Scott Foil RC road bike review
We've liked the Scott Foil, when we've ridden it in previous years and the RC spec just confirms our view of Scott's aero machine
Ridden to victories in Paris-Roubaix, the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia, the Scott Foil RC is a bona fide aero machine. But now, the Swiss Brand has worked hard to make a bike that is both aerodynamic and also comfortable, happily with great success, earning it a spot on Cycling Weekly’s Editor’s Choice for 2017.
At the top of the Scott Foil line is the Premium, decked out with Zipp 303 Firecrest wheels and Dura-Ace Di2, but the Foil RC runs it a close second, which just swap-outs for Zipp 30 Course alloy wheels and mechanical Dura-Ace.
But the bling spec isn’t the only eye catching feature of the bike, and Scott has worked hard to create a more compliant frame, something that definitely shines through in the ride.
Scott says it’s worked to add comfort to the latest iteration of the Foil’s frame. To this end, the bike has skinny, lowered seat stays and a sloping top tube, which Scott says has improved vertical compliance in the seat tube by 86 per cent compared to its predecessor. Additional compliance in the fork also makes for a bike that is a whole lot more comfortable than the one that came before it.
Particularly noticeable on the down tube are the Foil’s truncated aerofoil sections, but there are also pronounced aero sections to the seat tube and seatpost, the head tube and the fork. An integrated seatpost clamp into the skinny top tube all help make this bike as slippery as possible.
Cables run internally, with the rear brake direct-mounted under the bottom bracket. Scott says that the Foil’s frame weighs under a kilo and the complete bike tips the scales at exactly 7kg in size M/54.
A quality spec
The RC in the Scott Foil RC’s name stands for Racing Concept and Scott has given this bike a top-drawer component set, starting with mechanical Shimano Dura-Ace R9100.
The semi-compact 52/36 chainset is combined with an 11-28 cassette and gives enough range for uphills as well as plenty of higher end gearing for the flat and descents. It’s useful, as the Foil feels noticeably lively and I found I was making full use of the top-end ratios.
Zipp says its 30 Course alloy wheels have a similar rim profile to its 202 Firecrest carbon clinchers. They are also tubeless ready with a wide 21mm internal rim. Although a step down from Zipp’s carbon models, the 30 Course wheels nevertheless roll well and match the Foil’s aero credentials without being temperamental in a crosswind and provide better wet-weather braking than carbon rims, too.
Tyres are Continental’s top GP4000 S II in 25mm width. These are Conti’s premium road tyres and on Zipp’s wide rims they spread to around 28mm, giving lots of air volume and adding to ride comfort.
Scott’s Syncros carbon integrated bar/stem doesn’t give you the adjustability of a separate bar and stem combo, but with a bit of time and effort you can get it right and it is nevertheless comfortable. The wide tops distribute hand pressure well, the bar’s shallow profile makes riding in the drops easy and Scott uses quality shock-absorbing tape. There’s a bespoke out-front Garmin mount available for a computer.
Aero but still a great ride
Scott introduced the updated Foil in 2016 and it immediately met with success when Matthew Hayman won Paris-Roubaix that year.
It felt like a race winner when we rode it, and power transfer through the chunky bottom bracket and chainstays was excellent and the Foil’s aero benefits are also obvious. It feels rapid on the flat and stable when descending fast. This isn’t bought at the expense of crosswind stability, either.
It’s not a bike that leaves you feeling unduly stretched out, with a relatively short reach and long head tube, so it’s comfortable to ride in the drops even with the stem slammed. This allows you to adopt a lower frontal profile and take full advantage of the aero features.
But I did find that the rear brake was prone to rub. This is a drawback of bottom bracket mounting, leading some manufacturers to move away from this type of placement. Even in the dry in summer the pivots needed lubricating to keep the brake working well and it’s likely to be even more of an issue on damp roads, when it will catch muck from the front wheel.
At £5,799, the Scott Foil RC is a pricey machine. But it does come with a set of high-end components to match its racing palmarès. It also undercuts the £9,899 Scott Foil Premium by a significant margin.
Plus, if you want to spend a little less there are three other Foils in Scott’s range, equipped with Ultegra Di2, mechanical Ultegra and 105. You get the same frame and prices down to £2,500.
Minor saddle changes aside, there’s very little about this bike that you’ll have to swap out to feel right. It’s fast, aerodynamic and most importantly comfortable – everything Scott set out to achieve.