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SCOTT Since 1958

SCOTT Sports have been innovating and adapting since 1958 and they also happen to be one of our favourite brands here at Hargroves. Alongside their illustrious heritage, SCOTT is well known for being one of the world’s best brands for reliable performance mountain bikes. 

In today’s blog we take a deep dive into the company, the bikes we stock and why here at Hargroves Cycles, we love their range so much.

History 

SCOTT didn’t start life as a cycling brand. Their founder Ed Scott actually kicked things off in the ’50s with the world’s first aluminium ski pole. That first product was rapturously received and put the company on an upward trajectory, leading to where they are now, at the top of the sporting world with some of the most elite competition MTBs bearing the founder’s surname. 

In 1978, after twenty years of successful innovation and new products rolled out for skiing, cycling and motocross, the company expanded and moved to Switzerland. It wasn’t until 1991 though that SCOTT introduced themselves to the world of mountain biking, developing the industry-innovating Unishock suspension fork, which was closely followed by their first full-suspension mountain bike. 

Now in 2020, SCOTT Sports are best known for their reliable mountain bikes and for the sponsored riders who race on them, namely eleven-time XC world champion Nino Schurter and 2018 world champion Kate Courtney.

Key models

The SCOTT MTB range has come a long way since the Unishock, with some truly epic frames available. Leading the charge in the cross-country category is the Spark RC, SCOTT’s “winningest” offering ridden by the very fastest riders. The top-end model, the SL, goes for £11,000, but there are versions of the frame available for as little as £2,294 on our website. There’s also a version for women, the SCOTT Contessa Spark.

The Scale RC should not be overlooked either, its SCOTT’s fiercely competitive hardtail option and comes in a narrower range of price points. Starting at £2,799 and reaching up to £6,199 for the AXS-equipped World Cup model, these are some seriously lively hardtail machines. If you’re loving the look of the frame but want to explore different specifications, we also offer the frameset only options.

If we move things over to the adrenaline-soaked world of downhill, SCOTT’s star performer is the Gambler. Brendan Fairclough and Neko Mullally choose the Gambler when in action in DH World Cup races, but it’s also a popular steed for the amateurs who desire pro-level performance. Sitting at the top of the tree is the 900 Tuned model, which packs SCOTT’s HMX carbon frame, plus a Fox 40 Factory Float 203mm fork and DH X2 200mm shock – it’s a bike that can absolutely monster the hardest, most technical competition runs. If you don’t need quite that much firepower, the 930 might be the one for you. At £3,399 it’s still a premium machine, but you can’t put a price on victory!

Last but not least in this by no means extensive rundown of the SCOTT’s key MTB models is the Ransom. As SCOTT themselves put it, “For us, Enduro is about climbing up to the trailhead and coming back down as fast as possible. Big days in the mountains, epic single-track, and winning stages – that’s what we’re after.” We couldn’t have described the philosophy behind the Ransom any better than that. We stock both the men’s Ransom and women’s Contessa Ransom, with a range of prices from £6,999 for the 900 Tuned down to the 930 Full Suspension model at £2,699. 

That’s almost all you need to know about Scott bikes. Why not come down to one of our shops and check them out for yourself? Our friendly staff will help you find the right bike to fit your requirements. 

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Bikes Buying Guide Featured News Parts And Accessories

A beginner’s guide to bike pedals

As one of your three main contact points on a bike, pedals are a vital part to consider when building your dream machine. But with many different types out there, all designed for different disciplines, choosing the ones most suited to you can get a little complicated.

Do you opt for flats or clipless? Shimano or DMR? The pedal market can be an absolute nightmare for newcomers. Fear not, however, for we’ve put together this handy beginner’s guide to teach you the art of selecting the perfect pair of pedals.

Step 1: Choosing the right type of pedals

Many of you may have clicked on this guide to learn which pedals are the best for saving weight, improving performance or generating more grip against your shoe, but before we get into all that technical jargon we first need to identify – quite simply – what type of pedal is best suited to your kind of riding.

