Thursday, June 30, 2016

2017 Scott Spark and Scale Mountain Bikes Announced

Scott Has Done It Again - Light and Amazing Mountain Bikes For 2017

Scott has long been known for pushing the boundaries of lightweight on production bikes, and with the new 2017 Scott Spark and Scott Scale mountain bikes, they’ve done it again.

Cross country is getting more and more exciting and the bikes are getting a little bit closer to the bikes most people are riding around on in the woods, with dropper posts and wider bars. It's an exciting time to engage more riders into XC. - Joe Higgins, Chief of MTB Engineering, Scott Sports.

 The full suspension Spark RC bikes come in as light as 1,749g… with ALL hardware AND the shock. Considering most full suspension bikes’ frames hit that number without the shock, that’s a very impressive number. And the hardtail Scale measures as low as 849g. Both use a 1x specific design to shave extra grams, but the rest of the bike’s details are where the major weight savings come from and show off the Swiss brand’s talents for making wicked light race bikes…

Both are 100mm travel (front and rear for the Spark), and both use Boost axle spacing to create a stiffer frame and bike. At the RC frame and trim levels, the bikes are designed specifically for 1x drivetrains, too. But, the new designs trickle down to non-RC models that get 2x compatibility…and bump travel to 120mm on the Spark for both the 700 (27.5″ wheels) and 900 (29er) versions.

Starting with the Spark, the most drastic visual difference from years past is the vertical shock. Until now, the rear end had driven a horizontal shock mounted to the top tube. Now, a carbon fiber rocker arm (that weighs half what the old one did) drives an upside down shock parallel to the seat tube. Boost axle spacing opened up room for a wider shock mount, letting them use a trunion-style mount. That gave Fox two extra millimeters stroke length compared to the 2016 model (40mm, versus 38mm) for the 100mm travel RC bikes, and 45mm stroke length on the 120mm travel bikes. That may not sound like much, but small gains in the shock translate to big improvements at the rear axle.

The shock’s placement still allows for large or small water bottles to fit inside the front triangle, with multiple mounts to suit your preference for placement. Carbon fibers like to stay straight (or, at least, avoid sharp corners), so they offset the shock to the non-drive side to maintain a smooth, continuous fiber structure from the downtube through the lower shock mount.

The new single-pivot Spark uses a solid rear triangle, relying on seatstay flex to compensate for the lack of a pivot near the rear axle. The design has been reduced from 18 parts (in 2016) to three, molding the left and right halves as single pieces.

Like before, higher end Spark models use their TwinLoc travel adjust system with a custom Fox Nude shock to cut travel from 100mm to 70mm, then on down 0mm at lockout (120mm travel bikes reduce to 85mm). Full travel is called “descend”, and the reduced travel is called “traction” mode. Each mode gets it’s own spring rate thanks to the unique method of changing travel. In “descend”, the shock has both a primary and secondary air chamber open for business, creating a larger air volume shock with a little more sag and full travel. In “traction”, the shock is using only the primary air chamber, which reduces air volume and effectively limits the travel. Because it’s not a mechanical adjustment of the linkages, “traction” mode keeps you sitting higher in the travel and uses a little less sag, which makes the bike feel a bit peppier up the climbs. In either mode, the shock rate was designed to keep it supple at the beginning of the stroke, then firm up a bit beyond sag before taking advantage of an air shock’s natural ramp to avoid bottom out.

All cables are run internally from the front of the bike all the way to their destination, which reduces the number of cable stops and other hardware to save weight…and keep it looking very clean.

Furthering the clean look are the integrated brake mounts…

…and dropout/derailleur hanger combo. Both designs use the component mount as the axle support, which minimizes the amount of material used and simplifies the construction process dramatically. The brake mount, which comes in versions for 160mm or 180mm rotors, combines with the simplified rear triangle construction to save 130g. And because it’s anchored at the axle and chainstay, it allows the seatstays to flex as needed.

