This is a Scale – one of Scott’s lightweight race hardtails – shrunk down for juniors. The RC comes in at the top of the range and it’s quite compact, suiting children from eight to 12 years old.
Ride & handling: More about winning than grinning
“Sharp and fast” was how our tester described the Scott. “It’s a very racy bike,” he concluded. It was the only bike that he got up a tight, steep hairpin climb on Dalby’s red route, thanks to its low weight and the smaller turning circle of 24in wheels. However, he didn’t think it dealt with drop-offs well and on a stretch of bumpy singletrack he managed to bottom out the suspension.
This feedback tallies with the bike’s intended purpose: to be a light, fast, cross-country hardtail. The low weight gives good manoeuvrability as well as podium potential for a pre-teen rider.
Frame: Butted aluminium makes a lightweight chassis
Like the lower-end adult Scales, the RC JR’s frame is aluminium rather than carbon ﬁbre. Tubes are butted at both ends, so they won’t weaken where they’re welded, but have thinner walls along their length to reduce weight. Small frames tend to be stronger, so for cross-country use there’s no need for the extra heft of beefy tubes or reinforcing gussets. And those weight-savings show, because at around 22lb the Scale RC JR is lighter than most kids’ bikes.
Equipment: Impressive drivetrain let down by average forks and short cranks
Good forks for 24in wheels are in short supply and this Spinner Grind 2 fork is merely average. It’s a coil/elastomer unit that’s adjustable for preload only. Fortunately, the light spring lets small riders take advantage of the 65mm travel it offers, rather than struggling to get any movement from it at all.
The other equipment is 100 percent cross-country, from the ﬂat bar, clipless SPD pedals and lightweight wheels through to the V-brakes. For racing these save weight, although for weekend trail use hydraulic discs would be better to make the most of a child’s limited grip strength on long or steep descents.
The drivetrain is impressive - you won’t see 27-speed Deore or an XT rear mech on many kids’ bikes. The cranks are the one weakness. At 165mm, they’re too long. As a rule of thumb, crank length should be 10 percent of the rider’s height – so 150mm for the typical 150cm rider of this bike. Shorter cranks allow easier pedalling, keep feet well away from the front wheel and reduce pedal strikes on the ground.