Staff Rides: Photographer Matt Wragg's Scott Spark

Jul 5, 2018 at 5:17
by Matt Wragg  



My bikes are a bit different to the other PB editors who have done these Staff Rides pieces. Unlike RC, Aston, Kaz and Levy, I'm not a test editor. As a photographer I have commercial relationships with a number of brands, which means I cannot test kit (usually; I tested the recent DT Swiss F535 fork after we agreed it did not create a conflict of interest for me or Pinkbike), but I am not tied to any brand for my bikes, so could pick and choose what I thought would be the best for me.

For my bikes that means two things: that I don't always have new kit coming in for testing so my kit is nearly always on for the long-haul, and that I spend a lot more time on my own bike than the test editors can so I have obsessed over every piece hanging off it. My bikes are built with kit that I know will stand up to me smashing into stuff over and over again and, for the most part, being mechanically neglected as I prefer riding to tinkering.
Matt's Scott Spark
• Intended use: mountain biking
• Rear wheel travel: 120mm
• Size: Large
• Wheel size: 29''
• Fork: DT Swiss F535 One, 130mm
• Wheelset: DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline
• Shimano Zee/Saint/XTR drivetrain
• Bikeyoke Revive dropper

Where I live in Sospel, in the south of France, our riding tends to be made up of long, punishing fireroad climbs and nasty, rocky descents. For example, the fireroad behind my house is about 8km of climbing at a reasonable grade, then you descend back into the valley on a selection of trails that have almost all featured in an enduro race at some point in their history. With that kind of riding, I like light, shorter-travel bikes that climb well but are fun in the ugly stuff on the way down. I'm happy to spend a couple of hours grinding out the distance, but I don't see the point in all that climbing if there isn't a great descent at the end of it... I guess this puts me squarely into "down-country" riding, or whatever Levy is calling it this week. Whatever it is I ride, the bike I will usually grab first is this one: my Scott Spark.


The Frame

At the start of 2017, I visited Scott's HQ to talk about the Spark RC that had just won double Olympic golds under Nino Schurter and Jenny Risveds. Talking to their product manager, Rene Krattinger, and lead engineer, Joe Higgins, the two things that jumped out at me were the frame design and the kinematic. I really like that by placing the shock low and vertically in the frame all the weight and reinforcement is around the BB, while the top of the frame doesn't need to take the same kind of forces, so can be much lighter. Then there is the kinematic - the week before I was at Canyon talking about their Sender DH bike. The Spark had essentially the same shape curve as the Sender, with a very active rear end using the hydraulics for efficiency rather than the kinematic, which is an approach I like a lot. After spending a little time a Sender last year, I realised that if the suspension worked was as they described it, I was going to get on with the Spark.

The other thing that tipped me into going for the Spark was the sizing. Until that point I had been on the Orbea Occam TR, a bike I really enjoyed riding. I am 1.75m (5'9") and went for the large-sized frame. Looking through the numbers I saw that the Spark was 10mm longer in the reach (460mm), 3mm longer in the chainstay (438mm) and a quite a bit lower at the BB (327mm) - paired with that great kinematic on paper it looked spot on, although I would have preferred a longer chainstay as I think 438 mm is still a little bit off-balance with the 460mm reach. I will admit to being really nervous when I first rode the Spark, precisely because it looked so good on paper. If the bike felt terrible, everything I thought I had figured out about how I want my bikes to work would have been wrong. Fortunately, Scott did a great job with the bike; it is quite stiff, but it surprised me with how much comfort there was in the frame, despite the stiffness. I love the riding position, the bike is a great shape which encourages you to carve turns with it. That pairs with the pop and progression in the rear end so you can play with the trail and really drive on when the mood takes you, often far faster than you feel like you should be going on a 120mm bike.

Suspension

When I built this bike I brought over my 130mm Formula 35 fork from my Orbea and would still be running it if I didn't get into testing the DT Swiss F535. I wrote far too much about that fork at the time so I won't get into it further here, but I am running the 130mm version and I am hoping to keep it on the bike for as long as possible; I will probably try to buy the fork from DT when they come to get it back. The one mod I have made is that I replaced the volume spacers with a Formula Neopos token. Aston has been testing them so I won't get into it too much here, but having tried them with little or no expectation, I have since fitted them to all my forks that they will fit in. I am very impressed with the subtle, but very useful differences they make to the air spring.


Staff Rides Scott Spark. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
The DT Swiss F535 is an unbadged, pre-production fork, and who doesn't like a fully murdered out fork?
Staff Rides Scott Spark. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
The stock Fox Nude shock.


At the back of the bike is the stock Fox Nude that came with the bike. It works well, although I would like a shock I can work on a bit more to see if I can improve the fore-aft balance. I have looked around for alternatives, but there are very few other shocks I can get to fit this frame as a piggyback will not clear the downtube. What I have not used with this bike is Scott's Twinlock system. Although I like their philosophy of keeping the rear end active and taming it with a lockout, it has never felt like I am losing too much as I climb, so I am fine with it wide-open all the time. Also, I don't like having additional things on my bar, or the hassle and extra weight of fitting the system, although if I race XC on this bike, I may rethink that.

Inside the shock I have removed the stock volume spacers and replaced them with a cut-down Formula Neopos - after all if it works on a fork, why wouldn't it work on a shock? I had to cut the Neopos down the middle so it could be placed around the shaft of the shock. Originally it was slightly longer than the stroke, so I removed about 5mm to fit it inside the air can. This worked well, but made the bike too progressive - the acceleration when you pushed into the bike was too much for the kind of natural trails where I live. I have held onto this for when I ride machine-built trails, but for home I now run a more aggressively cut-down Neopos to make the bike more manageable.

Drivetrain

The drivetrain on this bike has now followed me through three bikes, initially because it was what I had in my spares box, then as a preference as I figured out what I need. First up are the 10-speed Zee derailleur and Saint shifter, which were what I had to hand at the time. I think the Zee mech is maybe the pinnacle of derailleur design - compact, tough and cheap. These days I don't go through too many derailleurs, but when I was a few years ago the Zee became my go-to. Because it is so small, paired with the 29" wheels, the Zee rarely seems to make contact with anything (touch wood), but when you do they can take one hell of a hit. That size is one of the big things that put me off the latest crop of 12-speed mechs - they are twice the size and four times the price. I may have a look at the new medium cage, 11-speed XTR derailleur this winter, but maybe not.


Staff Rides Scott Spark. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Strong, light, cheap? You can have all three with the Zee derailleur.
Staff Rides Scott Spark. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
This one may be a few years past cutting-edge, but an XTR cassette is pretty timeless.


I am super-picky about my cassettes - I believe they the best place on a bike to save weight as you can go superlight without compromising strength. When I bought this XTR 11-36t cassette it was only about €100 for a 258g cassette to go with the cassette and shifter I already had and it has been going for upwards of 3,000km. Since then prices for the 10-speed XTR cassettes have rocketed and they are now around the €200 mark, so if I stick with 10-speed on this bike I will go for a Recon titanium upper assembly mated to a standard XT cassette which gives you a sub-250g 11-36t cassette for around €100, although they compromise shifting performance a little compared to the XTR cassette.

