Sea Otter report: Scott Scale 27.5

By Eric McKeegan

Scott invited us to a media event the day before Sea Otter opened to the public. Adrian Montgomery, Scott’s PR Director sent this invite, but didn’t share any other info about what bikes we’d be riding.

Upon arrival, it was obvious that the bike pictured in the invitation would be the news of the day. Scott’s Scale racing hardtail is getting the 27.5-inch treatment. Two models are available as a Limited Edition release, the carbon framed 710 and the aluminum 740.

The Scale 700 isn’t really a completely new bike, Scott’s pro racer type, Nino Schurter, won an XC world championship and silver at the Olympics on an earlier version of this bike, but that frame was only released in a single size.

A few of us media types went out for a short XC loop, along with the Crankbrothers Race Club. The Race Club is Crankbrothers pro cross country team, made up of Judy Freeman and Chloe Woodruff, who besides being mighty fast on the bike, are not in any way tall. And this is the main reason Scott came out with the Scale in 27.5. While plenty of shorter folks ride, race and win on 29er, not everyone is happy with how they fit on the big wheels, or how 29er handle with a smaller ride on top.

Besides fit issues, not everyone is in love with the extra effort needed to accelerate bigger wheels, and again, for smaller riders putting out less wattage, over the course of a fast race, this can add up.

The frame has all the modern features expected, and geometry that is on the stable side for an XC bike. The 69-degree head angle, paired with 16.8-inch chainstays and a short head tube make for a racy feeling bike that doesn’t get bent out of shape at the first gnarly section trail. The stays on the carbon model are designed to provided 4.6mm of vertical movement to take the edge off trail chatter.

On the trail the Scale provided the now familiar racy Scott ride, fast without being overly twitchy. The rear of the bike never felt harsh, even over breaking bumps, but some of that may have been the big Nobby Nic tires that had been swapped on in place of the stock Rocket Ron’s. The front end was properly stiff, and the Fox fork was equipped with the sweet Scott remote. Unfortunately the CTD function seemed to have very little effect on the damping action of the fork.

The Scale 700 is another choice for riders looking for that extra edge. It is obvious Scott is serious about racing, and this is another very effective tool for chasing podiums and crushing the competition. The 710 will retail for $4,300 and the 740 for $2,400, and are in the Scott warehouse now. If you want one, you best move quickly.