Huge amounts of travel, a low weight, classy features and a great look: SCOTT’s proprietary TwinLoc system aside, the Ransom 900 Tuned AXS has so much to offer and claims to be the perfect all-rounder. But can SCOTT’s 170 mm carbon steed keep its promise and deliver on the trail? At first glance, the Ransom is a hot candidate for the coveted Best in Test title.
For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best mountainbike of 2021 – 22 models in review
Could it get any flashier? With its white-blue finish, the SCOTT Ransom 900 Tuned AXS is styled from top to toe, with frame details and components superbly matched to the colour scheme of the bike. The elegant Syncros Hixon iC cockpit designed in-house by SCOTT is particularly striking, with the handlebar and stem joined together in a single carbon piece. However, the wide and light 800 mm cockpit doesn’t allow for fine-tuning, except for the stem height that can be changed using spacers. No doubt this contributes to the Ransom’s competitive 13.72 kg weight. One of the highlights is the 170 mm FOX Factory suspension equipped with the TwinLoc system, which allows you to lock out the suspension in three stages via a remote on the handlebars. SCOTT call the three modes Lockout, Traction Control and Descend. Unfortunately, the FOX 38 fork has to make do with the more basic FIT4 damper, not actually intended for the 38 model, because the superior GRIP2 model isn’t compatible with the TwinLoc system. What a pity! The rear of the Ransom also relies on a custom component: the FOX Nude TR shock. This doesn’t have a piggyback or an externally adjustable compression setting, except for the TwinLoc presets. In return, a small lever on the shock (Ramp +/-) allows you to modify the behaviour of the air spring curve in the open Descend mode: in other words, the Ramp Adjust lets you change the progression of the shock to suit the trail conditions – even on a long tour. On the trail, the extensive chainstay protector and high build quality of the Ransom ensure a quiet ride. Only in the cockpit area does the cable routing remain a little messy, spoiling the otherwise clean look. Here, other bikes like the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO, offer much cleaner solutions. Although the drivetrain is wireless and the cables are neatly bundled together with spiral bands, the cockpit of the SCOTT looks crammed and untidy. This can be especially overwhelming for your left thumb, because it has to operate three different levers – both TwinLocs and the dropper remote.
FOX 38 and thin tire casing? The spec of the SCOTT Ransom 900 Tuned AXS
Only top-end SCOTT models are given a fancy “Tuned” sticker, and the € 8,999 Ransom 900 Tuned AXS is no exception with its high-quality spec. Shifting is taken care of by a wireless SRAM X01 AXS 12 s drivetrain, while Shimano XTR four-piston brakes with a 200 mm rotor at the front and smaller 180 mm disc at the rear do stopping duties. Although the brakes and drivetrain are supplied by two rival brands, SCOTT use a system that allows them to attach the shifters to the brake levers using a single clamp. Cool! The Ransom 900 rolls on 29” Syncros alloy wheels fitted with super wide MAXXIS tires: a 2.6” Assegai with EXO casing at the front and faster-rolling 2.6 ” Dissector with EXO + casing at the rear. Despite their size, the tires don’t offer sufficient puncture protection on fast and rough trails. The FOX Factory suspension is complemented by a 175 mm Transfer dropper post (size L).
SCOTT Ransom 900 Tuned AXS
Fork FOX 38 Factory 170 mm
Rear Shock FOX Nude TR 170 mm
Seatpost FOX Transfer Factory 175 mm
Brakes Shimano XTR M9120 200/180 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XTR 1x12
Stem Syncros Combi IC SL 50 mm
Handlebar Syncros Combi IC SL 800 mm
Wheelset Syncros Revelstoke 1.5 29"
Tires MAXXIS ASSEGAI EXO 3C MaxxTerra/DISSECTOR EXO+ 3C MaxxTerra 2.6
Size S M L XL
Weight 13.72 kg
SCOTT Ransom – How well does a 170mm trail monster climb?
Although the Ransom comes with a flip-chip in the shock mount, its function is not to adjust the geometry of the bike. Instead, it allows you to swap between 29″ and 27.5″ wheels without affecting the geometry – odd considering that SCOTT no longer offer the Ransom with small 27.5” wheels. With its 467 mm reach and 628 mm stack (size L), the Ransom offers sufficient freedom of movement without feeling too long or bulky. However, at 470 mm, the seat tube is excessively long, restricting freedom of movement for short riders in particular – if you’re considering upsizing for more composure, reconsider! On flat terrain, the slack seat tube angle of the Ransom ensures a comfortable but rear-heavy pedalling position. In the open Descend mode, the suspension resembles a sedan chair which, in combination with the voluminous tires and comfortable pedalling position, makes for an extremely pleasant ride even on long tours. Nevertheless, the Ransom also masters steep and technical climbs incredibly well – only in Traction Control mode though. That’s because the middle setting of the TwinLoc system is more than just a climb switch: it reduces the air chamber volume and keeps the shock sitting higher in its travel. With the lever set to Traction Control, the riding position is nicely centred and upright, similar to the Propain Hugene. Even on technical climbs, the rear end and tire generate enough traction to overcome small to medium rocks, ledges and damp roots. But here it’s the fork, which is also controlled by the TwinLoc lever, that really spoils the party, causing the front wheel to get stuck on obstacles. Nonetheless, the Ransom climbs well in Traction Control mode, feeling both efficient and comfortable on long tours.
