On my last day in Chatel, France, I had a chance to take a closer look at Trek's 2011 Scratch Air 9. The 170 mm travel air sprung bike uses the same frame as the coil sprung Scratch, but should weigh in less for those riders who like to earn their turns. You can find all the details and specs inside!
|2011 Trek Scratch Air 9|
Trek's Scratch Air series is new for 2011, and although it uses the same frame as it's coil sprung Scratch brothers, both models are air sprung in both the front and rear to shave some weight and offer a different ride characteristic. The new Scratch Air's are designed to fill the gap left by the Remedy's switch to shorter 150 mm travel forks, and they could be just the ticket for riders who want to cover a lot of ground on a reasonably light machine, but will take full advantage of the bike's stunt friendly 170 mm of rear wheel travel. With this in mind Trek has spec'd both Air models with a dual chainring and bash guard combo, but there are also ISCG03 tabs if you want to mount up a chainguide.
|Just as on the coil sprung version, the Scratch Air uses Trek's Full Floater system|
2011 Trek Scratch Air 9 details
- Air sprung front and rear
- 170 mm of rear wheel travel
- Uses Trek's ABP Convert for active suspension while braking
- 12 x 142 mm rear axle (convertible to 135 QR with supplied hardware)
- Trail tuned Fox RP23 rear shock
- Fox 36 Talas FIT RLC, 120-160 mm
- Shimano 2 x 10 drivetrain
- E2 Tapered headtube
- Adjustable geometry via Mino Link
- Two Scratch Air models: Scratch Air 9 (shown), and the Scratch Air 8
|A welded one piece EVO Link and all aluminum pivot hardware|
Trek uses both their Full Floater and ABP technology on the Scratch Air that you've no doubt seen on their other models. In simple terms, ABP (Active Braking Pivot
) is Trek's name for their rear wheel pivot that rotates concentrically around the hub axle. The goal of the ABP system is to limit movement between the caliper and rotor as the suspension compresses and extends - the less the distance increases or decreases, the more active the bike will be under braking.
Full Floater refers to the rear shock not being bolted to the front triangle, instead it is attached to the EVO rocker link at the top and a short piece that extends from the chainstays beyond the main pivot. This gives Trek's engineers two places to tune the shock rate, as well as allowing them to build a slightly lighter due to not having to mount the shock to it.
|ABP Convert allows the use of either the stock 12 mm x 142 mm rear wheel, or a standard 135 mm QR|
|The Mino Link allows you to fine tune the Scratch Air's head angle by half a degree and the bottom bracket height by 7 mm|
Trek has built in the ability to fine tune the Scratch Air's head angle and bottom bracket height but rotating the pivot hardware that holds the seatstays to the EVO Link. The Mino Link adjustment offers just a half a degree of change to the head angle and 7 mm of bottom bracket height difference, but it is enough to fine tune the bike for the terrain or your riding style. As you'd expect, up front you'll find a E2 tapered headtube that makes for a lighter system than a full 1.5" setup, but stiffer and stronger than the 1 1/8th standard.
|An E2 tapered headtube up front|
|2011 Trek Scratch Air 9 specs|
|Frame and Size||Trek Alpha Red aluminum|
•E2 Headtube, EVO Link, ABP Convert, Full Floater
|Rear Shock||Fox RP23, Trail tuned|
•8.5" x 2.5"
|Fork||Fox 36 Talas FIT RLC|
•E2 tapered steerer
•120-160 mm travel
|Headset||Cane Creek Frustrum SE Light Edition|
|Crankarms||Race Face Atlas|
|Chainring||Race Face bash guard/36/24|
|Bottom Bracket||Race Face|
|Cassette||Shimano M77110 11-36, 10 Speed|
|Rear Derailleur||Shimano XT|
|Shifter Pod||Shimano XT 10 speed|
|Handlebar||Bontrager Rhythm Pro|
|Brakes||Avid Elixir CR|
|Front Wheel||DT Swiss E 2000|
•20 mm thru-axle
|Rear Wheel||DT Swiss E 2000|
•12 x 142 mm (convertible to 135 mm QR by using supplied ABP Convert hardware
|Tires||Bontrager XR4 Expert, 2.35"|
|Saddle||Bontrager Evoke 4, titanium rails|
|Seatpost||Crank Brothers Joplin 4R|
|The detachable Aluminum Armor protects against rock strikes|
The build kit on the Scratch Air 9 consists of a mix of workhorse parts and components that should stand up to most any riders abuse. The two chainring and 10 speed cassette with it's big 36 tooth cog make for suitable mountain goat gearing that should compensate for the added weight penalty of the extra travel and burly parts. Suspension is handled by Fox both front and rear, with a custom tuned RP23 out back and a much sought after '11 Fox 36 Talas FIT RLC up front.
|Fox's air sprung 36 Talas FIT RLC|
|Mike Levy on The Scratch Air 9|
Those riders who felt a bit left out when Trek decided to replace the Remedy's 160 mm travel fork with a shorter and lighter 150 mm version should be excited to see the Scratch Air released for 2011. Both air sprung models look to have a reasonable weight that will make ascending not too much of a chore, but the combination of slacker angles and more sag from it's 170 mm travel rear end should make for a very confident descender. The new Scratch Air platform looks to be an exciting addition for 2011.
|Mike enjoying the Scratch Air 9|
Read on about the Trek Remedy 9.9
and Trek Scratch 9
if you missed them last week
Visit the Trek website
to see their entire lineup.All photos by Sterling Lorence