Scott Speedster 40 review£699.00

A redesign sees big benefits for beginners

BikeRadar score4/5

Scott hasn’t always excelled at this price, but seeing as most bikes sold in Britain come in at well under £1000, get the product right and the customer will always keep coming back for more.

My hopes were raised when I saw that Scott’s entry-level Speedster 40 had been redesigned for 2018. Not only does it come in lighter than its predecessor, but it also has some neat features that are unusual on a bike at such a modest price.

Internal cable routing keeps the frame looking neat
Internal cable routing keeps the frame looking neat

True, a couple of the usual cost-cutting measures are evident when it comes to kitting out this bike, most notably the all-aluminium fork and budget non-cartridge Tektro brakes. But you can upgrade the brakes’ performance easily and inexpensively by swapping for cartridge blocks. 

Scott has also taken measures to counteract the potential harshness of the all-metal fork by speccing 28mm Schwalbe tyres compared with last year’s 25mm Kendas. Yep, it looks like 28mm could be the new 25mm, which was of course the new 23mm...

Scott Speedster 40 kit

The Luganos are decent enough training tyres, but get the Vernier callipers out and they measure 29mm on the Syncros rims. Remember, the wider the tyre the lower the pressure you can run it at without risking extra punctures. 

The difference in running pressures between a 23mm and 28mm tyre isn’t marginal either, as Schwalbe recommends 115psi for an 85kg rider on a 23mm tyre but just 94psi for 28mm rubber and a mere 80psi for a 60kg rider. This means you really can run the Speedster’s tyres at a lower pressure, for extra cushioned softness in the Scott’s firmish ride.

Wide 28mm tyres are a welcome sight on the Scott
Wide 28mm tyres are a welcome sight on the Scott

Another plus are the mudguard fittings — even with 28mm tyres there’s clearance for proper full-length mudguards, not just aftermarket blades. Mudguard fittings aren’t expensive to manufacture, but they increase a bike’s practicality on our notoriously wet island. I would have appreciated rear rack mounts, which Specialized manages on its Allez, but you can still attach rack fittings or use seatpost-mounted systems.

Another welcome change for 2018 is the move to a 32-tooth sprocket compared with last year’s 30. The real-world difference on my 16-mile commute, between a 32- and the 28-tooth sprocket on many entry-level road bikes, is being able to stay in the saddle on double-digit inclines, standing on the pedals or weaving about in a painfully slow zigzag. It could easily be the difference between riding and walking. The only penalty is bigger jumps between gears.

I would have liked a carbon fork, but have no qualms about the handling
I would have liked a carbon fork, but have no qualms about the handling

While Scott describes the geometry as ‘endurance’, the wheelbase is a touch shorter than last year’s, but I reckon the resulting geometry is pretty much spot on —it makes the Speedster sharp enough for speedier riders, and relaxed enough for the more leisurely minded. 

I would have liked a carbon fork, but have no qualms about the handling. You can fly down hills and change direction rapidly, and the move to wider tyres and a wide-ranging cassette is a very sensible one by Scott, and one that’s designed to appeal to newer riders.

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

Simon has been cycling for as long as he can remember, and more seriously since his time at university in the Dark Ages (the 1980s). This has taken in time trialling, duathlon and triathlon and he has toured extensively in Asia and Australasia, including riding solo 2900km from Cairns to Melbourne. He now mainly rides as a long-distance commuter and leisure/fitness rider. He has been testing bikes and working for Cycling Plus in various capacities for nearly 20 years.
  • Age: 53
  • Height: 175cm / 5'9
  • Weight: 75kg /165lb
  • Waist: 33in
  • Discipline: Road, touring, commuting
  • Current Bikes: Rose SL3000, Hewitt steel tourer
  • Beer of Choice: Samuel Adams Boston Lager
  • Location: Bath, UK

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