The Scott Foil 20 is the little brother of Mathew Hayman's Paris-Roubaix conquering Scott Foil. Winning the roughest and toughest one day race of all says a lot about the aero Scott Foil. We've been rolling around on the Foil 20 for a couple of months and the results are in.
It all started in 1989 when Greg Lemond won the most exciting Tour de France we've ever seen. Nothing has come close to being as exciting and doubt we ever will. Times have changed and the days of exciting innovation in the sport died long ago when the UCI decided to tighten its grip - stopping the use of funny TT bikes and creating regulations on what a bike should look like.
What happened in the '89 Tour changed my life. I am sure of it. It was the days when the Americans were the good guys in the sport. The all-conquering English speaking cool guys with Oakley shades, Fluoro paint jobs, disc wheels. They brought with them funny shaped Scott handlebars for time trials. Watching Lemond in the final time trail leaning over his time trial bars hurtling down the Champs Elysees. He rode a huge 55 x 12 gear and averaged 54.545 km/h. He made up 58 seconds on Lauren Fignon, ultimately winning the race by 8 seconds.
I wanted to be Greg Lemond. I was inspired to race bikes so I did so at every opportunity. I wanted to have that feeling of going fast and using the latest equipment to give me the marginal gains (yes they did exist before team Sky trademarked them). Scott aero bars were a game changer.
What has this got to do with a bike review anyway? I’m getting there…..
Back to me first though - I went out and bought some Scott time trial bars, just like Greg’s, bolted them onto my bike. It felt good, really fast. Every time I went out I imagined catching Fignon on my way to win the tour by 8 seconds. Glorious times. Bike riding was in my blood and my love affair for the sport borne. A few years later I got to visit France and see the race first hand. It didn’t disappoint and only fuelled the passion.
Fast-forward and of course frames are much lighter and Scott are again at the forefront of innovation, producing a 980g Aluminium frame that the Jean DelaTour team are using. The frames are a shiny aluminium without any paint and look amazing. Once again Scott are the innovators and inspiring kids to have the latest technology to not only look cool but go fast.
THE FRAME SET
I have unfortunately grown up and prefer a more modest looking bike (black on black of course), but when the Ferrari red Scott Foil appeared I was instantly taken back to those childhood days of what inspired me to ride.
The frame comes from the same mould that the Team Issue Addict uses. At first I thought it was a bit of an ugly duckling but it definitely grows on you. You get the same carbon as the Scott Foil 10 and the same geometry as the top line bikes in the Foil Range.
The frame is very aero, the new larger and stiffer oversized bottom bracket promotes good power transfer, there's HMF carbon technology and nice looking cockpit integration using a Syncros bars and stem.
The most noticeable thing that jumps out at a first look at the Foil is the low mounted seat stays, making for a tiny rear triangle, this apparently is all about keeping things aero by cutting out turbulence. Still on the seat stays, they are pretty thin, this time it's about adding a little compliance and comfort to your ride. By contrast, there's massive and boxy chain stays working with that big bottom bracket to make sure no power is wasted. Finally there's a nice flattened off top tube, agin to provide comfort and a bit more flex.... just what you'll need if you're giving a cobbled section a hammering.
Pushing a bike out at this price, where there is a lot of work in the frame, is always going to result in a certain level of compromise somewhere else. Here it's the wheels. Scott has gone with a pair of Syncros RR2.0 wheels, they are at the heavy end of the the clincher spectrum. Out of the saddle they flexed like they were laced with spaghetti, to the point where they flexed so much they touched the brakes. Saying this, the rims are really solid and from a distance they almost look like aero carbon rims. The hubs roll nicely which is a plus. My final gripe with the wheels are the transfers on them – they look tacky in my humble view... but if you're into red, you're in luck. To finish, the bike comes standard with Continental Grand Sport Race tyres, a pretty safe choice.
THE DRIVE TRAIN
The Scott Foil 20 comes loaded with Shimano's bullet proof Ultegra 6800 mechanical group set. It's sporting an 11/28 cassette paired with a 52/36 crankset, an increasingly normal ratio we're seeing on most people's bikes. I would have loved to see Di2 on the bike, but I think it would push the RRP toward the $5k (AUD) mark. Ultegra is the staple and safe performance group set, it's pretty light with solid performance and massively reliable. As parts wear out they are fairly cheap to replace and you can integrate with other members of the Shimano range if you want to go that way.
As we've talked about above, this very nice package is ultimately let down by the wheels. I'd say that it's not a deal breaker at this price though. If you're not a power rider you are not going to feel the effects so much. The Foil 20 is a deceptive looking bike. Its appearance is on the aggressive side, but its ride delivers a level of compliance that you don't expect by smoothing things out and verging on comfortable, while managing to not waste any power, and feeling stiff where you want it to be. So while it may not be the obvious choice for an all day epic, it could be a perfect contender.
We're going to make a call and say that this is a good looking bike. I don't think that any bike has actually generated so much discussion from a looks perspective. We even had to go to Facebook to ask what people thought.... and overwhelming the response was a thumbs up.
I'd sum up this bike a a great looking, top end inspired road bike that looks at home alongside bikes worth twice as much. There's room for improvement with this bike, the wheels are probably the weakest link in the package but a fresh and fast aero set is going to give a big kick in the performance department. Shimano's Mechanical Ultegra is going to give you no trouble and can easily be pushed up to Di2 if that's where you want to go.
At $4,200 (AUD) the Scott Foil 20 really is a bike for someone with a passion for riding. It’s the bike that I always wanted as in my youth – it’s full of innovation and technology. It’s a race ready bike at a fraction of the cost, my parents would have been pleased. I would have caught Fignon every time I rode it…in my head of course!
FIND OUT MORE
Contact your local Scott dealer for to find out more.