We got an early look at the new 2012 Scott Spark full suspension mountain bikes, and now we’ve got official photos, specs and details on the frame and suspension for ya.
Just to recap, weights are a very light 1790g for the 26″ model and 1890g for the 29er, reportedly with shock and remote hardware. Put into American, that’s just 3.94lbs and 4.17lbs respectively. The design sticks with their linkage-operated single pivot layout, but gets a revised shock treatment to allow three different travel modes with separate damping and performance characteristics for each…and that’s just the beginning of the story. Hint: There’s also a women’s version!
Make the jump to see why you’re going to want one…
The 26″ model bumps overall travel to 5″ (120mm) with an intermediate 85mm travel ‘Traction’ mode and full lockout. The 29er has 4″ (100mm) travel with a 70mm ‘Traction’ mode and lockout. Both bikes use their TwinLoc remote borrowed from the Genius to control travel and lockout both front and rear out simultaneously:
In addition to controlling the rear shock, Scott worked with Rockshox to integrate the lever’s three positions into their new Motion Control DNA to create DNA3, matching the fork’s travel with the rear shock for the first time ever. This feature will come on all Spark models that have the Nude 2 shock.
The adjustable travel comes from a new version of the DT Swiss Nude shock. The new version has a more progressive shock curve (more ramp up) and lower shock ratio (wheel travel to shock stroke) of 2.4 for the 26″ bike and 2.6 on the 29er. Compare that to the old Scale’s 2.9 ratio and you end up with a bike that Scott says has more control and, likely, a firmer ride. Full travel now comes with 1,100 Newtons of force versus 900 with the Nude 1.
Between the matching travel adjust and new shock curves, Scott’s goal was to provide “a perfect balance between front and rear suspension. Many other designs assume that a rider is static and coasting, or they only include acceleration forces on the suspension and drivetrain. We’re more concentrated on suspending the movement of the rider instead of negating pedaling forces.”
If the travel adjustments aren’t enough, the rear linkage uses the “Chip” link, which flip-flops to allow a 7mm BB height change and 0.5º head angle adjustment. The U-Mono Link is a new one-piece forged unit that’s narrower than the previous 2-piece design for better leg clearance, and Scott says it’s stiffer, too. It also gets larger diameter axles and outboard bearings.
The frame uses Scott’s IMP5 carbon fiber process with the top tier models getting their HMX NET carbon. On Scott’s mini-site for the new Spark, they explain the benefit as such: “This means that five parts of the main frame are produced in one single step, in this case the head tube, top tube, seat tube, down tube, and bottom bracket structure all joined in one step while carefully managing the layers for quality and effective use of material. Both HMX and HMF fibers are used in our carbon frames ensuring the utmost durability, security, and longevity for the frame.”
Cable routing is all internal, including the rear shock adjust, coming in just behind the massive tapered headtube. Only the rear brake cable runs externally along the bottom of the downtube.
The rear brake is direct mounted inside the rear triangle, which Scott says saves weight and reduces the effect of braking forces on the suspension. It’ll work with 160 to 185mm rotors.
The IDS SL rear dropouts accommodate all current standards: 135×12, 142×12 and 9mm QR.
The chainstays are molded as one piece, including the brake mounts. The larger lower pivot uses the same oversized axle, bearings and hardware as their Genius LT with the bearings placed inside the swingarm rather than the frame. The seatstays are also molded as one piece with a reinforcement bridge running between them just in front of the rear tire (previous model did not have a seatstay bridge).
The bottom bracket uses a very wide PF BB92 standard, which is supported by both SRAM and Shimano.
Lest the ladies feel left out, Scott’s Spark Contessa uses the same IMP5 frame construction with their 2nd tier HMF NET carbon for a complete 26″ race bike that claims to weigh in at 24.01lbs (10.90kg). It’s the only bike with a claimed weight at present, which suggests the Scale RC and 29er Scale RC should tip the scales closer to 22lbs or less. We’re guessing less given the spec and their ongoing battle for weight supremacy with Cannondale. The Scale Contessa comes spec’d with a full XT drivetrain and color-matched SID DNA3 fork and DT Swiss Nude 2.0 shock.
Both the 26″ (above) and 29er Spark RC bikes get a full SRAM XX drivetrain, carbon Ritchey seatpost and handlebar, Ritchey stem, HS and saddle, Avid XX World Cup Carbon brakes, DT Swiss wheels and Schwalbe tires. Pricing isn’t announced on either, but don’t expect them to come cheap. While no lower tier models are announced, we’ll bet they’ll offer alloy models soon enough.