Opening the discussion at the 2017 Scott Spark 29er introduction in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, which happens to be the home of the brand’s marque rider and current cross-country World Champion Nino Schurter, its engineers made it very clear that that Spark’s main focus is competition and going fast. In fact, the resort town and mountain bike destination was chosen to showcase the bikes not only because it is Nino’s home trails but also a three year World Cup location (2015-2017) as well as the site for the 2018 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. You could say the focus was clear. But the story doesn’t end there.
The Spark RC is indeed a cross-county dedicated race bike that was three years in development with a long-term goal of being an Olympic winner in Rio this summer but within this platform and its new suspension design come two additional models: a trail bike version simply called Spark with 120 mm of travel as well as a very capable Spark Plus with 120 mm of rear suspension mated to a 130 mm travel fork. This is the bike, by choice, I spent most of my time on during the launch.
In 2013 Scott began development of the new platform. The long-term goal was Rio to give team racers the best tool to win. Requirements were clear: light weight first but with modern cross-country courses becoming rougher and more technical that wasn’t enough.
Impact absorption and improved performance was the impetus for the new Spark line. Most noticeable is the new single pivot rocker link suspension design and the elimination of links at the dropouts. This is because the old configuration, developed way back in 2007, tended to be harsh off the top of its travel and then blow through the midstroke too easily. According to Scott this was based on the progressive nature of previous air shocks. With more liner tuned air shocks available it because obvious it was time for a change. In regards to comfort, the old design had its “shock zone” on the top tube, which required a not so optimal stiff top tube. The new design has its shock zone at the bottom bracket junction, just where you need it. Shock forces now go into the bottom bracket area so strength was boosted there. It also allowed Scott to make a more comfortable top tube that doesn’t send vibrations to the rider. This new single pivot linkage uses a Fox Nude CTD shock with the new Trunnion sizing mount. Besides giving frame designers more design space the shock has a longer stroke for a given overall length. This means a more compact area with smaller links so everything can sit tighter and closer to the frame.
The frame also needed to be stiff yet comfortable. To do this Scott looked at the Spark frame in the same pieces as the revamped Scale hardtail: controlled flex in the top tube and seat stays provide additional comfort where it’s desired while the down tube, bottom bracket junction and chain stays control stiffness where it’s required.
Geometry has also been fine tuned on the 29er, coming from a demand from Nino. Traditionally a 27.5 rider, Scott was tasked to get his positioning, including saddle to handlebar drop measurement and handling characteristics equal so he could make the switch to a 29er by the Olympics. While the 27.5 bike’s geo remains the same for 2017 the 29er gets a 67.2 degree head angle (the Spark and Plus have 67 and 66.9 degrees respectfully due to longer travel forks), 13 mm shorter stays thanks to Boost spacing, making them just 10 mm longer than the 27.5. The seat angle has been steepened by a degree to 73.8 degrees to better center the rider and the bike has a 17 mm longer reach to increase stability without sacrificing quickness and response. Stack height is also lowered due to a shorter head tube and in-milled bearing cups. According to Nino his 29er handles just like his 27.5 so he’s shelving the smaller wheels he’s been famous for riding and going big.
Now that the seatstay pivots are removed and the design relives on the natural flex of the stays a new brake mount was designed which is anchored directly to the chainstay and wheel axle. This prevents braking forces from inhibiting movement. When the stays flex they actually bow outboard, further increasing the ability to run a fatter tire.
So what does all this mean for non-racers? All this technology goes directly into the trail bike and 27plus frames, which are identical. And while the Spark RC is single ring only, the Spark and 27plus bikes are single or double compatible.
On The Trail
Within the first mile on the World Cup cross-county loop the speedy nature of the 120 mm Spark with its RC heritage is evident. The new suspension design is a very noticeable improvement over the previous layout. The bike sits higher with more support in the critical sag area of its travel yet remains sensitive to small bumps in the initial part of the stroke. It did take a bit more trail and error to find just the right air pressure but once I did I found that the bike pedals vastly superior to the old design in Descend mode, so much so that on off-road climbs I kept it there and only went to Trail (which reduces air volume to give the back 85 mm of travel) on smooth fireroads. And of course Climb was great to have on the road ride back to the hotel.
