There’s so much excitement in the air in the mountain bike world. The Scott Spark 2022 is here, and it’s bigger than it has ever been.
Full suspension bikes have been evolving, but the new Scott Spark just raised the bar a bit higher. Some people will argue that an internal rear suspension has been Bold Cycle’s idea since long ago, but let’s give credit where it’s due.
Scott Spark is a World Cup-winning trail and XC bike, and Scott Sports owns most shares at Bold Cycles. The collabo gave birth to a fantastic bike. Here’s the Scott Spark 2022 Review.
Scott Spark 2022 Review
The all-new Scott Spark 2022 is an exciting bike to ride and Nino Schurter’s new ride.
The selling point of the newest bike in town, Scott Spark, is the hidden or enclosed rear suspension, two spaces for your water bottles, something you’ve never seen on a full-suspension bike.
The flexible stays and integrated cables go through the stem and into the frame. Those are incredibly unique features.
We encourage you to try the bike and experience what you’re about to read here. I got the chance to try the new Scott Spark 900 and XC during the weekend, and this is my honest review about these excellent rides.
The information on the Scott Sports site is not enough, and we will try as much as possible to give you every crucial detail about the bike. One thing is for sure. You cannot get it wrong with the Scott Spark new model.
The Rear Suspension Installed Inside the Frame
The Scott Spark starts with Scott Spark RC and the Scott Spark 900 Trail on the top, and the Contessa RC or 900, which is Kate Courtney’s favorite spaceship. So many things have changed for Scott Spark.
When you compare the 2021 and other previous Scott Sparks to the latest model, the first thing that will catch your eye is the shock placement.
You will think that the newest model comes without a suspension at all but a flexible carbon frame.
Does it even exist? Yes, the Scott Spark has a flexible chainstay, but it works with a suspension. The bike indeed has one, only that you can’t see it because it’s placed inside the frame.
Scott Spark is a popular bike on the final stages of the Olympics and World Cup MTB races, and many believe the suspension idea was thoughtful.
Well, it’s been a tried and tested formula that was present in Bold bikes since 2019. What Scott did was to buy the company and popularize the internal rear suspension.
Now we have a newer and more advanced Scott Spark with a promising future. The dramatic appearance, which some thought that all Spark bikes are going electric, while others felt like it must have been Photoshopped, is just the newest thing.
Bold Cycles company is the pioneer of the rear suspension linkage that puts the hidden shock inside the frame. This delivers a clean frame appearance.
Moments after the Spark was launched, we could hear echoes from different corners of the world of how it would be more complicated to clean the debris.
The invention’s primary goal was to protect the internal shock from the environmental contaminants and reduce the risks of stanchion damage. In other words, you’ll not need to clean your shocks as often as you were doing before, and the cost of maintenance will also go down.
Scott also claims that there are more benefits to having an integrated shock and stiffer frame. For starters, they reduced some grams of the bike with this technology.
They were able to improve stiffness which will also improve the rider’s pedaling efficiency. The frame is also stiff, thus helping reduce the unwanted sideways movement.
The bike feels and looks like a hardtail, but it’s a full suspension. Moreover, the new Spark comes with large pivot bearings to increase stiffness and reduce flex.
The shock uses a flex pivot and is driven by a single pivot layout. It’s not just easy to use, but the shock will also make work easier.
By now, you must be wondering, how do you remove the shock whenever you want to service or replace it? Space, where the rear shock is stored, has easily removable covers.
The frame bearings also have seals to protect them from dirt and grime. There’s also a sag indicator to help you with the setup without needing to use your tools.
Flexible Seat Stay
The flexible seat stay is one of the fantastic features of Scott Spark. It’s a technology that hasn’t been used before, and we hope it doesn’t complicate the biker later on.
Even though Scott bought the integrated shock idea from Bold Cycles, the flex stay was utterly their own. Bold Cycles uses a pivot on the rear while the sparks seat stay flexes like a whip.
The stay has a single pivot attached to the rear axle, which acts as a linkage leading to the shock from the top. Even though the linkage ratios have been tweaked slightly, the bike still has the same race-proven suspension.
