Scott Spark 720 Plus

With a boost in tire width comes a boost in con­fi­dence on the trails

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - reviewed by Brad Hunter

With a boost in tire width comes a boost in con­fi­dence on the trails

Scott Sports, one of the main­stream bike in­dus­try’s ear­li­est adopters of the 27.5plus tire move­ment, has brought the trac­tion and sta­bil­ity ad­van­tages of this tire size to the newly re­designed Spark. This plus model bridges the gap between the com­pany’s Scale Plus hard­tail and leg­endary all-moun­tain and en­duro Ge­nius Plus and Ge­nius LT Plus mod­els. Spark frames are con­structed in ei­ther all alu­minum, a car­bon main frame with al­loy rear tri­an­gle, or car­bon through­out at the top of the lineup. Sus­pen­sion travel on the Spark 720 Plus is 120 and 130 mm, front and rear re­spec­tively. There’s the Fox 34 Float Per­for­mance fork up front and the trun­nion-mounted Fox Nude Evol shock out back. With this setup, I never felt any harsh bot­tom out as the sus­pen­sion ramps up no­tice­ably in the fi­nal 25 per cent of the travel. When I ran the fork slightly firmer, it pro­vided a bal­anced feel front to back. The Spark em­ploys the pro­pri­etary han­dle­bar re­mote called the Twin­loc sys­tem. It fea­tures three po­si­tions: de­scend, trac­tion and locked. While climb­ing, I found the shorter 85-mm rear travel in the trac­tion set­ting a must as it kept the bot­tom bracket height higher and pedal strikes less com­mon. In the open/ de­scend mode, the plush­ness is no­tice­able as soon as you sit on the sad­dle. This fea­ture com­bined with the sup­ple 2.8" Maxxis Rekon tires run at sub-20 p.s.i. means you are in for a com­fort­able ride. Wet or dry, just get this bike rolling, stay light on the brakes and this ma­chine will eat up roots, rocks and small drops eas­ily. With a more ag­gres­sive tire choice, this bike could start to tackle more chal­leng­ing ter­rain but the faster rolling tread of the Rekon makes the miles pass by with­out much ef­fort.

The Syn­cros-branded com­po­nents and cock­pit from Scott tie the bike to­gether well. The 35-mm wide tube­less-ready rims came pre-taped and aired up eas­ily with a quick valve in­stall and a healthy dose of sealant.

sram’s GX1 1 x 11 driv­e­train runs a sen­si­ble 30-tooth front ring. The bike does ride live­lier than the 30.5 lb. listed in the specs, so don’t let the weight scare you. The top-line car­bon mod­els do come in lighter at a sub­stan­tial price in­crease, but these bikes are not likely on many hard-core rac­ers’ radars. If your wish list in­cludes a front de­railleur, you have two op­tions out of the four men’s mod­els and both of the Contessa women’s mod­els.

Ge­om­e­try wise, the de­sign­ers have for­gone any ad­justa­bil­ity and have used mid­dle-of-the-road num­bers that should suf­fice for a typ­i­cal XC trail rider. An ag­gres­sive rider will most likely steer to the Ge­nius lineup, which does of­fer a high/steep and low/slack set­ting. The Fox Trans­fer post took a lit­tle get­ting used to as the re­turn speed is faster than I’m used to. But now on my own bike, I no­tice the de­lay in get­ting my sad­dle back where I need it.

With the Spark Plus se­ries, Scott has cre­ated a se­ries of bikes that make learn­ing new moun­tain bike skills safer and more fun. The 720 will help a new rider to progress solidly and with con­fi­dence.

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