On Test | The 2022 Scott Spark adds integration, travel, and weight

It’s hard to believe that the current generation Scott Spark was launched all the way back in 2016, just in time for the Rio Olympics. Five years is an amazing run for any model of mountain bike, but especially one that’s designed to consistently perform at the very highest level of the sport. That really goes to show just how how successful the Scott Spark has been both on and off the race track, no doubt due to its competitively low weight, progressive frame design, and clever TwinLoc suspension system.

Despite that success, we’ve been anticipating a redesigned Spark for some time now, especially with all the new XC bikes that have been hitting the market over the past year. Well good news folks, because the new Spark has finally arrived! We’ve had the chance to test it out for the past few weeks, so if you’re keen to know how it rides, check out our Scott Spark review. For all the specs, prices and details on the full range, read on.

Watch our video review of the Scott Spark here:

2022 scott spark
The new 2022 Scott Spark has arrived, and we don’t think you’ll be confusing it for the old model!

What’s new with the 2022 Scott Spark?

Absolutely everything – just look at it!

While it retains its position as the brand’s flagship XC race whippet, the 2022 Scott Spark receives an all-new frame, updated geometry, and a whole bunch of refinements. Joining the current trend amongst full suspension XC bikes, the Spark will now accommodate two water bottles inside the front triangle. And going after the super-clean look, the cables are also routed stealthily through the upper headset, with a new Fraser iC SL XC one-piece carbon handlebar and stem to match on the high-end models.

More importantly though, there’s been an increase in travel. The Spark now features 120mm of rear travel, which is delivered by an entirely new suspension platform.

2022 scott spark 910
The cleanest full suspension bike going?

Dude, where’s my shock?

If you’re struggling to spot where the shock is, that’s because it’s actually hidden inside the frame. This design echoes the silhouette of the full suspension bikes produced by Swiss brand Bold Cycles, which is no coincidence. Scott Sports acquired Bold Cycles back in 2019, and since then there’s been a whole lot of speculation around what that would mean for the two brands. With the new Scott Spark, we finally have our answer.

Why hide the shock inside the frame? Well it looks pretty sweet for a start, and it helps to protect the shock from mud, rain and dust. It also means the frame can be massively oversized around this downtube, seat tube and bottom bracket junction, and that bodes well for chassis rigidity. With each side of the rocker link sitting quite far apart, there also appears to be masses of mud clearance too. Scott says the shock placement also lowers the bike’s centre of gravity, though we’re skeptical as to how much of a difference that actually makes.

A removable hatch underneath the downtube allows you to access the shock to adjust the air pressure, rebound and compression damping, or to replace the lockout cable. There’s also an integrated sag guide on the side of the linkage, as well as a small window up on the side of the seat tube for taking a peek at the shock’s O-ring.

Still, it’ll be a more involved process to change air volume spacers in the rear shock, and tracking down a creaky pivot looks like it could take a little longer too.

Scott Spark RC vs Spark 900

As with the previous Spark, Scott has engineered the new model to produce two different bikes in one. Both are built around the same frame, shock and rear suspension travel, but there are some key differences that separate the two platforms;

On top of the different forks, there are several other differences in the spec in order to further differentiate the two bikes from one another. Whereas the Spark RC comes with fast-rolling Maxxis Rekon Race tyres and narrower 740mm wide bars, the Spark 900 gets chunkier Schwalbe Wicked Will tyres and wider 760mm bars.

And while the rear shock size and stroke is the same between the two bikes, the shock’s used on the Spark 900 employ a higher volume air can to improve sensitivity and comfort.

2022 scott spark 910
The Spark 900 uses the same frame and rear travel as the Spark RC, but comes with a 130mm fork, chunkier tyres, a longer dropper and a 760mm wide handlebar.

TwinLoc update

Both the Spark RC and Spark 900 retain the TwinLoc system – a heirloom technology for Scott. This system is built around a custom ‘Nude’ rear shock (made by Fox, RockShox or X-Fusion, depending on the model), which along with the fork, is joined via a cable to a remote lever at the handlebar. This 3-position handlebar remote provides the rider with three distinct modes;

2022 scott spark
The dropper post lever now sits below the two suspension levers.

Descend & Lockout are self-explanatory, though it’s the middle Traction Control mode where things get interesting. In this mode, the air volume is actually restricted inside the rear shock to make it significantly more progressive, hence limiting the travel to 80mm. The shock also rides considerably higher, helping to steepen the effective seat tube angle for a more powerful and efficient climbing position.

For this new 2022 Scott Spark, the TwinLoc now has a third lever that activates the dropper post. This lever sits underneath the two suspension paddles, instead of the vertical placement on the old bike. It does look quite busy there with all those cables, but the new dropper lever placement offers a potentially more ergonomic solution.

2022 scott spark
And here’s what you’ll see from the driver’s seat.

Adaptable geometry

Helping to achieve the two-bikes-in-one trick, Scott has employed adjustable headset cups for tweaking the head angle independently to the rest of the frame. By switching the cups around 180°, it’s possible to slacken or steepen the head angle in isolation by 0.6°. This differs to the typical geometry flip chips you’d normally find at one of the shock mounts, which also affect the bottom bracket height, reach and seat tube angle.

