Scott’s aluminium-framed Speedster has been around for years and it’s always been a pretty safe choice at the entry level, if not the most exciting. The recipe hasn’t changed radically, but the range now includes two disc models, of which this is the better equipped.
The Speedster’s aluminium frame is in some respects rather old fashioned. It takes a chunky 31.6mm seatpost in defiance of the trend towards slimmer ones, while the seatstays are fat and straight, for once warranting no comparisons to graphite-based writing instruments.
Its welds are lumpy and unattractive and the prominent seam in the left seatstay in front of the rear caliper makes it look like Scott has just grafted a brake mount onto the non-disc Speedster. Luckily, a slick paint job saves the day — primer-grey plus fluoro-yellow highlights is a winning combination, and the bike looks handsome as long as you don’t take too forensic an approach.
The frame is mated to a full carbon fork, which rides on cheap caged headset bearings, rather than proper cartridges, but you’ll only notice if you take it apart.
The Speedster’s big selling point is its hydraulic disc brakes, which provide confidence-inspiring stopping in all conditions via Shimano’s RS505 levers. They’re not pretty, but do give you plenty to hold on to, and the braking is as good as with costlier groupsets.
The levers are accompanied by 105 mechs, while finishing kit and wheels all come from Scott’s in-house component brand, Syncros. It’s all nicely finished and appropriately chosen for a bike at this price.
The Speedster Disc is meant to be versatile, ticking a lot of boxes as a winter trainer, a rapid commuter or simply your one do-it-all bike. Disc brakes are an obvious choice for all-weather riding, and there are full mudguard mounts at the rear. The fork has eyelets for a ’guard, but lacks any form of drilling or mount at the crown, something that on the face of it doesn’t make sense at all.
On a more useful note, a threaded bottom bracket means easy fettling, while a forward-facing slot where the seat clamp tightens avoids collecting muck from the rear tyre. The front brake hose disappears into the fork, but the rear is fully on show.
The simple frameset isn’t the most refined and does little to shield you from bigger hits, but it’s a smooth ride overall, made more so by the 28mm Schwalbe rubber fitted as standard. Slightly bigger tyres offer more latitude to tweak comfort levels than 25s would, and impose very little weight penalty.
The Speedster is respectably stiff and lively, more so than its robust weight figure suggests. Neither wheels nor frame impede rapid progress, and generous gearing will get you up the worst climbs. The geometry leans towards versatility too with a slightly taller front end than a full-on racer, but not one that will see you sitting bolt upright.
Given how good 105-level Shimano kit usually is, I was surprised to find that the Speedster’s shifting was a touch on the vague side, with little feedback from rear upshifts (moving down the cassette) in particular. I put this down to the decision to run full-length gear outers rather than having cable stops anchored in the frame. This makes sense from a weather-proofing point of view, but it doesn’t get the best out of the groupset’s components.
The Speedster is an extremely likeable bike that’s undermined by a couple of unfortunate design decisions. It still represents good value for money, but I can’t help feeling that Scott has missed the mark slightly here.