Scott’s Voltage FR straddles that somewhat awkward middle ground between full-on downhill rig and long-travel trail bike. But where does it differ exactly and what type of rider does it suit?
Just like its longer-travel brother, the Gambler DH bike, the Voltage FR is highly adjustable – Scott wanted to make it as versatile as possible. This burly little beast will accept a single or dual-crown fork, and angled headset cups (provided) can be used to adjust the head angle between 62 and 66 degrees.
Rear travel can be extended from 170 to 190mm in a matter of minutes via a flippable shock mount, and chainstay length can be switched from the standard 425mm to a stumpy 410mm (though this shorter setting can only be used with 26in wheels, not the 650b hoops the complete bike comes with). To help keep things stiff at the rear, the Voltage FR uses a chunky one-piece link to drive the shock.
Scott’s IDS-X dropout system lets you adjust the length of the chainstays
The 710’s build definitely leans towards a bit of rough and tumble, and it’ll survive a battering – though that does mean it’s not exactly light. Fox suspension units at both ends do a great job of taming just about any trail you attempt to tackle, while XT brakes offer dependable, controllable power with every lever squeeze. The Super Gravity casing, VertStar compound Schwalbe Magic Marys are surefooted on every surface we’ve tried them on too.
Ready for some hammer time
It’s clear from the outset that the Voltage FR is here to be hammered. Though we’re in the realms of full-on downhill bike weight, it pedals relatively well and will – if you have the strength and patience – winch its way up fireroad climbs if you miss the uplift. But it’s when you start working with, rather than against, gravity that the Scott comes into its own.
It may not be the monster of a bike that the Gambler is, but at no point did we feel like we were out of our depth aboard the 710. Thump it into rocks, drops or root-riddled holes and you’ll come out the other side laughing.
With up to 190mm out back, the Voltage FR is approaching full-on DH bike levels of travel
The Fox 36 up front sucks up the hits with control and composure, while the progressive and predictable rear end tracks the terrain impressively and boosts confidence as the trail gets uglier. Though the Magic Marys are pretty hefty we had no issues with punctures and they simply claw their treads into just about everything they touch.
The Voltage’s more flickable, bike-park-friendly nature compared with the Gambler and its reasonably low BB height (340mm in the shorter travel setting) make it a lot of fun on mellower trails too. Hit the jumps and things remain stable and easy to anticipate, and, should you misjudge things a little, the Voltage won’t shy away from blatting into a flat landing. In short then, this is a great mini-downhill bike – and a slightly lighter build would unleash even more of its mouthwatering potential.