Bike of the Year
Words & Photos By Drew Rohde
Scott was somewhat cryptic about the details of the new bike when they first reached out to us regarding the new Ransom. Their email simply said, “You’re gonna like it!” A couple months later I met with Scott’s US marketing manager, Garth Spencer in Bend, Oregon and he gave me all the technical info as we sipped our beverages at a local coffee shop. I think he could feel me twitching under the table as he quickly changed topics. “I can talk about this thing ‘til I’m blue in the face, but let’s go outside and see it!” As Garth pulled the bike out of his rental car I knew Scott had a winner.
Whenever a new bike arrives at the Wolf Den for review, we can’t help but try to guess ahead of the arrival whether it will be a hit or miss. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we get it wrong and a bike surprises us. Every couple years however, a bike comes along that changes the bar of measurement for us. The Scott Ransom is one of the best all mountain bikes we’ve ridden in recent memory, making it our bike of the year.
Available in six flavors, four 29ers and two 27.5 builds, the 900 Tuned is their top of the line model and sports all the bells and whistles. With 170mm of travel, an impressively low weight and modern geometry, the new Scott Ransom is a huge departure from its namesake, first introduced over a decade ago.
The 29-inch wheeled Ransom 700 Tuned has a lot of things that make it our bike of the year, and so we’ll start with the frame and work our way out. Scott’s name has always been synonymous with some of the lightest bikes on the market. While the new Ransom impressively light, they also went all out with the redesigned frame, claiming it’s their strongest carbon frame yet.
The dedicated 1x frame has a beefed up and widened main pivot area and beefy Trunnion mount for the rear shock to unify the “stiffness backbone” as Scott calls it. While the large downtube, BB area and chainstays are vital to the stiffness designed into the frame, Scott engineers used lighter weight construction techniques and tubing shapes to offer bump-eating compliance.
This beautifully beefy section of the frame lets you know this bike is ready for business. The ribbed chainstay protector and chain guide work great at keeping this bike dead silent on the trail.
Frame geometry is right on the money in our opinion. The bike balances all out confidence on the nasty stuff without being cumbersome or sluggish on flatter trails. The Ransom can be set to ride in either a High or Low mode, depending on your local terrain.
In Low, our size large 29er sports a 64.5-degree head tube angle, 75-degree seat tube angle, 353.5mm bottom bracket height and 1,249.2mm wheelbase. The reach is 466.5mm with a 627.6mm stack height and 437.9mm chainstays round out the basic measurements. Flipping the bike into high mode makes conservative changes to geo by half a degree. We experimented with both settings and felt they were both usable depending on the rider and terrain.
Spec on the top of the line 900 Tuned model features a SRAM Eagle drivetrain, Syncros Revelstoke wheels, Syncros saddle and unique Hixon iC Rise Carbon bar/stem combo. In typical Scott fashion, Fox TwinLoc technology makes its way onto the new Ransom, paired up to a new Fox Nude TR Evol shock and Fox 36 Fit 4, 44mm offset fork.
Suspension on the Ransom is steps beyond what we expected and have experienced on earlier generations of Scott bikes. The virtual 4-Link suspension design features a more aggressive curve to keep riders who are pushing the limits in check without sacrificing beginner and intermediate rider comfort.
One area that we feel is a miss: the cockpit. Syncros’ integrated bar/stem combo looks neat, but lacks adjustability. The grips are terrible and in order to swap to regular grips you need to replace the lock ring as it’s integrated into the dropper level/TwinLoc lever.