The all new Scott Gambler is ready to ride. After extensive prototyping with Brendan Fairclough and Scott11, the Gambler is ready for its official unveiling.
Race tuning and prototyping
In late 2009 we started race tuning the original Gambler with Nick Beer and Fabien Pedemanaud of the Scott 11 WC DH race team. We made some custom links in a small machine shop in Champery, in an effort to get the suspension working better in big holes and g-out forces commonly seen on a WC DH track. After many prototypes we found performance improvements in geometry, suspension curve and feel.
Before we got the chance to analyze the new links with the engineers at Scott, Nick Beer and Fabien Pedemanaud both graced the podium at Windham and Maribor. These two podium results really fueled the fire, and we started extensive testing with Fox to further improve many aspects of the suspension. To take things a step further we started building custom DH test tracks to better test the suspension.
In order to optimize a bike for racing every detail needs to be questioned.
Just because things have been done a certain way for year does not mean that it is the best for everyone everywhere. We found that geometry trends were getting lower and lower, and so were chain lines. The rear axles stayed at the same height and we noticed a compromise in square edged hit performance, acceleration and braking. This trend provoked a couple of prototypes to be built to test main pivot heights and chain line forces. One had an idler pulley that we could mount just about anywhere and a 25mm higher main pivot.
The 25mm higher pivot was a big improvement for things like late braking in rough terrain, sprinting on uneven ground with a low BB and greatly improved square edged big hit performance. The bike was moving forward faster than ever. A lot was learned from this bike and helped us back up the computer simulations with real world feel testing.
Suspension Layout Test Mule
The next step was to find a force curve that could provide the support AND comfort. We played around with many different linkages and layouts until we decided it was not possible to have both with the style of linkages we were using. We needed another degree of manipulation of the force curve to be able to have that support without compromising traction and comfort. That was when Mat Landre, the engineer working on the bike, came up with the idea of the floating link. We were not sure if it was too extreme, and we would not want to create problems with the damping in the shocks, so we built 3 prototypes to test the proposed curves.
DH Race Optimization
One of the main goals was the optimization of support in rough situations without compromising traction and comfort. In addition, we decided to fully dedicate our efforts to DH racing and creating the fastest bike possible. This is where Brendan Fairclough comes into the picture to help us take the bike even further. We feel he is the last piece of the puzzle we need to complete the ideal development conditions. Between creating custom tracks for testing, rapid prototyping, an engineering department in the Swiss Alps and Brendan Fairclough testing, we feel very confident our new Gambler is completely dialed and ready for the roughest tracks the WC DH circuit has to offer.
A fully refined WC DH race bike available to the general public.
Downhill bikes are a passion of ours here at Scott. Champéry, one of the most legendary tracks of the UCI WC DH racing circuit, is only an hour down the road from our engineering department. The course builders and race directors of this steep track work here at Scott. This close relationship between engineering and track building created the perfect venue for testing and prototyping. Out test team included Ben Walker, Claudio Caluori and his Scott 11 DH race team, with riders like Brendan Fairclough and Floriane Pugin to complete the ultimate development team.
Our development team lives and breathes DH bikes and we feel confident that our team, process and passion are key elements to making a fast bike. If these guys are happy with the bike then we are ready to show it to the world. For those who are serious about downhill, this is a bike that will give you every advantage.
The new Gambler has race tuned geometry with a low and slack or a higher and steeper setting. Some tracks are rough and some are pedally therefore we want a bike that can do both. The chain stay length is also adjustable from 420mm to 440mm. The ability to dial in the bike for your track and your riding style is key to going fast. We want you to feel the best you can on your track. Whether you are Brendan Fairclough or new to DH, this bike has the geometry to make you a faster rider.
The floating link suspension system enabled us to mix both support and comfort, providing a confidence inspiring ride. This linkage arrangement allowed us to fine tune the leverage rate and force curve to better meet the demands of the world’s fastest racers. In addition, we almost eliminated DU bushing rotation, increasing small bump sensitivity and minimizing bushing wear. Another advantage of this layout is low bearing load, further increasing durability and sensitivity. The weight of the bike is centered and gets lower when things get rough. Brendan tells us this is one of the nicest bikes he has ever whipped! The bike feels like it pivots around its center whether in the air or fully committing to a difficult corner. The floating link, has enabled us to achieve all of our design objectives.
Down Tube Protector
The down tube of a DH bike gets abused by rocks kicked up by the front wheel on a regular basis. This adhesive backed lightweight guard provides huge protection where it matters most.
Integrated Fork Bumpers
A DH fork can impact the frame pretty hard in the event of a crash. In addressing this we optimized frame strength and integrated bumpers at the point where the fork can hit the frame. Cable routing was also optimized to eliminate the possibility of being crushed in a crash. No more worrying if your fork bumpers are in the right place, and a cleaner tidier looking front end.
The rear axle of the Gambler features a unique design which increases the torsional rigidity of the rear end of the frame, providing better cornering and suspension performance. The simple to use system has an innovative shaped head which fits like a key in the rear dropout of the frame. The axle head is both eccentric and conical, two features which lock the rear axle in place, illuminating the need for pinch bolts. Reduced weight, reduced complexity, improved tracking and more consistent drifts: the new IDS-X Dropouts, simpler and better.
Lower leverage ratio proves itself both on the ground and in the computer
In the past we found that the long and rough tracks pushed many shocks to their limits, and since this project was all about minimizing compromise and optimizing the bike for the roughest tracks, we set out to find a solution. After testing many different shock tunes, linkages, shock lengths and layouts, the development team and WC race testers found a substantial advantage to the lower leverage ratios on longer stroke shocks. These longer shocks gave us a better useable adjustable range of tuning, enabling us to provide the support and grip our riders need, without creating higher internal pressures inside the shocks. Another advantage was more consistent damping at the end of long runs. There was less heating inside the shocks compared to the shorter shocks we were testing, and the oil was doing a better job for longer service intervals. The increased tuning options alone were enough to convince the team, so the increased durability and more consistent damping at the end of a long run were a bonus. After testing all the variables we decided running a shorter shock might be lighter, but the performance increases gained by a longer shock and lower leverage ratio definitely outweighed the small weight penalty. This is a serious bike for serious tracks, and a suspension compromise was not an option.