Scott Speedster S55 £699
8th Jul 2011 | 16:00
The UK-exclusive 55 takes Scott's performance-orientated Speedster design and tweaks it for more versatile all-weather use. That doesn’t mean it’s a dull ride though, making it a great all-rounder for training, commuting or tackling your ﬁrst time trial.
Mudguard clearances and rack mounts mean it can pay back your investment in commuting costs and it's comfortable for long rides. Strip it down and there's still the speed and spirit to make the bike something you'll really look forward to riding.
Ride & equipment: Smooth and well-balanced, with an enjoyable and enthusiastic ride
It’s a tribute to how sporty Scott have managed to keep this utility version of the Speedster that we didn’t even realise it was anything different until we ﬁnished ride testing and started digging around for data. The head tube and relatively short top tube (for the seat tube height) certainly produce a more comfortable, cruise-orientated position than a racey one.
The fatter tyres also add welcome buoyancy and comfort on less-than-perfect roads. In fact, the overall ride feel is impressively comfy for its price and however far we took it, we never overstayed our welcome in terms of vibration fatigue or sore shoulders. The fatter tyres also increase grip if you’re grunting up a rough surface and stop you getting rattled out of your rhythm on back roads.
While they’re a few grams heavier, only princess-and-the-pea riders could claim to notice that in their climbing and acceleration performance, and they roll as well (or better in the rough) as normal 23c tyres. The S55 doesn’t hesitate to spin up to speed when you press the pedals and its default character is enthusiastically responsive. Ideal whether it’s race day, you’ve got a high-intensity workout, or it’s a dirty day outside, and you need a bike that’ll make you to want to get on and get out.
Reasonable weight (9.57kg/21.1lb) means it climbs with an equally keen attitude, and while having the bail-out option of a 30-tooth inner ring is nice insurance, we rarely felt the need to drop into it. Going down the far side, the slight modiﬁcations of the S55 mean the handling is also more beginner-friendly. Speciﬁcally, the longer wheelbase gives it more stability at speed and in windy conditions, making it a conﬁdent and composed descender.
You’ll get used to the soft-feeling brakes in time too, although upgrading to metal-backed cartridge pads would be a cost-effective way to sharpen up anchorage. Scott have done a great job of adding versatility and all-weather friendliness to their quick-witted Speedster bikes without compromising any of their enthusiasm. The result is a conﬁdent and enjoyable bike.
Frame & equipment: Light and responsive chassis plus good kit for the price
The tubeset is basically the same as the Speedster, with a hidden-headset head tube, mid-sized round tubes and a conventional A-frame rear end. The 6061 alloy is double butted (thicker at the ends than in the middle) to reduce weight and harshness without sacriﬁcing strength, and it comes in at a reasonable weight for the money (1,536g).
What the S55 version gains over the S50 is a 10mm taller head tube for a slightly higher, more cruise-orientated position. It’s also 10mm longer in the rear stays and 25mm longer overall. This makes the bike more stable, but also means there’s room to ﬁt full-sized mudguards for proper winter protection. There are rack mounts on the rear stays for luggage lugging, as well as two sets of bottle mounts on the mainframe, and the alloy tips of the carbon-legged fork get mudguard mounts too.
There’s nothing dull or utilitarian about the equipment. While the Shimano Sora/S2300 gears only give eight ratios at the rear, the triple chainset up front means 24 gears in a broad spread that’ll let you give it big licks or grovel up the steepest hill at the end of an epic day. Despite a semi-aero-section rim and chunkier than normal 25c tyres, the wheels are relatively light too, which helps perk the overall ride up. White hubs and rims give a crisp colour match to the frame and stem.
The brake and gear cables are white too, and tension adjusters next to the levers make gear adjustment easy, as the cables inevitably stretch during the ﬁrst few rides. At 420mm the Scott bar is plenty broad enough. If you don’t fancy a racer-style drop bar there’s a more urban-friendly ﬂat-bar option (the Speedster S50) too. There’s only the ﬂex you can feel through the long, mudguard-compatible brakes and their all-rubber pads to grumble about.