First-tier bicycle brands are brands that invest heavily in innovation. These brands lead with new designs and fresh, cutting-edge technology. Few brands can claim to have been as influential as SCOTT, especially in the highly dynamic mountain bike segment. Not content to rest on its laurels, SCOTT has now moved the full-suspension mountain bike bar for innovation, design and technology even higher with the launch of its new Spark. Here are 11 reasons a SCOTT Spark should be your next mountain bike.
Paid partnership with SCOTT Sports Africa
SCOTT didn’t just update it’s highly successful Spark, it completely redesigned it to deliver the most advanced full-suspension mountain bike there is, taking integration, efficiency, performance and aesthetics to a level unmatched in mountain bike design. Here are some of the advanced features:
Rear suspension likeyou’ve never seen…
Integration has been a key focus for SCOTT and nothing confirms this better than the new integrated rear shock. When SCOTT changed the orientation of its rear shock on the Spark from beneath the toptube to against the seattube (in 2016), it was the result of research showing that location is more efficient. The addition of Boost width wheels and bottom bracket ensured there was sufficient space and adequate stability for a Trunnion-mount shock. With the new Spark, SCOTT not only retained the Trunnion-mount shock, but integrated it into the seat tube with greater fortification which doesn’t just support the existing efficient suspensionaction, but actually improves it.
The integration of the rear shock puts the new Spark in a class of its own.
While most brands are focussing on 100mm travel for their marathon/XCO full-sus bikes, SCOTT took a few steps forward and boldly specced 120mm of rear travel as standard. This additional suspension travel would normally be considered unnecessary for marathon/XCO bikes because it would add weight. But SCOTT’s engineers were able keep the weight to under 2000 grams for the two premium carbon layups (HMX-SL at 1870g and HMX at 1999g); and 2150g from the third layup – HMF. Adding to the increased travel is the custom tuning of the shock to give the rider buttery-smooth small-bump sensitivity and superb mid-travel support. It’s a highly effective rear suspension system that delivers consistent premium performance and not just rear-end ‘give’.
The rear axle lever tool can tighten or loosen almost every bolt on the bike.
SCOTT’s engineers have perfected the art of carbon craft when it comes to bicycles. Through a combination of scientific and real-world testing they have established which areas of a bicycle frame require strength and stiffness and which can be super light. This led to the new Spark having two distinct carbon zones – The Lightweight Zone and the Stiffness Zone. The Stiffness Zone is low down and forward and incorporates the headtube, downtube and chainstays. The Lightweight Zone is higher up and incorporates the toptube, upper seattube and seatstays. The seamless combination of these two zones delivers a frame with the ideal combination of characteristics optimal control, comfort and performance. Not only is this carbon crafting functional, it also looks beautiful.
Not content to stop at crafting carbon perfectly for the new Spark, SCOTT has also ensured the same bold design carries across to its aluminium models. Despite the challenge of integrating the shock into an aluminium frame, SCOTT has been successful by using advanced forming and pressing techniques – in line with the lengths a first-tier brand goes to in order to achieve a desired design outcome. All SCOTT Spark owners get the benefit of the new innovation and technology, from the base model Spark 970, which will retail from R45000.
With ample frame clearance, the new Spark can comfortably run 2.4-inch width tyres.
South Africans in particular will appreciate that there’s now the ability to accommodate two bottles inside the main frame. The integrated shock has made it possible to add a bottle cage against the seattube. Having already achieved optimal suspension efficiency with its Trunnion-mount shock in 2016, SCOTT didn’t want to change this optimal design to accommodate a second bottle, so it changed the frame design to be able to achieve both, ensuring SCOTT Spark owners don’t need to compromise and can have it all.
Simply by switching the orientation of the headset cups, new Spark owners can adjust the bike’s geometry by 0.6 degrees. There’s no cable-cutting or brake-bleeding required – simply remove the bar/stem turn the top and bottom headset cup 180 degrees and replace the handlebar. This this allows you to change the default headtube angle from 67.2 degrees to 66.6 degrees on the Spark RC and from 65.8 degrees to 64.6 degrees on the Spark 900. This pushes the front wheel slightly further forward which offers increased control and confidence on steep descents.
The accommodation of two bottles inside the frame is a key feature for South Africans.
Gone are the days of external cables on a full-suspension mountain bike. Well for owners of the new SCOTT Spark anyway. The rear brake hose, derailleur cable, dropper seatpost hose and rear shock cable are all channelled through the downtube from the handlebars. The one-piece handlebar/stem presents the new Fraser iC design from Syncros, which channels the cables and hoses under the bar and into the headtube. Not only does it look clean, it offers better cable ‘flow’ which eliminates unnecessary bends and kinks.
Launched in 2010, TwinLoc is SCOTT’s proprietary remote suspension adjustment system that works by connecting the shock, fork, and ultimately the frame via a handlebar remote. With the remote, the rider has the ability to choose from three ride modes, Descend (120mm), Traction Control (80mm) and Lockout, effectively changing the bikes geometry, suspension damping and spring curve simultaneously. TwinLoc ensures the rider gets to decide when to save energy and when to optimise control on any terrain.
Using advanced forming and pressing techniques, SCOTT has been able to ensure the same integration technology is available in more affordable aluminium.
Dropper seatpost as standard
Instead of speccing only it’s more expensive models with a dropper seatpost, SCOTT has added this increasingly desired feature to its entire new Spark range. With race routes becoming more technical and steep and trails becoming more focussed on being stimulating rather than just long-distance toil routes, a dropper seatpost puts the rider in a great position of control on steep declines and through twisty, technical turns. In keeping with its quest for integration, SCOTT has incorporated the dropper seatpost remote switch with the TwinLoc remote switches in easy reach of the left-hand thumb.
For more than a decade, the SCOTT Spark has been the most successful bike in international XCO and Marathon racing, including multiple XCO World Cup rounds, multiple World Cup Series titles, multiple European Championship titles, multiple World Championship titles, multiple Olympic gold medals a multiple Absa Cape Epic stage wins and overall titles. SCOTT designs and builds fast, world-beating bikes. Period.
The sag setting on the new internal shock is easy to manage and there are now sealed bearings on the all the suspension pivots.
Price, range and support
SCOTT Sports Africa has secured a large order of the new SCOTT Spark to arrive in late August 2021. The first models to land include the Spark 910 and the Spark RC Team. SCOTT’s ground-breaking new Spark frame is available across a range of models that in include three levels of carbon, a combination of carbon and aluminium and all-aluminium.
Although it’s a premium brand, SCOTT has managed to absorb production and import costs to ensure a low impact on the South African market. The base-level full-carbon model is the RC Comp which will sell for R69900.
The SCOTT RC Team is one of the first models arriving South Africa.
When can you buy your new SCOTT Spark?
“One of our objectives with regard to pricing is to make sure that every mountain biker will be able to enjoy and benefit from the new Spark’s features and technology,” said Joggie Prinsloo, SCOTT Sports Africa brand manager.
“An online platform will be launched soon to ensure you can back-order one of the first Sparks arriving in South Africa, but the first batch of new Sparks arriving in August 2021 will be Spark 910 and Spark RC Team.
What about the servicing?
“The new platform has changed the bike dramatically. We are in the process of educating all the technical staff, both at SCOTT Sports Africa and the South African SCOTT retailer network to service the new Spark before its arrival. So the new Spark owners will have the confidence that that not only are they investing in the best new full-suspension mountain bike technology, they’re getting the first-class backup to match,” said Prinsloo.
For more on the new SCOTT Spark, click here. https://www.scott-sports.com/za/en/spark-rc
Paid partnership with SCOTT Sports Africa