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  1. #1
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    We the people ... Details - Scott Spark 29er for XC



    Took some doing, but I am very happy with the results of my Scott spark 930. It comes in at a mere 21.75 pounds with pedals. I believe it will be 21 pounds flat when i am done, but not there yet. Most importantly, it's super fun to ride, and very much trail worthy.

    Hope the following helps other riders.

    FRAME
    Small, carbon frame Spark 930 - adjustable geometry (0.5 degree difference between the low and high setting of the rear shock). Both settings climb well, but the high setting climbs better and is more responsive. The low setting is way more comfortable on the DH. Changing between the two settings is effortless (only requires 30 seconds and the use of a 5mm allen) but I find that once you find your niche, you probably won't have to change it.

    The frame has some really "interesting" curves, and a bottom bracket fitting that's "out of this world". The rear triangle is made out of aluminum, and clearly has huge oversized bearings of articulation.

    The rear shock looks like it is part of the frame. Clever design, minimalist, and really good looking. The photos that I have seen online do not even do the frame justice, neither do mine.

    STERRING TUBE
    Unlike all of my Cannondales (all pre 2013), the steering tube is tapered and showcases a massive intersection point. The result is a stiff front-end that tracks really well. Dare I say more precise than a lefty? Well, it's a different feel, but note that it feels very precise.

    WATER - anyone?
    Just like my 2012 Cannondale Scapel 29er, the Spark only has one water bottle holder. On a small frame, it's a bit tight, but even that is all relative. The Cannondale's water bottle provide with zero to no clearance... the spark has way more room to spare. It's a different angle all together.

    OVERALL PARTS
    The Spark was delivered with rather decent parts. In fact, some of the best stock parts I had seen in a long time. Wheels, seatpost clamp, brakes and handlebar were all a bit heavy, but quality products.

    SEAT POST
    The stock seat post clamp is a quick release, and as heavy as can be. KCNC has a great replacement part that's coming. For now, I am using a Cannondale Clamp (don't laugh).

    Seat post is 31.6mm - transferring my super light MCFK carbon seat post from one bike to the other was painless. Be sure to use carbon paste which works wonders in eliminating post slippage. Took me 3 months to figure this out (I can vouch that many bike shops ignore this simple paste).

    SADDLE
    I use a Selle Italia carbon SLR that I have had for about 2 years. It's very light 135g, and I personally find it super comfortable. Beware, as with all saddle, you will want to test drive a few (many of my friends just hate mine).

    HANDLEBAR
    I use a carbon bar, 620mm. Clamp is 31.8 (standard) and really requires carbon paste to lower bolt torque. My handlebar is a mere 83 grams! So far so good… I only crashed twice, and well: knock on wood. Note that my handlebar is certified in Europe - with steep safety measures already taken - safety first.

    STEM
    This is probably the second most important part of the bike for me. The stem needs to be exactly the length that I need, and have the angle that works for me. It’s likely that every other riders out there will want different lengths, and different angle. The beauty of this is: I can FINALLY “adjust” both to my liking. Unlike the Cannondale, I am now able to go with 80mm if I want, and even -30 degrees if that’s what it takes to position myself on the bike. Piece of mind, perfection: I will not be missing my “system integrated” stem.

    GRIPS
    I save weight wherever I can. KNCN grips were chosen. They are very light, but they are glued with a light coating of upholstery glue (for safety during wet weather). My motto is: Save some weight, get good gloves – and use good hand and body positioning.

    BRAKES
    Nothing special here: just went with very light. XX world cup brakes were used, but beware: They are very light, not the lightest… but they don’t work as well as the near-perfect XTR from shimano. Still, they are some of the lightest, and more importantly: they are already on all my other bikes, so I still went with my XX.

    LOCK THEM UP
    One of the most “talked” about is the remote lock for the shocks – on the fly. Actually, everyone says it’s the most talked about, but in fact, there’s really very little information out there on this nifty little switch.

    The remote should (in theory) be mounted closest to your grip. I placed mine on the left because I do not have a front derailleur. This remote has two levers and almost resembles a regular front derailleur shifter. There are two knobs, but let’s first look at the larger knob: There are 3 positions: First, Second and Third.
    The first position, both suspensions are wide-open.
    The second position (one click), both suspensions are set to the climbing mode – in an instant.
    The third position (one more click), both suspensions are set to lock (I am calling it 95% locked on my rig)
    The other lever? Well, you probably guessed it: it works the other way (to open up your suspension system).

    AUTO OR MANUAL
    Coming from a Cannondale, I can’t say that locking my front “fork” and my rear shock was difficult – in fact, changing modes on a Cannondale is one of the easiest manual operations on any bike. The Spark is just so much easier that you will use it more often. This remote is very VERY nice. There are times when I wouldn’t even have bothered changing modes (from say wide open to climbing), but with a single lever, I now change both to climbing in a split second. I am now faster on the bike because I set the bike to its most efficient pedaling efficiency.

