With a SRAM Red group keeping the weight down in UCI-illegal territory, the 2009 Scott Addict LTD pushes the performance envelope so far it had me contemplating a comeback!
This is Saunier Duval’s new team bike and the team’s riders are all raving about it. It’s easy to see why once you have ridden it.
Scott has lightened and stiffened the frame since last year and the whole package has a rare and delightful responsiveness without harshness.
It looks fast and it is fast – think Formula One on two wheels.
The Addict is proof that, up to a point, you can buy speed. If someone beats you uphill on this bike, you’ve only got yourself to blame.
The test venue for the Scott Addict LTD was Majorca, where component manufacturer SRAM was hosting a test camp. My SRAM Red-equipped Adict LTD was fitted according to the measurements I’d sent through previously, and fitted like the proverbial glove.
Handling: quick to get to speed & loves to climb
As soon as I clicked my shoes into the pedals, the pleasure was immediate. Thanks to the lightness of the frame and the carbon aero wheels, I found it easy to accelerate up to cruising speed.
There was no sound at all as I sped along a perfectly surfaced Mallorcan roa.
I didn’t want to spend the entire test ride on the flat so I took a side road from Alcúdia towards the Ermita de la Victoria. It’s a dead-end, but there’s a solid climb on the way that is rewarded by breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.
Once on the climb, there were two things that struck me right away. The first was the rigidity of the Addict’s frame, which was hugely impressive. It’s constructed from HMX carbon fibres, which are made exclusively for Scott and are said to increase stiffness by 20 per cent.
The second characteristic I noticed was the smoothness of the ride and how well the Addict absorbed road feedback. Despite its stiffness, the frame had great traction and was pleasingly controllable on poorly paved roads.
After a short run past the harbour, the road reared up in front of me. There were no other riders around to challenge me, which was just as well There’d have been no excuse for getting dropped on a climb on the lightest production frame in the world equipped with the lightest groupset.
I gave the climb everything I had and the Addict responded well. It didn’t flex at all when I was ‘dancing’ on the pedals, and my position was as sporty as any pro could want in the saddle.
Rarely has a bike responded this rapidly to my pedal strokes. The downside was that the short sharp bursts of effort got my heart-rate right up and almost brought my lunch back up. Luckily I managed to get a grip on myself – and my lunch – by distracting myself with the fantastic view from the top of the climb.
As we all know, the effort of every climb is rewarded by a descent. I was keen to put my downhill skills to the test as I turned around and shot into the first downward hairpin. First things first, though: before I really got stuck into the descent, I made a point of testing out the bike’s braking performance.
It’s no secret that braking on carbon rims, even with specific carbon brake blocks, is not as smooth as it is on aluminium rims. Braking on the Cosmic Carbone rims was rather loud, but the performance was good and I was happy to commit myself fully to the downhill ahead.
The light, full-carbon wheels were great, especially on the straights when my speed reached 60km/h and more. Thanks to the rigidity of the frame, the handling was a complete joy – even with a fork weighing just 330g. It was predictable, but far from boring, and not twitchy or nervous at all.
I did notice that the Addict didn’t seem to want to go round the tightest corners quite as quickly as me. I countered this by leaning hard into the turns and this helped tease the bike back onto my chosen track.
The frame itself ran perfectly true. I took my hands off the bars at 70kph and gave it a wobble with my backside, and still there was no deviation – not even the slightest wobble.
Frame: light & race-bred
The new Addict is so light that, when it comes to the UCI weight limit for bikes in sanctioned competitions it’s illegal. A size S bike prepared for the Challenge Mallorca weighed so little – 6.2kg – that weights had to be added on to legalise it.
Scott says the frame can weigh as little as 796g, which explains why a complete size S bike is a headache for the scrutineers and mechanics.
The ride position of the new version is racier than last year’s bike because of a reduction in the length of the head tube and the slightly longer top tube.
The attention to detail is compelling. Carbon drop-outs, cable guides and front derailleur hanger, for example, are sure to impress. Indeed, just a glance at the Addict is a pleasure.
The integrated seatpost is as central to the bike’s great look as the SRAM Red groupset.
Equipment: light groupset, great parts
SRAM’s DoubleTap mechanism – one short click to change up, one long click to change down – is incredibly simple, but does take a little getting used to. By the end of my first two hours on the Addict, I’d got the system locked into my brain and could shift securely without thinking about it.
Certainly, anyone considering a change from one of the main groupset competitors shouldn’t worry about SRAM’s one-levered system being a problem.
The Ritchey carbon handlebars were a great shape. And no matter what position I gripped them in, the Red groupset proved a classy number in terms of both ergonomic and functional performance.
This was particularly true when I was out of the saddle. There was plenty of room on the hoods for my hands, and the shifting was always smooth. I did find it difficult to know exactly how far I had to push the lever in order to change gear but, in time, I’m sure I’d get used to this.
The cassette worked in perfect harmony with the chain, which moved easily up the cluster no matter how much pressure I put on it.
The Hutchinson tyres on the Addict were the modern version of the tyres I used to ride as a pro. Back then, it took me a while to trust their particularly noisy rubber. The modern Hutchinsons are just as noisy, but these days I’ve ridden them enough to know I can trust them implicitly.
My faith was rewarded on the test ride by a fabulous descent with little braking and lots of leaning into the turns. On the rare occasions when I did use the brakes, the performance was great and the dosage on the carbon rims was surprisingly good – one more reason to abandon myself to gravity.
Any bike that includes my favourite saddle, the Fizik Arione, is sure to score points with me, but there’s more to the Addict than that.
The rest of the gear, such as the Ritchey WCS componentry, is equally impressive.
Verdict: worth making a comeback for
All in all, the Addict is an excellent ride and one no pro could complain about. All the Saunier Duval riders I spoke to loved their work tool – and not just a bit, but a lot.
If I ever make a professional comeback à la Mario Cipollini (unlikely, but if I do, it will be for more than one race!), Saunier Duval will be high on my wish list of teams to sign up with. With this bike thrown into the package, who could resist?