Givisiez, Switzerland. June 2021. For years, the Spark family of bikes here at SCOTT has been a cornerstone of our success in the mountain bike industry. From World Cup win to World Cup win, to riding singletrack kingdom's and everything in between, the Spark RC and Spark 900 line of bikes have been constant go-to's for riders of all abilities all over the world. For 2022, the all-new Spark is set to continue this heritage on race tracks and trails for years to come.
Building on success - now in it's fourth generation, the Spark made it's way into our lives back in 2008. Since then, it's given us the highest of highs on and off the race track. Several World Championships, dozens of World Cup Wins, some special shiny medals and countless good times on the trails later, the newest Spark platform is something else. How do you improve upon the best? Let's find out.
Integrated Suspension Technology
Now, a more noticeable change is that we’ve moved to a frame platform with an integrated shock. If we take a deeper look, this approach allows us to refine suspension characteristics without sacrificing weight. Often, when working with bikes at this level, the concept of marginal gains becomes an ever important one. For the optimal performance of a suspension shock, power transfer must be the most direct possible. What we want to avoid are any inefficient directional movements, in other words, lateral movements (sideways to the direction of travel) as the shock goes through its compression.
Having an integrated shock allows us to improve this in several ways. Firstly, the frame construction around the shock and with the trunnion mount can be designed to be much more rigid, reducing movement and fostering more efficient power transfer. We can also add much larger bearings to the seat tube pivot, further reinforcing this area and reducing any unnecessary motion. Our Integrated Suspension Technology also helps us to engineer frames with a lower shock placement which lowers center of gravity. As a result, the bike benefits from better handling, and a more stable, confidence inspiring ride for the end user.
This single pivot suspension layout is based on our patented integrated suspension technology. Looking through to the frame we see how the link is connected to the shock.
Suspension Layout - Kinematic
A full suspension bike will never have success without, well, good suspension design. From the first time we rode the Spark’s single pivot layout we fell in love. Years later, we still believe that for technical cross-country racing and fast, punchy singletrack it is the best approach. The Spark’s suspension layout has a very specific and proven kinematic and less unsprung mass. Using a flex pivot in the seat stay is an ideal solution for bikes in this travel range. This allows us to keep a very lightweight system while still ensuring optimal suspension performance.
Geometry & Frame Design
When deciding on the Geometry for the Spark Platform, we decided to look towards Science rather than trends. We worked closely with SWISS BIOMECHANICS to do so, particularly in collaboration with the SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing Team. We aimed to have one frame platform that could be the world’s fastest and most capable XC race bike and an ultra-dynamic trail bike all in one. One thing we wanted to achieve was to have a similar pedaling position for both the RC and the 900. Both of the bikes are meant to be punchy, quick accelerators when stood up or sat down. With the built in ability to modify the head angle, we can run a longer, trail oriented fork on the 900, or a fork with slightly less travel on the RC that can easily be used for a more aggressive position on the bike for racing. The result? An XC bike that has the ability to descend like a trail bike without sacrificing anything when you need to put the hammer down, and a trail bike that can fly up the hill, and excel even more on the way back down.
SYNCROS Fraser iC Combo
The New Spark features an all-new Fraser iC combo from Syncros. Integrating the cables presents a number of unique problems and the Fraser was designed in part to address this. Syncros’s designers worked on the shape to allow the cables to flow under the bar and around the sides of the stem before disappearing into the headset with integrated plastic parts to keep it clean and efficient. This avoids bends or kinks in the cables and provides a minimalist front end. All our bars and stems feature multiple options for computer, light and camera mounts both on top or under the bar.
"It's safe to say that I've had a lot of success in recent years with the Spark. From the first moment I stepped on this new version, I knew that I have every chance to continue that success for years to come. From the geometry to the integration, the all new Spark RC takes everything I loved about the previous version and makes it so much better." - Nino Schurter, 8x World Champion, European Champion and Olympic Champion, SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing
TwinLoc Suspension System
The spark features our TwinLoc suspension system. The TwinLoc suspension system is a proprietary Scott suspension System that works by connecting the shock, fork, and ultimately the frame via a handlebar remote. With the remote, the user has the ability to choose from three ride modes; descend, traction control, and lockout, effectively changing the bikes geometry, suspension damping and spring curve simultaneously.
With TwinLoc, you can have three bikes in one. This is particularly important for technical cross country racing and fast, punchy trail rides. Need the most efficient bike for the sprint out of the gate or for getting to the trailhead? Lockout mode is perfect for that. Technical single track, or punchy climbs where traction and power transfer are key? Switch to traction control mode and off you go. When you get to the top and it’s time to give it your all on the descents, open up the suspension in downhill mode to take advantage of everything the Spark has to offer. Our new lever also features the dropper post actuation below the bar. This ergonomic solution puts all of the bike’s controls in one place making them easily accessible on the fly.
The ALL-NEW Spark Range - RC vs. 900
There are 21 Spark models to choose from. The range is split into two categories, the XC-race oriented RC, and the short-travel, trail oriented Spark 900.
While both categories of Spark utilize the same frame, the bikes have many differences. Compared to the Spark RC, the 900 comes with a more trail oriented spec: a larger shock, a longer travel fork, wider bars, trail focused tires and so on.
"I really dig riding short travel trail bikes, but with the descending capabilities of the new Spark 900, there's a fear my enduro bike will get left in the shed." - Brendan Fairclough, SCOTT DH Factory
Contessa Spark RC & Spark 900
Completing the roaster of the all-new SCOTT Spark, a dedicated range of Contessa models will be available. There are 4 women's specific models on offer of the all new Spark - and RC model, and three 900 models. Each of these have women's specific touchpoints, and custom fork and shock tunes for lighter riders.
"The new SCOTT Spark RC represents a huge step forward in the design and functionality of cross country race bikes. Aesthetically, the design is cleaner and sleeker than ever before, but from experience, I can say it rides even better than it looks." - Kate Courtney, 2019 World Cup Champion, SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing
BUT THAT's NOT ALL(oy)!
It's one thing to have these levels of technology and integration on carbon bikes, but we wanted to make sure to offer the same benefits throughout the range, including the alloy models. The Spark 950, 960 and 970 all have the same great features as their carbon siblings, but at a fraction of the price.
Engineering a carbon frame to fit a fully integrated shock is one thing, doing so with an alloy frame while remaining lightweight and affordable is a whole different story. The result is the industry’s only alloy frame with a fully integrated shock.
Pricing and Availability
There are 25 different models in the line-up at present, counting the Contessas as well. All specs and pricing information can be found on scott-sports.com as of June 9th, 16:00 CET and are PROVISIONAL. The all-new Spark product range will be available for sale starting in September/October. Below are a few model highlights, head to the site for more:
View key specs, compare, and rate the Scott Spark bikes in the Vital MTB Product Guide.