First Look: Scott Spark RC 900 Team

by
October 19, 2017

It might not feel like it, but ten whole years have passed us since Scott gave birth to the very first Spark. Yes, it was 2007 when the original Spark arrived on the scene, and that makes us feel old. Incidentally, it was the same year that T-Pain delivered the world his chart-topping hit, and iconic musical masterpiece; “Buy U a Drank (Shawty Snappin’)”. That makes us feel older.

But back to bikes.

Following in the footsteps of the ground-breaking Scale carbon hardtail, the first Spark also broke some industry records with its high-tech carbon fibre construction and sub-4lb frame weight (and that included the rear shock!). It also featured a clever remote lever for switching between travel modes for the rear suspension, with the ability to lock out the rear shock too.

Ten years on and several revisions later, and the latest Spark is ready to rock ‘n’ roll. First shown last year, the new Spark is available in three different versions; the Spark RC with 29in wheels and 100/100mm travel, the Spark 9-Series with 29in wheels and 120/120mm travel, and the Spark 7-Series with 27.5+ wheels and 130/120mm of travel.

scott spark rc xc race bike
Chunky carbon head tube.
scott spark rc xc race bike
The 2018 Scott Spark RC 900 Team, and one of Calderdale’s finest walls.

Scott Spark RC Features

  • 29er full suspension XC race bike
  • Full carbon fibre frameset
  • Single pivot suspension design w/pivot-less carbon swingarm
  • Trunnion mounted Fox Nude rear shock w/Scott TwinLoc remote lockout
  • 100mm front & rear travel
  • 68.5° head angle
  • 73.8° seat tube angle
  • 435mm chainstay length
  • BB92 bottom bracket shell
  • 1x specific frame
  • Integrated upper chain guide
  • DT Swiss RWS 148x12mm thru-axle
  • Available sizes: Small, Medium, Large, & X-Large

The bike we’ve got on test falls into Scott’s raciest ‘Spark RC’ family. That means it has 29in wheels with a single pivot suspension design and 100mm of travel front and rear. Like the original Spark, the new version features a handlebar remote to switch between full travel, 70mm travel and fully locked. And as with the original model, the 2018 Spark is also built from carbon fibre. However, almost everything else has changed.

scott spark rc xc race bike
New suspension layout offers 100mm of travel with a pivot-less carbon swingarm.

The shock now mounts vertically just above the bottom bracket shell, and the rear swingarm is now a single carbon-fibre structure, with the seatstay pivot omitted in favour of less weight (130g to be precise). Other updates including a move to Boost hub spacing, a 1x specific drivetrain, and the capability of accommodating a stealth-routed dropper post. There have also been some significant changes to geometry too;

Scott Spark RC geometry.

For a bike that’s been raced to Olympic victory by Jenny Rissveds and Nino Schurter, the Spark RC isn’t exactly what you could call old-school when it comes to its geometry. Compared to previous Spark models, the latest version slackens out the head angle quite a bit, and employs long reach numbers to help increase the front centre length for more stability on the increasingly demanding trails of recent World Cup XCO events.

As for the rest of the bike, it’s got a well-rounded build kit that helps ease the price underneath the £4k mark, with the Spark RC 900 Team being the first rung on the carbon frame ladder (there’s a cheaper alloy Spark RC underneath this one). You’ve got a Fox suspension package, SRAM GX Eagle 1×12 shifting, SRAM Level TL brakes and a healthy dollop of Syncros finishing kit that we’ll give you a closer look at right here.