Its 120 mm of travel is in the sweet spot of aggressive cross-country, very fitting for higher speed singletrack and rough sections that have small booters that could be rolled as well as jumped. This travel is also ideas for adventure cross-country as well as 100 mile or stage racing over unexpected terrain. While I didn’t get a chance to weigh it the bike feels incredibly light (the frame weighs a claimed 4.42 pounds with shock and hardware.)
The Spark Plus carries over all these traits with the added benefit of Maxxis Rekon 2.8” tires. Because the head tube measures 66.7 degrees with the big tires and 130 mm travel fork the Plus has a decidedly trail bike feel when it’s pointed downhill–pin it and go. While one day was pure trail riding the other was spent using the collection of lifts in the area to hit a multitude of downhills that were just technical enough to keep you sharp but not over the top gnarly and the Plus was a blast to ride. It had traction for days and carved and sliced through corners better than a bike of this ilk ever should. While lifts were involved that didn’t mean it was all downhill. When it came time to ascend to the next singletrack the Plus climbed lively and responsive thanks to its light weight, able suspension and TwinLoc adjust. Frame weight for the top level carbon is a mere 4.7 pounds with shock and hardware.
Like the long-travel Spark, once the suspension was dialed it was smiles for miles the whole way down the mountain. Slick rocks and roots? No problem with the high volume tires. Tacky, bermed sections with a rocky entrance? Just point and shoot, it’s that easy, fun and fast.
As you’d expect, there will be a full range of prices and models available (25 total to be exact) between all the versions, from top-shelf carbon to affordable aluminum frames with a multitude of parts options as well as women’s specific Contessa Spark and Spark Plus. If you prefer 27.5 each model will feature a twin with the same new suspension configuration and lighter weight frames in the smaller wheel size.
Every year for the last few years, Dirt Rag has gathered up a half-dozen or so full-suspension trail bikes for complete testing that fall into the entry-level/affordable/budget category. Yes, three grand is still a lot of money, but good bikes aren’t cheap and this price point is much more reasonable for the average enthusiast rider willing to invest some coin in a great ride. So, there you go.
This year we are changing things up significantly by opening our test up to all types of mountain bikes, not just suspension bikes. The following caught our eye for one reason or another, but all of them are bikes we’d look very hard at in their respective categories. Or, rather, these are bikes I would look at since, really, these are all my choices. Direct your ire toward me about whatever it is that has you all wadded up. The rest of the DR crew is just here to ride the things and give us their honest opinions.
We’ll roll out first impressions of these bikes over the next few days and full reviews in Dirt Rag issue #189 (January). Subscribe today so you don’t miss it. In the meantime, here are the reasons each bike ended up on the list and who the testers are.
Scott Spark 950 — $2,700
I still have fond memories of the Spark 29 RC I raced in the Trans-Sylvania Epic a few years ago. The 950 is a much less expensive version of that bike, with an aluminum frame and a less expensive build kit. What is doesn’t lose is the Twin-Loc lockout and what is perhaps the most aggressive geometry for a cross-country race bike you can buy. Head angle is a slack 68.8 or 68.3 degrees; the bottom bracket height is around 13 inches; and the chain stays are right at 17 inches, which makes me think this bike would be well served by a dropper.
Dirt Rag Editor-in-Charge Mike Cushionbury is our resident former XC pro license holder, and assigning him the Spark is my continued attempt to get him on more modern bikes. Now if only I can pry those narrow bars and long stems out of his grasp, then we’ll be getting somewhere.
Devinci Hendrix — $2,999
I was surprised to see the Hendrix, to be honest. Devinci is a small company and a bike like this (120/110 front/rear travel, 27plus wheels) is taking a big chance with the limited resources smaller companies have to develop new products. Working in Devinci’s favor is in-house aluminum frame production, which saves a lot of time. With the American dollar strong against the Canadian dollar, those of us in the States have some serious buying power.
What really drew me to the Devinci is its aggressive geometry paired with shorter travel, a recipe that usually spells F-U-N. Dirt Rag’s new art director, Stephen Haynes, gets welcomed to the fold with this pretty righteous test bike.
Norco Torrent 7.1 — $2,425
Norco has a number of bikes under $3,000, but this is the newest to the lineup and is a return to the heavy-duty hardtail category for the Canadian brand. Maybe it is just me, but after years of riding all kinds of knobby-tired bikes, this thing looks almost perfectly proportional. And in case anyone was wondering about which 27plus tires are best for fall use on the East Coast, the Schwalbe Nobby Nics are perhaps the best thing to happen to leaf-covered trails.
