Scott Scale 70 £799

Budget racer

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

Scott market the extensive Scale hardtail line-up as cross-country race machines. They’re light, stiff and responsive, and Scott have outfitted them accordingly. But don’t let the race billing put you off, because a bike that’s perfect for tearing up singletrack at speed can also make a great all-rounder.

As budget racers go, the Scale 70 is a good one: pure stomp-and-go that’s held back surprisingly little by its budget componentry. If more relaxed trail cruising is your thing there are better buys around, but for efficient mile munching – whether it’s off-road at the weekend or on a weekday commute – it’s definitely worth a second look.

Ride & handling: Race-bred design makes for a budget pocket rocket

There’s no mistaking the Scale 70’s racing heritage: it’s apparent as soon as you throw a leg over it. Stretched out and low over the front, the rider’s weight is pulled forward into the long, lean stance favoured by hardened racers.

It’s surprisingly comfy once you’ve got used to it and undoubtedly efficient, but it’s not immediately beginner-friendly. It does have its advantages, though. With the longish stem and plenty of weight over the front wheel, there’s plenty of confidence-inspiring high-speed stability.

Sitting up and looking at the view isn’t really an option; the Scale 70 is all about clocking up the miles, and that’s something that it does very well indeed. A rigid frame structure combined with an impressively low overall weight gives the Scott a surprising turn of speed. 

There’s plenty of trail feedback from the stiff rear end, but the centred ride position and svelte frame tubes help isolate the rider from the worst of the hits by making the fork – and the rider’s legs – work to earn their keep.

Frame: Light, stiff and packed full of tidy touches

At a wallet-friendly £800, the entry-level-but-one Scale 70 features the same svelte aluminium chassis as some of its more expensive siblings, but with a sensibly pared-down spec that includes a Deore and SLX-based transmission.

The chassis is an uncommonly light and thoroughly thought-out collection of aluminium tubes for the price. From the carefully filled and smoothed front-end welds – which create the illusion that the head, top and down tubes are a single piece – to the box-section chainstay bridge and hollow dropouts, every detail has been painstakingly sweated over.

Equipment: Heavy but reliable kit – an air fork would be a worthy upgrade

Budget kit cancels out much of the frame’s weight-saving advantage, but there are no glaring problem areas – the coil-sprung RockShox Dart fork is the only major clue to the bike’s pricetag.

Despite its cheap build and skinny stanchions, it isn’t a bad fork, and has enough plush feel to keep the front wheel planted and tracking straight.

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