Back in a time before the enduro moniker existed the Ransom used to be Scott’s do-it-all bike that had an impressive 160mm of travel for a low, even by today's standards, 30lbs weight. You’ll probably remember the old Ransom thanks to its rather funky looking system dubbed the Equalizer. Thankfully, the 2019 version doesn't mark the rebirth of the Equalizer system, the bike hasn’t put on much weight and the only thing it shares with the old model is its name. The new Ransom has modern geometry, a spattering of top-spec parts and a 'faster is better' ethos to riding.
With 170mm front and rear wheel travel and 29-inch wheels, the new Ransom blurs the boundaries between enduro, freeride, and downhill, and Scott are very keen to note that it's a range-topping enduro-winning race bike that can handle big hits, fast riding and wild trails. With all of that in mind, it firmly demotes their 150mm travel Genius platform to trail use, and until the Ransom was released, Scott was officially 'missing' a full-on enduro bike.
Scott reckons you should be able to ride the gnarliest of trails any mountain or enduro race track can throw at you, but you might want to consider moving up a model range to either the Voltage or Gambler if you’re going to be tackling massive jumps in the park all day long.
Scott Ransom 900 Tuned Details
• Intended use: Enduro
• Wheel size: 29" or 27.5" (700 Tuned bike)
• Rear wheel travel: 170mm (29" & 27.5")
• Boost 12x148
• Carbon frame (aluminium build options)
• Size: S - XL
• Weight: 30.53 lb / 13.85 kg
• Price: 900 (tested)/700 Tuned - £6,999 / 910 - £5,099 / 920/720 - £3,599 / 930 - £2,799
The bike has internally routed cables that, unlike the old Genius LT bike, run next to the main pivot rather than under the bottom bracket which helps reduce cable pull. A ribbed chainstay protector does a really good job of deadening chain slap and other noises that are produced by the rear end of the bike when you're thrashing it. There's a built-in downtube protector, too, should any rocks head towards the underside of the carbon frame.
There’s enough tire clearance, even with the stock 29 x2.6" Maxxis fitted and plenty more if you fit narrower rubber. The fork runs a 44mm offset, which is claimed to help reduce handlebar or steering flop out on the trail compared to the 51mm of offset that used to be the norm.
The new Ransom’s frame is built around the premise of being flexy and stiff in the most appropriate areas. The lower half of the frame, from the headtube down the downtube and then to the rear axle along the chainstays is built for stiffness thanks to the chunky bottom bracket and main pivot area, while the top half of the bike that runs from the headtube to the seat tube along the top tube and then down the seat stays is lightweight and has an amount of inbuilt compliance. Scott claims this makes the bike less jarring and also lowers the center of gravity. Scott has opted to unify their range of trail, all mountain and enduro bikes’ suspension designs and the new Ransom features a Horst-link that uses a pivot on the chainstay located slightly below and in front of the rear axle.Geometry
With a 64.5° headtube angle in the slack setting and a 75° effective seat-tube angle on the size large, the Ransom's numbers are modern but not boundary-pushing for a bike with this amount of travel. It would have been nice to see a sub 64-degree HA and a steeper STA given how much travel and how light the bike is, but the stock figures certainly aren't deal breakers.
In the low setting, the chainstays sit at 437.9mm and 436 for the high position. Bikes are getting longer to make them more stable at speed, and the reach numbers on the Ransom are now pretty standard for a large bike. The large comes in at 466.5mm in low and 472mm in high and at 5ft 11inches (178cm) tall, the large was spot on for me.
The new Ransom’s wheelbase is 1249.2mm in low and 1247.8mm in the high setting which is refreshingly long, although not the longest for a bike of this nature. The 29er version we’re testing is available from sizes S to XL, but it would be great if they added an XXL size in the future for the really tall riders out there.Suspension
Scott prides themselves on their TwinLoc system that simultaneously adjusts both the fork and rear shock through three modes and this system makes an appearance on their new Ransom. The remote actuator is mounted beneath the bar on the left-hand side and they claim that this quick-to-activate adjustment makes the bike sit up in its travel (in climb mode), which is something a rider can use on short, sharp climbs commonly seen on enduro race tracks or helps it climb both on and off-road.
