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Scott Speedster 50 review

24 Aug 2016
Verdict:

The Scott Speedster 50 is an evergreen pocket rocket but it can still fly high.

Price: 
£650
For 
Fast agile frame
Against 
Heavy wheels

The Scott Speedster range has been around for many years, and although it no longer represents the cutting edge of bike technology, it has clearly evolved over time. The Speedster 50 features what the company calls ‘shape optimized double-butted alloy tubing and a race proven geometry that provides an aerodynamic advantage and outstanding performance’. Essentially, this means it’s packing some fairly high-end tech at a very keen price. But is it too focussed on performance to offer long-distance comfort? Let’s find out…

Frameset 

Scott Speedster 50 frame

Scott’s affordable route to performance riding features aero-profiled alloy tubing, which gives a strong hint as to its intended purpose. Scott claims it offers a 20% increase in aerodynamic performance over a bike with round-profile tubes, and an average 5% less power to sustain a given speed. Clearly, without a wind tunnel and a handful of white coats, we’re unable to confirm or refute this, but the figures are certainly impressive. The fat, down tube is the standout feature, while the sloping top tube also reduces the size of the rear triangle, with the intention of introducing some vertical compliance from the rear end to balance the rather stiff front end. Geometry-wise, the Scott follows the same lines as the Mekk, but with a slightly steeper head angle giving potentially even sharper steering. Its wheelbase, at a measured 971mm, puts it in the realm of the race bike. 

Groupset 

Scott Speedster 50 Claris

Claris equipment is used across the build, from the 50/39/30 chainset to the eight-speed shifters and the front derailleur (the rear mech is upgraded to Sora). The triple chainset gives an almost befuddling choice of 24 gears, matched to the 11-30 cassette (a 50/34 chainset version of this bike is also available). There is a fair leap between these ratios, making accurate gear selection a necessity. Tektro R312 dual-pivot brakes are harder to modulate than Shimano’s entry-level equipment, partly due to the lack of sophistication to the Claris lever’s action. 

Finishing kit 

Scott Speedster 50 alloy frame

The bike is peppered with alloy parts from Scott’s own Syncros band. The compact handlebars are decent – we found our hands placed on the tops regularly to tap out the miles (though this might have been to avoid gripping those Claris brake hoods). The FL2.5 saddle is deeply padded but firm, so you don’t feel like you’re bouncing around. 

Wheels 

As with the other bikes tested here, the Scott’s wheelset is designed to be durable and resilient. The Syncros Aero 27s are dependable all-year training wheels, but they’d be a good first place to start with the upgrades – that would really transform the performance of this already good, basic package. We like Kenda’s 25c Kriterium tyres although they’re a touch weighty in this wire-beaded form.

The ride

Much like the higher-spec Speedster 40 we tested some months ago, the 50 proves immediately punchy for something so bulky, and has the capacity to surprise you when you turn up the wick. It’s alert to our inputs, responding eagerly to the merest provocation, and power is laid down efficiently through its stiff alloy frame. 

Scott Speedster 50 review

There’s no denying the Speedster 50 is a good value aluminium-framed road bike that will perform very well on smooth roads, but we don’t get to see many of those. The harshness of road buzz transmitted through its alloy fork isn’t isolated completely by the handlebars, and although it’s not in numb finger territory, the nicest way to phrase the sensation you feel when riding the Scott over pitted roads is ‘extreme feedback’. This isn’t helped by the steep seat angle of 74.2°, pushing the rider forward to the point where you begin to take the weight on your wrists. But wait, this sounds like we’re giving the bike a panning – there’s more to it than that. The stiff set-up does have the definite advantage of making this one of the most willing bikes we’ve tried in this price range. Its all-up mass won’t win you any sprints to the top of local climbs, but the spread of ratios from the triple chainset and 11-30 cassette are ample for most occasions, if potentially confusing for newer riders. 

Again, the stiffly set front end becomes an advantage when you throw corners into the equation. Its downhill performance is especially impressive, enabling you to flick the Speedster from one apex to the next in confidence. But while it has plenty of go, it’s the stop department that concerns us slightly. There’s not enough bite from the Tektro brakes to give us confidence to leave braking late. The Kenda Kriterium tyres do inspire confidence, though, and we wouldn’t rush to upgrade them. You might need to have a difficult conversation with the Syncros Race 27 wheels, though, tearfully informing them you’ve found a lighter, less flexible, replacement in the form of something like Mavic’s £320 Ksryiums. Yes, we know that’s half the price of the bike, but the point is that the Scott’s frame would make a great racer, and is ripe for upgrade. You could build a stunner with a little more cash, but then this is why Scott has a Speedster 20 and 30 in its range. 

Geometry

Geometry chart
Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 530mm 532mm
Seat Tube (ST) 520mm 521mm
Down Tube (DT) 626mm
Fork Length (FL) 390mm
Head Tube (HT) 136mm 136mm
Head Angle (HA) 73 73.1
Seat Angle (SA) 74.5 74.2
Wheelbase (WB) 971mm 971mm
BB drop (BB) 67mm 67mm

Spec

Scott Speedster 50
Frame Speedster Aero double-butted 6061 alloy frame
Groupset Shimano Claris
Brakes Tektro Comp R312
Chainset Shimano Claris, 50/39/30
Cassette Shimano HG50, 11-30
Bars Syncros RR2.0, alloy
Stem JD ST92A, alloy
Seatpost Syncros RR2.5, alloy, 31.6mm
Wheels Syncros Race 27, aero profile
Saddle Syncros FL2.5
Weight 10.38kg (Small)
Contact scott-sports.com

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