I (Tech Editor Eric McKeegan) am riding this bike and am stoked on its slack, low and short geometry.
Marin Attack Trail — $2,750
I’ve been digging Marin’s evolving lineup over the last few years. The Attack Trail is a standout for a number of reasons. While the SR Suntour fork and shock might not be as well-regarded as the bigger names, both have more damping adjustments than many bikes at this price. The 1×10 drivetrain has a Sunrace 11-42-tooth cassette for most of the range of more expensive 11-speed systems. And out of every bike here, I think the Marin looks least like its price tag.
Our general manager and Dirt Rag photographer Justin Steiner is testing the limits of those Schwalbe Hans Dampf tires on the leaf-covered trails around Dirt Rag’s Pittsburgh HQ.
Kona Hei Hei Trail — $2,500
We’ve been fans of the many new bikes from Kona in the last few years. Kona has a bigger range of sub-$3k trail bikes than just about anyone, but another 29er seemed to be the best bet for this group so the new Hei Hei Trail got the nod. Taking the proven Hei Hei cross-country platform and swapping in some sturdier parts and a longer fork has resulted in something that I would almost describe as a Process 111 lite.
We might have lost Adam Newman as Dirt Rag’s web editor, but he moved only a few feet away to play editor-in-chief of our sister mag, Bicycle Times. He’ll be riding the Hei Hei in its Pacific Northwest homeland.
Surly Wednesday — $1,500
The Wednesday is a true sleeper. On the surface, it looks like just another fatty in an already-crowded field of Surly fat bike offerings, but looking more closely reveals a refined and thoughtful bike. A 177 mm symmetrical rear end, 100 mm threaded bottom bracket shell, horizontal drop outs that can fit either thru-axles or quick releases, full length cable housing, tapered head tube, internal dropper post routing and enough braze-ons to keep everyone happy. Mix that up with modern trail geometry and suspension fork compatablity and it looks like a winner to me. Its cheapest-of-the-bunch price tag and Addams Family-inspired name are the icing on the cake.
Our new web editor, Katherine Fuller, took the reigns on this one and is out in Colorado bouncing over rocky singletrack waiting for the snow to fall.
Charge Cooker — $2,400
A little confession: I really wanted this bike to be Cannondale’s Beast of the East, but it wasn’t ready in time and was replaced with this bike from Charge, another bike brand in the Dorel family. This video is what got the Cooker on my radar originally and, after seeing them in person at Interbike, I was pretty interested. The stock Trailblazer tires aren’t ideal around western Pennsylvania this time of year, but swapping the front tire to a much bigger and more aggressive WTB Trail Boss has helped tremendously.
Our circulation guy Jon Pratt is pedaling this one into fall and probably missing his dropper post.
Transition Patrol 4 — $2,999
Did you know you can get a complete Transition for under $3,000? Yes, even if only by one dollar. For a brand that is as well-regarded as Transition, this is good news for riders with smaller credit card limits. Considering that the frame itself retails for $1,999, there is a great deal of value in the parts kits. The Marzocchi fork up front was a bit of a worry, at first, but with the news that Fox purchased the mountain bike side of Marzocchi there is much less reason for worry about parts and warranty support.
Friend of Dirt Rag (official title) Bill Kirk is on this one. This Transition is a hell of a good looking bike for the money.
We’re excited to be giving away a pair of Scott Tyrant Oxide goggles this week to one, lucky Dirt Rag reader. All you have to do is fill out the survey below before midnight on Wednesday, November 18. We will choose a winner the morning of November 19.
The Tyrant is a brand-new product and features an adjustable nose guard, motion in the lower face flange for a more custom fit, the ability to fully seal the air vents, patented frame ventilation, a silicone strap and a foam system designed to channel sweat away from your face. The lens has 100 percent UV protection, an anti-fog treatment and impact resistance. Retail is $90.Tweet Print
Courtesy of Scott Sports. Film by Cinemargot. Photos by J. Haar.
Nino Schurter’s fifth chapter of his #huntforglory webisode is all about a journey to the roots of Mountain biking. The three-time mountain bike world champion meets one of the Godfathers of mountain biking, Tom Ritchey, at his home place in Skyline, California. Tom Ritchey is the guy who was already racing bicycles, which we call “mountain bikes” today, back in the 1970s on his backyard trails in the hills of Skyline and Santa Cruz. He built the first mountain bike frame, and since those early days, every new invention has been chased by another.
