At A Glance
With Ben Walker heading up the design and Brendan Fairclough riding it, the Scott Gambler has been the subject of much anticipation and debate.Buy DH Bikes on
Scott decided to throw away the rulebook and create a bike that flies in the face of accepted traditions, will it fly on the trail though?
Made from 6061 aluminium and sporting a raft of innovations and adjustments the Gambler demands a closer look.
The heart of the design is the high single pivot point suspension, this gives superb big hit capabilities while the ‘Floating Linkage’ helps minimalize the effects of chain growth and allows Scott to control the progressiveness of the 210mm of rear wheel travel.
Adjustment is the name of the game with the Gambler, Scott have developed a new rear axle system that allows for a simple chain stay length adjustment of 15mm, it also holds the axle in place so that no amount of scissoring can work the axle loose. Next up is the bottom bracket height adjustment, this allows for a 10mm variation of bottom bracket height and is simply achieved via the bottom shock mount chips.
Finally there are angle cups in the headset that will allow for a degree of adjustment and this can be added to with a branded angleset headset.
This means that the Gambler can be run in a range of guises from a 60 degree head angle with a 345mm bottom bracket height and a 440mm chain stay right up to a 65 degree head angle, 354mm bottom bracket height and a 425mm chain stay length. Enough to keep the most avid fettler happy and plenty to allow the Scott to be set up for a wide variety of trail types.
Suspension duties are handled by a Fox DHX RC2 Boost Valve and a set of Fox 40 RC2 FIT forks.
Braking and drivetrain is all Shimano Saint and Zee, and DT Swiss hoops sport Schwalbe Muddy Mary rubber.
Geo figures for 62 degree HA, low BB mount setting and short 425mm chain stays.
Scott Gambler Medium
Seat tube 370mm
Effective top tube 550mm
Head tube 115mm
Chain stay 425mm
Front triangle 760mm
Wheel base 1185mm
BB height 345mm
Head angle 62°
Seat angle 75.6°
Weight w/o pedals 39.8lbs
On the trail
For the vast majority of the test we ran the Gambler with a 62-degree head angle, low 345mm bottom bracket setting and short 425mm chain stays.
The suspension tune on the RC2 is nicely balanced, giving enough tunability for the Scott be to an ultra fast and firm high speed weapon or a more intermediate rider suitable thunder buster.
However, it is set up the Scott Gambler has fantastic square edge hit abilities and the smaller chatter is dealt with a supple yet supportive feel. Do not think that the ability to take big hits in its stride means that the Gambler is a soft linear wallower. There is support and control deep into the stroke and a poppy, progressive feel that makes it a blast to launch off any little rock or root. The fun continues as pushing the Scott hard into turns breaks out the rear into long, controllable drifts that are a real joy.
The steeper it gets the more the Scott laps it up and the slack head angle eggs you on to tackle wilder and more demanding sections, the suspension taking the edge off the mayhem no matter how hard you charge.
The ability to tune so much of the Scott’s geometry really deserves a serious mention, if you like to fettle you effectively have two bikes in one here. You aren’t talking about a degree here and there and a few mm of adjustment. You can really transform the Scott to a steep and savage slayer, and then with the turn of a few controls you can change it into a pedally, pop eager, spritely beast. Some riders prefer to just set a bike up and ride it, but that would be a shame with the Gambler as you really only release its true potential when you tune it to a given trail.
It’s fast and forgiving and the ability to shorten the chain stays makes a real difference on tight and twisty tracks. We were really impressed with the Shimano Zee brakes, a definite highlight and by no means negative amongst all the Saint componentry. We never suffered from brake fade, and the modulation was spot on. The beefy floating rotors coped with long alpine tracks perfectly.
The Scott Gambler is a bundle of fun that has the happy knack of being able to keep things just on the right side of controlled even when going sideways, and whilst looking for the next lip to launch off. At the top end of the range the spec is of a very high standard.
Some riders might not care for the array of tuning options, and the Muddy Mary tyres lasted about 5 minutes before looking rather tired…
By going against the grain and producing a bike that combines a super slack front end with a monster hit absorbing rear Scott have come up with a bike that will deliver a grin-inducing ride when taken by the scruff of the neck… If you like to ride your bike like you stole it then it would be well worth taking a punt on the Gambler.Buy DH Bikes on
This review was in Issue 25 of IMB.For more information visit Scott Bicycles
By Rou ChaterRou Chater is the Publishing Editor of IMB Magazine; he’s a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, but his passion for bikes knows no bounds. His first mountain bike was a Trek 820, which he bought in 1990. It didn’t take him long to earn himself a trip to the hospital on it, and he’s never looked back since. These days he’s keeping it rubber side down, riding locally and overseas as much as possible.