text.skipToContent text.skipToNavigation

Conquer the Trail - How to choose the right bike

16 February 2016
Since their invention in the ’70’s, mountain bikes have changed a lot, going from robust multi-functional bikes to high-tech sport machines. The suspension technology in particular has opened the door to a new dimension of riding, comfort and fun. Nowadays, there are so many different bike types for so many different uses. Fabricants and special interest magazines usually divide mountain bikes into the following categories: Cross Country, Marathon, All Mountain, Enduro and Freeride. As of recent, you can find women specific bikes with adapted geometries, parts and suspensions for each of these categories.

Who am I and what do I need?

If you are already an active mountain biker, you will be able to define your profile quite easily. If you are a beginner, then you should first think about what you are expecting from your bike and what brings you the most fun. Here are some features that can help you evaluate yourself.

I am a XC Racer

You like performance and light weight. You want to ride fast and you like competition. More than 100mm of travel is secondary for you.

You need a Contessa Scale 700 RC or a Contessa Spark 700 RC from the Cross Country/Marathon category.
Photo: Armin M. Küstenbrück, Rider: Jenny Rissveds, 2015 U23 World Cup Champion

The SCOTT Contessa Scale 700 RC's HMF Carbon Fiber Frame is one of the lightest hardtail frames on the market. The RC comes fully equipped with a FOX 32 Float fork, along with our RideLoc technology to allow for three travel settings to always optimize your ride. This bike is as race ready as it gets. Available in the 27.5" wheel size.

The SCOTT Contessa Spark 700 RC boasts a light HMF Carbon Fiber mainframe with an Alloy swingarm. The 700 RC comes equipped with a custom FOX Nude shock, and our Patented TwinLoc technology, in combination with Traction Control, allowing for three travel/geometry settings to always optimize your ride. It's the perfect partner for marathons, stage races, and all day fun. Available in the 27.5" wheel size.

Tip: hardtail (Scale) or full suspension (Spark)?

Because of its front and back suspension, a full suspension bike, or “Fully” is normally about 1 kg heavier than a comparable hardtail which only has a front suspension system. However, the comfort of a Fully will allow you to save strength, will give you more confidence and will bring you much more fun. In most cases, mountain bikers (particularly women) are better off with a Fully. Nevertheless, if you are planning to race Cross Country or if you have a small budget, you should go for a hardtail.

I am an All Mountain Tour Biker

You want to ride fast but with comfort. Above all, you want to be able to ride anywhere. You like riding downhill, especially on technical trails.

You need a Contessa Genius 700 from the All Mountain category.
Photo: Mattias Fredriksson, Riders: Karen Eller, Kathrin Schön, Massimo Ferro

The SCOTT Contessa Genius 700 boasts a light HMF Carbon Fiber mainframe with an Alloy swingarm. The 700 comes fully equipped with a custom FOX Nude shock, a FOX 34 Float fork and our Patented TwinLoc technology, in combination with Traction Control, allowing for three travel/geometry settings to always optimize your ride. Available in the 27.5" wheel size.

I am an All Mountain enduro biker

Downhill for you is the icing on the cake, along with rough terrain. You don’t mind riding uphill and you take it rather easy, but when it comes to downhill, no more courtesies!

You need a Genius LT from the All Mountain/Enduro category.
Photo: Mattias Fredriksson, Rider: Karen Eller

The SCOTT Genius LT 710, with its light HMF Carbon Fiber mainframe and an Alloy swingarm, is ready for all of your enduro adventures. With a custom FOX Nude shock, a custom 170mm FOX 36 fork, and our Patented TwinLoc technology in combination with traction control allowing for three travel/geometry settings, this bike is ready to tame all mountains.

Tip: 27.5’’, 29’’ or Plus wheelsize?