On the driveside, click that image to enlarge and you’ll see that the threaded thru-axle insert is one with the derailleur hanger. That part simply slides into the carbon frame to support the axle without having to be bonded in or overwrapped, yet is supposedly more durable. The part is available for Shimano direct-mount or SRAM rear derailleurs.

More integration comes from the DT Swiss thru axle with removable Torx 25 handle, custom chain guide and lots of new Syncros SL parts that both look good and drop weight from the high end bikes.

All of those changes come together with geometry updates to create a bike that’s modernized with the “long and low” trend. Compared to the 2016 model, it has a 17mm longer reach and a short 70mm stem, 17mm lower stack, 28mm lower standover, 13mm shorter chainstays and a 1.3º slacker head angle (68.5º). The seat tube, however, gets 1º steeper (73.8º) to put you over the pedals.

The Spark’s range tops out with the SL, which gets their new HMX-SL carbon fiber along with some new layup tricks to have the lightest frame. A basic spec highlight and frame material chart follows a visual run down of the upper half of the spec. There are a lot of bikes, women’s included, with a wide variety of carbon fiber spec, carbon/alloy mixes and full alloy bikes.

Next down is the Spark RC World Cup…

Then the Spark RC Ultimate…

The Spark RC Pro…

The non-RC Spark Ultimate…

The Spark 900…

and from there, the models use Scott’s numbering system, where 700 equals 27.5 wheels, and the 900 means 29er wheels. Lower numbers are higher spec, so the 700 is better than the 710. Shown directly above is the women’s Spark Contessa 710 Plus. The “plus” refers to the 27.5+ wheels and tires, which also comes with a slight bump in front travel to 130mm, keeping 120mm in the rear.

Lots and lots of options for most any budget.2017 Scott Scale RC SL hardtail race mountain bike.

Like the Spark, the new Scale is a blend of fibers that create a stiff yet comfortable frame. They also save weight. The new fiber types used on the HMX-SL model create the most drastic weight savings for an 849g frame (27.5).

The HMX and HMF frames also drop weight from the improved layup, saving 82g (966g frame) and 166g (1,099g frame) respectively. The HMX-SL also gets weight savings from using only a clear coat and ultralight decals rather than painted logos (the Spark uses the same paint strategy, both yielding about 50% savings over a standard painted frame).
2017 Scott Scale RC World Cup

Without the benefit of suspension, the frame has to take up the hits. But to be a race bike, it’s gotta remain laterally stiff and transfer power effectively. So the bottom half of the frame is stiffer than the top, and the top half allows seat tube-to-seat post flex, so the rider is slightly suspended. The seatstays also provide a bit of flex, helping keep the rear wheel planted. Overall, they claim a 47% improvement in rider comfort.

Shared features include the brake mounts, rear derailleur/axle mount insert, stealth rear axle lever tool, internal full length cable housing, Boost wheel spacing and 1x-only frames for the RC level bikes. They also use a lot of the same Syncros SL cockpit parts to streamline the look and save more weight. The Scale is compatible with stealth dropper posts, too.

2017 Scott Scale RC Ultimate

Geometry changes are similar, with the chainstay getting shorter by 13mm on the 29er and 2mm on the 27.5. Reach is 17mm longer, with shorter stems to keep the riding position similar, and stack height is slightly reduced. The seat tube gets 1.1º steeper.

The lineup runs virtually lockstep with the Spark, running from top end carbon down to alloy frames, offered in both 900 (29er) and 700 (27.5), and Contessa and Plus bikes, too. The addition is an e-Scale electric motor assist version.

-Posted by Tyler Benedict on

Circle City Bicycles and Fitness
5506 Madison Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46227
(317) 786-9244

Thursday Video - Magpie Attacking Cyclist

Magpie with worm about to attack cyclist
Today's video comes from Shellharbour, Austrailia, which is a little south of Sydney. Apparently the magpies there can be pretty aggressive during their nesting season. There's even a website that shows where attacks are occurring in Australia called Magpie Alert.

