When Scott engineers set their sights on making the ultimate superbike, they took off the gloves and came out swinging. During its two year hiatus, the Addict was completely re-tooled in every way and the pinnacle of that achievement is the Scott Addict SL superbike.
2014 Scott Addict SL Features:
- HMX-SL carbon frame and fork
- Ultralight full-production frame/fork (995 grams in a 54cm)
- Full SRAM Red 22 groupset
- Syncros RL1.0 28mm carbon clincher wheels
- Continental GP4000S 23c tires
- Ritchey SuperLogic C260 stem
- Ritchey WCS Carbon EvoCurve bars
- Ritchey SuperLogic seatpost
- Fi’zi:k Arione 00 saddle
- Weight: 13.2 lbs (56cm out-of-the-box without pedals or cages)
$12,650now $9249 for 2015!
The Addict SL Stands Out Amongst the Superbikes
When Scott re-introduced the Addict for the 2014 model year, they didn’t just dust off the old Addict (as good as it was) and give it a new coat of paint. No, they blew it up, burned the ashes and buried them deep in a ravine somewhere. Countless hours of engineering, testing, re-designing and more testing went into the all-new Addict and specifically the Addict SL.
Scott prides themselves as “The Carbon Experts” and it is certainly well-deserved as they have been building top-notch frames out of the wonder material with Swiss precision for many years. I got the first-hand run-down at last year’s press launch from the engineers and product team — it’s clear that a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this frame.
At the crux of the Addict SL is the HMX-SL layup which utilizes aerospace nanotube fibers in critical areas to both reduce weight and improve power transfer. The resulting frame and fork tips the scales at 1 kg — still among the lightest full-production frame/fork combos in the world and bested only by the new Trek Emonda SLR (the Cervelo RCA doesn’t count).
But, the Addict has an edge over the Emonda in that it is both lightweight and aerodynamic. Earlier this year, German publication, Tour Magazin, did extensive aerodynamic testing of 12 aero bikes and 12 top race bikes. The results listed the Cervelo S5 and Cervelo R5 as the top aero and race bikes, respectively in terms of aerodynamic efficiency. But, the Addict came in just a hair behind the R5 as the second best wind-cheating race bike on the market. They called out the Addict SL as a special blend of race and aerodynamics.
I’d say Scott engineers did a marvelous job at delivering both a lightweight superbike that also boasts top-tier aerodynamics. And my testing confirms that this is one fast bike!
The Addict SL Gets a Top-tier Parts Spec
As you’d imagine, a $12,000 complete bike should leave nothing on the table. The SL tips the scales at 13.2 lbs. in my 56cm test bike and features ultralight, yet stiff and durable parts. The Ritchey cockpit and Syncros RL1.0 28mm carbon clinchers (custom-selected DT-Swiss models) complement the SL frame quite nicely.
To get the weight down, Scott also chose to go with a complete SRAM Red 22 grouppo (which is the lightest road kit available) and by my miles of testing, the most delightful of the bunch.
The Syncros wheels are actually handpicked from the DT-Swiss arsenal to ensure the stiffest, fastest and lightest build available. The RL1.0’s are a combination of the RC 28 C with straight-pull hubs. I’m told that the shape is the same as the RC 28 C, but Scott engineers created their own layup schedule for the clinchers. Nobody will scoff at these wheels and the Syncros treatment flows better with the whole package instead of throwing DT Swiss branding into the mix as well.
The only drawback with these hoops is the narrow width. At 21mm, they don’t offer the best handling with today’s wider tires of 25mm or greater (my typical tire width). I will say that the included 23c Continental GP4000S tires have been fantastic performers, but I’d still like to go bigger. While I’m not a big guy by any means, I can easily flex most wheels when standing on a climb. I’ve not noticed one bit of lateral flex in these wheels — no matter how hard I’ve pushed them. They are stiff and roll with a vengeance on all terrain and feel particularly responsive when the pitch gets steep. Coming in at a svelte 1310 grams, these hoops respond in spades and can climb all day.
Braking power on these clinchers is outstanding. It’s so powerful that I’ve almost locked things up on occasion. Whatever the magic sauce is between the brake track and the SwissStop pads, they certainly have braking dialed. I’ll add that the carbon Red 22 levers are such a pleasure for braking and the calipers are strong and powerful.
Superhuman Power or Mind Games?
