Scott Scale 720 Plus

Big tires ex­pand your per­for­mance

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - TRAIL TEST - Re­viewed by

PMatt Stet­son

lus size, mid-fat – call it what you like. Man­u­fac­tur­ers are adopt­ing this tire size and each is putting its own spin on it. The Scale 720 Plus is Scott’s en­try into the cat­e­gory. With a 2.8"-wide tires on a 27.5" x 40-mm wide rims, you have se­ri­ous rub­ber mak­ing contact with the dirt. Trac­tion is king when it comes to larger tires. Also, it seems the plus-size tire does not suf­fer the same slow rolling and pogo-stick-like feel that its fat-bike brethren do.

When in­stalled on a 27.5" wheel, plus-size tires cre­ate an over­all wheel di­am­e­ter that is al­most equal to that of a stan­dard 29"-wheel moun­tain bike. Hav­ing rid­den many hard­tail 29" bikes, I wanted to see how the Scale Plus com­pared. Ini­tially, the bike did feel a lit­tle bouncy. With so much vol­ume to play with in these tires, it took me a few laps to re­ally dial in the air pres­sure. I set­tled on 17 p.s.i. in the rear and 15 p.s.i. in the front. The 720 is quite light. Not car­bon, race-bike light. But it was easy to ac­cel­er­ate and get the bike up to speed off the line and out of the cor­ners. With Sch­walbe 2.8" Rocket Ron tires and a slack head-tube an­gle (67.6 de­grees), you can tear around cor­ners faster than you ever could on a 29" race bike. On cor­ners where there is lit­tle to no berm, you can re­ally lean the bike over and trust that you won’t wash out. I was skep­ti­cal about how the bike would climb be­cause of its slacker ge­om­e­try, but I found the higher-vol­ume tires will con­form to most rocks and roots, al­low­ing you to put the power down and crawl over al­most any­thing. Ped­alling out of the sad­dle over root sec­tions feels like climb­ing a set of stairs as the bike hooks up so well. With the tires pro­vid­ing such a large contact patch, you can re­ally get over the front end with­out the rear wheel slip­ping. On de­scents, I found the only lim­it­ing fac­tor to be speed it­self. With so much trac­tion and the slack ge­om­e­try, charg­ing down­hill feels ef­fort­less. It’s easy to gain con­fi­dence, over cook into tech­ni­cal sec­tions and get bounced around and off line. The larger-vol­ume tires al­most make you for­get you’re rid­ing a hard­tail. How­ever, if you carry too much speed into a rock gar­den or through some big bumps, you may get a harsh re­minder.

The Scale 720 Plus comes with an alu­minum frame, out­fit­ted with a Sun­tour Raidon RL-R front fork. The fork comes with an air spring, 15-mm thu axle, ta­pered steer tube, re­mote lock­out and re­bound ad­just. Al­though the small-bump sen­si­tiv­ity was not great, the higher vol­ume tires helped to make that is­sue less no­tice­able. I was never im­pressed with the per­for­mance of the fork, but I also never felt hin­dered by it. A host of house­brand Syn­cros parts make up most of the build with ex­cep­tions be­ing the Shi­mano 2 x 10 driv­e­train (a mix of XT and De­ore) and the Shi­mano M425 brakes.

The Scale 720 Plus was an ab­so­lute blast to ride. It is light and fast enough to keep up on cross coun­try rides. It also has enough travel and tire vol­ume to hold its own when the trail turns rowdy. The Scale 720 Plus is a very ca­pa­ble bike over­all.

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