We tested the new Scott Spark 900 RC COMP, a world champion for just over 3.000€
When we thought that Scott had already taken all the juice out of the Spark and that all the 2021 models were presented, the Scott Spark 900 RC COMP arrives in the shops. The entry model to the successful full suspension of the Swiss company. We had time to test it a few days before its presentation and here are our impressions.
Scott Spark 900 RC COMP, a carbon bestseller
These days we find more demanding and prepared MTB fans. Not only the most important cyclists in the world are demanding improvements in their frames, but the newest bikers are aspiring to ride better bikes. In the past, beginners used to pedal on rigid aluminium bikes, making a small investment and hardly demanding or looking for performance beyond a few dozen kilometres.
The world of cycling has changed and new bikers are now devoting more budget to acquiring an MTB, looking for a little more performance, comfort and a new way of enjoying their bike for several years before having to switch to a superior model.
At Scott, they have taken into account this change we are talking about and in addition to spending time improving their top-of-the-range bikes, they have also thought about the average user by presenting a carbon frame entry Spark with a price of 3,349 euros.
A world champion available to everyone
As soon as we take it out of the box we find a bike with a sober but elegant look. An anthracite grey, which the Swiss brand calls "DARK", is the predominant colour, alternating parts in gloss with others in matt. Only the brand's logo and letters in fluorescent yellow on the head pipe and under the diagonal tube respectively add some colour to it.
The key to this mountain bike is undoubtedly its frame. It is made of HMF carbon, similar to that used by the superior models up to the RC 900 PRO and being the most economical of the three types the brand has for the manufacture of frames. With the use of this carbon, the weight of the frame plus the shock remains at 2.089 g. A very contained weight within its range.
It applies the same technologies as superior models to obtain the same geometry, suspension system and ride control that are the main features of this bike.
Its geometry is identical to that of the entire Spark family, characteristic of Scott's designs, with features closer to trail and which, in addition to giving good results, has been creating trends in the Cross Country and Marathon modalities. Its relaxed steering angle of 68.5° makes the fork behave more actively and stably, especially on downhills. It gives us confidence and helps us face and overcome obstacles with ease.
It has a short head tube, in the case of the Spark we have tested it is 95 mm (size M) which gives us a comfortable and sufficiently racing position. If we continue with the horizontal tube, it is longer than usual, so the reach is increased to 429.5 mm. This gives it a very wide living space on the frame that allows us to move forward and backward playing with the distribution of weights depending on the situation we are in during any journey. In addition, at the back of the tube it has a curve that reduces the standover and makes the movements even easier.
To mitigate this increase in reach and not affect the comfort of the position, shorter powers are used with measurements of 60 to 90 mm depending on the size. As they are shorter, the manoeuvrability in the front end is also improved.
The seat tube has an angle of 73.8º, a figure that is a little far away from the most current geometries which tend to reach 75º, in search of losing the least number of watts in each pedal stroke. Nevertheless, the transmission of pedalling force is effective.
Another measure to take into account is its chainstay length, with 435 mm it is not one of the shortest in its segment, but it is enough to make it not a slower bike in climbing. Having a more open steering angle and slightly longer chainstays results in a longer wheelbase, reaching 1,127 mm. This distance is noticeable when entering tight bends, where we are forced to use the technique.
On the other hand, the height of the bottom bracket is 319.5 mm. This also lowers the centre of gravity and improves our stability in bumpy areas such as fast trials. But also, being quite low you can sometimes touch the crankshaft when climbing very pronounced obstacles.
In general, the aim has been to place the weight centered and as low as possible in order to improve stability and agility. To do this we have chosen to put the shock absorber vertically and inverted, with most of its weight in the lower part, in addition to having the Trunnion anchor giving more stiffness to the system.
Twinloc, a system for any situation
One of the strengths of the Scott Spark frame is its weight, and in order to arrive at these figures it is necessary to take into account the type of rear suspension system. In this case the most tested monopivot system is used, entrusting part of the travel and operation to the carbon bending, dispensing with the pivot point in the area of the rear wheel axle.
The rear triangle communicates with the shock absorber through an aluminium rod that is designed to make the rear suspension firm before it starts working, more active at the beginning of the travel and harder as it reaches the end of its travel, to the point where it becomes difficult to reach the shock absorber.