Over the years Tom’s focus has shifted from frame building to component design but his obsession with functional, lightweight and reliable equipment has not wavered. Many Ritchey designs and manufacturing methods have become industry standards.
Mountain bike racing has always been something Tom Ritchey was passionate about. Three-time world champion Thomas Frischknecht was part of Ritchey’s Racing team in the 1990s. Today Tom creates world championship winning parts for the top guys like Schurter. As a co-sponsor of SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing, Tom contributes to the team’s success with innovative products and his experience.
Schurter and Frischknecht not only went out riding on the single tracks where mountain biking was born, but Tom Ritchey also showed them where the first frames where welded and where all the inspiration came from. Schurter got to know more about the early days, and Tom Ritchey explained how Mountain Biking came into existence.
See more episodes at the N1NO YouTube channel.
The fifth annual Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival presented by Subaru of Twin Falls drew a large number of the biking community with an array of two-wheeled events June 25-28. From fierce competition in the SCOTT Enduro Cup presented by Vittoria and the new Shimano Boulder Mountain Fox Trot 50k cross-country race to the comedic Downtown Criterium Team Relay, Bike Prom and SheepTown Drag Races, there were activities to suit every bike fanatic’s interest.
Scott Enduro Cup
The second stop of the SCOTT Enduro Cup presented by Vittoria featured more than 200 competitors from across the country in the two-day competition, which was the first bike race to be held on Sun Valley’s backcountry trails. A North American Enduro Tour stop, this race is one of the longest enduros in North America covering 17.2 miles of downhill timed stages with 7,200 descending vertical feet across backcountry singletrack and the world-class trails of Bald Mountain in the heart of the Sawtooth National Forest. The fastest combined times for men were claimed by Curtis Keene (45:55) and and Teal Stetson-Lee (53:49) for the women.
New this year, day one of the Enduro Cup was the first bike race allowed on the area’s backcountry singletrack, and day two featured legendary trails of Bald Mountain. The course combined ridgelines, stream crossings and high-mountain alpine trails. The course demanded riders have both fitness and focus to rip full-throttle on the descents. A combined time of the five timed stages determined the overall champions.
Red Bull’s Curtis Keene executed the steep sections of the course with impeccable downhill technique to win the Open Men’s division with a combined time of 45:55. Craig Harvey earned second place (46:18) with Mitch Ropelato (46:27) and Kyle Warner (46:39) hot on his heels. Second through seventh place riders all finished within one minute of the other.
“Everything was well organized,” said Curtis Keene, “The backcountry trails were really raw with no berms, awesome rock and when you get to the top, you’ve got a 360 degree view of the mountains below.”
Next, in the Open Women’s category, SCOTT Sports athlete Teal Stetson-Lee (53:49), completely dominated the field. Stetson-Lee was excited to add this first place finish to her Enduro Cup season after placing second at the Moab stop in May. Alison Kinsler (58:03) maintained a consistently fast pace to step up into second place. Close behind was Ileana Anderson with a time of 58:50.
“I felt completely dialed in on my stages,” said Stetson-Lee, “I think adding the backcountry trails was an awesome call. It was good to have variety with the expansive trails out in the mountains and getting exposure to the resort’s singletrack that is really well built.”
Next, the action shifted to the expert, amateur and junior divisions. Winners of those categories were awarded SCOTT Handlebars and Toolkits, Vittoria Tires, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. beer and trophies made by Biondi Handcrafted in Idaho. Podium finishers ranged from first time racers to Enduro Cup veterans. Spectators and athletes viewed live timing results throughout the race on ItsYourRace.com and the ItsYourRace App. The real time results were made possible by the official media and timing sponsor, COX Communications. See the full race results here.
The Open category podium winners received $2,500 total in prize money divided evenly between men and women. The top placing riders in the Amateur categories received gear from sponsors. Riders and spectators also had the chance to enter daily raffles which raised over $1,000 for the Wood River Bike Coalition. Raffle prizes were provided by SCOTT Sports, Vittoria Tires, Subaru of Twin Falls, Niner Bikes, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, SRAM, Club Ride and Biondi.
The final race stop will take place at Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah, on August 15. Registration is still open for the next event. For more information, visit the series’ new website, EnduroCupMTB.com, or follow “EnduroCupMTB” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Enduro Cup is an MSI production.
