Not ready to accept electronics on your mountain bike? Well, you'd better get used to it, with more riders and companies taking the leap to battery augmented suspension. Scott-3Rox rider Geoff Kabush is one of the latest converts, using Fox's fast-acting iCD fork and rear shock on his Spark 900 Premium full-suspension 29er.
Unlike RockShox's Ei system, which was co-developed with French bicycle company Lapierre and auto-adjusts to the terrain as needed, the Fox iCD setup is more of a manual system. A tidy handlebar-mounted remote is conveniently positioned next to the grip and switches the fork and rear shock between open and locked modes in less than 0.45 seconds, according to Fox. Power comes from a Shimano Di2 battery on the down tube.
According to Scott-3Rox team head mechanic Scott Kelly, the quick response time is further blurring the lines when it comes to choosing between a hardtail and full-suspension machine for race day.
"It's getting harder and harder with the iCD, because it's just the flick of a switch, so you get all the benefits of a dually when you need it," he told BikeRadar. "But for a course like Val di Sole, where there's lots of climbing, he [Kabush] is still going to go with a hardtail just based on the weight.
Standard name decals are so yesterday…
"[The suspension] is based on the course, so it can change from race to race. When they do their pre-riding, the focus is on tires and on what suspension is going to optimize the bike for that race course."
Shimano is heavily featured elsewhere on Kabush's bike, which is built with a mix of XTR 'race' and 'trail' components. The hydraulic disc brakes come from the former parts bin, with more pared-down levers that omit the pad contact and tool-free reach adjustments, and lighter-weight pads that do without the 'trail's' heat-shedding backing plates.
The drivetrain, on the other hand, takes from the 'trail' column, with the 175mm-long crank arms, slightly downsized 38/26T chainrings (Shimano's usual 'race' two-ring cranks more commonly come with 40/28T rings) and the clutch-equipped Shadow Plus rear derailleur for improved chain security and quieter running.
Scott parts brand Syncros fills out most of the rest of the build kit, including the carbon-wrapped FL1.0 stem and FL1.0 low-rise carbon bar, the FL1.0 carbon seatpost, and the XR1.0 saddle. Kabush's bike was also equipped with ultra-light and fast-rolling Maxxis MaxxLite 29 tires wrapped around Syncros "Carbon 29" wheels, although he's frequently seen on his tried-and-true Stan's NoTubes aluminum rims on race day.
Other details include a Stages Cycling power meter – which practically disappears into the non-driveside crankarm – a Garmin Edge computer, crankbrothers Eggbeater 11 pedals, a King stainless steel bottle cage, and Wheels Manufacturing brass derailleur housing ferrules for what Kelly describes as "stiffer" shifting.
"The majority of what Geoff does is pretty stock," Kelly said. "He's just really particular about getting his bikes all set up similarly, so we take into account sag when we're doing our fit and whatnot."
Kelly has done an admirable job of hiding the Fox iCD wires
Part of that fit requirement is accommodating Kabush's long torso. Despite standing at a fairly tall 6ft 2in (1.88m), the Canadian rider rides an XL frame size to better suit his extended reach. Saddle height is a fairly modest 770mm and the saddle is perched rather far forward on a zero setback post, but the stem is still a generous 100mm long.
Total weight as pictured for this Scott is 10.8kg (23.8lb).
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: Scott Spark 900 Premium, XL
- Fork: Fox 32 Float 29 100 FIT iCD, 100mm travel
- Rear shock: Fox Float iCD
- Headset: Syncros press-fit, 1 1/8in to 1 1/2in tapered
- Cranks: Shimano XTR Trail FC-M980 with Stages Cycling power meter, 175mm, 38/26T
- Chain: Shimano XTR CN-M980
- Cassette: Shimano XTR CS-M980, 11-36T
- Brakes: Shimano XTR Race BR-M985, 160mm rotor
- Brake levers: Shimano XTR Race BL-M985
- Shift levers: Shimano XTR SL-M980-IL
- Front derailleur: Shimano XTR FD-M985-E2
- Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR Trail Shadow Plus RD-M985
- Wheelset: Syncros "Carbon 29"
- Tires: Maxxis MaxxLite 29, 29x2in, 23psi
- Saddle: Syncros XR1.0
- Seatpost: Syncros FL1.0 Carbon Zero
- Stem: Syncros FL1.0, 100mm x -6 degrees
- Handlebar: Syncros FL1.0, 710mm wide, 15mm rise
- Grips: ODI Ruffian Lock-On
- Pedals: crankbrothers Eggbeater 11
- Bottle cage: King stainless steel
- Computer: Garmin Edge
- Rider's height: 6ft 2in (1.88m)
- Rider's weight: 76kg (170lb)
- Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 770mm
- Saddle setback: 60mm
- Seat tube length (c-t): 481mm
- Seat tube length (c-c): 403mm
- Tip of saddle nose to c of bar: 605mm
- Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 60mm (to grip)
- Top tube length: 628mm (horizontal)
- Head tube length: 115mm
- Weight: 10.8kg (23.8lb)