In spite of the work that the connecting rod does, the monopivot system offers limitations at the kinematics level and to improve it the FOX Float EVOL Performace shock absorber is equipped with the NUDE technology that is giving such good results to Scott. This is a three-position shock absorber configuration. A locking position in which the chambers are closed and the shock absorber is held firmly in place with no travel at all. An intermediate position that not only changes the compression settings of the shock, but also reduces the suspension travel to 70 mm, leaving an ideal configuration for pedaling with an active suspension, but with a performance that hardly pollutes the pedaling. And finally an open position in which the 100 mm of travel is delivered.
At the front, the Spark 900 RC PRO has been equipped with a FOX 32 Float Rhythm fork with tapered tube, 110 mm travel and standard boost, which behaves smoothly and progressively, and due to the relaxed steering angle starts working with the slightest bump. The fork is equipped with a specific GRID 3 locking cartridge that allows it to have the same locking positions as the rear shock.
To get the most out of the suspension of our Scott Spark RC Comp it has the acclaimed Scott's Twinloc system. With it you can change the suspension travel and the general behavior of the bike through its three positions.
When you set it in the locking position both suspensions close, with no travel at all, this is where you can appreciate the stiffness of the frame. You stand up, push the cranks and see that your pedalling is not contaminated, there are no losses, and all your effort goes into the rear wheel. On smooth terrain and in climbs, you quickly think about blocking, you notice that you gain in performance and you feel faster.
When the terrain becomes more difficult and the irregularities appear, we look for the intermediate position. The 70 mm travel is designed to help you get around obstacles without losing traction, trying to contaminate the pedalling as little as possible. It is true that this loss is not completely eliminated, but the benefits in traction and comfort are so great that any movement generated by pedalling is insignificant. We can say that it is the mode we have used most in the terrain we move on.
But if we really want to get the most out of our Spark 900 RC Comp, we have to get into broken and downhill terrain, where its downhill cycling characteristics come to the fore. We put the Twinloc in the open position, the suspension travel is available in full, 110 mm in front and 100 mm behind for pure fun. As mentioned above, its geometry and weight distribution are designed to stand out in this situation. Downhills, XCO track runs, where passing as fast as possible will win you seconds on the clock. The progressive fork and damper travel makes you feel comfortable whether you're going down carefully or going fast and looking for the limits, which you'll find hard to find in the suspension.
Riding the new Scott Spark 900 RC Comp
After preparing the Scott Spark we get going, it is a frame with a comfortable position, no forced postures, no adjustments of components taken to the extreme. Despite its long reach, we are not as lying down as we might think. We begin by riding on easy terrain, with blocked suspensions, its ride is smooth.
This is a mid-range bicycle, a frame with similar characteristics to Scott's top models, but with more basic components. This combination means that it is not an excessively lightweight bike, but it is very competitive when compared with similarly priced models within the segment. In the first kilometres the weight does not come into play, the terrain is easy and with the lock activated it makes you move fast thanks to the stiffness of the frame and above all the muscular BB92 bottom bracket.
We continue on up and down grounds, we start playing with the Twinloc controller, opening up to the intermediate position when we find a bump and closing when the ground allows it. For some it may be a bit of a drag to have to use the button often, but it is soft, with a clear, defined touch and each time it evolves, Scott makes it more ergonomic. With these performances we gain comfort and in the end that translates into an improvement in performance.
On more difficult climbs, where we have to make use of the intermediate position, it becomes more lazy, there is even some swinging if you stand up, but if this is the price to pay in exchange for gaining in comfort and traction we will almost certainly pay it gladly. Of course it climbs smoothly, there are few slopes to resist and it has a SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain almost entirely.
It combines a 32-tooth single plate attached to standard boost SRAM NX DUB aluminium crankshafts with the SX development cassette 11-50. This development is the right combination for the target audience of the Spark 900 RC Comp, even though the most demanding customers may require a larger crankset to obtain more top speed. The operation of the NX derailleur, although in the mid-range, follows the line of the SRAM drivetrains that stand out for their precision and robustness. It is controlled by a Trigger control with a marked pulsation and a clean operation.
It is time to enjoy, we enter the area of downhills and trial paths, here is undoubtedly where it is above its rivals. Its geometry, weight distribution and suspension control make it stand out. It makes you enter the tracks in a clean and fast way, sticking to the ground.
