Offering a lot of bang for your buck, the carbon-framed Scott Contessa Addict 25 brings modern tech including disc brakes, wide tyres and semi-cable integration to a modest price point.
Part of Scott’s women’s-specific Contessa range, the Addict 25 shares the same endurance-focused frame geometry with the unisex Scott Addict, but is built with a women’s-specific saddle and is available in only five smaller sizes.
While the bike might not have blown me away like a top-of-the-range race bike might, the tech packed in at this price point is very impressive nonetheless. It makes the Addict 25 a worthy winner of our Women’s Bike of the Year title for 2023.
Scott Contessa Addict 25 frame
Scott has used its HMF (high modulus fibre) grade carbon fibre for the Contessa Addict 25 frame and fork.
This helps keep the cost down, because Scott says its premium, lightweight HMX carbon frames (such as those used with the Scott Addict RC builds) cost three times as much to manufacture as HMF frames.
The drawback of using HMF carbon rather than HMX lies mainly in additional weight. Scott says a HMX frame is 20 per cent stiffer at the same weight, enabling its engineers to reduce the amount of material used in HMX frames without compromising stiffness.
The frame boasts internal cable routing, including a nearly cable-free cockpit, and unusually for a carbon road bike, hidden mounts for mudguards or fenders.
Dedicated Syncros mudguards are available separately for £64.99/$69.99/€69.90, but most standard sets should fit too.
A small metal plate on the driveside chainstay near the bottom bracket is designed to reduce damage from chain suck.
Scott Contessa Addict 25 geometry
The Contessa Addict’s geometry is towards the racier end of the endurance road bikes spectrum.
My size S/52 test bike features a fairly short,1,005mm wheelbase and a relatively steep 72-degree head tube angle.
The 551.6mm stack and 387mm reach are more typical of bikes in this category, though.
|Seat angle (degrees)||75||75||74.5||74||73.5|
|Head angle (degrees)||70.5||71||72||72.5||73|
|Top tube (mm)||515||525||540||555||570|
|Head tube (mm)||95||105||125||145||165|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||70||70||70||70||70|
|Bottom bracket height (mm)||275.3||275.3||275.3||275.3||275.3|
Scott Contessa Addict 25 specifications
The hydraulic disc brakes come from Shimano, with larger 160mm rotors front and rear.
The finishing kit and wheels are all courtesy of Scott’s in-house componentry brand, Syncros.
A women’s-specific Celista 2.0 (V-Concept) Cutout saddle sits atop the alloy RR1.2 seatpost, while alloy 38cm Creston 2.0 Compact bars are specced up-front, clamped to the RR2.0 stem.
This stem routes hoses and wires from under the handlebar tape and directs them through the head tube and upper headset bearing for a nearly cable-free front end.
The Contessa Addict 25 rolls on shallow 24mm Syncros RP2.0 Disc alloy wheels, laced with 28 spokes front and rear, and removed using the axle lever supplied.
Schwalbe’s One tyres are set up with inner tubes in a wide 700 x 32c configuration, measuring up true to size.
Measured without pedals or bottle cages, the Scott Contessa Addict 25 weighs in at 8.6kg, spot on the claimed weight.
Scott Contessa Addict 25 ride impressions
The Scott Contessa Addict 25 was tested on a series of local rides across South Devon and Dartmoor, from undulating hedge-lined lanes to sweeping moorland main roads and testing climbs.
There was nothing complex about the setup. The saddle height was easily adjusted with a multi-tool thanks to the traditional-style seatpost clamp, and the resulting fit seemed good enough for me not to have to tinker elsewhere.
There really was barely anything I could find that warranted improvement, especially given the Contessa Addict 25’s reasonable £2,499/$2,799.99/€2,799.99 price tag.
On the road, the Contessa Addict 25 offers the ride feel you’d expect from a well-designed carbon road bike.
On steeper climbs, you can easily pass the bike from side to side as you push on the pedals out of the saddle, and it responds well to being ridden at pace.
Though not the lightest bike, it’s a very good benchmark for performance at this price point, and feels light, nimble and responsive while riding.
While it’s marketed as an endurance bike, the Contessa Addict certainly doesn’t feel like a slouch, and I wouldn’t think twice about racing on it, should the desire arise.
It’s hard to fault the Shimano 105 shifting, though it operates with more of an analogue clunk rather than the futuristic ‘zeep’ of electronic shifting, which is becoming more widely specced on bikes such as this.
Should you want to upgrade to electronic shifting, though, the Scott Contessa Addict 15 upgrades to a 105 Di2 R7150 groupset for an extra £600/$800/€800.
The gear range is a real highlight. As a self-confessed reformed gear grinder turned high-cadence rider, the wide gear range offered by the 11-34 tooth cassette, paired with the compact 50/34-tooth chainrings, was a real boon.
We women want to tackle those hellishly steep climbs, we want to ride mountains, and Switzerland-based Scott seems acutely aware of that.
Besides the wide gearing, another enabling factor was the 32mm-wide tyres. A few years ago, I’d have hardly believed we’d be here in 2023 praising slick road bike tyres at just a fraction under cyclocross width. However, their performance on rough, debris-laden back lanes was a joy.
The extra few millimetres of rubber not only inspires extra confidence, but also gives that little bit more cushioning, which helps on longer rides.
The only downside of these tyres is they’re suitable for a setup using tubes only. If you’d like to convert to tubeless, you’ll need to shell out for a fresh set of tubeless road tyres. These days, that’s not going to come cheap.
Moving up to the cockpit, the width of the 38cm handlebars was spot-on, feeling proportional to the small frame and wrapped in a grippy, durable handlebar tape.
