Scott Spark 35 Review
The Scott Spark 35 mountain bike is a model which impressively allows you to combine budget conscientiousness with a bike that features a frame which might normally be found on much costlier models. Its full suspension setup allows it to perform well across a multitude of terrain types, with downhill dashes complimented by an adaptive climbing ability. Meanwhile, its light weight allows you to travel further and push harder without being pulled back by a clunky, heavy bike.
The Scott Spark 35 mountain bike consists at its core of a Spark Carbon frame with IMP5 technology, which is the manufacturer’s specially adapted off-road material that provides strength where it is needed while also keeping off the pounds as appropriate. This could come at the expense of stiffness, but thankfully things like the tapered headtube allow for lateral rigidity to remain intact. This also affords the bike, some handling improvements over rivals, while the adjustable bottom bracket means that you can mould the geometry and ride to suit your needs and physiology.
The shock setup consists of a RockShox Reba RL Air fork at the front and a DT Swiss M210 shock at the rear, giving the bike a total of 120mm of travel. While other bikes can have lots of travel but rarely be able to actually access it all, the Scott Spark 35 mountain bike has been tuned in a way to make its suspension as responsive and supple as possible, without also giving the ride a degree of sogginess and flex that could hamper power transfer. There is convenient motion control lockout and a handlebar mounted TwinLoc lever, which allows you to remotely access this, thus simultaneously manipulating the front and rear shocks on the fly, so that you can quickly respond to the situation at hand. You can stiffen things up for climbing or rolling across tarmac surfaces, or open up the taps and get the full 120mm of travel for big, technical downhill courses, where impacts are going to come thick and fast.
Scott has chosen the SRAM X7 and X9 groupsets in order to construct the drivetrain of the Spark 35 and these pieces of kit are suitably light and durable for a mountain bike of this kind. You get the Avid Exlixir 5S hydraulic disc brakes, with a 180mm rotor found at the front, backed up by 160mm at the rear, for precise and reliable braking. On a bike of this quality and at a price over £2,000 we’d have hoped to have seen SRAM X9 kit throughout.
DT Swiss XR30 rims and hubs combine with Schwalbe Rocket Ron tyres in one of Scott’s preferred off-road setups, affording an acceptable degree of lightness but focusing more on providing that solidity and grip that you need to remain competitive in amongst a field made up of fairly equally matched individuals.
A Scott RC 05-60 seatpost gets topped off with the Selle Italia Team Edition saddle on FEC rails. This is compliant enough to avoid giving the rider too much of a pounding when facing particularly perilous trails or tough cross country courses. Meanwhile, the Scott Spark 35 mountain bike also gets the Pilot 15 Pro handlebar, with the aforementioned addition of the TwinLoc remote lever. In all this setup allows for hard wearing control and impressive lightness given the price point.
While the Spark range may be geared towards offering novice riders something to harness while they hone their skills, this particular model represents where the family starts to get serious about performance and lightness. If you want a carbon framed full suspension bike for both everyday situations and competitive endurance events, where you could face all sorts of hazards, the Spark 35 will be an appealing option.
Scott Spark 35 Specifications
- Front Fork: Rockshox Reba RL Air, lockout, rebound, 120mm travel
- Rear Shock: DT Swiss M210 Air, rebound, lockout
- Front Derailleur: SRAM X7
- Rear Derailleur: SRAM X9
- Gears: 20
- Chainring: SRAM S-1000 GXP 39/26T
- Cassette: SRAM PG1050 11-36T 10-speed
- Shifters: SRAM X7
- Brakes: Avid Elixir 5S, 180mm HS1 rotor (front), 160mm (rear)
- Wheels: DT Swiss XR30 Disc
- Tyres: Schwalbe Rocket Ron Performance, 26×2.25, Kevlar Bead