In 2011 Scott knocked it out of the park with their revamp of the Scale RC hardtail, bringing its frame weight down to 899g, and also building a 29in version that weighs just 50g more. For 2012, they offer a remake of the Spark full-suspension race bike that looks similarly promising.
While low weight was of utmost importance for the hardtail, the full-suspension bikes benefit from improved suspension performance and added adjustability, while maintaining their already light weights — 1,790g (claimed) for the 26in version and 1,890g for the 29er (these weights are presumably for the medium sizes with shock).
Focus on suspension travel and damping quality
Scott have focused on suspension travel and the quality of it for the new models, which are maintained as linkage operated single pivots. The 26in model bumps up to 120mm (5in) of travel, while the 29in version offers 100mm (4in). Both feature Scott’s trademark TwinLoc remote lockout. This carries over from their all-mountain and trail bikes, and offers three distinct modes of travel and damping characteristics that operate via a single handlebar mounted lever. The 26in bike offers lockout, an 85mm Traction mode and 120mm open mode, while the 29in version offers lockout, 70mm Traction and 100mm open.
Along with the increase in travel and new TwinLoc remote, the Spark features a new shock called the Nude 2, which is made by DT Swiss, as with the original Nude, and weighs a claimed 220g. This offers a more progressive shock curve (with more ramp-up), and the bike has a lower shock ratio (wheel travel to shock stroke), too — 2.4 for the 26in model and 2.6 for the 29in version. This is said to offer more control; for reference the old Nude shock offered a ratio of 2.9.
Carbon construction and design details
If you paid attention to last year’s redesign of the Scaleyou’ll have a good idea of what Scott have designed into the frame to avoid adding weight to this new longer-travel platform, which is also said to be stiffer and stronger. The front triangle uses the IMP 5 molding process, which molds five main pieces together. This includes the top tube shock mount, a tapered head tube with molded bearing seats, internal cable routing and all-carbon press-fit 92 bottom bracket shell, all of which shave weight and add stiffness.
The lower main pivot is wider and built to accept the same oversized axle, hardware and bearings as found on the Genius LT, although they're placed outboard in the stay rather than in the pivot. The chainstays are molded as one piece, including the all-carbon direct-post-mount brake tab and Scott’s IDS SL carbon dropouts (we’re guessing Integrated Dropout System), which support 142x12mm and 135x12mm through-axles, and 9mm quick-release standards.
The seatstays are also molded as a single piece and feature an additional in-molded bridge, which resides just behind the seat tube of the assembled frame. Finally, the shock swing link, called the U-Mono Link, is made from a single forged piece as opposed to the previous two-piece — plus axles —design. It's said to be both narrower, for leg clearance, and stiffer.