The Syncros Creston 2.0 Compact bar also features a lovely shallow drop so you don’t have to lurch down into the drops when you need to get aero.
While I’m not usually a massive fan of fully integrated cockpits from a maintenance perspective, the semi-integrated solution used here seems like a more reasonable compromise, while still giving a tidy-looking front end.
That said, I still wouldn’t want to be the one working on it – replacing the headset bearings will require disconnecting both the gear cables and brake hoses, after all.
I also got on well with Scott’s women’s-specific saddle. The V-Concept Celista is designed for more aggressive riding styles, further emphasising the placing of the build at the racier end of the endurance road bike spectrum.
Maybe I’m just ageing, but I also love the inclusion of mudguard mounts, acknowledging that this is a rig you could ride comfortably all-year round without having to bother with flimsy clip-on mudguards in the winter.
You could probably count on one hand the number of carbon-framed bikes that bother with these, yet proper mudguards can make such a difference to four-season riding.
Lastly, I have to comment on the paintjob. I’m not usually a fan of matt paint, but together with the gloss top tube, the warm purple hue with dusky pink accents is absolutely delightful.
How does the Scott Contessa Addict 25 compare to the Scott Contessa Addict RC 15
Last year’s entry to the women’s category of Bike of the Year, the Scott Contessa Addict RC 15, wowed us with its innovative gadgets, from a magnetic disc brake mount cover to the sleek stem cap, a 12g seatpost clamp and fully integrated cabling. It all went some way to explaining the £5,699 price tag.
For less than half the price, the Scott Contessa Addict 25 offers great value for money. It gives a comfortable, reliable and lively ride, though of course it lacks the high-performance finesse of the pricier bike.
Doubling your budget also brings a more aggressive riding position to complement the aerodynamic optimisation of the build, an upgrade from mechanical Shimano 105 to Ultegra Di2, and the added benefit of 35mm-deep Syncros Capital 1.0 carbon wheels.
There’s also a switch from Scott’s standard HMF to premium HMX carbon layup. All of this results in the upper-mid-range aero build weighing in at an impressive 7.5kg (size S).
Scott Contessa Addict 25 bottom line
Scott’s Contessa Addict 25 offers great value for a carbon road bike that’ll give you a lively and enabling ride. Sure, you can upgrade some of the weightier parts further down the line should you wish, but as it stands it’s plenty capable enough for miles upon miles of enjoyable riding.
Bar the cost-saving on a few components, including the non-tubeless compatible tyres, it’s very hard to fault this tidy build that’s obviously been put together meticulously.
As a first carbon road bike for a keen rider who’s also not shy to kit up with full mudguards and push on through the wetter months, the Scott Contessa Addict 25 will be hard to beat.
Women’s Road Bike of the Year 2023 | How we tested
Three endurance road bikes were put to the test in this year’s Women’s Road Bike of the Year category, ranging from builds with women’s-specific geometry to unisex frames built up with women’s-specific components.
The tarmac of Dartmoor National Park formed the testing grounds for the Women’s Road Bike of the Year.
Steep climbs, rough lanes and sweeping moorland tarmac all gave a spectacular backdrop for pushing the bikes to their limits.
Smoother main roads were contrasted with gritty back lanes, enabling us to test how these bikes performed over a wide range of terrain.
We selected bikes at the Shimano 105 or Shimano 105 Di2 level, with a resulting range of price points from £2,499 to £4,489.
In our quest to find the best women’s road bike in today’s market, we sought a mile-munching, hill-crunching machine that would not only bring us joy to push on the pedals, but also offer good value for money.
Our 2023 Women’s Road Bike of the Year contenders
|Price||br_price, 5, 3, Price, EUR €2800.00GBP £2499.00USD $2800.00|
|Weight||br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 8.6kg (S), Array, kg|
|Brand||br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Scott|
|Available sizes||br_availableSizes, 11, 0, Available sizes, XXS, XS, S, M, L|
|Bottom bracket||br_bottomBracket, 11, 0, Bottom bracket, Praxis 86-0301 M24 86mm|
|Brakes||br_brakes, 11, 0, Brakes, Shimano R7070 hydraulic disc, 160mm rotors|
|Cassette||br_cassette, 11, 0, Cassette, Shimano R7000, 11-speed, 11-34 teeth|
|Chain||br_chain, 11, 0, Chain, KMC X11 11-speed|
|Cranks||br_cranks, 11, 0, Cranks, Shimano R7000, 50-34 tooth|
|Fork||br_fork, 11, 0, Fork, Addict HMF Disc|
|Frame||br_frame, 11, 0, Frame, Addict Disc HMF Carbon|
|Front derailleur||br_frontDerailleur, 11, 0, Front derailleur, Shimano 105 FD-R7000|
|Grips/Tape||br_gripsTape, 11, 0, Grips/Tape, Syncros|
|Handlebar||br_handlebar, 11, 0, Handlebar, Syncros Creston 2.0 Compact|
|Rear derailleur||br_rearDerailleur, 11, 0, Rear derailleur, Shimano 105 R7000, 11 speed|
|Saddle||br_saddle, 11, 0, Saddle, Syncros Celista 2.0 (V-Concept) Cutout|
|Seatpost||br_seatpost, 11, 0, Seatpost, Syncros RR1.2|
|Shifter||br_shifter, 11, 0, Shifter, Shimano 105 R7025|
|Stem||br_stem, 11, 0, Stem, Syncros RR2.0|
|Tyres||br_tyres, 11, 0, Tyres, Schwalbe ONE Fold, 700x32c (32mm effective width)|
|Wheels||br_wheels, 11, 0, Wheels, Syncros RP2.0 Disc, 28 spokes|