Sea Otter Classic First Ride: Scott Scale 27.5-Inch Hardtail

27.5 Sea Otter Classic

Scott launches new Limited Edition Scale 700 Series with 27.5-inch wheels at Sea Otter

The new Scale 710 is sure to eat alive both 26-inch and 29-inch bikes on the XC circuit. The carbon fiber 710 frame weighs in at a scant 945 grams.

MTBR got an exclusive first look at the brand new Scott Scale 700 Series 27.5-inch hardtail. Sharing the same winning design that carried Nino Schurter to a silver medal in the 2012 London Olympics, the Scale 700 Series is designed to combine the fast, nimble handling of a 26-inch XC race bike with the smooth, stable cornering and improved roll-over of a 29-inch XC race rig.

The Scale 700 Series will be offered in both aluminum and carbon fiber. The HMX carbon fiber frame of the Scale 710 weighs in at a scant 945 grams and features a host of advanced technologies including IDS-SL through axle dropouts using a 142x12mm rear axle (adaptable to 135x12mm and 135x10mm quick releases), molded oversize press-fit BB92 bottom bracket for maximum lateral stiffness, a direct mount front derailleur for easy set up, a three-position RideLoc switch for the Fox 32 Float Evolution CTD Fork, a tapered head tube and SDS (shock damping system) rear seatstays for enhanced vertical compliance, smoothing out even the choppiest trails.

The more affordable Scale 740 features a 6061 custom butted alloy frame with many of the same advanced technologies of the flagship 710.

The 710 is equipped with a mix of Shimano XT drivetrain and braking, Syncros components and a 15mm through-axle Fox 32 Float 27.5 Factory CTD Air fork with 100mm travel.

According to Scott PR man Adrian Montgomery, the overall weight of a 29-inch wheel is 11 percent heavier than a 26-inch wheel, a sensation that can clearly be felt when repeated accelerations are required, especially in XC racing. By comparison, a 27.5-inch wheel is only five percent heavier, making the Scale 700 Series strike a perfect balance of quick acceleration, improved roll-over on rocks and other obstacles, a larger contact patch for better traction and sustained momentum.

Of course, riding is believing, so we took to the trail on both the aluminum and carbon fiber Scale 700 Series bikes to see how they performed on the Sea Otter cross-country course. We were joined on the trail by crankbrothers Race Club riders Chloe Woodruff and Judy Freeman, both on their brand new Scott Scale 710 team bikes that they will be racing here at Sea Otter and at the Whiskey Off-Road.

MTBR got to ride the new Scale 700 Series, and a flock of sheep got to watch us.

Our brief seat-of-the-pants assessment? Both bikes are exceptionally nimble, and have none of the slow out-of-the-saddle acceleration issues that plague 29-inch bikes. The Scale 700 Series actually accelerates uphill like a 26-inch bike while smoothly rolling through high-speed corners with traction and confidence like a 29-inch bike. Power transfer is immediate and we really like the easy-to-use three-setting RideLoc system. Both the aluminum and carbon fiber versions handle with the same razor-sharp steering precision, with the carbon fiber Scale benefiting from added bump absorption from the SDS stays. The lighter weight of the 710 also helps it accelerate faster, but for people with somewhat limited budgets, the Scale 740 is sure to be a hit.

Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at these exciting new bikes from Scott Sports. In the meantime, peep the photo gallery from our ride today.

About the author: Kurt Gensheimer

Kurt Gensheimer thinks the bicycle is man’s most perfect invention. He firmly believes ‘singlespeed’ is a compound word. He sometimes wears a disco ball helmet. He is also known as Genshammer. He is a Gemini and sleeps outside in a hammock.

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  • Andrew Eunson says:

    No it won’t John. It’s physics. The contact patch on a larger diameter tire will be longer but narrower at a given psi and load. The increased traction we feel on a bigger wheel is I think (I could be wrong) due to the better rolling tires resisting forward motion less and because we tend to measure the need for better traction when we’re in our lowest gear on the steepest sections of trail. Since we tend to use the same gearing as 26 wheels, we are in a bigger gear when attacking those steep sections so we are less likely to over power and spin out. Like putting a car in second gear to start on snowy roads.

  • Michael9218 says:

    Finally, a XC race oriented 650b. This is where this wheel size really shines.

  • Andrew Eunson says:

    Its displacement I guess. We float on a cushion of air in the tire so at a given pressure we displace a given amount of air. Like a boat. It does not matter what the shape or size of a boat hull is, for a given weight placed in the boat including boat weight the same amount of water is displaced. I am probably not explaining this well.

  • Patrick says:

    Andrew, as I said above, that is a very simple understanding of what is going on. That is true in a perfect world, but misses all of the real-world effects of what is going on. Pressure is only part of the equation. Casing stiffness and uneven surface of the tire (like knobbs) in addition to other factors have a large effect. I get that what is being argued would be true in an ideal situation, but that isn’t the real world.

  • Andrew Eunson says:

    No offense intended Patrick, but this is a simple issue. Take the same tire on the same rim at the same pressure with the same weight being applied on the same surface and the contact patch is the same size, but it is a different shape. Journalists and other bike people keep saying the tire is larger around and has a bigger contact patch but that is just plain wrong. I hate it when some manufacturer spouts false claims that seem reasonable but in fact are not fact.

    • Patrick says:

      Andrew, I understand that simple view of it. But there is more going on! That is what you don’t seem to grasp. Yes, the uniformed “oh it is bigger so the contact patch must be bigger” is wrong because that view doesn’t understand what is going on. But it isn’t a simple “tire pressure x contact patch area = rider + bike weight” since the tire pressure is not the same as the pressure the tire exerts on the ground. The reason being that this is not an ideal case with an elastically deforming tire. I understand someone takes 9th grade science and thinks they understand exactly how a tire works but that is false. Again, please look at this beyond a simple science understanding.

  • Andrew Eunson says:

    I should add that the Scott is certainly lust worthy. I would certainly consider a 650B bike next time I decide to get a new bike. Not ready to ditch the Highball 29er hardtail and 26 Nomad carbon just yet though.

  • Rider of Bikes says:

    I like twinkies!

  • GF says:

    When will the 710/740 be released to the public?

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