Scott Contessa opts for unisex mountain bike frames in 2017

New frame design, new shock positioning, and other range highlights

Scott Bicycles has unveiled its 2017 Contessa line of bikes, and in a move that echoes similar approaches by other brands in the industry, it has opted for unisex frames on its updated Spark and Scale mountain bike lines. These two bikes have also had a serious overhaul in terms of geometry and design, with a move towards a slacker, more trail-friendly geometry that reflects the increasingly technical nature of cross-country mountain biking. 

Contessa is the blanket term within Scott Bicycles for its women's range, and up until the 2017 product year this has meant women's specific geometry on all of the bikes. Not any more. For 2017, the Spark and Scale mountain bike lines have unisex geometry, although the Contessa versions will feature women's specific finishing kit such as saddle and colours. 

Road bikes continue with women's specific geometry, while smaller sizes of commuter bikes offer a dropped top tube to allow a lower standover. 

Updates all-round with Contessa mountain bike line

Contessa Scale hardtail women's mountain bike

Designed for the highest level of cross-country racing, the Scale RC hard tail from Scott
Designed for the highest level of cross-country racing, the Scale RC hard tail from Scott

Perhaps unsurprisingly for a brand very much focussed on cross-country mountain biking, the Contessa Scale hardtail line is expansive, consisting of 11 models. As mentioned above, the majority of the range is now based around a unisex frame, which is to say both the Scale and the Contessa Scale share the same frame geometry, but the Contessa version has women's specific finishing kit and colours. Stretching from entry-level alloy versions right up to carbon framed race machines, Scott has clearly aimed for a bike for every budget and purpose. 

Coming in top of the line is the Scale RC 700, and it's worth a more detailed look. Scott has spent a lot of time on both the Spark and the Scale analysing performance and crunching data, and has shaved grams off both bikes through interesting design elements such as reworked brake mounts. Featuring a carbon frame with RockShox SID forks with 100mm of travel, it's fitted with the brand spanking new SRAM X1 Eagle 12-speed drivetrain (the rest of the range has a double chain ring gear set up), Syncros carbon bars and seatpost, OneLoc remote fork lockout, boost spacing and Syncros XR RC CL wheelset

Scott has also added a plus bike option to the range, the Contessa Scale 700 Plus.

  • Contessa Scale RC 700: £4,599 / US$TBC / AUS$TBC
  • Contessa Scale 700: £2,999 / US$3,899.99 / AUS$TBC
  • Contessa Scale 710: £1,099 / US$1,399.99 / AUS$TBC
  • Contessa Scale 900: £2,999 / US$3,899.99 / AUS$TBC
  • Contessa Scale 700 Plus: £1,529 / US$1,899.99 / AUS$TBC

Contessa Spark full-suspension trail and XC women's mountain bike

The full-suspension Spark is a race-proven XC machine
The full-suspension Spark is a race-proven XC machine

The Contessa Spark line is the full-suspension cross-country mountain bike line and, thanks to the updated geometry mentioned above, is also a more trail-friendly option that is likely to make it a popular choice with many riders.

As with the Scale, Scott has shaved off a little carbon here and there with careful design, making this an incredibly light option for riders seeking a cross-country race-ready machine. Another update is the shock position, which is now located on the downtube. 

The top of the range Contessa Spark RC is about as race-proven as it's possible to get, with it being the bike that took Jenny Rissveds to victory at Rio 2016. As with the Scare RC it features a carbon frame, boost spacing, SRAM X1 Eagle crankset, FOX 32 SC Float Performance Elite Air forks and FOX NUDE Trunnion shock, both with 100mm travel, Shimano XTR hydraulic disc brakes, Syncros XR RC CL wheelset and Syncros finishing kit — including carbon seat post and bars. The bar-mounted Twinloc remote allows suspension to be shifted between three settings. 

As with the Scale, there is also a plus version which comes in either a carbon framed option (the Spark 700 Plus) or an alloy version (Spark 710 Plus). 

  • Contessa Spark RC 700: £5,399 / US$6,499.99 / AUS$TBC
  • Contessa Spark 700: £3,899 / US$4,999.99 / AUS$TBC
  • Contessa Spark 700 Plus: £3,899 / US$4,999.99 / AUS$TBC
  • Contessa Spark 710 Plus: £2,499 /  US$3,099.99 / AUS$TBC

Contessa Genius women's trail mountain bike

The Scott Contessa Genius gives 150mm of front and rear travel with TwinLoc remote suspension control
The Scott Contessa Genius gives 150mm of front and rear travel with TwinLoc remote suspension control

With 150mm of travel, the Contessa Genius is a trail focussed mountain bike and four models will be available for 2017, including a plus bike and e-mtb plus option. 

As with the Spark, the Genius features Twinloc, allowing you to remotely lockout the front suspension and shorten the rear suspension for greater power transference on climbs and flat sections. The Contessa Genius also allows you to alter the geometry of the bike by adjusting the bottom bracket height, a relatively simple procedure that involves shifting the shock mount linkage. This gives a variation of 7mm in bottom bracket height, which translates to a head-tube angle change of 0.5 degrees. Go slacker for more confidence and control descending, or steeper if technical climbs are where you want the power and control. 