Shimano Boulder Mountain Fox Trot 50k
Event organizers worked closely with U.S. Forest Service to host the 32-mile point-to-point cross-country mountain bike race on backcountry trails with 4,200 feet of total climbing including some of the area’s best trails in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.
Robert Squire earned the fastest time of the day and overall men’s champion title by riding the course in 2:09:13. Three Idaho local riders, John Reuter, Eric Chizum, and Steve Price claimed second through fourth place.
Local Sun Valley athlete, Rebecca Rusch, dominated the women’s field with a time of 2:39:14. The next fastest women were Nina Otter (2:47:21) and Brett Stevenson (3:04:40). View the full results here.
“I think Ketchum is paradise,” said Rebecca Rusch. “This place is off the beaten path, which keeps the trails really pristine. Every day at the festival there is a little bit of something for everybody, it’s a party on bikes.”
The unofficial kickoff party of Ride Sun Valley was the legendary SheepTown Drag Race in Hailey, ID, where racers charged head-to-head down Main Street with flaming logs chained behind their bikes. Another entertaining race was the Downtown Criterium Team Relay presented by Vittoria where costume clad riders sprint laps around the town square for cash and local bragging rights.
“My favorite part of the festival was the Enduro Prologue race I did on Friday,” said Teal Stetson-Lee. “I love it when events have added components other than just the racing. It’s spectator friendly and draws the crowds out.”
For festival-goers less inclined to compete there was daily live music in the Expo Area, an 80s theme Bike Prom, and local stoker rides where local bikers guided tours of their favorite trails. The final gathering of the festival was the Idaho Pump Track State Championship Races.
All festival participants had the chance to enter daily raffles which raised over $1,000 for the Wood River Bike Coalition. Raffle prizes were provided by SCOTT Sports, Vittoria Tires, Subaru of Twin Falls, Niner Bikes, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, SRAM, Club Ride and Biondi.
Participants are also encouraged to post their #BestofRSV photos before Tuesday, July 12 on any social channel for a chance to win the Cox Communications #BestofRSV contest awarding Vittoria tires and swag from festival sponsors ($200 value). For more information visit ridesunvalley.com or follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Enduro Cup is an MSI production.
Photos courtesy of Scott Sports
The tidal wave is coming, and it’s rolling on big tires. Scott is one of the first major brands out of the gate with 27plus, in this case built on the Genius full-suspension platform and Scale hardtail. The brand touts the added traction offered from the 27.5×2.8 tires while sacrificing minimal rolling resistance and weight gain.
Scott Genius Plus
The Genius is Scott’s line of multi-purpose trail/enduro bikes, offered in both 27.5 and 29-inch, and now 27plus. The new models are built around the Boost hub spacing with 15×110 mm Fox forks and 12×148 mm rear axles. The front triangle is carbon fiber while the entire aluminum rear triangle of the bikes have been specifically developed to optimize stiffness with the bigger wheel and to increase clearance for up to a 3.0 tire.
Adding the bigger tires means sacrificing some suspension travel, in the case of the Genius. The Genius 700 Plus is 140/130 as opposed to the 150/150 of the standard 27.5 model and is closer to the 130/130 of the Genius 29er. If you want the best of both worlds, Scott says the new bikes are also compatible with 29-inch wheels built on Boost hubs. They also have the dual-position geometry adjustment chip that lets you make small changes to the feel of the bike.
The rear suspension is controlled through a new Fox Nude shock designed specifically for Scott’s TwinLoc system. It has three modes: “Descend” with 130mm of travel, “Traction Control” with 90mm of travel and increased damping, and a lockout. To go with it is a new TwinLoc remove lever can fit under the handlebar where a shifter used to be.
The remote also controls the new Fox 34 Float fork with the new FIT4 damper.
The three Genius Plus models are the 700 Tuned Plus with a SRAM X01 group and Shimano XTR brakes, the 710 Plus with a SRAM GX1 group and Shimano SLX brakes, and the 720 Plus with a Shimano 2×10 group with SLX brakes.
Scott Scale Plus
If you prefer to let the tires handle the squish, the two aluminum Scale hardtail models feature the same geometry as the World Championship winning Scale but with more clearance for a 3.0 tire. The Scale 710 Plus has a Fox 32 Float fork with Boost spacing and 120mm of travel and a SRAM GX1 drivetrain. The 720 Plus has a Suntour Raidon Air fork with Boost spacing and 120mm of travel and a Shimano 2×10 Deore drivetrain.
