Scott have always been a reliable option for quality kit that lasts. They have an extensive new range for 2012 that should appeal to everyone from road racing snakes to muddy weekend warriors. Unlike many companies, they also have a decent variety of well-designed apparel for women riders. Here’s a small selection of what's on offer…
Scott's women's clothing has a strong purple theme for 2012. First up is the Groove II Contessa helmet. This lightweight lid – 258g on our scales – boasts in-mould construction (where the foam liner is integrated with the hard shell, rather than simply being glued in), a user-friendly dial fit system and removable peak. It's also available in lime green/white, and comes in sizes S/M/L. RRP is £59.99. A men's version is also available, which appears to differ in colour only.
The Sky Top is a comfortable, loose-fitting jersey with colourful detailing that's suitable for the warmer days that lie ahead. It has a high collar with a 1/4-length zip to let the air in when you work up a sweat. On the back is a zipped pocket, situated at the side for easy access. The top is made from quick-drying polyester and comes in sizes XS–XL. It is also available in lime green or coral red. £59.99.
The bright Sumita shorts match the Sky Top and have a flexible, relaxed fit. They come with a padded liner that can be washed independently if there's not much mud flying around. The shorts have two deep hand pockets and two side pockets, one of which is zipped. Waist zips can be used to suck everything in for a tighter fit, and there are belt loops too. The Sumitas are also available in dark brown and coral red, in a full range of sizes (XS-XL). £104.99.
Finally, the Sky knickers aren't 3/4-length tights, as the name might suggest, but sleek and stretchy capri-length baggy shorts. They have a relaxed fit and are made of 12 percent elastane, so they move with you. They come with a padded liner that can be washed independently, and the waistband has elastic tabs for width adjustment. Available in sizes XS-XL, in black only, for £74.99.
Sticking with women's clothing, the Scott Trail Lady is a lightweight, comfortable shoe that could be a good option for anyone starting out in mountain biking. It has a breathable mesh upper and a stiff sole with a 'Sticki rubber' tread that provides good grip when walking on rocks off the bike. A hidden cleat bed means it can be used with clipless or flat pedals. RRP is £69.99.
If you’re an ambitious cross-country rider who likes a bit of bling, check out the white leather MTB Pro Lady. These sturdy, well-constructed shoes have stiff soles with PU X-Traction treads for grip on slippery rocks. They have a women’s-specific instep and two Velcro straps as well as a buckle to hold your feet securely in place. They're available in sizes 36-42, for £114.99. If that's over your budget, check out the £89.99 MTB Comp Lady instead.
The men's equivalent is the MTB Comp, the entry-level shoe in Scott's performance range, which has been designed to combine performance features with a comfortable fit. To keep your feet in the correct position, it has an ErgoLogic footbed – this is raised at the arch, with padding just before the ball of the foot. The super-stiff sole helps to transfer the rider’s power to the pedals. RRP is £89.99.
Scott's Airstrike Compact is a lightweight 9l hydration pack with a 2l bladder that's suitable for races and shorter rides when you don’t want to carry anything but the basics. It’s made from durable 600D polyester and has a waterproof stowaway cover for when the weather turns nasty. The front pocket opens up and has lots of compartments for tools and snacks. Other features include an ergonomic back panel and light mesh shoulder straps. £89.99.
This bigger (12l) Grafter backpack is the perfect size for longer days out in the hills. It’s well constructed, with an ergonomically curved back panel, a large front pocket with storage compartments for tools, and a helmet carrier system. If it’s really slashing down, there's also a detachable rain cover. There's a pocket for a bladder but none is provided. This hi-vis colourway could make it ideal for commuters. RRP is £69.99.