The Voltage is an extremely adjustable bike, with shock mounts that allow for a range of travel from 130 to 180mm, depending which shock you plug in. The stock shock – a Fox RC2 – allows 160mm (6.3in) and 180mm (7in) settings, so we ﬂicked between those for the test, because they’re the most relevant for an all-day big hit bike.
To get the shorter travel settings, you’d need a second shock, on what is already an expensive bike. However, with so much gravity-based geometry, it’s deﬁnitely true to say that the Scott is less of an all-rounder and more of a gravity ﬁend.
Ride & handling: Ridiculous amounts of gravity fun
The Voltage's head and seat angles are in full-on downhill bike territory, and the low 348mm (13.7in) bottom bracket also hints at a gravity bias, but the top tube length, at 557mm (for our ‘short’ model), is very short. However, the combination actually works really well, bringing downhill-bike speed to short play-bike fun. In use, the top tube doesn’t feel overly short, partly thanks to the 750mm bar and slack 65-degree head angle. The bar’s 20mm rise, along with its upsweep and backsweep, makes the front end really comfy.
The Scott feels almost like a full-on downhill bike. The four-bar rear end is controlled amazingly well by the Fox RC2 shock, without any unusual characteristics in either of the travel settings. Square-edged compressions are managed without any harshness and pedalling is dealt with pretty well too, when you take into account the bike’s heavy weight and the fact it’s running a downhill coil shock.
The Fox 36 FIT Van RC2 fork does the job, although the compression adjustments did take time to get dialled in properly and we found we were using quite a lot more sag, and sitting further into the travel than we would have liked. A ﬁrmer spring would help this but at the cost of some sensitivity. It wasn’t propped up or particularly supportive throughout the travel when it came to harsh compressions, like hitting corners hard.
The downhill ability of the Voltage is brilliant, on everything from fast, big hitting trails to tight dust and loam. The 160mm travel setting suggests more of an all-day, pedal-friendly ride, but this isn’t really the case. Even though it ramps the leverage ratio up on the rear end, meaning the same rate spring translates into less sag, the Voltage becomes super-enjoyable to ride on faster tracks that are aimed at trail bikes. The travel change doesn’t mean the bike suddenly becomes magically cross-country friendly, it’s just easier to deal with on the ﬂat.
Otherwise, the geometry does steepen very slightly in the 160mm position, but that’s not enough to hold you back when riding steeper trails. The slack seat tube angle doesn’t help with the bike’s uphill ability, but on such a fun downhill play bike with so much gravity-based geometry, why should uphill matter anyway? It’s not too bad on the ﬂat, and it’s helped out by the 36/36 low gear that the 10-speed setup is able to provide.
Equipment: 10-speed spec is very attractive
At £3,199, you’d expect high spec and you certainly get it with the Voltage. The suspension comes from a Fox RC2 shock and 36 Van RC2 FIT fork. A SRAM X9 10-speed gearing package with short cage mech, Truvativ Holzfeller cranks, and an e*thirteen LG1+ chain device provides a pretty well sorted drivetrain.
Stopping is taken care of by Avid Code 5 brakes with 203mm rotors, rolling on high-end DT Swiss FR600 rims and Scott hubs, wrapped in Schwalbe Big Betty tyres. These kept us rubber side down, behaving really well on the hardpack and in dusty tight corners, even keeping things good in the loam. The freeride Snake Skin casing helps you to run low pressures without pinching the tubes too.
A 750mm wide Scott bar has been coupled with a 40mm Truvativ Hussefelt stem. The dirt jump style saddle makes it clear the bike isn’t thought of as something to sit down and pedal on. The Scott has interchangeable dropouts, so you can use Maxle and 135QR dropouts, along with the standard 12 x 135mm setting.