In early March we announced the arrival of Scott Bikes to G2. I am an experienced cross-country mountain bike racer and I cut my teeth racing on an alloy hard tail bike with a mid-level reliable fork. I told myself for years that it was legs and risk taking that made fast times. Is a full suspension bike worth it? After testing the Scott Spark, I am ready to say, “Yes!”
I have experienced the local amateur and pro mtb racing. Often times the start lines look like a sea of Specialized Epics and Cannondale Flash and Scalpels. Likely the result of big marketing dollars allowing teams and shops to put these under most serious racers. Since opening my own shop in Aliso Viejo, I have searched for that XC bike that would compete in our local market. I asked myself, “Does this bike hold up against the big brands best designs?”
We have found that bike. With multiple World Cup wins, US Cup Pro XCT wins, and World Championship victories under its belt, the Scott Spark 900 and 700 platform is most certainly one of the best mountain bikes on the planet.
I was lucky enough to test the Spark 720 and I was not disappointed. I put the bike through a long 3 hour ride with an extended 40 plus minutes of climbing and a long technical descent. The platform is best described as efficient and secondly the suspension is “on demand”. Unlike the Specialized Epic platform, the rider controls the suspension via the patented TwinLoc system. The TwinLoc system is simple and completely covers the needs of both racers and trail riders alike. It features an above bar TwinLoc on a double chain ring drive train and a below bar TwinLoc on a 1x system.
A quick push of the thumb actuated lockout and the bike is fully locked out and climbs like a rigid bike. One click with the thumb release switches the rear shock to Traction mode, and the fork becomes fully active. Click again and rear shock and fork are both fully open and full suspension travel is accessed for extended descents or trail riding. No other bike in the world offers this user-friendly system.
The rear suspension features a shock developed in partnership with Fox Racing Shox, the Nude Shock. The Nude project is a combination of both, SCOTT's unique patents and technology as well as FOX's suspension performance and experience. The goal was to create a rear shock that gains maximum performance in every riding situation while remaining lightweight. The system is lightweight efficient and most importantly controlled by the rider via the TwinLoc remote system.
Complete with killer style and vibrant color ways, Scott provides a great platform and incredible package in its Spark 900 (29”) and Spark 700 (27.5”) line. Which brings me to my favorite aspect of this suspension design. Offering 29” and 27.5” bikes in the same model, Scott provides a performance solution for riders that 6 foot tall and those that are barely 5 foot tall. It’s a comprehensive solution to the evolving wheel size debate, which wheel size do I ride. Simple, pick your poison. Try them both and let the stopwatch decide or heck just choose the one that produce the most smiles!
For me the value pick in the line up is the Spark 910 and 710 (pictured). With current promotions from SCOTT this bike is offered at $4,079 and checks all the right boxes. Tubeless wheels and tires from Schwalbe, XT M8000 11 Speed drive train and brakes from Shimano and decked out with a nice light handlebar, stem, and seat post combo from Syncros. A race worthy bike and just the beginning of the Scott line up’s value.
On the other hand we have professional racer Nino Schurter’s Spark 700. Decked out with custom bits and some unique parts from sponsor DT Swiss, Nino’s race bike is claimed to be the lightest full suspension race bike in the world tipping the scales at 19 lbs.