By: Ryan LaBar
The new Scott Spark 29 Elite. The bike we had here has some upgrades to the components over the production version, but the frame will be the same. The 29er model offers adjustable travel from 100 millimeters to ~70 millimeters to fully locked out.
Perhaps the most notable feature for the new Spark is the one-piece linkage rocker (as opposed to the old Spark’s 4-piece rocker). This is said to provide a much stiffer ride. Additionally all the pivots on the bike have been beefed up.
The rear shock may not look it, but it actually has two air chambers packed into it–both are open for the full-travel mode and one gets shut off for the “Traction” shorter-travel mode.
The shock mount ‘chip’ can be flipped over to change the bike’s geometry incase you want a slacker and lower stance.
The pivot location has been changed (from the old Spark) to help clearance for the post-style brake mount on the chainstay (Scott also claims this pivot location creates a more active suspension).
The rear end comes equipped with a 142×12 through-axle, but can easily be changed to take a standard quick release or a 135×12 through-axle system.
We spent three days, over 60 miles and more than 10-thousand feet of climbing in Sun Valley, Idaho, atop Spark 29. Here are some of our initial thoughts on the bike and Sun Valley, Idaho’s, trails.
The first two days of riding for us had loads of stream and river crossings. After a wet day one, we plunged right into day two with this crossing at the start of Red Warrior Creek trail.
The Spark’s ‘traction’ mode was very nice on Sun Valley’s long climbs like this one on the Lodgepole Gulch trail. This mode offered just enough traction on rough sections and didn’t feel bouncy out of the saddle.
After a massive lung-busting climb, day one peaked atop the scenic Mars Ridge.
While descending, the Spark felt good though corners and the suspension ate up most everything. For full-time trail-bike duties we would have liked to see a through axle fork. This lack of through-axle is excusable, though, because this bike could happily toe the start-line of an XC race.
Sun Vally has had some big forrest fires in the past. These fires have left some incredibly beautiful black, or, in this case, white bark-stripped trees with intense green undergrowth.
Guide company Western Spirit showed us the amazing trails, and some good times around the campfire too.