The New Scott Scale RC
Scott have always been able to produce lightweight hardtail mountain bikes suitable for hitting the top step of the podium in cross country races or for blasting through the local forests and over the moors. The Scott Scale has taken numerous wins on the world cup cross country stage and has undoubtedly been developed with these races in mind. You don't have to be Nino Schurter or Kate Courtney to get your hands on this thoroughbred xc bike though, the new Scott Scale RC has just been unveiled!
Why choose a hardtail mountain bike?
There are numerous benefits to designing a cross country bike as a hardtail. The most obvious of these reasons is that they tend to be lighter than a full suspension mountain bike, particularly if they are a carbon hardtail mountain bike. Without having to carry a rear shock, a suspension linkage and having to reinforce the frame to take the stresses involved with a full suspension XC bike, the best hardtail mountain bikes can weigh under 10kg/22lbs! In a race this weight saving over a full sus bike can provide an edge on the climbs where more time can be made up, and for the every day rider it can make it easier to get over fences and gates or carry up the most epic of hike-a-bike excursions.
Another reason for going with a mountain bike hardtail over full suspension is that adding suspension to a bike tends to come at a cost. The standard of components on a hardtail mountain bike are likely to be higher than those on a full suspension mountain bike of the same price, simply because there are more components on a full sus than a hardtail.
It is definitely a benefit having a former elite women's world champion and ten times elite men's world champion as your development riders! With input from the world's best athletes, there is no doubt at all that Scott set out to make the best hardtail mountain bike possible in this latest iteration of the Scott Scale RC. To quickly summarise the changes over the previous version, the new Scale RC is lighter, more efficient and handles better, but below we'll go into more detail about what makes the new Scale RC the ultimate XC mountain bike.
Bottle Cage Mounts
Hollow Dropout Construction
Accessing the internally routed cables and hoses for disc brakes or a dropper post is made easier through a neat access door near the bottom bracket shell. This also eliminates the need to remove the bottom bracket to perform any maintenance. The usual alloy bottle cage mounts have been replaced with polymer inserts which can be configured in two different positions and helps towards the overall weight loss of the new Scale RC. The dropout is now a hollow construction and allows the head of the thru axle to sit completely flush with the frame. This configuration shaves 20g from this area of the frame over the previous Scott Scale frame.
Internal Headset Routing
Monocoque Frame Construction
Keeping the cockpit tidy is the new Syncros Fraser iC handlebar and stem combo. These handlebars feature a single piece bar and stem with cable routing integrated into the under-side of the bar. Cables are then taken through the headset and run completely interally through the frame. Care has been taken when creating the routing to ensure that there are no kinks or harsh bends that may hinder the performance of the hoses and cables. As modern courses now demand more from the cross country mountain bike, an angle adjust headset can be used to make the head angle 0.6 degrees slacker or steeper to suit the terrain.
As previously mentioned, not all XC bikes are always used between the tapes and so the cockpit now offers an integrated mount for a bike light or camera to be used.
The new Scott Scale RC frame is constructed from carbon fibre which allows different areas of the bike's frame to be tuned for different characteristics. The monocoque construction uses a single mould for the front triangle, and the whole frame consists of only three pieces, moulded together. The result is a more efficient design that decreases weight while maintaining all of the stiffness; something that is key to creating the best mountain bike hardtails.
This article has focused a lot on saving weight over the previous version as this is something very important with cross country mountain bikes. So, how much weight has been saved? The new HMX-SL Scale RC frame weighs in at 847g, saving 32g over the previous iteration, while the HMX comes in at 915g saving 57g and the HMF frame weighs 1013g, saving 126g. While these weight savings might not necessarily strike you as huge, it has to be remembered that this has been acheived on top of adding all of the features above.
The Best Cross Country Mountain Bike?
While the current Scott Scale is definitely amongst the best hardtail mountain bikes 2022, and the new version will certainly earn it's place alongside the cross country bikes on the world stage, it is difficult to say what would categorically be the best. If you are looking for an extremely capable, fast, efficient Scott hardtail mountain bike then this is the bike for you. At Westbrook Cycles, we think that the best XC mountain bike 2022 was the full sus sibling to the Scale, the Scott Spark.