Scott Spark 945 review

This XC/trail crossover is a flat-out flyer on every trail

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £2,749.00 RRP | AUD $3,800.00 | USD $3,200.00

Our review

Unique suspension and great frame create an outstandingly rapid climb-smashing all-rounder
Buy if, You like your bikes light, balanced and full of power
Pros: Impressively light but precisely stiff frame with sorted geometry, unique remote control suspension, trail-proof yet fast spec suits the bike superbly
Cons: Crowded bar and taut suspension feel won’t suit all, press-fit bottom brackets can wear fast
Skip to view product specifications

There are more than 30 different 2017 Spark models, but the 945 definitely hits the sweet spot for XC/trail riders on the hunt for maximum speed whatever the ride.

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Scott always delivers a keen balance of performance and tidy design, and the alloy Spark is a very businesslike, geometrically styled frame.

The short, stout tapered head tube gives low bar potential without sacrificing stiffness. A sharp kink in the top tube, above the shock, provides good standover room and puts it parallel with the skinny, tapering seatstays.

Engineered flex in the tapered seatstays saves the weight of a rear pivot, while the chainstays are super-deep for maximum drive stiffness.

Above the press-fit bottom bracket, the seat tube base and rocker link are offset to give double chainring clearance, but trying to pull the big 29in wheels out of shape reveals a seriously stiff frame that’s not much heavier than the second-tier carbon-fibre Spark.

Scott Spark 945 kit

Any concerns that the Spark may be more of an XC bike than a trail all-rounder should be quelled by the relatively aggressive all-weather tread of the Maxxis Forekaster rubber that Scott specs. The 2.35in tyres on 23mm rims are narrow (I measured them at 55mm) and helps make the wheelset light.

The 740mm bar and 50mm stem are well-shaped to get the most from the tyre grip and stable handling without tagging every tree, and Scott has gone with a stiffer 34mm fork rather than the lighter Fox 32. Brake rotors are 180mm to boost power but the Shimano stoppers are still slightly numb in feel.

The proprietary Fox Nude shock adds unique rear-end control via Scott’s double-decker ‘TwinLoc’ lever. This lets you toggle between a 120mm open setting, a more progressive 85mm ‘Traction’ mode and a full lockout. Corresponding fork adjustments are made at the same time.

The control delivered by the new suspension layout and rear shock is excellent
Steve Behr / Immediate Media

Scott Spark 945 ride impression

The Spark is fast-rolling on 29in wheels with the ability to tighten or lock out the suspension of its seriously stiff frame. It comes out of the blocks very quickly. It doesn’t just suggest that you punch that acceleration advantage out of every corner or up every climb either — it straight up demands it, even when your legs are screaming and your head is threatening to burst your helmet…

The tighter, but still well-connected, ‘Traction’ mode is spot-on for smashing tricky climbs, and toggling between settings is as easy as changing gear. As a result, I demolished Strava climb times that I’d set on super-light hardtails.

It’s the ability of the Spark to carry that speed through seriously techy terrain that makes it a standout all-rounder though. The geometry is fully trail-ready, including a 67-degree head angle and 460mm of reach (large). Despite the low frame weight, it’s impeccably precise, no matter how hard you’re working the front tyre.

The control delivered by the new suspension layout and rear shock is excellent too. Fox’s ‘Performance’ grade dampers are tight rather than plush in feel, which doesn’t work on some bikes. But in this case, it suits the naturally taut and aggressively predatory feel of the Spark really well.

Similarly, while the narrower tyres and rims can’t absorb as much shock as others, they’re still a healthy size and tough enough that you don’t have to back off when the trail gets pointy or punchy.

Don’t forget, there are plus-tyred Sparks too, if you want to match the punchy base character with maximum trail-smoothing climbing and descending grip, as well as an even quicker-responding 650b range.

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Whichever you choose, the Spark is for those who value flat-out climbing speed as much as full-gas singletracking and descending thrills.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Spark 945
Brand Scott

Available Sizes S M L XL
Rear Tyre Maxxis Forekaster DC 29x2.35in
Wheelbase (in) 45.35
Top Tube (in) 23.82
Seat Tube (in) 17.52
Chainstays (in) 17.32
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 12.87
Spoke Type 32x stainless, 15g
Weight (kg) 13.33
Stem Syncros FL2.0, 50mm
Shifters SRAM NX (1x11)
Seatpost Syncros Dropper 2.0
Seat Angle 74
Saddle Syncros XR2.0
Rims Syncros X-23
Rear Wheel Weight 2560
Rear Shock Fox/Scott Nude
Bottom Bracket SRAM GXP PF
Front Hub Syncros CL811
Brakes Shimano M506
Cassette SRAM XG-1150, 10-42t
Chain SRAM PC-1110
Cranks SRAM NX, 30t
Fork Fox 34 Float GRIP Performance w/ remote, 120mm (4.7in) travel
Frame Material Custom-butted and hydroformed 'Alloy SL' 6011 aluminium
Front Tyre Maxxis Forekaster DC 29x2.35in
Rear Hub Syncros CL14811
Front Wheel Weight 1960
Grips/Tape Syncros Pro lock-on
Handlebar Syncros FL2.0, 740mm
Head Angle 67
Headset Type Syncros Comp
Rear Derailleur SRAM GX
Frame size tested M