Your Inside Guide to the 2022 SCOTT Spark, Spark RC, and Contessa Spark

Written by Alvin Holbrook, on June 16, 2021

The all-new 2022 SCOTT Spark is a complete redesign of the winningest XC race bikes ever, with new features and geometry to keep the Spark on top. We are just as excited as you are for this new release, and so we’re breaking down the key features and updates to the Spark RC and the Spark 900 trail bike. Contact us to pre-order your 2022 SCOTT Spark soon, and learn more about the bike in our Spark first look review below.

SEE SCOTT SPARKS IN STOCK

2022 SCOTT Spark 900 Tuned - side profile

A Bold Redesign

Two years ago, SCOTT purchased a majority share of a small Swiss company called Bold Cycles. We had one of their most interesting bikes, an Unplugged V2, on display in the shop for a bit. It generally received comments along the lines of “that thing ISN’T an electric bike?” and “where does the shock go?” And while this may well share some of the same design cues as the Bold, it's an all-new bike that incorporates them that SCOTT says was developed independently of the company.

The shock placement is objectively the most polarizing piece of the bike. SCOTT calls this redesign Integrated Suspension Technology, but the shock layout is the same single-pivot suspension as used before. Really, the most important thing to note that SCOTT was able to move the shock lower than almost anything else out there.

2022 SCOTT Spark Shock Detail

There are a number of benefits to placing the shock lower, both in performance and practicality. Lower shock placement in the stiffest part of the bike means SCOTT could increase frame stiffness around the bottom bracket - where it's needed the most - for both the shock and bottom bracket. Two birds with one stone, and it's no heavier as a result. Bringing the shock lower also means SCOTT was able to use bearings as opposed to bushings in the linkage to better withstand dirt and grime that might accumulate. 

As you’d imagine, there are also a ton of practical benefits to the internal shock mount. The bike comes with easily removable covers so riders can easily check sag, adjust rebound and compression, or remove the shock outright. The result is a shock completely protected from the elements but still easily accessible. And should you not want to remove any covers, there is a line indicator on the non-driveside upper seattube pivot that makes checking sag easy.

2022 SCOTT Spark shock and sag detail

Besides that, it is the same trunnion-mount single-pivot shock setup that has allowed the Spark to work as well as it does. Like before, it features a one-piece rear triangle that relies on seatstay flex to help guide the shock through its travel. It might look wildly different than any other cross country mountain bike, but it is suspension you've come to expect from SCOTT, just with some benefits.

2022 SCOTT Spark 900 Tuned Rear Linkage Detail

Wait, More Suspension?

SCOTT receives a lot of input from their racers, notably Nino Schurter, the winningest XC MTB racer in recent memory. He’s been riding a Spark RC with a custom linkage that bumped up travel to 115mm, and he - alongside Kate Courtney and their other racers - wanted more travel to tackle the toughest XC courses. We all benefit as a result. 

The Spark RC and Spark 900 both sport 120mm rear suspension travel, a noticeable bump up from last year’s 100mm rear shock travel, and the same as the 2021 Spark 900. The pros (and the semi-pros among us) will take the lighter 120/120mm Spark RC, while those looking for a bit more of a forgiving setup will go for the beefed-up 130/120mm Spark 900.

2022 SCOTT Spark RC World Cup EVO AXS rear shock detail

To note, Spark RC models receive smaller-volume shocks that are set up a bit more linear, while Spark 900 bikes receive a larger-volume, more progressive shock. 

120mm is more than what we’re accustomed to seeing on our favorite cross country bikes, but more and more people are choosing to the beefed-up trail models of these bikes that use 120mm suspension. To us, this is a logical change, not only for everyday riders like us but for racers looking for the fastest line through a rock garden.

2022 SCOTT Spark shock access port closed

Geometry

Of course, more suspension travel also means that SCOTT had to mix up geometry, and we’d consider this a pretty big mixup to the cross country market.

SCOTT Spark RC geometry chart 2022

SCOTT Spark geometry chart 2022

To start, the Spark RC and Spark 900 share the same frame, but thanks to an adjustable-angle headset, riders can change their head angle according to their needs. All of this can be done without removing any cables or housing. Check out the geometry chart below for the full details, but compared to the previous model, you're seeing a head angle that is 1.3 degrees slacker, up to a substantial 65.9-degree angle on the Spark 900. Seat angles are as steep as 76.9 degrees in a Spark RC size XL.

Reach measurements grow by 15mm on each size and stem lengths have shortened my 10mm across the board to complement it. Unfortunately, standover heights have increased to 758mm in size small. This is still lower than a lot of other bikes, but it is something of note particularly for smaller riders.

scott spark 900 tuned 2022 fairclough descending

Frame Features

SCOTT put a lot of work into ensuring the internal shock setup would work neatly with the rest of the bike, and so you’d figure that they’d call it a day once they got that dialed, right? Not so. Integration made it's way from the rear shock up front, with semi-internal cable routing up front. Cables enter to the sides of the stem, through the headset, and into the downtube. It is a clean look that helps clean up the mess of cables that tend to come with a dropper post and Twinloc. More on that in a moment.

