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Trail and Enduro Bikes

Scott Spark 700 Plus Tuned

There are very few plus bikes in the 100s this year, mainly because we think they have very specific uses (e-bikes aside, where a motor overcomes a lot of the problems). We reckon Scott have always been the best at implementing them properly and that’s still the case this year.

The Spark Plus is one example where they are employed perfectly – more evidence that 27.5+ tyres/wheel/rim combinations done well has a very real future in mountain biking. There’s just one problem, which Spark is it? The range comprises of nearly 150 models and well, there’s simply no way to test them all.

One bike from the range that really shined for us was the Spark 700 Plus Tuned. 120mm may seem a bit down on travel but with the high volume tyres absorbing the bumps, it feels like there’s much more underneath you and the lack of fatigue is startling. It’s honestly best to think about this like a car, where the tyres absorb the small bumps and the suspension the bigger knocks. The relief on your hands is really noticeable and allows you to push harder for longer.

“Turn it downhill and it will embarrass many bikes with much greater travel and marketing bravado”

Of course, Plus wheels aren’t perfect. Tyre pressure is absolutely critical. You’ll have to have a good play around for your trail conditions – too soft and the tyres will roll around underneath you and too firm and it feels like you’re riding a bouncy castle. It’s nice to see proper treads coming in to this size though. The Maxxis Rekons were meaty and good enough for Welsh winter riding.

The Spark may be the bike that Nino Schurter has been dominating the XC circuit on, but don’t let the name confuse you, this bike excels on far more than simple pedal chugging. Turn it downhill and it will embarrass many bikes with much greater travel and marketing bravado, World Cup cross-country tracks have become far gnarlier in recent years (how’s that for irony?) and this is a bike that is capable of tackling them… and far more.

Hop on and the smoothness of the ride translates on the trail, the rougher you treat this bike, the more the differences become more apparent. It comes hand-in-hand with new riding techniques though. Timing and rhythm become so crucial, as do working the tyres to extract that biting grip.

Scott Spark 700 Plus Tuned

It’s probably not a perfect bike for everyone, but for a blast round our local trails it will be one of the first bikes that gets brought out of the shed.

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Selected for Dirt 100 2017

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