    EFFICIENCY
    The stock rear shock doesn’t bob like my Cannondale did. I have set both of them the same (19% sag) and constantly had a pedal bob at high cadence with the Cannondale. That’s a thing of the past on the Spark suspension system – very different.

    The Scott seems more efficient to me for climbing big hills. It’s more “pleasurable” – okay, I am stretching it, but you get the drift.

    One thing I did notice right off the back – and that surprised me the most: Standing and Climbing on the pedals of the Spark was so much nicer and efficient. Very little flex out back, compared with the Cannondale FS. In fact, that was the most surprising thing because the cannondale comes stock with a thru axle (132) in the back, where I was actually worried about the Spark only having a quick release. Proves: I was dead wrong, but I still don’t understand why it’s stiffer (perhaps just a better design).

    TRANSMISSION
    XX1 Cranks and XX Rear.
    First, let me say that I have yet to drop a chain, all the while riding on crazy rock gardens and raddling my jaw. But why this combo?

    I ran a XX1 front and XX1 rear and found:
    The 10-42 cassette had a beautiful range, but weights a ton. Obviously, to make use of that huge cassette, I had to have the XX1 derailleur – which also weights a ton (for those adding it up: that’s TWO tons). Doing a little bit more math, I came up with a range for every day XC racing that would work:
    30T up front (XX1) – and 11-36 in the back (XX)
    For really long LONG climbs / races, I opted for:
    28T up front and 11-36 in the back.

    The rear derailleur is a MED cage, XX derailleur.
    The cassette is the same (11-36) XX.
    Changing the front chain ring is too EASY.

    It came down to a small compromise, and quite a bit of weight saving.

    CRANKS
    As mentioned above, I am using the XX1 cranks with 30T (most of the time). The new cranks are GXP, 168Q factor. I believe I could have used a 156Q factor, but couldn’t find any confirmation. Note that I am using the stock bottom bracket that came with the bike. The transfer took but a few seconds.

    PEDALS
    I opted for the Look S-trac pedals for their larger axles. They are harder to get in, but you KNOW when you are “in”. No accidental release here (well, as all things: almost). Plus, they are French – but actually, the best part is the fact that they use one of the largest axles available on nearly any MTB pedal.

    TIRES
    Personal preference, but I am using a lightweight Racing Ralph 2.25 up front, and a lightweight Racing Ralph 2.1 in the back. I actually hate stiff sidewalls that do not seem to conform to roots and nasty rocks.

    I usually run them both as tubeless (with NoTubes sealant) with 21 psi in the front and 23 psi in the back.

    RIMS
    The most important part (for me).
    As you probably have gathered, I have a lot of lefty “forks” (broken or nearly) and a few quality lefty wheels. This is my first “real fork” in nearly 20 years, so I had to order a front wheel.

    The “perfect” setup for me will be two sets of wheels:
    Training (and nearly indestructible) Mavic CrossMax SLR 29
    Racing (and fragile as can be) NoTubes Golds 29.
    The crossmax weight nearly ½ a pound more than the racing wheels, but weight about the same as the Crest from NoTubes – yet far more durable (I actually defy people from denting those wheels).

    RIDER
    I am 132 pounds, 5’6” (and shrinking). I love to go fast DH, but I thread lightly. Perhaps this setup will work for you, perhaps you will completely destroy it. In my opinion, it’s not just about your weight, but more about the line you decide to take at any given instant. I have seen lighter riders trash their Crest wheels!

    I hope all of this info helps out a bit.

    Quick note on wheels:
    Perhaps the only thing I would do different is go with only one set of wheels (Carbon XC Enve 29) but still find the cost a bit out of reach.

  2. #2
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    Details - Scott Spark 29er for XC

    I just bought a Scott Spark 910. Loving it thus far. Only planned upgrades are Niner rdo post, stem and handlebar and maybe stans crest wheels and race face narrow wide chainring so I can run 1x10.

  3. #3
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    You have any photos of your spark 910?
    RaceFace has some really clever innovative products - and bullet proof.

  4. #4
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    Couple more photo details of the Spark 930...

    XX1 Cranks - no chain guide needed


    Frame details - cool angle makes for a great handle to put on the rack. Cable-actuated rear shock.


    One Switch, Two systems - the lever is super simple, cable actuated for both front and rear shock.


    Tapered front-end


    Massive bottom bracket shell

  5. #5
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    Details - Scott Spark 29er for XC

    Was it hard to remove the front derailleur? How much weight savings by going 1x10 on a stock spark 910. Lose xt front derailleur, left shifter, cable, and xt rings. Add race face34t narrow wide. Maybe 1lb?

