by Nick Legan
The Scott Foil is one of Velo’s favorite race bikes and, despite being beaten in the wind tunnel, it has won this round of testing with its extremely stiff chassis, a user-friendly frameset and high-value spec. It’s a weapon, made to parry and thrust its way to the finish line.
The Foil is the least aero looking of our test, but its subdued tube shapes are quite effective both in the lab and on the road. With a set of lively wheels, the Foil is pure racer.
Scientific Testing: 25 of 30 points
In torsional stiffness, the Foil handily beat the other three bikes in the test. Interestingly, the 2012 model wasn’t as rigid as the 2011 bike we had previously tested at Microbac. More on why later.
At the wind tunnel, the Foil came in behind the S5 and the Venge and ahead of the C1. While that meant the Scott only received 10 points for third, the truth is that the Litespeed, Specialized and Scott machines were only separated by an average of 43 grams of drag (over our full sweep of yaw). That’s only a 4.3 watts difference between them.
Subjective Ride Quality: 23.5 of 30 points
For 2012, Scott engineers used a slightly different carbon layup to make a small concession in the name of comfort. But that doesn’t mean the Foil is suddenly a Cadillac. Hardly, in fact. Boneshaker is what came to mind for this skinny fella.
The Foil is a pure race bike. Sniveling, whiny, easily-broken riders need not apply. The Foil’s super rigid frame and fork assured that each and every ounce of effort made was translated into forward motion. Coming off a steel bike with classics-style wheels meant that stomping on the pedals on the Foil was almost alarming.
The Mavic Cosmic wheels are great for general riding, but their heft kept the Foil from a perfect score in the Acceleration category. The Foil doesn’t enjoy the same inspired handling that the S5 and Venge offer. Part of that may be due to the super stiff frame. A bit of bounce and snap seem to help a bike’s handling. The Foil is more a point and shoot bike. You know exactly where the wheels are on the bike. But if you mess up a corner, don’t expect any forgiveness. The Foil requires a talented rider to bring out its full potential.
User Friendliness: 13 of 15 points
The seatpost, though Scott-specific in shape, worked well. Tolerances were reasonable, but remember the carbon friction paste when installing it. The Ritchey one-bolt head makes for easy adjustments and Scott offers two setback options.
Like the Venge, Scott includes a chain catcher on the Foil. Unlike most front derailleur-mounted catchers, Scott’s design mounts to a boss on the seat tube below the front derailleur. It’s simple, clean and very effective.
There is one thing to note for those considering electronic drivetrains. Routing Di2 or EPS wires internally is impossible without drilling the frame, if you buy a bike with a mechanical group. Conversely, the electronic-specific frame won’t accept a mechanical group.
Poor tolerances on the fork dropout spacing made installing a wheel difficult. The dropouts were too widely spaced. Nothing was structurally wrong, but this was annoying nonetheless.
Value: 16 of 20 points
Scott offers the Foil with a less expensive HMF layup that is a phenomenal value. If you’re tearing up the local road-racing scene, you might consider buying yourself a cheaper version.
Shimano’s mechanical Dura-Ace is expensive, but compared to Di2 or Super Record, it’s fast becoming a value. For $7,500 the Foil 10 also includes Mavic’s excellent Cosmic Carbon wheels. They are a robust set of aluminum-rimmed clincher wheels, ready for action.
Weight: 4 of 5 points
The second lightest weight in the test kept up the Foil’s consistent accumulation of points.