Having spent this much time with the 11-36t gearing, I don't really feel the need for a bigger sprocket and I really struggle to imagine a situation where I could ever need a 50t cassette on my bike. A 10/11-42t 11-speed cassette would be nice, but I could not justify paying twice what I am currently buying my cassettes at for an extra gear I will rarely use. I acknowledge that the current crop of 12-speed cassettes are indeed small masterpieces of metalwork, yet I feel like that in the race for bigger dinner plates on our rear wheels, the idea of choice has been lost, which is a shame. For example, a 10-50t GX Eagle cassette is around €200 but weighs nearly 450g, neither of which are numbers that work for me compared to what I run now.


Staff Rides Scott Spark. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
They may be a few thousands kms past being described as fancy, but Raceface's Next SLs are a lightweight workhorse of a crank. The guide is integrated into the frame
Staff Rides Scott Spark. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
KMC chains are remarkably well-priced and they produce chains for some of the bigger players, including Shimano.


At the crank, I run 170mm Race Face Next SLs with a 30t ring and a small upper guide. This particular pair of cranks has followed me through two or three bikes (I can't remember exactly for this set), and I have run several sets of them since 2014. In that time they have proven reliable and sturdy, and the bottom brackets last really well. In honesty, I do have a set of G4s ready to replace these, but it seems wrong to take a perfectly fine set of cranks off my bike. The chain is a KMC Superlight that seems to be holding up nicely.

Wheels and Tires

At the moment I am running two pairs of wheels back-to-back on this bike - DT Swiss XMC 1200s and XM1501s, both in 30mm internal width. I became curious about wheel stiffness because the Ibis 942s I was running on my Occam felt too harsh when I moved them to the Spark. The two frames are very different, with the Scott being stiffer and pointier, where the Orbea is compliant and playful - which got me wondering how important wheel stiffness is in the overall compliance and on-trail feel of a bike. Hence the two pairs of wheels that I am running to try and figure out how I feel about stiff wheels. I won't give too much away, but I have been definitely been spending more time with the aluminum rims mounted to the bike.


Staff Rides Scott Spark. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
It has been an alumiunum rim kinda week for me with DT's ultra-dependable XM1501s.

Staff Rides Scott Spark. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Magic Mary front...
Staff Rides Scott Spark. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
30mm is the widest variant of this wheel available - I would ideally go a little wider if I could.

Staff Rides Scott Spark. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
...Rock Razor rear.


I will admit to being somewhat stuck in my ways with tires - I run one combination all year round as I don't like the faff of changing tubeless tires. Up front is a Schwalbe Magic Mary, out back a Rock Razor, both in 2.35 Snakeskin casing. Originally the idea was that it didn't make sense to have both my trail and enduro bike with heavy-duty tires, so I ran the lighter-weight casing. I quickly realised that if I kept the pressures sensible (23psi front, 28psi rear) that it was a secure enough combination on my trail bike and I could go ride big loops with no backpack or spares. Ok, occasionally it bites me in the ass, but it's usually my fault for not replacing my tires soon enough or letting the pressures drop too low. There is nothing fancy inside them, just Effetto Mariposa rim strips, valves and tubeless fluid.

Contact Points, etc

One thing I am particular with my bikes is the contact points - I hop between my trail, enduro, DH and e-bikes a lot, so I like to keep them as consistent as possible. Oury grips have been my go-to for more than a decade now - I have tried other grips, but always end up coming back to these as the combination of thick rubber and big drainage channels to carry away the sweat is pretty unbeatable. I have been running Renthal bars pretty much religiously since 2011. At first it was because the original Fatbar was shiny and gold and had a nice shape, then because they deliberately tuned out much of the stiffness in their carbon bars, and now because they offer a range of heights and after seven years I trust them to make bars that won't snap on me.

I keep all my bars at 780mm, but adjust the height depending on the bike - I don't believe anyone who suggests that long bikes can't manual, I think they haven't spent enough time getting their bar height right. I don't like running too many steerer spacers, as they are ugly and they actually reduce the reach as you go higher, so on this bike, I run a 40mm rise bar as the stack height is quite low. This bike has a 40mm stem - with the 67-degree-ish headangle on this bike I wouldn't go longer as it would start to bring the bar too close to the front axle, where with the 40mm stem you sit nicely behind it. For pedals, I run Shimano XT as they are pretty perfect for me - tough as hell, reliable and affordable.


Staff Rides Scott Spark. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
The other good thing about Oury grips is that you can always make a cheap, dirty joke about not being able to grip anything thinner.
Staff Rides Scott Spark. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
A 780mm Renthal Fatbar carbon with 40mm rise.
Staff Rides Scott Spark. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
A 40mm Renthal Apex stem keeps the bar attached to the frame.
Staff Rides Scott Spark. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Saddles are a very personal affair, but I find it hard to beat Selle San Marco's Dirty saddles.


This bike convinced me to change my saddles. The seattube length on this frame is very close to the limit for me, so when I discovered that for Selle San Marco's new Dirty saddles they had reduced the stack height by 8mm, it was an easy call and I have since switched all my bikes to them. This particular one has carbon rails in the name of gram-shaving. I do get a lot of comments about the seat angle, but this is another area where I think people haven't tried it out. I originally dropped the nose of my saddle after Mojo Risin's Chris Porter explained to me that the lower angle helps you engage your core muscles when climbing, which makes a lot of sense. The more time I spent with this setup the more I realised there was a second benefit - that it reduces pressure on your gentleman's equipment. It has noticeably reduced discomfort and numbness in that area and I think that any man who cares for that particular part of his wellbeing should try this setup.

Staff Rides Scott Spark. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Is there anything to say about Shimano's XT pedals?

Staff Rides Scott Spark. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
Formula Curas get things stopped - I run the brakes more vertical than Fab Barel tells me I should, but flatter than I did a few years ago.
Staff Rides Scott Spark. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
The Bikeyoke Revive post is impressive.

Staff Rides Scott Spark. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg
For my trail bike I go for 180mm rotors front and rear as they seem to be enough to manage the heat for me.


The seatpost is a 125mm Bikeyoke Revive. I came upon these posts when I was researching stack heights for a dropper post, again because of the length of the seattube on this bike. The Revive is a full 15mm lower than a Reverb or a Transfer, which combined with the lower stack height on the saddle made me confident I could fit this bike. In fact, I would guess that due to the small differences that occur in production the seattube is short enough for me to fit a 150mm post, but once I got used to the smaller drop it is not something I think about much. KS also offer the same stack height, but I don't rate their remote too highly and their posts tend to get a bit baggy after a while. So far the Revive has been flawless - good to set up, good remote and the bleed function gets it feeling crisp and fresh with little more than the turn of an allen key.