I see a lot of confused mountain bikers. In the last five years, there have in fact been a lot of changes, it is an ever-evolving industry! 26” wheels have slowly been going away, we’ve had the introduction of 29ers, then 27.5” and now 27.5” Plus! Consumers constantly ask themselves, “What is right for me?” This can be a tough question to answer!
27.5” has quickly become the common size today, as can be seen by the widespread inclusion of the size in most companies’ bike portfolios. SCOTT was an early proponent for this particular size, and to this day still believes in it. The 27.5” wheelsize combines all of the advantages of the 29” wheel, but with an agility closer to that of a 26” wheel.
When I first tested out 29” wheels, I was very impressed. I was able to roll over just about anything- stairs, rocks, logs and roots, it was amazing. However, in tighter sections, switchbacks for example, for me it was a lot of bike to handle. After a while, I was able to adjust my riding technique to adapt to the new size. That being said, at 174 cm I’m taller than the average for women. For smaller women, I would definitely recommend the 27.5” wheel size.
A very good option for all ladies of all sizes would be the new Plus size standard. These wheels perform well on every kind of terrain. They provide the rider with more comfort and confidence. The traction is unparalleled, almost 20% more than a regular tire while still feeling light and agile on the climbs! Don’t be afraid to try out one of these models, you may just like it more than you think!
Learn more about wheelsize and Plus technology:http://www.scott-sports.com/page/genius-plus

I am a Freerider

You know bikparks by heart. Downhill, adrenaline, jumps, drops and banked turns are your best friends.

You need a Voltage FR or even a Gambler from the Freeride category.
Photo: Emrik Jansson, Rider: Jenny Liljegren

The SCOTT Voltage FR is your one stop shop for bikeparks, downhill tracks, and any trail that deserves a good ol' roostin’. The bike has been designed around a 27.5” wheel standard, but can be converted to run 26” wheels so that no matter the terrain or style you are riding, you have the right tool for the job. Thanks to a low BB, a slack head angle, short chain stays and a low leverage ratio, this bike will surely put a grin on your face.

The SCOTT Gambler is a no compromises DH weapon. This bike comes with World Cup options like a lower and slacker geometry as well as a longer shock and a tweaked leverage ratio. With 27.5” wheels the Gambler has everything that a solid DH bike needs. Following our belief that for every track there is a correct tool, this bike has been designed to be able to be converted to run 26” wheels as well.
When choosing a mountain bike, geometry and intended use are crucial elements. The alchemy between the rider and her bike should be perfect. Think about what you exactly want to achieve with your bike. Clearly, a bike to ride on flat Sunday tours will look completely different than the one you would ride on your next bike trip to Lake Garda. And if you are planning a marathon, your ideal bike will once again be totally different.

Have you yet decided how you want to use your mountain bike and defined what your biker profile is? Then ask yourself the next question: Where is the best place to buy my new mountain bike?

Where do I get my bike?

If you already know what type of bike you are looking for, you can go to your local SCOTT dealer to get more detailed advice. In order to determine the correct frame size, you have to know at least your height and inside leg length. Your weight will also be important when defining what suspension you need.

 Find a dealer
Choosing the right frame size is the first and most important stage of buying a bike. The size is measured in inches, centimeters or simply translated in Small/Medium/Large. You can refer yourself to the size chart.
But don’t buy a bike without testing it before. Maybe your local bike shop has your dream mountain bike ready to test. You can also test bikes at bike festivals or at Contessa events. Check the events calendar on www.scott-sports.com/event or on www.dierasenmaeher.de.

What will I get for my money?

The more athletic your ambitions are, the more money you will have to invest. A more expensive bike is also often lighter and easier to ride, so it brings you more fun. Of course, there is no upper limit, but the most expensive one is not necessarily the best one. You will find a good quality/price ratio in the middle of the price scale.

At this point, you should know everything that you need to find THE mountain bike that fits YOU. Have a look on SCOTT’s bike finder to get more help!

I wish you lots of fun on your new bike!

Karen Eller