You get a nice frame and shock with this Scott Aspect FX-15, providing excellent rear suspension action with an effective lockout. However, it’s pricey for the spec and the proprietary shock is in line of rear wheel crud. Worth a look if you like its looks, want a good suspension system and aren’t too heavy a rider.
Scott is a company with a longstanding biking pedigree, and it has made a name for itself with its innovative approach to frame materials and shock design. The Aspect is the successor to last year’s Reﬂex – basically a budget version of Scott’s original ‘Genius’ four-bar linkage design bikes.
Ride & handling: obstacle popper, but a climbing wanderer
The geometry on the medium-sized bike tested looks pretty standard on paper, albeit a bit short in the top tube. In theory, increasing the saddle height would have a fairly marked effect on effective top tube length because of the pronounced rearward inclination of the seat tube. However, despite the fact that the effective seat angle is a regular 73°, you still end up with a very rearward seating position.
Combined with the slackish front head angle, it’s great if you need to unweight the front for clearing trail obstacles, but requires a deﬁnite weight shift to the front of the saddle for steeper climbs to keep the front from wandering and, arguably, doesn’t put your knees in the best place for comfortable pedalling.
This is deﬁnitely one bike to try before buying to ensure it ﬁts you properly.
The good news is that Scott’s own-brand shock, in conjunction with the four-bar linkage system, works very well. It gives up loads of traction on loose climbs, with a well controlled suspension action that’s easily switched on and off via the remote bar mount.
Frame: stiff & tidy genuine four-bar suspension
That polished frame and black parts seem perfectly matched to the Aspect’s components for a visually pleasant effect. The distinctive and heavily hydroformed head and top tubes just manage to squeeze in on the recessed headset head tube, which has loads of weld interface area to keep things stiff and strong without resorting to gussets all over the place.
Despite the heavily shaped seat tube curving backwards (thus acting like an interrupted seat tube design), it didn’t prove necessary to chop down the seat post to get the right seat height.
The bike has a full four-bar linkage suspension set-up with very neat dropouts connecting the all-important Horst Link on the chainstays. This is all done with minimalist-looking linkage plates – which connect to the massive LCR shock – and slim stays, which help lend the bike a whippet-like expectation of speed.
There was enough room for the Scott 2in tyre, but it’ll be a struggle to shoehorn in a 2.2in tyre or bigger.
Despite the front derailleur being a relatively blue-collar Shimano Deore LX set-up with Deore shifters, the upshift from granny ring to middle ring and middle to big ring was one of the smoothest we’ve ever felt on any bike.
On our test bike, the rear end was slightly misaligned – not massively, and the ride didn’t seem affected, but it was noticeable nevertheless.
Equipment: basic for the bike’s price
It’s not hard to see that the Scott’s frame and shock have demanded a fair chunk of the available budget. The large-chambered Genius pull shock is easy to set up using a handy guide on the shock body and happily doesn’t need scarily high shock pressures to work properly.
It’ll need occasional attention from your Scott dealer, but this is no bad thing for something that lives in constant spray of crud from the rear wheel.
The rest of the kit spec contains some functionally ﬁne own-brand bits. Parts wise, the Scott doesn’t stand out from the cheaper competition, since it gets the same Tora forks and the very average Alivio brakes as some much cheaper bikes (like the GiantYukon FX-1), while the GT XCR 5has the same XT Shadow rear mech.
We found the saddle to be awfully uncomfortable – a small point that’s easily rectiﬁed – while the lightweight, fast-rolling Scott Ozon tyres punctured easily. As a bonus, though, the wheel build uses proper DT quality spokes.
Summary: good frame, budget bits
It’s always a bold move for a manufacturer to spec its own shock, but don’t let that put you off – it seems to work just ﬁne. Overall, the suspension system is good, with a convenient lock-out, and this is a good-looking bike, too – shame about the average componentry quality for the money and the bike’s weight. The layout won’t be to all tastes, either, so try before you buy.