Woohoo, a plus hardtail! This review is going to be more fun than a Timezone birthday party with McDonald's for lunch.
We've always said that if the new plus wheel size doesn't take off on dual suspension bikes, we'll guarantee that a plus hardtail will have its place, no doubt. For an entry level price, an entry level rider will have more than entry level fun on one.
The not-so-minor details
Scott Scale 720 Plus
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Great colours and graphics.
Non-clutch Shimano rear derailleur.
On review we have the $2299 Scott Scale 720 Plus, the only plus hardtail from Scott coming Down Under, let’s take a look at it before we get rowdy.
What is a ‘plus bike’ you’re asking? In a nutshell it’s just a 27.5″ wheel bike with bigger tyres, like this one with a voluminous 2.8″. No it’s not a fat bike, they ride more like regular bikes in our experience, and the best plus bikes are a result of finding the sweet spot between all the wheel size factors like diameter, width, volume and tread.
Scott are well and truly at the forefront of the new plus thing, we’ve learnt that one already.
The outer diameter of the wheel is close to that of a 29er, but the actual wheel is a regular 27.5″. So the rolling benefits of the large diameter is there, but you still get a lively and agile feeling bike. They aren’t here to win races, they are just a seriously good option for anyone who wants to enjoy riding trails, especially if they are loose and rocky.
The tyres are run at low pressure, with a good tubeless setup we were running around 13-15 psi in the tyres, that may sound low but with the super-wide rims the tyre doesn’t squirm around like you’d expect with low pressure, the support is ace.
Our experiences with Plus bikes.
Plus bikes are not new to us at Flow, we reviewed the Scott Genius Plus and bigger travel Genius LT Plus and the Scale 710 Plus hardtail (not an Australian model) last year. We LOVED them, why? Read this – Scott Genius and Scale Plus review.
We’ve tested a couple Specialized 6 Fattie bikes too, the Fuse hardtail is a comparable option to this Scale, an extra $700 but we loved riding it. Specialized Fuse Expert 6 Fattie review.
And the Stumpjumper 6 Fattie was one of the most fun tests we’ve ever done. Review here: Specialized Stumpjumper Comp 6 Fattie review.
This Swiss brand’s aluminium frames often look better than many brand’s expensive carbon ones, and this Scale 720 is no exception, it’s a real beauty.
Bold green and blue graphics drip all over the smooth matte black finish, with internally routed cables, smooth welds and a neat set of dropouts with the Shimano direct mounting for the rear derailleur.
There’s provisions for a dropper post (phew) and you can see how the engineers have been able to manage a short rear end despite having to fit such a big rear tyre in the frame, the chainstays and seat tube are very different in shape to any of the regular Scale frames.
The Scale 720 is the entry level Plus bike from Scott and the most affordable Plus bike we’ve ridden, at this price point the challenge is set to keep the bike’s weight down whilst still speccing it with the parts that will let it realise it potential on the trail.
Not here to win cross country races, the Plus bike just wants to have a good time, so the fork is 120mm, bars are wide and the stem is short, and of course the tyres are meaty. But there is no dropper post or tubeless ready rims or tyres.
A Suntour fork Raidon fork is fitted up front with 32mm diameter legs, 120mm of travel and a remote handlebar lockout. We’ve not ridden any recent forks from Suntour, but from where we sit there seems to be plenty of development and high end riders on Suntour suspension, so we are very curious as to how they feel.
The Raidon is an air and coil sprung fork with adjustable rebound and their unique Q LOC quick release axle. We’ve seen RockShox and FOX master their take on the QR axle, but Manitou’s dismal attempt on the Specialized Fuse 6 Fattie drove us mad, so let’s hope this one goes ok.
Shimano take care of the brakes and drivetrain, with a mix of Deore and XT but there’s a distinct absence of a clutch mechanism on the rear derailleur. The clutch cuts down the noise and chain slap via a clever tension resistance switch on the derailleur cage. It’s not the biggest issue, but it’ll surely make the bike feel a little outdated in terms of noise and chain security.
The double chainring setup will ensure you’ll be able to climb anything and never run out of gears, and the gear cables are sealed and out of way from the elements so it’ll be a great all-weather bike for sure.
Righto, let’s ride!
Stay tuned for our full review.