2022 SCOTT Spark RC World Cup Handlebar - Syncros Fraser iC SL XS

There are tons of new integrated internal routing setups from SCOTT depending on price point, from alloy bar and stem options all the way up to an updated Syncros Fraser iC SL handlebar. The Fraser iC handlebar now comes in three iterations: Fraser iC SL XC, iC SL, DC, and iC SL WC. XC models (for cross country, we’re sure) are found on most high-end Spark RC models with varying lengths, while DC (for down country, thanks Pinkbike!) swaps to a zero-degree stem and wider bar widths. Then there’s the Fracer iC SL WC bar, which was made specifically for the SCOTT-SRAM MTB team. There is a choice of everything from a -40 degree rise to a -20 rise. Total weight for the bar and stem is 265 grams with hardware.

2022 SCOTT Spark Twinloc lever

You also get an updated look at Twinloc, SCOTT’s long-running dual suspension remote. The latest version of the remote uniquely adjusts compression, travel, and geometry to firm up the suspension at the push of a button. Here, however, you get a few changes. First and foremost, Twinloc no longer requires a unique grip mount as before, but instead uses SRAM Matchmaker mounts for a clean mounting setup. 

Further, the latest version adds a third lever for the dropper post. The dropper lever, found on the bottom of the stack, is slightly staggered behind the suspension levers to prevent accidental lockouts or post drops. Good job SCOTT!

2022 SCOTT Spark Rear swingarm detail

The Spark 900 and Spark RC both receive rubberized chainstay and seatstay protection, as well as protection around the chainstay to protect the frame against potential chain drops. The hatch that provides access to the rear shock is a hardened plastic that provides some bottom bracket protection.

All Spark models regardless of build fit a massive 2.6” tire while working with up to a 40t chainring, perfect for Nino and the Nino-wannabes out there. You also get plenty of room for a frame pack in the main triangle for long days or bikepacking as well as space for two water bottles on size M and up. 

While SCOTT made no mention of it, we suspect this new Spark and its straight seattube will offer far more space for long dropper posts regardless of size. We love straight seattubes!

2022 SCOTT Contessa Spark RC World Cup AXSContessa Spark Available Too!

SCOTT has always done well in offering a women’s-specific option through SCOTT Contessa, and the Spark falls right in line. All models receive women’s specific touchpoints like grips and saddle, as well as unique paint schemes. But besides that Contessa models receive the same new features and updated geometry that everyone can benefit from.

2022 scott spark and spark rc mosaic

Frame Weights and Differences

We won’t go into detail on the wide 20+ model range of Spark models, that start at just $2449 for the Spark 970 and go all the way up to $12999 for a Spark RC SL EVO AXS. That said, here’s the breakdown on frame weights from the top-spec model all the way to the alloy entry point:

  • HMX SL - 1870g
  • HMX - 1990g 
  • HMF - 2150g
  • HMF frame, alloy swingarm - 2590g
  • Alloy 2990g

HMX SL frames are available on the Spark RC SL EVO AXS and Spark 900 Ultimate EVO AXS bikes, while HMX frames are available for Spark RC World Cup and Spark 900 Tuned models. All other Spark RC models sport an HMF carbon frame and swingarm. Spark 900 AXS and Spark 910 also receive the same HMF frame and swingarm, while Spark 920, 930, and 940 receive a hybrid carbon/alloy mix.

2022 scott spark and rc mosaic 2

Availability

The SCOTT Spark may have been announced today to be raced this weekend at the Leogang World Cup race, but we don’t expect the bike to be available until the end of July 2021 at the soonest. That said, we expect to have an array of them in as soon as they are available. 

See the full range of SCOTT Spark RC and Spark models, and contact us today with any questions or to pre-order your own 2022 SCOTT Spark.

SEE SCOTT SPARKS IN STOCK

Words by Alvin Holbrook. Photos by SCOTT Sports.


10 comments

  • Panel,

    SCOTT intends the cables to be routed solely through the stem and into the headtube. THere is no other way to do it unless you want to run wireless shifting or a wireless dropper.

    Curious to know where you’ve read instances of squeaking coming from the cable routing? We haven’t had issues that we know of with any of our Sparks, and I had a tough time finding anything from a cursory google search.

    Let us know if you have any other questions!

    Alvin - Contender Bicycles on

  • On the 2022 Scott Spark 910, is it possible to run the cables traditionally (i.e. not into the integrated headset)? I have read instances of quite a bit of squeaking from the new cable routing. Please advise. Thanks.

    Panel Kerman on

  • James,
    As of now, SCOTT has yet to tell us exactly how many of the Spark 970 we will receive but we will definitely have at least a few through our doors for this model year.

    Alvin - Contender Bicycles on

  • how many of the spark 970 did you guys order

    James Winters on

  • Availability is tough to say right now, as SCOTT hasn’t even given us the availability to order anything. We have been told to start seeing bikes in the middle of August and onward.

    For that reason, we are making a list of people interested in the Spark. No money is taken until we know what we’re getting and when, and at which point we would notify you.

    Feel free to reach out if you’d like to add your name to the list. Shoot us an email – alvin@contenderbicycles.com.

    Alvin - Contender Bicycles on

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