Finally, there are the brakes - Formula Curas with 180mm rotors. These are now on their second bike and my experience with them has been nothing but great. I think it must be down to lever geometry, but there is something about these brakes that just works for me. My test for brakes is rolling endo turns - using the front brake to lift the rear then control the balance as you turn on the front wheel. These are the most intuitive brakes I have used for that, bar none. Combine that with good power and reliability and you have a winner. This set has run since I picked them up in September 2016 and been bled every 1,000km or so, whether they needed it or not. I run them at what I can best describe as an intermediate angle, not too flat, but not too steep either, biting reasonably early so I have plenty of stroke to control the braking - if they pull too far in I feel like I can't properly modulate my brakes. I know a lot of the fast Frenchies run very flat levers, but I deliberately put mine at a steeper angle a couple of years ago as I reasoned I was riding too far back on the bike, so used the brake levers to help bring my riding position forwards. As I have got more settled in my position on the bike I have flattened them out a little, but the main thing for me is to try and have as neutral a line from elbow to fingertip as possible and I find bigger bikes tend to mean you ride on the front a lot more of the time.


Staff Rides Scott Spark. Sospel France. Photo by Matt Wragg


I don't know what this all adds up to for weight. When I first built the bike it squeaked in under the 11kg mark, but since then the DT fork and alloy wheels have added a few grams, I'd guess it is still less than 11.5kg. Everything on here has a purpose and there is nowhere I would look to save weight as I don't think I could make much of a difference without compromising the fun and/or reliability of this bike. What I do know about this bikes is that it is a nice place to hammer out a couple of thousand metres of climbing and then let you open it up as wide as you dare on the way down.


200 Comments

  • + 168
 Great article, it's great to see a more real-life sensible setup like this instead of the usual everything new on the pro's bike. I'm getting sick to see whatever carbon frame with the latest sram bits.
Would love to see more original (or I would say normal setup) instead of infomercials from whatever brand.
  • + 48
 I agree. Enjoyed reading this completely vs. my usual of just skimming reviews on here.
  • + 15
 "Whatever carbon frame with the latest Sram bits."

Freaking seriously. Bikes are starting to look more and more alike.
  • + 6
 Love that he isn't trying to keep up with the Joneses, and just runs what works!
  • + 3
 Agreed like Levy’s super honest review from a while back. A seat bag???
  • + 21
 "Intended use: mountain biking" Lol! Thank you @mattwragg
  • + 1
 Don't get your spandex in a bunch.
  • + 6
 Finally an article where someone points out a 10-50 isn't necessary for everyone. I think a regular guy old-bike check would be a great feature. Primarily because after a few years with a bike you tend to end up with a setup you really like. That being said, I'm not certain if anyone really cares how I set up my 2014 Bronson.
  • + 9
 This is 100% a "mechanic" build if there ever was. This guy is my spirit animal - Shimano 10 speed for the f*cking win. More builds like this please, yes.
  • + 1
 @db24780: They'd only care if you were pb staffer!
  • + 54
 10 speed FTW!
  • + 36
 True dat. But 30x36 on a 29er, that's quite impressive ... I do not have fireroads flat enough to run such a setup Wink
  • - 19
flag tiagomano (Aug 7, 2018 at 12:41) (Below Threshold)
 @lkubica: it's just a question of being fit enough
i run 34-46 (shouldn't be that different) on my 29er enduro bike with 15.something kg
  • + 10
 @tiagomano: math much?
  • + 2
 Yes. Yes indeed.
  • - 8
flag WAKIdesigns (Aug 7, 2018 at 14:19) (Below Threshold)
 @lkubica: where do you live? Next time in Bielsko go try the climb from the pass between Magura and Klimczok to the top of Klimczok, straight up through ski piste. Tell me how your perfect gearing works there. I personally just pedal 34-40. 14,7kg 275 bike with dhf dd front and RR SG with procore rear. You can try to beat my time on red trail to Kozia. Just stick to it to the end, the very last bit is fun. No pressure, you won’t be slower than a troll on his unnecessarily heavy bike, with too wide rims Wink
  • - 3
 @mollow: was just too lazy to go to a gear calculator and see the ration.
but i almost never ride on the 46, so if i ride on the one bellow (that is a 39) that is the one i mostly use on the steep climbs, it's harder that that gear ration.
and the gear ration is not all of it, given that my bike weights about 30% more, that also increase the effort you have to make
  • + 11
 @lkubica: Plot twist; fireraods in Sospel aren't flat ... at all. Matt has some serious power!
  • + 0
 @polarproton: it must be the E-bike he is running, he just forgets that the motor isn’t there.
  • + 1
 @polarproton: Yes, I can imagine. My post was a kind of auto-irony Wink On a good day I can pedal up my favourite mountain with 32x36, but on a 26 bike and using a dedicated ascend trail (which means 7% + switchbacks).
  • + 3
 @lkubica: I saw a dude climbing Kozia on a 4x bike with road cassette. He had A pro BMX physique. He wasn’t complaining. Joeys with Eagle were. #shutupandpedal
  • + 8
 10 speed is all you need.
  • + 8
 @polarproton: I'm not sure I should admit this on Pinkbike as I'd still consider myself a downhiller at heart (I just got back from a week in Morzine with the big bike), but I do weigh myself most weeks, shave my legs and know what my FTP is...
  • + 3
 @mattwragg: It's not because you want to be first down the hill that you don't care about being last on the way up. Smile Have you heard about that emerging format? It's called Enduro. Should give it a try one day, who knows.
  • - 4
flag WAKIdesigns (Aug 8, 2018 at 8:39) (Below Threshold)
 @polarproton: invalid assessment on your side. Down country is the currently emerging format. Take xc bike, strip it down from everything incl shock, install enduro parts on it, pretend it climbs better, call it more playful and keep repeating that you never looked back after selling your Enduro frame. Use hashtags #morefeedback #awakeasfuk #notoverbiked

The disease has spread into E-bikes too. When I saw 100mm E-bike with Racing Ralphs I realized that Jerritis caused by Joyea virus can be a genetic disease and we may never find cure for it. Exposure to Slayer perhaps
  • + 1
 @tiagomano: True on the weight. But the gear math is easy: 36/30 = 1.2. 46/34 = 1.35. Your easiest gear is easier than his.
  • + 46
 High rise bars instead of a mountain of spacers make me happy.
  • + 3
 ^^ This
  • + 4
 Wait, so spacers reduce reach, but the rise of the bar doesn't? Is that what you were insinuating, @mattwragg ?
  • + 8
 @Agleck7: thought the same. Result is the same of course but you do have a little more control over it with the bar as you can tilt or even buy different sweep. It looks a lot cleaner but you’re f*cked when you try to sell the fork with a (less than) 180mm steerer!
  • + 16
 @Agleck7: does your bar rise has the same angle as your fork? Nope, so no shorter reach with a 40mm rise.
  • + 11
 @iqbal-achieve: No, it´s not the same, Matt is right on this one. Without spacers, the vertical plane that you mount the bars on stays exactly over the headtube. A high-rise bar will then only have more rise (as the name implies), but no more backsweep. So yes, fewer spacers with a high-rise bar will yield more effective reach.
  • + 10
 Finally someone who gets it. People talk shit about my high rise bars looking like a dirt jumper when they have a bunch of spacers
  • + 2
 @FR33DOMdotCOM: High rise bar is equivalent to spacers and a longer stem. What matters is where your hands end up, and not how you get there, as far as geo goes.
  • + 3
 Yes, also puzzled by the janky "mountain of spacers" many people end up with, especially after putting painstaking attention to detail and WADS of cash into a Gucci build. And they never give it another thought.

