Scott Ransom 900 RC first ride review – hidden shock and six-bar linkage are a hi-tech tour de force

Scott’s big travel race bike gets a radical revamp to prove there’s still life in the enduro market

What is a hands on review?
Scott Ransom 900 RC first ride review
(Image: © Daniel Geiger)

Early Verdict

Hiding the shock has created one of the cleanest enduro bikes on the market, but it’s the six-bar linkage, proprietary TracLoc travel, and geometry adjustment that make the Ransom a lethal enduro race bike.

Pros

  • +

    Sleek carbon frame hides the shock and the cables

  • +

    On-the-fly travel and geometry adjustment

  • +

    Fast, both up and down

  • +

    Excellent dropper post insertion

Cons

  • -

    Complex linkage uses lots of bearing

  • -

    Shock is more difficult to access and set up

  • -

    No proportional chainstays to optimize balance

  • -

    Headset-routed cables are tricky to work on

Why trust BikePerfect Our cycling experts have decades of testing experience. We'll always share our unbiased opinions on bikes and gear. Find out more about how we test.

After remaining unchanged for five years, Scott brings its Ransom bang up to date with a hidden shock, sophisticated six-bar linkage, internal tool storage and maximum wheel and shock compatibility. This comprehensive makeover, along with impressive ride and handling, rightfully earns the Scott Ransom 900 RC a spot among the best enduro bikes currently on sale.  

Scott Ransom 900 RC pictured from the side

Scott has yet again done a vanishing act on the shock (Image credit: Daniel Geiger)

Design and geometry

Although the old Ransom was far from a turkey – in fact sister-site MBR rated it very highly when they tested it in 2018 – Scott was always going to stuff the shock inside the frame, à la Spark and Genius, when it came time to baste the new design. While technically challenging, hiding the suspension produces an incredibly crisp and sleek look that simplifies cleaning, means there’s less to get damaged in a crash, and helps sterilize the shock from dirt, grit, and other contaminants. On the flip side, it does make adjusting the suspension a little more involved, but removing the plastic cover is simple, and the external sag indicator means you don’t need to peer inside the frame cavity to check the O-ring. 

Despite being enclosed in the frame, Scott says there is sufficient space for coil shocks from Fox, Ohlins, and Marzocchi. We also quizzed Scott about whether the lack of airflow negatively affects damping performance. It told us that it hadn’t seen instances where this happens, and because there’s less variation in temperatures, the damping actually remains more consistent and predictable. In the time frame we had to test the bike, it wasn't possible to confirm or disprove this observation. 

Scott Ransom 900 RC concealed shock detail

Scott says there is room inside the frame for coil shocks from Fox, Ohlins, and Marzocchi (Image credit: Daniel Geiger)

In addition to the concealed shock, Scott has pushed the boat out with the Ransom’s new linkage design. It’s a six-bar system, delivering 170mm of travel, where the shock link rotates around the bottom bracket and the upper and lower links are tied together by two uprights. The reason for this move is to give the engineers tighter control of individual suspension parameters, specifically leverage rate, anti-squat, and anti-rise. 

Intrinsic to the suspension and geometry of the Ransom is Scott’s venerable TracLoc system. The beauty of TracLoc is that it effectively changes the travel and dynamic geometry at the press of a lever, to give you a bike that feels fast and capable on the descents, as well as tight and efficient on the climbs. One click of the lever reduces the volume of the Fox Float X Nude shock, making the bike sit higher, steepening the angles, and making it much harder to use all the travel. A further click adds a load of compression damping, reducing pedal-bob. 

Unlike the previous Ransom, this is only hooked up to the shock, so you don’t have to compromise on fork performance. As such, the Ransom 900 RC comes with the excellent Fox 38 Float Factory with GRIP2 damper. 

While all the Ransom models come out of the box with 29in wheels front and rear, Scott has incorporated a flip-chip to retain the geometry if you want to fit a 27.5in rear wheel. Effectively it raises the bottom bracket and steepens the head and seat angles, but it also shortens the chainstays by around 8mm, which will only further complement the handling of the smaller wheel. 

Scott Ransom 900 RC Syncros Hixon IC handlebar and stem detail

The Syncros Hixon IC handlebar and stem may divide opinions, particularly if your fussy about handlebar setup (Image credit: Daniel Geiger)

That’s not the only geometry adjustment available. At the head tube, there’s an insert system that gives three different head angles, from 63.8 degrees to 65 degrees. Four frame sizes are offered, with reach measurements from 428mm to 508mm in the slackest setting. At 178cm I rode the size large, which has a 483mm reach. 

Two levels of carbon lay-up are offered, with the top-end HMX reserved for the 900 RC model tested here. Every other model in the range uses a heavier HMF carbon mainframe with alloy seat and chainstays.

Held in a bracket integrated into the shock cover is a multi-tool, while the downtube houses a slide-out tray in which you can stash an inner tube, chain tool, and tire levers. 

