Strengths: Great price, light weight and nice handling
Weaknesses: Some bobbing, parts mixture
So I have been riding this bike for a month now and have finally got it dialed in. Some parts that I changed were, Wheelset to Stan's Crest and Grip Shift 2x10 (yes they work great). The weight without pedals is 24.3lbs, I also plan on adding carbon bars and seatpost which should put me at just under 24lbs.
This bike handles really well (low chip) position and climbs like a goat (no kidding). When descending just point and shoot but be aware this bike is more of a performance oriented machine so it's not going to be quite as cush as a Jet 9 RDO or TallBoy Carbon but then again those bikes are at least 1lb heavier.
It took a while to get the shock pressure figured out and you never really get full travel in the rear, I run 100lbs in the rear and 75lbs for the SID up front, my weight is 185lbs. The lockout is awesome and one of the reasons I bought the bike, when climbing it is important to be in the traction position so any bobbing is limited and you do not get pedal strikes on technical, essentially I climb locked out for most things and traction setting when things are a little bumpy or big moves required, then go fully open for descending. I love being able to stand up and hammer locked out although the SID does move a bit as noted in other reviews.
Buy this bike if you want a really fast XC riding experience with great downhill, don't get it if you want more cush (120mm) or only trail oriented riding.
Bike Setup: Stock, changed wheels, shifters, bar and seatpost
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: September 6, 2012
Strengths: 3-mode lockout, crazy parts spec for the price contributing to low weight. Simple suspension design - it works. DT Swiss RWS QR is really slick. Smooth all around bike with looks to kill.
Weaknesses: A bit flexy in the rear end despite the OS axle, though it may just be me getting used to full suspension. Strangely, it feels stiffer when locked out!!! But really it is a little flexy. 9mm front axle is also a concern, what with all of these 15mm axles out there now. But I haven't noticed any wayward front wheels tracking off on their own.
I've been riding/racing a rigid single-speed 29er for the past 2 years. After a road race one day, I demo'd a Specialized Epic 29er. I went fast down some big hills. I knew then that I needed full suspension. Unfortunately, Specialized is way too expensive. While the Spark doesn't have the nifty brain shock thing that made the Epic feel very... smart, the twin-lock system (front and rear lock simultaneously, open, stiff or full lockout) pretty much makes up for it. The suspension design is simple, which is good. Simple is always better. If some sort of advanced linkage system can make things better I wouldn't know - I'm going full tilt over everything and feel 100% in control. That's what FS is about, right? Not so simple is having 6 different levers to press. I've missed several shifts by accidentally hitting the lockout lever. I also tend to accidentally hit the small shift triggers. The only shifters I've dealt with since 2006 have been Shimano Dual Control on MTB and their road stuff on the road so I'm used to having lots of free space by my hands. I'll play with the shifter location a bit more.
I was worried that this big, light contraption of a bike would be a little fragile, a notion that was reinforced after a few events. A light crash resulted in my nifty carbon brake lever tweaking out - like going the wrong way about 30 degrees. It works fine but now has all kinds of play since the (not so well designed) hard-stop is stripped. And then my pedal ripped out of my nifty carbon crank and destroyed it - SRAM was uber cool and replaced that for me no questions asked (which is good because it may have been under-torqued.) But it think the fragile stuff is all in my head.
The bike is super fast and insanely priced for the spec. Too bad they're all gone - if you can find one, BUY IT. The '13 Spark 29ers are good but not the value of the '12s. Shimano brakes and 15mm front axles are the big improvements for 2013, and Fox forks are always nice. But it seems like they all have 3X10 drive... ugh. I would have still bought a '13 Spark over anything else had I not been able to locate a '12 Pro. Overall rating is 4 because I don't have enough experience with other bikes to say that this is outstanding.
Similar Products Used: Demo'd Specialized Epic 29er, Giant Anthem X 29er 0.
Bike Setup: Stock, Maxxis Ikon rear tire.
Date Reviewed: July 11, 2012
Strengths: Seems to be great value for money so far, wickedly fast on fire trails and quite OK on technical singletrack and steep climbs
Weaknesses: I wish to had a 15m axle up front, I almost did not buy because of this and now that I have one, I reckon I'm right! The Nude shock has no rebound/compression adjust, but the twinloc helps - a bit!