How's this for a more elegant solution:

Determine where you want your HANDS to end up, then realize there's a bajillion combinations of bar rise, stem rise and (lack of) spacers that will get them there.

I particularly don't like the "sit up and beg" look of hi-rise bars (i.e. anything over 20mm rise).

So on the last build I experimented with slight rise stem from the parts bin and my favorite 20mm rise bars, going both up and down with a mountain of spacers (before cutting the steerer tube to the final length), as well as rolling the bars forward and back.

After hitting the dirt for some test sessions and finding the sweet spot - where my hand position felt right - the question was simple:

What stem angle and length will get me and these bars there with no spacers?

The answer with my short head tube / small wheels was a 50mm x 25 degree stem. A more common option for most may be a 17 degree rise stem.

From there I cut the steerer down, purposely leaving an extra 6mm / 1/4" of steerer and 1 small spacer on top of the stem just in case for fine tuning.

The look is stout, elegant and purposeful, with the added benefit of no stack of spacers to slosh around between your top headset bearing and stem, AND losing a few grams in spacers and a shorter steerer tube, and lighter bars (however much 20mm rise vs 40mm rise saves).

Sure stem selection isn't quite as huge as the sea of "normal" 0 / 6 / 10 degree stems, but you can find amazing deals on high quality, lightweight forged stems. PB or Ebay's great for this.
  • + 3
 @FR33DOMdotCOM: that’s all I was really saying dude. Haven’t called anyone wrong. Most bars will zero out to the stem meaning you get a rise in line with the head angle as a ‘neutral’ position and most riders I know will roll there bars roughly inline with the head angle rather than vertical to the ground. Of course you can roll the bars to where ever you want so you could have the same reach, more reach, less. Which is why I said you have more control over the fit an geometry when you use the bar to raise the contacts.
it’s all a bit academic. If you used a Renthal bar vs a Burgtec bar the reach would be quite different because of the difference in backsweep. But it’s Matts bike and he can do whatever the hell he wants to make it good for him.
  • + 2
 @dave-f: you’re right, there are many ways to achieve a similar static reach position but maybe Matt has decided he likes the steering characteristics with this particular stem length.
There’s also the leverage you get from a taller bar but on a Scott Spark I’m not sure that was a consideration!
  • + 2
 @BrianRichards: Only unless my eyes are deceiving me, it looks like he isn't running his bars anywhere close to vertical. That was actually the main thing that jumped out at me in this article, it looks like he has the bars rotated severely back toward the rider which indeed would shorten the reach significantly. If it works for him then that's great, but it looks like a weird setup.

EDIT: the picture of the bars looks way more rotated back than the pic of the whole bike sooo. Pictures are dumb?
  • + 3
 @friendlyfoe: My bars are at the 1 degree marker on the stem, so no, fairly neutral.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: In before my edit. The picture of just the bars for some reason looks like the bars are massively rotated backward.
  • + 2
 @iqbal-achieve: I just got caught up on "the result is the same". We agree that it can be the same, but also can be quite different, depending on what you do with your bars. Cheers!
  • + 1
 @dave-f: As far as where your hands end up, yes, you can fine tune the position with a different lenght stem. But the lenght of the stem will have a big difference on your steering characteristics, so in reality you don´t have much to play with. The difference even from a 40mm to a 50mm stem already is quite big regarding the handling of your bike.
  • + 17
 Running zee+oneup radcage with saint shifters on 11-42 sunrace cassette with a 32t up front. Works like treat, chainlife is looong even if i'm not the easiest on my drivetrain. Strongly recommend a similar setup for every non-sponsored riders and/or for those who doesn't get brodeals very often..
  • + 3
 YES ^ THIS. That's exactly my set up. I'm thinking of trying the new Shimano 10 speed 11-42 cassette which is about the same price. I'm not a pro so don't really notice the small differences in ratios anyway. 42 gets me where I want easy enough. Plus this set up has lasted 2 frames without a glitch.
  • + 1
 you might find the suntace will wear quickly but one of my rides has an 11X42 on a 28 rotor....Transition climbs like a beast
  • + 1
 If you can find a saint mech for a good price they are the best mech on the market. All the goodness of the zee but quieter and more robust. Trouble is they don’t come up too often and tend to be pricey now.
  • + 2
 I have same with mid cage SLX (which, except for cage length, I think is the same as zee) and it works great, no need for rad cage or even longer b screw.

I have the cheapest sunrace cassette which is a bit weighty, will definitely try the Shimano next.
  • + 1
 @madmon: mine holding up surprisingly well. The only reason i'd switch for a 11-46 is to be able to ride a 34t fromt without compromising the climbing(and to avoid 20 more squats a day).
  • + 1
 Similar 10 speed setup here - Zee mech, XT shifter, Shimano chain, Sunrace / Shimano 11-42 (I have Sunrace on one wheelset and Shimano on another).

I can buy a new drivetrain inc jockey wheels for £90.
  • + 1
 @vesko: IMO it is better than the Sunrace one. I have both and the Shimano tends to shift slightly better.
  • + 1
 @iqbal-achieve: Zee is cheaper and lighter. That's why I went with it.
  • + 2
 You dont even need the Radcage. I run a stock Zee with a 42t without any issues after busting a Radcage.
For me, I use a stock Zee der + XT shifter + XT cassete with the Oneup 16t and 42t E-13 cog + 32t up front - flawless setup!
  • + 1
 @hyperpower88: hardtail or full sus and if so what linkage you got there?
  • + 1
 My Saint mech was getting old and wobbly so I switched my old spare Zee back on last week. I can tell no difference between them whatsoever when I have switched both ways. Saint shifter does make a noticeable difference over the Zee though.

I'm now running the exact same drivetrain as listed in this article (cranks, mech, shifter, cassette, even pedals ...spooky) but on 27.5 wheels. I don't hammer the pedals on the way down and I'm fairly fit so 30/11-36 10 speed works for me. If I cared about riding flat roads faster on the way to the trails then I'd want an extra gear at the top end.