This video was shot by a cyclist riding his bike with a helmet camera pointed backwards. It is two minutes and nine seconds long.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Weird Bike Wednesday - BigDog

The aptly named BigDog Bicycle 
This week's weird bike is named BigDog. It is a 4-person, 4-wheel bicycle that weighs 600 pounds. On flat, hard ground it has a cruising speed of 5-6 miles per hour. It was constructed by Tom Wilson from scrounged parts of bikes, go-karts and golf carts. For more details about BigDog and Tom's other creations, please visit Tom's website at

Here's a one minute, eleven second video that shows BigDog cruising around the neighborhood:

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Touring Tuesday - Tour de France

The imposing Mont Ventoux
If you want to combine bicycle touring with watching pro cycling, there are tour operators who offer packages for major races like the Tour de France. One such company is Discover France Adventures. Before each stage begins, you can ride parts of the course, including famous climbs like Mont Ventoux or Alpe d'Huez. That should help you understand just how tough the Tour de France really is. After you cross the finish line, you can have your picture taken while standing on the podium. You'll have to bring along your own yellow jersey.

Here's a short (one minute, ten seconds) video that shows folks enjoying the ride:

Monday, June 27, 2016

The RAIN Ride

Riders on the 2015 RAIN ride
The RAIN (Ride Across Indiana) ride is a one-day ride from west to east across Indiana. It totals 160 miles, most of them on US 40. The ride starts at St. Mary of the Woods College in Terre Haute, and ends at Earlham College in Richmond. There will be five sag stops along the way. This year the ride will be held on Saturday, July 16. For more information and to register, please visit the RAIN website.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Friday Photo - Circle City Bicycles

Exterior of Circle City Bicycles
We have been sprucing up our store, inside and out. The exterior has recently been painted. In case anyone doesn't know what we sell, it is written on the wall facing the parking lot. We also have our new logo on the south end of the wall.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Thursday Video - Cycling with Babies and Toddlers in the Netherlands

This mom has her hands full
This week's video is a compilation of short clips showing Dutch cyclists with their kids. While I think it's wonderful that they take their kids cycling, I can't get over the fact that they don't wear helmets. I didn't see a single person, adult or child, wearing a helmet in this video. I had a couple friends who biked over there in the 1980s. They said the Dutch looked at them in amazement because they wore helmets. One said a young boy walked by him and just kept staring at his helmet, eventually walking into a parking meter. I thought things would have changed by now, but apparently not. Enjoy the video below:

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Weird Bike Wednesday - Ice Cream Bike

Ice cream bike out on patrol
This week's bike is an ice cream bicycle from Icicle Tricycles in Portland, Oregon. It looks a little weird, but it's very practical.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Touring Tuesday - Bixby and Her Human

Mike and Bixby out on the road
I ran across an interesting website called Where's Bixby? Bixby is a border collie mix that Mike Minnick adopted from an animal shelter in Austin, Texas. Since 2013 the two of them have been traveling around they country to promote pet adoptions. They started out on a Yuba Mundo cargo bike. In April of this year they began touring on Yuba's Spicy Curry Electric Assist cargo bike.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Friday Photo - RAGBRAI Bus

Team Bus for RAGBRAI (Photo courtesy of Red Kite Prayer)
The 2016 RAGRBRAI will begin on July 23. This ride has been going on since the early 1970s. The initials stand for Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. The "Register" comes from the Des Moines Resgister, an Iowa newspaper. There are about 10,000 riders on each day of the week-long event. Some groups of cyclists show up each year for this event. For large groups of riders, it appears school buses make the best support vehicles. They can carry lots of passengers and a roof deck can be added to transport necessities like bicycles and beer kegs.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Thursday Video - Peter Sagan Descending Col de Manse

Peter Sagan Descending Col de Manse
This week's video shows Peter Sagan descending Col de Manse during stage 16 of the 2015 Tour de France. This descent is considered one of the most difficult in pro cycling. The video was shot from one of motorcycles out on the course. Despite his masterful descent, Sagan was unable to catch up with Ruben Plaza, who broke away on the climb and won the stage. Peter Sagan failed to win any individual stage in 2015, but his five second place finishes helped him win the sprinter's green jersey.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Weird Bike Wednesday - The Halfbike II