If you’re focused on doing lots of climbing or you feel like you want to race your bike, then you’re going to want to dive straight into the clipless pedal market. These pedals, sometimes referred to as ‘clip-ins’, securely attach your feet to the pedals, offering increased control over the bike and better power transfer. It’s a confusing name, so try to remember that in this case, ‘clipless’ actually means ‘clipped in’. And if you’re wondering why this is the case, it’s all thanks to the traditional old-fashioned toe-clips – they’re ‘clipless’ in reference to the lack of toe-clips rather than the clipping together of cleat and pedal.

Clipless pedals will also ensure that your feet are always aligned in the correct position over the pedal axle, enabling more effective power transfer through the pedals and helping you go faster.

Clipless pedals work via a spring mechanism in the pedal that allows you to ‘clip’ the cleats – handy bits of plastic or aluminium securely fastened to the base of your shoe – in and out of the pedals. Most clipless pedal systems are simple to master, just push your toe forward into the pedal and then press down with the ball of your foot until you hear an ever-so-satisfying ‘click’. To take your foot out, simply twist your heel outwards (away from the bike) until the cleat releases. 

MTB-specific clipless pedals look a little different to road-specific clipless pedals – they’re more compact and often not as aerodynamic. One of their main advantages over road-specific clipless pedals, however, is that they’re double-sided, allowing you to clip straight back in with ease.

Flat pedals, or ‘flats’ as they’re more commonly known in the industry, are the kind you most likely had on your first bike. These are the perfect pedals for the more chilled out riders among you, those who aren’t worried about efficient power transfer or perfect ‘above-pedal-axle’ positioning.

Flats are especially good for those MTBers who regularly find themselves riding dicey downhill trails. Flats give you what most clipless MTB pedals cannot: a large stable platform that allows you to move your feet around. Moving your feet helps you to shift your weight around the bike, an essential skill when it comes to riding technical downhill terrain. There may also be moments when knowing you can put your foot down without warning can prove immensely reassuring, for instance, to steady yourself over leaf-strewn trails or on particularly sketchy corners. All that being said, while traditionally, elite downhill racers might not have used clipless (because the amount of pedalling in DH is minimal), even they are moving onto clipless now in pursuit of more speed and stability.

If you really want to nerd out, check this video from Pinkbike where some of the Enduro World Series’ professional riders talk through their own pedal/shoe setups.

Step 2: Key features to look out for

When it comes to MTB-specific clipless pedals most riders opt for sturdier and more robust materials, like aluminium. Pedals with a large degree of mud-clearance are also preferable because you’re going to be throwing up a lot of dirt as you rag your bike around the trails, particularly in the wetter winter months. The DMR V-Twin offers a really nice ‘goldilocks zone’ between the wide platform of a flat pedal and the security and control of a clipless. Ideal, particularly if you accidentally unclip, then struggle to clip back in. You’ll still have plenty of pedal to play with as you push through the technical stuff.

For flat pedals, the more contact area the better. Look for low-profile broad platforms with lots of little pins which will really help you secure your shoes against the surface of the pedal and maintain traction. The Shimano Saint M828 is a truly epic flat MTB pedal that’ll give you loads of grip and control over the bike. 

Step 3: Don’t forget the cleats

If you’ve chosen to go down the clipless route, you’re going to need a pair of cleats. These are pieces of plastic, or aluminium, that attach to the base of your shoe and allow you to clip into your clipless pedals.

You can purchase cleats with differing degrees of ‘float’. Float refers to the amount of lateral rotation you can make once the cleat is clipped into the pedal. For a super-tight and power-efficient bond, go for a small degree of float. If you’re worried about clipping in and out, or just need to give your joints a little bit of wiggle room, opt for a larger degree of float. 

One last thing to remember: Most MTB-specific clipless pedals use a two-bolt system, while road-specific ones us a three-bolt system, so make sure you select the right ones for the pedals you’ve chosen!

