Scott Sports and Nino Schurter have teased that a new bike is coming tomorrow, and we think it might be a new Spark cross-country bike.
Cross-country bike launches from the big manufacturers usually follow the Olympics schedule, releasing a new bike every four years for the best riders to use in the most prestigious sporting event in the world. This time around it hasn't been as simple, with Tokyo 2020 getting postponed, so brands were left holding their cards close to their chests waiting to see what would happen.
So we expect to start seeing a whole host of new cross-country tech in the lead-up to the rescheduled Olympic Games, which runs from 23 July to 8 August 2021. It seems the first out of the blocks is Scott, who today, along with cross-country legend and 2016 Olympic Gold medallist Nino Schurter, teased at a new bike coming tomorrow.
While the video offers little detail to speculate on, the fact that Schurter has shared this means it's almost definitely going to be a new Spark. Keen to defend his Olympic Gold and drawing from his unmatched cross-country racing successes, Schurter has likely had a lot of input into the new bike.
When we tested the current Spark for our Scott Spark RC 900 Team Issue AXS review we remarked that despite being an all-out race bike it was still incredibly fun to ride. With Scott and Schurter both tagging their teaser posts #fastisfun, we suspect this is a trait that will be carried forward into the new bike.
When the current Spark was released it was one of the first XC bikes that introduced slacker, more capable geometry and arguably transformed XC racing, as well as paving the way for downcountry. Tracks are now becoming rougher and more technical and brands are responding with slacker bikes. We expect that Scott will continue this trend. The current Spark has a 67.5-degree head angle and a shortish reach so we speculate that the front end will be closer to 66-degrees with a longer wheelbase and top tube to match.
The suspension is very likely to get an overhaul as well. While the Spark's suspension system is incredibly effective, there is good reasoning to think that Scott is going to make a big update. Back in 2019, Scott acquired a majority share in fellow Swiss brand Bold Cycles - a small brand specializing in a unique frame-integrated rear suspension design which it uses on its trail and enduro bikes.
While it's hard to make out as Schurter flies by at speed, it does look as if the seat stays might be dropped, which could be an indication that Scott has borrowed Bold Cycles' suspension tech for its new bike. If this is the case we expect that Scott will blend the integrated shock position with flex stays to produce an ultra-light 100mm race bike.
An integrated system brings many advantages. Bold says that building the frame around the pivot positions and shock allows the suspension to be designed with fewer compromises. It also keeps the weight very low in the frame for better handling and protects the shock from trail debris and dirt.
Bold Cycles also has a flip-chip system on its bikes that give four different chainstay length and bottom bracket height options however only time will tell if something like this will be included in the 2022 Spark. What we can say confidently is that Scott will carry forth its TwinLoc lock-out system which proves popular and effective and features across almost every full-suspension bike in Scott's range. The bad news is, unless Schurter wasn't feeling thirsty when he shot his teaser, it appears that there is still only one bottle cage.
Update: Kate Courtney has also joined in on sharing teasers of Scott's new bike, in her picture most of the bike is obscured although there are a few details that can be spotted. We can see a low-slung top tube that is straight rather than kinked like the previous Spark and doesn't look too dissimilar to the Bold Cycles top tube. Stand over height looks extremely low as well, although this might be accentuated by the frame size being ridden. Courtney, who is 163 cm tall, will be riding the same size bike as her Scott Scale RC which is a size small.
It's hard to make out but it appears that there are only two visible cables at the front of Courtney's bike. Based on the picture shared by Syncros which shows internal routing through the stem and into the frame, it's safe to assume that one of these is the front brake hose and the other is the TwinLoc lockout for the front fork. Syncros' picture of an integrated bar stem which is captioned 'Fast is Fun! 4pm CET 09.06.21 Stay tuned!' shows what looks like a very short stem length which could back up our theory that the Spark will feature more progressive geometry.
For now, all we can do is wait with bated breath to see what Scott unveils at 4 pm CET tomorrow.
Scott released the current Spark back in 2016 and over the last five years, thanks to the prowess of Scott's race team, has been piloted to success at the most prestigious XCO and MTB marathon events including the Absa Cape Epic. Even after such a long product cycle, it's still one of the best bikes around and a platform that Scott affectionally refers to as the “winningest full suspension mountain bike to date”.