My Next SLs do have some play in them again at the crank bolt interface (1 year after warranty). If I don't get another warranty replacement then I'm switching to the new XTRs.
  • + 1
 @iqbal-achieve: Its a full suspension - Giant Reign 2016. You can check it out on my profile.
  • + 1
 I already have to run more B-tension than ideal to make a 11-36 work with my Saint/Zee on three different 150-155mm bikes. Wouldn't like to try it on a bigger cassette personally.
  • + 1
 @Lornholio: Maybe you are using the DH version?! The FR version is made to work with 36t and, in my case, works perfect with the 42t cog.
  • + 1
 @hyperpower88: I believe there isn’t much chain growth on those which may be why you’re able to get away with it. I’m not sure it’d work so well on most other bikes. Nice bike though man
  • + 1
 @iqbal-achieve: My experience really is only on the Reign but yes, I suppose it may only work if the chain growth isn´t very high.
  • + 1
 @hyperpower88: When the first 40t sprocket from OneUp was announced, they had a recommendation regarding short cage mechs. I think the base line was if the chain growth is below 20mm, you should be fine with a short cage.
I have found 40t to work very well with Saint mechs on different bikes, 42t tends to get a bit noisy and the cogs wear a lot faster. I currently have exactly this setup on a Reign.
  • + 14
 A bike set up with practical parts for every day riding. Please more bikes from non racers so us mortals can have an idea how to set up our bikes.
  • + 9
 Please, more of these. I find when riders have to buy their own, and maintain their own, the thinking on parts and frames gets way more interesting and a lot less BS gets said. I now ride a durable frame and mid-grade parts that I would have laughed at in my younger, supposedly faster days. And climbing ability is only slightly less important than downhill ability if you want sufficient energy for the downhills on the big days. IMO the 115-140mm all-around mountain bikes PB has shown lately are perfect for a lot of people.
  • + 1
 I don't think it's strange that pimped up xc style bikes with more relaxed angles should be popular, efficient and fun on what 90% of people are riding for 90% of their time on the bike.
  • + 9
 Everything made sense to me except considering the Next SL crank a workhorse. Maybe a thoroughbred, but hardly strong enough to be considered a workhorse.
  • + 2
 If you're 5'9" and thin they're great! I'm built similarly and ride double blacks on a trail bike with next SLs all day, year in, year out.
  • + 2
 @sspiff: Yah I've crushed my Next SLs and they're still perfect. Just got a new second-hand bike that has 'em too so I'm stoked!
  • + 4
 1600+km of abuse on my Next SL cranks , no issues either. I weigh around 200lbs .
  • + 2
 Lots of vertical (French/Swiss/Italian alpine lifts) on my Next SLs at 80kg (175lbs) and they developed some play at the crank bolt insert after two 8-month seasons. Same now on the replacement Next SL G4s after another 8 months. I'm switching to the new XTR unless I can get a warranty for some Next R or SixC.
  • + 7
 This is the best review i've read on pb in the long time, not a single brochure/product manager regurgitation. A real rider perspective coming from someone with actual knowledge and experience from different options. There is an absence in bikes with 120 travel, lightweight, and yet still able to take a real punishment from fast descent and bad hits from crash. If only Scott is in my price range, this could have been my next bike. Now to look for one in the used market.
  • + 1
 If there was a proper robust ‘trail’ bike in 130mm region, shorter wheelbase and able to take a real beating, not ridiculously expensive I would be all over it. The latest Scout looks good strength wise but it’s pretending to be a bigger bike. Somebody make the scout with a sensible HA and don’t charge me £2k for the frame. I’m in.
The new 5010 is what I want but like I said, not too happy about losing nearly £2k on the frame alone.
  • + 1
 @iqbal-achieve: check out the commencal meta tr. 130/140, bombproof, cheap, sub-30 lbs
  • + 1
 @CullenHerring: long chainstays Wink I don’t think there is anything I haven’t looked at in the quest for the right bike. I’m just buying a supreme SX for now...
  • + 1
 @CullenHerring: should have said - thanks for the suggestion dude. It’s a good one! But I’m a short arse and like my short chainstays Razz
  • + 1
 I'd love a more recent 120mm-140mm but usually, most of the components on those bikes are cheap XC lightweight shit that can't handle anywhere near the amount of abuse my bike goes through unless you spend 10k$ on a carbon everything setup.

This is why I'm staying with my 26" 145mm frame. I've put it to my liking and buying another complete will have me changing most of the parts anyway. With the price of bikes today, I'll just buy tires/rear wheels every now and then and call it a day.
  • + 7
 Cool bike Matt. That is a bizarre build, but cool to check out. When I'm feeling good, I can climb everything with a 30-36, too, but I do greatly prefer to have a bailout gear. Of course, I find myself bailing out like every climb - so maybe you're on to something.
  • + 4
 what do you consider bizarre?
  • + 6
 id consider it very diverse, not one company to rule everything. I like that though. Also zee for the win
  • + 3
 @Motoracer31: What's bizarre? The DH parts on a trail bike, 10 speed in this day and age, DT fork and Formula brakes. Although, the last 2 might not be as uncommon in Europe as they are in the states. And admittedly, I have 10 speed on my backup bike, and frankly, it's still a lot of gears - going to 11 or 12 doesn't seem that different, aside from the range that a typical 11 or 12 speed cassette offers.
  • + 2
 @pinhead907: i didnt think it was bizarre
  • + 2
 @Motoracer31: agreed. interesting, different, and bizarre AF. can't believe this is what he rips rocky descents on, the guy must have major skills.
  • + 2
 @jamesbrant: Ha, I’m not sure about major skills!
  • + 4
 Just a small detail, but I'm curious if there's evidence that KMC actually makes chains for Shimano? If I recall correctly, Shimano makes everything in-house.

Only thing I can find is a wikipedia article that uses a bikeradar review as a reference... not exactly reliable information.
  • + 1
 Maybe an anecdote, buy I recall a Pinkbike review of a KMC chain (Levy, maybe?) From like a year ago. In the comments someone said they were a KMC employee and verified that KMC manufactured most of Shimanos chains.
  • + 1
 Yeah, I really don't know about that one. My CN-HG95 says "Japan" on all the outer plates, and KMC mentions having several factories and offices in various countries, but Japan isnt one of them. www.kmcchain.com/en/overview.php
Maybe they make a few super low end Shimano chains. In any case, there's no doubt that KMC makes good chains, but in my experience, using a Shimano chain and cassette yields much better shifting versus using other combinations. Really, keeping the chain and cassette within the same company is key, a SRAM chain/cassette combo also shifts great, but introducing some KMC or Sunrace parts to the mix just makes the shifting that little bit clunkier.
  • + 4
 Yes, they do. I was at KMC a few years ago, although they were super fussy about shooting production so the story never ran.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: They produce some chains for Shimano, but Shimano handles high end stuff in house. KMC has no facilities in Japan.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: the evidence that @mnorris122 brought up seems to shoot your hype down.
  • + 4
 What a refreshing article that places substance/function over style/cosmetics/gram counting. Sorry, but you spacer adders are wrong vs. the riser bars. please take a geometry course and educate yourselves! :-)

As TR Roosevelt once said in a speech at the Sorbonne: "It's not the critic who counts. Not the person who points out where the strong man stumbles .......... the credit belongs to the man in the arena. In this case, Matt!

