Scott Addict RC 2020 first-ride review: Now aero’ized
It was 2007 when Scott first revealed its 790g ultra-light Addict platform. With it, Scott set a new benchmark for light and stiff racing frames, and a number of competitors spent years trying (with some success) to beat it. Since then, the Addict RC, Scott’s answer to a lightweight all-around race machine, has been ridden to countless WorldTour wins, including a Grand Tour, with a number of generational overhauls along the way. Throughout, the Addict has remained much the same platform as that original trend-setting frame – at least in how it was defined.
For 2020, Scott has overhauled its race-focussed Addict RC lineup once again – this time adding some obvious aero design elements to the already light, and now stiffer, platform. And unfortunately for Wilier’s new Zero SLR, which claimed to be the world’s only fully integrated lightweight disc race bike, well, that sales pitch lasted all of 24 hours. That’s right, the now disc-only Addict RC offers a fully-integrated cockpit and cabling, too – and it’s arguably smarter in execution.
Clever integration for all
- What: Scott’s GC-contending lightweight racer, updated.
- Key updates: Disc-only, integrated cockpit and hidden cables, aero tube profiles, revised frame construction, designed for 28c tyres.
- Weight: 850g 54cm frame, 360g fork, 295g handlebar/stem. Complete bikes from 6.9kg.
- Price: To be announced September 1st.
- Highs: Amazingly responsive, but still comfortable for all-day racing. Clever integration and attention to detail.
- Lows: Not enough test time to decide.
In the 77-slide presentation for this new bike, over 45 were dedicated to Scott’s new integrated handlebar/stem and related cable routing. From reduced aerodynamic drag, to claimed system weight savings – much of it is credited to the bike’s new one-piece bar and stem.
All seven models of the new Addict RC see either the mechanical or electronic shift cables/wires, along with the disc brake hoses, run through the bars and straight through the head tube. This is somewhat unique as many integrated systems are limited on space and restrict use to electronic shifting only (such as Wilier’s that was revealed yesterday). To overcome that, Scott got a little creative.
This patented creation uses oversized 1.5in headset bearings at the top and bottom, with the top of the fork steerer offset 3mm rearward in relation to the bottom. The steerer also tapers from its 1.5in diameter at the bottom to a still large 1 1/4in (similar to Giant’s OD2) at the top. By combining the 3mm offset and the slimmer steerer running through an oversized bearing, Scott has created room for cables and hoses to run in front of the fork steerer before weaving their way to the relevant corners of the bike.
It’s something Scott has dubbed “Eccentric bicycle fork shaft”, and it aims to offer full cable integration without impacting shifting, handlebar resistance or frame stiffness. In fact, Scott claims that the new Addict RC’s head tube is stiffer than it was before.
Scott employed its in-house component company, Syncros, to produce the integrated handlebar and stem setups – these feature on all models. The more expensive Addict RC models will receive the one-piece carbon fibre Combo Creston iC SL bar. The Addict 10 and below get an alloy two-piece integrated setup (Creston iC 1.5 handlebar and RR iC stem), with similar ergonomics and aero profiling, including the hidden bolts.
That Combo Creston iC SL bar is quite the bit of kit, with a V-shape that makes use of continuous carbon fibre from the stem through the bar. Additionally, the shape allows for smooth cable paths from the bar and through the stem. Compared to Syncros’ previous one-piece bar and stem combo, the new Combo Creston iC SL is said to be 26% stiffer and 27% more compliant. It’s said to weigh an impressive 295g and of course, includes an out-front computer mount.
The shape was developed with ergonomic research from partner bike fitting company GebioMized. Accounting for hand sizes and pressure mapping, the bar offers a 2-degree flare at the drops and an oval shape that’s designed to reduce pressure points when on the tops. Additionally, the logos of the bar are designed to aid in grip should you choose to forgoe bartape on the tops.
Finally, the steerer clamp and headset topcap are covered by a magnetic cover. Of course, being a one-piece system makes future servicing a little trickier, but thankfully, the headset spacers, should you need them, are split and can be changed without having to undo the hydraulic brakes.