The seat stay is made with flexible carbon fiber. The Spark is a short travel bike, and they had to rule out the rear drop-out pivot.
Apart from weight reduction, it will be cheaper to maintain these parts. The alloy frames have the same flex stays, and I’m still wondering how Scott managed to pull that.
The flexible chainstay has a proven kinematic and is less unsprung, resulting in a stable but softer ride. This is also to keep the bike is as lightweight as possible without compromising the optimal suspension performance.
The seat stays, alongside the single-pivot suspension will generate 120mm of rear travel. The trail version, which is the Scott Spark 900 Trail, comes with a 130mm travel. Without a flexible seat stay, it would be completely impossible to use the rear suspension.
The Cockpit is on Another Level
The cockpit of the new Scott Spark is not the usual cockpit you are used to. Many things have changed and updated, and the handlebars look like an estate of levers.
Apart from the rear shifter, there’s also a dropper post lever and the TwinLoc system that wowed me in the way it was placed.
With so many levers and a set of brakes, you would expect the cables to run over each other like coiling snakes.
For your information, Scott thought about it and found a way they can reduce the clutter. The cockpit of the Spark looks so neat, and you would think everything is running wirelessly.
The bike features a handlebar width or rise. The cockpit of the 900, to be specific, is downhill-oriented. In an effort to make the cockpit more ergonomic, the dropper remote was relocated to the bottom of the handlebars.
It’s something you are going to get used to as you ride your bike. The TwinLoc system is placed at the same point as the dropper remote.
The Syncross cockpit delivers a clean look with all cables going under the handlebars and into the head tube from the top before being distributed to the assigned functions while going internally.
The bike comes with a one-piece stem, which comes fully attached to the handlebars. You can alternatively use a standard stem and bars, although they are sold separately by the manufacturer.
What’s the point of using the older style instead of the elegant style with protected cables? For me, I’m better off with the new cockpit design.
The handlebar is 760mm wide, while the stem is 70mm long. The cockpit is newly developed and goes with the name Fraser iC SL Carbon Cockpit.
All cables go inside the stem to tidy internal cabling. That means there will be no more cable ports in the frame like before. Just when we thought cable ports were incredible, now Scott has set the pace.
The internal routing cockpit option varies by pricing level. The negative rise is different from Fraser IC in the way the cables are integrated. So are XC Scott Spark RC bikes cockpits to mini-rise 76cm bars for trail 900series.
Whether you opt for the alloy version or carbon frame, you could be lucky to find compatible models and parts. The future looks more promising with this new internal cable routing thing.
An Extra Bottle Holder for You
I’m sure you have only seen a pair of bottle holders on hardtail and road bikes and never thought that a full suspension bike would have more than one.
The new Spark is a new surprise out of the box. There will be no more carrying of hydration packs on your back. Just get yourself a new bottle and its holder, maybe two, and fit them on the frame.
The absence of a shock in the triangle, following the relocation of the suspension to the inside of the frame, gives you extra space to extra carry water or an energy drink.
Two bottles in the triangle of the frame not only mean that you have more water to cool your dry throat. It also means that the riding center of gravity for your Scott Sparks will be improved.
Now you can take long rides without worrying about running out of the essential H2O, but it’s only available from the medium frame upwards.
Although you can use the standard bottle holder, it will bring a lot of inconveniences when pulling out your bottle, and you may require to use a shorter bottle to reduce the struggle of getting it out, but that will translate with less extra water for your ride.
It would be best to use a side loader cage, which allows you to pluck your bottle from the sides. Most Syncros cages are designed like that, and you’ll not have a hard time finding the right cage for your Spark.
Marathon racers and all-day epic riders are the happiest lots after finding out that there’s a space for an extra bottle.
To use extra space, get yourself a medium frame and above. Small frames have only one. The Spark looks fabulous with the extra bottle holder or cage.
Scott’s main objective was to create XC and Trail bikes that are faster climbers and downhillers. They collaborated with the world’s greatest athletes to perfect the bikes’ geometry and increase travel.
