The all-new 2022 Scott Spark gives a ground-up redesign to one of the winningest XC race bikes ever built, now slacker with longer travel and no rear shock in sight. The all-new 120mm travel cross-country mountain bike also takes a big leap in versatility, moving from racing modern technical XC tracks to fast trail riding with ease. Using the same frame, a headset flip-chip lets the bike transform from the cross-country racers’ Spark RC World Cup builds with 120mm forks, to slacker singletrack shredding Spark 900 down-country builds with 130mm forks…

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 light, fully-integrated XC mountain bikes

Two years after buying Bold into the Scott family, there’s an all-new Scott Spark cross-country mountain bike ready for its World Cup racing debut this coming weekend.

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, XCO jump

c. Scott, photo by Daniel Geiger

Adapting the same proven integrated shock layout from Bold’s longer travel all-mountain & enduro bikes, the newly integrated Spark promises to be every bit the race-ready bike Nino Schurter has proven it to be over the last decade, but now with longer travel, slacker geometry, a stiffer frame, and more deep integration to go faster on the more technically demanding race tracks.

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, frame

And while the pros race on the lighter 120/120mm Scott Spark RC (above), there’s a slightly longer 120/130mm Scott Spark 900 trail bike for rocketing up and down your local singletrack.

So why change such a winning formula?

Why change a winning formula, when Nino has already won a lot on the previous Spark? He rode the last generation to 2016 rainbow stripes a week after it debuted, then World Champion titles again in 2017, 2018 & 2019 (plus five 2nd places this season). But behind the scenes, Nino had been asking for more travel to tackle ever-tougher XCO courses.

In fact, it seems he’s already been secretly racing for two seasons with custom links & shocks in his previous Spark to give him 120mm of rear wheel travel, and with SID forks bumped up to 115mm as early as his 2019 World Championship win.

Tech details

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, Nino N1NO

So now, on top of Nino’s extra travel, comes slacker geometry and the new frame integration…

Integrated suspension with Bold hidden shock

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, internal

The first thing to know about the new integrated suspension is that as dramatic as it may look, it’s really not as different as it seems. Sure, there’s 20% more travel and you can’t see the shock. But the layout is the same proven high single-pivot with seatstay flex just in front of the rear axle and a linkage-driven vertical (upside down) shock. Linkage ratios and shock curves have been tweaked in the new design, but it’s still the same race-proven suspension.

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, integrated link

For several years Scott had already been trying to figure out how to integrate the shock lower and inside their frame for improved performance & protection, and uncovering fellow Swiss bike maker Bold’s integrated suspension solution (and patent) spurred Scott to bring the small brand into their bigger company. Bold is still independently developing new bikes (new models expected this fall!), and Scott developed this new Spark completely separate of Bold.

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, mudd detail

The whole setup works simply by shifting the trunnion mount shock into the frame where the unsprung weight of the shock can move a bit lower (that’s also why Scott inverts the shocks)…

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, link

…and a unique 3-piece, splined rocker arm drives the shock inside, while connecting to the seatstays outside through a set of oversized, extra-sealed pivot bearings.

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, shock port

The result is a shock completely protected from the elements – no mud sprayed on or UV-light exposure to its sensitive slider & seals – yet still easily accessible with a large access port under the downtube for easy shock adjustment.

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, shok adjust

Scott says this configuration creates stronger, stiffer force distribution from the suspension into the widest, stiffest part of the frame at the bottom bracket. They even tested bikes back-to-back to see how reduced airflow might affect shock temperature & performance, finding no significant difference on the old & new Sparks.

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, non-driveside

And the framesets are light – a claimed 1870g for frame, shock & hardware on the top-tier HMX-SL carbon frames, essentially saving weight over the previous bike when you factor the newly integrated components in.

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, sag

Text & line indicators on the non-driveside seat tube pivot make setting sag easy. And a small removable grommet there also makes it easy to check how much travel you’ve used. Scott worked with both Fox & X-Fusion to get special, brighter o-rings that were easier to see like RockShox’s red rings.

Faster, slacker, adjustable geometry

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, headset

With the bump up to 120mm of rear wheel travel for both XC and trail, both RC & 900 bikes get more aggressive geometry. Beyond more travel at both ends, even the XC racing model is now more than a degree slacker at a 67.2° head angle, with a 2-3 degree steeper seat angle to around 76° depending on size, plus at least 12mm longer reach.

Comparing the old vs. new pre-sag figures, with more travel & bigger tires the new bikes sit quite a bit higher, both at the bottom bracket and at the bars. But for the most part riders will be able to get the exact same fits on the new bike. Chatting with Nino about his race setup, he actually brought his bar stack down ~4mm even with the overall taller bike.

