For 2012 Scott Bikes have finally treated the Spark, the company’s short travel cross-country and marathon race bike, to 29in wheels, with a bold six bike range signalling their intentions clearly to grab a piece of the 29er pie.
It’s not only the wheel size that has changed, this bike marks the second generation of the Spark platform regardless of wheel sizes. There’s a heavily updated frame made with IMP5 carbon fibre technology, and the big change is that the five main parts of the frame produced in one step. The bottom bracket shell is an all-carbon design, using press-fit bearings.
While the carbon structure of the frame has been further evolved this year to reduce weight, Scott has also improved the Spark’s stiffness. They’ve borrowed larger diameter pivots from the Genius LT across the frame, and the rocker linkage is now a narrower one-piece forged design.
Other changes includes a tapered head tube with carbon cups, direct-mount front mech mounts to snick the rear wheel in as close to the bottom bracket as possible. Scott have opted for a trail-friendly 69.5° head angle, along with a 72.5° seat angle and a short 105mm head tube on our medium size sample. The head angle is about 1° steeper than the 26in equivalent.
Suspension travel drops to 100mm for the 29er (its 120mm on the 26in wheel bikes), with the DT Swiss Nude 2 shock, an exclusive design to Scott, adjustable with the handlebar mounted remote lever. The TwinLoc lets the rider switch between three settings; full travel, a 70mm traction mode and locked out.
The shocks internals have been fettled with by the Scott suspension engineers, with a lower threshold now required to overcome the early stage of travel, with a more progressive spring rate deeper into the travel you get. That should result in a firmer mid-stroke feel, delivering better traction and a more stable ride.
A visible downside to the tech heavy suspension deign is the mess of cables at the front, with an extra two to cables leading away from the left side of the handlebar, there’s more clutter.
This Expert model is the third of a five bike range, sitting below the no expense spared RC and Pro. Still, a weight of (claimed) 25.33lbs (11.5kg) keeps this bike competitive compared to the competition it’s up against. A specification comprises of Shimano XT/SLX groupset with a triple chainset, Avid Elixir 5S dis brakes, DT Swiss XR39 wheels and Schwalbe Rocket Ron tyres.
It’ll cost £2899 when it’s available in the shops. More info on the full range here www.scott-sports.com
We can’t wait to ride the new Spark. Not only has it been given a major update, but it’s a big step into 29er territory for the company. On paper it mostly seems to tick the boxes, with an impressive tech laden carbon frame which promises to be stiffer, and with improvements to the suspension performance.
All that remains is to get it out on the trails and see if it delivers on this promise. Full review soon…