Scott’s CX has a lot of merit and adds up to one of the better ways of getting down and dirty at the weekend while still having something that’ll make your daily commute fun. It looks the part too.
Ride & handling: Comfy, flickable 'cross racer that revels in the mud
For an aluminium frameset made up of hugely oversized, dramatically shaped tubes, the CX stands out with the level of comfort it offers on rocky and rooty off-road jaunts.
And those surfaces gave us a chance to have some real fun on a bike that is exciting to ride, with a ‘ﬂickable’ quality. Despite attempts to wrongfoot the Scott, it remained resolutely surefooted and escaped unscathed.
We rode the Scott in the dirtiest, muddiest conditions we’d experienced all year, and the grippy tyres had us climbing muddy inclines we’d normally be forced to walk, and throwing the bike into descents that would usually see a great deal more caution.
On tarmac the tyres are a little more sluggish, and if you up the pressure to more road-friendly levels the block pattern tread can deform when cornering, which can lead to unexpected drifts mid-corner and the occasional heart-stopping correction if you enter a corner a little ‘hot’.
Frame: Hydroformed alloy chassis with good clearance in the slop
The CX Comp’s hydroformed aluminium chassis features a scallop-shaped top tube, making shouldering the frame more comfortable than a round tube.
The chainstays are mated to the bottom bracket shell with a thin, triangulated, 8mm girder-like section, helping to reduce the amount of mud collecting when riding in particularly sloppy conditions.
We were surprised to ﬁnd a 31.6mm oversize seatpost, but though we thought it would make the rear end a bit harsh, that’s not the case here. It could be that the chainstay arrangement adds some compliance to counteract the overbuilt seatpost.
Equipment: Tough wheels, grippy tyres and reliable gearing
The wheels (own-brand hubs, Alex rims and DT spokes) were given plenty of abuse including jumps, drop-offs and rocky descents – and neither those nor the mud and grime stopped them from working ﬂawlessly.
The tyres, too, proved a good call, and also serve to emphasise that this is a genuine cyclo-cross machine, as at home in the mud as a hippopotamus. Continental’s Speed King is a classic in the mountain bike world and this interpretation of the open block pattern works supremely well in larger road bike 700C guise.
The carbon fork/cantilever brake combination caused brake squeal and juddering, encouraging us to go lighter on the front brake – which isn’t necessarily a good thing – to stop the bike sounding like an angry pack mule.
You might have to invest £3.50 in a simple ‘uphanger’. This relocates the cable hanger from its anchor on the head-tube to the mudguard eyelet on the fork crown and should solve the problem.
The drivetrain is a mix of a Shimano 105 rear mech, Tiagra front mech and shifters, and FSA’s Gossamer compact chainset, enabling you to get a perfect off-road cadence. On tarmac, it’s slightly undergeared on the ﬂat, but will get you up most climbs.