After being introduced back in 2008 Scott's Spark has now reached its fourth generation and this time around, it's seen an impressive host of changes. Most notably, the new bike uses the brand's Integrated Suspension Technology, hiding the shock within the frame. The bike also gets a new suspension kinematic, an updated geometry, and new internal cable routing.
The new Spark comes in two categories, the cross country focussed RC and the short travel trail-oriented Spark 900. Both of the categories use the very same frame with 120mm of rear-wheel travel but the 900 comes with a larger shock, a longer 130mm travel fork (the RC gets 120mm), wider bars and trail focussed tyres.
The most obvious update on the new Spark is that neatly hidden shock. Scott has dubbed this 'Integrated Suspension Technology' and the brand has taken this approach because it has allowed the designers to refine the bike's suspension characteristics without sacrificing weight, it's said.
Scott has shifted in this direction to minimise lateral movement in the shock in the name of marginal gains (at this level of bike, any gain is massively important). The frame construction around the shock, and with a trunnion mount means that it can be built to be more rigid, enabling greater power transfer, says the brand.
It uses a single pivot suspension design with the shock being accessible via a door just above the bottom bracket. Then there are markings on the seat tube to help set your sag.
It's also allowed much larger bearings to be fitted to the seat tube pivot, further reinforcing this area of the frame. This design has enabled the designers to mount the shock much lower in the frame too, making for a lower centre of gravity.
On the subject of suspension, this generation of the Spark sees in a new kinematic with less unsprung mass, using a flex pivot in the seat stay to keep weight low.
Other cool features that come on the new frame is that it's designed around a 55mm chainline which does a few things. Firstly it's said to allow for greater tyre clearance without sacrificing stiffness and it leaves space for a 40t chainring. There's also space for two water bottles in the frame.
Then in true Scott fashion, the Spark comes with Scott's Twinloc suspension system which allows riders to lock out the suspension on the fly.
There's also a tool built into the rear axle which, on this bike, features a T25, T30 and a 6mm Allen key all in one and that means that this one little tool can adjust all of the pivot hardware, and nearly everything else on the bike.
The bike gets an all-new Fraser IC Combo from Synchros that runs the cables underneath the bar and around the sides of the stem before being routed through the headset. This avoids kinks and bends in the cables and results in a super tidy front end.
Finally, the headset can be rotated to offer .6° of head angle adjustment.
When deciding on the Spark's geometry, Scott has ignored current trends in favour of a more scientific approach with help from Swiss Biomechanics and the Scott-SRAM MTB Racing Team.
The RC gets a 67.2° head tube angle and a 437.5mm chainstay. On a large frame, you'll find a 471mm reach and a 76.6° seat tube angle.
The Spark 900 models see in a 65.8° head angle and a 470mm reach on a large, with a 76.5° seat tube angle.
There are 21 models in the new Spark range and that includes several alloy models that get all of the same features that you'll find on the carbon-framed bikes, including the Integrated Suspension Tech. That includes four women's specific models with one RC and three 900 models that get women's specific touchpoints and custom suspension tunes.
All bikes come in four sizes, from S to XL and prices start at £2,200 for the Spark 970 and go right up to £12,000 for the Spark 900 Ultimate EVO AXS and Spark RC SL EVO AXS.
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