First off, tons of thanks to Scott Bikes and Republic Bicycles in Brackendale BC for the support. Let me begin by stating that this bike is not stock—I replaced the stock Fox F29 130 mm for a much more burly Rock Shox Pike 150 mm dual position air and Charger Damping cartridge. Not only did this provide a massive increase in front end travel and stiffness, it only caused a 0.23 lb weight penalty and allowed a dual position 30 mm height adjustment to settle the geometry down a bit for the climbs. Forks are not exactly the most cost effective upgrade but if you can recover some of the money from the stock fork (unused) it will pay dividends in a much more capable and playful bike. * Note that manufacturers do not recommend increasing the fork travel on bikes as it increases the bending moment on the head tube and stress on the head tube junction.
Besides the fork and tires, the stock setup on this bike is quite good, XT Brakes, XT Double front ring set-up, Stealth Reverb, Ti Rail Synchros TR saddle, XT shifters and derailleurs and Scotts exclusive Twinloc remote set-up, Synchros cockpit, DTswiss made wheel set with straight pull spokes, rim tape for tubeless use and Onyx style 3 pawl machined free hub which is quite good in my opinion, but I would like to see the star ratchet system used here… In going with the Pike up front, I had to eliminate the fork twinloc feature of the remote control but maintained the Traction Control feature on the all new Fox Nude shock exclusive to Scott and the “TC” Twinloc remote. My only comment about the shock is that the rebound adjustment lever is almost inaccessible tucked under the actuation cable, maybe on re-design it can sit on top of the twin lock actuator…
Carbon up front, alloy in the rear may seem like a bit of an old school trick but it helps maintain a price point, is durable and more stiff, and if you want it you can move to the Genius 900 Premium with a full beautiful HMX carbon frameset.
The stock tires are decent Schwalbe Nobby Nic EVO / 2.25 with Pacestar compound, but I prefer a higher volume tire and slightly more aggressive lugs so I swapped in a set of 2.35 Hans Dampf’s, all set for tubeless use (highly recommended). These are very soft and have a supple casing, perfect for Squamish rock and roots, while perhaps sacrificing longevity for increased performance, trail feel, traction and safety, which is a no brainer in my opinion.
Scott lists a size medium at 27.72 lbs, and mine in a size large with burlier tires and fork, is somewhere around 29 lbs. Very respectable for a bike of this type and capability.
The stock saddle felt pretty good so I left as is. Geometry on this bike is adjustable within 0.5 degrees of head tube angle and 7mm of bottom bracket height by changing the lower shock mounting bolt via an eccentric chip with high/low settings. I ran the low setting initially, and then the high setting and with the longer travel fork available for decants it is nice to steepen the head tube and tighten up the steering as much as possible. Handling was great in low travel fork settings and at 150 mm, steering became somewhat lazy through high speed tight sections, but more confidence inspiring and all-mountain-esque on downhill. When things get gnarlier and steep I run the fork in full travel with a quick 1/4 turn of the air side knob mounted on the top of left stanchion.
The handlebar gets a little crowded with 6(!) cables/lines coming off for the controls and remotes, but once routed correctly and with some disappearing into the frame via internal routing, they are not intrusive. (Note that with the fork remote included on the stock bike, that would be 7 lines!)
First impressions and rides on this bike are very good and with enough adjustability and customizations with fit and geometry available, you can dial it in for your perfect ride and to suit the conditions you are riding in. With all of the suspension remote settings available, the rear travel can feel progressive and bottomless if you want and with a click of the lever, lively and even fully locket out. With long travel trail bikes I like to be able to stiffen up (not necessarily lock) the rear suspension to help stay in the top part of the travel especially on climbs to increase efficiency and keep the head tube as steep as possible.
I really like the black on black on black on black colour scheme and the Pike fits right in with glossy and matte black paint. Not much or the in-your-face graphics and neon or glowing paint on other bikes lately, this one is pure subtle bad ass.
These bikes are great value when compared to their equivalently spec’d competition (Tallboy LTc etc) and on par or better with performance (I rode a Tallboy and Tallboy LTc for 2 years).
Long travel 29er’s are not for the faint of heart as they mean and demand and serious rider who can control and push their limits, but they will not let you down and there is no better machine for tackling extremely rough steep, natural trails.