Scott Addict Gravel 10 Disc review: The sportier end of the spectrum
The line between cyclocross bikes and gravel bikes has always been fuzzy, but Scott is blurring that line even further with its Addict Gravel range, which uses the exact same frameset as the Addict CX family, but with a build kit aimed more at backroads exploring than riding in muddy circles. According to technical editor James Huang, those roots give the Addict Gravel 10 Disc a distinctly sportier feel — perfect if your idea of riding on gravel and dirt is more an exercise in speed than a leisurely roll through the woods.
The Addict Gravel borrows its frameset from the Addict CX, which Scott overhauled from top to bottom in 2015. As expected, it’s lighter than the previous version, with a claimed weight of just 890g for a raw medium frame and 360g for the matching tapered carbon fiber fork — a total decrease of about 60g. Naturally, Scott says that weight loss is also paired with an increase in torsional and head tube stiffness, as well as a modest boost in ride comfort.
According to Scott, all of that comes about from the new Addict CX’s more refined shaping, whose nominally round profiles were driven more by engineering requirements than style in the name of structural efficiency.
A streamlined seat cluster supposedly allows for more seatpost flex under load than before, a newly tapered steerer (the previous generation used a straight 1 1/8″-diameter tube) bolsters the front end, and down below is a wider PF86 press-fit bottom bracket shell, which allows the chainstays to be both pushed further apart and wider in profile than the radically pinched-down shape they once were.
Flat-mount disc brakes and 12mm-diameter thru-axles are also standard front and rear — rim brakes aren’t even an option — and the internal cable routing can be set up for mechanical or electronic drivetrains, and can even handle a stealth-style dropper seatpost.
Scott has kept 1x drivetrains in mind, too. A standard chain keeper on the inboard side helps prevent dropped chains when running double chainrings, but the derailleur tab can be removed for 1x and replaced with a dedicated guide for a properly foolproof setup.
Geometry-wise, this latest Addict CX differs little from its forebear. The stack is decreased by just a few millimeters for my preferred 52cm frame size, the reach is extended by a similar amount, and the bottom bracket drop has increased by 3mm — from 65mm to 68mm — for a bit more stability through corners. Otherwise the same numbers as before: the 71° head tube angle is paired to a 74° seat tube angle, the chainstays are 422mm-long, and the head tube is an aggressive 120mm in length (including the integrated headset).
Whereas the older Addict CX could only just handle the 33mm-wide tires preferred by most for cyclocross racing, the new chassis will swallow treads up to 40mm in width — enabling Scott to use the same frame for both cyclocross and gravel applications.
While it’s true that each category ideally has slight geometry tweaks — with cyclocross bikes generally a little shorter and quicker, and gravel bikes a bit longer, lower, and more stable — the distinctions are sufficiently subtle that they’re arguably unnecessary for most riders.
Ultimately, it boils down to rider preference, anyway: some cyclocross racers want that more stable handling, after all, while some gravel riders appreciate the added agility that true cyclocross geometry affords.
Scott may be using the same framesets on its Addict Gravel range as the Addict CX, but the builds are modified to better serve that specific audience. For example, the Addict Gravel 10 Disc Scott sent for testing shares the same SRAM Force 1 groupset as the Addict CX 10 Disc, but the former’s 1×11 drivetrain is built with a wider-range 10-42T cassette than the more ’cross-appropriate 11-36T cassette used on the latter.
Likewise, the standard carbon-fiber handlebar is swapped for one with slightly flared drops on the Addict Gravel 10 Disc — which allows for a wider grip and more stability on sketchy terrain — and the Schwalbe G-One tires, while similar in width to the Continental Cyclocross Race clinchers on the Addict CX 10 Disc at 35mm across, wear a lower-profile tread that works better on mixed terrain.
Interestingly, those comparisons are moot for the U.S. market, where Scott has taken the bold decision of selling only the Gravel variants; no dedicated Addict CX models will be sold stateside at all, at least for the 2018 model year.
It’s all about the tires
Scott may have slightly tweaked the build relative to the Addict CX 10 Disc — and even slapped a “Gravel” label under the clear coat on the seat tube — but there’s no hiding the bike’s true identity when out on the road. I’ve tested previous generations of the Addict CX in the past — and even owned and raced one for several seasons — and am well familiar with that bike’s ultra-stiff and efficient personality. If that sort of thing appeals to you, then you’ll find much to like here with the Addict Gravel 10 Disc.
The frame’s huge main triangle, bulbous head tube, newly oversized chainstays, and stout fork blades deliver just the sort of ride you’d expect: it’s incredibly responsive under power, and far snappier than what you usually find in most carbon gravel machines (or cyclocross ones, for that matter).
