Shimano XTR has been a bit of a forbidden fruit over the past year. We were teased by it coming through the shop, and we were able to get it in limited numbers with the arrival of the Cannondale Scalpel-Si Limited Edition. Finally, XTR-equipped mountain bikes are starting to trickle into the shop, and the idiom “better late than never” applies nicely to the 2019 SCOTT Spark RC 900 SL, SCOTT Spark RC 900 Pro, and SCOTT Spark 900 Premium mountain bikes. The photos below show off the Spark 900 Premium with 120 mm travel and a dropper post.
It’s hard to say why the release of the newest generation of XTR fails to match the excitement of previous releases, but we figure a delay in market availability combined with the lack of a strong 1x wide-range option ala SRAM Eagle didn’t help. But every time we put our hands on the new Shimano XTR M9100, we find that the beauty of this newest generation of XTR is more than skin deep. Shifts are instantaneous and definitely approach electronic shifting in the whole “shift when you want, the drivetrain takes care of the rest” ordeal. The brakes, even in the two-piston XTR Race guise, are typical Shimano: plenty of initial bite, with power to match. Maybe the biggest difference is that it feels a bit less on/off than typical Shimano, a welcome change.
Compared to the finishes of SRAM XX1/XO1 Eagle, XTR has a finish that looks – and feels – positively luxurious. Shimano still does not have the original XTR crank available for sale, a real bummer to be sure. And while the Race Face Next SL crank isn’t the prettiest around, it’s definitely a good match for the groupset’s overall performance. Between the gunmetal rear derailleur to the durable forged cassette that is sure to stand up to aggressive shifting to the quick-action shifter, Shimano clearly spent time dialing the feel performance of their flagship MTB groupset.
From a fire at one of Shimano’s plants to the cancellation of the Scylence rear hub, 2018 has not gone according to plan for the storied Japanese manufacturer. Those setbacks may have delayed their arrivals, but the SCOTT Spark RC 900 SL, RC 900 Pro, and 900 Premium mountain bikes are punching the clock for the late shift – and we are grateful for it. And starting at just $4750 for a Spark RC 900 Pro, it’s an all-out XC race bike with XTR equipment at Deore XT prices.
We have the Spark 900 Premium, Spark RC SL, and Spark RC Pro in stock at the shop! Have any questions about the Shimano XTR M9100 groupset, the SCOTT Spark, or Spark RC? Give us a call during business hours, or send us an email any time to firstname.lastname@example.org.