Faster, lighter, more comfortable – very few would probably complain about these attributes in a new bike. It’s hardly surprising, then, that the SCOTT Foil RC 2023 is described with exactly these terms. Our first test shows whether the bike lives up to them thanks to improved aerodynamics and modified carbon layup.
What do all race bikes have in common? That’s right, their design must comply with the UCI regulations in order to be allowed to be used in racing. If the UCI changes the rules, this always has a direct impact on the design of new bikes and parts. That’s exactly what happened in 2021 and made more aerodynamic shapes with flatter profiles possible – the SCOTT Foil RC 2023 is one of the first bikes to take advantage of that. This should make it the harbinger of a new generation of aero bikes, which should mean an evolution for racing, and make the bike significantly faster. For the bike itself, according to SCOTT, this means a saving of 16 watts at a speed of 40 km/h. Is it all just marketing mumbo-jumbo or does the Foil RC 2023 also bring the big words also to the road? In any case, the development effort was immense: frame shapes, which were created with the help of endless calculations and animations, were finally tested in a wind tunnel in Silverstone and further optimized based on the results.
The aerodynamics of the new SCOTT aero bike
Although the new UCI regulations made significantly more aggressive aero shapes possible, SCOTT’s development goal was not simply to maximize the aerodynamics of the bike. Rather, the focus was on a sensible balance of aerodynamics, weight and comfort. In addition, the aerodynamics must always be understood as a system of bike and rider and evaluated with regard to a specific riding situation – riding speed and wind direction, therefore, also play a role. While measured values from wind tunnels with a perfect headwind from the front should be treated with caution, it is important to find a compromise with the widest possible sweet spot for changing conditions in the real world. For the SCOTT Foil RC 2023, that means it works best in winds between 4° and 10° from the front. Although the new UCI rules allow for much flatter frame shapes, it doesn’t necessarily lead to improved aerodynamics to fully utilize the allowed limits. According to SCOTT, it is much more a matter of avoiding braking air turbulence as much as possible through intelligent shaping. For the SCOTT Foil, this results mainly in five characteristic design features to achieve this: a significantly more voluminous bottom bracket area, a rear wheel strongly integrated into the seat tube, rotated and low-set seat stays, a flat and longer fork, and an increased distance between tire and fork crown. The question of why it is better for the air turbulence of the tires at the front wheel to have more space to the fork crown and at the rear wheel to be enclosed as closely as possible by the seat tube, however, remains unresolved. In addition to the points mentioned, a completely revised aero cockpit is used on the SCOTT Foil RC 2023. More about this in a moment.
The wind tunnel is only half the truth – optimal aerodynamics always refers to the overall system and the respective riding situation.
The tech details of the new SCOTT Foil RC 2023
All versions of the SCOTT Foil RC 2023 come with a carbon frame. However, only the top model Foil RC Ultimate receives the highest quality carbon named HMX-SL. The frame comes in size M including a derailleur hanger, derailleur mount, battery mount for Di2 circuits and seatpost clamp, tilting the scales at 915 g. For the fork, another 445 g are added. All other models fall back on the slightly heavier HMX carbon, with which the frame also in size M weighs in at 985 g and the fork at 475 g. Thus, the new SCOTT Foil RC is 9% lighter than the previous model, according to the manufacturer. For this saving, SCOTT relied primarily on using fewer parts, which means less carbon and less resin is needed.
The new SCOTT Foil RC relies on a steeper seat tube with a larger cross-section compared to its predecessor. This lends the frameset itself a lower flex, which would initially lead to less comfort, but to avoid this, SCOTT equip the bike with the Syncros Duncan SL Aero CFT seatpost, which has a large cutout and a comfort element integrated into it. Thus, the comfort values should be better overall than with the old SCOTT Foil. The seatpost is available in lengths of 330 mm and 380 mm, each with 0 mm and 15 mm offset. In addition, there is a rear light in the accessory store, which can be cleverly integrated into the recess, but is not included due to regional regulations.
However, the seatpost can not be inserted quite as deep into the frame due to the recess as a conventional post – in its lowest position it extends at least 109 mm above the frame. Small riders or female riders who would have to sit even lower will have to fall back on the Syncros Duncan SL Aero seatpost without a recess. Thus, they lack the comfort element, but they save on weight. Without the comfort element, the post is about 90 g lighter.
There are also differences in the cockpit between the models. Only the SCOTT Foil RC Ultimate and Pro get the one-piece Syncros Creston iC SL aero cockpit, which convinces with maximum integration and an awesome look. A computer mount can be mounted directly and the spacers to change the handlebar height are split in two. Thus, they can be removed or added without having to dismantle the complete cockpit. The cheaper models have to make do with two-piece combinations of Syncros Creston Aero handlebar and Syncros RR Aero stem, which are visually much less pleasing than the overall appearance of the bike.
Variants and availability of the new SCOTT aero bike
The new SCOTT Foil RC 2023 will be available in a total of five equipment variants, all of which should be available from the end of the year. Prices haven’t been specified yet due to the uncertain situation on the bike market. We will provide you with them here as soon as they become available. All five equipment variants keep up with the times technologically and come with electronic shifting groups, disc brakes, and are tubeless ready. For your own setups, however, the frameset is also prepared for mechanical groupsets. All information on the five variants of the SCOTT Foil RC 2023 is available in the table.
