Scott Aspect 720 review

Classic ‘one bike for everything’ all-rounder

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
GBP £699.00 RRP

Our review

A naturally punchy and precise-feeling ride with reasonable control but adequate, not amazing, spec for the price
Buy if, You want a solid, precise and well-controlled ride, and don't mind a little extra heft
Pros: Decent-shaped cockpit; punchy delivery and fast-rolling tyres aid speed; 32mm fork with rebound adjustment and lockout
Cons: Fork and frame are on the firm side; high overall and wheel weight; cranks are a letdown
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In some ways the Aspect is a reminder of an earlier, simpler age of do-it-all mountain bikes. While some manufacturers’ offerings are overtly pitched as budget race bikes or slackened-out trail bikes, the Scott keeps everything in the middle of the road.

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Straightforward style with a few neat touches

We don’t expect massively innovative design and construction at this price, and the Scott’s frame is a straightforward mechanically-shaped alloy number, though it packs in a neat mix of up-to-date and proven practical touches.

Related: Scott Aspect 740

The short 1-1/8in head tube backs onto a sloped top tube and down tube with changing profiles to manage power and steering stresses. We’d have liked to have seen a head tube ready for a tapered steerer, just to ease future fork upgrades.

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The 720mm bar gives welcome power assistance when the trail starts to get techy and treacherous: the 720mm bar gives welcome power assistance when the trail starts to get techy and treacherous

The 720mm bar gives welcome power assistance when the trail starts to get techy and treacherous

Gear cables are routed inside the down tube, while the rear brake hose runs under the frame to the caliper mount on the long, angled end of the chainstay. Weirdly, despite the up-to-date positioning it’s an older IS rather than post-style mount.

There are rack and mudguard mounts for commuting or exploring. The skinny 27.2mm seatpost makes dropper upgrading awkward but gets a quick-release lever for easy adjustment. The Scott comes in a full range of five sizes from XS to XL.

The most obvious aspect of the kit is the extensive colour coding, with the grips, saddle, fork, rims, bar, seatpost, stem and even cables all matching the blue and green frame.

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Shimano deore stop and go kit is utterly dependable: shimano deore stop and go kit is utterly dependable

Shimano Deore stop and go kit is utterly dependable

You also get a 32mm legged Suntour XCR fork with remote lockout and adjustable rebound damping.

The Shimano Deore stop and go equipment is a definite step up from Altus and Alivio, though the skinny, separate-axle M523 crankset and the M396 brakes are cheaper non-series parts. An outboard-bearing crankset would be a bonus, but this is par for the course.

While they roll well and grip better than expected, the basic 30tpi Kenda tyres contribute to a heavy wheel package hefty overall weight too: 14.08kg (31.04lb). Not what you’d expect from a brand with a reputation firmly rooted in racing.

Solid but unspectacular steed

The cockpit is the first thing you notice for two reasons. Nobody in our test team liked the awful bulged-centre grips and some testers found them really bruising and distracting when they hit harder trails. The wider bar was appreciated by everyone though – it adds noticeable accuracy and authority to the Scott’s steering, which is carried right though the 32mm fork legs to the trail.

Despite being 10mm longer than listed, the 90mm stem also reacts fast enough to snatch back slipping traction if you push the semi-slick Kenda tyres a bit too hard or they decide to skate off randomly on roots or rocks.

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The aspect holds its speed nicely on flatter trails: the aspect holds its speed nicely on flatter trails

The Aspect holds its speed nicely on flatter trails

The shortish stem and chainstays put the handling centre exactly where you’d expect, rather than making the bike feel like it’s folding in half underneath you. The chunky-chainstayed frame feels equally responsive and direct too. That means that, despite the overall weight and lardy wheelset, plus skinny-spindled cranks to propel it, the Aspect always felt punchy when we put the power down.

The fast-rolling Slant Six tyres help with speed sustain on smooth surfaces and if you’re sprinting up a fireroad you can lock the fork rigid remotely. Having decent brakes always helps too, and while the cheap Shimanos on the Scott aren’t amazing they’re predictably controlled and easy to look after over time. The 180mm front rotor adds a bit more braking bite too and we always had more power in the brakes than we did adhesion in the tyres.

The direct communication, well balanced, reasonably precise handling and adequately communicative brakes do at least make it easy to tweak the bike back under control and keep it where you want on the trail when the treads co-operate.

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…but the non-adjustable coil spring leaves it feeling firm and short on travel: …but the non-adjustable coil spring leaves it feeling firm and short on travel

The non-adjustable coil-sprung fork feels firm and a little short on travel

The unsurprising downside to a direct-feeling, punchy bike that makes the most of its power is that it doesn’t dilute the rattle and jolts coming back from the trail. The XCR fork is firmer than other similar Suntour units we’ve sampled recently, never delivering more than 85mm of its claimed 100mm of travel.

The grips certainly don’t help comfort and even the skinny seatpost can’t save you from an asskicking if you stay seated over staccato trail sections. That means the Aspect can spill speed easily on rougher sections and cluttered climbs.

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Swapping the numb-feeling Kenda tyres makes for an immediately smoother and more supple experience though, so it’s worth trying to haggle a swap before you buy. There’s also the option of the Aspect 920, which is essentially the same bike as the 720 but rolling on slower-accelerating and less agile but smoother, speed-sustaining 29in wheels.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Aspect 720 (14)
Brand Scott

Available Sizes S M L XL
Year 2014
Saddle Aspect SCT19
Seat Angle 73
Seatpost Syncros M2.5
Shifters Shimano Deore
Stem Syncros M2.5, 90mm
Weight (kg) 13.3
Weight (lb) 29.3
Rear Wheel Weight 2630
Spoke Type Stainless
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 11.61
Chainstays (in) 16.81
Seat Tube (in) 18.9
Standover Height (in) 32.48
Top Tube (in) 24.02
Wheelbase (in) 43.74
Rims Syncros X-37
Rear Tyre Schwalbe Rapid Rob 27.5x2.25in
Bottom Bracket Shimano ES-25 Octalink
Front Derailleur Shimano Deore
Brakes Shimano M395
Cassette Shimano HG62, 11-36t, 10-speed
Chain KMC X10
Cranks Shimano M552, 22/32/42t
Fork Suntour XCR, 100mm (3.9in)
Frame Material Butted 6061 aluminium
Front Hub Formula CL51
Rear Hub Shimano M35
Front Tyre Schwalbe Rapid Rob 27.5x2.25in
Front Wheel Weight 2040
Grips/Tape Syncros, Syncros Evo lock-on
Handlebar Syncros M2.5, 660mm
Head Angle 69
Headset Type Ritchey Logic
Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore
Frame size tested L