Scott Scale Elite 29er review£1,399.00

Agile, lightweight big-wheeler

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Scott’s sub-949g carbon framed RC 29er might be the headline grabber, but the lively Elite proves they've invested just as much time in their alloy framed big-wheelers too.

Accurate sizing is crucial, but Scott have done a great job of producing a naturally lively ride on a big-wheeled platform without sacrificing the natural smoothness advantage in the rough.

Ride & handling: Agile and involving feel

Frame dimensions aren’t unusually compact for a medium, but the short stem and inline seatpost make the Scott feel small even with the saddle back on its rails. Having tried the large, that’s the option for more race-minded riders or those closer to 6ft.

Get the size right and this is a really enjoyable ride that never backed down on the basis of budget. The short stem and narrow bar, give it a very quick steering character.

There’s flex at the fork tips too, but the frame has enough muscle to keep it fun and it weaves through trees with both quick wits and hands. The compact rider position makes it easy to get the best from the occasionally sketchy Schwalbe Rocket Ron tyres.

Low weight and the stiff rear end mean it comes out of the far side of slow sections or tackles climbs with real enthusiasm. Despite a saddle that most found uncomfortable, it’s not too harsh overall either.

Frame: Light and usefully upgradable

While it’s not a full tapered setup the 44mm inset head tube can be made compatible with the right headset and there’s plenty of overlap in the smooth welded, oversized frame tubes. Steep top tube sloping increases standover clearance despite the big wheels.

There’s a slight curve in the forward offset seat tube to shorten the chainstays as much as possible too while still leaving room for a 2.25in tyre. Big chainstays control power while hollow backed dropouts shave weight out of the light frame.

A seat quick-release makes for easy adjustment while under the top tube, inside stay cable routing is direct but discreet. There’s limited tyre space and it’s an IS (International Standard) brake mount not a post mount out back.

Equipment: Fork isn’t the tightest or lightest

This is the first time we’ve seen Avid’s new Elixir 3 brakes, but there’s no trace of budget in the performance. A 30-speed Shimano mix supplies the full range gearing and rear hub, while DT rims are colour-matched to the bike. Hard Performance compound Schwalbe Rocket Ron tyres roll fast for a knobbly, but slip in the wet and mud room is tight too.

The RockShox Recon Gold fork – the Gold label means it has a lighter weight alloy rather than steel slider and steerer – acquitted itself well in damping terms, but it’s quick-release rather than screw-through at the tips. The Scott bar is also narrow for a riser, leaving the short stem to maintain steering speed. An inline double bolt post pushes the firm Scott race saddle forward too.

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: 45
  • 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 than 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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