The 2022 update to Scott’s Spark RC and Spark 900 cross-country and trail bikes integrates the rear shock with the frame, giving it a bold but sleek look.
Scott claims that by moving the shock from its vertically-mounted position just in front of the seat tube to inside the frame it can “refine suspension characteristics without sacrificing weight.”
For the world champ and Olympic level riders of the Scott-SRAM MTB Team Racing, such as Kate Courtney (world champion) and Nino Schurter (Olympic and 7x world champion), marginal gains make a measurable difference – whether that’s in outright performance or shaving grams wherever possible.
5 things to know about the 2022 Scott Spark RC and Scott Spark 900
- There are five levels of frame material: three carbon models, one carbon and aluminium hybrid model and a full aluminium version
- The head angle is adjustable by 0.6 degrees by rotating the headset cup
- The integrated shock is accessed via a port on the underside of the down tube
- The XC-focused RC model runs a 120mm fork, the trail-focused 900 model has a 130mm travel fork
- There are 26 models in the Spark range
The 2022 Spark range is split into two, with the Spark RC being the race-focused model and the Spark 900 the brand’s XC-come-trail-bike. Both models get slightly different geometry, too, thanks to an adjustable head angle.
That means there’s a hefty lineup of 26 bikes across the two ranges, including the new women’s-specific Contessa models.
Full carbon fibre models feature at the top end, while a carbon fibre front end and aluminium swingarm version sits in the mid-range, and full aluminium models are present at the more affordable end of the 2022 Spark line-up.
Prices start at an impressively affordable £2,199 / $2,449.99 / €2,399 for the 2022 Spark 970 and rise to a whopping £11,999 / $12,999.99 / €12,999 for the 2022 Spark RC SL EVO AXS.
2022 Scott Spark RC and Spark 900 frame updates and details
Headlining the updates on the latest iteration of the Spark is the sleek-looking integrated rear shock, which is cached inside the frame’s seat tube, down tube and bottom bracket junction.
Crouching Spark, hidden shock
Scott claims that by integrating the shock it’s been able to shave precious race-winning grams from the frame while improving stiffness, and, in turn, pedalling efficiency.
The frame’s shock cradle has been designed to be incredibly laterally stiff, helping to reduce unwanted sideway movement. Scott says it’s used large pivot bearings, which doubles down on stiffness and reduces flex.
The low-slung position – that’s claimed to lower the bike’s centre of gravity and improve handling – is another benefit.
And because the shock’s concealed, Scott claims it is protected from the elements, which should improve maintenance intervals.
Shock installation and removal, as well as access to the adjusters, is via a toolless port at the base of the down tube that is fixed in place with a rotating catch.
There’s an in-built sag indicator on the non-driveside seat tube pivot and a port (with a seal) on the same side that lets a rider see whether they’ve been using full travel, to reset their shock’s o-ring if needed.
Scott says all of the shock’s bolts are accessible from the outside, requiring no disassembly.
Meticulous attention to detail
Elsewhere, the frame’s been built around a 55mm chainline. This, Scott claims, means it’s managed to offer good tyre clearance (check!) without compromising stiffness and, for speed-hungry XC racers, makes the frame compatible with 40-tooth chainrings.
There’s space inside the frame’s front triangle for two water bottles (apart from on the small); one at the base of the seat tube and one on the top of the down tube. This is great news for marathon racers or all-day epic riders.
Additionally, every one of the frame’s bearings is fitted with an extra seal to help better protect them from the elements.
The frame features in-built ribbed chainstay and seatstay chain slap protectors, to help mitigate noise.
The rear axle’s lever doubles up as an in-built tool with T25 and T30 Torx bits and a 6mm Allen key. With these tools alone, Scott says you can tighten or adjust all of the Spark’s pivot hardware.
Brake and gear cables – on bikes without SRAM’s AXS wireless, electronic shifting – are routed internally through the frame, entering the frame’s tubes via the all-in-one Syncros Fraser IC handlebar/stem combination (check out our Syncros Hixon SL iC integrated bar and stem review).
All models of the new Spark use the BB92 press-fit bottom bracket standard, have a 12×148mm Boost rear axle and use SRAM’s UDH (universal derailleur hanger).
There’s an alloy version, too
Although the headliner 2022 Spark is the all-carbon fibre model, there’s also a full aluminium bike that Scott claims is the “industry’s only alloy frame with a fully integrated shock.”
Scott says it’s managed to maintain the look of the carbon model on the alloy version by developing special techniques to form and join tubes together.
It also assures us that the alloy frame’s been through thorough computer stress modelling and on-trail testing to help ensure it’s as strong as the carbon bike.
Scott has also worked hard to make sure it retains the same ride qualities as the more expensive carbon fibre versions too.
Even though the alloy bikes don’t get the fancy Fraser IC handlebar, they do get a special Syncros stem, which means the brake and gear cables are internally routed just like on the carbon bike.