The 2023 Scott Foil RC is one of the new generation of aero road bikes that are pitched as fast all-rounders.
More aero than ever, yet still lightweight and comfortable, these machines are designed to prove there’s no compromise between the three anymore. Is it all too good to be true?
As far as the Scott Foil RC Pro is concerned, the answer is a nearly unequivocal no.
It ticks the aero and comfort boxes, and at 7.43kg for a size 56cm bike (with two composite Scott bottle cages and a K-Edge alloy out-front mount, but without pedals), it impresses on the scales too.
As usual, attaining this low weight means coughing up £10,499 for a top-spec build, but if you’re shopping in this price range then the Scott Foil RC Pro is an excellent option.
Scott Foil RC Pro frameset
After separate updates to add disc brakes and fully integrate the cables, this latest Foil is arguably the first major overhaul of the platform since the second-generation Foil launched in 2016.
Developed in conjunction with aerodynamics expert Simon Smart, of Drag2Zero, the new Foil is claimed to be 10 per cent more aerodynamically efficient than the previous version.
Scott says that equates to a 16-watt saving at 40kph, or a one minute, 18 second time saving over 40km.
Aerodynamics are a complicated business, but it seems fairly obvious at a glance where the gains have been made.
While the previous Foil was intended to balance aerodynamics, weight and comfort by using relatively small Kammtail aerofoil tubes, the new Foil RC frameset appears to have much more in common with a time trial bike (specifically the as-yet unreleased Scott time trial bike we spotted at the 2022 Giro d’Italia).
The frame, fork and seatpost use noticeably deeper truncated aerofoil tube shapes than before, while the seat tube hugs the rear wheel tightly.
That Scott has made these changes while keeping the weight relatively low is impressive, especially as the Foil RC Pro uses Scott’s second-tier HMX (rather than HMX-SL) carbon layup.
It is odd Scott has opted for what is nominally a second-tier carbon layup on this build, which features Shimano’s flagship Dura-Ace Di2 R9200 groupset and wheels, while the lightest HMX-SL layup is reserved for the SRAM Red eTap AXS equipped Foil RC Ultimate build (which costs a whopping £15,899).
Additionally, the RC Ultimate shaves weight partly by using a drab, matt black paintjob.
For £5,400 less and the price of a few hundred grams (Scott claims the Foil RC Ultimate weighs 7.22kg) – which won’t have much bearing on performance – I’d rather have the Foil RC Pro’s glittery blue to gloss grey fade paintjob.
Scott Foil RC Pro geometry and ride feel
There are certainly faster-handling race bikes out there, such as the Cube Litening C:68X SL or Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7. These tend to feel livelier at slow speeds, but in contrast, I found the Foil RC to be a touch more confident at high speeds.
This in turn gives you great confidence whether pushing hard on descents or cruising on rolling terrain.
|Frame size||XXS / 47||XS / 49||S / 52||M / 54||L / 56||XL / 58||XXL / 61|
|Head tube angle (degrees)||70.5||71||72||72.5||73||73.3||73.3|
|Head tube length (mm)||103||108||121||141||161||181||199|
|Top tube length (mm)||520||530||540||550||565||580||600|
|Standover height (mm)||746.4||759.6||779.4||801||820||838||853.3|
|Bottom bracket offset (mm)||-70||-70||-70||-70||-70||-70||-70|
|Bottom bracket height (mm)||274.5||274.5||274.5||274.5||274.5||274.5||274.5|
|Seat tube angle (degrees)||74.5||74.5||74||73.6||73.3||73||72.5|
|Chanstay length (mm)||412||412||412||412||412||412||412|
As you’d expect, the stout frameset isn’t found wanting for pedalling or front-end stiffness, and it doesn’t feel like you’re lugging any extra baggage uphill either, although that is clearly helped by the Dura-Ace build spec.
Comfort levels are also excellent, especially at the rear end, helped by the heavily dropped seatstays, higher-volume rear tyre and comfort-enhancing seatpost (more on this later).
If you find you need more comfort or grip, the Foil RC officially has clearance for tyres up to 30mm.
There is, however, plenty of room left around the 700 x 28c rear tyre (which measures 29mm wide when inflated to 65 PSI / 4.5 BAR), so that’s likely a conservative estimate.
