For years, there’s been one name dominating the XC World Cup events, and that’s Nino Schurter on board his Spark 700. But can the podium-dominating bike cut an equally fine figure in the hands of us amateurs? We’ve pitted the slightly more wallet-friendly SCOTT Spark 710 against the competition.

SCOTT Spark 710 Review Bike Shot
SCOTT Spark 710 | € 4,499 | 11.76 kg | Travel (front/rear) 120/120 mm
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Our test bike looks just as fly as Nino’s workhorse, and we spot that SCOTT have clearly exploited our invitation to customize the bike in the same way that a dealer could for a customer. The cockpit isn’t stock, the tyres are grippier, there’s a dropper post, plus an upgrade from a 2x to a 1x drivetrain. These all make perfect sense to us, and we wouldn’t hesitate in recommending these to everyone buying this bike.

SCOTT Spark 710 Review Action Shot 1

On a medium-sized Spark, our 180 cm rider had quite a compact and neutral riding position. Instead of a left gear shifter, there’s the TwinLoc lever on the underside of the bars to switch the suspension through its three settings (open, traction, lockout). It’s easy to reach, and you’re likely to use it pretty regularly as you hit climbs. In traction mode the rear end (now with 80 mm travel) feels much firmer and more efficient, quickly stepping up the pace while keeping in close contact with the ground.

SCOTT Spark 710 Review Action Shot 2

The 120 mm travel on the FOX suspension is definitely capable, but it doesn’t quite nail the comfort that you’d expect from that sort of travel. Both the fork and the shock are firmly tuned, and provide masses of feedback from the ground. Thanks to the slack 68.3° head angle, short 60 mm stem, and wide 740 mm bars, the bike is easy to steer and hits steep downhills with precision. As it’s compact (with a reach of 422 mm) and has short 433 mm chainstays, you’ll get that lively, agile ride that you’d expect.

SCOTT Spark 710 Review Action Shot 3

Details of the SCOTT Spark 710

SCOTT Spark 710 Review Detail Shot 1
Simplicity is key: The team at SCOTT went with ‘less is more’ and removed the front derailleur – but thanks to the huge 11-42 cassette, it isn’t an issue. This is a welcome step in our eyes, as it not only saves weight, but also makes the drivetrain quieter and the bike tidier.
SCOTT Spark 710 Review Detail Shot 2
Practical: Using the bar-mounted TwinLoc lever, you can switch the suspension through the three settings, not just activating the compression, but also reducing the air volume in the fork leg to make the bike’s entire geometry more pedal-efficient.
SCOTT Spark 710 Review Detail Shot 3
100% control: The wide 740 mm Syncros bars and short 60 mm stem give a big plus to control and render the handling more direct. A worthwhile upgrade.
SCOTT Spark 710 Review Detail Shot 4
Fade away: The stock Shimano XT brakes, featured on several of the test bikes, come with an undefined bite point with a tendency to drift a few millimetres during the descent, which makes it tough to correctly dose your braking.

Specification of the SCOTT Spark 710

  • Fork: FOX 32 Float Performance Elite Air 120 mm
  • Shock: FOX Nude
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT
  • Brakes: Shimano XT
  • Seatpost: Syncros FL 1.5 / RockShox Reverb
  • Stem: Syncros FL 1.5 60 mm
  • Handlebar: Syncros FL 1.5 T-Bar 720 mm
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Rocket Ron 2,25″
  • Wheelsize: 27.5″
  • Wheels: Syncros XR 2.0
  • Weight: 11.76 kg
  • Price: € 4,499
Geometry of the SCOTT Spark 710
Geometry of the SCOTT Spark 710


Out of the box, the SCOTT Spark 710 is a purebred XC bike, and it only takes some minimal investments to make a massive impact on its descending. Considering you’re shelling out 4,499 € to begin with, there should be budget left over. It already has the agility, so it’s basically there!


  • Great handling
  • Super-efficient thanks to the TwinLoc


  • Firm suspension
  • Front wheel doesn’t always stay planted on steep climbs

More information can be found on the SCOTT Website.


About the XC Bike Group Test 2016

Just outside the sprawl of Barcelona, we took out the test fleet onto the varied trails, confronting them with everything from frighteningly steep climbs to challenging descents. All of this occurred with the backdrop and climate of the Mediterranean Sea – and despite it being February, the conditions couldn’t have been better. The test team consisted of four riders, each with their own nuances when it comes to mountain biking, but all with years of experience when it comes to testing bikes.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: XC Bikes Group Test 2016

All bikes in test: Canyon Lux CF 9.9 Race | Giant Anthem SX Advanced | Pivot Mach 4 Carbon | ROSE THRILL HILL 3 27,5″ 2016 | ROTWILD R.R2 FS 29 Evo | SCOTT Spark 710 | Specialized Epic Elite Carbon 29 World Cup | Trek Top Fuel 9.8 SL

Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer

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