Scott Addict R3

  • Posted: 9th June 2010

Most bike companies would be more than content if they could produce a super stiff sub-1kg road frame, and doubly so if they could manufacture it reliably in large numbers.

Scott has done this for the past four years its CR1 model. A bare CR1 frame weighs in at around 890g to 950g depending on the size and it has developed a great reputation amongst weight conscious enthusiasts and professionals.

The CR1 for example has seen plenty of action in the pro peloton under riders such as two-time Giro d’Italia winner Gilberto Simoni and his Saunier Duval team.

Rather than being content with the CR1, Scott has been working hard to push the boundaries a little further. Trimming weight off an amazingly light frame like the CR1 is no mean feat, but that is what it has done with the Addict. Scott claims 790g for a medium size and our large test frame came in at a little over 830g, which ties closely with the company’s claim.

This puts it amongst the lightest and most exotic frames in existence, but like the CR1, the Addict remains a mass produced bike that you can buy through any Scott dealer.

To carry out such a dramatic weight loss, Scott has developed a new manufacturing process for the front end of the Addict, known as ‘Integrated Moulding Process’ or IMP which involves producing the top, down and head tubes in one step. Scott says that this has reduced the amount of material used by 11%.

However, stiffness has not been forgotten during the weight reduction process and a new ‘HMX’ composite used in the head tube junctions is said to be 20% stiffer than the ‘HMF’ material used in the CR1.

The seat tube and rear stays are basically the same as before but further weight has been trimmed with the use of carbon fibre drop-outs; only the replaceable rear derailleur hanger is made from alloy. Scott has gone to amazing lengths to save weight on the Addict; even the ‘braze-on’ front derailleur mount and the cable stops are made from carbon fibre.

Unsurprisingly the Addict doesn’t come cheap. At $7,699 the Addict R3 in complete bike form that we reviewed is the cheapest model using the new frame. Still, with a full SRAM Force group set, Mavic Ksyrium ES wheels and a $400 carbon railed Selle Italia saddle, you can hardly refer to the R3 as a ‘budget spec’.

The easiest way to compare the Addict with its predecessor is by looking at the R2; it sells for $7,999 and comes with full Dura-Ace running gear and identical ES wheels. The top end CR1 SL also comes with full Dura-Ace gear but has a slightly cheaper Ksyrium SL wheelset and retails for $6,999. So, with similar or slightly better running gear, the Addict sells for $1,000 more than its predecessor.

The Addict also features a brand new fork, which, like the frame, utilises carbon fibre tips to shave some weight. At around 320g (depending on the steerer length), the new fork shaves a further 90 odd grams from the overall bike weight.

Record Breaker

With its featherweight carbon brake levers and svelte derailleurs, SRAM ’s Force groupset is lighter than Dura-Ace and about as light as you can get. While Force has not been around for long, it has proven its worth at the top end of the market.

Combining these super light components with the stunningly light Addict frame resulted in the lightest test bike that we have ever seen at Bicycling Australia. The large size R3 tipped the scales at 6.35kg without pedals, and even when I fitted my slightly weighty Shimano clipless pedals the R3 was still only 6.65kg, which is under the UCI legal limit (technically this limit applies to any club, state or national level race under Cycling Australia’s jurisdiction).

You would need to fit two bottle cages, a cycle computer and maybe a small weight to take the R3 up to the UCI approved 6.8kg mark. The aspect that impressed me the most was that this weight was achieved with good solid parts that anyone could ride.

I would only class the 125g full carbon railed saddle as going a little ‘over the top’, but on the road it truly surprised me with its comfort and didn’t give me any grief on 100km plus training rides.

So far I have focused a lot on the weight of this bike, but even the most obsessed ‘weight weenies’ should know that there is a lot more to any bike than its weight.

Once aboard the Addict you will instantly notice the other dominant ride quality which is the incredible stiffness. With something this light, you just expect it to be flimsy but the Addict seemingly defies logic in this respect.

Amazing Rigidity

The Addict is extremely stiff, at least with my 64kg body on board. Under power it feels like every ounce of effort is transferred instantly into forward motion and the result is a very responsive ride that just begs to be hammered up every rise. With all its stiffness, it doesn’t feel dead on the road, which is perhaps due to the feathery weight or the way the frame ‘springs’ back from any input powerful enough to net some flex. Whatever it is, the Addict feels very lively.

I also own a very light 6.8kg alloy bike (including pedals), but despite the comparable weight, the Addict was a far better climber. The additional stiffness in the bottom bracket area and across the entire front half of the frame allowed me to push a much bigger gear with no sensation of power loss. When feeling strong it made me lazy with the gear changes as I could just mash on the pedals in a big gear and not bother downshifting.

When the legs give in you can then appreciate the low weight.

There is a flip side to the Addict that isn’t so welcoming. The lack of weight and the incredible stiffness also translates to a nerve-racking ride on rough descents. The carbon frame does a respectable job of muting the vibration from repetitive road irregularities on surfaces such as blue metal gravel roads, but when a decent pothole or bump appears it is time to hang on tight!

With next to no weight and minimal flex, I found myself being launched or at least skipping around a lot at speed on less than perfect roads. The frame geometry is nothing unusual and the 73-degree head angle provides sharp and precise steering at speed. Where the road surface was good, the Addict handled nicely and was not overly nervous.

The true nature of the Addict is reflected in some of the subtle geometry changes that have been made from the CR1. The head tube has been shortened by a round 10mm to offer a lower and more aero riding position and the seat tube angle has been slackened by half a degree, placing the saddle a little further behind the bottom bracket and adding about five mm to the top tube length. All of these alterations will appeal to the experienced racer who likes a stretched out position.

The Addict is a racing thoroughbred; everything about it is designed for minimal weight and maximum speed. While it is not the most comfortable ride, it is far from the worst in this respect, and the payback for the taut ride is amazing acceleration and climbing prowess.

Is it worth the $1,000 price hike over the CR1? At the top end of the market you always face the law of diminishing returns where you have to spend big dollars to gain a minimal improvement. When you factor in the cutting edge frame construction, the substantial weight saving in the fork and the better component spec, I think that the asking price is very fair.