  6. #6
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    RaceFace is a good chainring, but unless it's a new design that prevents the chain from coming off, you will need a chain guide up-front. Bottom line, I don't think you can go with a 1x10 without using a chain guide.
    The current XX1 front is super quiet - and pretty light.
    Remove your xt front, cable, cable housing, and xt rings and then add a chain guide, you'll probably save .75 to 1.25 pounds.
    34T chain ring with an 11-36 cassette is going to be a little rough on your knees when it's time to climb big.

  7. #7
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    Details - Scott Spark 29er for XC

    Nice build. Proof that 30 grams here and 17 grams and 210 grams there adds up to a few pounds if you are meticulous about it. Nice work.

  8. #8
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    Details - Scott Spark 29er for XC

    The race face is a new design and mimics the xx1 with a clutch type derailleur no need for a chain guide.

  9. #9
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    Nice write up. Glad u found the platform to pedal efficiently...in climb or wide open when u were referring to the bob and comparison to Cannondale?

  10. #10
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    I just did the unthinkable: I went with a MUCH stronger wheel set - Mavics Crossmax SLR. They are not the lightest, but they are so stiff. The ride is remarkably different in every way.

    In a way, the wheels do not go with the rest of the super light stuff, but I wanted piece of mind, strength, stiffness... without spending $3500 for the Enve (which are way out of reach for me).

    @ zeph: I am indeed comparing the climbing aspect of the Spark vs. my Scalpel (similar built before I took all its parts away). Most noticeable is out of the saddle: the Spark doesn't flex like the Scalpel did (full lock out on both). While seated, the Spark no longer bobs up and down in the pro-pedal mode (middle setting) - unlike the Scalpel.

    It's a very noticeable difference which really surprises me since the Scalpel has a thru axle (my Spark has a little tiny quick release).

    Don't get me wrong: The Scalpel is a really nice bike that's very reassuring, but it's a bit like a tank (in a good way, and with all its flex). The Spark is (in my opinion) a better bike, climbs better, more agile, actually more fun, AND better built right out of the box.

  11. #11
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    @mgmannin:
    Sorry I missed originally missed your post!
    Removing the front derailleur was super easy, plus I had the cranks removed.
    I merely cut the derailleur cable (saving all housing), removed the two bolts (derailleur was a direct mount), removed the small assembly for cable routing, removed the front shifter, and voilà!
    You'll notice that the cable routing was through the tube - and has a huge opening to re-route. Super easy, really.

    * the weight saving was cool, but the best part is the quiet bike running on a 1 by.

  12. #12
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    New Wheels almost complete the bike... Next comes the fork (and I will be done... promise, PROMISE...)




  13. #13
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    1620g is excellent weight! Especially if they are stiff. Though surprised u didn't go carbon route with LB or Roval etc.

  14. #14
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    That's sweet. I am building Chinese carbon rims with hope hubs for my Spark 910. I will post pictures of the stock bike with RDO post and bars. 1x10 and lighter discs will happen next week and wheels are my last upgrade. I should be down to 22.5lb when said and done.

    Bike is amazing on the trails. I am much faster on it compared to my 29er steel hardtail.

  15. #15
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    WHEELS
    The Mavic wheels were actually a few grams lighter than the Crest 29er from NoTubes - yet stronger / stiffer. My Mavic Crossmax SLR wheels came in at 1592g for the set. I didn't have to use tubeless tape or any other rim tape since the spokes are internal. The machined work on the wheels, spokes and hubs are carefully carved out and look really good.

    The price is a little steep ($1000 for the set) but include everything you need to make them quick release, or thru axle for the rear and the front. They even come with sturdy bags.

    The ride quality will be hard to match: stiff (super stiff), strong, and versatile; made the ride even more nibble.

    Highly recommended - although if you have $3500, you could put a set of Enve wheels that are about 1/2 lighter. Enve wheels are "some of the most talked about wheels" right now, but I have yet to try a pair. In the meantime, my crossmax are not just a compromise: they are my training AND racing wheels - nice peace of mind on a bike that's 21.5 pounds - complete with water cage, GPS mount, and of course pedals.

    MAKING IT LIGHTER
    Pedals: I could save some weight there, but decided to stick with the larger axles and a solid pedal platform.
    Wheels: I could save a little over 1/2 pound as mentioned, but the cost is too prohibitive.
    Rotors: I could certainly save some weight there, but I have not tried any exotic rotors - ever.
    Tires: I could certainly shave a lot of weight on tires, but the bike isn't built to be hung on a wall - it's built to race and ride hard.
    Shock & Fork Control: I could remove the remote control, and probably save a few grams. Efficient pedaling dictates to keep the slight extra weight that doesn't seem to amount to much.
    Fork: I could save 1/4 to 1/2 pound of weight on a new fork, and that's my next and final step - just as soon as I get back to work to make some money. For now, the bike is so much fun that it's hard to think about work.

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