Scott Spark 29 Expert 2012

Back for 2012, the Scott Spark 29 Expert brings its full-sus carbon frame and all-rounder capabilities to a new generation of serious riders. Like previous entries in this series the Scott Spark 29 is intended to be lighter than the competition yet still solid enough to take the big hits without batting a metaphorical eyelid. The 2012 edition definitely delivers on this promise and it is also setup with enough flexibility to allow further upgrades at a later date should you so wish.

The core of the Spark 29 is its lightweight carbon frame with IMP5 technology and a front fork which offers 100mm of travel. This is the first of its kind found at this point in the range and it seems that Scott listened to its fans and delivered exactly what was needed to push this bike to the front of the pack. The DT Swiss M210 rear shock combines with the Rockshox Reba 29 RL Air fork at the front and this full-sus setup is surprisingly agile and eager, never wallowing when faced with a steep climb yet always ready to absorb impacts.

For marathon courses this could become the bike of choice, particularly if you are looking for something that offers great performance but in a relatively affordable price bracket. The angles of the frame give you plenty of clearance on trails and although there have been some obvious compromises when it comes to components you will hardly notice this out on the mountainside.

Scott Spark 29 Expert 2012 Bike Specifications

The Spark 29 Expert uses Shimano XT & SLX components for the drivetrain and gearing, which may not be quite in the same league as the SRAM kit you will find on the Pro bike. However, given the gulf in the price between these two models you will definitely be more than happy with how the Shimano components perform. Avid Elixir 5S disc brakes on the front and rear are responsive and powerful, ensuring that the bike never runs away with itself and adding to your confidence behind the Hot Rod handlebars.

DT Swiss XR39 rims are wrapped in Schwalbe Rocket Ron Performance tyres which feature Kevlar bead technology for extra endurance. These tyres have been a feature of the Spark range for some time and Scott has returned to them for the 2012 season, which is no bad thing. In fact the comparatively slender tyres are one of its assets as they match with the light frame to improve your speed across any terrain and on any incline.

Scott has really picked up its game when it comes to the look of the Spark 29 Expert, giving it a focused black and red paintjob which is not overwhelmed by decals or adornments as you might expect to find on other rival bikes. The slender nature of the frame and the tyres means that it looks as light as it feels, which can take a little bit of an edge from its impact when compared with some of the more aggressive styles out there, but you can hop on board to experience just how solid it is.