New Scott Spark 2022, changing the rules of the game
For many, the Scott Spark has been the full suspension mountain bike that led the way to the trends that currently dominate the market, but Scott has changed the rules of the game once again. One of the most anticipated models of the last few years has just been released and sure enough, as rumours suggested, the Scott Spark 2022 comes with a unique integrated shock design, but there's much more than that.
Scott Spark 2022, a change of paradigm
In 2016, Nino Schurter dominated XCO with an iron fist and in his alliance with Scott the two developed a mountain bike that foreshadowed the direction that XCO bikes would take. Even then, the line between classic XC and a more technical and aggressive style was beginning to blur. To adapt to the change, the 2017 Spark featured geometry that was ahead of its time.
The Scott Spark 2022 is once again at the forefront of this idea and now abandons any travel below 120mm, adopts steering angles of 67.2º/65.8º (more typical of Trail or Enduro) and saddle angles above 75º, even in its most specific model for XCO; the Spark RC. Quite a statement of intentions and the first manufacturer to make a firm commitment to a definitive change for XC geometry.
Full integration, unique design and incomparable aesthetics
At the presentation of the new Scott Spark, which took place at the World Cup circuit in Leogang, Austria, the most repeated word was integration. If we were getting used to ever cleaner mountain bikes with hardly any cables visible, Spark has also taken a leap forward here and completely enclosed the rear shock in the seat tube.
An idea born from the acquisition of the company Bold Cycles, this brand already used integrated shock absorbers, although as you will see below they have only used the concept and in the presentation they confirmed that both brands will follow their own path.
The rear suspension system is still based on a monopivot that uses the flex of the stays themselves. This is the lightest system available and guarantees optimum suspension performance. Scott continues to believe that this is the best system for fast XC and competition.
Why hide the shock?
Without a doubt, the hidden shock absorber is the most striking visual feature of the new model. This gives it a unique differentiation from any current XCO MTB, but the position of the shock has many other advantages.
Placing the rear shock just above the bottom bracket and inside the seat tube means locating it at the most rearward and lowest possible point. This allows for improved suspension characteristics without adding weight.
The integrated shock absorber prevents lateral movements or movements against the direction of travel. But it also improves the bike's overall handling by making it possible to build a much stiffer swingarm that transfers power more directly and by placing the centre of gravity as close to the ground as possible. The pivot point bearings in the seat tube are now larger to contribute to the stiffness of the assembly. With this system, the Spark 2022 gains in handling, stability and reactivity on climbs.
In addition to these advantages, the integrated shock absorber is completely protected from dirt and external conditions, which means that it will perform optimally for a longer period of time. The brand assures that the temperature of the shock absorber does not increase due to its encapsulation.
Finally, we can also point to the fact that the Spark can now hold two water bottle cages, with the exception of the S size.
The shock absorber is connected to the stays by means of a two-piece link anchored to the seat tube. The inner part is metal (the only non-carbon part of the frame) and is hidden inside the frame.
This integrated shock absorber system is available on the entire Spark 2022 range, also on the aluminium models. The shocks are specific to this Spark, as they have been modified to be manipulated from the underside. Scott has worked with RockShox, Fox and SR Suntour and has a range of specific shocks for all their models.
Adjustments and access to the Spark 2022 integrated shock absorber system
The shock remains hidden inside the frame of the new Spark, but thanks to a series of accessible hatches it can be set up. The main entrance is located next to the bottom bracket with a cover that opens without any tools. It allows you to adjust rebound, compression, pressure or change the Twinloc cable.
We remind you that the shock absorbers fitted to the Spark have been modified by the manufacturers and are specific to this model. The air intake of the shock absorber is at the bottom.
The chosen Sag can be checked from the outside, from one of the anchorages of the vertical tube, and to see the sag of the shock absorber it is enough to lift a rubber cover from where we can even move the joint back to the initial position.
Weight of the Scott Spark 2022
The new design of the Scott Spark has also achieved to build a very light full-suspension frame. Thanks to a clean and refined structure, the whole assembly has more stiffness and strength on its own, without the need to reinforce areas with the consequent increase in weight.
For example, the absence of cable entries close to the head tube means that the frame does not need to be reinforced, as the structure is not weakened. This results in small marginal gains in weight, leaving the frame of the new Scott Spark 2022 at 1870 g for its lightest version.