The lower cost two-piece version is far more easily serviced, and the stem can be swapped without having to disconnect any cables or hoses. The shifting cables and brake hoses are routed over the stem and covered by a magnetic cover. It’s a similar design to what Giant did with its Propel Disc, albeit seemingly even easier to service and cleaner-looking. Scott has not provided a weight figure for its two-piece system, but at a guess, it’ll be at least 150g more than the one-piece version.
Aero tube profiles and reduced waste
Scott claims the new Addict RC saves six watts (at 45kph) when compared to the previous Addict RC. And while much of that is likely down to the new integrated bar and stem, the tube shapes have been overhauled, too.
The down tube, head tube, seat tube, seat post and seat stays all now feature aerofoil shaping, just like those used on Scott’s Foil and Plasma. And in spite of that reshaping, the new Addict RC frame is said to be 14.5% stiffer.
Part of that is attention to the carbon layup, but most of it is seemingly down to widening the tubes. For example, the 1.5in bearings in the head tube provide a wider surface area for both the top tube and down tube to connect to. The fork steerer diameter is larger than before, and likely achieves much of the same stiffness benefits that Giant claims of its performance road bikes. The full width of the BB86 bottom bracket is now employed for the down tube and the chainstays that flow from it.
As is becoming a common trend since BMC did it in 2017, the new Addict RC has lowered seat stays, with Scott suggesting it’s more aero. However, aerodynamics is a convenient bonus for the dropped stays, with the design also creating more frame compliance.
Scott claims the new Addict RC matches the Foil Disc in frame compliance. Making comfort comparisons to a dedicated aero race platform doesn’t read well on paper, but it’s more comfortable than the previous Addict RC, and the Foil Disc is arguably more comfortable than the rim brake Foil that Matthew Hayman rode to win the 2016 Paris-Roubaix. Seemingly, it’s easily comfortable enough for a race bike. Add in that it’s designed for 28c rubber (more on this below), and there’s certainly more cush to this race bike than before.
The aero tube profiles, increased frame stiffness and integrated cable routing do, however, result in a weight penalty. And in keeping with the Addict’s legacy, Scott has gone to impressive lengths to keep the weight competitive.
In addition to a refined carbon layup, the new Addict RC reportedly employs a new manufacturing technique that halves the number of pieces required to make a frame – cutting down on wasted material overlap. A key element of this is the hollow moulded rear end, where the chainstays, seat stays and dropouts are moulded as a single piece. Scott then use a clever aluminium thru-axle insert to ensure no clamping force is put on the hollow carbon structure. It’s a design that Scott has already used with great success in its Scale RC and Spark RC cross country mountain bikes.
The same method is used for the fork which also features a one-piece construction that includes the dropouts.
The use of an external seatclamp aids in weight reduction, too. Where most bikes of this level have moved to a form of integrated seat wedge, Scott’s external clamp weighs just 12g, and is said to produce more even clamping tension, which allowed the matching seatpost (142g claimed) to be lightened, too. By comparison, that seatpost is the same shape as what the Foil uses, but is 66g lighter.
Scott claims to have saved another 19 grams by overcoming the need for the typical flat mount adapter and second set of bolts for the front brake. Instead, the brake caliper is mounted directly to the fork surface, with the bolts coming in from the front of the fork. The fork is sized to fit a 160mm rotor. This is then given a magnetic cover to provide a clean surface to the wind and onlookers.
All told, the new Addict RC HMX frame (54cm) weighs a claimed 850g versus the previous version which was 810g. Fork weight is 15g heavier than the previous version’s 345g. However, the new integrated handlebar is said to drop nearly 100g from the previous integrated version, and similarly, the seatpost is 60g lighter. And so overall, Scott claims, the new Addict RC is lighter than the previous Addict RC Disc.
All models of the Addict RC use the same HMX frame and fork, with the exception of the top-tier Addict RC Ultimate (as tested). This bike features an “HMX SL” frame and fork, which sees a further 60g dropped.