With the Ransom, the TwinLoc system can be both a curse and a blessing: on fire roads, the Traction Control mode transforms the Ransom into a great climber. Unfortunately, the system also stiffens up the fork, which causes the front wheel to get stuck on technical terrain.
Low weight = agile riding? The Scott Ransom 900 Tuned AXS on the trail
Downhill, the SCOTT Ransom doesn’t position its rider as centrally on the bike as the Nukeproof Reactor or Canyon Spectral, leaving you feeling like you’re sitting on top of the bike rather than integrated between the wheels. Nevertheless, the weight is distributed evenly between the front and rear wheel. This is partly due to the cockpit ergonomics, which force you into an aggressive and very sporty riding position. This is a particular advantage on flat trails and in open corners and makes the Ransom a true grip master in combination with the wide tires and efficient suspension. This is particularly useful for beginners who, thanks to the intuitive handling, can carve through loose corners without losing control. On technical alpine trails, the rear end generates great traction when riding at slow speeds with the ramp’ setting. However, steep trail sections expose the dark side of the cockpit ergonomics, which pull your weight far over the front, resulting in an uncomfortable OTB feeling despite the massive amounts of travel.
Downhill, the Ransom generates tons of traction in open corners and on slippery surfaces. Even at high speeds and on really rough trails, the bike lacks reserves and definition despite the generous amounts of travel. Here there are bikes with significantly less travel with a rowdier character
Tuning-tips: disconnect the TwinLoc system from the fork | narrower tires
Even at high speeds and on rough trails, the Ransom lacks reserves and support and doesn’t live up to what its generous 170 mm travel promises. There are much rowdier bikes with significantly less travel in our test field. For fast and active riders, the Ransom lacks precision and makes it hard to push the limit. Here the 2.6” tires clearly show their limitations, folding in berms, compressions and hard surfaces and making handling feel vague. Even in the progressive RAMP + setting, the suspension feels too spongy in the open Descend mode and fails to provide enough support for active riding manoeuvres. On jump-heavy flow trails, we recommend reaching for the TwinLoc lever, because the Traction Control mode (with the fork disconnected) offers endless pop and support but unfortunately also passes on hits from botched landings and obstacles straight into your ankles.
If there’s one bike that doesn’t like to be labelled, it’s the super-stylish SCOTT Ransom 900 Tuned AXS! Despite the huge suspension travel, tough trails and high speeds push it to its limit. On the other hand, the intuitive handling makes it predictable and fun at low to medium speeds, making it particularly suitable for beginners. While the TwinLoc system can be both a curse (suspension fork) and a blessing (rear end), it makes the Ransom a super comfortable companion for long rides. Measured against the actual range of applications, the spec of the Ransom is overkill and only offers a modest price-performance ratio despite the high build quality.
- incredibly stylish and eye-catching look
- intuitive handling
- comfortable and fast on long tours
- undefined handling at high speeds
- lever ergonomics in the cockpit
- inconsistent spec
Find more information here: scott-sports.com
Get an overview of the grouptest here: The best mountainbike of 2021 – 22 models in review
All Bikes in this group test: Canyon Neuron CF SLX 9 (Click for review) | Canyon Spectral 29 LTD (Click for review) | Canyon Stoic 4 (Click for review) | FOCUS THRON 6.9 (Click for review) | Ibis Ripmo V2 (Click for review) | MERIDA eONE-SIXTY 10K (Click for review) | MERIDA NINETY-SIX 8000 (Click for review) | Nukeproof Reactor 290C (Click for review) | Orbea Rise M-Team (Click for review) | Propain Hugene (Click for review) | RAAW Jibb XTR Build (Click for review) | Rocky Mountain Instinct C70 (Click for review) | Santa Cruz 5010 X01 (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Tallboy CC X01 (Click for review) | SCOTT Ransom 900 Tuned AXS | Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper EVO (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Turbo Levo SL (Click for review) | Trek Fuel EX 9.8 GX (Click for review) | Trek Top Fuel 9.9 X01 (Click for review) | Yeti SB115 TURQ3 (Click for review) | YT IZZO BLAZE 29 (Click for review)
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Words: Photos: various