If we hadn’t have ridden the Scott Scale 720 Plus properly hard on our favourite fault finding full gas trails, there’s no way it would have made it onto our list of favourite bargain mountain bikes.
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The Deore gears and Suntour Raidon fork are essentially the same as the Voodoo Bizango for less than half the price. While it’s OK at that price it’s certainly not a fork we’d normally be happy to see the far side of £1,000 either. So why was the Scale one of our favourite bargain rides and one of the bikes we really wanted to keep afterwards?
It’s a two part answer, and the first part — perhaps controversially — is plus sized tyres. While we’ve been testing them all year, it’s mostly been on more expensive bikes where comparable conventional tyres have been backed up by sorted, sensitive suspension forks.
However, it’s immediately obvious that plus tyres can make comparatively crap, clunky suspension feel better than something like a RockShox Sektor and a conventional tyre.
You get the same smoothing, semi suspension effect out back, but even more so in this case as the Scott Scale has a very high quality race ready frame anyway.
The Schwalbe plus tyres themselves are really good too, seemingly more survivable than most, when tubeless, as well as — weirdly — both faster and grippier.
Rather than raking out the fork enduro style like most plus tyre bikes we’ve ridden, Scott keeps the steering angle relatively steep, making it much easier to twist the bigger, stickier contact patch round to change direction or correct lines.
Add a 12.61kg weight and you’ve got an outstandingly floated and trail smoothing ride that’s rapid and responsive enough to leave conventional hardtails standing.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.