Scott Ransom 900 RC pictured from front quarter

The Ransom 900 RC model comes equipped with the latest and greatest components (Image credit: Daniel Geiger)

Components and build

At just under £10k, the Ransom 900 RC is bristling with high-end componentry. From the Fox Factory suspension with Kashima coating to the latest T-Type SRAM X0 AXS wireless drivetrain, there’s nothing left wanting. 

Some of the component highlights are the Maxxis Assegai/Dissector tires that maximize grip at the front and minimize drag at the rear. Both are in enduro-appropriate casings and compounds. I also loved the 180mm long dropper with its light action and adjustable travel. Less impressive are the hard Scott grips, racy Syncros Tofino saddle, and one-piece Syncros Hixon IC handlebar and stem. Personally, I’d rather have a separate bar and stem to make cockpit tweaks simpler and cheaper. 

Scott Ransom 900 RC being jumped on a trail

The Ransom felt responsive on descents (Image credit: Daniel Geiger)

Ride and performance

It’s rare to review an enduro bike and start by talking about the climbing performance, but Scott’s Ransom takes no prisoners on the ascents, which means you can either go faster, or save energy – both vital advantages when it comes to enduro racing. 

Credit for this uphill prowess goes to the high anti-squat combined with Scott’s excellent TracLoc system. In Climb mode, with maximum damping, the Ransom channeled all of my energy into forward momentum on smooth fire roads and asphalt transitions. In Ramp mode, the damping is reduced, so I still enjoyed excellent traction, but the bottom bracket is higher to give more pedal clearance, and the angles are steeper, which rotated my weight forward and kept the front wheel planted. It works extremely well, whether lunging up technical sections or blasting out of the saddle towards the finish line. 

Fortunately, the Ransom is no one-trick pit pony. It can hustle the descents just as effectively as it can get to the top. Again, TracLoc gives it an advantage here, as I could run more sag, for extra comfort and grip, without compromising pedal performance, Ramp Mode being so easy to activate via the handlebar remote. 

And it’s on the way down that I really noticed the work of the six-bar linkage. Supple over small bumps, as it gets into the mid-stroke the Ransom held me up on a cushion of support that kept the geometry stable and let me pump for speed and pop for gaps. 

Getting full travel takes quite an effort, even with 35 percent sag, but it’s there when you need it – evidenced by a couple of times I nudged the sag indicator all the way to its end stop. 

The solid frame responds accurately and almost effortlessly to changes of direction, but never feels harsh or unforgiving. And the low standover meant I could really maximize my range of motion on the rough granite slabs where the launch was held.  

Scott Ransom 900 RC being ridden over rocks

The new six-bar linkage offers a supple yet supportive suspension platform (Image credit: Daniel Geiger)

Verdict

Scott’s Ransom gives you two bikes in one, where switching between efficient climbing and eye-watering downhill performance comes at the press of a lever. It’s a laser-focused enduro race bike in that respect, but it’s also easy to ride and fun to hustle. You’ll need a suitcase full of used notes to afford the top 900 RC model, but if you can afford it, you won’t be disappointed. 

Test conditions

  • Terrain: Rough, granite singletrack with deep holes, square-edge kerbs and exposed roots. Steep sections and loose dust. Fire-road climbs
  • Conditions: Dusty and loose with grippy rock
  • Temperature: 57 degrees F / 14 degrees C

Tech specs: Scott Ransom 900 RC

  • Price: $9,999.99 / £9,799.00 / €9,999.90
  • Frame: HMX carbon, 170/140mm travel
  • Fork: Fox 38 Float Factory GRIP2, 170mm travel (44mm offset)
  • Shock: Fox Float X Nude Factory (205x65mm)  
  • Head tube angle: 63.1 degrees
  • Seat tube angle: 77.4 degrees
  • Reach: 483mm
  • Weight: 15.76kg
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X0 Eagle crank, 32t, 165mm, SRAM AXS 12-speed shifter and X0 Eagle AXS T-Type r-mech
  • Brakes: SRAM Code Ultimate Stealth, four-piston, 200/200mm
  • Wheels: Race Face Turbine R30 wheels
  • Tires: Maxxis Assegai EXO+ MG/Dissector DD MT 29x2.5/2.4in tires
  • Seatpost: Syncros Duncan 1.5S dropper post 180mm
  • Saddle: Syncros Tofino 1.5 Ti saddle
  • Bars: Syncros Hixon Ic 40mm stem/780mm bars
  • Stem: Syncros Hixon Ic 40mm stem/780mm bars
  • Rival products: Trek Slash, Canyon Strive, Specialized Enduro
Danny Milner
MBR editor

Danny is the editor of our sister site, MBR.co.uk, and has worked on the mag and website since 2002. In that time he's tested literally hundreds of mountain bikes. Danny has been heavily involved in racing over the years, taking part in Crankworx, Tweedlove and many other events. As well as his local trails in the Surrey Hills, his favorite places to ride include the Wye Valley, Torridon, La Thuile, Davos and Whistler.


Height: 178cm

Weight: 76kg

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.