Frame and equipment: same profile with improved kit
The new chassis shares its silhouette with the 2013-14 Gambler and is built from a similarly stout hydroformed 6061 alloy tubeset, but sports a number of updates.
Scott has increased the reach by 11mm on the small and large sizes and 16mm on the medium, though there’s still no XL option. It has also refined the Floating Link suspension system – optimising it for use with the smaller shaft of the latest Fox DHX RC4 shock and reducing the amount of shock hardware rotation, which in turn improves durability and small-bump sensitivity – and added integrated fork bumpers that double up as cable guides.
The vast amount of adjustability remains, with the option to increase or decrease the head angle (61-65 degrees) via the included cups, tweak BB height (343-353mm) via a chip in the lower shock mount and lengthen or shorten the chainstays (425-440mm in the low BB setting and 421-435mm in the high setting). The frame can still be run with 26in wheels as well as the bigger 650b hoops too, making the Gambler one of the most adaptable downhill bikes out there.
The top-spec Gambler 710 sports Fox’s impressive 40 Float RC2 air-sprung fork and ultra-capable DHX RC4 coil shock, both of which are highly tunable and easy to adjust. Shimano takes care of the transmission with its ultra-reliable Saint and Zee kit. The brakes are Zee too, and they do an admirable job of slowing things down, especially when paired with the grippy Schwalbe Magic Marys. Colour-coordinated Syncros kit finishes things off nicely.
Ride and handling: ready to handle the most brutal terrain, even faster
The Gambler was designed with big-mountain downhill riding in mind. It’s a bike that doesn’t like to be mollycoddled down the trail. Like its predecessor, this is a straight up monster truck of a machine that rewards the confident rider looking to tackle the most savage terrain.
The larger wheels take some getting used to, but once you’re prepared for the extra rolling speed and grip they deliver, they amplify the Gambler’s speed-loving credentials. In the air and in the bike park, it’s still a playful yet composed beast that can handle dodgy landings with ease.
While the claimed 17.5kg weight leaves some room for improvement, the savvy weekend warrior could easily shave half a kilo off without drastically altering the feel or making another sizable dent in their finances. The bombproof spec – which aside from the brakes is pretty much a replica of what the Gstaad-Scott team use – helps to make the 710’s price a bit more digestible, especially when compared with the competition.