Scott Contessa Spark RC review£3,499.00

Women's bike built for all out speed

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Scott have always had a strong women’s line. And they’re not pulling many punches when it comes to the Contessa version of the Spark RC short-travel full suspension bike either – it shares all the state-of-the-art features of the excellent blokes’ bikes.

The HMF Net carbon-fibre frame is one of the lightest available, but it’s still loaded with trail-friendly features. A tapered head tube and chunky tubes keep it tracking super-tight and the dropouts can be upgraded to a screw-through rear axle. 

While the 120mm RockShox SID fork already makes for a slack and confident ride (for its category), twiddling the shock mount chip drops the Contessa even lower and rakes out the front to create an absolute singletrack ripper.

The easy-adjust rockshox sid fork gives 120mm of travel from very little heft:
The easy-adjust rockshox sid fork gives 120mm of travel from very little heft:

The easy-adjust RockShox SID fork gives 120mm of travel from very little heft

The unique DT Swiss/Scott ‘Nude’ shock isn’t exactly the smoothest one around, but racers and summit sprinters will really appreciate the double-ended shock control and lockout of the DNA3 Twin Loc damping system.

While there’s a lot going on in terms of remote levers and geometry choices, the kit list is a who’s who of maximum ride, minimum maintenance componentry. Slick-shifting Shimano XT transmission and powerful matching brakes do their job through a custom DT Swiss tubeless-ready wheelset.

The lightweight but still generously sized Schwalbe Rocket Ron tyres provide surefooted grip and easy speed to help boost on-trail confidence, while helping to keep weight to a hardtail-style 24lb. 

Oh, and the Scott finishing kit and Fizik Vitesse saddle are easier on your hands and hindquarters than the Euro colours are on your eyes…

This all makes for a superbly versatile machine that’s ready to excel whether you’re racing, riding marathon cross-country epics or just mucking about in the woods.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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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