Scott Spark 940
SCOTT SPARK 940 There has been a complete overhaul by the Swiss bicycle company Scott of its Spark and Scale mountain-bike lines. With an impressive 25 different models using different frame materials, geometries, wheel sizes and componentry, the choice c
Pedal Magazine chose to test the Scott Spark 940, an All-Mountain full-suspension top-spec’ed aluminum model, giving an average mountain biker a closer look. Available in either a 27.5” wheel or 29” wheel, this option is certainly a pleasure upon purchase.
Let’s begin with its frame geometry, which boasts a steeper seat angle, slacker head angle, shorter chainstays and a longer frame for 2017. All of this has a significant impact on one’s ride, as Scott’s engineers have been busy redefining this frame. Other major changes include the placement of the rear shock. In past models, Scott used a vertical shock, but have now chosen a horizontal shock mounted to the bottom bracket. Using a Fox Nude CTD shock, the new single-pivot linkage provides increased stiffness, a longer stroke and better suspension than the old design, as well as a lower center of overall gravity to the bike.
No longer does the frame have seatstay pivots, as the new design relies on the natural flex of the stays. Here, a new brake mount has been designed that is anchored directly to the chainstay and wheel axle, providing great braking force.
The new Scott Spark 940 also incorporates Boost 148 axle spacing into its frame design, with the forks sporting the Boost 110 axle spacing. This creates a stiffer wheel, increased clearance for big tires and the ability to adjust the wheel position to shorten the chainstay length.
The frame’s suspension provides 120mm travel both front and rear. The Fox 34 Float Fit front fork can be programmed from the cockpit. The handlebar lever now sits on the left side where you can switch from descend, traction and fully locked-out mode. On the right is the lever that controls the 125mm Fox transfer drop-post. All cables are run internally, which reduces the number of cable stops and other hardware to save weight and improve aesthetics.
There is more improvement with the DT Swiss thru-axle and removable Torx 25 handle for trail-side adjustments. A custom chainguide and a Syncros SL seat (XR 2.0), bar (740mm) and stem (70mm) combination look great on this frame.
Dressed in a Shimano Deore XT 2X 11-speed drivetrain (with the exception of a SLX cassette 11-42), the bike is available in a 1X or 2X system. Sitting beneath this machine is a fine pair of 29” wheels with Deore hubs and Syncros X-23 rims on a Maxxis Forecaster tire, which is tubeless-ready.
I hauled my Scott Spark 940 across the border and down to Allegany State Park to test this ride in an appropriate setting of switchback descents and rooty singletrack. Dialling in the suspension and tire pressure is a must for this kind of ride, and Glen at Front Row Sports in Thorold, Ont. was more than happy to make that happen.
Straight away, the Spark 940 is a comfortable ride, with one’s arms out wide on the 740mm bars, but tightly positioned in the cockpit and balanced nicely. Sitting and climbing are a joy, as the bike tracks nicely and its shifting is crisp and tight, even tighter when one switches to “lock-out” position – it’s so nice to do this on the fly. When one stands on the pedals, the frame’s rigidity and strength are evident.
On the way down, there were big smiles. The 120mm of travel soaks up the
29” differential and then some. There is a superb feeling of control and balance as the bike whips in and out of turns. Being able to use the drop-post is a rare occurrence in these parts, but it comes in handy on steep sections.
Braking was outstanding at the worst of times, and I was thankful for that. With this ride, it is easy to run faster on trickier sections, as it inspires confidence and begs you to bury the front end into turns to see if the rear can respond.
Overall, for an All-Mountain classification, the bike has a plush feeling of stability and control. The componentry, geometry and design all contribute nicely to this sensation with a flow to get up and down any terrain in style.
The Scott Spark 940 is a wonderfully spec’ed All-Mountain machine ready for the abuse bestowed on it by the weekend warrior, 24-Hour participant or pleasure-seeker. If a lighter, more aggressive race frame is desired, the RC models are the way to go. With a number of models to consider in both the Spark and Scale ranges, deciding on one may be more enjoyable than you think.
The Scott Spark 940 is a wonderfully spec’ed AllMountain machine ready for the abuse bestowed on it by the weekend warrior, 24-Hour participant or pleasure-seeker.