Nino Schurter is the rider who comes to mind when the Scott Spark is mentioned or seen. But now it’s our young talent, Erik Fetter shares his experience with the most successful full suspension XC MTB bike ever created. He’s been riding this model for the past year thanks to the Hungarian distributor, K2 Bike Store.
Having achieved great success at the Junior Olympics (U19) in 2018, this season Erik stepped up to the U23 category, not surprisingly, he is more than happy to hang on to his Scott Spark RC 900 World Cup rig. In addition to the MTB short track title in Buenos Aires, Erik won the national championship and achieved fine results at the junior World Cup series, bringing home a bronze medal from Bazel.
Similarly to most of the top mountain bike riders, Erik rode his Spark fully in all the races in 2018. As MTB cross country courses get more and more technical and challenging, bikes have to conform to these harder conditions. These days a hardtail mountain bike tends to be a hindrance on World Cup races.
The Scott Spark offers 100mm travel front and back, weights a mere 10 kg (22 lbs.), and truly transformed the career of this PCCC rider:
“I have only raced on hardtail bikes previously, so I was really anxious to test myself on board a full suspension setup. I’ll never forget my first training ride on board the Scott Spark. After the experience I said: Dear me, this cannot be so good! The bike was truly a game changer. There is a huge difference between a hardtail bike and a top-of-the-line fully. This decision to change bikes has been a great success. Now, for the first time I’m able to follow the top riders even on the most challenging courses in international competitions. Here in Hungary a hardtail setup might be sufficient, but it’s still more fun riding and training on a full suspension bike.”
“First of all, everybody thinks that the fully provides the greatest advantage riding downhill, but I think this is not the complete story. If the trail has roots and rocks, there is a gain to be had riding a full suspension bike on both level ground and uphill. With a hardtail you have to unweight your body on every single root and rock, which takes a lot of effort, more than what you may lose in pedaling efficiency on a fully. In addition, continuously trying to find your balance on uneven terrain prevents you from putting in maximum effort, so you’re bound to lose contact from the strongest riders. On a full suspension bike all you do is sit and power up the climbs – no matter how rough the trail is. With its sensitive shock and great suspension design, the rear suspension does all the balancing for you. Last year I was able to take advantage of this on many occasions. I could put in off all my power, and the short hills felt like flat terrain.”
Diving into the technical details, the Spark RC series is Scott’s most advanced offering. The HMC carbon frame is constructed using the most advanced IMP technology. Any rider can walk into the shop and pick up exactly the same bike which assisted Erik – and Nino Shurter – in achieving such outstanding results in competitions. The rear suspension uses a reverse-mounted FOX Nude shock with no pivot at the rear axle. This makes the bike extremely light, in fact the Spark RC World Cup is one of the lightest fully ever made. On the RC 900 model a Rock Shox SID RL3 fork is responsible front suspension and shifting duties are carried out on the is the SRAM XX1 Eagle 1×12 single chainring system. The fork remains the same for 2019, but the color will be neon yellow instead of the red as seen on the pictures.
Concerning wheel size, up until 2018 Spark models were offered with both 27,5″ and 29″ versions. In 2019, the smaller size will only be available with longer travel in the Genius and the new Ransom model range. The 29” wheel will be offered in a 100mm travel version for the Spark RC and with 120mm for the rest of the model line. At the World Cup races we’ll likely to spot the new SRAM Eagle AXS electronic group set, but Scott is sticking to the mechanical version for the production bikes.
Erik has been using the XX1 Eagle group set all season for both training and racing. The parts have held up surprisingly well, even those which take the most wear. The chain was replaced replaced a few times, but the cassette on the racing wheel is still the original one that came with the bike in spring 2018. Of course (Erik has a training wheel with another 12 speed cassette.) A 32T chainring on the crankset paired with the 50T cog at the back, which provides sufficient gear range for spinning on the steepest climbs on the international circuit. Chain retention is further improved by a useful Scott accessory which Erik is very enthusiastic about.
“I’d also like to mention the bike’s chain catcher. This tiny part is hidden from sight, but proved to be invaluable during the course of the season. While riders in the races often had trouble with dropped chains, I had zero issues thanks to the excellent protections provided by the Spark RC. The other highlight of this bike is the lockout lever specially developed by Scott. It’s extremely easy to operate, and offers three settings. The TwinLoc lever controls both front and rear suspension simultaneously. There were many times short ramps on races when I flipped the lever to full lockout and stood up to pedal. The Spark RC felt just like a road bike and prevented wasting any precious watts. Reaching the top, I flip the lever once more, and all hell breaks loose on the downhill…”
Apart from the fork color, the biggest change on the Spark World Cup is the new Syncros Fraser iC handlebar. This integrated bar and stem is part of Scott’s component range. It employs SuperLight carbon, the width is 740mm with a 9 degree bend, and the stem has a -8 degree virtual angle. Thanks to the advanced carbon composite structure the weight for the complete unit is a mere 220g – 90g less than the lightest separate stem and handlebar combo. Apart from the obvious weight saving, the manufacturer points out that the Syncros Fraser iC offers incredible stiffness. Erik will have a chance to test this component as well from early March, since the integrated bar is featured on his new 2019 Spark RC World Cup.
The recommended retail price of the new 2019 Spark RC 900 World Cup is HUF 1,999,999. For further information please visit the K2 Kerékpárüzlet (Bike Shop’s) website.
Spark RC Carbon HMX Frame
1x drive optimized
BB92 bottom bracket
Carbon SMC Link rear suspension
SW dropouts for Boost 12x148mm
TBC Trunnion Box Construction
Syncros FL1.5 Drop in headset
Tapered 1.5″-1 1/8″
RockShox SID RL3 Air
Custom Charger Damper with 3-Modes
15x110mm Maxle Stealth
FOX NUDE EVOL Trunnion
SCOTT custom tuned
Frame geometry adjustment
3 suspension modes – Lockout-Traction Control-Descend
DPS rebound adjustment
Travel adjustment 100mm-70mm-Lockout
Remote System (below bar)
SCOTT TwinLoc Suspension System
Integrated Grip clamp
Rear Derailleur – SRAM XX1 Eagle 12 Speed
Shifters – SRAM X01 Eagle Trigger
Brakes – SRAM Level TLM Disc
Crankset – SRAM XX1 DUB Eagle Boost Carbon
Chain – SRAM PCXX1 Black Eagle
Cassette – SRAM X01, 10-50 T
Chainguide – SCOTT custom
Bottom bracket – SRAM DUB PF integrated
Handlebar – Syncros Fraser iC SL Carbon
Seatpost – Syncros FL1.0 Carbon
Saddle – Syncros XR1.5 Titanium rails
Wheelset – DT Swiss X1675 Spline CL Tubeless ready
Tires – Maxxis Rekon Race
Complete weight of the bike is 10.3kg.