For years, carbon fiber has ruled the roost when it comes to frame material. Not only is it typically flashier than mere aluminum and steel, but it backs that up with superior stiffness and weight due to how moldable carbon fiber can be. In more recent years, however, alloy has been going to the gym and becoming better by the year, waiting for its time to shine. The 2019 Scott Spark 940, with an Alloy SL frame and swingarm, is excellent evidence that alloy is better than ever and worthy of consideration.
The Scott Spark 940, as said, starts with an Alloy SL frame and swingarm that shares geometry with its carbon siblings. This allows the bike to use the Spark’s new trunnion-mount rear shock placement. Not only does this new rear shock placement cut weight along the top tube and stiffen up the bottom bracket area, but it also fundamentally changes the bike’s suspension kinematics for the better. The bike has far greater small-bump sensitivity, but ramps up toward the end of its travel for greater mid-travel support. Further, it resists bottoming out toward the end of travel, making the bike feel like it has much more travel than 120mm might suggest.
This bike also features the same pivotless alloy swingarm as other Spark bikes that cuts weight, improves reliability, and increases stiffness out of the saddle. Scott’s TwinLoc design also makes its presence known here; this remote suspension lever switches the suspension through three different settings (open, traction, lockout), each with distinct spring compression and damping settings. This allows the bike and its rider to adapt to any type of terrain or situation that may lie ahead. Add in the presence of a new 44mm-offset fork for improved high-speed handling, and clearance for a 29 x 2.6” tire, and the Spark becomes a seriously-versatile choice.
Likewise, this change from carbon fiber to alloy doesn’t greatly affect the deeply-imbued characteristics of the Spark; namely its efficiency when climbing, and surprising competence when descending. The Scott Spark 940 benefits from the same geometry updates as its carbon siblings. This includes shorter chain stays, steeper head tube angles, longer top tube lengths across the range, and slacker head tube angles. Doing this allows the bike to climb with the efficiency of a thoroughbred cross country machine, but the slack 67.2 degree headtube angle gives the bike a surprising calmness on descents that is unlike the competition. The Spark surprises in how capable the bike is over all kinds of terrain, especially for an alloy bike that weighs in at just 29.2 pounds.
The 2019 Scott Spark 940 is just as ready to hit gnarly, technical trails as it is ready to conquer a local cross country race. The bike features a SRAM GX/NX Eagle drivetrain, Shimano SLX brakes, a Fox 34 Rhythm 120mm fork and Fox NUDE EVOL 120 rear shock. Syncros provides their Syncros X-25S wheelset, Syncros 2.0 Dropper Seatpost, and other finishing kit. The Spark 940 is available in four sizes (S-XL).
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