Scott Spark 29 Elite Review
The Scott Spark 29 Elite 2012 Mountain Bike is one of the manufacturer Scott’s range of full suspension bikes and like most Scott bikes this is a lightweight model. Despite its relatively low weight however, the Scott Spark 29 Elite 2012 Mountain Bike isn’t a weak bike: it’s perfectly durable and strong enough to handle a variety of situations. Much of the reason for this is the bike’s frame, a Spark 29 alloy 6061, coupled with a Shimano XT/SLX drivetrain. Though it’s an aluminium bike, the Scott Spark 29 Elite doesn’t lose out in terms of ride or durability.
This bike is designed to handle a range of biking scenarios. Many people will see it as a model that’s perfectly adept at handling marathon riding and cross-country activity and that’s just fine, since this is what many bikers will want from the 2012 Elite. The Scott Spark 29 Elite is also a model that’s completely acceptable for just riding casually around. Having said that, as I discovered on our test run, the Scott Spark 29 Elite is also built to ride fairly capably when hitting the trails and heading up hills.
What comes into play in the latter situation is the Scott Spark 29 Elite TwinLoc system. When ascending a hill or in a similar situation, I found that the system, which involves using a lever to control switching between traction and full travel modes, needs to be played around with a little depending on the circumstances. I discovered that switching to traction mode using the TwinLoc system was my best bet for climbing, while when riding over rough ground, full travel mode allowed a smoother ride with the bike easily crossing any rough sections I encountered. This was also the case when descending, as the mode kept the wheels firmly rooted to the ground. The Elite can also handle climbs thanks to its steering angle.
Despite its lightness, this full suspension bike actually has a large degree of stiffness. I found that it was relatively easy to put the bike into traction mode and perform plenty of spinning manoeuvres, without much problem. The bike’s stiffness is thanks to the larger than average bearings and axles that the Scott Spark 29 Elite utilises. These big axles and bearings are similar to those found on the Scott Genius bikes.
The 2012 Scott Spark 29 Elite mountain bike is also pretty smooth to handle too; and there’s not a huge amount of shock bob when the bike’s pedals are used. This is due in part to a more efficient frame design when compared to previous models that allows effective rear wheel traction, as well as a low handlebar position. This riding position I found to be especially efficient for cross country biking.
Scott Spark 29 Elite Specifications
The Elite utilises Shimano components across many of it’s 2012 range and the Spark 29 Elite is no different. Shimano SLX Rapidfire shifters pull on a Shimano SLX front and a Shimano XT rear derailleur. Brakes are supplied by Avid, specifically, the excellent Avid Elixir 5S.
Front suspension utilises front forks used across many Scott bikes, the RockShox Reba 29 SL which allows 100mm travel. At the rear, Scott have gone for the DT Swiss M210 rear shock but did not use DT Swiss rims. There’s no reason I suppose why they should have other than the fact that they have on the more expensive carbon Spark 29 bikes. On the Elite, they have selected Alex XC-49 rims with Schwalbe Rocket Ron tyres, a well tried and tested combination so no concerns there.
All things considered, I really enjoy riding Scott bikes and this Elite is no exception. This is an excellent bike and at £2,200 it is good value, sitting midway through the 2012 Spark range.
Scott 29er Bikes
Scott have two 29er ranges; Spark 29 and Scale 29. There are six bikes in both the Spark 29 amp; Scale range; RC, Pro, Expert, Elite, Team, Comp. Prices range from £1,450 for the Comp to £5,700 for the RC. This compares to £850 for the Scale 29 Comp to £5,000 for the Scale 29 RC. The Spark range is FSR whilst the Scale are all hardtail. This helps to explain the slight weight advantage of the hardtails over the full suspension bikes. The Scale 29 range weigh from 13kg down to 9.5kg whilst the Spark range weigh from 13.7kg to 10.4kg. Both ranges have 3 carbon bikes and 3 alloys. So the choice of 29er is FSR or Hardtail, then Carbon or Alloy. Then you’ll have to choose from one of the 3 bikes left .. good luck!