Pricing and availability has not yet been set for these new bikes, but we’ll be looking to get a leg over them as soon as possible.
Having just won the first World Cup XC race of 2015 in the U23 category, Jenny is cementing herself as a mountain bike racer with some serious talent. Head out for a ride with Jenny on her Genius at home in Sweden during the offseason.Tweet Print
Being on a professional MTB team, there is a lot of traveling involved, before and during race time. Nino Schurter and SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing spent a decent amount of time in South Africa and California preparing for the upcoming World Cup season, which starts this coming weekend in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic..
South Africa is where the team heads every year to start their season. Unlike recent years, Nino Schurter kicked-off the pre-olympic race season at the Bonelli US CUP and the Sea Otter Classic in California. “At Sea Otter, my team mate Jenny Rissveds and I competed in four races, and it resulted in 4 podiums. It was a very cool experience to race in California and definitely felt good to bike where MTB was born,” Nino says.
Chapter 2 gives an inside view into the team`s life and all the preparation professional racing requires. “Everything we do in 2015 has just one goal: to be the most fit possible for the Olympic Race in Rio in 2016.”
If you missed Episode 1 of The Hunt for Glory you can see it here.Tweet Print
Enter to win a trip for two to the SCOTT Enduro Cup presented by Vittoria at the Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival June 26-28. Tackle a two-day enduro race on Sun Valley’s legendary singletrack complete with music, food, a beer garden, pre-race prologue, bike expo, clinics, bike prom and more homegrown fun.
The package includes three nights lodging for two people from Wyndham Vacation Rentals (June 26-28) and two race entries for the SCOTT Enduro Cup presented by Vittoria Sun Valley stop (June 27-28).Tweet Print
It might not be the Alps or Whistler, but riding your favorite hometown trails again and again is what mountain biking is all about. For Brendan Fairclough it’s heading out into the Surrey Hills with his Scott Genius 700.Tweet Print
The Scott Enduro Cup presented by Vittoria has announced three competition stops for the 2015 season: Moab, Utah (May 9), Sun Valley, Idaho (June 27-28) and Canyons Resort, Park City, Utah (July 18).
Each location provides a challenging and unique mountain bike race experience for both men and women professional, amateur and junior athletes. Enduro Cup has also announced Vittoria, the world’s leading manufacturer of bicycle tires, as the Scott Enduro Cup’s new presenting sponsor.
Each race location showcases spectacular views and requires riders to have the endurance to sustain energy while pedaling on the non-timed transfer stages while upholding impeccable skill to charge fullthrottle down the timed descents.
The Moab stop will feature long red rock stages.
Next, Enduro Cup will travel to Sun Valley, Idaho, as the flagship race of the Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival (June 25-28), which is complemented by several days of cycling entertainment for the entire family.
Finally, the series will return to the birthplace of Enduro in Utah, Canyons Resort, which always features a stacked pro field and enthusiastic crowd. Read our dispatch from the 2014 Scott Enduro Cup at Canyons here.
The Scott Enduro Cup presented by Vittoria is dedicated to the progression of enduro mountain biking. Every event will showcase athletes, brands, and trails, which will provide an authentic and robust experience for athletes and spectators. The addition of Vittoria as an event partner will complement the existing relationships with Scott Sports and Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. to assist the production of a premium quality race series. Registration will be open at a later date. For more information, visit endurocupmtb.com or follow the series on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and #EnduroCupMTB.Tweet Print
We were recently invited to the Boa Technology’s offices in Denver, Colorado. What was once an industrial eyesore and waste dump on the wrong side of the tracks is now a revitalized commercial community that hosts several like-minded businesses. The corporate center Boa resides in is another case study of modern gentrification with reclaimed building materials, of which I’m a sucker for. The modern office space and open floor plan immerses you in the collaborative creative process developing new products. Everything is done on-site, from conceptualization to prototyping.
Boa is an ingredient brand that prides itself on adding value to the companies it partners with. Their closure systems are used in seven target markets: Athletic, Cycling, Golf, Medical, Outdoor, Snowboarding and Utility. One of those cycling partnerships is with Scott Sports. The two companies partnered in 2009 and Scott now features 11 models of cycling shoes with the Boa closure system.