2022 Scott Spark RC XC race geometry

2022 Scott Spark RC XC race geometry

Geometry is really the key thing here that separates the XC-racing Spark RC models from the trail-oriented Spark 900 models. Both bike styles share the exact same frame, but a set of 2-position headset flip-chip cups allows you to slacken the head angle a further 1.2° from the WC to 900.

Add in the extra 10mm of fork travel for the 900 bikes, and the end result is a bit more at 65.8° for the trail bikes. (A middle 0 offset headset will also be available separately, in between the standard -0.6°/+0.6° flip-chip version.)

2022 Scott Spark 900 XC trail geometry

2022 Scott Spark 900 XC trail geometry

The other differentiating factors between the two versions are smaller, more linear rear shock for the RC cross-country bikes and slightly larger-volume, more progressive shocks for the 900 down-country bikes. But essentially, a new Spark 900 buyer could reduce their fork travel with an internal spacer and flip their headset around to get the exact geometry of the XC bike.

Integrated routing with Syncros bars, stems & 1-piece cockpits

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, carbon cockpit

Extending the integration up front, Syncros has new 1 & 2-piece cockpits for clean internal routing setups. All shift, brake, and suspension control cables get routed through an oversized upper headset cup straight into the frame.

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, inside

But the cables essentially enter on the sides of the ‘stems’ for smoother cable bends and easier accessibility, with clip-on cable shrouds keeping it all tidy and relatively protected from the elements. In any case, the system is more open than usual, so Scott adds extra seals to the already-sealed cartridge bearings in the headset and throughout the bike.

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, alloy cockpit

There are tons of new integrated internal routing cockpit options from Syncros depending on the pricing level, from negative rise & 74cm flat Fraser IC bars for the XC RC bikes to mini-rise 76cm bars for the trail 900 bikes. Pick from 1-piece carbon or 2-piece alloy, there will even be compatible models of the Hixon trail bars for more all-mountain cockpit setups (and we’d guess more integrated cable routing on future longer-travel Scott mountain bikes!)

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, TwinLoc

A new triple TwinLoc adds a dropper seatpost control to the same proven Scott lockout lever control both front & rear suspension. Now you get open descending, slightly reduced travel traction control & full lockout modes at your fingertips, plus a dropper remote in one. We’ve ridden quite a bit with it, and were pleasantly surprised how easy it was to adapt to, without any accidental lockouts or post drops.

Other details

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, driveside

There’s tons more little, well-thought-out details on this bike so it’s easy to gloss over them. The new bike shifts to a 55mm chainline that give room for up to 2.6″ tire clearance AND the massive 40T chainrings that Nino races on around the widely-space PF92 bottom bracket.

The bike gets integrated rubber frame protection adapted from Scott’s gravity bikes to keep quiet. The removable rear-axle QR lever no includes T25, T30 & 6mm hex wrenches to adjust almost everything on the bike.

2022 Scott Spark – Pricing, options & availability

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, cockpit

There are literally too many individual models to list, but what’s interesting is that they do come at all pricing levels thanks to five different frameset option: full carbon HMX-SL (1870g), HMX (1999g), HMF (2150g), an HMF front end paired to an alloy rear (2590g), and the full alloy frameset (3290g) – all medium weight claims with shock & hardware.

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, complete

2022 Scott Spark RC World Cup AXS complete – $7,999.99

There are 9 possible Scott Spark RC cross-country builds (all carbon only), 13 possible Scott Spark 900 series down-country builds, 1 Contessa Spark RC carbon XC build & 3 Contessa Spark 900 series trail builds with women-specific contact points and lighter suspension tunes.

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, complete

2022 Scott Spark 900 Tuned AXS complete –  $9,499.99

Actual bike availability of the 25 possible Spark builds will vary from region to region, with Scott launching test fleets of the new bikes this week in several locations around the globe. Real shop availability could be just a matter of weeks in some shops and builds. But Scott assured us that while the ultra-premium bikes will be harder to get ahold of, their upper-middle-tier bikes should be available from your local Scott dealer within the next couple of months.

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, alloy

2022 Scott Spark 950 alloy complete – $3,399.99

So, it’s time to reach out to your local shop if you are feeling the need for a new longer-travel Scott XC race bike or shorter-travel fast trail bike!

All-new Scott Spark – First Impressions

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, Frischi

Chasing Frischi on Leogang’s WC XCO course was exciting (not the DH track, but it could be!)

We’ve had a chance to put in a few solid rides on the Scott Spark RC World Cup AXS cross-country build, and on the Scott Spark 900 Tuned AXS down-country builds, both on the gnarly terrain of the Leogang UCI XCO World Cup course these past couple of days.

