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by James Huang
October 27, 2017
Photography by James Huang
TECH NEWS BROUGHT TO YOU BY BIKEEXCHANGE
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.
The Scott Addict Gravel 10 Disc uses the exact chassis as the company’s cyclocross range.
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).
As has become the norm in recent years, Scott uses nominally round tube profiles throughout the Addict Gravel frame to maximize the stiffness-to-weight ratio.
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.
The PF86 wide-format press-fit bottom bracket allows the chainstays to be pushed further apart for improved tire clearance.
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.
Scott cyclocross bike review: Addict CX 20 versus Speedster CX 10
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.
The simple graphics package is big and bold, but not overdone.
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).
The seatstays visually flow nicely from the top tube. It’s difficult to say if this feature contributes to the bike’s ride quality (my guess is that it doesn’t, at least not significantly), but it’s a neat aesthetic feature nonetheless.
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.
Routing positions are clearly marked for easier setup. The removable stops create bigger openings, too, which eases the hassle of feeding lines through the frame.
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.
The clutch-equipped rear derailleur not only keeps the chain reliably engaged on rough terrain, but also almost completely eliminates chain slap. The neoprene chainstay protector is a nice inclusion, but it’s complete overkill; a simple strip of clear adhesive vinyl is all that’s necessary.
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).
Flat-mount disc calipers are used front and rear, along with 12mm-diameter thru-axles with repositionable handles.
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.
As far as gravel machines go, the Scott Addict Gravel 10 Disc leans more toward the sportier end of the spectrum with its highly responsive carbon fiber chassis and stiff ride.
The huge tubing diameters up front contribute to the Addict Gravel 10 Disc’s stiff ride; three cheers for high-volume tires.
Schwalbe’s G-One tires have quickly become my favorite in the category. They’re remarkably grippy despite appearances (provided there’s no mud), and yet they roll with far less resistance than you’d expect.
Tire clearance is generous all around, easily accommodating the stock 35mm-wide Schwalbes with room to spare for 40s.
The 1 1/8-to-1 1/4″ tapered carbon fork is a good match for the frame, with a similarly stiff and precise-feeling ride.
Similarly, the down tube transitions smoothly into the chainstays, a nice design parallel between top and bottom.
Press-fit bottom bracket shells definitely are not my favorite in terms of their propensity to creak, but they’re a good design solution in this application where space is at a premium. The wider shell allows the chainstays to move much further apart than a standard threaded shell would, which means the rear end can be tucked in closer to the seat tube while still leaving room for fatter tires and normal drivetrains.
The ports on the drive side of the head tube are unused here, but there are inlets for a front derailleur and dropper seatpost should you want them.
The front derailleur tab is removable for a clean look when running a single-ring drivetrain.
Likewise, the exit port for the rear derailleur is marked for mechanical or electronic drivetrains.
Say what you will about the shape of SRAM’s hydraulic road levers; the Force 1 groupset is a perfect match here, its 1x drivetrain offering plenty of range for backroads exploring.
The DT Swiss star ratchet rear hub internals are a bit slow to engage after coasting, but they have a very well proven record of reliability.
The SRAM Force 1 crankset is sturdy and stout, but also relatively heavy considering its carbon fiber arms. Weight weenies would be wise to target this area for an early upgrade.
Scott equips the Addict Gravel 10 with 160mm-diameter rotors at both ends.
Nope, Scott doesn’t force you to carry a tool to remove the front wheel (although you should be carrying one, anyway); the same lever can be easily transferred from rear wheel to front.
The stock Syncros carbon fiber handlebar sports a modest flare so you can stay narrow when cruising up top, but widen your grip on more technical terrain by shifting into the drops.
One might rightfully question the inclusion of a carbon fiber handlebar on a bike that’s presumably intended for heavy-duty use, but provided you don’t hit the deck regularly, it’ll likely hold up just fine.
I appreciate the effort behind the profiled headset spacers, but they add questionable visual appeal.
A chain watcher is integrated into the base of the seat tube.
Reflective dots peek through the lower portion of the handlebar tape.
The Syncros saddle is nicely shaped, but a bit hard for my preferences in this category. Given the ultra-rigid frame, a bit more padding would be welcome.