).  Designed to reduce the stress on the brain during the first milliseconds of an impact, MIPS may be heading to many helmet brands near you.  The helmet cost is increased because of this ($40.00 or so), and the benefit may not be apparent at the consumer level when the prospective buyer is standing in the LBS and making a financial decision.  The MRAS and MRAS2 adjustment dials on the helmets have also been refined with a finer ‘click’…32 clicks instead of 16 clicks in the range of the dial.  Shown below is the new ARX MTB+ helmet.

Scott helmet MIPS

Scott helmet ARX MTB+Scott helmet ARX MTB+Scott helmet ARX MTB+

Shoes, shoes, shoes.  Scott makes all kinds of shoes and the MTB line is pretty impressive, with a full range of shoes from touring to full on race.  They are built across three different lasts in three widths, as well as multiple stiffnesses.  The Ergologic insole system on the higher end shoes allow for fine tuning of the arch and metatarsal support.  Scott is using the latest BOA lacing system, called IP-1.  Now with all metal innards, the IP-1 dials also wind the same way, left and right sides. So now, for instance, to wind the reel up tight, you would turn the dial forward toward the front of the shoe regardless of what shoe it is, left or right.  Makes more sense than the old way where the dials turned opposite directions. From top to bottom, the Scott MTB Premium shoe, the Scott MTB Elite Boa shoe, and the Scott MTB Team Boa shoe.

Scott MTB Premium shoeScott MTB Premium shoeScott MTB Premium shoe

Scott MTB Elite BOA shoeScott MTB Elite BOA shoe

Scott MTB Team BOA shoeScott MTB Team BOA shoe

Scott bikes brought some very capable bikes to the trails for 2014, putting some of the awkwardness of the past behind them…DT Swiss rear shocks, etc…and for 2015 has continued with a wider range of spec in the high end Tuned 900 model as well as refinements across the range.  In the future I think you will see more Scott bikes on local trails and with good reason.