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Scott Contessa Addict RC 15 review

A bike that’s set alight the women’s professional peloton while appealing to recreational riders too

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £5,699.00 RRP | USD $6,300.00 | EUR €6,299.00
Scott Contessa Addict RC 15 women's road bike

Our review

Race-ready premium build to give riders that competitive edge
Pros: Effortlessly carries speed and always turns heads
Cons: Aggressive race position won’t suit all riders
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Scott offers its range of bikes in women’s-specific builds, which are labelled Contessa. And while the Addict is Scott’s endurance machine, pacier riders should consider the more aggressive, lightweight aero Addict RC launched in 2019, which is part of the premium Contessa Signature collection.

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The Scott Contessa Addict RC 15 boasts the features you’d expect from a class-topping modern race bike, such as aerodynamically optimised carbon-fibre construction, integrated cable routing, 12-speed electronic gearing, hydraulic disc brakes and a mid-section carbon-fibre wheelset.

Finishing kit comes courtesy of Scott’s in-house component brand, Syncros, including a women’s-specific saddle. The bike, a contender for our 2022 Women’s Bike of the Year award, also comes in matt black and matt green options.

Scott Contessa Addict RC 15 specifications and details

The wheels are shod in Schwalbe One Race-Guard tyres.
Russell Burton / Our Media

The updated Addict RC frameset is focused on aerodynamic benefits, stiffness and compliance, while minimising weight, according to Scott.

The resulting build is claimed to be 15 per cent stiffer than the previous iteration, thanks to a ‘considered’ carbon-fibre lay-up, which increases bottom-bracket stiffness and, in turn, power transfer.

The revamped ultra-light seat clamp design has contributed to ditching a droplet of weight (12g). And Scott’s used its patented airfoil tube design, dropped the seatstays and integrated the cables up-front to reduce drag.

Gearing is supplied via Shimano’s 12-speed Ultegra Di2, with a compact 50/34-tooth crankset paired to an 11-30-tooth cassette.

Shimano’s 12-speed Ultegra Di2, with its E-Tube app, handles the gearing.
Russell Burton / Our Media

It’s customisable via the Shimano E-Tube mobile app, including enabling Synchro Shift (which shifts automatically between chainrings as you shift at the rear to help to prevent cross-chaining) and checking battery levels.

Even though the bike uses hydraulic disc brakes, these electronic Ultegra Di2 hoods are wonderfully ergonomic and noticeably more slender than their mechanical equivalents, which comes in especially useful for riders with smaller hands.

There’s no surprise that Scott has gone disc-only on the Addict RC, with the Ultegra hydraulic brakes and 160mm rotors providing powerful, reliable and responsive braking.

The switch to Ultegra hydraulic disc brakes results in powerful and responsive stopping performance.
Russell Burton / Our Media

The combination of Shimano Ice Tech rotors and brake pads, which feature heat radiation fins, might be overkill for most British riding, but if you head abroad and hit the mountains, you’ll certainly enjoy the benefits on longer, faster descents.

The Addict RC 15 rolls on Syncros Capital 1.0 mid-section carbon-fibre wheels, with a rim depth of 35mm.

The Syncros branding is subtle and only really noticeable up close, with a series of gloss dots outlining the lettering on the matt carbon rims. Classy.

The Syncros Capital 1.0 carbon wheels would set you back £1,219 if bought separately
Russell Burton / Our Media

Sold separately, these 24-spoke climbing wheels retail at £1,219 and weigh in at a slender, but not exceptional, 1,574g.

Standard 12mm thru-axles are specced, and the bike is fitted with a removable 24g axle lever for easy wheel removal, which also doubles up as a t25 Torx key.

A 21mm internal rim diameter is wider than more traditional road wheels and means that the 28mm tyres measure up at 30mm when fitted.

There’s a women’s-specific saddle in the shape of the Syncros Celista.
Russell Burton / Our Media

Although the rims are tubeless-compatible, the tyres supplied are not, so bear that in mind if you’re planning on a tubeless setup for your road riding. The rubber comes courtesy of Schwalbe, with its popular One Race-Guard slicks, while the tubeless-ready equivalents retail at £54 each.