Do your thing....and ride on!
  • + 5
 If you add spacers then the bars keep getting closer to the rider on the 67 degree angle. With riser bars you can roll the bars forward so the rise is vertical. Do a geometry course.
  • + 3
 I can only appreciate someone who abstains from 11-12 sp pizza plates in the back. I am perfectly fine with 10 sp 11-36. Now with the new Deore one can go up to 42t. Whqt more can one ask? From that point forward, one needs to grow some legs and harden the F@#%ck up.
  • + 2
 Love these write-ups. Cool bike! I don't understand ditching the TwinLoc though. As a Spark owner, I find it to be one of the bike's best features. Sure, the extra cables are annoying (though manageable with thoughtful trimming) and the dropper lever takes some getting used to, but the "mid" setting sounds like it'd be perfect for the long fire road climbs you describe. I really like how it sort of raises the back end for climbing.
  • + 5
 Intended use: mountain biking.... MOUNTAIN BIKING!!! M-O-U-N-T-A-I-N-B-I-K-I-N-G.
PERIOD!
  • + 2
 People ride the bikes they want. Matt rides a carbon frame with expensive "light" cassettes because that's what he likes... The weight game/concern in bikes is really silly to me. I prefer an aluminum setup since I'm a big guy and have legitimately broken a carbon frame while riding it.

But I'm just pulled the trigger on a new trek slash aluminum with 12sp SRAM and I'm stoked. Is it unnecessary, sure. Have I been fine with 11sp and a 34T chain ring the past 5 years, YES... but I know i'd be fine without 12sp but damn it's gonna be nice on SOMO here in AZ... some of those ascents tap my energy currently with the 11sp...

Who cares, just ride what ya got! Shit I rode SS rigid for a while. it was fine, and then I got older. I like riding with the plush now.
  • + 5
 Magic Mary on a Scott Spark, that’s like Mike Levy running Ikons on Session 29
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns This comment has been bugging me. Would it be weird to run Magic Marys on an Evil Following or a Transition Smuggler? I think not. On paper, this bike maybe gives a little to those two in HA (maybe only 1/2 a degree with my 130mm fork), but has longer CS and a lower BB... in other words, it's very much in the same game, and talking to Scott about the frame, I told them how I planned to ride this bike and they told me it's fine, providing I don't try to emulate Brendan and backflip it (I haven't). So do you find the combo weird simply because it says "Scott" on the downtube?
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: first off, that was a poke joke Smile I have owned a 120 trail bike with a geometry of this XC racing bike so I totally get what you mean. Furthermore if I was after an XC bike I’d totally have this one on top of my list.

But then there was some personal opinion logic into it and that was that A you don’t see such setup anywhere os it just seems odd, but that’s fair enough, I bet 99.9% of Spark owners would kill to get your cornering skills and 99.8% of them would love your strength and stamina. B I personally ride xc bikes to do mileage and experience chaos on the downs hence I opt for Bonties XR2 Smile
  • + 5
 "Intended use: Mountain Biking" I like that.
  • + 5
 great paint scheme as usual for Scott.
  • + 2
 Yeah I love the colors. The little accents everywhere are silly though.
  • + 3
 I usually skip over the build in reviews because its always the same damn kits over and over. Great change of pace and awesome write up, thank you!
  • + 1
 Can you not just drive up the fireroad ??!!
Sweet looking ride , would love to build one up with similar parts , great to see xc bikes headangles slackening out for the descents , have always wanted to see this happening. I am also not a fan of dinner plate cassettes, they look rediculous to me, may as well have a double chainring on the front.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg Sweet bike, man!
Small light cassette, short Shimano derailleur, thick grips, high rise bars...just the way I set up my do-it-all bike.
I also found Formula brakes to be the best for rolling endo turns, but other than that, the Oro K18 I had years ago sucked anywhere else.
I agree with you on a lot in this article. I'd like to digital-high-five you.
  • + 1
 Just curious why you went a large over a medium? I'm 180cm and ride a medium Spark. My leg and arm length are normal for my size, do you like the feel of a bigger bike? Just wondering if I should contemplate a Large or not. I'm a Oury rider too.
  • + 1
 So nice to see all of us "everyday" riders, not semi-pro or pro, debating the nuances of virtually everything on the bike.....when, to me, we're engaged in "seat-bound keyboarding" (maybe because that's easier than actually spending the time improving our basic bike handling skills and fitness) that goes way beyond producing diminishing returns on our performance.

Upgrade your fitness and bike-handling skills, basically for free (but requires time and discipline), and you'll more quickly move to "the next level".
  • + 1
 @mattwragg sorry to resurrect this comments section but i can't help but keep coming back to this bike check, it looks so much fun! Trying to build something similar at the minute which i want to be quick pedalling for local xc rides and bridleway commutes but still able to take in the odd summer evenings at the bike park and in the woods (in understand that it won't put up with casing jumps and landing sideways like a dh bike!) Did Scott advise the longest fork which would be safe on the spark? totally understand if you can't answer that question in a public message board! Cheers for the inspiration on that build.
  • + 2
 @whereswally No, they didn’t say anything, but I like my suspension balanced front-to-rear, so I prefer not to have a difference of more than 10mm travel.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: thanks for the reply. I had a 2015 aluminium smuggler with a 140mm yari which was a great bike but pretty heavy. If i can get a decent price on a bike/frame ill give it a try with a 140mm pike. Enjoy yours, looks badass!

One last question... have you ridden a smuggler and how did it compare to the spark?
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: I also own a Scott Spark and I really appreciate you writing this article. Some of my friends call my bike a wienie XC bike but like you said, not sure if they would call an Offering or a Smuggler that. I was thinking of switching my fork out to a 130-140mm Pike because they are a little more burly and I do want to modify the bike to make it a little more trail capable. What do you see as the limitations on the bike? what won't you ride? I am thinking of either beefing up my Spark 900 or selling it and going with a Genius or Jeffsy. Any suggestions on whether i need more bike for chunky riding or just modify my Spark with bigger fork and wider wheels/tires?
  • + 1
 @JorgeF88: I see the limitations as mainly the rider. I mean, I like riding technical trails on short travel bikes, but maybe I'm just a bit weird. I don't tend to do shuttle days on this bike, but that's more in my head as day-to-day I ride the type of trails I'd probably be shuttling, but don't think about it because I pedal to them. I personally think the bike will be a lot of fun with a 130mm Pike (I don't like travel mismatches of more than about 10mm, but again, I'm odd). I think a 30mm rim and a 2.35 tyre go a long way too. It all depends what you find more fun - maybe see if you can test a longer travel bike and see if it makes you happier, it sounds like that's what you really want to do, but I'm inferring that from a couple of sentences. It's riding bikes, not life or death, so if you think a bigger bike will be more fun, do it.
  • + 1
 Your trails must be way drier and grippier than mine if you can run a rock razor all year round. I also don't like the faff of changing tubeless set ups, but I do quite like keeping it rubber side down. To be fair, you're probably a much better rider than me though.
  • + 5
 Intended use: mountain biking

You don't say?...
  • + 6
 This answer makes sense for me, since I don't Enduro or DH.
  • + 3
 I've been running my seat angled down like that for many years. I know everyone's different but I just can't understand seats angled up.
  • + 6
 angled slightly down is better for climbing, angled slightly up is better for dh, especially if you don't slam your post...

