Scott Scale SL Review

Make no mistake, this is a top-of-the-range mountain bike. At almost £9,000 it’s one of the most expensive and at just 7.46kg, it’s also one of the lightest.

The Scott brand is well-known for its carbon bikes. In fact, they’re innovators in this area, designing the very first carbon mountain bike, the Endorphin in the 1990s. That their bikes are made with carbon fibre products has a few upshots: Scott mountain bikes are pretty lightweight but they’re also tough and durable, meaning they won’t let the rider down.

The Scott Scale SL mountain bike is no exception to the brand’s tradition of strong products that do what they are made to do, and are made to last. In fact, the Scott Scale SL mountain bike goes a step further than previous releases: the HMX Scale frame used on this model is the lightest of its type. I’m not sure I’ve found a mountain bike that’s as superlight as this model before, with the Scott Scale SL weighing a mere 7.46kg. The lack of bonded alloy pieces on the bike’s bottom brackets has helped Scott to reduce the Scale SL bike’s weight in comparison to the previous Scale model.

The Scott company have also saved on the 2012 model’s weight via the use of a technology called IMP3. This process helps the engineers to remove material from parts of the previous model, such as its headtube intersection and the cosmetic carbon layer, during design, enabling a more lightweight mountain bike. Strength hasn’t been compromised however, despite the reduction in this model’s weight, as Scott has used high modulus fibres to add durability to critical places around the bike’s design. Calliper adaptors have also been rendered obsolete by Scott’s use of a Direct Post-Mount calliper interface.

Though it’s a light model, the Scott Scale SL mountain bike is still relatively stiff and in fact its stiffness level is as much as 15 percent above that of last year’s Scale mountain bike. This is all thanks to the model’s tapered head tube and general structuring.

As a hardtail bike, the Scott Scale SL has a front suspension fork and frame that are pretty rigid and it’s designed for both trail riding and racing. This means you can take the SL into hilly terrain or just ride it on a flat surface. Unlike some hardtail bikes I’ve seen though, this model won’t lose out when competing against other bikes thanks to the stability measures Scott have added via the latest technologies.

The SL includes a shock damping system. Known as the SDS, the idea behind this feature is to absorb outside irritations such as bumps in the road. As the rider, I found that this was a great help, because whenever I was riding over rocky terrain, the SDS absorbed the little vibrations caused by the track. It does this without any noticeable interruption to the ride, making for a smoother and more pleasant journey. This is all thanks to the model’s design; the Scott engineers have ensured a balance between the lateral stiffness found in the rear triangle and the bike’s vertical compliance. Also helping out in terms of bike stability are this model’s Furious Fred Evo tyres from Schwalbe, while the bike’s Scott lock-on grips keep the rider in control.

Scott Scale SL Mountain Bike 2012 Specifications

This bike is bursting with top of the range kit, it’s XX all-the-way, SRAM XX derailleurs and shifters to Avid XX World Cup brakes.

  • Weight: 7.46 kg
  • Front Fork: DT Swiss XRC 100mm travel
  • Front Derailleur: SRAM XX
  • Rear Derailleur: SRAM XX
  • Gears: 20
  • Shifters: SRAM XX
  • Brakes: Avid XX World Cup
  • Rims: DT Swiss XR-SL
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Furious Fred

Model: Scott Scale SL
4 / 5 stars
*****