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On test: Scott Addict R1, May 9, 2008
Scott's best road racer yet
Scott turned the lightweight road bike market on its head with its groundbreaking CR1 a few years back and the new Addict has only heated things up further. Paul Verkuylen gears up and sets off on the roads around Sydney, Australia to see just how good things have gotten.
Scott's latest incarnation of its top of the line road frame and fork package can be easily summed up in one word: light. In fact, our large Addict R1 tester (a close approximation of what the Saunier Duval-Scott boys ride) is one of the lightest bikes we've tested at just 6.39kg (14.09lb) and only after adding pedals and two water bottle cages did it creep over the UCI weight limit of 6.8kg.
Naturally, the chassis takes most of the credit: actual weight on an otherwise identical medium frame is just 880g with an uncut mast while the new fork is now a competitive 320g. The associated Ritchey 'Stubby' seatpost head and WCS integrated headset only add another 220g (a large will obviously add a few grams, although not many).
Scott achieves that impressive figure with its now familiar CR1 tube-to-tube construction techniques as well as a new Integrated Molding Process (IMP) technology that supposedly yields improved internal surfaces, lighter weight and increased strength. Carbon fiber is used for just about everything including the dropouts, cable housing stops and even the front derailleur mount. In fact, the only place we see aluminum is in the replaceable rear derailleur hanger and the bottom bracket cups. If you opt for the Dura-Ace equipped R2 version (or the R2 or SL framesets), even the latter are replaced with a carbon shell that accepts Shimano's new press-fit composite cups.
Scott says the new Addict frame was developed with considerable input from the Saunier Duval - Scott team and it shows in the superb ride, handling and fit that match the bike's über-light showing at the scale.
As one would expect from the oversized proportions, the R1 was decidedly quick and responsive when putting down the power but even noticeably more rigid than most of the other bikes we've tested recently. Climbing is clearly one area where this bike excels (even if it's not where we do) and the stable and secure handling make it a fantastic descender as well. Moreover, the combination of these traits easily makes the R1 is one of the fastest bikes out of corners that we have experienced.
Admittedly, much of this praise could also be heaped on the Addict's predecessor, the CR1, although the Addict improves on it in several key areas. As compared to the CR1, the Addict boasts the racier geometry that the team demanded, including a slightly slacker seat angle, a longer effective top tube and shorter head tube that combine for a lower and more aggressive position.
Even with this increasingly competitive personality, though, the Addict also offers up a livelier and more comfortable ride quality that almost completely eliminates any harshness that occasionally plagued the CR1. ,Don't get us wrong; the Addict is no couch but it still delivers a better ride than most bikes this stiff and we never once had anything to complain about even on the longer days in the saddle.
The relatively cushy integrated seat mast adds to the frame comfort (while also trimming a handful of grams) but carries some drawbacks as with nearly any integrated design. Removing the post is not an option which may make fitting the bike in a bike bag an issue and the irreversible nature of the trim-to-fit mast means it's a measure twice (or three or four times), cut once type of operation.
The rest of the bits
The finishing kit on the Addict followed the same theme as the frame with almost all of the parts being made of or featuring carbon fiber. As we've now come to expect, SRAM's top of the line Red group worked flawlessly for the duration of the test. The only complaint came from a squeaking chain that required chain lube almost daily. Noises aside, shifting and braking performance were excellent and the overall quality and performance were a perfect match to the frame and fork.
To keep things rolling smoothly, the R1 uses Mavic's new R-SYS wheelset whose tubular carbon spokes and lightweight alloy rims were perfect for all-round versatility. We used these wheels for both training and racing and they proved more than capable of standing up to everything thrown at them. However, regular racers should be reminded that the carbon spokes are more brittle than aluminum or steel ones and should consider keeping a few spares on hand.
The Ritchey WCS Carbon 4Axis stem also performed its job dutifully but the slightly backswept tops and unique bend of the matching WCS Carbon Evolution SL bars didn't suit everyone. As usual, though, bar shape is more a personal note so just be sure to try it first if possible.
Our Addict tester may have come with an integrated post but like many such designs, there's some height adjustability built in: 15mm in the case of the included Ritchey Stubby top and an optional head adds another 25mm. The unique one-bolt low-profile head held fast and the interchangeable clamp bits will accept almost all of the common saddle rail dimensions. As of right now, though, just a single 25mm-offset head is offered so those with shorter femurs will likely want to stick with the non-integrated frame.
Overall the R1 delivers a high quality race package that is matched in both performance and spec. While the sub-6.8kg weight may create some issues at the UCI officials' tent for some, the rest of us can happily benefit from this newest crop of featherweights.
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Images by Paul Henderson Kelly / Cyclingnews