In fact, along with the Specialized CruX, the Addict Gravel is of few cyclocross/gravel bikes that can truly rival a dedicated road machine in terms of pure efficiency — it’s the proverbial two-wheeled rocketship, super eager to accelerate.
Further adding to that sensation is the bike’s weight: just 7.39kg (16.29lb) for my 52cm sample size, without pedals or accessories. While that’s obviously not flirting with the UCI’s 6.8kg minimum weight requirement for road bikes, it’s still impressively wispy for a bike designed to handle a fair level of abuse, complete with disc brakes, thru-axles, and balloon-like tires.
Handling is similarly road racer-like, too, at least in terms of precision. Granted, the cyclocross-friendly geometry isn’t nearly as twitchy, but the Addict Gravel’s frameset stiffness does immediately translate inputs at the handlebar, saddle, or pedals into changes in direction, with the ultra-stout fork feeling especially direct. Whereas some gravel or ‘cross bikes sometimes require you to predict how the chassis will flex and rebound under load, there’s no such mental calculation required here: just point and shoot.
As usual, however, there is a price to be paid for those snappy reflexes — and a stiff one, at that (pun intended).
I still vividly remember how well my old Addict CX accelerated when I really got on the gas, and friends that I raced with at the time even commented that I was noticeably faster as soon as I switched over to that setup. But I also still remember how harshly that frame rode, even on cotton tubulars at 18psi. Thankfully, ‘cross races never last more than an hour, and the beating my body took from rough courses always paled in comparison to the lingering burning in my lungs.
Long gravel rides are a different story, though, and despite Scott’s claims of a greatly improved ride quality on this latest generation of the Addict CX/Gravel, it’s still anything but cushy. Those gains may very well show up on the lab test bench, but any semblance of rider comfort in the real world comes about solely from the tires — and in this case, the bigger and softer, the better. Scott equips the Addict Gravel 10 Disc with 35mm-wide Schwalbe G-Ones, but I would have happily welcomed the 40mm-wide version.
I’m normally not a fan of press-fit bottom brackets in general, but I’m willing to make an exception here since Scott’s use of a wide-format PF86 shell is essentially the reason why the Addict Gravel frame was able to maintain CX-friendly geometry while also gaining tire clearance, and all without having to resort to longer chainstays or any sort of radical frame tube shaping. I didn’t notice any creaking during testing, but past experience suggests that there’s a good chance an owner would have to deal with it at some point.
I was a bit disappointed with the Addict Gravel frame details, though.
The internal cable routing is very accommodating of various drivetrain and component configurations, and with swappable head tube ports and a big hatch under the bottom bracket shell, it’s also reasonably easy to service as compared to more convoluted designs I’ve tested before. But as I’ve always found with head tube ports in these locations, the entry points at the very front of the frame make for overly tight housing bends, especially if running a low and/or short stem.
In fact, the bend on my particular setup was so tight that it was occasionally difficult to ride no-handed; the bike always wanted to veer right. Convertible ports situated a bit further rearward would be much appreciated.
Likewise, care must be exercised when feeding derailleur cables through the down tube. The rear brake hose is free to wind its way through the frame, and it’s easy to inadvertently wrap the cable around the hose if you’re not paying attention.
I also could do without the profiled headset cover and similarly shaped spacers and top cap. While they arguably add a bit of refinement over standard round stuff, the design restricts you to the matching Syncros stem for the fully finished appearance.
The spec on this top-shelf Addict Gravel 10 Disc is otherwise smartly selected for the most part. SRAM Force 1 is proven stuff with good reliability, strong braking performance, and plentiful gearing options including the generously wide-range 10-42T cassette used here; it’s arguably the best 1x drivetrain currently available for gravel and cyclocross. The Schwalbe G-One tubeless-ready tires also continue to be one of my favorites for mixed-terrain riding, what with their surprisingly fast roll and deceivingly confident grip (provided it isn’t too loose or muddy).
The house-brand Syncros cockpit gets the job done, too. The carbon bars are flared, but not so much as to be polarizing to first-time users or weird-feeling when spending more time on pavement or smoother dirt roads. The grippy bar tape is also pleasantly cushy (with reflective details), and the saddle is nicely shaped, although quite hard.
As for the wheels, they’re almost not worth discussing as the Syncros-brand carbon clinchers on my tester have since been replaced with DT Swiss’s CRC 1400 Spline DB model — still carbon fiber, still tubeless-ready, but presumably with a more favorable brand perception for end users.