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Scott Foil 30 review

6 Jul 2016
Verdict:

The Scott Foil 30 is the little brother of a World Tour contender, but does it share the same winning DNA?

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£2,299
For 
Comfortable and fast frame
Against 
Wheels aren't great

Redesigned for 2016, Scott’s Foil is claimed to be more aerodynamic and more comfortable than before, while still retaining incredible lateral stiffness. Although our test bike sits well below the team-issue bikes ridden by the stars of Orica-Greenedge and IAM Cycling in the WorldTour ranks, its geometry mimics the top-end models, while the components chosen for the groupset and wheelset ensure Scott has offered a pro-level experience at a more affordable price. But does it offer Tour-ready performance?

Frameset

Scott Foil 30 cable routing

In contrast to the Boardman, Scott uses a partial airfoil profile with no trailing edge, which it claims is just as effective owing to the fact that airfoil profiles generally only work on vehicles capable of ridiculous speeds (ie aircraft). Integration is the name of the game at the front end. The distinctive stem features integrated ‘aero’ spacers to ensure a smooth join between stem and frame, while the top of the fork joins almost seamlessly to the frame. However, the direct-mount brakes aren’t hidden from the airflow like the Boardman’s, instead they stand proud out front. Scott claims the area around the PF86 bottom bracket is 13% stiffer than the previous Foil, while comfort is afforded by increasing vertical compliance. Thin seatstays that join the seat tube in a lower position than before are said to aid an 86% improvement in compliance. The sloping top tube also necessitates a longer section of exposed seatpost, helping matters further.

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Groupset

Scott Foil 30 105

Mainly from Shimano’s 105 range, with brakes supplied by Tektro and the 52/36, mid-compact chainset being a more budget Shimano RS500 item. Operating as positively as always, the mid-price shifters move the chain across an all-terrain-friendly 11-28 Shimano 105 cassette. A handy inline quick-release for the rear brake is found on the cockpit cabling; something lacking from the Boardman.

Finishing kit

Scott Foil 30 components

Scott owns Syncros, so the Foil is equipped as you’d expect – floor to ceiling with Syncros, and it isn’t the usual, unexceptional fare. The 420mm alloy handlebars are positively unyielding, which is tempered to a degree by the fairly compliant forks. The carbon seatpost employs neat aero technology, while the RR2.0 saddle is one of the nicest places to plonk your behind
we’ve used in a while. 

Wheels

Here’s the slightly odd thing: on a bike that Scott says is designed for aggressive riding, why would you fit a wheelset that, by Shimano’s own admission, is ‘designed for comfort and everyday riding’? They’re undoubtedly durable and rigid hoops, but not what we’d choose to appoint a race bike with. Equally, Continental’s 23c Grand Sport Race tyres are budget rubber and, while perfectly safe in use, offer neither the grip of the Ribble’s Mavics nor the extra suspension of the Boardman’s Vittoria Rubinos. 

The ride

Hitting the bottom of the hill and setting off for a 50-mile ride on some of the most varied terrain in the country, the first clue to the new Foil’s trump card is revealed. This section of tarmac can rattle fillings on the wrong bike; this isn’t that bike – it’s noticeable from the off that Scott’s claims for the increased comfort are backed up by the frame, with imperfections in the road ably damped by a well tuned set-up. 

On the road

Scott Foil 30 review

The Foil feels compact, purposeful, ready to explode like a greyhound from a starting gate. And it’s perfectly capable of translating some big pedalling effort into serious speed… except those budget Shimano wheels are not doing it any favours. The extra rolling weight compared to similarly-profiled wheels such as the Boardman’s makes rolling roads more an effort than they should be. The extra 28-tooth cog is advantageous on steeper climbs, and we can’t deny that the stiff rear end, under load and when pointed up a 15% incline, is a huge bonus. Like the Boardman, however, the rear wheel flexes enough to rub the brake blocks under very laborious uphill slogs. That’s the negatives dealt with – it’s worth reiterating just how comfortable this bike is. Not a hint of numbness or jarring at the rear, and a relatively comfortable contact point at the bars, means you’re looking at an aero bike built for distance. What you’re not looking at, however, is a bike that would suit a would-be racer as well as the other three we’ve tested.

Handling

Scott Foil 30 headset

Front end stiffness lends a planted feel, and a sub-1,000mm wheelbase ensures the Foil’s steering is direct and far from ponderous. The impressive solidity of the frame, thanks to the whopping bottom bracket area, urges you to jump out of the saddle exiting corners and sprint (as best the wheels will allow) to get yourself back up to cruising speed again. An aggressive seating position, the seatpost’s 74° angle forcing you into a low position over the front, promotes eager attacking of even the slightest corner, but really lends itself to rapid ascents. The wheels are the least affected by crosswinds of any of the four sets tested, but confidence would be increased with 25c tyres. 

Geometry

Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 535mm 533mm
Seat Tube (ST) 450mm 450mm
Down Tube (DT) n/a 610mm
Fork Length (FL) n/a 374mm
Head Tube (HT) 130mm 130mm
Head Angle (HA) 72 72.6
Seat Angle (SA) 74 74.2
Wheelbase (WB) 980mm 985mm
BB drop (BB) 67mm 69mm

Spec

Scott Foil 30
Frame Foil HMF F01 aero carbon frame, HMF carbon fork
Groupset Shimano 105
Brakes Tektro T531/T541 direct-mount
Chainset Shimano RS500, 52/36
Cassette Shimano 105, 11-28
Bars Syncros RR2.0, alloy
Stem Syncros Aero RR1.5
Seatpost Syncros Foul aero carbon
Wheels Shimano RS330
Saddle Syncros RR2.0
Weight 8.3kg
Contact scott-sports.com

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