photos: Anthony Smith Video: Satchel Cronk/Justin Olsen
Down Time: The new external Ramp Adjust lever gives the bike multiple descending personalities—a supple ground hugging traction monster when flipped one way, and a poppy, playful attitude in the other. It allows the Ransom to be uniquely adaptable to changing trail conditions.
The Upside: TwinLoc gives the Ransom, despite it being the longest-travel bike in the Mammoth Summer Camp fleet, the ability to smoke the competition uphill. Scott nailed the tune of the Nude shock this time around, giving it excellent climbing support while remaining active enough to quiet chatter and maintain momentum.
Dollar for Dollar: The top-tier ‘Tuned’ spec isn’t cheap, but you do get a lot for your money, including a full-carbon frame, Fox-Factory-level suspension, and the super sexy Syncros one-piece carbon bar/stem combo. Then again, you’ll get nearly the same ride out of the next level down for $5,400. Go any lower, though, and you lose the Ramp Adjust, which is one of the coolest features of the Ransom.
We’ll just come right out and say it: We’ve never been huge fans of remote lockouts. We try to be unbiased with our bike testing, but when nearly all remote lockout bikes you’ve been on over the years have let you down in one way or another, it’s nearly impossible to come into the test with zero preconceptions. We’re only human.
Which is why it’s even more impressive that the all-new Scott Ransom 900 Tuned was unanimously voted as the favorite of all six long-travel 29ers tested during round two of Bike’s Bible Summer Camp at Mammoth Mountain, California. It would have been impressive enough to walk away proclaiming the Ransom to be the best dual-lockout bike we’ve ridden, But no, the Ransom is one of the most impressive bikes, period.
Scott has been nailing its geometry for several years, so it wasn’t much of a surprise to see the Ransom’s contemporary numbers, including a long reach coupled with a short stem and wide bar, a nice, steep seat angle, adequately short chainstays, moderate bottom bracket height and aggressive head angle. The geometry is key for setting the bike up for success, but where the Scott really hit the home run with the Ransom is at the shock and its tune. That’s something we’ve never seen before. For years, we’ve been making Scoot Genius bikes shredable by ditching the proprietary suspension and remotes altogether, in favor of normal stuff. But now, it’s the Nude shock that really brings this long-travel beast together.
The bike dons 170 millimeters of travel front and back, making it one of the longest-travel bikes on the market. Plus, it’s spec’d with 2.6-inch tires. But it doesn’t ride like it at all. Well, descending it does for sure. Everywhere else, the Ransom rides like a normal bike, that is, one without a trophy truck amount of travel. We didn’t expect the bike to be more manageable, playful, or poppy than 150-mil-travel bikes we’ve ridden, but it was—mostly because of the Fox Nude shock and that lever we’ve been dogging on for years.
The Nude shock is already pretty cool because it provides support not just by adding compression like most shock pedal platforms, or just by reducing air volume, like Cannondale’s Gemini system, but by doing both in concert. On top of that, the new Fox Nude TR EVOL, found on the 900 and 910 (as well as the 700 and 710, which are the same but spec’d with 27.5-inch wheels) has a new feature that makes the already versatile Ransom even more so. The TR version of the shock has an external 2-position lever located on the air can that changes air spring volume in open mode, giving you two differently descending bikes in one.
With the Ramp Adjust lever open, the Ransom’s 170 millimeters of travel is deep, linear, and perfect for chewing up big hits on the roughest trails, but when you flip it closed, the suspension becomes progressive, poppy, lively and ideal for g-outs, lips and hard landings. It’s also useful as a wet/dry conditions switch. This switch really adds something special, which is why we’d strongly recommend going with at least the $5,400 Ransom 910, because you lose the Ramp Adjust when you go down to the 920.
If that’s not in the cards though, you’ll still have one of the most versatile bike on you can buy, thanks to the TwinLoc system, which firms up compression, spring rate, and shifts the geometry forward for climbing. The middle of the three positions is tuned carefully to provide support while still allowing enough suspension activity for traction on technical climbs, while fully locked out is great for fire roads and pavement. We still do think that the remote fork lockout is unnecessary, though, and would ideally opt for a Fox Grip 2 fork instead of the remote Fit4. It would also allow the remote lever to be leaner, which would be nice. But that’s really our only gripe. All and all, the Ransom blew us away.
Q&A With Garth Spencer, US Field Marketing Manager, Scott Sports
What’s going on inside the Fox Nude TR EVOL shock when the TwinLoc lever is pushed, and how is it different than a traditional remote lockout?
The most significant difference when comparing our shock to other remote shocks is that we are not just increasing compression damping. Our suspension does change compression damping when going from one mode to another, but it also changes the bike’s geometry and travel simultaneously.
Inside the shock, there are two air chambers with a valve between them. When the valve is open, you have full volume in the air can and when the valve closes, the air volume is reduced, which decreases sag and firms things up by making the shock much more progressive, effectively limiting the shock’s travel. Because the bike is riding higher in its travel, the geometry steepens, creating better geometry for climbing. Concurrently, over on the damper side, the compression firms up to give better pedaling stability. Long story short: TwinLoc is an on-the-fly suspension adjustment that adjusts both damping, and spring rate, at the same time, to optimize the bike for the terrain you are riding.
At 170 millimeters of rear wheel travel, the Ransom is one of the longest-travel 29ers out there (downhill bikes aside). Most bikes in the category run piggyback shocks. Does the way the Nude system work prevent the use of piggyback-style shocks? Not that we felt like we needed one, just curious.
We are stoked to be able to offer one of the longest travel 29ers on the market that not only descends with confidence, but can also climb better than bikes with less travel. Right now there are no piggy back shocks that work with the NUDE technology. Many people are looking at piggyback shocks to gain more air volume, and we were able to increase the volume on the new shocks and still incorporate the TwinLoc. This year we have the two higher-air-volume shocks, one featuring adjustable ramp control. This year all our Genius and Ransom models (except the very entry level model in both) come with the new shock. The higher-end models feature the Nude TR with Ramp Adjust and the other models have the Nude T.
We think that we have selected the best shock for the bike, but if someone really wants to change the shock and install a coil, or other larger shock we made sure that the frame has plenty of clearance to accommodate this.
Nice job with this latest shock. We especially enjoyed the shock tune on the Traction Control mode when climbing, as well as the Ramp Adjust switch when descending. The rear suspension felt so good, that we missed not having the extra suppleness of Fox’s Grip2 damper, though. How necessary is the fork lockout to the overall capability of the Ransom, as Scott sees it?
Great to hear you liked the rear shock, we agree it is a huge improvement over previous years, and the Ramp Adjust is super cool. It really lets you tune the shock for the type of trail you are ridding.
The Fit 4 damper allows us to run 3 suspension settings that match up with the positions on the rear shock. The TwinLoc technology including the lock out is a core feature across the entire suspension line including the Ransom. Having the matching TwinLoc fork including the lockout gives riders the highest level of versatility when tackling any ride.
Goldilocks couldn’t find her bed, so she took to the trails …