The frames for the Genius haven't had the thorough overhaul that the Spark and Scale have benefited from for 2017, so you'll spot that the shock is still on the top tube. Does this mean that the Genius is ripe for an upgrade in coming years? Quite possibly. 

Top of the range is the striking Contessa Genius 700, which gives you a carbon frame with alloy swingarm, plus FOX 34 Float Performance Elite Air forks and FOX Nude with a women's specific suspension tune to suit lighter riders. Gearing is provided by a full Shimano XT set up, which includes a double chain ring as well as Fox Transfer dropper seat post and Syncros TR2.0 CL wheels. 

  • Contessa Genius 700: £4,399 / US$5,199.99 / AUS$TBC
  • Contessa Genius 710: £3,299 / US$3,999.99 / AUS$TBC
  • Contessa Genius 710 Plus: £2,799 / US$3,399.99 / AUS$TBC

Scott Contessa e-mountain bikes

Scott has also released a range of four women's specific e-mountain bikes: the E-Genius Plus, the E-Scale, the E-Scale Plus, and the E-Spark Plus. These are based around the alloy-framed versions of their respective ranges and are powered by the Shimano STEPS E-8000 series, which is a mountain bike specific battery and component system. 

Scott Contessa women's road bike range

There are two lines in the Scott Contessa women's road bike range and both are based around endurance geometry for comfort on longer rides. The Solace and the Speedster have women's specific geometry, which in this case means a shorter top tube, higher head tube and lower seat tube, and results in a more upright position with a shorter reach. The bikes also feature women's specific elements such as saddles. 

All the bikes in the road range are available from XXS/46cm frame sizes up to a L/55cm to 56cm frame size. 

Scott Contessa Solace

The Contessa Solace is a carbon bike with women's specific endurance geometry
The Contessa Solace is a carbon bike with women's specific endurance geometry

There are three bikes in the 2017 Contessa Solace range, and disc-brake bikes dominate the upper price points. 

The entry level option is the Contessa Solace 35, a carbon-framed bike with a carbon/alloy fork and Shimano Tiagra 20-speed compact gearing. The Syncros finishing kit includes a women's specific saddle. 

Jump up to the mid-point and you get Contessa Solace 15. Again, a HMF carbon frame with women's specific geometry is the basis of the bike with forks made up of a carbon steerer with alloy dropout. The crankset is the well-regarded Shimano 105 compact 22-speed with Shimano BR-RS505 hydraulic disc brakes, plus Syncros wheelset and finishing kit that includes a carbon seat post. 

  • Contessa Solace 15 Disc: £2,799 / US$3,199.99 / AUS$TBC
  • Contessa Solace 25 Disc: £2,149 / US$2,699.99 / AUS$TBC
  • Contessa Solace 35: £1,749 / US$1,899.99 / AUS$TBC

Scott Contessa Speedster

The alloy framed Scott Contessa Speedster
The alloy framed Scott Contessa Speedster

The Speedster line forms the more accessibly priced alloy range from Scott Contessa, and consists of four models ranging from the Contessa Speedster 45 up to the Contessa Speedster 15, with no disc brake options. 

We're no stranger to the Contessa Speedster on BikeRadar with the aero features a big hit with our test panel for our 2016 Women's Road Bike of the Year Awards and won the Contessa Speedster 15 a place on our best bikes under £1,000 category. 

The 2017 range starts with the Speedster 45, which comes with an alloy frame and forks, and a Claris drivetrain with 24 gears in a 3x8 set up. The next level up is the Speedster 35 with an upgraded 18-speed Shimano Sora set up. 

Spend a bit more again and the Speedster 25 comes with a Shimano Tiagra 20-speed drivetrain and Syncros Race 22 aero profile wheels. At the top of the Speedster range is the Speedster 15, which is decidedly less loud in it's colour for 2017 compared to 2016, and features carbon forks and a Shimano 105 22-speed drivetrain. 

  • Contessa Speedster 15: £949 / $1,199.99 / AUS$TBC
  • Contessa Speedster 25: £869 / $1,099.99 / AUS$TBC
  • Contessa Speedster 35: £779 / $949.99 / AUS$TBC
  • Contessa Speedster 45: £679 / $849.99 / AUS$TBC
Aoife Glass

Women's Cycling Editor
A mountain biker at heart, also drawn to the open road. Likes big long adventures in the mountains. Usually to be found in the Mendip Hills or the Somerset Levels in the UK. Passionate about women's cycling at all levels.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road
  • Preferred Terrain: Rocky, rough and a long way from anywhere.
  • Current Bikes: Liv Avail Advanced Pro 2015, Juliana Furtado 2013, Canyon Roadlite AL
  • Dream Bike: Juliana Roubion, Liv Avail Advanced SL
  • Beer of Choice: Red wine for the win!
  • Location: Weston Super Mare, Somerset, UK

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