Scott have just unveiled their 2011 mountain bike line-up under the scorching sun of northern Spain. The biggest change is a new, take-no-prisoners approach when it comes to big-hit all-mountain bikes and race-ready hardtails, in the form of the superlight Scale 899 and Genius LT 185.
Scale 899: The lightest hardtail ever
Working more of their IMP (Internal Moulding Process) magic, the Swiss carbon meisters have shaved a further 70g from their Scale hardtail to produce a frame that is guaranteed to weigh less than 899g (for small and medium sizes).
Guaranteed? Well, if the unambiguously named Scale 899 frame rolls through their quality control above that figure it gets shelved to use on models lower down the range instead. That means that if you splash out on the new flagship hardtail, you can be sure it beats the weight of its nearest rival, Merida’s Nine-O, by some 30g.
The Scale 899 boats a sub-900g frame weight and a front triangle that’s stiffer than ever before
Scott’s designers were keen to stress to us that while their goal was to produce the lightest hardtail in the world, they weren’t prepared to sacrifice performance or comfort along the way. To reach the target weight, and actually increase stiffness in the frame where desired, Scott’s engineers replaced the outgoing 2010 Scale’s aluminium inserts with a full-carbon structure.
The bottom bracket (with a choice of regular BB92 or BB30 size) is now press-fit, and frame hardware – including dropouts and disc mount inserts – has been moulded out of carbon, giving an even more seamless look to the already stealthy matt black frame. The rear disc tabs are now post mount, meaning that only 160mm or larger discs can be used. The extra heft of the larger discs is offset by the weight shaved from the mounts.
The new Scale gets a full-carbon front triangle with tapered head tube and a 100mm-travel fork
While lateral stiffness at the bottom bracket, head tube and rear triangle has been increased by 15, 10 and 10 percent respectively, the white coats have borrowed technology from Scott’s CR1 road bikes to produce a new one-piece, hollow rear triangle that allows a greater degree of vertical flex, increasing comfort by a claimed 80 percent.
To accomplish this, the rear brake is now set inboard of the effective chainstay-seatstay junction, which in itself is a curvaceous, seamless feast for the eyes. Weight is further reduced by using IMP moulding at the head tube area, replacing tube-to-tube bonding and dissipating stresses more successfully, and by the incorporation of a new, tiny integral seatpost clamp.
Additional weight is lost via this beautiful integrated seatpost clamp
Up front, the new Scale range gets more bounce via a 100mm-travel fork. Geometry has been adjusted to suit this longer-travel ride; the bottom bracket has been dropped by 10mm, the top tube lengthened by 10mm and the head angle slackened off by one degree to 70°. The 2011 Scale range will be made up of seven models, plus five big-wheeled Scale 29ers.
Holding the trails to Ransom: The new Genius LT 185
Weight loss is again the name of the game for Scott’s new all-mountain steed, the Genius LT (Long Travel). Replacing the outgoing, five-year old Ransom, the LT shares that bike’s big-hitting abilities and more, while borrowing much of its looks and tech from Scott’s 150mm-travel Genius range.
With 185mm of travel and a sub-30lb weight the new Genius LT is a true all-mountain machine
At the heart of the frame is an all-new, one-piece IMP5 homogenous carbon front triangle that does away with tube joins and inserts to shave weight and add stiffness. Leaning on the established Genius’s success, the LT uses a new, more bottomless feeling Equalizer 3 pull shock, sitting, as with the Genius, neatly behind the seat tube.
Big volume chambers and an inversion of the shock allow the rear wheel a massive, drop-swallowing 185mm of travel (that’s 20mm more than the Ransom, and 5mm more than its freeride-specific brother, the Voltage FR). At under 30lb (13.6kg), the new LT has the longest travel-to-weight ratio of any bike out there today, and our first, and hot, test rides suggest it has real climbing ability.
LT models come equipped with either a RockShox or CrankBrothers Joplin 4 seatpost
Specced up front with a custom 180mm-travel RockShox Lyrik fork and exclusive, custom-sized 2.35in tyres from Schwalbe, the LT is an admirable big-hit bike, helped by a head angle of 65.7°. Point the bike uphill, though, and you’re in for a surprise. Helped by the Genius’s handlebar-mounted Twinloc lever – which switches between full rear travel, a 110mm “traction mode” and full lockout – the light bike eats up climbs.
An elliptical ‘travel chip’ insert at the main shock mount allows the LT’s geometry to be switched between low and high, with 8mm of bottom bracket height between them. Full-length cable housings on the down tube and a resized 31.6mm diameter seat tube allow the speccing of either a new 125mm RockShox or 100mm CrankBrothers droppable seatpost. The 2011 Genius LT range will consist of two carbon and two aluminium framed models.
The new Genius LT is available in two aluminium (pictured here) and two carbon models