Geometry of the Spark 2022: two bikes in one
Although it is obvious, the Scott Spark 2022 has been developed practically from scratch and bears few similarities with the previous model. The brand says that when they began to consider this new Spark they wanted to move away from current trends and focus on scientific approaches provided by Swiss biomechanics and the experience of the Scott SRAM team.
The goal was to achieve the fastest and most capable XCO racing frame while still delivering a very dynamic trail bike. It seems that all this has been achieved in the same bike thanks to a geometry that doesn't hesitate to throw the steering angle and go for big suspension travel.
In general terms we can say that the Scott Spark now has a longer reach, a tighter variable steering angle and a more vertical seat tube position. The chainstays remain the same length (previously 435mm and now 437.5mm) but the rear triangle gains in stiffness and reactivity thanks to the rearmost position of the shock.
One of the key points of this new Scott Spark 2022 is hidden in the head tube, thanks to new adjustment bearing race, the steering angle can be varied (plus or minus) 0.6º just by turning these bearings and obtaining 3 different steering angles on the same bike. The Spark RC uses it in its most closed option with a 120mm fork while the Spark 900 2022 uses it in the most relaxed position and mounts 130mm forks.
While other brands continue to use 100 or 110mm rear travel on their XCO models, the Spark 2022 makes the definitive leap to 120mm. During the presentation, Scott indicated that this decision had been made by Nino Schurter himself who once again points the direction for the next 4 years.
The 55mm chainline was another of the factors that conditioned the development of the new Scott Spark 2022. In the previous model Nino already had problems to mount 40T chainrings, which will become popular in XCO in the coming years, and with this new size, chainrings up to 40T and tyres up to 2.6" are allowed. All without sacrificing stiffness.
The Scott Spark 2022 features new Twinloc, Syncros handlebars, internal wiring and much more
In general terms, the Spark 2022 is a revolution, but it also features a large number of details such as the new Twinloc control, the internal cable routing system and the new Syncros Fraser IC handlebar.
Scott's Twinloc system allows the shock and fork to be adjusted in up to 3 different positions via a remote control located under the left handlebar lever. With this system Scott manages to minimise the negative aspects of the monopivot system and ensures that the Spark's damping can be quickly adjusted on a flat during a sprint, uphill or on any descent. The Twinloc has now evolved and integrates a third lever for the telescopic seatpost.
Another of Scott's trademark details was the integrated spanner in the rear wheel quick release. This spanner has been expanded to include a T25, T30 and a 6" Allen key. Virtually any bolt on the new Spark 2022 can be tightened with this tiny spanner.
It would not make sense that the Spark 2022 has managed to "hide" the entire rear shock system and continue with the internal wiring of the previous model. Therefore, along with Syncros, they have developed a new and complete front end integration system in which all the cables enter underneath the stem, eliminating any entry from the frame. This system houses the bearing race to change the steering angle and they have renewed the Syncros Fraser IC Combo handlebar and stem assembly to adapt to it and include an adapter under the handlebar where you can attach a front light among others.
The Scott Spark 2022 also comes in an aluminium version
As we have already mentioned, Scott has achieved that all the innovation and technology applied in its new carbon structure is present in the Scott Spark 2022 aluminium models.
The integrated suspension system and all the internal wiring integration are present in the aluminium versions. For this they have had to resort to the most advanced welding processes that were used before the advent of carbon.
Scott Spark RC, Spark 900 and Spark Contessa 2022: models and prices
The Scott Spark 2022 range is well differentiated with the Spark RC and Spark 900 lines, the first one aimed at XCO and with 120mm suspensions and the second one for trail riders with 130mm suspensions, wider handlebars, etc.
The Scott Spark RC line will have up to 9 different assemblies, all of them with the frame made of carbon fibre. While in the Scott Spark 900 we will find 13 different models in carbon or aluminium. In addition, the Contessa Spark line, specifically for women, will have 4 more models.
Regarding the price of the Scott Spark 2022, we continue as at the beginning of this presentation, without knowing anything officially. We do not know why Scott has not wanted to advance official prices, but we have learned that the cheapest Scott Spark RC will start at 3699€ and will go up to 12.999€. The Spark 900 range will go from 2,399€ to 12,999€.
In a matter of days we will offer all the information about the different assemblies and prices of the new Scott Spark range.