Olympic years often mean new XC bikes as brands pull out all the stops to give their racers the most advanced tool for arguably the biggest prize in cross-country racing.
The Spark, now in its fourth generation, was initially launched in 2008. Since then its won several World Championships, a pile of World Cups and even Olympic golds.
With that in mind, Scott introduces the all-new, completely redesigned Spark product range. The range includes the RC race bike, the 900 trail bike, and the Contessa, as ridden by Kate Courtney This bike immediately looks very different from its predecessor, but that's not to say it doesn't look like anything else.
Scott Spark RC & 900 Details
• Wheel size: 29"
• Rear travel: 120mm
• Carbon or aluminum frame
• Integrated suspension design
• RC head angle: 67.2-degrees
• 900 head angle w/130mm fork: 65.8-degrees
• Sizes: S-XL
• Spark RC
• Spark 900
It's an obvious nod to Bold Cycles, a Swiss company Scott bought a majority stake of in May 2019
. While this may well share some of the same design cues as the Bold, it's an all-new bike that incorporates them.New Shock Mounting
The derivative nature of this design from Bold, which was a very recognisable design, plus the racing heritage of the Spark lineage means this bike has a lot to live up to. So, what's new? Well, let us start with the elephant in the room.
The shock, which is driven by a single pivot layout that uses a flex pivot, is hidden entirely within the frame. Scott are confident, however, that they've managed to incorporate the shock in such a way that's it's not just easy to work on but also to live with. The bike comes with easily removable covers should you need to take the shock out the frame as well as a sag indicator to help you achieve your best setup without having to reach for the tools. The frame bearings also have an additional seal to ward off dirt and grime.
The setup, which Scott refer to as Integrated Suspension Technology, not only allows for extra room in the front triangle for two water bottles but also, Scott claim, yields performance gains by allowing the weight of the shock and its associated hardware to sit lower within the frame, which then in turn reduces the height of the center of gravity. They also say that this setup is also laterally stiffer thanks to the trunnion mount as well as larger bearings in the seat tube pivot.
Scott wanted to keep a similar pedaling position between the RC, which is the all out race bike, and the 900, which is more trail friendly. They wanted both bikes to have the same feel and acceleration, but also to build two different bikes that could both make good on their intentions. To do this the frames have a built in angle-adjust headset. This means you can combine the slacker setting with a longer fork on the 900 or run something shorter and steeper for XC racing.Geometry
The two iterations of the Spark, the RC and the 900, share the same frame, but thanks to the headset adjustment can both have head angles to suit their intention while leaving many of their other dimensions relatively unchanged. For instance, the RC has a head angle of 67.2 degrees and a seat tube angle that is around 76.4 (+/- 0.5 depending on the size). The 900, the trail bike which has a 10mm longer fork, has a head angle of 65.8 and a seat tube angle that is merely 0.2 slacker. The wheelbase does grow marginally on the 900, and the amount that it grows is dependent on the size, but for a size large there is a 15mm change. Everything else stays largely unchanged. The adjustment of the headset can be achieved without the removal of any cables or anything needing to be re-bled. I commend this approach.New Integrated Handlebar and Twinloc
The new bike comes with a new integrated bar and stem from Syncros - the Fraser iC Combo. The bar was designed to be used in conjunction with the bike. The idea is that the cables can flow underneath the bar and around the sides of the stem before disappearing down the edges of the head tube. The bars and stem also feature multiple options for ultra-sleek mounting options for a GPS or lights. There is also quite a nice rear axle assembly that doubles up as a multi-tool.Models and Availability
The alloy Spark 950, 960 and 970 will have the same features as their carbon siblings, but at a lower cost.
The entry level alloy Spark 970 and the mid-range carbon Spark 940.
For more information please visit the RC product page
or the 900 product page
on Scott's website
The all-new Spark product range will be available for sale starting in September/October.