About the bike
Swiss-based Scott bikes offers mass- market appeal when it comes to pricing, with a hint of European exclusivity, style and thinking to complement it. Several years on from its initial professional team debut, the Foil has become more of an everyday workhorse but has lost none of its aerodynamic credentials that were designed into the frame.
This means it must, on paper at least, make a great option as a regular ride that’s also going to hold its own when the pace lifts or you find yourself chasing the clock or your mates.
Although we’ve ridden many aero road bikes in the past, it’s been nearly a year since the last one and with the Foil being the first in this test to get a leg thrown over its top tube, it was a stark reminder of just what these kind of bikes are capable of-we were almost immediately struck by just how much faster rolling it was than our regular all-rounder workhorse. It’s not so much that you’ll reach a higher top speed- although obviously you will – it’s more that you realize you’re cresting hills that bit more easily, like you’ve suddenly taken a leap in the fitness department.
On the road
Aero bikes have a reputation for being uncomfortable and passing on more vibration than a standard round-tube bike, which on the earliest models launched was probably true. After all, if you add material to the frame tubes, you’re likely to also add stiffness, unless you tune it with the right materials in the right places and that takes practice- not to mention a lot of expensive research. But aero bike designs have matured over the years and by using a truncated aerofoil tube profile, with the ‘tail’ of the aerodynamic form cut off, that out of date reputation just doesn’t really apply to Scott’s tubes.
What it does do, though, is endow the front end with a positive and stiff feel that is most obvious when changing direction. Of course, the bike goes where you point it- it wouldn’t be much of a bike if it didn’t-so it’s the positive and reassuring way in which it changes direction that really makes it standout in this respect.
High-speed changes of direction are more about altered lean angle than rotating the bars and here, as with all true aerodynamic bikes, the smooth tube shapes aid stability and mean the bike tracks sweetly with oodles of stability. It’s at lower speeds, probably below 16 mph, when aerodynamics have a less significant effect, that the rigidity of the front end really comes into its own. The Foil relays what’s happening to the front wheel and specifically the tyre with real detail that interestingly, for us anyway, highlights the quality of the tyre and its grip levels on the road, a very interesting and welcome scenario.
The combination of positive feel and taut front end with smooth aero shapes gives a stable and well-mannered bike that can be enjoyed for all types of riding -whether that’s the Sunday club ride or a long sportive – not just when you have a number pinned to your back.
At this price, the Foil is obviously full carbon. Scott describes the grade of carbon used as HMF (High Modulus Fiber) – in other words, it’s the stiff stuff. But stiffness isn’t everything, it’s the attention to design detail that’s key. Scott has opted to use a tube profile called a ‘truncated aerofoil’, which in essence means the ‘tail’ of the tear drop shaped aerodynamic form has been cut off. This reduces the material used in the tubes while allowing the air to continue on its previous course.
It’s the leading edge of the bike, ie the stem, head tube, fork and down tube, that are most important when it comes to aerodynamics (since they hit the wind first) and so they have received the greatest proportion of computer and wind tunnel time in the design process. Even so, the chain and seatstays have been designed with aerodynamics in mind and the smaller rear triangle is evidence, as are the direct mount brakes.
With a full covering of Shimano Ultegra 8050 you just know that the running gear is more than adequate. It’s a fantastic performing groupset that also lasts and lasts. Being the latest electronic version of Di2,you get all the refinements including shift buttons with a defined ‘click’ to them, a charge point in the end of the handlebars, hidden batteries plus the ability to customize the shift functions and performance. Scott’s choice of gear ratios makes for a great all-rounder and one that is fitting for a bike at this price, giving a welcome range of gears that can cope with fast pace riding or plugging up your local hills.
Looking through the spec sheet, you’ll see the Syncros name crop up on pretty much every component. Scott has owned Syncros since 2012 and by speccing the components on its bikes raised the brand’s profile and at the same time made them available through their distribution network. Unsurprisingly our Foil gets the full treatment in a way that only happens when components are specifically designed for a frame. We are mainly thinking of the seatpost and stem that have been designed to fit seamlessly with the aerofoil shapes of the frame tubes and help create the smooth lines of the bike.
Wheels Syncros wheels are bolted to our Foil 10 in the form of the RR2.0. Not available aftermarket, it’s hard to gauge the value of them other than to say that this is the most expensive model of Foil to use them -you’ll find the same wheels on the £2,499 version. However you view their placement in the market, they performed well. Clearly, they aren’t an aerodynamic design per se but neither did we feel they held this bike back. Fitted with Continental Grand Sport Race tyres, the pairing proved to be rugged and durable. We did get the feeling a more expensive set of tyres would bring noticeable and worthwhile benefits before a big event, so that’s worth bearing in mind.
Frame: Foil HMF/IMP, F01 AERO Carbon tech, with Foil HMF 11/4″ to 11/2″ Carbon steerer
Groupset: Shimano Ultegra R8050
Brakes: Shimano Ultegra R8000
Chainset: Shimano UltegraR8000,52/36
Cassette: Shimano UltegraR8000,11-30
Bars: Syncros Creston
Stem: Syncros Foil 11/4in
Seatpost: Syncros Foil Aero Carbon
Tyres: Continental Grand Sport Race, 25mm
|Size tested 58 cm||Weight 7.8 kg|
|Top tube (TT) 580 mm||Seat tube (ST) 580 mm|
|Stack (S) 589 mm||Reach (R) 400 mm|
|Chainstays (C) 405 mm||Head angle (HA) 73.3°|
|Seat angle (SA) 73°||Wheelbase (WB) 1003 mm|
|BB drop (BB) 67 mm|