Scott Scale 750 review£1,399.00

Affordable yet aggressively fast alloy version of World Championship winner

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Scott rider Nino Schurter has had multiple World Cup and World Championship cross-country wins on his ultra light, carbon fibre 650b race bike.

Can this alloy version deliver a similar winning streak for racing and general riding duties?

Frame and equipment: Shimano transmission and a Fox 32 fork

While its carbon frames are properly cutting edge, Scott hasn't skimped on the tech with the alloy Scale either. The head tube is tapered (even if the fork isn't), stout frame tubes triangulate from an oversize press-fit BB71 bottom bracket and the dropouts are lightweight hollow-back forgings.

The flattened seatstays have a big reinforcing web behind the seat tube to remove the need for a bridge and stop the adequate tyre space clogging.

It also features quick-release rear dropouts, rather than the stiffer 142x12mm screw-through set-up that's becoming common on 29er hardtails. Despite the weight saving and the fact that a lot of Scott's alloy and carbon full sus bikes are surprisingly close in weight, there's a big difference between the hardtails – the alloy Scale frame weighs a claimed 1.59kg (3.5lb), compared with 1.13kg (2.5lb) for the HMF carbon version and 0.96kg (2.1lb) for the top-end HMX carbon chassis.

Buying yourself the carbon frame in a comparable complete bike format (Scale 730) would cost you £1,999 though, and even with the alloy frame, there are some evident budget touches on the 750. The most obvious are the straight steerer and quick-release axle on the Fox 32 fork, though you still get Scott's unique RideLoc CTD remote control, complete with a colour-coded cable.

Otherwise the mainly Shimano SLX (with XT rear mech) transmission is good for the money, and the Syncros 700mm flat bar and 80mm stem are appropriately shaped for the fast but still controlled focus of the Scale. The Shimano rear hub adds assured reliability to the Syncros-rimmed wheelset, and while the Schwalbe Rocket Ron tyres are made from the company's slippery Performance compound, at least there are some decent knobs on them to dig into the dirt.

The wheels and overall weight are very competitive for this category, though it's interesting to note that the Scale 950, which has an almost identical spec save for 29er wheels, is only 200g heavier.

Ride and handling: naturally aggressive from the off

While weights may be similar, there's a big difference between the ride feel of the 750 and the 950 The 750 is a much more muscular and direct feeling machine, rather than a Ferris wheel floater. The low bar position and long top tube stretch drop you into a naturally aggressive attack position, and the stout frame means all of your muscle twitches and handling tweaks are converted into action straight away.

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The fork can struggle to implement this when you're really twisting it or carving it hard through rough turns, but there's a lot less wander and twang than there would be with a 29er fork of the same structure, and the same is true of the wheels too. On the trail this translates to an insatiable appetite to snap at the heels of other bikes before punching out in the lead.

There's obviously potential to tighten up the ride even further by upgrading to a tapered top, through-axle tipped fork if you can afford it. Stickier tyres will carry speed through corners and up technical climbs better too. Not that this is a slow bike by any stretch.

The relatively slack head angle means it's surprisingly controlled and capable on the descents too, where its agility and accuracy help you to dodge the moments where 100mm of travel isn't enough.

The tube profiling and 650b wheels mean you don't get as much abuse coming through the direct-driving BB and back end as you might think either – we were happy sitting on the Scott all day.

At this price there's always going to be a temptation to save longer/dig deeper to afford the carbon version of this bike, and we wouldn't blame you, as the ones we've ridden have been fantastic.

But there's definitely still a place for the 750 as a bike for those who relish a race but see super-fast singletrack as their real happy hunting ground.

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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