On the 900 Tuned model, Scott's Fox Nude TR proprietary shock has an additional lever to adjust the volume of the air can. This can be changed on the fly to make the shock behave in a more linear or more progressive way depending on how you’ve got the lever set. The shock is also compatible with tokens should you wish to further adjust its progression.
The Factory 36 fork is the FIT4 variant with low-speed compression adjustment that's linked to their TwinLoc lever, not a full-fat GRIP2 damper with both high- and low-speed compression adjustment.Frame Options / Build Kits
The new Ransom comes in 6 models, two of which are 650b bikes the rest 29ers. The top-of-the-range 900 Tuned comes with a 27.5 counterpart - the 700 Tuned. The middle of the of the range bike - the 920 - also has a 27.5 model, the 720. The bottom of the range bike only comes with 29-inch wheels. All bikes come in four sizes; from S to XL.
The lowest-specced 930 bike has an alloy front and rear triangle, costs £2,799 and is equipped with NX Eagle, a Yari fork and X-Fusion shock. The 920 and 720 bikes are identically specced and feature an NX Eagle drivetrain but come with Fox 36 forks and a Fox shock. The entire frameset is made from aluminum and costs £3,599 for both versions. The 910 bike is the first model to get a carbon front end, the drivetrain is upgraded to GX Eagle and the Fox forks now feature the FIT4 damper and will set you back £5,099. The range-topping 700/900 Tuned gets both a carbon front triangle and swingarm, X01 Eagle drivetrain and Kashima coated Factory suspension, but costs £6,999.
To get to grips with how this bike rides, I put in plenty of Whistler bike park laps on trails ranging from Dirt Merchant and A-Line’s senders all the way through to the techy and slower paced hole-filled gnarliness of BC’s Trail, Delayed Fuse and Ride Don’t Slide. It would be fair to say I’ve ridden this bike on the types of terrain I think a modern enduro race machine should be able to handle with competence.
During testing, the conditions had been exceptionally dry, hard and fast which pushed my body and the bike to the limits. With the amount of traffic the park gets, particularly after Whistler's round of the Crankworx World Tour, it suffers from impressive amounts of braking bumps, holes and bagged out conditions. Despite the gallant efforts of the trail crew, the insanely dry weather Canada experienced this summer meant that the park was pretty rough when I tested the bike. These conditions proved to be ideal to do some initial testing on new Ransom.
Bath, United KingdomAge:
178 cm Inseam:
82 cm Weight:
77 kg Industry affiliations / sponsors:
The first thing you notice when you point the Ransom downhill is how well it eats up massive holes - whether they're braking bumps or naturally formed holes, the rear end of the bike has an uncanny ability to turn rough and wild into smooth and controlled. Couple this with bottomless-feeling rear suspension and it's possible to go fast and ride confidently from the get-go. That extra speed comes with more risk, though, and I found myself pushing out of my comfort zone quite quickly - luckily the bike's rear suspension is sorted enough to be forgiving when I inevitably started to make mistakes. Unlike on some bikes, I didn't feel like I was being punished when I got off-line or ended up making a dog's dinner out of the track.
In lockout mode, the bikes climbs exceptionally well, but comfort is sacrificed and this mode is best suited to road or smooth gravel. In traction control mode, compliance and comfort are improved but you don’t get the benefits of the suspension sitting un-sagged into its stroke. the middle mode simply reduces the bike's usable travel to 120mm. Although it does firm up the suspension somewhat, I didn't see any obvious advantage over the fully open mode given how supportive the bike felt unless you were pedalling in a choppy way along flat ground.
The Ransom was smooth and forgiving on the roughest of trails, but the FIT4 equipped Fox 36 wasn't as capable as I would have liked. While it has enough end stroke support when fitted with the correct number of tokens and set to my preferred pressure, it lacks most of the meaningful adjustments normally found on forks spec'd on bikes at this price point. On top of that, there was a lack of beginning stroke suppleness that caused braking bumps to resonate through my hands, and in some instances resulted in the fork 'twanging' back and forth as it flexed rather than compressed to absorb the bumps.
The overall feel of the bike is one of compliance and forgiveness - most likely a combined product of the rims, bars, inherent frame flex and rear shock function. This translates to mountains of off-camber grip where the bike tracks and absorbs bumps like rocks and roots with a willing ease, really helping you to maintain your intended line without needing to be overly boisterous or lose speed helping you to conserve precious energy.