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onesevenseven/aeighttech – scale evo3 prep

Scott has always been at the forefront of carbon mountain bike technology. My 2015 Scale started life as a stock bike and had plenty of upgrades last year, but this year I’m pushing it to the next level…

I’ve been lucky enough to have some pretty sweet demo bikes this Spring to train on (more of that in future blogs) – this has also allowed me access to lots of new tech which has convinced me what works and what doesn’t – the flip side of this is that I’ve been doing so much riding, work and frame building that I haven’t had time to build my own MTB back up after the Winter. My Scott Scale worked like a dream last year so I’ve kept hold of it for the third season in a row and rebuilt it with a mixture of old and new parts.

Originally my bike came with 10-speed XT, a Fox Evolution Fork and Syncros wheels and finishing kit. None of it was bad kit and I rode plenty of races with it in the stock set up, but when the new 11 speed version of XT came out at the beginning of 2016 I swapped straight away to the new double set-up with an 11-40 cassette, instantly losing weight and gaining gears. The new M8000 brakes were amazing and the crank felt instantly stiffer than its predecessor. I serviced the fork myself and got it feeling better than it had been from stock. 2016 was my best season for about ten years in terms of results and I won 8 races and London’s Beastway Series overall on the 2nd evolution of my Scale, but I still felt that there was potential for improvement.

After my last race in September I stripped the bike down and started making plans for 2017 and the 3rd evolution of the scale.

I took advantage of the bike being in bits and sent the fork to a company called Mojo in Wales. Mojo Suspension have been the importers and tuners of Fox Suspension for years and whilst I’m happy to service suspension myself I really rate their custom tuning services so I figured I’d treat myself. They basically take the fork apart and modify several parts to custom tune the way the fork works, to suit the rider and the type of riding or racing they’ll be doing. They modify parts that allow them to change the speed that the oil flows through the various ports and valves. For me personally as an XC racer, this means focussing upon low speed compression and damping. The fork already performs adequately on the high speed (big impact) compressions for me, but the small bump tuning is critical especially as I don’t weigh very much,…put simply a light rider hitting small bumps will often fail to really get a stock fork working in its sweet spot and compared to a heavy rider hitting bigger bumps I need the fork to start working much more quickly.

I’ve fitted a Wolf Tooth single chainring to my M8000 cranks and have 34 and 32 tooth options at the moment. I’ve learned a lot about single ring set-ups over the winter by using similar components on my ‘cross bikes. I’ve been surprised at just how capable they are and how simple it makes the whole system. I’ve also found that while many riders are attracted to massive cassette ratios I’ve been able to get away with relatively standard ratios for racing and so I’m going to try an 11-32 road cassette at the back for the time being. I think this would be a bit limited for trail riding, but for racing initial rides have proved that it works well – obviously ring choice is key to this working so I’ll be experimenting with a few more rings over the next few months.

I’ve stuck to the M8020 brakes which I love and simply bled them for the new season. I’ve seen bad reports of these brakes but I really have nothing but praise for them – more than enough power, no leaks, easy to adjust and light.

My position on the bike felt perfect all of last year so I’ve not made any changes to the Ritchey/Fizik finishing kit which I’ve used for years. Moving over to a single ring freed up some space on the left side of the bar to hide the lever, but then it hit me – why not use the now unused XT shifter to adjust my three-stage suspension instead of that gawky looking Scott suspension lever that sits on the top of the bars. It works perfectly, looks nice and clean and is easy to adjust – I’ve not seen anyone else do this but it seems like a really obvious thing to do and it looks great.

The last thing to do – build some wheels on Thursday night before jumping in the truck Friday morning for a Bike Show and then on to a bike race on the Saturday (but that’s a story for next time…)!

Photos by Glen Whittington. 

Glen rides for the Southborough & District Wheelers. He races mountain bikes, road bikes, TT and ‘cross at local and national level. He receives personal support from Helly Hansen, Scott Sports, The Velo House, and the.æight.bicycle.cømpany. Glen runs The Velo House with Olly, a coffee shop, workshop and bike shop welcoming all cyclists and non-cyclists, based at 5 St.Johns Road, Tunbridge Wells, TN4 9TN – 01892 554 505 – He also contributes to Simpson Mag @eightbikeco #aeightracer

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