is approaching fast, and I have plans to train a little bit more seriously for the 2019 season, so it was time to figure out what to ride over the next six months. Winter riding where I live in Sweden means a wet and muddy, with some months of ice and snow in between.
My first thought was to use my "World's Lightest Scott Scale,"
but even though I'm all about "bikes are meant to be ridden" it felt a little like overkill for a winter training bike. I started looking at alternatives with a more decent price tags and came across the Scott Scale 950. It checked a lot of boxes: A pretty light aluminum frame, a Fox 32 Rhythm fork, Boost spacing front and rear, and it had solid components. Last, but not least, dual bottle cage mounts. Scott also offers the carbon framed Scale 940 at the exact same price with a simpler spec, but personally, I'd rather ride a good fork, brakes and parts, rather than to go carbon just for carbon's sake.
I ordered one and while waiting for it to arrive, I realized that I couldn't resist doing something fun with it. I really do think the bike looks good straight out of the box. You can't go wrong with black and yellow accents, but to me, a new bike is a blank canvas... My Inspiration:
Since most of my winter training is done when it's dark outside, this felt like the perfect time go wild with colors to brighten things up a bit. After going for a really clean look on my previous builds, this felt like it'd be a lot of fun to do. The first thing that crosses my mind when I think of colorful is Klein. The classic brand that, during the 90's, put out some of the wildest and most iconic paint jobs the mountain bike world has ever seen. You truly can spot one a mile away.
Being born in 1986, I was just a kid when Klein was in their prime, but the first time I saw a picture of one as a teenager I just went "Wow." There's just something about them, and my favorite was the 1990 Klein Attitude in Team USA/Dolomite colors. Some might think it's a really stupid idea to take an iconic Klein colorway and put Scott logos on it, but to me it's a tribute. I want a modern bike to ride. Trying to get an original 26" rigid Attitude is out of the question, and Klein is not in business these days, so no way to buy a new one. I think the first few Black Sabbath albums are pretty much the holy grail, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy listening to a good cover.From Idea to Finished Bike Couldn't resist to make some fun of most people's (including mine) fear of scratching their brand new bike.
After having the "before" photos taken, I immediately started to completely disassemble the bike. I like a DIY approach and since this isn't a dentist-level bike (when it comes to price) I was of course going to do the paint myself. I'm no expert, but common sense and a little bit of experience can take you a long way. When it comes to painting, prep work is just as important as it is time consuming. So, I spent quite some time sanding everything down to get a decent surface for the new paint, and then started to apply the primer.Getting ready for some color
Unfortunately, the rest of the story turned out to be a classic example of "Learn the hard way" with most things that could go wrong, going wrong.
Not having time to order and wait for proper stencils for logos I went for a slightly backwards approach. This meant painting the color of the logos first. Then apply die-cut decals. Paint the frame and then remove the decals to reveal the logos. That's not the right way to do things, but normally it works out alright. But the green and pink color difficult to apply, and it turned out that the neon colors didn't like to be applied at all on anything but the primer itself.
Everything worked like a charm with the white paint, but the neon color crept and cracked leaving a mess. I managed to save the fork and its painted logos, but I had to start over with the front half of the frame. With some irony in regard to my "NO SHORTCUTS" pledge, I had to take a shortcut here and go for decals instead of painted logos. That still nags the perfectionist in me, but it would have to do. The paint was finally finished, and after a lot of wet sanding and polishing, I could start to assemble the frame kit.At times, I averaged at least ten curse words per minuteTime for the Components
When it came to components I already knew there were some small things I'd have to change. To get the handlebar height right, I replaced the stock stem with a negative-17 degree 90mm Syncros XR1.5 along with their nicely integrated Garmin mount. I borrowed my Berk Composites seat from my other bike, since this simply is the most comfortable seat I've ever owned (despite being a 60 gram piece of carbon). I came across some perfectly retro looking Schwalbe Nobby Nic's and got my favorite Syncros Tailor 1.0 bottle cage with the slight side entry.
That was going to be it, but to no big surprise, my weight weenie side still managed to get the best of me. Placing the SRAM NX Eagle cassette on the scale made me go full Jim Carrey (see video below). Don't get me wrong, I love 1x drive trains and I really think that SRAM NX Eagle is great, since it makes the technology more affordable and available to even more riders. But, when you're used to your rear wheel weighing 590g and running a 265g SRAM XX1 cassette, this was just too much to swallow. So, I ordered a much lighter Garbaruk 11-48T cassette and their wide range compatible derailleur cage for my new 11-speed SRAM GX derailleur.
Somewhere in all this craziness, I got the idea that it'd be fun to color match the derailleur as well. One lunch break later, I had a bunch of small-parts in front of me. To finish the drive train, I decided to borrow my super light Tune cranks with their 38T Garbaruk chainring until I need it for a race bike in spring. Better to use them than to have nice parts boxed away for six months.
So, Here's the Result:
First ride: Scott Full Retro 950
After the first couple of rides on it I'm positively surprised. Of course, it's a really nice bike, but you have to remember that I'm coming from riding a sub 7kg Scott Scale RC 900 SL. The 900's frame alone weighs 1kg less and costs twice as much as this complete bike - and there's something to be said about how a really good carbon frame and super light carbon seat post help against vibrations and improve comfort.
The Scale 950 doesn't feel quite as responsive and it's simply not as fast, mostly due to heavier wheels and tires. But, this is a training bike. When the snow comes and you start using studded tires, it's just about heart rate and training hours anyway.
On the other hand, it handles very similar to my "dentist" Scale 900 SL and with a light wheelset, it'd be really close. I feel comfortable on the bike, the aluminium frame is stiff and lets me put the power down, the Fox fork is supple and I'm already having lots of fun on it.
With this project finished it's time to start planning for a new cross country super bike to ride and race in 2019. The goal is to try and build the best and fastest bike ever, so that's going to be a special one.
My Scott Genius is still in progress, and will see a remake before finally being properly presented some time during this winter. A Genius, with just three visible cables, if all works out. Feel free to have a look at my Instagram
to keep up with those projects.
I hope this might inspire some of you to have some fun and customize your bikes a bit. Warranties and resale value aren't everything. Life's too short to not have the bike you really want, so go full... anything you want.