Anyone that has their seat angled up on their trail / any bike they climb is doing is wrong...

I remember there being some silly dropper where the seat would move as well - or maybe I'm crazy.
  • + 1
 i just started experimenting with this. went more nose down each ride (maybe half a bolt turn) found that balance point and really helped keep the nose down climbing.
  • + 1
 Angle down to go up and up to go down. If I could change it on the fly I would.
  • + 1
 @iqbal-achieve: i think the specialized enduro has that now
  • + 3
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: yeah and it’s cool. I hope to see some others develop the idea...
  • + 1
 @nvranka: specialized tried that
  • + 1
 @iqbal-achieve: Why up to go down? I don't touch my seat when I'm going down, so how does it make a difference either way?
  • + 3
 @smokingtires: tilting the nose up allows you to run the saddle a little higher for some support while still being able to move around it. If you’re bored try it one day. If you’re using a 125 dropper now, but you had a post that would tilt the saddle up as it dropped you’d only need say a 50mm drop to get the same amount of manoeuvrability. It’s also way comfier to sit down on and pedal from (should you need to) as it’s more aligned with your hips (and arse) as you go lower - one of the reasons you want it tipped forward when it’s fully up.
  • + 1
 @smokingtires: ps it’s not set in stone - plenty of dh riders have quite a flat saddle and some that have it tilted probably haven’t even thought about why. But that is the theory according to me. Which may not mean a lot.
On our general use trail bikes there is every reason to want to have the saddle piss off. I’d prefer to have it somewhere in the middle and tilted up for descents but then what if I go dirt jumping or I shit myself on a roll in I wasn’t expecting to be vertical? Any thoughts of ‘corner support’ and technique go out the window. Didn’t mean to sound snobbish about it!
  • + 1
 Hey, reduce the reach and/or drop and/or saddle height, and you might be able to run your already curved saddle on the level.
  • + 1
 Same here. I get grief for it but to me it makes perfect sensr
  • + 1
 @smokingtires: Try it. If you don't get it, forget about it.
  • - 1
 @nvranka: Key word: slightly. Don't most WC DHers have their saddles rotated way up in order to avoid getting hung up on or smacked by the back end when moving forward from a severely rearward position? The Spesh post doesn't top out in a nose down rotation in its intended setup. This is a fine writeup, but with a 635mm ett and Lord knows what actual seat tube angle, there's a simpler explanation for Wragg's problems--his bike is too big or needs a steeper seat angle. The seven degree backsweep of the Renthal isn't helping. Even with a greater parity of effective and actual seat tube angles, there are too many Nicolai on here with downwardly rotated saddles. Enter SQlab handlebars. If I'm not engaging my core, it's probably too stretched? But if Chris Porter says. Scott's sizing scheme suggests a Medium for 175 cm.
  • + 5
 I run my nose down a bit, but... I tain't sure exactly why.
  • + 1
 @iqbal-achieve: I disagree re: the tipping saddle - I spent a few days with the Specialized Wu post last year and I did not like it at all, the saddle kept getting in my way.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: absolutely fair enough mate. I wasn’t trying to say it’s the way and that everyone must abide. Just trying to explain why some do it and that for me it does work well.
  • + 1
 It’s interesting you say that though about the Spesh post because it does look as though it won’t put the saddle in the ideal position for descending despite the tilting mechanism. Perhaps since our trail bikes have such steep seat angles now we could do with a post that swung the saddle rear wards as it tilts? Or perhaps that’s asking too much but yeah it does look like tall just leave the saddle a bit too much in the way.
What’s your saddle preference on a dh bike though?
  • + 1
 I run mine slightly down as well, stops the tinglecock on long climbs.
  • + 3
 Dangit @Mattwragg don't tell them about the secret of closed cell foam in the shock!
  • + 3
 I too much prefer a light 11 speed 11-42 cassette over a heavy 10-50t cassette for the same price and cheaper derraileure
  • + 2
 Wait, the Neopos can be used in other forks? Like, the Pike for example? Dammit, that sounds like it'll solve all my BS issues with that fork.
  • + 2
 Yes it can (it should even fit a 34mm fork) and I can confirm it makes a noticeable difference. I run my inside a Pike. However I do think it would be much less noticeable when using modern Liryk with large negative chamber.
  • + 1
 @lkubica: how does that work? I can't imagine they thread together like Rockshox tokens do.
  • + 2
 Fun fact: other oil resistant closed cell foam works equally well, depending on the density.
  • + 2
 @smokingtires: you simply drop them inside the air chamber.
  • + 2
 Yes, it can, but I doubt it’s something Formula will ever recommend publicly as they don’t want to tread on anyone’s toes.
  • + 1
 Thanks! Damn, pretty expensive though. $45 for 3? Anyone wanna split a set? Only need the 1.
  • + 2
 Rad bike. Luv the 1 x 10 set up. I run it on both my bikes. 11-36 cassete with a race face 32 tooth NW chainring. Dirt cheap on almost every website
  • + 2
 How agile and poppy do you find the spark. Trying to decide between this and the new Orbea Oiz TR 120mm to cover xc race and trail
  • + 2
 I prefer the kinematic on the Scott - the current Orbeas (I have had an Occam and a Rallon) tend to be much more linear. The Occam had good midstroke support, which helps you play around, but suffered at the start and end of stroke, lacking a little sensitivity and a lot of progression.
  • + 1
 @mattwragg: how agile do you find the Scott. Getting rid or my evil following as I want to do some more xc racing. Want a bike that's got quick handling and can dart in and out of sight single-track. Do you ride the 120 or 100 rear ?
  • + 2
 @olibluegoat: I have the 120mm rear. I’m not sure what you mean by agile and quick-handling though - for my tastes, I think my bike would be a great XC bike with my carbon wheels and lightweight tyres swapped in you could get close to 10kg with a dropper post (once I’m a little fitter I may try the local XMB races) - the power transfer is impressive, even without Twinloc, and then you can open it right up on the descents. You can influence so much with your own setup that I can’t really make sweeping statements about how you would find yours though - I’m sure someone in the UK could get you a test ride.
  • + 1
 The Spark also looked good on paper for me, but in reality it wasn't quite what I wanted. The BB was far too low, the seat tube too long, and the head tube too steep for true AM riding. Glad I swapped it out for a 5010.
  • + 2
 Cool read, rad bike. Always interested on peoples personal builds, more please Pinkbike.
  • + 2
 Looks similar to my build. Also using Shimano Zee FR version, 11-36 cassette and 32t chainring with 165mm Zee cranks.
  • + 1
 @tulipanek how tall are you? I'm thinking about down sizing to 165mm cranks so looking for a bit of feedback. How do they feel compared to a longer setup? Thank you!
  • + 1
 @dicky1080: Hey there, i'm 170cm tall(short haha) Smile I have a big bike and a small DJ bike and both of them has 165mm cranks Smile
  • + 1
 @tulipanek: cheers man. Have you ridden longer cranks? I've heard people say that you loose leverage and then again others that say they don't find it any harder on the climbs!
  • + 2
 @dicky1080: Yea, when I was riding XC primary use 175 cranks, Than I use 170 cranks at some times, when I purchase my Giant Reign 2016 it came with stock SLX 170mm cranks, but I want to try 165mm cranks because never have them before. I must say for shorter rider 170cm and down it is much better to go with shorter cranks than longer. Also jumping and cornering is much easier. You wont regret, I even have them 165mm cranks on my hardtail DJ bike 26
  • + 1
 Nice read Matt, seems you have a great bike. Same here got 10 speed 11-36t cogs, though i have 34t ring, detaching at 29% gradient Smile and hoping for 11-42t cogs.
  • + 4
 Sweet ride.
  • + 3
 intended use: "mountain biking"
  • + 1
 This looks like all kinds of fun. Having just replaced my 11spd rear mech and cassette the draw of the mighty zee is strong, il just get stronger.
  • + 1
 So with these staff ride articles, is it safe to assume that this is stuff they have actually put their own dollars into, or is it still stuff gifted to them?
  • + 1
 Love these staff rides! Super interesting to read. I like the drivetrain on the bike, shows you don't need the best thing with the most gears.
  • + 1
 Nice bike. Quality parts on blue collar bike that works, long live 10 speed its on all my mtbs.
  • + 2
 wish i could afford a scott spark
  • + 2
 Oury grips and a miss mash of bits, my sort of bike, great article
  • + 2
 Gotta add that the TYRE selection is spot on.
  • + 1
 Are the Addix compounds holding up any better? Are the claims accurate at all?
  • + 3
 I just had a few tyres from them. Addix soft (orange) is comparable to Maxxis Maxxgrip. The blue one lasts longer. I had Rock Razor SG in soft for a month now, riding 3-4 times a week, it’s... gone. But in Europe worth it. After all it’s almost half price of maxxis. No torn knobs in the dry though, procore may have contributed to it. Tey should however release the rock razer in harder compounds, there is no point for so much grip on the rear. My previous experience wiht Schwalbe was bad. I must say I am positively surprised by Addix era
  • + 1
 Attention to detail, I like it! I'm also still running 10 speed, however with a bailout granny...
  • + 1
 Fuck yeah 10 speed for life
  • + 1
 Great article More please
  • + 1
 Not a lot of offset going on with that fork? In the crown at least.
  • + 2
 nice read... well done
  • + 2
 Dat saddle angle tho
  • + 1
 dey got dat shock upside down n stuff
  • + 1
 If it works, it works....!
  • + 0
 Great point about the drivetrain. Nobody needs 500% range so switch to a smaller front chain ring and call it done.
  • + 6
 pretty close. these true enduros (EWS) the range is pretty necessary. these guys are pedalling at high speeds that a 30t, or 32t cant handle. Having a 46, 50 or 52 rear allows these guys to run 34t or 36t front cogs. It's even nice for guys who use their trail bike for park days with the speed and not changing setups.

