The Elevator Pitch
Lighter, stiffer, faster, more comfortable: Together these traits represent the holy trinity of the cycling world. It seems every new bike is claimed to possess some combination thereof. The 2016 Scott Foil is no exception.
You’ll find full details about this new aero road bike’s initial launch here. But in a nutshell, Scott says after three years of development the 2016 Foil has the same lightweight frame as its predecessor (fully painted size 54cm carbon frame weighs 945 grams, with the fork adding 335 grams) — and it’s stiffer, more aero and more comfortable. Add it all up and Scott says the bike can save a rider an average of 6 watts, or roughly 27 seconds over 40km when averaging a brisk 45kph.
This is achieved in part with a new integrated cockpit, where a one-piece bar-stem combo helps cheat the wind. The Swiss bike maker also moved the rear brake from the seat stays to under the chainstays, and cleaned up cable routing, which is fully internal save for some exposure in front of the headtube.
But it’s the comfort claims that really pop the eyes. Scott says it’s achieved a whopping 89-percent rise in vertical compliance compared to the old Foil. Speaking from personal experience, that’s a really good thing, because the old Foil (first launched in 2010) was a lot of things, but comfortable was not one of them.
Put the old and new frame side-by-side and the changes are pronounced. Instead of connecting to the seat tube just below the toptube, the seatstays of the new Foil join the seat tube about three inches lower. They’re also much smaller, measuring roughly two-thirds the diameter of their predecessors. This is all done in the name of compliance, one of the primary design drivers of this new bike.
The seat tube has also undergone a metamorphosis, bulking up slightly for better power transfer, and moving closer to the rear wheel, which is designed to better control airflow front to back. The downtube shape remains relatively unchanged, but the fork is more cleanly integrated into the headtube junction in yet another effort to clean up air flow. The seatpost also got a makeover, utilizing a slight aero shape (not a full blade) which is held in place by an integrated clamp.
Front end geometry carries over from the old Foil, but Scott says it moved the headset bearings down and lengthened the headtube to make it narrower and more aero. In the past the squat headtube was essentially just the intersection of two tubes; now it’s a tube itself.
And as already mentioned, the rear brake has been tucked away under the chainstays and bar and stem have been melded together, again in the name of cheating the wind.
Finally, stiffness was addressed by reshaping the PF86 bottom bracket area in a way that’s claimed to have netted a 13 percent gain. Tire clearance was also been bumped up to 28mm and the new Foil comes with an integrated chain catcher.
In the U.S. the new bike will come in three builds. The Foil Premium includes the top-end HMX carbon frame with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain, Zipp 404 carbon clincher wheels, and the Syncros RR1.0 handlebar/stem combo ($12,000). The Foil Team has the same high end carbon frame, a mechanical Shimano Dura-Ace drivetrain, the integrated bar-stem, Zipp 60 carbon/alloy hybrid clinchers, and costs $8,000. Finally, the Foil 10 is built around the second-tier HMF carbon frame and doesn’t have the integrated bar-stem combo. Other spec includes a Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain and Syncros RR2.0 wheels. MSRP is $4800. You can also buy the high-end HMX Foil frame/fork for $4000, or HMF carbon frame/fork for $2600.