Scott Gambler DH10 £3999

New downhill rig that knows when to fold & when to hold

BikeRadar score 4.5/5

Scott’s new direction into the world of heavy-duty riding, the Gambler has a race-oriented spec with handling and adjustability to match. Like the man said, “you gotta know when to fold 'em, and you gotta know when to hold 'em,” - and whatever you choose, the Gambler delivers.

Tweakability is the name of the game here with an adjustable head angle, dropouts and and rear travel giving you plenty of set up options. To let you exploit the possibilities, the Gambler delivers flex-free handling complemented with high-grade downhill components.

Ride & handling: rigidity makes accuracy

Now every gambler knows that the secret to survivin'/Is knowin' what to throw away and knowin' what to keep.

The back end felt very punchy, not something we've not experienced before with the Fox DHX5 air shock. It pedalled well but when the bumps increased in size or when pumping the bumps it would blow straight through.

It turned out the shock on our pre-production bike had been reworked internally. Badly. This made cornering a bit unpredictable, but production bikes shouldn't have this problem as the DHX5 is a very capable shock.

The bike was ridden mainly with the short wheelbase dropouts, 215mm (8.5in) of travel and the slacker 65 degree head angle. This set-up proved the best combo for current UK downhill tracks – you could just get on and pin it straight away.

The ride was solid and flex-free, the Fox 40 RC2 fork didn’t budge from its line and the rear followed it everywhere. This inspired confidence, which grew with each ride.

The frame: flex-free & highly adjustable

If you're gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.

The frame is a change of game for Scott. Instead of the single pivot of old there is a 'faux bar' link (minus the Horst link found on some other Scott bikes). This allows multiple adjustments and controls the shock action.

The pivots are huge, with no flex at all. Coupled with the fat tubes, this makes for a solid ride. The carbon seatstays save weight without sacrificing the taut feel.

Included with the bike are extra 12mm bolt-through dropouts to extend the wheelbase for fast tracks. Travel is adjustable from 122-228mm (7-9.5in).

Up front is another big change – hydroformed top and down tubes. They look great and double up as a mudguard.

The head angle is adjustable, so you can slacken the bike off for high speed stability or rein it in for tighter courses. With a 1⅛in upper race and a 1½in lower, the headset is a great compromise between strength and light weight.

Components: racer's choices

In his final words I found an ace that I could keep.

The Gambler DH10 has a fist full of component aces – these parts really couldn't be replaced by much else on the market. Up front is the Fox 40 RC2 fork, with the Fox DHX 5.0 shock out back.

The drivetrain is courtesy of SRAM and is all top spec, with X.0 moving the chain around the 12-27 cassette. This mates well with the 36-tooth front ring.

The e.thirteen LG chain guide is also the racer’s choice.

Braking duties come courtesy of the awesome Formula The One.

It took a long bedding-in period, but works great now.

DT Swiss wheels come as standard, which seem to endure the rocks better than previous incarnations.

Maxxis tyres are a top choice. The front was the expensive but grippy Minion FR 2.5 3C and the rear was the smaller, super tacky version.

The Thomson stem was a great touch – another piece of jewellery for this tricked out bike.

Lyrics from 'The Gambler' By Kenny Rogers, of course.

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