What's Cool In Road Cycling

SCOTT CR1 Team Edition : Tried and Tested!

We get an extended leg over Joseba Beloki’s new bike. Hot off the plane and harder to find than a good burrito in Burma, we ride the Scott Saunier Duval Prodir Team Edition CR1. Now if we can just convince ’em that a long term test is in their best interest!!! Take a peak.

We’d been trying to get one of these “Euro Only” bikes for quite a while (and failing miserably), so when Scott announced they were set for a US launch, we got a little excited. When we learned that Scott Montgomery (former top marketing dog at Cannondale) was at the helm and ready to roll, we got a little more excited. When we found out we were getting our own CR-1, fitted as ridden by Saunier Duval’s team, I nearly wet my shorts…

(Click the thumbnail above for a super-sized big bike picture)

A few decades ago, when I was a little kid, I remember getting a bit of a whooping by my older sister’s boyfriend for tearing-ass around in a pair of his new Scott Goggles, acting like I was an Airplane. Actually the ass-tanning was for throwing the goggles in the air as far as I could while I acted like I was just being shot down, and who can think about catching something as you’re being shot down, right? Well, I should have, as the street ruined the lenses (not me, but the street…), causing me to get hit with the strap part. The big “SCOTT” logo was kinda etched in my mind after bouncing off my bean a few times.

Forward ahead 28 years to the US Pro Championships in Philly, where I got to tool round the paddock on Alberto Loddo’s team issue CR1, and because I knew I was getting one, the big “SCOTT” logo was again etched in my mind, but it’s a way happier memory…

SCOTT The Company
Back in the days of all things groovy (early sixties), Scott were the guys who gave us the first tapered Ski pole. Then (unfortunately for me) they ventured into goggles and Ski stuff in general. By the 70’s, Scott did so well that they needed a Euro Headquarters (little closer to cycling Mecca). Finally in the mid 80’s they took a stab at handlebars on bikes, and it’s basically agreed that the Scott Aero bars (the first Aero bars in the tour) were the ticket to Lemond’s 8 second winning margin (along with maybe Greg’s legs) over the Professor at the TDF. Scott’s had a bike bend ever since, and recently decided to get back in the US Road game after playing around (and winning) in Europe for the past few years. Their entry in the US is with The CR1, and it’s a great first shot.

Behold The Bike
Scott chose to give the CR1 a conservative “semi-stealth” carbon look, but don’t be fooled by the calm exterior, there’s a lot going on inside the plain round tubes.

Scott call it “Carbon butting”.

“Butting” for most manufacturers simply means that they make the tube walls thinner in the middle and thicker on the ends (where more stress is) and that’s about it. But Scott manufacture their tubes individually, and not only control the wall thickness at the ends of the tube, but also vary the tube walls along the top bottom and sides. Most Carbon fiber bike manufacturers concentrate on fiber direction, and Scott does too. But when you not only use fiber direction as a ride tuning tool, but go one better and vary wall thicknesses throughout the tube, you wind up with, well, the CR1.

Scott also join the tubes a little different that most folks. They precision CNC cut the tubes so that they fit together extremely well. That helps in the joining process Scott call “Carbon Welding”. As the tubes fit very tightly together, Scott need to use far less material at the joint (where a lot of the weight savings happens). Buy using small amounts of fiber in multiple directions at the joint, Scott create a very strong but almost invisible “micro-lug” (my word not Scott’s). What looks like a monocoque frame is actually a tube frame done very well. The build process also allows Scott to manufacture 6 sizes in the range, in a shape and style that are usually only manufactured in 4 sizes.

Take a look at the BB area, and you will see the very large down tube and seat tube joined together. Note the machined surface of the metal BB sleeve.

Along with the Dura-Ace crank / BB set, it’s as clean a look as you can get. It’s also a very stable Bottom end.

The Chain stays have a slight wiggle as they go back, and remain a good size till they hit the drop outs, only tapering a bit along the way.

The look is conservative in shape, but the Team Edition isn’t short on sponsor decals to liven things up.

As you move round the bend to the Seat stays, things get more interesting looking. The seat stays have a slight “bladed” profile, and end at a wishbone that could only come from a prehistoric Turkey… (they’re big!) That large flat section is very recognizable. So much so that I did get it confirmed “before the leak” that this is the bike that won the Liege, Amstel, Fleche Tre (albeit in another makers paint job under David Rebbelin).

The large flat section is a super stability platform, necessary on something this light… But something to note (the red line points to it) is that the material built from the seat stays actually runs round the side of the seat tube (a bit like the Kuota Khan). The blue mark shows where the seat tube comes through (as the black on black makes the view a little tough). This does a double duty in allowing that section to remain wide and stable, and (due to the fiber orientation here) also redirect some of the vibration past the seat tube (and your booty) and into the top tube…

The front end gets the same precision cutting where the top and down tubes meet a nice big head tube, and a hidden head set, but looks fairly plain. It does hold one of the nicer forks available though.

