Press Camp – A week in Sun Valley Part One: Scott Bikes

p1010719.jpgPress camps have always been great places to get to know people in the bike industry, learn about their products, and decipher their company vision. The fact that they usually take place in exotic locales is not lost on the media either. But camp scheduling has been becoming time-problematic for our small staff lately, and with many bike companies scheduling their camps at the same time (In June), it’s difficult.But Lance Camisasca, the former director of the Interbike trade show, had an idea. A multi-company “Press Camp” thing, providing face time and new product presentations for 19 bicycle brands and 20 journalists for two solid days in Sun Valley, Idaho.Press camp was scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, so the folks at Scott Bikes wisely invited a bunch of us to arrive early for a couple of Scott-exclusive days. Let’s cover that first.The flight out Sunday I could forget, but waking up Monday morning in the fabled Sun Valley Lodge is a dream.  This is America’s first destination ski resort after all; the halls are lined with a bevy of old black and white photos of the glitterati since 1936.But off to work at the Scott Bikes offices. After a thankfully short presentation of the salient points of Scott’s latest offerings, we hopped on Genius 20 mountain bikes and headed for the nearby River Run chairlift. What was the salient point? Oh yea, improvements to the genius platform for 2010. I had one complaint for the Genius 20 in my recent review (DR #143), the lack of a remote lockout for the Fox Talus fork. Scott’s new Twinloc remote switch allows you to ride in your choice of three modes, fully locked front and rear, fork active with 95mm rear, and the full 150mm of travel front and rear.p1010811.jpgSo up the chair we go for a freeride, a downhill run on some fine singletrack, the Genius holding it’s own as we bomb down. A nice run, but waiting at the bottom is a Western Spirit Touring van piled with fancy carbon road bikes for the second portion of the day. While some riders groused that they were unable to change from their baggies into more appropriate squidly kit, off we went.Despite my distaste for the whole preoccupation with lightweight bits and fancy kit, I currently find myself vaguely interested in these speedy plastic wonder machines. The Scott CR-1 road bike we rode was just that, yet was not too painful to ride due to the shock absorbing seatstays, which Scott refers to as SDS, or Shock “Dampening” System. Also helping me to keep my back from spasming is the more comfy, non-race geometry of the CR-1 (I did flip the stem to get the bars as high as possible).This swell time we’re having riding bikes in Sun Valley could only be accentuated by one thing, camping. We ride the CR-1’s out Corral Creek road to find the full Western Spirit rigs waiting for us. Yes, camping, with a slew of tents being brought by the Nemo Tent people, a full kitchen staffed by the folks from Camp Chef, and numerous coolers packed with fine malted beverages.p1010737.jpgThe next thing I remember is the next day. Climbing. And climbing. And climbing. A good place to point out Scott’s new Twinloc again, as I have the Genius 20 fully locked out front and rear. Super old school rigid, yet super efficient considering I haven’t done a sustained (near 2 hour) climb like this in a long time. As the climbing became more technical I switched to the 95mm rear travel setting, and dialed the Fox Talus down to it’s shorter 110mm setting. This helped keep the front end down while tightening up the steering, as it was tough to climb for hours on such tight track.p1010776.jpgAll told, a fine couple of days on the bike, fer sure, with only a little bit of Kool-Aid drinking. But wait, there’s more! Scott showed the 2010 Scale 29er! With Scott’s euro roots it’s been tough to make the home office drink the 29er Kool-Aid, but this is a start. The Scale 50 features an Aluminum frame and a price point of $1599 US. It’s also worth noting that price points will be lower across the board. The Genius 20 goes from $6000 to $5250. Nice.Further installments will cover Wednesday and Thursday at Press Camp, lots to tell!p1010872.jpg