Scott Bicycles Scale 920  2014 Mountain Bike Review

Scott Bicycles Scale 920 2014

Reviews / XC Bikes

Scott Bicycles 606,583

At A Glance

Whilst unwrapping the green and black carbon race bike, the first thought that entered my head was that this was going to be a fun, but potentially painful test! After all you can’t test an XC bike without some suffering on the climbs!

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The XC race hardtail is growing in popularity at the moment, with many riders looking to add an XC bike to their collection after their downhill and trail bikes are fully specced out, either in addition to, or instead of a road bike for some longer rides - after all you can never have too many bikes… With a 69.5 degree head angle as opposed to those in their 70’s, could the Scale be perfect solution?

On The Trail

The Scale 920 was faced with a wide variety of trails to really see what it was capable of, from long climbs on fire roads and tight technical singletrack, through to flowing trails, berms and deep rooted descents. Expecting a bit of a boneshaker with speed and power transfer at the forefront, to the detriment of all else, I was surprised to find such a supple ride. It felt more like a trail bike, but with a few pounds removed, fun, playful and importantly, easy to climb.

The Scale is a lot more fun than cross-country bikes of old, no longer does a lightweight carbon XC bike mean extremely long stems and even longer top tubes. Despite the bikes racey image, it was immediately apparent that the Scale was equally at home at a trail center, as it was questing for victory at an XC race. The Fox CTD forks added to the bikes versatility, with the lockout (Climb mode), making all the difference on the ascents and the Descent setting offering the plushness associated with a trail bike. On more technical climbs the Trail mode offered a reasonable balance between keeping the front wheel tracking and ensuring the best power delivery through the bike.

The spec was reassuring, with Syncros acting as the Scott in-house component brand, offering a great level of finishing kit, including decent width bars and no real weak points in the build at all.
Being the beginning of summer the stock Schwalbe Racing Rons should have been ideal, offering fast rolling tyres for dry trails. Unfortunately nobody told the weatherman and as soon as there’s any moisture around then the tyres need swapping, but unless you are purely a fair weather rider you will no doubt have a mountain of rubber at home anyway!

One of the other things that hit me about the Scale is that it didn’t feel overly like a 29er, feeling a lot more agile and maneuverable than some of its big-wheeled brothers. It wasn’t until I put the bike back onto the rack that it hit home that this was an XC race bike and not a trail bike. There’s certainly no need to confine this bike to the races!

Tech Heads

The Scale 920 uses Scott’s lightweight HMF Carbon Fibre frame, just one step down from the frame used on their top-of-the-range carbon hardtails.

Built to be versatile, the rear end of the Scale features the IDS-SL drop-out system, which works with 142x12mm, 135x12mm and 135x5mm QR rear axles, making future wheel upgrades easy. As stock the frame comes set up with Syncros rims on Shimano SLX hubs, utilising the 142x12mm set-up thanks to a DT Swiss RWS axle.

Staying at the back of the frame, you will find Scott’s Shock Dampening System (SDS), which they claim minimises vibrations without losing performance.

Upfront is a set of Fox 32 Evolution CTD Air housed in a tapered head tube. The rest of the build is comprised of a Shimano SLX/XT group set and Syncros finishing kit.

Scott Scale 920

Seat tube: 440mm
Effective top tube: 600mm
Head tube: 105mm
Chain stay: 438mm
Wheel base: 1096mm
BB Drop: 60mm
Head angle: 69.5˚
Seat Angle: 72.5˚
Reach: 405mm
Stack: 618mm
Weight w/o pedals: 23.87lbs

For

The 69.5˚ head angle and 80mm stock stem make the Scale 920 feel closer to a trail bike than a cross-country competition machine, making it loads of fun to ride outside of the race tape.

Against

The trail bike feel that is such a plus for most riders could put off the racing purist who prefer a long and steep set up. Also be prepared to buy a second set of tyres as we found that the Rocket Rons, that come as standard, will have you going sideways as soon as a drop of rain falls.

Overall

The Scott Scale 920 looks like a cross-country race whippet, and weighs like a cross-country race whippet, but has the handling of a trail bike, making it immensely fun as well as fast and agile up the climbs. It’s an ideal option for someone looking to add a race bike to their existing quiver of steeds, or for someone that wants all of the benefits of a lightweight XC carbon hardtail, but doesn’t want to save it for racing alone.

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This review was in Issue 30 of IMB.

For more information visit Scott Bicycles

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By James Cornford

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