Scott Contessa 720 review

Fun and fast on sedate trails, but nervy on technical terrain

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0
£450.00 RRP

Our review

Good trail bike for getting started, but nervy on technical terrain
Buy if, You want a budget bike for forest paths and bridleways, and like an upright riding position
Pros: Sturdy feeling frame with good power transference on the pedal stroke means it’s nippy. Though dated, the 3x8 Shimano gearing provides plenty of range for getting up steep climbs.
Cons: Tyres are super sketchy, and well worth upgrading immediate for better traction. The geometry and upright position places the rider high and forward; great for flats and climbs, nervy on technical terrain and descents.
Skip to view product specifications

If you want a bike for cruising through your local woods, zooming through parkland or just enjoying a ride without spending a fortune, the Contessa 720 from Scott is worth a look. 

Advertisement

For a ride sporting a lower price tag, the Scott Contessa 720 has eye-catching looks, with neon green cables loudly matching its green and purple frame graphics.

Short and steep

The Contessa features steep head and seat tube angles, combined with its women’s-specific design giving a shorter reach. The result is a bike that feels great at a steady pace around more sedate trails, but starts to become twitchy and nervous when you pick up the pace – I felt like I was perched on top, with the high centre of gravity definitely not adding to my confidence.

The 3x8 gearing will haul you up most things
The 3×8 gearing will haul you up most things
Russell Burton

On the plus side, the hardtail design and sturdy alloy frame give excellent power transfer when pedalling, and the Contessa easily generates a good lick of speed on the flat.

It is however relatively heavy at 14.4kg, which you do feel in the climbs. Thankfully the 3×8 Shimano gear set gives a wide range, and popping it in the smallest ring at the front allows you to spin up steep inclines fairly easily. I found that changing to the smallest ring with the chain under tension sometimes caused it to skip, and gear jumps are large, but shifting was mostly reliable.

Uneven kit selection

I was impressed to see Tektro hydraulic disc brakes on a bike at this price, which give smooth and powerful braking, and confidence inspiring control on descents. The levers did sit wide of the bars, however, which may cause problems for riders with small hands.

We'd change the rubber ASAP
We’d change the rubber ASAP
Russell Burton

Front suspension comes via the coil sprung Suntour XCM-HLO forks, with 100mm of travel which smoothed rough trails, but dove through its travel far too easily over drops and bigger hits. I also found the cheap Kenda treads to be unnervingly sktechy – they should be number one on your upgrade hitlist.

Advertisement

Overall, while this bike is good for getting started, and will work well around parks, smoother forest trails and some easier trails, we found the high centre of gravity, short reach and narrow bars unsuited for harder trails or technical terrain. On those simpler trails, you can get a fair lick of fun speed, but bring drops into the mix and the bike feels nervy. 

Product Specifications

Product

Name Contessa 720
Brand Scott

Description Geometry base on size Medium
Rear Hub Formula DC-25RQR disc
Top Tube (in) 22.8
Standover Height (in) 27.6
Seat Tube (in) 16.1
Chainstays (in) 16.8
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 12.2
Spoke Type 14 G, stainless, black
Brake Levers Tektro SCH - F15
Shifters Shimano SL-M310-8R R-fire plus
Seatpost Contessa Active, 27.2mm
Seat Angle 73
Saddle Contessa SCT 2016
Rims Syncros X-37 Disc 32H
Rear Tyre Kenda Slant 6 27.5x2.1 / 30TPI
Rear Derailleur Shimano Altus RD-M370 24 Speed
Available Sizes XS S M L
Headset Type GW 1SI110 OE integ
Head Angle 69
Handlebar Contessa Active 640mm, black
Front Tyre Kenda Slant 6 27.5x2.1 / 30TPI
Front Hub Formula DC-19FQR disc
Front Derailleur Shimano FD-M190 / 31.8mm
Frame Material Contessa Active 700 series / 6061 Alloy
Fork Suntour XCM-HLO Lockout, 100mm travel Softer spring setup
Cranks Shimano FC-TY701 42x34x24 w/CG
Chain KMC Z-7
Cassette Shimano CS-HG31-8 11-32 T
Brakes Tektro SCH-F15 hydr. disc 160F/160Rmm Rotor
Bottom Bracket Shimano BB-UN 100 Cartridge Type
Wheelbase (in) 42.5