I have mine set up for trail rides, but i need that 30/46 combo to climb. 225 and fat doesn't go up super well.
  • + 5
 Nobody needs multi thousand $$ bikes with any gears. However, nice to have choices
  • + 2
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: Exactly. Many often cry 'no one needs that easy of a gear..' or similar. As you show, it's now all about the 'easy'. It's also about the high, AKA 'Range' that the larger cassettes provide. If you prefer more conservative cassettes for what ever reason, great. But why is having a choice such a polarizing topic? Shimano has been making smaller cassettes since day one.
  • + 5
 @ryan83 Ummm... I like rigid single speeds and all that jazz but really?

34/50 is real nice for an all day grind at altitude or a lap with the lady.

This is a hobby with fancy toys, so keep your "needs" comments to nutritional requirements, or if you must, functioning brakes (like....v-brakes is all you "need" bro screw your fancy discs with liquid cables!)

Let people ride what they want.

PS I like this drivetrain.
  • + 0
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: Sam Hill ran 32t and even 30t at several races last year, and that was on a 27.5!
  • - 1
 @dontcoast: yes, really. I ride a 32 front and 46 rear but on my other bike I have a 28 front and 42 rear. When time comes to replace the cassette, I’m not compelled to dish out the extra cash on an 50t setup to “increase my range”. Sure if the bike comes with it great. But if you are building new you can spec a great 11 speed setup for much less and drop the front chain ring size. There’s not much pedaling happening on my big descents, regardless of the skill level.
  • + 3
 @ryan83: first of all, we're talking about 30/36 in this article, which is nowhere near as low as your setups.

Second of all, and back to my point: Basically, don't make blanket statements about what ppl do/don't need. There is nothing wrong with people wanting 500% range 1x, just like there's nothing wrong with Matt's dope 10speed setup, or your 11.

You can prefer and suggest a great, affordable option, but there's no need to say "nobody needs" and judge - nobody "needs" to ride mountain bikes anyway.
  • + 3
 I don’t think anything I was saying was suggesting people shouldn’t buy whatever silly parts they want (I own a fat bike for shits sake). I’m just saying that you can get a great deal on drive-trains which achieve everything you need (ok, DESIRE) by not going with the latest eagle/etc. In fact, a smaller/older cassette may offer some advantages.

Also, when you say nobody “needs” to ride mountain bikes, speak for yourself buddy! Ride on and happy trails...
  • + 1
 @ryan83: Smile Ok I do kinda need to ride. Been typing too much. Yep, they both have their pros and cons!
  • + 4
 Some people regularly ride above 10,000 feet of elevation and that ultra low gear is really nice to have without spinning out closer to home.
  • + 0
 He called out 12 speeds. Get ready for the shit storm everyone.
  • + 1
 More like this pls!
  • - 1
 how many broken upper rocker pivot axles/bolts to date?
  • + 4
 Zero.
  • + 1
 @minimusprime: Interesting you ask. The outer flange on the bolts connecting the seat stays to the rocker cracked (and yes, I used a torque wrench) after about a year on my Spark. Both sides. The only problem I had in 5k kms.
  • - 3
 Paperclip mech hangar.
Below threshold threads are hidden

Post a Comment



You must login to Pinkbike.
Don't have an account? Sign up

Join Pinkbike  Login
Copyright © 2000 - 2019. Pinkbike.com. All rights reserved.
dv65 0.070005
Mobile Version of Website