New products for 2023: Scott Scale – Hardtails are not dead!
The brand new Scott Scale with its 24 model variants clearly underlines the claim, that hardtails are definitely not dead in 2023! In addition to a classic race hardtail made of carbon, the Swiss are also presenting a new aluminum model.
Fullys are more comfortable, more efficient, offer more grip and are more fun going downhill. In our buyers guide “Hardtail vs. Fully” we come to an overwhelming factual situation against hardtails. Technically, fullys are the superior system. However, anyone who wants to call hardtails dead, based on these facts, has never spent more than two seasons with a fully. At some point, when the rear triangle bearings are worn out, the rear triangle begins to squeak and the shock requires a service, it becomes apparent why hardtails are still justified in 2023. Not only are they significantly cheaper, they are also lighter. Hardtails are also more carefree. Here you can compare the the two concepts:
Thanks to the great combination of puristic design and riding experience,hardtails will never disappear. And obviously Scott thinks so too and is breathing new life into its 2023 Scale.
Old vs. new – what distinguishes the new Scott Scale from its predecessor?
After Scott said goodbye to classic 100 millimeter forks with the Spark, we expected a new Scale RC with 120 millimeters of travel at the front. But we were wrong. The new Scott Scale RC remains a classic race hardtail with 100 millimeters of travel at the front. The new scale concept does not want to define a new genre, but rather combine absolute lightweight construction with a durable construction. We weighed the Scale RC SL frame in size L including the thru-axle at 933 grams. (the RC Worldcup and RC versions should be 50 – 100 grams heavier). Depending on the paint finish, the predecessor was in a similar weight range. And all this, although Scott has saved every imaginable aluminum inlay compared to the old model. So does this new bike feel like progress at all?
The main aim of the new scale: minimise potential sources of defects
The bottle cage eyelets are now made of ultra-hard plastic and clip into the frame. The chain guide is also attached to the frame with a replaceable plastic thread. The threads for the cable guides in the head tube are completely eliminated (thanks to the cable routing through the headset). All these innovations not only reduce weight, but also eliminate potential sources of defects for the frame – and that makes it more durable. The form-fitting and robust chainstay protection also contributes to this. The significantly more voluminous tube shapes, as well as the perceived higher rigidity – especially in the steering head area – explain why there is hardly any progress in terms of weight. Even if the lightweight construction with carbon was implemented much more consistently than on the predecessor, the weight reduction is only minimal. It’s also fair to say that Scott prioritised improving the bike’s handling and durability over new weight records. And yet there are very clear changes in the new Scale, which you can also feel on the trail.
Significant geometry changes
“Slack” and “steep” are the words that are currently thrown around in almost every new product presentation. But with the Scott Scale, we should also mention the word “deeper”. At 67.3 degrees, the steering angle on the new Spark is not only significantly flatter than the predecessor, it can also be adjusted by 0.6 degrees. This can be done to suit personal preferences, because of the well-known Spark headset. The reach also increases. Thanks to the steeper seat angle, the top tube remains about the same length. On the trail, however, the lower bottom bracket is particularly noticeable. Behind the handlebars, it feels much more safe than with the old model during the downhill. This makes the handling of the new Scale even more intuitive. So the old geometry from 2017 has been clearly developed for the better. The seating position remains sporty, but the handling is more intuitive.
Compare the geometry data of the old 2022 and the new 2023 scale 1 to 1:
The standards of the new Scott Scale
Only the headset has changed, compared to the predecessor. If you want, you canupdate your frame relatively easily. Scott also offers all of the Scale’s carbon frames individually.
- Bottom bracket: Pressfit
- Rear wheel installation dimensions: 12×148
- Seat clamp: 35 mm
- Seatpost: 31.6mm
- Headset: ZS56/28.6 – ZS56/40 MTB
- Wiring: integrated, through the headset
- Rear tire clearance: width of up to 2.5 inches
Exciting competition to the new Scott Scale
Even if more innovation is likely to be found in current fullys, there has been a lot of movement in the hardtail market. Only the Specialized Epic HT,, which was presented for the first time in 2017, can be described as a constant on the market. Star developer Peter Denk not only designed the frame to be timeless, but also extremely light. Geometry and weight are still fully competitive today. Cannondale has recently brought significantly more movement to the market with its new Scalpel HT with 110 millimeters of spring travel and a descent-oriented geometry. Mondraker announced in 2021, that the frame of its new podium will weigh under 800 grams. We would like to weigh this unprecedented benchmark. Simplon recently proved with its Razorblade frame weight of 830 grams – including the thru-axle – that these dimensions are possible. With the ZHT-5, Cervelo dares to enter the MTB market as a classic road bike brand for the first time, but isn’t there yet when it comes to geometry or weight. Canyon’s current Exceed not only has a much lighter frame than the Cervelo, but also some very clever details. With its integrated steering limiter, it sets itself apart from the crowd.
All 2023 scale models – the affordable RC model variants
By the way: Here we have a complete race bike buyers guide
The aluminum version of the Scale is also being completely revised
Not only the prestigious carbon models of the scale get a new frame. The significantly cheaper aluminum hardtails are also being updated. As with the Spark, the Swiss have also managed to transfer the look of the carbon frame to the cheaper aluminum chassis. In addition to the look, the most important features are also carried over to the aluminum models. Such as the cable routing through the headset and the adjustable steering angle. If necessary, not only can a longer 110 fork be installed afterwards, but the steering angle can also be adjusted to personal preference.
You can see all aluminum models here:
And of course, Scott also thought of the ladies and, as always, developed a Contessa series. Here are the 2023 Scale Contessas to browse:
Conclusion on the new 2023 Scott Scale
The old Scale was the most successful hardtail in the Cross Country World Cup. But after more than 5 years on the market and the racetracks of this world, it was time for an update. Instead of mercilessly subordinating the new construction for the lowest frame weight, Scott takes meaningful steps towards longevity. The exchangeable threads of the bottle holders are a symbol of a new era with sensible lightweight construction. The biggest innovation of the new Scale is actually the update of the geometry. With the significantly slacker steering angle and the lower bottom bracket, the new Scale rides more confidently than its predecessor, even on rough trail sections. And of course, we need to mention the super tidy look of the bike. We had the honour of riding the Scott Scale RS SL before release and were impressed by the 8.9-kilo bike. With the Scale, Scott has succeeded in making a meaningful new edition of his classic.
In this article, the author Ludwig Döhl has incorporated his experience from more than 100,000 kilometers in the mountain bike saddle.