Scott Foil RC Pro finishing kit
Scott has updated the Syncros Creston iC SL integrated cockpit, claiming the new version specced here offers a six-watt improvement at 40kph compared to the previous one.
Functionally, it does an excellent job.
There’s no discernible flex when pulling on the drops, and the tops are also subtly textured with a micro-dot pattern to add a little grip in the absence of handlebar tape (only the ramps and drops are taped, in order to maximise aero efficiency), which is a smart touch.
As usual, my only quibbles with it are that the fully integrated nature prevents any positional optimisations, unless you’re willing and able to swap the whole thing out.
Fortunately, Scott confirmed a dealer would be able to do this at the point of purchase.
Usefully, a non-integrated stem for the Foil RC’s 1-inch steerer is also available separately, should you want to use an entirely different handlebar instead.
This is vital, because though the range of stem-length and bar-width combinations available for the integrated cockpit is broad (there are 19 different combinations in total, from 80x380mm to 130x440mm), it isn’t infinite and there’s only one bar shape on offer.
At the rear of the bike, there’s the new Duncan SL Aero CFT seatpost.
As noted in our initial news story on the 2023 Scott Foil RC, it comprises three separate parts – a slim front shaft, which acts as the weight-bearing part of the seatpost, paired with a stabilising lower rear section and a rubberised filler for the gap at the top.
From a performance point of view, it all works as intended. You get the aero benefits of a deeper aerofoil seatpost, but the comfort of a thinner, more flexible one.
Similarly to the Merida Reacto, there’s also an option to replace the rubberised filler section with a version that has an integrated rear light.
It’s a nice idea in theory, although the light simply ended up half covered by my saddle bag in practice.
A silicone-based grease is used between the parts to prevent creaking and, thankfully, I didn’t experience any during testing.
The rub is Scott recommends cleaning and servicing the whole arrangement every 1,000km. Even as someone who isn’t much of a mile-muncher, that feels somewhat of a hassle when most seatposts don’t require any extra servicing beyond the usual periodic wipe down and regrease.
On top of this, with the Foil RC Pro having a 29mm-wide rear tyre on the Shimano Dura-Ace R9200 C50 TL rim, I wonder if it’s overkill on such a race-focused bike.
I’ve only ridden the new Foil RC with the three-piece seatpost and many may appreciate the extra comfort, but, for what it’s worth, the pros appear to agree.
When we saw John Degenkolb’s team-spec version of this bike at the 2022 Tour de France, it featured a standard, one-piece aero seatpost.
In any case, Scott confirmed this one-piece seatpost is available separately, with a choice of 0 or 15mm of offset, and a claimed weight of 195g (compared to 275g for the three-piece post). However, with an RRP of £242.99, it’s a fairly expensive upgrade.
Sitting atop the seatpost is a Syncros Belcarra V-Concept 1.0 saddle. It’s a relatively short saddle with firm padding, a generous cut-out and carbon rails to keep the weight low.
It’s a comfortable place to sit, and this time Scott has kept things simple with an all-black colour scheme (Scott, presumably for purely aesthetic reasons, specced a brown saddle on the Addict RC 10 and previous Foil RC 10).
Scott Foil RC Pro groupset, wheels and tyres
As mentioned earlier, the Foil RC Pro build features a Shimano Dura-Ace R9270 Di2 groupset, complete with the new Dura-Ace C50 wheelset.
The drivetrain functions near-flawlessly, with unflappably quick and accurate shifts both front and rear. It’s a little disappointing to not see a power meter included at this price point, though.
As I’ve written previously (most recently in my review of the 2023 Giant Propel Advanced SL 0), Shimano’s new generation of 12-speed groupsets are also impressively quiet-running.
This is the first time I’ve had a bike with the new Shimano RT-CL900 disc brake rotors, though.
Shimano promises these (and the Ultegra-level RT-CL800 rotors) have been beefed up to offer quieter, more consistent braking performance. I’m thrilled to report they do just that.
Noise from heat deformation appears to have been eliminated entirely for me, and they’re far quieter in wet conditions too.
Previous Shimano rotors often howled so intrusively in wet weather you’d be embarrassed to use your brakes within 100m of another living being, but the new rotors seem to only let out a few short squeals before quietening down again.
It’s such a marked difference that I’m keen to add a set to my own bike as soon as possible.
