Cyclocross bikes fall into two camps these days - those that can't take mudguards, and those that can. This new-for-2008 model Scott can't, but then we figure Scott is pitching the Crossteam CX at riders who take their cyclocross seriously, and aren't necessarily worried about running a wet strip up their backs when the bike is suddenly pressed into service for commuting.
For the frame, Scott uses 7005 series aluminium that's hydroformed and butted for strength and stiffness, and impressive graphics make the Crossteam as sharp to look at as Scott's road models. The design is based on a semi-sloping top-tube and the medium size frame weighs an impressive 1,634g. The carbon straight-blade fork has an aluminium steerer tube and weighs 669g - almost double the weight of the full- carbon Easton EC90X fork - but we aren't complaining at this good price.
Cyclocross knobbly treads have a common tendency to cut into the tubing of the chainstays, so to help prevent this Scott has used a cast chainstay bridge with narrow sections that join the chainstays well behind the line of the knobblies, though this and the box-section alloy tubes between the bottom bracket and seat-tube - there to add strength - also provide a perch for mud thrown up by the tyres.
So how does it ride compared to other cyclocross bikes? Well, as you might expect it's quicker to get up to racing speed than Planet-X's 5lb heavier Kaffenback (£700) shod with cyclocross tyres, and it's put into the shade after a series of ramps or steps by the lighter Kona Major Jake (£1,600), but if you can ignore the Scott's undeniably harsh ride, it draws level with the Kona on fast singletrack where it is a little more responsive to direction changes.
Equipment levels are good for the price - you get Shimano's mid-range Ultegra gear components, a Truvativ Elita two-piece 34/48t compact chainset and Ritchey Pro finishing kit. Wheels are based on Mavic CXP 22 rims with 32 three-cross spokes (they cross over each other three times) and they are undeniably strong enough for the most avid cyclocross racer.
The Ritchey Excavader 700x35 tyres have widely spread knobs which shed mud effectively, and into corners it was easy to know where the limit was so you didn't lose grip altogether. Opinion was divided on the Scott CX-SL saddle, but the 12-25 cassette and 34/48 chainset provide the perfect range of gears for cyclocross, and the Tektro CX Pro cantilevers provide bags of power and modulation when braking in wet, muddy conditions. The Scott 11cm stem and anatomic oversized handlebars look ably strong and stiff enough for the job.