Bought this as my XC marathon bike and I am not disappointed. I also have a Yeti 575 which is a keeper - they are different bikes and I'll still use it for trail riding with mates. I'm 6'3" and have an XL frame, since put on a 700mm Truavtiv bar with 10 degree sweep and I reckon the whole set-up is perfect. But my first attempt to seal up the Rocket Rons tubeless ready failed, I had it coming out of spoke holes and through the sidewalls everywhere. Needs that 15mm axle, but then again many 2012 29ers are still running QRs, only a matter of time. I find that I use the twin lock more than I thought, no problems.
Strengths: Very stable for a light weight 29er. Excellent shock - love the lockout.
142 rear setup and Rocket Ron tires make for firm and grippy climbs.
Some early reviews about the RC with carbon rear triangle
being flexy does not apply to the aluminum rear Pro. This one is
Weaknesses: BB92 is a bit restrictive for other cranks. My Specialized Carbon BB30
wouldn't fit. Could have used a lighter saddle, and what's with the aluminum bar??
I couldn't get the RC (the famous Scott unavailability), so bought the Pro and stripped parts.
Scientifically, there is supposed to be no difference between equally configured
26 and 29ers. Mentally, there is. Maybe all that wheel out front.
I'll be doing time trials with my 'same weight' Specialized EPIC S-Works 26er!
Favorite Trail: The Original North Shore Trail Complex
Purchased At: Bothell Bike, WA
Similar Products Used: Specialized S-Works EPIC 26, and Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper HT 29er.
Bike Setup: Large frame with Roval Carbon wheels, Specialized carbon bar, stock X0 crank, but looking for an XX. XX shifters and brakes. Rase seatpost, Specialized 100mm Reba fork with Brain. 24.5 lbs with XTR pedals, and Specialized tubed light-weight tires. Overall much better value than the Specialized S-Works EPIC 29er, and probably < 1 lb weight penalty. 3 position lever shock control is a better idea than the Brain, IMHO.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 1, 2012
Strengths: Light, good components, twinloc lever,easy to set up, stable ride, comfortable
Weaknesses: None so far
This bike is a rocket! It puts you in a comfortable position (low chip) and it rides similar to my 26" bike on down hills. On climbs I found it to go effortlessly and the lock out was great for on the fly adjustment. This bike is a bargain for the cost compared to what you get. I went for the PRO because it had the upgraded shock and fork, while the RC just has better components that I will eventually switch out any way. The PRO is the way to go. The shop Colorado bike and ski in West Springfield MA has great selection and Hussein was a great help in choosing this awesome bike!
a Cross Country Rider
from Johannesburg, South Africa
Date Reviewed: April 1, 2012
Strengths: Twin lockout
Feels like a 26" bike
Fast and nimble
Weaknesses: Front Shock doesn't lock out completely
Little bit of a squat
This is a first impression as I've done only one ride in relatively flat non-technical conditions. This bike felt great from the first moment, almost no different from my 26" in terms of handling. The suspension is slightly stiffer than my Giant Anthem but still soaked up everything perfectly, in fact there are a few cobbled areas where i remember being bumped around on my 26" but this bike just glided over it. Once it gets going on a flat, it feels really fast. Some guys complain about 29ers being slower on climbs, but this bike had no problem with hills, especially when locked out.
The twin lockout is the best invention ever, no more searching for levers somewehere below you. Just a flick of the thumb and you go from lockout to full suspension (front and rear) and vice versa - brilliant SCOTT !!! The Rocket Ron tyres were also a positive surprise. I've never used them before but they seem to grip everything and where they do slide a bit (sandy patches) it is predictable and easily corrected. They still lose quite a bit of air after tubeless conversion but my bike shop says it will take a few rides to seal completely?