The Halfbike II in action

Here's an unusual bicycle out of Bulgaria called the Halfbike II. The company is run by two guys who got funding through Kickstarter. They are both cyclists and architects. The design they came up with is pretty impressive. You stand up instead of sitting down. The pedals drive the 20 inch diameter front wheel, with a Sturmey Archer three-speed internal hub. There are two 8 inch diameter wheels in the rear. To turn the bike you just lean to one side instead of turning the front wheel. The handlebars fold down to make the bike more portable. They come in three different sizes and you can order one from Halfbike for $614. Below is a video that shows riders on Halfbikes.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Touring Tuesday - The Lieber Loop Bicycle Route

Richard Lieber (right) and Governor Harry Leslie at Dunes State Park
In 1915 Richard Lieber suggested to the governor of Indiana he create a state park system to celebrate the state's centennial in 1916. The governor liked the idea and put Lieber in charge of making it happen. The following year McCormick's Creek opened as Indiana's first state park. By the time he stepped down in 1933, the system had grown to ten state parks. In 1944 he died while staying at McCormick's Creek State Park.

In 2016, Circle City Bicycles is celebrating Indiana's bicentennial by creating the Lieber Loop bicycle route. This route will link together the following state parks and recreation areas:
  1. McCormick's Creek State Park
  2. Lieber State Recreation Area
  3. Turkey Run State Park
  4. Prophetstown State Park
  5. Miami State Recreation Area
  6. Oubache State Park
  7. Summit Lake State Park
  8. Whitewater Memorial State Park
  9. Versailles State Park
  10. Clifty Falls State Park
  11. Spring Mill State Park
  12. Brown County State Park
Five of these parks (McCormick's Creek, Turkey Run, Clifty Falls, Spring Mill and Brown County) were created under Lieber's administration.

The first two segments have been completed and are available online at our Bicycle Touring Indiana page. We'll keep you informed on our progress.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Blue Rub Sports Creams

Blue Rub sports creams are now available at Circle City Bicycles
We are now stocking Blue Rub products:
  • Hand repair cream
  • Chamois cream
  • Foot repair cream
  • Anti chafing cream
 These items are made in the United States by a company based in Zionsville, Indiana. Their products are free of parabens, petroleums, SLS and silicone. They are 95% or more natural. A minimal amount of preservatives are used to protect against yeast, mold and bacteria.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Friday Photo - Bigfoot on Bicycle

Sasquatch out for a ride
There seem to be Bigfoot sightings all over the country these days. I wondered how he could get around to so many different places. Turns out he travels by bicycle.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Thursday Video - North Pole Bike Extreme

Start of the 2007 North Pole Bike Extreme race
This week's video features the North Pole Bike Extreme race which was held in 2007. The participants seemed to have a good time, but apparently it didn't catch on. The website they reference at the end of the video now has a lot of non-English letters and no pictures. My guess is that the logistics of getting the participants and their bikes to the event was just too expensive. I haven't found information on any bike race at the North Pole except for the 2007 race. Spaniards took both first and second place at the 26.2 mile race. The winner finished in a little over three hours.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Weird Bike Wednesday - Wooden Tandem

Out for a ride on a wooden tandem
I have seen wooden bicycles before, but this is the first time I have seen a wooden tandem. Jens Eichler of Germany created this bike from 83 pounds of plywood. After carving away 22 pounds, he was left with a 61 pound frame. After adding in all the other parts, total weight was 114 pounds. Since it is rather heavy and took 400 hours to construct, it's not a very practical design. Still, you have to admire the beauty of the finished product.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Touring Tuesday - Mammoth Cave

Bob Kissinger arriving at Mammoth Cave
The Adventure Cycling Association is well known for its trail network, especially the ones crossing America. One of these is their TransAmerica Trail. Section 10 of this trail goes from Murphysboro, Illinois to Berea, Kentucky with an optional two day loop to Mammoth Cave. Bob Kissinger took an overnight weekend trip on this loop to Mammoth Cave, and tells about it on the Bicycle Overnights website. He rode the loop in April, when the temperatures were moderate and the redbuds & dogwoods were in bloom.