Earlier this summer Boa unveiled the IP-1 dial. It’s a combination of two previous systems and uses a multi-operational reel featuring pull-to-release for easy on and off and two-way incremental adjustment. This new dial eliminates a long standing complaint with Boa’s closure system: now you no longer have to completely release the reel to loosen the closure. There are two-way adjustments for tightening and loosening the fit. We had the chance to fiddle with some knobs and interrupt a lot of employees’ work days to get the scoop on how Boa partners with other brands and what it takes to get a product to market. Of course we took advantage of the fantastic December weather and finished the day on a great ride with the Boa and Scott crew.
While it’s certainly true that most of this year’s Interbike hype will be focused on buzzing categories like 130mm to 150mm travel all-mountain and trail bikes as well as the fat bike phenomenon, you can rest assured that manufactures haven’t forgotten hardtails. Walking through the outdoor Dirt Demo most makers had the classic frame style on offering.
What’s important to note is that while there are plenty of high-zoot, race ready machines with pro-level parts, the hardtail remains a lower-cost alternative for riders just getting into the sport or looking for a second bike.
Scott Scale 9.10 and 7.10
Scott has taken a novel approach by offing the same cross-county bike in either 27.5 or 29er wheel sizes for the same $3,800 price. As one of our favorite options out there, these two Scales have a HMF carbon frame with flattened stays to help absorb trail vibration. The rear dropouts can be converted to standard QR or 142 x 12. Best of all they come with a full Shimano XT parts package, from derailleurs and shifters to crankset and brakes. The company says this bike is rapidly becoming a favorite for riders involved in high school leagues because of its race-ready value.
Marin Rocky Ridge 7.6
Marin’s take on the hardtail is this aluminum framed all-mountain machine. It’s designed for riders who are specifically seeking out this kind of bike—those who don’t want to deal with the complexities and maintenance of rear suspension or looking to add another rig to the stable without breaking the bank. A slack 67.5-degree head tube angle and short 16.5-inch long stays assure it’ll handle like it’s full suspension Mount Vision sibling. At $2,600 it’s a feature-laden value with such niceties as a 130mm travel fork and SRAM X0 shifters and rear derailleur. What’s more, it even has an internally routed dropper post—something that’s rare on a bike at this price.
Van Dessel Jersey Devil
This new 29er hardtail is the first carbon offering from Van Dessel. It has internal cable routing and the rear triangle is designed to accept up to a 2.3” tire. Frame price is $1,200 with complete bikes ranging from $2,999 for SRAM X1 to $7,000 for Shimano XTR or SRAM XX1.
Niner Air 9
Redesigned for 2015, the beautiful aluminum Air 9 retails for $2,100 and features a Shimano XT rear derailleur, SLX crank and Deore disc brakes. It also has a RockShox Recon fork.
At the top end is the AIR 9 RDO. The new carbon frame sheds 100 grams compared to last year’s model and is ported to accept Shimano’s new electronic XTR group as well as Shimano and SRAM mechanical parts. Niner says the RDO line is consciously undergoing little changes to make it the complete package to earn a World Cup cross-country podium.
It’s hard to spend all that time at the biggest mountain bike event in the world with some of the best riders in the world and not coming away with an awesome video. The SCOTT Crew was in full force at this year’s Crankworx in Whistler. ShapeRideShoot was on hand to follow Brendog, Vinny T, Nico Vink, Louis Reboul and others during the festival.Tweet Print
Recently we brought you the details of the new 27.5 Scott Gambler downhill bike and the Voltage freeride. Today our friends over at ShapeRideShoot bring you some behind-the-scenes details of how they were created and some prototype testing with Alex Evans, Nick Pescetto, Nico Vink, and Vincent Tupin.Tweet Print
Photos by Mike Schirf.
Last week Scott kicked off its 2015 product season at the lavish Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley near Park City, Utah. It was a great venue for some first impressions on the newly tweaked trail bikes and a look at their broad lineup of offerings. From the bike under you to the helmet on your head, and everything in between, Scott has something worth checking out.
I spent quite a bit of my time riding the Deer Valley trails on either the 27.5 Genius 700 Tuned or any of the 27.5 Genius 700LT models that I could get my hands on. The LT was a very hot bike during our stay and there weren’t enough for the rabid press to go around.Tweet Print