Expert Review: Scott Scale 970 Mountain Bike
This review is my honest opinion of the bike, which I purchased with my own money in April of 2022.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the bike, which I purchased with my own money in April of 2022.
The Scott Scale 970 is a great hardtail mountain bike that can handle any cross-country trail a casual biker throws at it. For its smaller price tag, the Scale is quick, nimble, and capable. This entry-level, lightweight bike climbs fast and is a fun ride.
About the gear
- Model: 2022 Scott Scale 970 Mountain Bike
- Build Kit: NX
- Wheel Size: 29”
- Frame Size: Large
- Height: 5’11”
- Weight: 190lbs
- Experience: 15 years of biking
- When I bought it: April 2022
- Number of rides: One season
- Approximate Time Ridden: 100 hours
- Type of trail conditions ridden: Dry, wet, rough, flat, rocky, and rooty
- Where I’ve used it: Timberline Lodge and Sandy Ridge, OR
How it performs
What I was looking for
I was in the market for a solid cross-country (XC) bike that could handle steeper terrain if thrown at it. Weight was an important factor too because having a light bike on those longer rides really helps. I wanted a capable bike that wasn't going to break the budget or require a lot of new parts that fit my liking.
Why I chose this bike
The Scott Scale has always been a fan favorite, especially with all the awards under its name. I wanted to find a hardtail bike that was quick and agile, and Scott’s success with the Scale had me intrigued. I also thought about the Specialized Chisel, which is a fun-looking bike at a price below what I wanted to spend.
The Scale was decked out in components I liked and at what I felt was an even better price than the Chisel. It also left me room to add some little components here and there on the bike. I was planning on spending around $2,000 but, at the time of purchase, this came in well under that. I was also really happy this bike was equipped with a SRAM drivetrain, and I have always liked Shimano brakes.
What I love about it
- Frame/Geometry: The Scott Scale 970 is made from alloy with custom butted tubing. I really liked the layout of this frame because it has a nice and comfortable geometry. The headtube angle is 69.5°—the same across all the Scale’s sizes—and it gave me a relaxed feel while also allowing me to attack the trail when needed.
- Wheels: The bike comes with Syncros wheels that can really take a beating. From square-edge hits to hard landings, these rims can handle it. For entry-level wheels they held up fine, but I dont like tubes so I switched mine to tubeless.
- Tires: This bike comes with Rekon Race tires from Maxxis and they eat dirt! I have always been a fan of Maxxis so I was stoked to see this bike sitting on a favorite. They lasted for a decent amount of time but seeing that this is an entry-level bike, riders are likely to find better tire options out there.
- Durability: I ran this bike into the ground over the summer and it held up amazingly. There wasn’t a lot of rain, so this bike ate dust for months. The frame stayed true, and so did the wheels. The Fork doesn't feel as plush but that’s likely because it’s about time for a service.
- Adjustability: The Scale is a breeze to size up. I am 5’11” and the large frame size fits me well. Other than the seat and the cockpit, there’s not too much to adjust.
- Weight: Weight was one of the things that drew me to this bike. In its stock form, it comes in at 29 lbs 1.6 oz, which makes this a noticeably light bike, especially on those long pedals.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Suspension: As this is a hardtail, the only give riders get is up front. This bike comes with a RockShox Judy with a remote two-position lockout. It all operates on the flick of a switch, so it’s nice not having to reach over. The 100mm of travel is okay but sadly it does not offer a lot of adjustability. I added a FOX 32 and that solved the issue.
- Drivetrain: For an entry-level model like this, the SRAM NX Eagle is a good system. It ensures that it will be cheap to replace parts, and having 12 gears is always nice. However, while the NX is a great step in the door, it was too clunky for me. Shifting under load is an issue so a switch to the GX would be ideal.
- Cockpit: The only issue for me was the stock grip and stem. I swapped the stem out for a shorter option, but the bar felt great. I did opt for wider bars, going up to the 780s as this bike comes with 740s. I like a wider grip and shorter stem, but all in all these were an easy fix.
- Seatpost/Saddle: The Syncros is not the worst seat but it could be softer. The shape is alright and, with a shammy, I felt cozy all day. Thankfully there is a massive market for saddles. This bike doesn't come with a seat post and I am pretty fond of them. They can be installed on this bike though, and there is also an open space to route the cable internally.
- Brakes: Shimano MT200 disk brakes are what riders get here. They provide great feel and the bite point feels amazing, but I could have done with more powerful brakes. Being used to Code RSC brakes from SRAM, that additional power would have been nice. Shimano levers always feel good too as they provide intuitive response.
Favorite moment with this gear
As my first hardtail XC bike, I didn't know what to expect but I had a really fun time with this bike this summer. Local trails around Bend and Mt. Hood were a breeze. After adding a dropper, SRAM GX, and a better fork, I fell in love. I would take this and an Enduro bike on my weekend trips and know I’d be able to ride anything. Also, this bike climbs fast!
Value for the money vs. other options
The Scott Scale 970 is a great bike for its price. Although I would suggest investing in a couple upgrades, this bike is great in its stock form. It's more than capable of hitting the trail without those upgrades. XC riders could go for a higher-end model, but this bike handles very well and is pretty light despite not being a carbon model.
The Chisel from Specialized is a very similar bike with some similar components, but I think the savings are really worth it going with the Scale. Another comparable and capable bike would be the BMC Twostroke AL THREE. I really like SRAM drivetrains and the Twostroke AL comes with a Shimano Deore which has never been a favorite of mine. In my eyes, SRAM shifting is way smoother, so the Scott Scale 970 would still be my choice.
For riders looking for a hardtail without too much travel, Scott has hit the nail on the head with the Scale 970 Mountain Bike. On both climbs and descents, this bike felt in control and capable of handling even more. It didn't take much time to get comfortable on the Scale, and I was quickly attacking my local trails with confidence. I would highly recommend this to an XC rider or casual mountain biker looking for a lightweight hardtail.