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Scott Addict RC Ultimate review

28 Mar 2020
Verdict:

As good as a bike can be right now, ticking all boxes, with performance gains to spare. No escaping the price: worth it to some, not to all

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Light • Responsive • Fast • Great engineering detail
Against 
None, ignoring price

Here’s something I wrote in a bike review back in issue 25 of Cyclist, August 2014: ‘The Storck Aernario Disc is arguably one of the most advanced road bikes on the planet. Yes, many other bikes now spec electronic drivetrains, 22 gears and internal routing, but what Storck has added to the mix is hydraulic disc brakes and thru-axles.’

At the time, the mere mention of disc brakes was enough to cause coffee cups to smash on kitchen floors all around the country. It was a moment of seismic change in the industry. But now that I re-read that paragraph, I start to ponder the question so often raised by riders: has much really changed in the past five years? Are we as cyclists getting value for our time and our money?

For a bike model that has been around since 2007 there have been relatively few iterations of the Scott Addict, with the last major overhaul coming in 2013 (albeit a disc update did appear in 2016). That 2013 Addict – specifically the SL version – arrived to great fanfare because of its credentials with respect to one of cycling’s oldest metrics: weight.

Back then weight was fertile ground to exploit and Cervélo was leading the arms race with its Rca – 667g for the frame, or 974g for the frameset. Yet the frameset cost £6,500 and wasn’t exactly available at Halfords, each being built to order in California.

The Addict SL, by contrast, was widely available to test at your local bike shop, the frameset tipping the scales at a claimed 985g for a size 54cm and a complete bike weighing 5.9kg and costing only £6,999. For 2020 the Addict duly follows suit, creeping in a touch above 7kg on the Cyclist scales for this size 56cm.

That’s very light for a disc bike, although not the lightest – a top-tier BMC Teammachine or S-Works Tarmac, for example, weighs 6.9kg in the same size.

 

However, Scott boasts that the Addict RC is the lightest fully integrated disc bike on the market, which aside from the Wilier Zero SLR – same weight, same integration – it could well be (the BMC and Tarmac have a few cables on show). And regardless of what the pecking order may be, the Addict feels wondrously light to ride.

It dances up climbs and excels coming back down too. There’s nothing not to like about the braking of the Sram Red eTap AXS discs and the way the Zipp wheels and Schwalbe tyres cope with the braking forces.

Then there’s the frame, which hits all the right notes in stiffness, cornering flex and handling. On that subject, says Scott, the geometry has been designed around 28mm tyres – engineers addressing the fact that even small differences in tyre widths change things such as wheelbase and trail, which have a big impact on handling.

That’s laudable attention to detail, which is found throughout the bike. The dropouts are hollow, which allows one-piece moulding with chainstays and seatstays, such that the frame is now made in three parts, not six.

Fewer joins means less weight, as less material overlaps, but to compensate for the compression forces of the thru axles, alloy inserts are bonded into the dropouts, which are anodised a fetching red. More lovely detail.

Elsewhere, the curved nature of the stem/bar intersection helps fibres run continuously across left and right sides of the bar, making for a stiffer and lighter cockpit – the Syncros setup weighs a claimed 295g – but also aids cable routing. Cables are accessed via a magnetic stem cap and run into the frame thanks to a near D-shaped head tube.

I doubt whether the average user will ever need to care about continuous fibres or easy cable routing, but this last point is important, as the head tube shape means a round steerer is used with oversize bearings and there’s still enough room to run hoses/cables.

In the past other manufacturers have done things like chamfer or slim fork steerers to make room for cables, which leads to undue flex, but no such thing afflicts the Addict. The front end is staunchly capable in the sprints and yet there’s some comfortable give in the bar thanks to its aero-flattened shape. The same can be said of flex in the seatpost and rear end. This is a very comfortable bike.

 

Let’s get real

The list of tweaks goes on: the seat clamp is external and weighs a mere 12g; the stem height can be changed without messing with cables as the spacers come apart; there’s a magnetic cap over the bolts for the fork calliper to smooth airflow, and the bolts are arranged so no alloy hardware is needed to support the mounting points.

Again lighter, again ingenious, and it all helps the Addict look supremely clean. But I come back to that original point that crops up more and more in my mind these days, and one I’m sorry to leave at the Addict’s door, but… this bike costs £10,799. That’s £3,800 more than its predecessor from five years ago, and a full kilo heavier.

Yes, this latest Addict gets discs and full integration, but back where we started, that Storck from 2014 had a lot of that too, and cost £7,999.

In pure engineering terms the Scott Addict is quite amazing. I salute its designers, it is cutting edge and in riding terms it’s all but faultless. Thus, all said, I would love to have the Addict as my best bike. But – and this is a huge ‘but’ that the industry really needs to address – would I be happy paying nearly £11,000 for the privilege?

I’ve praised expensive bikes before but in the main forgone the price criticism, because these bikes are custom and they exist in a world that defies being value-assessed in the same way.

You’re getting the only one that exists, and can you put a price on that? And if you can, you go stock, which should de facto be less pricy due to ubiquity, mass production and economies of scale.

But when a stock bike costs £10,799, even if it’s up there with the very, very best? You have to begin to wonder…

Spec

Frame Scott Addict RC Ultimate
Groupset Sram Red eTap AXS
Brakes Sram Red eTap AXS
Chainset Sram Red eTap AXS
Cassette Sram Red eTap AXS
Bars Syncros Creston iC SL one-piece 
Stem Syncros Creston iC SL one-piece
Seatpost Syncros Duncan SL Aero
Saddle Syncros Belcarra Regular 1.0
Wheels Zipp 202 NSW Disc, Schwalbe Pro One 28mm tyres 
Weight 7.02kg (56cm)
Contact scott-sports.com
Price: 
£10,799

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