Furthermore, despite being one of the longest bikes in the segment, its manoeuvrability helps you to enter bends, and its wheels, a Syncros X25 with aluminium rings and Formula hubs, are fitted with 2.35" Maxxis Recon Race tyres that provide great grip on side supports and do not weigh down excessively thanks to their low blocking. The Spark 900 RC Comp has Shimano Deore M6100 brakes of a very similar quality to superior Spark models such as SLX or XT, but with a slightly lower braking power, hardly noticeable, but to be taken into account.
The rest of the components, as usual, are from Scott's own brand Syncros. The handlebar is an aluminium Fraser 2.0 of 740 mm width that joins the rest of the bike with a XR 2.0 stem that varies in length from 60 mm to 90 mm depending on the size of the frame used.
The Syncros Duncan 2.0 seatpost with a 10 mm off-set supports the Belcarra 2.0 saddle with Chrome-Molybdenum rails which is a safe bet for your comfort. We also highlight the small integrated chain guide, designed in conjunction with Scott's competition team and which has a dial that helps its configuration depending on the chainring we use. Well placed, it guarantees that the chain will not come off even on the roughest terrain. Finally, other details that we like are the tools included in the rear quick release which includes a Torx and an allen. In addition, the cable guidance inside the frame is quite good and at the front they are grouped together by means of helical covers to give a better cleanliness to the control area.
In conclusion, we can say that this is a mid-range bicycle aimed at a public that wants to level up their usual mountain outings, or that directly wants to get started in the world of racing.
It has a more than proven design and operation, as it has been on the market for several years and has inspired other brands. Its NUDE system combined with the Twinloc control provides 3 different behaviours on the same bike. Its geometry and weight distribution make it stand out on downhill rides, without neglecting on uphill rides.
In short, a good base that is complemented by mid-range components to give as a result this Scott Spark 900 RC Comp, which will undoubtedly be a top seller of the Swiss brand.
Complete assembly of the Scott Spark 900 RC Comp 2021
- FRAME: Spark RC Carbon / IMP Technology / HMF / 1x optimized / BB92 /Carbon swingarm / SW dropouts for Boost 12x148mm / TBC Trunnion Box Construction
- FORK: FOX 32 Float Rhythm Grip 3 / 3-Modes / 15x110mm QR axle / 44mm offset / tapered steerer / Reb. Adj. / Lockout / 110mm travel
- REAR SHOCK: FOX Float EVOL Performace Trunnion / 3 modes / Lockout-Trail-Descend / DPS / Reb. Adj. / Travel 100mm / 165X40mm
- REMOTE SYSTEM: SCOTT TwinLoc / below Bar Remote / 3 modes / integ. Grip clamp
- REAR DERAILLEUR: SRAM NX / Eagle 12 Speed
- SHIFTERS: SRAM NX Eagle Trigger
- CRANKSET: SRAM NX Eagle DUB Boost 32T
- CHAINGUIDE: SCOTT custom
- BB-SET: SRAM DUB PF integrated / shell 41x92mm
- CHAIN: SRAM CN NX Eagle
- CASSETTE: SRAM SX-PG1210 / 11-50 T
- BRAKES: Shimano Deore M6100 Disc
- ROTOR: Shimano SM-RT64 CL / 180 (Front) & 160 (Rear)
- HANDLEBAR: Syncros Fraser 2.0 / Alloy 6061 / T shape Flat / 9° / 740mm / Syncros Pro lock-on grips
- H'STEM: Syncros XR2.0 -8° / Integrated Spacer & Top Cap / 6061 Alloy / 31.8mm / 1 1/8"
- SEATPOST: Syncros Duncan 2.0 / 10mm offset / 31.6x400mm
- SEAT: Syncros Belcarra Regular 2.0 CR-MO rails
- HEADSET: Syncros Pro Press Fit / Tapered 1.5"-1 1/8" / OD 50/61mm / ID 44/55mm
- HUB (FRONT): Formula CL-811 / 15x110mm
- HUB (REAR): Formula CL-148S / Boost 12x148mm
- SPOKES: Stainless Black 15G / 1.8mm
- RIMS: Syncros X-25 / 32H / 25mm Tubeless ready
- TIRES: Maxxis Rekon Race / 2.35" / 60TPI Kevlar Bead TR / EXO
- WEIGHT: 12,40 kg
Scott Spark 900 RC Comp 2021