OK, now for the bad part and this is so bad that i have removed a star (from 4 to 3) as it was a major disappointment and affects my riding negatively. The front shock, a Rockshox Reba 29 RL, does not lock out completely. In fact i noticed it before i even rode the bike and took it back to the bike shop for what i thought would be a simple adjustment. However, they tell me that is how Rockshox shocks are made nowadays. They even showed me on two other bikes that were on the floor as well. There is about 10-20mm of play in lockout before it hits firmness and even then you could still force it down further. Yeah sure it is firmer than in open mode, but there is still way too much "give". It really became annoying during the ride as i frequently lock out the suspension on flats when i want to stand and put some power into the pedals. The front was mushy and i could feel that a lot of the power was getting lost. It was less critical on seated climbs but still noticeable and distracting.
The second slight negative surprise was a bit of squatting in full suspension mode, especially when applying power while throwing the bike from side to side. At first i thought i had a flat rear wheel as there was a hint of a wobble, but after inspecting the wheel i realised that it must be the squatting that I've read about in some other bike reviews. Once i knew what it was, though, i quickly adjusted to it and it didn't bother me again, i can live with that as it is relatively minor.
Overall i think this could have been a great bike and i really want to like it, but that front shock is just too terrible and will be irritating me every time i ride it. So, i am in a bit of a quandry with this bike, don't really want to spend a lot more money on a decent fork like a Fox, but can't live with it as it is either...
Similar Products Used: This is my first 29er. Also have a 26" Giant Anthem
Bike Setup: Large. Everything standard, converted wheels to tubeless
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: February 17, 2012
Strengths: Goes like a rocket - put your pedal down and it goes!
Good quality and light wheelset
Responsive frame - doesnt feel like other 29ers, more like a 26er...
Weaknesses: Handlebars a little too wide for liking - easy fix though
Product info with bike - Scott doesnt provide much quality information on eg shock setup - easy enough to suss out though and not a major
I umm'ed and arrrg'ed on this for a couple of months and looked at a few options; Epic comp 29er, Anthem 29er, Ellsworth Evolve, Trek firefly, Rocky Mountain 29er. Really liked the ride of the Epic (way better and more forgiving than my old 2006 Epic), but LOVED the Scott - both bikes felt fast, but for the $$$ the Scott gives way better value. It rides sweet on singletrack and can be thrown around like a 26er but rides over roots and rocks way better than any 26er! On wide open tracks and forest roads it just rockets - use the lockout and you feel like every ounce of effort is being used t move the bike forward. Definitely the fastest bike I have owned from this point of view. Whilst fast it also feels plush and forgiving - esp with lockout off, and nice smooth action on both rear and front end.
Early days, but so far am just loving it - great bike and great value - well done Scott!!
Bike Setup: Medium frame suits my height (5-10', 178cm), although needed a slightly longer stem (changed from 80 mm to 90mm)
Keeping other components as standard
Converted tyres to tubeless - ready to go for this as standard
from New Zealand
Date Reviewed: January 23, 2012
Strengths: The three stage controller for the front and rear suspension is amazing. Being able to shift through lockout to 70mm front and rear to 100mm front and rear is unbeatable. This bike climbs beautifully, decends like a demon and is really fast on the flat.
Weaknesses: Disapointing that for the second to top of the line bike to still get; alloy bars, stem and seatpost and no pedals or shock pump. Mine was pretty rough straight out of the box with a broken lever and a mark on the frame.
This is a very fast bike. It climbs effortlessly and accelerates very well. Point the thing down hill and you’ll be glad of the Avid 9RS brakes and the Rocket Ron’s. Prior to ordering my bike it took a long time to get my head round only having 100mm travel but it is so plush you really don’t need any more. All my previous Scott full suspension bikes have been size Large but I could quite easily have gone for a Medium this time around so have a ride on one before you put the card down on the counter. The upgraded rear shock is a vast improvement and much easier to set up now they have gotten rid of the negative air chamber. I'm not too stoked on the lateral rigidity of the rear triangle. The new longer rear axle has helped but with the 29" wheels and a bit of lateral play in the rear linkage out of the box it feels a bit bendy for my liking. I'm sure this could be tightened up but I don't have a torque wrench for the linkage bolts and don't want to under or over tighten and ruin them. The really wide bars aren't entirely to my liking, they ride fine but it just feels weird to an old schooler like me. Over all I would highly recommend this bike for how it rides and handles. The suspension is flawless, it is relatively light and overall represents great value for money. I'll be throwing carbon bars, stem and post on mine, but that is just me.