If you like to ride fast, then Scott’s aero bike – the Foil – should certainly be near the top of your dream ride list.
Each time Cycling Weekly has tested an updated model we’ve been blown away by the speed. The bike won an Editor’s Choice award in 2018 and this iteration of the disc Scott Foil Premium does nothing to break the award winning mould.
The Scott Foil frameset remains a striking aero design, with its chunky tubing around the bottom bracket and headset, fin-like details on the seat-tube and the fork, and of course the ever fashionable dropped seatstays which feature across nearly all of the current crop of top end race bikes (save Giant’s newest TCR).
Scott have held onto the handy integration, with the aero fork, aero stem and spacers, and all cables hidden almost entirely from view within the frameset – even the Shimano Di2 electronic shifting setup is tucked away in the downtube next to the bottom bracket.
There is a fairly sizeable drawback from all this integration however, in that the Foil is an extremely fiddly and sometimes impractical bike to actually live with.
I found adjusting the stack on the aero stem an extremely fiddly operation, it’s not as simple as just planting the spacers on top of the stem as it would be with many non-aero setups (and indeed some aero sets ups, like that on the Canyon Aeroad).
The internal Di2 system presented more of an issue. It wasn’t possible to remove the seat post without disconnecting the cabling. Re-attaching it meant plugging in the battery, lowering the cable into the seat tube, then removing the bottom bracket to attach the junction box. This could present issues in the long term – such as when travelling abroad and packing the bike into a box.
But that’s the price you pay for a machine this quick.
The Foil comes with the aero-optimised tubeless Syncros Capital 1.0 50 disc wheels, which retail at around £1,100. This certainly isn’t a case of stock wheels you’re expected to upgrade, Scott is ensuring riders get a decent wheelset worthy of the rapid framset and I can’t see there would be any need to swap these out unless you already owned a preferred set.
Running Schalbe PRO ONE Microskin, TL-Easy Fold tyres at 28mm add a welcome complement. I found the width of these lent plenty of confidence when cornering, though can appreciate that many road racers might rather stick with the more traditional 25mm rubber.
The frame and wheels together definitely upped my pace – I found myself easily setting time PBs on just about every Strava segment whenever I turned on the gas, finding myself comfortably sitting at 32mph on a long straight stretch of road without feeling the pinch.
Even on the climbs this thing is fast as I was able to knock minutes, rather than seconds, off my time on the local Layham’s Road climb in Surrey with its respectable if not world-beating 7.48kg weight.
There is the obvious comfort trade-off when riding a bike this fast and you really can feel every imperfection in the road on the Foil. Beyond that, the ride was slightly compromised by the overly high stem stack, which make the bike feel slightly cumbersome during testing. Unfortunately, thanks to the aero spacer system, without cutting the steerer or ordering an alternative stem cap, I wasn’t able to slam the stem in the way I would like to get the real race feel.
But, as any self-respecting bike fitter would tell you, if you’re going to spend £8,000 on a bike it’s worth getting the fit right, so you might be tempted to spend the extra and make sure the steerer tube is cut to your perfect specifications by an expert. Scott does also offer an alternative cap you can run with spacers above the stem.
The Foil is a little higher than some competitors – a size 56cm comes in with a stack of 568.3mm vs 555mm on the Venge and 560mm on the SystemSix – though it is important to remember that handlebar style among other factors will have an effect so the numbers aren’t entirely comparable, but give you a good idea.
The spec is decent for the price, as the Foil runs the highest-end Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, which comes with all the benefits of an expensive and world-class shifting experience, but there is one major omission from the spec list on this bike – a power meter.
While the Foil doesn’t hit the price level of say the Trek Madone SLR Disc (£11,000), at £8,099 the Foil is still sits on a high shelf in terms of cost.
With that in mind, many riders would expect a true complete set-up, ready to do everything you could ask of it out of the box, and though it’s an emerging trend, a power meter is becoming part of that expectation. As an example, Giant’s 2021 TCR comes with a Quarq power meter at £6799.
Sadly I had to switch out the off-side Dura-Ace crankarm for my Ultegra power meter version while training with this bike, which is an unwelcome hassle and drop in spec for a still-expensive bike.
Despite these relatively minor caveats, the Foil is an utter dream race bike.
It’s fast, stiff, climbs with grace and just looks so stylish, with its metallic finish purple blue paint-job, you catch a lot of eyes on the road.
But this is a bike for the racer.
While a few of those details like power meter and fiddly internal systems that might dissuade the more casual rider, anyone looking for a pure-speed addition to the catalogue of bikes need look no further than this.
Despite its impracticalities, this bike is nearly everything you could ask for and is a true joy to ride – I was extremely excited every time I jumped on to go for a spin.
This content was originally published here.
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