Geometry optimised for 28c
If you’re still seeking evidence that tyres are trending wider in racing, then the new Addict RC is one to take notice of. The geometry has been optimised around the use of 28mm tyres on a 21mm rim, and all models come equipped as such.
The bottom bracket is now lower, the fork is longer, the head tube is shorter and the chainstays have lengthened a touch. This is all to allow for the bigger rubber without impacting on the handling. Just how big a tyre can the Addict RC fit? Well, that is something Scott isn’t putting a number on, but it looks like 30c tyres should fit.
Additionally, Scott has made the fit of the Addict RC even more race-focussed than before by lengthening the reach on most sizes. Those seeking a more leisurely fit should seek out the regular and lower-cost Addict, which remains unchanged for 2020.
Riding with Yates and Chaves
Product launches aren’t always the best venue for a comprehensive test. You’re out in groups, often with a photographer getting snaps of you in ‘action’. It results in multiple stops, regrouping, and conditions a long way from optimal when you’re trying to test a bike. So fingers crossed that, somewhere down the line, someone here at CT can get their hands on a long-term tester.
However, first impressions still count. In this case, the Addict RC had me wishing I was fitter and faster to squeeze out all the performance it so clearly offers.
Aero gains, low weight, integration of anything that should be hidden away, and making discs look marginally appealing – this is where performance advancements are going. And as one of the first attempts at combining all these elements into an all-around race bike, the people at Scott and Syncros have, in my opinion, hit the ground running.
Does it ride nice? That’s a solid yes. More than anything, the stiffness is blatantly noticeable when you first jump on. It’s exceptionally stiff. And it lets you know. In fact, it was the first thing that both Esteban Chaves and Simon Yates mentioned when I asked them what they thought of the bike.
What had me surprised, and yet, pleased, was the inclusion of 28mm tyres. This is, after all, supposed to be a lightweight race bike. So shodding the wheels with what I would class as the broadest sort of road-focussed tyres (anything bigger I’d class as “all road”, which edges on gravel) is a bold move. It’s bold to build the geometry around these tyres too. We all know that there are some weight-weenies out there, many of whom were probably fans of the previous iterations of the Addict RC, and they’d be laughing to see the Addict rolling on heavy 28s.
But the bigger-than-expected rubber offered a secure and positive footprint on the road. Not once did I feel I wanted extra oomph from the tyres; rather the extra width and security made me want to throw the bike about a bit more than I would normally.
The bar shape won’t be for everyone. There were plenty of journalists at the launch who grumbled that the V-shape intruded on where they’d usually place their hands when cruising. Personally, I found the bars to be amongst the most comfortable one-piece setups I’ve used.
The drops are relatively shallow and not overly ergonomic in their shape, retaining quite a classic drop. They reminded me of the FSA Compact pro, a bar shape I have a sneaking suspicion is a template for many manufacturers out there. I got used to the tops quickly, finding them comfy. The printed grip was a nice touch.
The new Syncros Belcarra Regular semi stub-nose saddle was yet another surprise. It’s a brand that has never really caught my interest, but after this ride, I’m re-evaluating that opinion. I’ll have one on a long-term test so stay tuned for an update there.
More to come
Stiff and light? Yes, it is. Comfortable? Well, it seemed to tick that box too. However, it’s suitably comfortable for racing, not endurance comfortable. This is a bike that wants to be pushed and it’ll kick you forward as a result. But when it’s time to relax, it’s happy to do that, too. It’s supremely well balanced.
But I simply didn’t get enough time on the bike to detect any issues or to note nuisances. Hopefully, we can fix that in the near future.
As tested, the Ultimate is claimed at 6.9kg, with the RC Premium (Dura-Ace Di2) quoted at 7.2kg. The cheapest version, the Shimano 105-equipped Addict RC 30 is quoted at 7.96kg. All figures are without pedals. Models are expected to be in stores from September-October, and Scott will release pricing and final specification on September 1st (no, this isn’t a joke).