Scott's MC bikes pack in more innovation than almost any others out there. Unique frame design features and homegrown shock and suspension system create a remarkably adaptable multi character ride, though.
Scott's alloy Genius frame is now in its third year of production, with only a few detail tweaks, but it's still totally contemporary. Seriously oversized top and down tubes are backed up with neat web gussets, while the cut and shut multi section seat tube nudges forward for clearance on the deep 3D forged linkages. Seatstay bridge and dropouts are also hollow box section monocoques for maximum stiffness with minimum weight.
Other neat touches include outer cable routing for contamination free shifting. Super neat guides clamp them under the bottle mounts and the inside edge of the linkage beams and the fat stays, while the front mech cable is guided by a moulded fin.
The steeply sloped seat tube does make finding the correct fit a slightly idiosyncratic process though, as you go back as well as up when the post extends. Upgrade oversize posts are currently limited to Ritchey WCS Carbon too, but luckily they are rather splendid. Women's Contessa models only have 100mm travel, though.
You don't have to be a genius to ride the Scott, but a techy mentality does help. Setting up positive and negative shock chambers to give a plush ride takes some juggling (we generally go slightly softer than recommended pressures) but it's worth the time spent. Once right, a short flick of the neat handlebar remote lever opens or closes the two chambers to give a fully 'Locked', a progressive 'Traction Control' or fluid ground-following 'Active' setting.
This unique feature means an ideal suspension setup for every aspect of riding, from smooth sprints to hammering flat out down seriously rough terrain. Even if you can't be bothered to flick the lever, leaving it 'Active' gives a very smooth, neutral ride with minimal pedal kickback or bob, but you are kind of missing the point.
Scott have finally got rid of their overlong stem curse too, immediately making the MC much more engaging and manoeuvrable. It'll stick sudden, sharp turns and chase slithery traction reliably too, despite a relatively relaxed steering feel. Stiffness from stem to stern is also impressive for the frame weight, making the MC one of the sharpest-tracking bikes in its lightweight long travel category.
RockShox's Recon fork is essentially an extended Reba, and while coil springs limit easy rider weight tuning and add grams, we're otherwise impressed. Like most RS forks, it takes a while to plush out, but family reliability has been impeccable and it takes the hits and turns hard without any fuss. Only long, hard pushed lumpy descents seem to cause some rebound hiccups.
The full Shimano drivetrain worked impeccably and Scott have specced a traditional 'high normal' rear mech for easier Dual Control down shifting. The LX brakes also get a 180mm front rotor for welcome extra stopping power. Shimano hubs give the Sun rimmed wheelset excellent lifespan, but they do add a mass of weight. The Scott Cougar tyres aren't as heavy or slow as they're surefooted grip would suggest, and the rest of the Scott kit is equally tidy, too.
There's no denying you need a techy mind to get the most from the MC's remote controlled ride, but it has the potential to be an ultra fast XC trail bike. Handling and braking is also improved by kit changes this year, making it an even more involving and aggressive experience and keeping value high.