Scott has a strong reputation for leading the way on full cable integration, though on this model the Syncros Creston iC bar and stem is used, rather than the one-piece Creston iC cockpit found on the unisex RC Pro and RC Ultimate models.

Both the electronic cables and brake hoses enter the carbon-fibre handlebar at the shifters, run through the stem and headset, then into the frame, so there’s nothing on show at all.

Scott claims the design is ‘mechanic-friendly’ and, a world first, you can remove the stem without having to cut the brake hoses.

The Creston 1.0 compact handlebar impressed in testing, and there’s space to mount your bike computer.
Russell Burton / Our Media

Splittable headset spacers mean you can easily raise or lower the stem position without being affected by the cabling. And although not supplied here, you can opt for a Syncros computer mount, made in partnership with K-Edge, which bolts directly onto the faceplate.

The sleek appearance is completed with the seamless stem cap, held in place by magnets. Further innovations await on the fork, where a magnetic cover on the leading edge cleverly hides the brake caliper mount bolts.

Scott Contessa Addict RC 15 geometry

Geometry matches that of Scott’s equivalent unisex bikes.
Russell Burton / Our Media

Like most women’s-specific models, Contessa models share the same geometry as the unisex bikes. A near-horizontal top tube means that standover is higher compared to compact designs, which may impact shorter riders.

I experienced a degree of soft-tissue discomfort when down in the drops, due to the more aggressive position.

It would be unrealistic to expect bike brands to stock women’s-specific saddles to suit all riders, but the good news is there’s a sizable range of saddles on offer from Syncros if you want to experiment with alternative shapes and widths.

XXS/47XS/49S/52M/54L/56
Seat angle (degrees)757574.57473.5
Head angle (degrees)70.5717272.573
Chainstay (mm)420420420420420
Top tube (mm)515525540555570
Head tube (mm)95105125145165
Bottom bracket drop (mm)7070707070
Bottom bracket height (mm)275275275275275
Wheelbase (mm)9971003100510111015
Standover (mm)732747775790812
Stack (mm)518529552572593
Reach (mm)376383387391394
Stem length (mm)838393103113

Scott Contessa Addict RC 15 ride impressions

The Addict RC 15 is undeniably a race bike.
Russell Burton / Our Media

The Addict RC is a race bike and you sure do know it once you swing a leg over, with an aggressive rather than upright position that was designed in tandem with race teams from Mitchelton-SCOTT (now Team BikeExchange-Jayco).

I ran 40mm headset spacers on my size small (I stand at 5ft 4in), so there’s still room for easing into a lower position.

At 7.5kg, Scott claims the Addict RC is “made for climbers”, but the bike has also had plenty of thought put into aerodynamic features, in line with recent road trends.

One of the ride-quality highlights is just how well the Addict RC maintains momentum.

On a flat, smooth surface, the motion is effortless and it carries speed exceptionally well, saving you energy for the next climb or sprint. Take Lorena Wiebes from Team DSM, who’s already racked up a number of victories this year aboard her Addict RC.

Shifting is lightning-fast with the Ultegra Di2, and I had a good play with the settings via the E-Tube app, including experimenting with the Synchro Shift.

Shifting is super-speedy, with the E-Tube app bringing the Synchro Shift function into play.
Russell Burton / Our Media

As I spend most of my time on 1x setups for gravel riding and mountain biking, I was intrigued by this function, which automatically shifts the front derailleur at the optimal cassette position, so you can enjoy the benefit of 2x gearing without having to worry about cross chaining.

Alas, I didn’t find it as elegant as I’d hoped, especially when shifting into the smaller chainring. There was a lag before shifting at the rear, which really put me out of rhythm on the climbs.

For general riding, I’d appreciate a lower gearing setup: the steep ramp of Murhill, near Bath in the South West of England, was a particular struggle, for example, but for pure racing I’m sure this gear combination would be suitable.