There are several mountain biking trails within Mammoth Cave National Park. Below is a video that shows mountain biking on Big Hollow Trail.

Monday, June 6, 2016

2016 Hilly Hundred Registration Now Open!

Riders at the 2016 Hilly Hundred
The 2016 Hilly Hundred will be held October 21-23. That's a long way off, but registration is now open. You can save up to $15 by registering online. It costs $70 if you mail in your registration, but only $55 if you register online before September 4. Register online September 5 through October 13 and it costs $65. Here is their registration page.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Friday Photo - 2016 Tour of California

Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Times

This week's photo comes from the recently completed 2016 Tour of California. During stage four the route passed over the Bixby Bridge on its way from Morro Bay to Monterey.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Mountain Bike Buyers Guide: How To Know What Kind of MTB is right for you

Scott Makes It Simple For Every Kind of Rider

 At Circle City Bicycles, we'll do just about anything to help you find your perfect bike. Scott recently published this article that will help you determine what your riding style is and which bike is best suited to that style. Check it out:
Since their invention in the ’70’s, mountain bikes have changed a lot, going from robust multi-functional bikes to high-tech sport machines. The suspension technology in particular has opened the door to a new dimension of riding, comfort and fun. Nowadays, there are so many different bike types for so many different uses. Fabricants and special interest magazines usually divide mountain bikes into the following categories: Cross Country, Marathon, All Mountain, Enduro and Freeride. As of recent, you can find women specific bikes with adapted geometries, parts and suspensions for each of these categories.

Who am I and what do I need?

If you are already an active mountain biker, you will be able to define your profile quite easily. If you are a beginner, then you should first think about what you are expecting from your bike and what brings you the most fun. Here are some features that can help you evaluate yourself.

I am a XC Racer

You like performance and light weight. You want to ride fast and you like competition. More than 100mm of travel is secondary for you.

You need a Contessa Scale 700 RC or a Contessa Spark 700 RC from the Cross Country/Marathon category.
Photo: Armin M. Küstenbrück, Rider: Jenny Rissveds, 2015 U23 World Cup Champion

The SCOTT Contessa Scale 700 RC's HMF Carbon Fiber Frame is one of the lightest hardtail frames on the market. The RC comes fully equipped with a FOX 32 Float fork, along with our RideLoc technology to allow for three travel settings to always optimize your ride. This bike is as race ready as it gets. Available in the 27.5" wheel size.

The SCOTT Contessa Spark 700 RC boasts a light HMF Carbon Fiber mainframe with an Alloy swingarm. The 700 RC comes equipped with a custom FOX Nude shock, and our Patented TwinLoc technology, in combination with Traction Control, allowing for three travel/geometry settings to always optimize your ride. It's the perfect partner for marathons, stage races, and all day fun. Available in the 27.5" wheel size.

Tip: hardtail (Scale) or full suspension (Spark)?

Because of its front and back suspension, a full suspension bike, or “Fully” is normally about 1 kg heavier than a comparable hardtail which only has a front suspension system. However, the comfort of a Fully will allow you to save strength, will give you more confidence and will bring you much more fun. In most cases, mountain bikers (particularly women) are better off with a Fully. Nevertheless, if you are planning to race Cross Country or if you have a small budget, you should go for a hardtail.

I am an All Mountain Tour Biker

You want to ride fast but with comfort. Above all, you want to be able to ride anywhere. You like riding downhill, especially on technical trails.

You need a Contessa Genius 700 from the All Mountain category.
Photo: Mattias Fredriksson, Riders: Karen Eller, Kathrin Schön, Massimo Ferro

The SCOTT Contessa Genius 700 boasts a light HMF Carbon Fiber mainframe with an Alloy swingarm. The 700 comes fully equipped with a custom FOX Nude shock, a FOX 34 Float fork and our Patented TwinLoc technology, in combination with Traction Control, allowing for three travel/geometry settings to always optimize your ride. Available in the 27.5" wheel size.