Be sure to check out our full range of pedals by clicking here.

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Featured News

The game changing Turbo Levo SL

Specialized call the all new Turbo Levo SL a game changer and it’s not hard to see why. E-MTBs have improved in popularity almost exponentially since Specialized last delved into the electric trail bike sector, so much so that they have now brought out a range suited for every rider. With the powerful SL 1.1 motor doubling your power output, Specialized promise more time on the trails, less lung-busting when climbing and more time soaring through the air. That can only be a good thing, right? The Specialized motto for this range is “it’s you, only faster,” and with its powerful motor and range extender add-on, the Turbo Levo SL it certainly backs up this promise.

In this blog we take a look at the models in the range that we have at Hargroves Cycles and the other power assisted adventure and mountain bikes we stock.

Turbo Levo SL from Specialized

It’s easy to see where Specialized got the inspiration for this one – hallmarks from their popular Stumpjumper bike can be seen throughout. It looks, feels and rides like it too, only it’s got a bit more oomph, and with a lightweight battery, even when the motor isn’t engaged it handles like a dream. The Expert Carbon weighs in at 17.3 kilograms, making it a super lightweight power-assisted bike, which means you can take on the trails, hills and tracks faster than ever before. 150 millimetres of suspension are provided by FOX’s 34 Performance fork and DPS shock, and SRAM Eagle GX drivetrain polishes of the quality components on this top-notch bike. 

Perfect for day-long riding and adventures, the Turbo Levo SL is your introduction to the world of e-MTBs. 

The next model down is the SL Comp Carbon. As with the whole range, this still comes with 150 millimetres of travel, only the provider is slightly different – this time it’s FOX’s RHYTHM 34 fork and DPS shock compared to the Performance on the SL Expert. The motor has a maximum speed of 20mph – enough to get you up that tricky climb and then some.

Specialized have also brought a budget option to the range for riders who want the benefit of a power-assisted bike without paying the premium for a carbon frame. The SL Comp is the perfect option for such a rider. With an aluminium frame, it may not be as light as it’s siblings, but it retains the robustness and performance associated with a Specialized trail bike. It also doesn’t cut any corners when it comes to performance. RockShox provide 150 millimetres of front and rear suspension which, combined with the motor, still gives you all the fun of the fair just like the other bikes in the range. An added perk is that all the new Turbo Levos can be synced with the Mission Control App so that the rider can tailor the motor to their specific riding style. This budget SL Comp is perfect for first time e-bike riders.

Other e-MTBs

Here at Hargroves Cycles we also stock e-MTBs from Cannondale, Bergamont and Scott. These models are a bit closer to the SL Comp and Comp Carbon than the SL Expert, which stands head and shoulders above its challengers.

That being said, Cannondale’s e-MTBs offer premium performance at a respectable price. The Habit Neo 2 range for 2020, for example, has 130 millimetres of rear and 140 millimetres of front suspension allowing it to perform on the trails with that added kick of the motor.

The E-Trailster from Bergamont also rides like a quality trail bike and boasts a powerful 75 Nm of torque thanks to its integrated Bosch drive unit.

Scott have also dipped their toe into the world of e-trail bikes with the Spark eRide 910 which gets its power from a 500Wh internal Shimano battery. With a dropper post, quality components and respectable travel, the Spark eRide is an aluminium trail bike of the highest quality.

There we have it – your introduction to the new range of e-MTBs from Specialized as well as a look at the other brands we stock. Why not come down to one of our shops, compare the bikes in person and start your electric trail bike journey with us? Our friendly staff will help you find the right bike to fit your riding style.

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Bikes Buying Guide Featured News Protection

MTB Helmets 101: What’s the differences and why you should care

We all know that a helmet is one of the most crucial bits of kit to remember for any ride. If you have been involved in an incident that meant your lid was used for its intended purpose, at whatever level of collision, you will know all too well the importance of this often lifesaving bit of kit.

