There’s a conundrum that bike brands have had when it comes to modern XCO/Marathon bikes – either have great suspension or accommodate two bottles inside the main frame. SCOTT has just delivered the best compromise with a completely redesigned Spark that houses it’s rear shock inside the frame! Full details, images and videos here.

By Sean Badenhorst

In 2016, SCOTT made the most of (then-new) Boost width technology to re-orientate the rear shock on its Spark model from horizontal (beneath the toptube) to vertical (in front of the seattube). Since then, the Spark won a lot of races, including four XCO World titles an XCO Olympic gold medal; and the Absa Cape Epic – twice.

2022 SCOTT Spark RC900 World Cup XCO Race Bike

It also became one of the best-selling mountain bike models in South Africa, where well-designed full-suspension 29ers are in high demand. But while the Trunnion-mount shock design made it an efficiently suspended race bike, it could only accommodate one bottle inside the frame. That’s what motivated the Scott engineers to change things up a level and find a way to retain the Trunnion-mount suspension design AND include a second bottle inside the main frame. The result, the 2022 SCOTT Spark – a full-suspension 29er that looks like a hardtail…

Back in May 2019, it was reported that SCOTT Sports had ‘entered into a strategic collaboration’ with Bold Cycles, a small, innovative bike brand that won awards for its frame design of a full suspension mountain bike with the rear shock located internally. The perceptive will have known then that SCOTT would be using this to its advantage in the future.

And on 9 June 2021, that future arrived as SCOTT revealed its very different looking new Spark at an official launch in Leogang, Austria. Not only does the new Spark feature an internally housed rear shock, with 120mm of travel, it also features a redesigned cockpit that cleans up a traditionally busy web of cables due to its proprietary – and also redesigned – TwinLoc remote suspension adjustment system.

It’s natural to double take when you first see the new Spark because it really does look like a hardtail. How well it functions will be seen this weekend when the SCOTT SRAM Racing Team riders unleash the new bike at Round 3 of the 2021 Mercedes Benz UCI World Cup. But apparently Nino Schurter was already putting it through its paces in Stellenbosch in February this year.

“From a South African perspective, demo stock will be in the country from late August 2021 and the first of the sales stock will arrive in mid-September 2021,” said Joggie Prinsloo, Brand Manager Scott Sports Africa. “That makes it in time for those keen to do the 2021 Absa Cape Epic on the most advanced full-sus 29er technology.”

“With the 2022 Spark, we are not just introducing a ground-breaking internal shock design on a full-sus bike. SCOTT is all about innovation and our motivation is on integration. Besides the integrated rear shock, which allows for two bottle cages inside the frame, the new Spark also includes market leading integration of cables through the headset/handlebar, the Torx tool in the rear axle lever and the multi-tool embedded in the downtube bottle cage.

“We want South Africans to experience this integration and technology first hand and will announce our demo programme – to be done in conjunction with our SCOTT our dealers and selected events – in the near future,” added Prinsloo.

Below is content supplied by SCOTT…

Integrated Suspension Technology

For the optimal performance of a suspension shock, power transfer must be the most direct possible. What we want to avoid are any inefficient directional movements, in other words, lateral movements (sideways to the direction of travel) as the shock goes through its compression.

Having an integrated shock allows us to improve this in several ways. Firstly, the frame construction around the shock and with the trunnion mount can be designed to be much more rigid, reducing movement and fostering more efficient power transfer. We can also add much larger bearings to the seat tube pivot, further reinforcing this area and reducing any unnecessary motion. Our Integrated Suspension Technology also helps us to engineer frames with a lower shock placement which lowers center of gravity. As a result, the bike benefits from better handling, and a more stable, confidence inspiring ride for the end user.

SYNCROS Fraser iC Combo

The New Spark features an all-new Fraser iC combo from Syncros. Integrating the cables presents a number of unique problems and the Fraser was designed in part to address this. Syncros’s designers worked on the shape to allow the cables to flow under the bar and around the sides of the stem before disappearing into the headset with integrated plastic parts to keep it clean and efficient. This avoids bends or kinks in the cables and provides a minimalist front end. All our bars and stems feature multiple options for computer, light and camera mounts both on top or under the bar.

The ALL-NEW Spark Range – RC vs. 900
There are 21 Spark models to choose from. Each model comes standard with a dropper seatpost and 1×12 drivetrain. The range is split into two categories, the XC-race oriented RC, and the short-travel, trail oriented Spark 900.
While both categories of Spark utilise the same frame, the bikes have many differences. Compared to the Spark RC, the 900 comes with a more trail oriented spec: a larger shock, a longer travel fork, wider bars, trail focused tyres.

2022 SCOTT Spark 900 Tuned Trail Bike

Alloy made the switch too…
It’s one thing to have these levels of technology and integration on carbon bikes, but we wanted to make sure to offer the same benefits throughout the range, including the alloy models. The Spark 950, 960 and 970 all have the same great features as their carbon siblings, but at a fraction of the price. 

2022 SCOTT Spark 970 – the base model

Contessa Spark RC & Spark 900
Completing the roaster of the all-new SCOTT Spark, a dedicated range of  Contessa models will be available. There are 4 women’s specific models on offer of the all new Spark – and RC model, and three 900 models. Each of these have women’s specific touchpoints, and custom fork and shock tunes for lighter riders. 

2022 SCOTT Constessa Spark RC World Cup XCO Race Bike

Detailed pricing will be made available soon but expect the base-model Spark 970 to retail for R45 000 and the top-end RC World Cup EVO with SRAM AXS to cost R249 995.

For more on the 2022 Spark RC, click here.

For more on the 2022 Spark 900, click here.

Watch the video on the new SCOTT Spark here.