More affordable version of one of our favourite 29er hardtails
The Scott Scale 960 has dominated our Hardtail of the Year test, taking the award two years on the trot and being runner-up last year. Its success is mainly thanks to a first-class frame and inspiring geometry. This made me wonder, ‘Could the 970 with an identical frame really deliver the same results for £300 less?’ The answer is yes… and no.
The 970 comes with an SR Suntour XCR coil-sprung fork instead of the air-sprung RockShox unit found on the 960. Its compression damping feels very good, and controls the front wheel smoothly, without any noticeable stiction.
The problem is the coil spring is too soft for my 75kg mass and the front of the bike dives into its travel, whether going uphill or downhill. Unlike an air-sprung fork it can’t be fixed by just increasing the pressure with a shock pump, and Scott can’t fit a different spring either.
There is a solution, however, as SR Suntour’s distributor (greyville.com) can fit either a new spring or add a firmer bottom-out elastomer to match your weight or riding style.
Need to know
- 29er hardtail, designed for XC racing and trail riding
- Quality 6061 alloy frame
- Coil-sprung fork with 100mm travel
- Same spec as Scale 770 but with 29in wheels
Since the XCR has only recently changed from 30 to 32mm upper tubes the springs are only just becoming available. If you can’t find springs the elastomer fix is readily available. To get a firmer set-up ask the bike shop from which you bought the Scale to send the fork to Greyville, who will add an elastomer for a fee.
That aside, the bike is great and the quality frame delivers a comfortable and zippy ride. The Shimano Acera brakes are powerful, the Deore shifting crisp and the Scott team race colours look stylish. To elaborate on the answer to my initial question, the 970 can deliver the same feel as the 960 if you’re a featherweight. However, expect to do some fork-tweaking if you are not!