The Spark RC comes from the factory with the headset cups in the steep position, while the Spark 900 puts them in the slack position. Along with the 10mm difference in fork travel, there’s a greater difference between the two bikes;

Scott says the process to flip those headset cups around is a simple process, despite the cables and rear brake hose routing through the upper headset bearing.

2022 scott spark rc geometry

2022 scott spark 900 geometry

2022 scott spark
With the headset cups in the slack position and the longer 130mm travel fork, the Spark 900 goes sub-66° for the head angle.

Scott Spark weight – it’s actually heavier

Surprisingly, the new Scott Spark isn’t lighter than its predecessor. That’s not a sentence we’re used to typing out in a new bike launch story, but given how much chunkier and raked-out the new frame is, and the fact that it now has 120mm of rear wheel travel, it ought to make sense. And we’ll point out that it’s only 71g heavier, which is a bit more than a Mars bar.

As to how that compares to the competition? Here’s a look at how the claimed weight of the top-end Spark RC HMX SL frame stacks up against some of its competitors;

As always, take those numbers with a grain of salt, as they’re claimed weights from the manufacturers themselves. We understand that all those listed weights are for Medium-sized frames including the rear shock and hardware, but without a standardised set of scales and the frames physically in front of us, it’s impossible to verify them.

Still, it goes without saying that the Spark is still bloody light. And Scott quite rightly points out that it is the lightest option in that list with 120mm of rear travel.

There are five different frame levels

Also worth noting is that the claimed frame weight in the above list is for the top-end Spark HMX SL carbon frame, which is only available on the very top-end Spark RC model. Scott produces the new Spark in two other carbon variants that use identical moulds, but simply employ a cheaper grade of carbon fibre that adds a little weight. There’s also an alloy frame, and there’s even a hybrid model that pairs a carbon mainframe to an alloy swingarm.

Here’s how the frame weight compares between those five different options;

2022 scott spark
There’s now clearance for two water bottles inside the front triangle – something that wasn’t possible on the old bike.

Scott Spark price & availability

Being a popular model for the Swiss brand, the new Scott Spark will be coming in a huge range of spec options across both the Spark RC and Spark 900 platforms.

Pricing will start at $3,999 AUD for the Scott Spark 970, and will go all the way up to $15,999 AUD for the Scott Spark RC SL EVO AXS.

Additionally, Scott will be producing several women’s specific models under the Contessa label. These bikes use exactly the same chassis as the unisex bikes, albeit with women’s specific touch points. Scott Sports’ Australian distributor, Sheppard Cycles, is expecting complete bikes to arrive later in 2021.

You can read on for an overview of the specs and pricing for the full range below. Keen to know how it actually rides? See our Scott Spark review for our verdict on this futuristic XC bike!

2022 scott spark rc sl evo axs
The top-end Spark RC SL EVO AXS model with all the toys and capital letters.

2022 Scott Spark RC SL EVO AXS

2022 scott spark rc world cup axs
The Spark RC World Cup AXS model features a 120mm travel RockShox SID fork and the Nude 5 rear shock.

2022 Scott Spark RC World Cup AXS

scott spark rc team 2022
The Spark RC Team will be the entry-point into the Spark RC range.

2022 Scott Spark RC Team

2022 scott spark 900 tuned axs
With a 130mm Fox 34 Float fork and matching Transfer dropper post, the Scott Spark 900 Tuned AXS is the penthouse suite of the Spark 900 range.

2022 Scott Spark 900 Tuned AXS

scott spark 910 2022
Fox suspension, Shimano XT and alloy Syncros wheels for the Scott Spark 910.

2022 Scott Spark 910

2022 scott spark 920
The Spark 920 moves to an alloy sub-frame and SRAM GX Eagle gearing.

2022 Scott Spark 920

2022 scott spark 940
A Pike-equipped Scott Spark? That’d be the 940 model then.

2022 Scott Spark 940

2022 scott spark 940
The Spark 950 is the highest spec option with an all-alloy frame.

2022 Scott Spark 950

scott spark 960 2022
The Spark 960 gets a RockShox Judy TK fork and Shimano Deore 1×12.

2022 Scott Spark 960

new scott spark 970
The entry-level Spark 970 is the only model to feature an X-Fusion rear shock. Still gets the TwinLoc remote, the same geometry and frame design as the top-end models though.

2022 Scott Spark 970

new scott contessa spark 910 2022
Scott will offer Contessa Spark 910 for go-fast ladies. Carbon front end, alloy rear, SRAM GX Eagle and Fox suspension.

2022 Scott Contessa Spark 910

scott contessa spark 930
And the entry-level Contessa Spark 930 with its alloy frame and Shimano Deore groupset.

2022 Scott Contessa Spark 930

2022 scott spark
We’ve been putting the new Spark through the wringer over the past few weeks on home turf. So how does it ride? And how does it stack up to the competition? Check out our Scott Spark review for everything you need to know!

It appears you're using an old version of Internet Explorer which is no longer supported, for safer and optimum browsing experience please upgrade your browser.