It is fair to say that the SCOTT E-Spark 700 Plus Tuned was one of the most exciting bikes in last year’s EUROBIKE show, even though it was safely placed behind thick glass wall for that occasion. This meant: no touching, no test riding, nothing at all! Seven months on, SCOTT has finally made one specimen available for testing – and of course we didn’t miss the chance to take it to the woods.
The frame of the SCOTT E-Spark in detail
Last year, Nino Schurter won pretty much everything one can hope to win in the professional Cross-Country circuit. His weapon of choice, a SCOTT Spark. Well, the chassis and overall aesthetics of its electric sister, the E-Spark, are pretty much the same, with the difference that from now on – thanks to the frame-integrated Shimano E8000 STEPS-motor-
mere mortals like us will be able to attack climbs and hills with the same power and determination of an Olympic athlete.
The E-Spark Plus comes with 130 mm travel in the front and 120 mm at the back, lockout settings can be controlled via TwinLoc-technology directly from the handlebar. The compact FOX Nude-features a Trunnion-Mount-system, which requires less room for installation and improves stand-over height. The 504 Wh battery pack sits right inside the oversized aluminium-downtube and can be easily removed with a downwards-pulling-motion. The extra space in the frame leaves enough room to place a water bottle. Another clever move was integrating the speed sensor directly into the disc brake- nice job! All cables are tucked away inside the expensive-looking frame, it all looks remarkably neat and tidy! But be warned, when changing hoses, especially the brake-line, some of us home-mechanics might end up breaking into a sweat.
The components on the SCOTT E-Spark 700 Tuned Plus
It was clear from the beginning that SCOTT weren’t going to compromise on their new high-end E-Spark 700 Tuned Plus. The lush FOX Factory suspension system includes an E-Bike specific 34 FLOAT fork with 130 mm travel up front and a 120mm Nude-shock dealing with the rough stuff at the back- a good match with the smoothly-working Shimano XT Di2- shifting group. A set of Shimano XT brakes comes with 200 mm discs on both ends and as usual delivers reliable and consistent braking power. One truly exciting detail are the cables running inside the carbon Syncros handlebars. The MAXXIS Rekon+ tires furthermore underline the fast personality of the bike.
Fork FOX 34 Float Factory 130 mm
Rear shock FOX NUDE Trunnion 120 – 85 mm – Lockout Shock
Motor / Battery Shimano STEPS E8000 / 500 Wh
Brakes Shimano XT
Drivetrain Shimano XT
Seat post FOX Transfer
Stem Syncros 31.8 mm
Handlebar Syncros Carbon 760 mm
Tires MAXXIS Rekon+
The geometry of the SCOTT E-Spark
The E-Spark clearly bears a classic mountain bike geometry, featuring short chainstays and a low bottom bracket. Coupled with a moderate head-angle and a long top tube, the E-Spark finds its element on downhills, providing outstanding handling and riding comfort. Here’s an overview of its geometry.
|Top tube||580 mm||610 mm||640 mm||660 mm|
|Seat tube||400 mm||440 mm||490 mm||540 mm|
|Head tube||110 mm||120 mm||130 mm||140 mm|
|Head angle||67.5 °||67.5°||67.5°||67.5 °|
|Seat angle||73.8 °||73.8 °||73.8 °||73.8 °|
|Chainstays||445 mm||445 mm||445 mm||445 mm|
|BB Drop||337 mm||337 mm||337 mm||337 mm|
|Wheelbase||1.142 mm||1.173 mm||1.204 mm||1.226 mm|
|Reach||406 mm||433 mm||460 mm||478 mm|
|Stack||597 mm||607 mm||616 mm||625 mm|
The SCOTT E-Spark 700 Tuned Plus on the trail
With its tidy and sleek aesthetics, the E-Spark scored points even before setting rubber on the trails. Our medium sized test bike felt very comfortable, sporting a slightly stretched yet very centred sitting position, and was a perfect fit for our 180cm tall test rider. As always, the Shimano E8000 STEPS-motor delivers huge amounts of power, which the E-Spark’s trail-mode knows to translate masterfully into an efficient and well balanced power deployment. When pedalling lightly, the motor only transfers small amounts of support, but when pushing really hard, the motor pushes really hard too! Even on steep climbs the front wheel keeps good contact with the ground, thanks to the steep seat-angle. Things only get tricky on very technical climbs, where the low bottom bracket (26mm drop) forces you to constantly scan the ground in search of an optimal line, in order to avoid undesired encounters with roots or rocks.
However, on the downhill, the low bottom bracket comes in handy, becoming a huge perk and increasing the riding fun-factor. The body feels firmly anchored between the two chunky 27.5+ wheels, offering an ideal riding feel, especially in turns and berms. The SCOTT literally rails through berms and the bike feels balanced and in control even in nasty off-camber root sections, provided that the terrain isn’t too loose or muddy; the flat profiled MAXXIS Rekon+ clogs up easily and ends up losing the sort of traction we would expect from a bike like the E-Spark. We recommend upgrading to a Minion DHR II+, especially on the front.
Despite the 130 mm travel fork and the 120 mm rear end, the E-Spark feels incredibly safe and responsive. But then, when faced with faster and bigger hits, the limitations of a short-ish travel start becoming evident. Sporty or aggressive riders will love the E-Spark’s defined handling and the progressive-response coming from the rear-end, characteristics that make it a playfully-nimble and manoeuvrable trail ripper. With a weight of over 22 kg the bike is on the heavier side, yet getting airborne is incredibly easy; an overall well-balanced geometry and great weight distribution make the difference in this case. The short 445 mm chainstays are the perfect recipe for quick, playful direction changes. The E-Spark will leave you intentionally searching for additional fun-turns instead of just settling for the straightest, fastest line. Less experienced riders will feel at ease with its well-balanced, predictable handling, still, slightly more travel would have been a great addition to boost riding confidence, particularly on rugged terrain.
In this first test, the SCOTT E-Spark knows how to impress with its agile handling, playful chassis and a more than comfortable sitting position. Despite the shorter travel the bike is massive fun on the trail, but it could have been even more fun with a slightly more descent-oriented outfit, without necessarily having to compromise on the way up! In more challenging situations the E-Genius would definitely be a better choice with its longer travel.
For more information head to scott-sports.com
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Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer