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Tech Report: Scott 2005

Nestled away in the rugged mountain valleys of central Switzerland, the posh Euro town of St. Moritz is better known for its fur-covered, jet-setting ski bunnies than for high-tech carbon fiber. But for three days in July, carbon was en vogue as Scott showed the press its 2005 product line. The media event July 6-8 showcased the company’s impressive investment into the ever-developing world of carbon-fiber frame construction. Unlike frame manufacturers that simply day-trip over to Taiwan, pick a stock carbon configuration from a major producer, alter a few shapes and call it their own

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Carbon reigns supreme For European manufacturer

By Andrew Juskaitis, VeloNews technical editor

Nestled away in the rugged mountain valleys of central Switzerland, the posh Euro town of St. Moritz is better known for its fur-covered, jet-setting ski bunnies than for high-tech carbon fiber. But for three days in July, carbon was en vogue as Scott showed the press its 2005 product line.

The media event July 6-8 showcased the company’s impressive investment into the ever-developing world of carbon-fiber frame construction. Unlike frame manufacturers that simply day-trip over to Taiwan, pick a stock carbon configuration from a major producer, alter a few shapes and call it their own design, Scott is proud of its “from the ground up” approach. The frames may be produced in Taiwan, but they are entirely of Scott design.

And while the world market is saturated with “me too” carbon frame designs, the bikes we were able to ride and dissect in this stunning corner of the world are anything but imitation – or are they?

On the final day of our test riding, Scott representatives told us that while they had no objection to the American press writing about their product, the company is unable to sell any of its Four-bar linkage products in the United States. VeloNews was told that this halt in bringing the Scott Genius line [which uses Four-bar linkage] into the United States is a result of an impending lawsuit from patent-holder Specialized.

VeloNews contacted the man responsible for reintroducing the Scott name to America, Scott Montgomery, to ask why the company would hold a press camp for U.S. journalists to show product that isn’t available in the States. In a phone interview, Montgomery said he felt optimistic that the dispute between Scott and Specialized would come to some sort of an understanding relatively soon, allowing U.S. sales of his complete product line in the near future.

In the meantime, he said: “Our Genius design was independently developed by Scott and offers unique features. The Specialized litigation involves U.S. patents. Specialized has no corresponding patent in Europe or elsewhere, and therefore this dispute has no impact on our continuing sales in Europe and other parts of the world.”

Legal issues aside, here’s the inside line on Scott’s unique carbon technology. Both the road and mountain frames use what Scott calls CR1 (Carbon For Racing) design. Using pre-stretched fibers (which are claimed to reduce the amount of internal “folds” that plague bladder-molded carbon monocoque frames), tubes are formed over mandrels. These tubes are “tacked” to lugs, then hand-wrapped, using strategic placement of external wraps of carbon around the lugs and tubes. Scott claims it’s a unique process that no other manufacturer can touch and results in production times of up to 26 hours per frame (a traditional Scandium frame usually takes about three hours).

While we’ve already seen the CR1 Road Limited unveiled at this year’s Sea Otter Classic (at 895 grams for the frame), Scott chose to take its CR1 technology into the dirt in 2005.

The Genius MC CR1 Limited is the now carbon-framed, freeride-inspired trail bike. At 2250 grams for the frame (25.13 pounds for a complete bike), the MC is the same design that Scott’s Thomas Frischknecht used to win his gold medal at the 2003 world marathon championships in Lugano, Switzerland.

The Genius RC CR1 Limited also sees a carbon front triangle, but is designed as Scott’s all-out cross-country racer. It weighs 22 pounds (XTR build) and offers three on-the-fly adjustable shock settings to allow racers to perfectly adjust rear-suspension performance to suit course conditions.

The Scale CR1 Limited is Scott’s all-carbon XC hardtail. This is Frishy’s bike of choice for the lightning-fast Athens XC course. His race bike weighed close to 20 pounds and came equipped with a rear custom Dugast tubular mountain bike tire mounted to a very trick carbon 650C triathlon rim.

Time, and quite possibly the American legal system, will tell whether you’ll be able to buy the Genius bikes here in the States. In the meantime, sales are scheduled for the CR1 Road Limited and Scale CR1 Limited in late fall.