Scott Spark 10
Price: £3799 or £1949 frame only
From: Scott 01670 712129
There’s no doubting that this is a machine made for going a long way fast. The cockpit is long and rangey and it’s equipped with the latest go-faster bits like DT 240 hubs and full SRAM X-O.
And then you pick it up… It comes in at under 24lbs, even with 2.2in tyres on it.
But trying to build things to a weight usually results in noodle-ville. We had some of our regular test riders take it on the rocky XC trails around here and see where it took them.
The Spark is built in keeping with the other bikes in its full suspension line in that it has a bespoke shock for the job complete with bar-mounted control. In All Travel you’ll get 110mm out of the Spark, but there are two other settings. Traction mode gives you 70mm of travel and Lockout doesn’t give you any. All this is done with a DT-built ‘Nude Shock’ that, as the name suggests, is stripped down to the minimum weight (of 240g).
Riding the Spark is quite a revelation. It doesn’t behave in any of the ways your eyes think it should. I was expecting a no-mercy, minimum travel suspension bike that didn’t actually move under bumps. The reverse is actually true and (in All Travel mode) you’re in danger of hitting trees because you’re looking between your knees at the shock linkage moving like a steam piston. Even on Traction mode, the shock moves well easily under bump force.
Another thing I was expected was a lot of flex from the carbon frame and skinny looking linkages, but that again didn’t happen and the bike honked up hills just fine.
One thing you do need to remember, is to flick the Traction Control lever to match the terrain. As well as changing the amount of travel, it also affects the bike’s attitude. Going from Traction to All Travel, you can feel the bike sink into its sag a little more and the angles slacken off a bit, whereas whacking it into Lockout gets you a rigid and steep hardtail.
Descending on the Spark isn’t the scary experience that some ‘too light’ bikes can be and it’s good to see Scott haven’t gone for 1.7in tyres to keep the weight down. There’s a good ‘bottomless’ feel to the travel, a little like the 100mm travel Cannondale Rush we tested last year.
The Spark is obviously a super-specialised bike for a specific rider. Namely a 5% bodyfat, flat-out, XC, enduro or 24 hour racer. It’s expensive, though not much more than many chi-chi US full sussers and less all-round trail machine and more purebred racer. Saying that though, the frame is guaranteed for five years, including competitive use.
Overall: As long as you’re prepared to use the Tracloc lever nearly as much as you use your gear shifters, you’ll be in for a fast and smooth ride from the Spark.