A rebirth of Scott's old Ransom enduro bike supersizes the successful Genius platform
The Scott Ransom replaces the old Genius LT and builds on the success of the shorter travel Genius and Spark (our previous Trail Bike of the Year winners).
Scott Ransom 700 Tuned review
Back in the days when everyone rode 26in wheels and the format for enduro racing wasn’t clearly defined, Scott was one of the few brands to have a lightweight, long-travel race bike with on-the-fly suspension adjustment. That bike was the Ransom.
Too much, too soon? Quite possibly, but the timing couldn’t be better of the Ransom to make a comeback. At 12.96kg (28.57lb) in stock trim, the top of the range Ransom 700 Tuned is still incredibly light but it now delivers a whopping 170mm travel.
It retains Scott’s signature TwinLoc lever that connects the fork and shock to give the Ransom three distinct suspension modes: Locked out, Traction mode with 120mm travel and Descend mode delivering 170mm.
The latest under-bar TwinLoc lever looks and functions more like a shifter, but you have to use an over-bar remote for the dropper post, which isn’t ideal.
The entire lever assembly is neatly mounted on the lock-ring of the grip, but this limits the degree of adjustment somewhat. The stock grips are also pretty thin, so we fitted Ergon GE1 Evos for some extra cushioning, the angled design allowing for a small degree of sweep adjustment, handy with the fixed position Syncros Hixon iC Carbon bar and stem.
And as if TwinLoc wasn’t enough suspension wizardry, Scott has added Ramp Mode. A small lever on the air can of the shock that closes off a portion of the positive air chamber to make the suspension 50% more progressive at bottom out. Not that it needs it, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
So the concept of the Ransom remains similar, but this time round it’s rolling on 29in wheels shod with 2.6in tyres. It also takes 27.5in wheels with Plus-size tyres, and the frame has a flip-chip in the rocker link that goes some way to correcting the BB height for both options.
We say some way, because most bikes that claim to accommodate more than one wheel size often favour one or the other. With the Scott, the 2.6in tyres elevated the BB height too much, even in the low geometry setting but swapping the tyres for our 2.5/2.3in control combo lowered the BB height by 5mm, which was perfect.
Being thicker casing tyres however, they also bumped the weight of the Ransom up from 12.96kg to 14.11kg, so just 180g lighter than the Yeti SB150.
While the three key suspension modes on the Ransom offer wholesale suspension changes you can’t fine-tune the set-up to the same degree as on the Yeti.
Once again we were at the open end of the damping range on the Fox fork, but we’re pleased to report that Fox has fixed the top-out knock that plagued last year’s 36 Fit 4 forks. It’s not perfect though, as the larger top-out bumper reduces the negative spring volume making the fork less sensitive in the beginning of the travel.
And here in lies the problem with the suspension on the Scott. It’s simply not balanced. The rear end is progressive so it supper supple at the beginning stoke, and while that’s great for ironing out chatter and boosting braking traction, it’s polar opposite to the fork.
The progression in the rear end also gives the Ransom plenty of support once you get deeper into the travel, which makes the bike feel super agile and easy to pop or pump for speed. But not once did we bottom it out even in the low-progression setting. So we’d suggest removing the main volume spacer to achieve the 168mm travel that we measured in our workshop. Then you could use Ramp mode for hucking.
You simply can’t go wrong with the SRAM XO1 Eagle drivetrain and SRAM Code brakes on the Ransom, both performing flawlessly on the punishing stages of Enduro2 in Davos. Even the goofy looking Hixon iC one-piece bar and stem didn’t detract from the overall experience but it’s a high price to pay for saving 50g in weight when you factor in the lack of adjustment. The real sticking point, quite literally, was the dropper remote losing tension mid-race stage and staying stuck down.
Let’s cut to the chase. We don’t think Scott needs the TwinLoc remote especially on the Ransom. Yes, we’d retain the option to have Traction mode on the rear, as the slack seat angle and ultra-sensitive suspension mean the Ransom sits into it travel more when climbing, so elevating the rear end for increased pedal clearance is a real advantage. It’s also why we’d fit shorter crankarms than the stock 175mm.
And if Scott wasn’t wedded to TwinLoc it could fit a simple lever for swapping between Traction and Descend modes and put the dropper remote back where it belongs. More importantly, the suspension on the Ransom, especially the fork, would be so much better for it.
The new Scott Ransom 700 Tuned ticks all the geometry and tech boxes and then some. But in focusing on all the small details Scott seems to have overlooked the bigger picture for an enduro bike, which is getting down race stages as fast as possible. And to do that you need a balanced suspension response front and rear, not three different suspension modes and a ramp adjuster on the shock. Even with the suspension being out of sync, the Ransom still proved to be a fast capable bike, it just needs a fork that can keep up with the rear suspension.