It is widely regarded that a helmet – without a collision – should be replaced every five years, as the spongy protective EPS layer gradually loses its volume. At Hargroves Cycles, we stock a large number of helmets, but what is the difference between them? And why should you care about wearing the right helmet for the right discipline?

Mountain biking, in particular, is a broad church. There’s a huge gulf in requirements between easy trail riding and breakneck DH racing, and as such there are a wealth of helmet options than sometimes be a little bit bewildering. First, let’s look at the technology underpinning MTB helmets.

MTB helmet tech explained – MIPS

MIPS is the industry leader in helmet technology. They’re not a manufacturer of helmets, so much as a third-party technology supplier used by other brands to make their products safer. Like how The North Face and Berghaus use Gore Tex in their waterproof jackets.

MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System and it pretty much does what it says on the tin. The way we crash on bicycles is not a simple case of linear impacts, we crash in all sorts of unpredictable ways and thus, the impacts to our noggins can come in at all sorts of angles. MIPS helmets reflect that and protect you from it in a way that older helmets that just use foam do not.

Having MIPS in a helmet often adds a little bit to the price tag, with some major brands releasing their top-end lids in a ‘with MIPS’ and regular version. Look out for MIPS’ bright yellow branding if you’re ever unsure as to whether a helmet is equipped with this brain-saving tech.

ANGI

From an industry-wide technology to one pioneered exclusively by a single brand, ANGI is Specialized’s way of measuring the linear and rotational forces that typically occur during a bicycle crash. Big S is putting ANGI (Angular and G-Force indicator) into its top-end bike helmets as a sort of extra safety system. The sensors communicate with an app on your phone and, should the worst happen and you end up eating some dirt, the app will notify your emergency contacts that you’ve taken a tumble. The benefits of this when you’re out riding solo away from civilisation are obvious. For more, visit this FAQ on Specialized’s site.

Another emerging safety tech is the rise of better helmets with detachable chin bars. The first full-face helmets were pretty uncomfortable to ride for any length of time at any level of intensity because they didn’t really breathe well and ended up feeling like riding with a swampy bucket on your head. Many riders opted to have two different helmets, only wearing the full-face when they absolutely had to – and for only short periods of time – and favouring their open-face option for any sort of all-mountain riding.

A detachable chin bar eliminates some of that rigidity by allowing you to switch your full-face lid to an open-face one when you don’t need that maximum level of protection. It adds massive versatility to helmets offering full-face protection, without compromise on the safety aspects.

The MET Parachute MCR is a perfect example of this growing sector.

Best helmets for MTB

So which are the best MTB helmets for different disciplines?

For enduro, we’d recommend the aforementioned MET Parachute. It sits at the top of the category with its magnetic chin bar removal system, MIPS protection and – like all MET helmets, it’s beautifully styled with that Italian flair for design.

Looking to save some cash but still get maximum protection? Look no further than the Giro Switchblade. It’s also packing MIPS protection and comes with 20 vents around the helmet body to keep you cool. The chin bar is removable.

Looking to explore some trails without the competitive element or extreme speeds of enduro? We love the Specialized Ambush for trail riding and all-mountain exploration. It comes with the ANGI technology discussed above as well as a really clever integrated fit system.

Similar in performance and protection offered is the MET Roam, winner of a 2018 Design & Innovation award. The Italian brand describes it as an all-mountain helmet and it really is versatile – we’ve seen it used in everything from trail-riding to gravel racing.

Looking for the thrill that only comes from pelting full-tilt downhill? You’ll be wanting a proper full-face helmet to do that, and you could do much worse than the category-leading Specialized Dissident. Present in the range for almost a decade, the Dissident has had a lot of facelifts in its time, but has preserved that essential commitment to being “the lightest, most-ventilated and technically advanced carbon fibre full-face mountain bike helmet out there.” 

Now that you know everything there is to know about the types of MTB helmet we stock, why not come down to one of our shops and try one for size? Our friendly staff will help you find the right style, size, make and design for the type of cycling you do.