I really enjoyed the shape of the Creston 1.0 compact handlebar. The round profile next to the stem meant I could fit my standard Wahoo mount, but then the handlebar flattens out into a more moderate aero profile on the tops, which is great to rest your palms on when climbing.

The 38cm width was also perfect for my size, matching what I ride on my own bike.

Taking the Addict RC from smoother surfaces onto British back lanes, the bike handled gritty roads and light gravel without a hitch. There was not even a sniff of a puncture from the 30mm-wide tyres, which I dropped some pressure from to give a less harsh ride feel.

Scott claims the bike is “made for climbers”.
Russell Burton / Our Media

From an aesthetic perspective, the Addict RC really does turn heads.

I love the easy-to-clean gloss paintjob with a texture that shimmers a little the closer you look, and the water-ripple detailing on the fork is a nice touch that brings the Contessa Signature range together.

The matt top-tube finish is ‘interesting’, though, and I found it a bit harder to keep looking clean.

While I’d need longer to test whether the stem design is as mechanic-friendly as Scott claims, the integrated cabling does look really tidy up-front.

Scott Contessa Addict RC 15 bottom line

The aggressive geometry makes the Addict a bike for riders with serious ambitions.
Russell Burton / Our Media

Priced at £5,699, the Scott Contessa Addict RC 15 features a number of innovations to help warrant this sizable price tag and make one of the best women’s road race bikes you can buy.

Fully integrated cable routing, slick frame features, electronic gearing and an impressive weight for a bike that blends lightweight and aerodynamic qualities put it a cut above moderately priced models.

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The ride feel is certainly racy, in terms of the aggressive geometry and gearing, so the bike will be better suited to riders with competitive ambitions rather than everyday cyclists, who may prefer the endurance-focused Addict.

Women’s Bike of the Year | How we tested

While a number of major bike brands have moved away from women’s-specific models, our 2022 test focuses on three brands that continue to produce women’s road bikes.

That includes Liv, a brand offering truly women’s-specific bikes from the frame up, based on women’s fit data, and Cube and Scott, who offer women’s-specific builds. It’s worth emphasising, of course, that many brands offer an improved range of unisex bikes, too.

The roads, lanes and a few unpaved tracks around Bristol were the testing grounds for the Women’s Bike of the Year, trialling the three bikes on rides ranging from short, pacy blasts and all-day endurance rides.

The gradual climbs and steep ramps of the southern Cotswolds and Mendip Hills enabled us to put the bikes’ climbing prowess to the test, and similarly assess their handling on the descents.

With a wide range of price points represented, from £1,749 to £5,699, value for money was key to the test, rather than solely assessing how the bikes performed.

To win the Women’s Bike of the Year category, we were looking for a bike that not only plastered a smile on our faces, but also didn’t leave us feeling cheated out of our hard-earned cash.

Our 2022 Women’s Bike of the Year contenders are:

Thanks to…

Thanks to our sponsors HUUB, Lazer, 100% and Garmin for their support in making Bike of the Year happen.

Product Specifications

Product

Price EUR €6299.00GBP £5699.00USD $6300.00
Weight 7.5kg (S)
Brand Scott

Features

Available sizes XXS, XS, S, M, L
Handlebar Syncros Creston 1.0 compact carbon
Tyres Schwalbe One 28mm Race-Guard
Stem Syncros RR 1.5
Shifter Shimano Ultegra
Seatpost Syncros Duncan 1.0 Aero carbon
Saddle Syncros Celista 1.5 V-Concept cutout
Rear derailleur Shimano Ultegra Di2 Electronic Shift System
Front derailleur Shimano Ultegra Di2 Electronic Shift System
Bottom bracket Shimano
Frame HMX Carbon
Fork HMX Carbon
Cranks Shimano Ultegra, 50,34
Chain Shimano Ultegra
Cassette Shimano Ultegra, 11-30
Brakes Shimano Ultegra hydraulic disc
Wheels Syncros Capital 1.0 35mm