Scott Scale 960 review£950.00

Scott’s race-bred 29er is still fast fun on the trail

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Scott has been putting race rigs under some of the world’s fastest cross country riders for decades now. But that doesn’t mean its bikes are treacherously twitchy or narrow-bar-minded off the trail and if you like to mix miles with smiles then the Scale 960 is a belter for doing just that.

Seriously fast

That’s not to say it’s lacking serious flat-out talent. Scott’s carbon race frames are crazy light, but its alloy frames have never been far behind and are actually lighter than a lot of the composite competition from other brands. The multi-butted, subtly shaped frame gets internal cable routing for clean lines plus a post mount rear brake for easy adjustment and tapered head tube too.

Neat internal routing makes for clean aesthetics:
Neat internal routing makes for clean aesthetics:

Neat internal routing makes for clean aesthetics

Whatever frame size you ride you’ve a choice of wheel sizes too as the Scale 760 uses 27.5in wheels with an otherwise identical spec rather than limiting you to bigger wheels in bigger frames and vice versa.

Scott Scale 760

The 29er wheels – especially when wrapped in our favourite Maxxis Ikon speed tyres – are undoubtedly the fastest rolling conventional set-up on rough trails, and that’s great news for speed freaks. While you don’t get a thru-axle on the RockShox TK30 fork you do get a remote control lockout to stop distracting and speed-killing suspension bob when sprinting up smooth climbs or towards finishing lines.

But still fun

Lightweight 29ers with lockout forks aren’t rare – particularly among European brands – and you could probably find one better specced than the mostly Shimano Deore-equipped Scale without looking too hard.

The scale is solidly specced with deore-based kit:
The scale is solidly specced with deore-based kit:

The Scale is solidly specced with Deore-based kit

Where Scott wins in terms of overall appeal though is the more relaxed handling feel of a 69-degree head angle and a 720mm-wide bar. This not only lets its racers really rip the descents (Google Nino Schurter for proof) but it also provides more confidence and control when you’re pushing the pace or playing around on the trail, even with flexy 30mm stanchion fork legs.

Scott Scale 710 Plus

Frame stiffness isn’t as brutal as the most pure race chassis either, giving more forgiveness if you slap something hard and better speed sustain through assorted trail junk while also reducing fatigue over time.

This is a bike that exhibits rare poise on the descents for a 29er hardtail:
This is a bike that exhibits rare poise on the descents for a 29er hardtail:

This is a bike that exhibits rare poise on the descents for a 29er hardtail

The reasonable volume Ikon tyres and skinny seatpost help to give a less bruising character that encourages you to take the fight to the trail rather than hiding from it, and most riders would be surprised how quick and capable a well-balanced big-wheel hardtail like this can feel on descents. That’s only going to get better with a fork upgrade and it’s certainly a frame worth investing in.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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