The geometry of the SCOTT Foil RC 2023
The geometry of the SCOTT Foil RC 2023 remains largely unchanged compared to the previous model and is, therefore, also the same as in the SCOTT Addict RC. Only the reach of the cockpit is 10 mm shorter than in the sister model. Thus, it remains very easy for all riders who own both models to switch between the bikes without having to change the seating position. The bike is available in seven sizes from 47 to 61 and all info on the geometry can be found in the table.
|Top tube||510 mm||520 mm||535 mm||550 mm||565 mm||580 mm||595 mm|
|Head tube||110 mm||115 mm||130 mm||150 mm||170 mm||190 mm||210 mm|
|Chainstays||410 mm||410 mm||410 mm||410 mm||410 mm||410 mm||410 mm|
|BB Drop||-66 mm||-66 mm||-66 mm||-66 mm||-66 mm||-66 mm||-66 mm|
|Stack||502.6 mm||509.0 mm||526.7 mm||547.5 mm||568.3 mm||588.5 mm||607.7 mm|
|Reach||370.6 mm||378.8 mm||384.0 mm||388.9 mm||394.5 mm||400.0 mm||403.4 mm|
SCOTT Foil RC vs. Addict RC – Why are there two bikes?
The conflict of goals is well known: weight vs. aerodynamics. Between the Foil RC and the Addict RC, depending on the equipment, about 300 g speak in favor of the lighter Addict. But does that justify owning a second bike? At Specialized, they decided against it – albeit before the UCI rules changed – and threw the Venge aero bike out of the portfolio. With the Specialized Tarmac (read our review here), the Californians are sure to be able to build a bike that manages to be light with minimal sacrifices in aerodynamics. So why does SCOTT go a different way? The reason is simple: the conditions have changed with the UCI rules and it is not certain that Specialized will maintain their one-bike policy under these conditions. Trek and Canyon, for example, also continue to have one lighter climbing bike and one pure aero bike each in their portfolios. But back to SCOTT. Where on a functional level it’s just about weight and aerodynamics, on an emotional level there’s also the look: the Addict RC is more inconspicuous and conventional, while the new Foil RC is very striking on the road with its flat and aggressive shapes. In the end, it’s a matter of taste which bike you choose – and in a sport where mental strength plays a major role, it can make a difference whether you feel one hundred percent comfortable on your bike or not.
The SCOTT Foil RC Ultimate 2023 on test
Together with the World Tour’s pro Sam Welsford from Team DSM, we already had the chance to chase the new Scott Foil over Italian country roads as well as the race track of the Porsche Experience Center Franciacorta. Although we dropped out of the hunt for the best time on the race track, we did our job of gathering meaningful test impressions with flying colors. As soon as you sit down on the new SCOTT Foil RC Ultimate 2023, it quickly becomes clear that this bike wants to go forward! At first, it goes very directly forward, but without shining with absolute light-footedness. The reason for this may be that the weight isn’t super low and that the aero wheels have a higher rotating mass. Once the bike is in motion, however, it goes forward very efficiently and stoically. You have the impression of being unstoppable, especially on flat terrain, in so-called rolling hills and downhill. The Foil RC, therefore, feels particularly comfortable.
Uphill, however, you notice that the bike does not want to be a climbing artist. Just as stoic is the smooth running and the directional stability of the bike. Only when it is shifted by its increased crosswind susceptibility that’s typical of aero bikes, you should be prepared and have both hands on the handlebar. Nevertheless, the handling remains very direct and precise with an absolute race bike character. The bike is thus both controllable for beginners, as well as powerful enough for professionals. With these characteristics, the bike is made for long solo rides or attacks in the breakaway group.
The comfort of the SCOTT Foil RC Ultimate 2023 is absolutely fine for an aero race bike. The frameset is very characteristic of SCOTT – very stiff – but thanks to the comfort element in the seatpost and the voluminous rear tire a good vibration damping is achieved. A useful upgrade here can be tires in 700x30c size, which would fully exploit the maximum tire clearance of the bike and bring some extra comfort. Overall, the SCOTT Foil RC Ultimate defuses vibrations and smaller impacts particularly well – coarser bumps strike through noticeably as in the predecessor. At the same time, the comfort on the drops is slightly higher than on the hoods because through a clever carbon layup SCOTT have managed to elicit some compliance from the cockpit and still maintain the absolute stiffness for fast target sprints. Overall, the SCOTT Foil RC Ultimate 2023 is a very coherent and balanced bike. We look forward to collecting more test impressions in the endurance test soon.
Our conclusion on the SCOTT Foil RC 2023
Fast, faster, the fastest – SCOTT have cleverly implemented the new UCI rules and thus made the new SCOTT Foil RC 2023 the fastest bike in their own portfolio. Without stirring a revolution, the bike is thus a meaningful evolutionary step in the aero segment. Riders of all skill levels who like to bolt on the flat or in a large peloton at a decent pace will have proper fun with the Foil RC. All those who are looking for a lively climber, look to the sister model Addict RC.
- coherent overall concept with first-class integration
- agile handling despite high riding smoothness
- clever details for more comfort
- small riders have to do without the additional comfort of the seatpost
You can find more information at scott-sports.com
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Words: Tobias Hörsch Photos: Scott