I am an All Mountain enduro biker

Downhill for you is the icing on the cake, along with rough terrain. You don’t mind riding uphill and you take it rather easy, but when it comes to downhill, no more courtesies!

You need a Genius LT from the All Mountain/Enduro category.
Photo: Mattias Fredriksson, Rider: Karen Eller

The SCOTT Genius LT 710, with its light HMF Carbon Fiber mainframe and an Alloy swingarm, is ready for all of your enduro adventures. With a custom FOX Nude shock, a custom 170mm FOX 36 fork, and our Patented TwinLoc technology in combination with traction control allowing for three travel/geometry settings, this bike is ready to tame all mountains.

Tip: 27.5’’, 29’’ or Plus wheelsize?

I see a lot of confused mountain bikers. In the last five years, there have in fact been a lot of changes, it is an ever-evolving industry! 26” wheels have slowly been going away, we’ve had the introduction of 29ers, then 27.5” and now 27.5” Plus! Consumers constantly ask themselves, “What is right for me?” This can be a tough question to answer!
27.5” has quickly become the common size today, as can be seen by the widespread inclusion of the size in most companies’ bike portfolios. SCOTT was an early proponent for this particular size, and to this day still believes in it. The 27.5” wheelsize combines all of the advantages of the 29” wheel, but with an agility closer to that of a 26” wheel.
When I first tested out 29” wheels, I was very impressed. I was able to roll over just about anything- stairs, rocks, logs and roots, it was amazing. However, in tighter sections, switchbacks for example, for me it was a lot of bike to handle. After a while, I was able to adjust my riding technique to adapt to the new size. That being said, at 174 cm I’m taller than the average for women. For smaller women, I would definitely recommend the 27.5” wheel size.
A very good option for all ladies of all sizes would be the new Plus size standard. These wheels perform well on every kind of terrain. They provide the rider with more comfort and confidence. The traction is unparalleled, almost 20% more than a regular tire while still feeling light and agile on the climbs! Don’t be afraid to try out one of these models, you may just like it more than you think!
Learn more about wheelsize and Plus technology:

I am a Freerider

You know bikparks by heart. Downhill, adrenaline, jumps, drops and banked turns are your best friends.

You need a Voltage FR or even a Gambler from the Freeride category.
Photo: Emrik Jansson, Rider: Jenny Liljegren

The SCOTT Voltage FR is your one stop shop for bikeparks, downhill tracks, and any trail that deserves a good ol' roostin’. The bike has been designed around a 27.5” wheel standard, but can be converted to run 26” wheels so that no matter the terrain or style you are riding, you have the right tool for the job. Thanks to a low BB, a slack head angle, short chain stays and a low leverage ratio, this bike will surely put a grin on your face.

The SCOTT Gambler is a no compromises DH weapon. This bike comes with World Cup options like a lower and slacker geometry as well as a longer shock and a tweaked leverage ratio. With 27.5” wheels the Gambler has everything that a solid DH bike needs. Following our belief that for every track there is a correct tool, this bike has been designed to be able to be converted to run 26” wheels as well.

When choosing a mountain bike, geometry and intended use are crucial elements. The alchemy between the rider and her bike should be perfect. Think about what you exactly want to achieve with your bike. Clearly, a bike to ride on flat Sunday tours will look completely different than the one you would ride on your next bike trip to Lake Garda. And if you are planning a marathon, your ideal bike will once again be totally different.

Have you yet decided how you want to use your mountain bike and defined what your biker profile is?

Where do I get my bike?

Circle City Bicycles, of course! We'd love to help fit you on the bike, give you advice and let you test ride which ever bike you want!

What will I get for my money?

The more athletic your ambitions are, the more money you will have to invest. A more expensive bike is also often lighter and easier to ride, so it brings you more fun. Of course, there is no upper limit, but the most expensive one is not necessarily the best one. You will find a good quality/price ratio in the middle of the price scale.

At this point, you should know everything that you need to find THE mountain bike that fits YOU. Have a look on SCOTT’s bike finder to get more help!

I wish you lots of fun on your new bike!

Karen Eller