The Shimano Dura-Ace R9270 C50 TL wheels don’t push the boundaries of aero wheel design, but offer solid all-round performance with no notable sour points.
The 50mm deep, tubeless-ready rims measure 28mm wide externally and 21mm wide internally, which makes them best suited for 25 to 28c tyres. It’s a rim profile I was happy to use day in, day out, as their handling in windy conditions was also excellent.
As is traditional for Shimano’s wheels, the alloy Dura-Ace hubs contain cup and cone bearings, making them easily serviceable with a few basic tools.
Claimed weight is competitive at 1,532g, and the freehub buzz is also subtle. For fans of quiet bikes, this is a pleasant change from many modern road bike wheels.
The decision to spec a set of hardy Vittoria Corsa Control TLR G2.0 tyres strikes as a little peculiar.
These are great tyres in the context of their own stated goals. Vittoria says the Corsa Control is designed for “greasy cobbles and rough roads” – and the combination of a narrower 25c tyre at the front (to optimise aerodynamic performance) and wider 28c tyre at the rear (for improved comfort) works well here, thanks to the greater internal width of the rims.
In any case, the Corsa Controls perform excellently on the road, with a noticeably supple and tacky ride feel, which inspires plenty of confidence in corners. They certainly don’t feel slow, either.
For general riding on the broken back roads of south Bristol, then, it’s arguably an ideal tyre. Perhaps this was what Scott was intending by speccing them.
If I was intending to race on this bike, though, I’d be looking for something faster. This is a bike on which practically every watt has been accounted for, after all.
Scott Foil RC Pro bottom line
The Scott Foil RC Pro isn’t the most radical aero road bike available, but it is an excellent all-rounder and the improvements over the previous version are clear to see.
It’s noticeably fast, yet competitively lightweight and impressively comfortable. The handling is also excellent.
There are nitpicks surrounding the seatpost, tyres and lack of an included power meter, but none of these is a deal-breaker.
In a world of the Trek Madone SLR’s IsoFlow seat tube hole and the Cervélo S5’s integrated V-stem, the more conventional form of the Foil RC could be dismissed as banal.
But as Apple once declared, it can also be argued “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”.
|Price||br_price, 5, 3, Price, EUR €10499.00GBP £10499.00|
|Weight||br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 7.43kg (56cm) – With two Scott bottle cages and alloy out-front mount, but without pedals, Array, kg|
|Year||br_year, 5, 9, Year, 2022|
|Brand||br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Scott|
|Available sizes||br_availableSizes, 11, 0, Available sizes, 47, 49, 52, 54, 56, 58, 61cm|
|Bottom bracket||br_bottomBracket, 11, 0, Bottom bracket, BB86|
|Brakes||br_brakes, 11, 0, Brakes, Shimano BR-R9270|
|Cassette||br_cassette, 11, 0, Cassette, Shimano Dura-Ace CS-R9200-12, 11-30t|
|Chain||br_chain, 11, 0, Chain, Shimano Dura-Ace CN-M9100-12|
|Cranks||br_cranks, 11, 0, Cranks, Shimano Dura-Ace FC-R9200, 52x36t|
|Fork||br_fork, 11, 0, Fork, Foil Disc HMX|
|Frame||br_frame, 11, 0, Frame, Foil RC Disc HMX|
|Front derailleur||br_frontDerailleur, 11, 0, Front derailleur, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-R9250|
|Handlebar||br_handlebar, 11, 0, Handlebar, Syncros Creston iC SL Aero|
|Headset||br_headset, 11, 0, Headset, Acros AIF-1138|
|Rear derailleur||br_rearDerailleur, 11, 0, Rear derailleur, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-R9250|
|Saddle||br_saddle, 11, 0, Saddle, Syncros Belcarra V-Concept 1.0|
|Seatpost||br_seatpost, 11, 0, Seatpost, Syncros Duncan SL Aero CFT|
|Shifter||br_shifter, 11, 0, Shifter, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 ST-R9270|
|Stem||br_stem, 11, 0, Stem, Syncros Creston iC SL Aero|
|Tyres||br_tyres, 11, 0, Tyres, Vittoria Corsa Control TLR, 700 x 25c front and 700 x 28c rear|
|Wheels||br_wheels, 11, 0, Wheels, Shimano WH-R9270-C50-TL|