Any time you have a 13.2 lb. bike, it’s going to feel fast, responsive, zippy and all the typical buzzwords. It’s going to charge off the line like a rocket and it’s going to give you extra gas when laying down the wood on your local group ride. Well, I suppose some ultralight bikes might not do that, but the Addict most certainly does.
If you’ve followed my reviews, you know that my backyard is the Alpine Loop Scenic Byway — one of the iconic road climbs in Utah’s Wasatch and commonly used for The Tour of Utah’s Queen Stage. It features 3000 ft of climbing over about 10 miles. At my pace, that means about an hour of straight climbing. In this terrain, the SL feels right at home. I have absolutely loved climbing on this bike. It feels completely in its element and makes the vert feel like child’s play.
That said, the SL came geared with a traditional 53/39 crankset and 11-26t cassette (not particularly climber-friendly). Regardless of the gear ratios, I’ve been able to keep up a high cadence and maintain speed that I couldn’t otherwise with heavier or less aerodynamic frames. More longstanding Strava PR’s have fallen with this bike than I can count on all my fingers and toes. I’m in good shape, but this bike turns me into a superhero.
I’m loving descending on this bike and have found it to be a real treat at speed. It handles and corners like a race bike should without feeling twitchy. It devours curvy mountain descents and begs to be ridden harder. I’ve not felt this comfortable at speed on any bike — it literally feels so well planted that you feel like you’re a hero.
No question, this bike checks off all the laterally stiff and vertically compliant claims. In fact, it should be noted that both ORICA-Greenedge and IAM Cycling riders chose the Addict for the Spring Classics and the most recent Stage 5 of the 2014 Tour de France (we all know how that was). Granted, these guys are Pro Tour riders, but they can outfit the Addict to suit cobbles just fine by running 27mm tubulars.
So, I ran my set of Zipp 202 Firecrest clincher’s with 25mm Continental Grand Prix 4000S tires and did notice an increase in comfort — running a 27mm tire would certainly increase that even more. Hallelujah for increased tire clearance on modern race bikes!
Bits and Pieces
I have really loved the Ritchey cockpit on the SL. The ultra-stiff SuperLogic Carbon C260 stem mated to the WCS Carbon EvoCurve bars is responsive, stiff and comfortable. I will say that the C260 design does make for difficult access to the Torx bolts — particularly when using a multi-tool, but this stem is light and supremely stiff. At this price, I’m wondering why the SuperLogic EvoCurve bars weren’t selected to shave a few more grams.
The 25mm setback SuperLogic Carbon seatpost is very light and the single bolt design with side clamps holds rails (7×9 in this case) securely. It’s also easy to adjust when necessary. For the proper fit, you’ll notice that I have swapped to a zero setback WCS Carbon seatpost. I didn’t notice any difference as far as compliance when switching from the setback post, but I was able to better dial in my reach on the frame.
As far as saddles go, you won’t find a lighter one than the Arione 00 and it’s honestly quite comfortable to boot — even though it’s too narrow for my posterior. I really did like the feel of it, but started getting numb on longer rides, so I swapped it for a Specialized S-Works Chicane 155 to better suit my body.
While I can’t sing enough praises for the feel of the SRAM Red 22 groupset, I was dogged by a bent derailleur hanger from shipping, which vexed me from day one. Unfortunately, Scott has been out of spare hangers. Meanwhile, I was able to get it bent back to where I think it should be, however the chain skipping at the lowermost pulley has continued in certain gear combinations. It’s always good to have a spare hanger on hand — hopefully Scott will again have them available soon so I can get this bike’s shifting as tidy as it should be.
- Set the bar high as the lightest production frame/fork when introduced
- This bike LOVES climbing
- Winding descents are met with capable and smooth handling
- Ultralight, stiff and responsive to every pedal stroke
- Aerodynamic tube shapes yield noticeable results
- Probably one of the most comfortable-riding full-tilt race bikes I’ve tested (thin stays work wonders)
- SRAM Red 22 is the pinnacle of lightweight kits
- Syncros RL1.0 wheels offer excellent braking and are darn stiff, light and responsive
- Ritchey carbon cockpit is top-shelf and comfortable
- The wheels are narrow by today’s standards
- Brake cable rattles inside top tube
- This super bike requires a super wallet
The Bottom Line
Without question, the new Scott Addict is a fantastic race bike with a penchant for climbing. In the tested Addict SL trim, this is a no-holds-barred race rocket that has demolished all my previous Strava PR’s. Well-heeled riders will appreciate just how special this bike is and hopefully ride the hell out of it.