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A Climber Returns: 2014 SCOTT Addict 20

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Influence. While most brands simply react to influences a few look beyond and become truly influential themselves. The Swiss at SCOTT Sports can arguably lay claim to being the most influential brand of the last decade. Before you turn the page, writing this off as nonsense, think about the original SCOTT CR1, the sub 900gram wonder frame that launched the weight wars. That war is still raging with Cannondale, Cervelo, Felt and a host of other brands fighting tooth and nail. Frame savings of 20grams, weight equal to a couple of plastic tire levers, is heralded as revolutionary. We have SCOTT to thank for sending us down that particular rabbit hole. While the war has gotten a bit silly, the overall result has been incredible, bikes so lively and focused cyclists never had it so good. We have SCOTT largely to thank for that.

This is where the new SCOTT Addict comes in. After a two-year production hiatus the badge is back for 2014. Where did it go? Our money is on a lengthy redesign while SCOTT found out how to give the insanely light and stiff, but notoriously harsh frame, some road manners. While creating compliance was surely an important part of the equation SCOTT wanted this bike to be next level so they made it lighter, stiffer and more aerodynamic as well. In their sights was the Cervelo RCA, the $10,000 super bike claiming to be the lightest on the planet. How did they do? According to their numbers, very well. For frame, fork and hardware the 2014 Addict slots in at just less than one kilo – the lightest production frame set ever made.

The Details
It is the SCOTT Addict SL made with their HMX SL mixture of high modulus carbon that achieves this lightweight, as well as the significant gains in aero dynamics, compliance and power transfer. It is also a pricey bike, $12650, for the SRAM Red build with Syncros RL1.0 carbon wheels. The rest of the 2014 Addict line comes right out of the same mold but uses lower modulus carbon and a simplified lay up to cut costs. The Addict 20 we tested uses their base modulus, HMF carbon, an intermediate Toray 700 fiber with good strength and durability but less pure stiffness. By contrast the HMX SL build uses nothing lower than T800 with a big helping of much higher modulus carbon. Proving that good design and manufacturing mean more than fiber numbers the 54cm Addict 20 frame still impresses on the scale at a scant 860grams.

Aero gains for the new Addict where achieved through tube shapes inspired by the Foil. Called F01-X125, the cross section utilizes the same truncated airfoil concept as the Foil but with a much shorter chord. Essentially, the resulting shape is close to a round tube with a flattened rear section. This shape is optimized for weight and stiffness versus the Foil tube shape, which is optimized for aerodynamics and stiffness. Even so, the frame saves more than 7watts of energy versus the original Addict at 45kph. Add that up over a long day in the saddle and it is very significant.

The stiffness of the high-end HMX SL frame leans heavily on the super high modulus carbon layers used across the frames fork, head tube, seat tube, down tube and chain stays. The Addict 20 and its HMF frame rely more on the robust tube shapes, the tapered steer tube and the BB86 down tube, with smooth transitions from tube to shell, to create a solid power platform and keep the bike on line under big loads and extreme cornering.

But, the reality for SCOTT was the original Addict was already very good at being light and stiff. Aerodynamics was a welcome addition, but with out some serious work addressing the original bike’s compliance issues the new Addict would never be truly successful. To create some comfort SCOTT focused on two areas – the lower half of the fork blades and the seat cluster. The crown of the fork was kept very stiff to ensure solid braking performance and good lateral stiffness while the blades are allowed to flex slightly, front to back, to dampen impact. The seat cluster has been engineered to rotate slightly around the intersection of seat tube, seat stays and top tube. Additionally the chain stays are only 12mm in diameter for added compliance, but the feature most responsible for the bike’s added compliance, 39% more vertical deflection than the original Addict, is the seat post. Instead of the large diameter integrated seat mast of old a traditional 27.2 carbon post sits in its place. It’s a very low tech, but incredibly effective way to deliver comfort in a stiff, race bred platform.

Beyond the penny pinching HMF carbon selection the Addict 20 gets a very budget conscious build. We’d call it an Ultegra build, but with only an Ultegra 10speed rear derailleur and levers the bike doesn’t qualify. The front derailleur is 105, the cranks are something called Shimano FC-R565 – yeah, we didn’t know what that was either. The chain is Shimano Tiagra, the brakes are more no-name Shimano and the wheels, Shimano RS11-A, hit the scale at a whopping 1850grams. This build will cost you $2950 and weigh 17.5lbs. Clearly the expense of the frame required this down market build. On a positive note, the Syncros supplied cockpit components compliment the bike’s svelte, matte black looks and provided solid, reliable performance.

The Ride
While the bike’s lineage and engineering would lead one to expect very special things on the road our expectations were muted by the build. No frame will shine, certainly not one trading on performance in the mountains, with 1850gram wheels. So here is the one major caveat to all you are about to read, we only rode the supplied wheels once. The experience was as expected, underwhelming. In their place we put a set of 1375gram Dura Ace C24’s, one of our favorite wheel sets, and the bike came alive. All of the engineering, design and materials were allowed to shine while the rest of the budget build faded to the background.

Surprisingly, despite its lower modulus carbon, the Addict HMF frame is a crisp and lively creature with a dynamic feel at the pedals, suffering from none of the anonymous, bland feeling most entry-level carbon is cursed with. Ask it to respond on punchy rollers or react to a quick, unexpected attack and it does not disappoint. The same response is there even when the wattage goes up. The Addict 20 drives forward during full-blown sprints, asking for more power the entire way and turning it into speed. The bike’s power transfer hinted at major potential when torsional stiffness was under the microscope on descents and the bike does not disappoint. The head tube is low, the wheelbase is tight and the bike’s stiffness, axle to axle, is more than up to the task of letting these angles shine when the speed is high and the corners are tight.

It’s in a rough corner or technical descent that another aspect of the bike’s performance, a new trait, comes to the fore; compliance. Where the original Addict would chatter and buck across a rough patch of pavement the new Addict deftly soaks up the bumps, keeping your wheels glued to the pavement for traction or power transfer, whatever is required at the critical moment. This same compliance adds comfort for the long haul that no SCOTT, CR1, Addict or Foil, has had before. We’re not going to say it’s a magic carpet, the new Addict is a race bike and never forget that, but it’s a race bike we would happily campaign over a long day on rough tarmac. Undoubtedly, the lower modulus carbon plays its part here, dampening vibration, but the redesigned seat cluster is a major success.

The Builds
The Addict 20 HMF we tested is their entry level Addict. Four other builds are available with the $3700 Addict 10 next in line featuring a full Ultegra 11speed build, Syncros alloy wheels and cockpit on another HMF carbon frame. The $7900 Addict Team Issue features full Dura Ace 11 speed, Syncros carbon cockpit and clinchers all on an HMX carbon frame which takes the modulus to the next level. The lightest Addict on offer is the Addict SL with the HMX-SL frame, SRAM Red 22 build, Ritchey carbon cockpit, Syncros carbon clinchers and weighs less than 13pounds but costs $12650.

The Rider
The Addict 20 rider wants the lion’s share of race day performance, climbing chops, and all day road manners SCOTT Sports has created but doesn’t have the budget for the space age materials. They did, however, save a few bucks for new wheels to take the handcuffs off the Addict 20 and unleash its potential.

Price: $2950 (Dura Ace C24 aftermarket wheel upgrade $1200)
Size tested: XL 58cm Weight: 17.5lbs w/ Carbon Cages
Details: Shimano mix w/ Ultegra 10spd, 105 FD, R561 brakes, R565 cranks, Syncros cockpit, Shimano RS11-A wheels.