The Scott Foil Team Issue, which in these days of rapid development seems to have been around for a while, still manages to feel fresh. Its triangular truncated aerofoil tubing gives the frame a chunky look, but in profile it’s still quite understated and relatively slim alongside some of the current aero road bike crop.
The long, stretched position feels suitably aerodynamic, with speed just building almost imperceptibly. Scott's frame is remarkably efficient, whether you're cruising along on the flat or cranking it uphill.
It's not the fastest out of the blocks, but once up to speed the Foil effortlessly holds its own
Other Foils we’ve ridden have been ‘punchy’ performers, but this one seems better suited to longer, sustained hills, something that's most likely down to the wheelset. The 46mm-deep alloy and carbon Syncros seem a little out of step with the frame and groupset – they’re tidy wheels, and can be hustled along, holding speed superbly on the flat, but do give a little energy away when you’re climbing hard out of the saddle or winding up for a sprint. They’re sensitive to crosswinds, too, and their 22mm-wide rims plus 23mm tyres can almost be considered old school, now that 25mm rubber has risen to prominence.
Narrow lanes, grassy verges and tall hedges suited the theme, and as we flicked the Foil through 90-degree corners, we were only missing 190 like-minded riders to complete the feeling. Mechanical Dura-Ace shifting is precision personified, serving once again to remind us why it’s Shimano’s premier groupset.
The Syncros carbon bar, with a curved drop and swept-back top, is less rigid than some but comfortable, which, surprisingly, is also the case for the Prologo saddle and Ritchey’s Foil-specific aero carbon seatpost. In conjunction with the frame, they look fairly uncompromising, but the overall comfort was better than average, which was a relief on rougher lanes and hard-packed gravel. Unmade roads are not the Foil’s ideal environment, serving up a jarring experience, but it was still better than expected – though a wider tyre and shallower rim would improve things.
Despite the wheels, with the line in sight, the Foil is like a controlled explosion waiting to be triggered. Its excellent lateral stiffness was the key to Simon Gerrans’ sprint victory in 2014’s draggy finale of Liège-Bastogne-Liège – and to getting us past the village sign ahead of the (imaginary) chasers.