With super steep climbs and sketchy, bordering on DH descents, both iterations have proved to be supremely capable, and greatly benefitting from the longer 120mm travel & slacker geometry.

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, climbing

photo by Daniel Geiger

Using the TwinLoc (TripletLoc?) really makes these bikes shine, where you get plush, controlled descending, grippy but efficient climbing over loose terrain, and stiff full-lock for smooth steep climbs. Swapping from XC to trail tires makes either of these builds super capable, but I’m probably most impressed that the 900 series bike climbs virtually the same as the slightly less aggressive RC.

2022 Scott Spark RC & 900 XC trail mountain bikes, light fully-integrated cross-country MTB, turn

Here’s a video overview of the new bike with ride footage:

Stay tuned for more detailed First Ride reviews of these two new Sparks…

Scott-Sports.com

30 comments

  1. Jim E on

    Loving that clear plastic demonstration frame. More companies should do this to better show how their cable integration works.

    Reply
  2. Seraph on

    Confused why the “Tuned” version has a mix of AXS drivetrain and Fox suspension. IMO a “tuned” bike from the Scott line usually means top end everything, which would mean a full assortment of RockShox components like Nino runs.

    Reply
  3. randyharrisaz on

    Looks awesome, while most companies make a racy XC bike with 100mm and offer a bigger 120mm version, Scott made a racy XC 120mm bike, Bold or not, that’s slick with the shock hidden away, and this is one of the new new bikes with Eagle GX AXS not the wired version, woot.

    Reply
  4. alloycowboy on

    Its a very nice bike with nice tech, but 120mm of travel is over kill for a cross country bike. This is no longer a cross country bike but a racing trail bike.

    Reply
    • Craig on

      Ha! Yeah okay armchair expert. Which World Cup races are you competing in this year? Maybe at your local Wednesday Night Worlds 120mm isn’t necessary but as a rider who races on international level courses I can assure you the sport has developed to the point where 120mm will very quickly be the norm in another 1-2 years and anyone on less travel will be at a disadvantage.

      Reply
      • alloycowboy on

        Craig that was pretty much my point, a 120mm travel bike isn’t actually a bike you would want to actually to ride cross country, which is a combination of tarmac, gravel and single track.The bottom bracket is going to be to high and the bike is going to be over suspended for that type of riding. XCO racing has indeed morphed into trail bike racing because the courses keep getting gnarlier and gnarlier. Also as the races get gnarlier more XCO pros increasingly get hurt they will likely leave the sport and the sport will implode.

        Reply
        • Deputy Dawg on

          I tend to agree, but also think that Nino, who wanted more travel, might know more about WC XC needs than I do.

          Reply
      • Marcel on

        At the same time, Scott bikes on sale are mostly on sale for “local Wednesday night world” and not to riders who ride on international level course (they have sponsors and don’t buy bikes). And for that type of riders, I agree with Alloycowboys it is a bit of an overkill even if Twinloc will help with 80mm.

        Reply
  5. Charlie on

    The ‘team issue’ bikes have setups like Nino uses. The Tuned version is the spec choice of the product manager, not the team sponsors.

    Reply
  6. Marc on

    First of all. A great copy of my (Swissmade) BOLD-bike I bought back in 2018. BOLD bicycles is now part of Scott.
    And yes it is a cool bike, with a great trail-performance, easy-cleaning, because of the hidden shock.
    I hope Scott approved the frame and made it a bit lighter then the “original” BOLD-frame

    Reply
  7. Sammy on

    Are there no mechanics that are upset that MORE stuff are being hidden in the frame?? What’s next; Hidden Fork?

    Reply
  8. Edgar on

    been looking for a purpose built XC bike with 120mm fork and rear. nvm if it isnt as slack as trail bikes. boom! this showed up!! time to get rid of my 100/100 xc mtb..

    Reply
  9. Dinger on

    Nino’s setup could be sponrorship driven. Scott may believe that their customers desire the FOX components at the top end?

    Reply
  10. benito on

    Gotta be a lot of pros and cons to the integrated shock? It looks amazing, and basic setup seems doable if maybe a little more awkward. Protecting and lowering that shock hardware seems like a great idea. Hopefully service intervals are longer with the shock tucked away from the elements?

    But removing the shock for volume spacers or even tackling service on your own (maybe XC folks don’t do that kind of thing) looks like a huge hassle. And I’m a little skeptical if you really take to the trail aspect and the shock is really working, that heat/fade wouldn’t be a problem.

    But either way, I love the dang thing. It looks f**ing awesome

    Reply

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