Never has a bike dominated a racing scene like the SCOTT Spark. For years, the Spark has commanded the cross country racing scene under the legs of Nino Schurter and Jenny Rissveds. As such, their success has drawn a ton of attention to bikes such as the SCOTT Spark RC 900 series as the ultimate in speed and performance. However, those same people that come to Contender Bicycles for a Spark RC end up leaving with its sibling, the Spark 900. While the differences are minimal, they are more than enough to make the SCOTT Spark 900 series, and more specifically the 2019 SCOTT Spark 900 Premium, a much better option for those looking to ride just about anything besides a carefully combed cross country course.
Between the Spark RC and standard Spark, there are many more similarities in execution than there are differences. Both feature a trunnion-mount rear shock, an update that is seemingly an upgrade in every sense of the word. Thanks to updated kinematics and the revised shock mount, the bike does a much better job of absorbing small bumps, while firming up considerably over mid travel and toward the bottom of its travel. The shock mount also allows for a pivotless swingarm that is stiffer, simpler, and lighter than before. Further, SCOTT continues to employ their TwinLoc suspension remote lever. This lever permits riders to adjust the suspension according to terrain thanks to three unique settings (full travel, traction, lockout), with the middle traction mode decreasing volume in the rear shock and keeping the fork wide-open. Both the Spark and Spark RC use these features, and both are very versatile as a result.
The similarities end there, as geometry is what makes the Spark 900 Premium such a great bike for a myriad of conditions. Both feature a steeper head tube angle, shorter chainstays, a slacker head tube angle, and a longer top tube across the range, but the Spark 900 Premium takes those updates even more into the trail bike nirvana. For 2019, the Spark 900 also receives a 44mm-offset fork for improved stability at high speeds and clearance for a 29 x 2.6” tire.
The Spark 900 Premium draws a fine line between cross country and trail bike prowess. It descends better than any cross country mountain bike has any right to. This is due to a few things; the slacker headtube angle leads to handling that is simply calmer on the descents, leading to greater confidence in both high and low-speed cornering. Further, this bike uses 120mm suspension front and rear as opposed to the championship-winning 100mm suspension from the SCOTT Spark RC. This leads to the ability to conquer more technical terrain, boosting rider confidence over rough trails. This makes the Spark 900 Premium an excellent choice to ride trails one weekend but is cross country race-ready the very next weekend.
With all of this being said, people leave with a SCOTT Spark 900-series because of how much more versatile the bike is than any other regular cross country bike, and the Premium is no exception. This bike features a HMX carbon frame and rear swingarm and complements it with a full Shimano XTR M9100 drivetrain. SCOTT employs a Fox 34 Stepcast Float Factory Kashima fork, a Fox NUDE EVOL Kashima rear shock, and a Fox Transfer Kashima dropper seatpost. The DT Swiss X1675 Spline CL wheelset is impressively light and contributes to the Premium’s 25.35 pound overall weight. It is available in four sizes (S-XL).
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