Not only does this fork weigh dick (290 grams), but it’s built in the same big body / thin wall format as the frame. It is light, but it is stable… Evidence of the material removal is all the way down to the fork drop out. Well made, and nice finish, but no excess baggage…

The Ride?
The last few Carbon bike reviews we’ve done at PEZ have been of very light, very stiff, performance oriented Carbon. In fact, they were bikes that are extremely well done and represent a good portion of the best Carbon available (the BMC SLT01, Colnago C-50, Kuota Kredo, Orbea Orca…). The Scott CR1 sits confidently in this class (and is a candidate for teacher’s pet…).

The CR1 dials the road vibration down as well as anything tested (not light praise), gives up stiffness only to the heaviest in class and weighs less than everything else in it’s durability range (check the guys at www.EFBE.DE). It actually weighs less than anything in any range…

This is a great lean man’s bike. That’s not to say that the CR1 is not a big man’s bike, but a big man probably isn’t looking for a sub 2 pound frame anyhoo (nor should they…). This bike is a dreamboat for guys light enough to actually feel a difference. That said, it’s not a bad choice in to the upper mid sized folks as well.

I can’t explain the ride feel except to say that, when coasting along, it feels like an old steel bike with 25c tires inflated to 100lbs. It’s just that smooth. But, stand up and step on the gas on a sharp little climb, and it feels like there’s nothing there.

I’ve tested a gross of bikes within a pound of this when built the same, and a pound shouldn’t feel like much of a difference, but it does here. Which makes me believe that the little weight left on the CR1 is low down in the frame. Down Tube, BB and Chain Stays must represent more as a percentage of the overall weight of the CR1 than other very light bikes. On out of the saddle accelerations, it feels like you’re gripping bars and they aren’t attached to anything. That’s not to say they slop around on you, as they don’t. The Ritchey stem and bars are very good (in fact the Ritchey components are so good they’ll get a separate review…), and the steer tube is reasonably stiff. It just doesn’t feel like anything weighs anything as you toss the bike around underneath you. And if you want even more of this, toss on a set of Light Carbon Tubulars…

The smoothness is simply the result of the Carbon butting process. Scott just went one better than most folks in what’s inside the tubes, and while they look pretty conservative on the outside, they are anything but on the inside…

The Stiffness is not class leading, but the stiffness to weight ratio is better than anything that the EFBE.DE guys have tested (and they have tested far more than they show on the site). We have made the comment that stiffness to weight on other bikes has been impressive (and it has!), but this one is top of the light weight heap. It is less stiff than the BMC, but the ride is as plush as the Colnago C-50 and it weighs a good chunk less than either. That’s a pretty potent combination to go into battle with.

Handling is also very good. It is Crit quick, and it’s light weight allow you to move it around at a flick. But even at that, it’s angles give it respectable stability at speed. There are better things to scream down a mountain with, but almost nothing better to get up the mountain in the first place…

The fit and finish are extremely good. You will want some clear protection film for the frame where cables rub, as the (thin) clear coat and gloss black will show scuffs. The bottle cage bolts, drop outs and bb and head set shell are all clean as a whistle. Someone pays quite a lot of attention to these bikes before they head to the customer…

That leaves the one area that pretty much everyone’s Light Carbon will not lead the pack in, and that is crash survival. The Scott set’s the record for the most Caution / warning tags relating to torque on a bike frame. It is a race bred, tight tolerance mechanism, and I wouldn’t let any shop close to building one up that didn’t have torque wrenches at the ready. The material at the seat clamp for instance is near paper thin (as is the case on a few light carbon bikes), and danger lurks for the heavy handed wrencher as much or more on the Scott CR1. But that doesn’t mean this is like those thin walled (even more brittle) flyweight single season Aluminum bikes.

Carbon, as we’ve mentioned before, has a very solid fatigue life – somewhere between “much better than Aluminum” and infinity. In fact, the Scott CR-1 passes the same impressive test as other bikes we’ve tested (and loved) like those from Kuota. You can see the scores at WWW.EFBE.DE. Carbon done well is like Titanium in that it basically can be stressed, under intended use, over and over until the cows come home. Unlike Aluminum though, carbon doesn’t break down as you flex it. Carbon doesn’t get weak unless you cut fibers (that happens when you crack, crush or score it). You can see the results of the tests, and Carbon beats most of the other metal bikes in the same weight class…

But then there isn’t anything else in the CR1’s weight class is there now…? So you’ll have to compare it to heavier stuff, and it stands up to the maximum pressures in the tests at EFBE at any weight.

Get a peak at Scott’s web site to find a dealer. $4,799 grabs a (very) limited availability CR1 team bike (like the one tested).

And if you plan on racing and the UCI are around, you might want to bring two cyclocomputers, a heart monitor and a saddle bag just in case…

Note: if you have other experiences with gear, or something to add, drop us a line. We don’t claim to know everything (we just imply it at times). Give us a pat on the back if you like the reviews, or a slap in the head if you feel the need!

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