The results were the Scott Spark RC and 900 Trail series, and Lord! They are not just any random bikes.
You will realize that the new Spark is quite different from the feel and the weight to the handling and how it takes every pedal stroke when comparing it with its predecessor. If you love fast bikes, the Spark will make your life so much exciting.
However, cross country and trail racing are very different, and you expect the bikes to have a different geometry. They have different geometries and fork travel.
If you ride cross country or race, then the Scott Spark RC is your ideal bike. However, if you like flying over logs, ramps, and would never stop at any obstacle until you pass the finish line, the Scott Spark 900 is the right bike for you.
For the Spark 900, you can expect to find various sizes, from the Small to XL. There are also women-specific Contessa Spark models if you would like to treat your lady cyclist to a bike on her next birthday or your anniversary.
The bike comes with a slacker 65.8 degrees head angle which can be steepened up by 0.6 degrees by fingering the TwinLoc lever.
The dynamic geometry also allows you to shift your weight forward when climbing, to keep the front wheel on the ground.
The Scott Spark XC racing model is slacker than it has ever been before, at 67.2 degrees head angle. You can slacken XC’s geometry by a further 1.2 degrees to turn it into a trail bike.
What draws the line between the two bikes is the rear shock and the forks. The 900 Trail has 10mm more fork travel than the Spark RC. The shock of the RC is more linear while the 900’sw is slightly larger.
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I got a chance to complete a few solid rides with the Scott Spark RC and the 900 Trail. The previous Spark, the Scott Spark RC to be specific was a World Cup-winning bike, and the new one will likely carry the same glory.
The 900 does not disappoint either, and the two bikes are tough on the terrain and enjoyable to ride.
They are supreme bikes with the capabilities to concur with whatever nature throws at them, and you’ll never regret spending money on a Spark.
The suspension system front and back works hand in hand to give you the smoothest ride, and all you are left to worry about is your speed.
Are you pushing the bike to the limit? The Scott Spark is the fastest full suspension bike, but you have to push it beyond the limit to achieve that top speed.
The TwinLoc, which now should be known as TripletLoc because it also includes the dropper seat post lever, makes this bike feel like God’s gift to a cyclist.
It’s such a performer, both climbing and descending, yet grippy and efficient over loose terrain.
All you need to do before climbing is to lock both suspensions via the TwinLoc and balance your weight over the bars, and the bike will climb the hill like a warhorse.
The suspension lock gives you a smooth steep climb and advantage over other riders if you are in a race.
Imagine a scenario when you have to bend over to the suspension to lock it before climbing. The TwinLoc is there to help you lock both suspensions from the bars.
Oh My! They have an Alloy Version as Well
The headliner Spark is the carbon fiber frame model, but there’s also a full alloy frame bike in the Spark range which Scott says it’s the only alloy bike with a fully integrated shock.
That’s very true about the bike, and if it were not for the welds, it would be impossible to differentiate between the bike and its carbon twin sister.
How they managed to recreate the alloy version and join the tubes together, only the engineers at Scott can explain it, but it must have been a very tough job.
Scott says that they used special techniques to join the tubes together. The bike has also undergone on-trail testing to ensure its as strong as the carbon bike.
The bike delivers the same ride qualities as the carbon version.
The downside of going with the aluminum version is that they don’t come with the Fraser IC handlebar, but the gear cables are internally routed like in the other new Scott Sparks. It’s the most affordable in the Spark series.
Then There’s the Women-Specific Contessa Spark
There’s one Contessa Spark RC available in the cross country scene, and three Spark 900s starting with a carbon frame, and the most affordable one coming with a full alloy frame.
What makes the women’s specific different from other bikes or the unisex bikes are particular touchpoints such as the grips and saddle.
They also get custom lighter forks and shock tunes. Otherwise, they are much identical to the original Spark.
You must be feeling like you have ridden the Scott Spark with your mind after reading this review, but the actual experience is sitting on that saddle and exploring the woods around your town. in case we left something out, you can ask us via email.