The Singletrack Staffers pick the standout products and locations from their riding year. This article was originally published in Singletrack Magazine Issue 140.
The year has felt a little like approaching that nemesis feature on the trail: you roll up to it full of optimism, then at the last minute pull on the brakes in an attack of ‘nope’. Whether it was a ping that put paid to yet another plan, or a shipping container that didn’t arrive as expected (by now, perhaps, that should be ‘as expected, a shipping container didn’t arrive’), we had plenty of interruptions along the way. However, our northern hills had an unusually dry summer, so we managed a decent spell of short-sleeved riding on our doorstep, and there were a few chances to get further afield that we grasped and enjoyed. Like that trail feature, once we cleared it, the elation at meeting friends, riding new trails and generally enjoying bikes was all the sweeter.
Chipps – Editor At Large
It’s been a busy old year for me, what with getting engaged, moving house across town, getting married and then stepping into the Editor at Large role here at Singletrack. I can confirm that having both moving and marriage, two of the most stressful things you can do, plus an ongoing pandemic, in a single year, hasn’t been conducive to fitness and riding. However, it has all made me appreciate those times when I have been able to get out and steal an hour or two on the hills. And with the year closing, the opportunity for some more extensive wild and woolly riding is beckoning!
Scott Spark RC
I reviewed the previous Scott Spark over the summer in issue 138, but even as that issue was being printed, I was able to get an early go on its successor; the NEW Scott Spark RC – and what a difference, both visually and performance-wise, it was.
The Spark RC is Scott’s 120mm/120mm top-end, Olympic racing cross-country bike and the new model had benefitted from an extra year of development thanks to the delayed Olympics. What came out was a paradigm shift from the already-fast bike that had come before. The new RC features a hidden rear shock, giving neater lines and fewer ledges for that heavy mud to gather on. Angles have been tweaked to 67°/76° (with adjustable headset cups for another half a degree to hand) and the reach is nearer all-round trail bikes than before. Oh, and it looks killer!
The best bit, though, is the ride. Thanks to Scott’s persistence with its Traction Control System, there’s an instant lockout, or half-travel mode always on hand. Combining this with a longer reach and some tamer angles, it means that, for a pure race bike, it goes downhill way faster than before, while still stomping up every climb. It’s a true ‘Turn yourself inside out, just for fun’ machine. And with a 130/120mm Trail version out there too, it might change your mind about what ‘short’ travel bikes are capable of. It has mine.
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