170mm suspension travel is a ton of suspension travel, regardless of how much you want to be like Sam Pilgrim. Despite that, the long travel 29er mountain bike scene is more competitive than ever, with more riders than ever looking for unflappability on descents and the confidence to go bigger and faster. But for those who seek long travel but want something more manageable, the SCOTT Ransom has been a popular choice.
Critical to that ability is SCOTT’s TwinLoc lever. There might be a few long travel MTBs with a suspension lockout, but there certainly isn’t anything out there that controls both the shock and the fork AND offers a middle setting that keeps much of the suspension. TwinLoc is devastatingly efficient on the XC circuit on the SCOTT Spark RC, but TwinLoc allows the Ransom to ride like a standard mountain bike just about everywhere, and have the travel you need for a quick, cushy descent.
The magic here isn’t just from reducing air volume, or by adding compression – the two most popular ways of firming up bike suspension – but by doing both together to make the geometry better for climbing. The middle Traction setting provides enough climbing support from the suspension while still ensuring the suspension is active for traction on the climbs. There’s also a full lockout should you ride on the road.
This would all fall apart without suspension that didn’t deliver on the descents, but the Ransom succeeds. Like just about any bike with 170mm travel, the Ransom feels like it has endless amounts of travel on descents with just enough progression and liveliness for bigger hits. There’s even the option for a Ramp Adjust lever on the top-spec Ransom bikes, which allows the rider to change air spring volume mid-ride. Open Ramp Adjust and you’ll find greater linearity and an appetite for floating over technical terrain. Closing the Ramp Adjust adds a whole lot more support to the suspension, and makes for something that is uniquely poppy and nimble.
Ezra has been on SCOTT Ransom for the past six months, with more than enough time in the saddle to gain a good feel of what the bike is about. His thoughts:
“Before the Ransom, I was on a Santa Cruz Bronson and a few other long-travel bikes. I’ve been a 27.5” disciple for years but I figured I would take the plunge to 29” and the brushed alloy of the Ransom 920 had wild allure.”
“Comparatively, the Ransom has a little longer chainstays and a slightly higher BB which makes it more playful. What I wasn’t expecting was that even with 29” wheels, the Ransom felt snappier, while the Bronson felt more planted. It could be because I used 2.8” tires on the Bronson. It could be because at 32 lbs, this aluminum Ransom is a good three pounds lighter than equivalent bikes from other brands. Either way, the difference was surprising.”
“Originally I was going to take off the TwinLoc lever. After all, why would I need the complexity of added cables? I also wanted to add a FIT4 damper into the fork rather than the GRIP it comes with. As it turns out, I not only kept the lever, but I kept the lockout front and rear as the middle Traction setting keeps the seattube from not feeling too slacked out. Honestly, I find that on the Ransom I can ride XC-type trails and the ride is actually enjoyable. Hard to say that about other long travel bikes.”
“The suspension tune plays a decent role in this, and it feels like SCOTT got the tune just about right. Both the shock and fork are super forgiving if I make any mistakes, and the bike overall felt settled once I got my settings dialed. You’d expect a bike with 170mm travel to feel plush through technical terrain, but you wouldn’t expect the Ransom to grip as well as it does. It sticks to the trail like glue, with levels of grip that push tires to the limit. Maxxis Double-Down casing is a necessity on the Ransom.”
“27.5” wheels beckoned to me once more, and I swapped to a smaller wheelsize even though SCOTT says the Ransom wasn’t made for it. But the smaller wheels really woke the bike up in my opinion. It made it more playful, more like a trail bike and less of a plowy downhill bike. With 29er wheels I could ride through anything; or rather, it just went through anything. Some people will love this, but I prefer the responsiveness of 27.5” wheels. And the bottom bracket height here seems high enough that 27.5″ wheels aren’t a big issue in regards to pedal strike either.”
“For Deer Valley and other bike parks I run the bike mullet. (Ed. note: mullet is a 29er wheel up front and a 27.5” wheel out back.) This is mostly due to the fact that the Ransom pedals terribly this way, so doing lift laps means I get all of the grip of a 29er front wheel, the maneuverability of a 27.5” bike, and none of the poor pedaling ability. When I don’t have to pedal, this is the move every time.”
“The Ransom is set up with 800mm bars stock, which is nice because people have the choice of cutting the bars down to their preferred size. I’m riding a size large, and I love the feel of my cut 760mm bars, which are more in line with my shoulders and makes it a bit easier to pull up on and move the bike around the trail. I initially had the stem low, but now I have it all the way up. It keeps me upright and makes the front end just a bit more lively. Small setup details, but they’ve made the bike that much more comfortable.”
“Am I a believer in 29er wheels? It depends. For all-out speed, I think they’re hard to beat. Same in regards to stability, and the Ransom with those wheels is one of the first long-travel MTBs I enjoy riding. If you’re looking to dip your toes into the big bike waters, I think you can do far worse than a SCOTT Ransom.”
Have any questions about the SCOTT Ransom, or about mountain bikes in general? Give us a call during business hours or send us an email any time to firstname.lastname@example.org.