Scott Speedster 20 review£999.00

Carbon Foil aero technology in affordable alloy format

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Scott’s light, tight and cutting-edge aero Foil was one of the hit bikes of last year and it’s a credit to Scott’s metalworking skill that there’s so much of its speed- loving character in its £1,000 sibling. 

    The same virtual tail technology means blunt-backed, aero-fronted fork blades, down tube, seatstays and heavily shaped chainstays. These create ‘virtual tails’ of turbulence that mimic the airflow of a much bigger aerofoil. The profile also results in a greater range of sidewind efficiency. 

    The recessed seat clamp wedge and internal cable routing also keep airflow clean. Fat rather than deep tubes keep weight reasonable and clever component choice brings weight down too. The Shimano 105/Tiagra mix is decent enough for a fancy new frame too. 

    Having ridden the Foil a lot over the past year we were apprehensive and excited to ride this but we needn’t have worried. Even with a tall conical washer on top of the headset it’s still naturally aggressive. 

    It’s certainly stiff enough to sprint up to speed quickly, and the point where the acceleration of most bikes on test started to fade is where the aerodynamics of the Speedster began to kick in. 

    On the road it’s hard to tell how much is airflow advantage and how much placebo, but the Scott always seemed to hold speed better on the flat and pull ahead on descents. The aerodynamics definitely add stability to an otherwise fairly steep angled, short wheelbase bike, making it a great descender. In fact, it’s a very well behaved bike, mixing no-handed, pocket-fumbling forgiveness with quick-witted pothole dodging when needed.

    The semi-aero Syncros wheels handle well and help you ease through the air with slightly less effort. We also tried it with genuine deep-section wheels with positive results on timed test circuits, making that an obvious upgrade for racers. 

    Small touches such as the perforated centre strip saddle with sticky logo and textured panels, which keep you anchored while you pump a big gear, all make the Speedster name an appropriate one too.

    Despite the big alloy tubes it’s not as punishing on rougher sections as we expected, and though it’s not exactly luxurious it’s damped enough to live with even on lumpy backroads.

    This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

    Guy Kesteven

    Freelance Writer, UK
    Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
    • Age: 45
    • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
    • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
    • Waist: 76cm / 30in
    • Chest: 91cm / 36in
    • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
    • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
    • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
    • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
    • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
    • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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