scott spark rc xc race bike
Scott has made its own integrated upper chainguide. For those who don’t like to leave things to chance.
scott spark rc xc race bike gx eagle
GX Eagle shifting out the back, powered by internally-routed cabling.
scott spark rc xc race bike sram gx eagle
This cassette is probably a bit bigger than the one used on the original 2007 Spark.
scott spark rc xc race bike
The rear SRAM Level brake calliper playing hide ‘n’ seek.
scott spark rc xc race bike
There’s plenty of space for accessing the calliper bolts due to the curved seatstay.
scott spark rc xc race bike
No pivots on the back of this frame. Instead, the carbon fibre seatstay does a smidgen of flexing through the travel.
scott spark rc xc race bike
The biggest aesthetic change on the new Spark is the move to a vertically-mounted shock. The ‘Nude’ shock is made by Fox for Scott, and the trunnion mount sits in a wide-mouth opening in the downtube.
scott spark rc xc race bike
The Nude shock offers three cable-activated settings: 100mm travel, 70mm travel, and locked out.
scott spark rc xc race bike
It’s super clean, with the cable exiting straight into the downtube.
scott spark rc xc race bike
The TwinLoc remote mounts to the bars via the left grip’s locking collar. There are two cables that thread into the remote, as the one lever also activates the fork at the same time.
scott spark rc xc race bike
The Fox 32 SC Float fork has three damper settings: Open, Medium, and Locked.
scott spark rc xc race bike
100mm of Foxy travel for the front of the Spark RC.
scott spark rc xc race bike
Being a 2018 model, it’s got the new EVOL air spring design.
scott spark rc xc race bike
Boost hub spacing features front and rear on the Scott Spark RC.
scott spark rc xc race bike
Syncros wheels are built with 28 straight-pull spokes per wheel.
scott spark rc xc race bike
The alloy rims are tubeless ready with tape and valves out of the box, and they have a 25mm internal rim width.
scott spark rc xc race bike maxxis aspen
These do not look like they’re prepared for what’s to come.
scott spark rc xc race bike
Despite the relaxed angles on the Spark RC, Scott has spec’d it with aggressive-looking flat bars in a 720mm width.
scott spark rc xc race bike
Nice lock-on grips from Syncros, and Level TL brakes from SRAM.
scott spark rc xc race bike
Up periscope! The 70mm long stem gets integrated headset spacers that look rather sweet.
scott spark rc xc race bike
Arse goes here.
scott spark rc xc race bike
Our test bike came with a stealth multi-tool gadget and bottle cage from Syncros.
scott spark rc xc race bike
This tray slides out from underneath the bottle…
scott spark rc xc race bike
…to reveal a chain breaker and multi-tool!
scott spark rc xc race bike
Ready to say goodbye to the wall, and hello to the woods.

With its new frame and contemporary geometry, the Spark RC gives a strong indication of where the demands are now being placed on today’s full suspension XC race bikes. And at least on paper, we quite like what those demands have done to the latest version of the Spark.

Keep an eye out for the next issue of Singletrack Magazine, where we’ll be testing the Spark RC 900 Team against the Giant Anthem Advanced Pro 29er 1 and the Specialized Epic Expert in a full suspension XC race bike shootout. For more information on this bike, head to the Scott Sports website.

scott spark rc xc race bike
Will the Spark light our fire? Or will it smoulder along with our spirits in the British winter?

2018 Scott Spark RC 900 Team Specifications

  • Frame // HMF Carbon Fibre
  • Fork // Fox 32 SC Float, Performance Series, 3-Position Remote Compression Adjustment, 100mm Travel
  • Shock // Fox Nude, Trunnion Mount, 3-Position TwinLoc Remote (100mm/70mm/Locked)
  • Hubs // Syncros XR 2.5, 110x15mm Front & 148x12mm Rear
  • Rims // Syncros XR 2.5, 25mm Internal Rim Width, 28h, Tubeless Ready
  • Tyres // Maxxis Aspen TR 2.25in Front & Rear
  • Chainset // SRAM X1 1000 Alloy, GXP, 32t X-Sync 2 Eagle Chainring
  • Chainguide // Scott Integrated Upper Guide
  • Rear Mech // SRAM GX Eagle, 12-Speed
  • Shifter // SRAM GX Eagle, 12-Speed
  • Cassette // SRAM GX Eagle, 10-50t, 12-Speed
  • Brakes // SRAM Level TL, 180mm Front & 160mm Rear
  • Stem // Syncros XR 1.5, 8° Rise, Length: 60mm (Small), 70mm (Medium), 80mm (Large), 90mm (X-Large)
  • Bars // Syncros FL 1.5 T-Bar, 7050 Alloy, 720mm Wide
  • Grips // Syncros Lock-On, Integrated TwinLoc Remote
  • Seatpost // Syncros FL 1.5, 31.6mm,
  • Saddle // Syncros XR 2.0, Cromoly Rails
  • Size Tested // Medium
  • Sizes available // Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
  • RRP // £3799

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