Mountain biking technology, it seems, is where skiing was a few years ago when fat skis became the norm and uphill equipment was revolutionized.
That’s to say that mountain biking keeps getting better by leaps and bounds, leaving previous generations in the dust.
I got to experience this firsthand last weekend, when Basalt Bike and Ski hosted two demo days during which anyone could walk in, leave a credit card number and take a brand new bike out for a spin.
I was set up on the Scott Spark 730, with an aluminum/carbon frame, a front fork with 120 millimeters of travel and a cushy rearshock.
This bike represents a new frontier with its 27.5-inch diameter wheels. For decades, most mountain bikes have come with 26-inch wheels. A few years ago, 29-inch wheels revolutionized the sport, offering a smoother, more stable ride in the gnarly downhill. This is the first year that Scott has made available a model in between, offering the added stability without sacrificing too much in the quick and nimble department.
The most novel feature on the bike is the three different settings on the shocks — or “three bikes in one,” as the tech put it. On one setting the shocks are nearly completely locked off, making climbing a smooth road much easier since no pedaling energy is absorbed by the shock. There is a middle setting as well, for bumpier climbs or flats, and in the bottom setting, the bike’s full travel can be unleashed for the downhill. The best part: the three settings are controlled from a lever on the handle bars; most other bikes with this feature have the control on the shock itself.
Coming off a bike I’ve been riding for the better part of a decade, this was a lightweight dream, with much quicker uphills and smoother ride down. It has me reconsidering my budget for a new whip.
Get Your Own
Scott Spark 730
$3,800 Basalt Bike and Ski