The Scott Foil has always been one of our favourite aero machines, each time that we’ve tested it. Last year, it gained disc brakes with five different spec options, although there are still four rim brake specs available too. We’ve really liked the Scott Foil 10 Disc with the improved stopping power not detracting from the bike’s other excellent qualities, which is why it’s made it into this year’s Editor’s Choice.
But opting for the disc brake Scott Foil 10 over the rim brake version ups the price by £900 from £4,099, so adding discs is a pricey upgrade. Do disc brakes justify the £4,999 price tag?
The Scott Foil frameset is one of the nicest-looking aero options out there and also, according to our own testing, one of the most aerodynamic. You get a chunky kammtail down tube with a skinnier top half and dropped seatstays.
There’s really good integration too, with a closely coupled aero fork, aero stem and spacers and the cables all disappearing neatly into the down tube via a single port. Scott’s integrated seatpost clamp continues to be fiddly and delicate though – it’s easy to break (as we’ve found out) so it’s worthwhile getting a shop to adjust your saddle height for you.
The result of Scott’s work on the frame is, it claims, that the disc brake bike is as aero as the rim brake version. It also says that the size large frame tested weighs 985g, which is impressive for a disc-brake aero frameset.
The switch to disc brakes has allowed Scott to make the Scott Foil 10 Disc’s fork even skinnier and to add winglets at the dropouts for added aero, with the left side especially large and shielding the brake caliper. The chainstays have also been redesigned and tyre clearance has been upped to 30mm.
The test bike is running 28s, although as usual with modern wide rims, these come out closer to 30mm. There’s still plenty of clearance and anything up to 35mm should fit into the frame, though we wouldn’t recommend it!
I like the colour scheme used for the Scott Foil 10 Disc (the range-topping £10,999 Scott Foil Premium Disc gets the same treatment). It’s a relief that it’s not all-black and it looks classier than the acid yellow of some other bikes in the range. Up close, the metallic brown paintwork looks even better and topped with the tan sidewalls you’re almost guaranteed to turn heads.
The Scott Foil 10 Disc is third down the Foil hierarchy, with the Foil RC Disc getting Dura-Ace and the Foil Premium Disc Dura-Ace Di2. But you still get excellent electronic shifting from the Ultegra Di2 groupset, without a significant weight penalty.
The Scott Foil 10 Disc comes with a 52/36 semicompact chainset and 11-30 cassette. It’s an increasingly popular set of ratios, enabled by Shimano’s latest generation groupsets, that gives you more top end without losing the climbing potential of a low bottom gear.
We’ve found the wheels on some Scott bikes a bit narrow for comfortable set-up of tubeless tyres and valves. But the latest Syncros Meritt 1.0 Disc carbon rims are not just deep at 50mm, but also wide enough to support 28mm tyres without sidewall bulge. The thru-axle lever can be removed, which Scott says helps save a few watts.
The tan-sidewall Schwalbe One tubeless-ready 28mm tyres match the bike’s colour scheme and put plenty of rubber on the road for stress-free grip and handling even on wet rides.
Scott has moved away from a one-piece bar and stem on the Scott Foil 10 Disc, although you still get this on the higher-specced bikes. That’s a shame, as the Syncros aerobar is one of the most comfortable out there and should save a few watts. The separate bar and stem do add some adjustability, though, and the bar tops retain the comfortable, flat aero profile. The Di2 junction box is stashed away in the end of the bar.
From my perspective, the Syncros Belcarra 2.0 saddle should have two strikes against it: I tend to find cut-outs uncomfortable, plus you can’t shift your weight around much if you ride stubby saddles. I’m not the only tester at Cycling Weekly to find this latest saddle trend isn’t usually for them. But I actually found the Belcarra pretty comfortable, so maybe it’s converted me to the short and stubby genre.
Riding the Scott Foil 10 Disc
And whatever you make of the saddle choice, the Scott Foil 10 Disc is an excellent machine to ride. We harp on about Matty Hayman’s Paris-Roubaix win on a rim-braked Foil, but it is testament to the Foil’s ride quality.
That hasn’t been lost with the switch to disc brakes. The Foil remains one of the most comfortable aero machines available, with plenty of compliance in the skinny seatstays, the extended seatpost and the fork blades, which work together to soak up road imperfections over many miles of riding.
That’s only enhanced by the wider tyres, with their option to run at lower pressures and tubeless. And you still get the Foil’s excellent power transfer, plus the reassurance of the more effective hydraulic disc braking – a boon in wet weather.
In fact, the switch to disc brakes has eliminated our one gripe with the rim-brake bike; the placement of that machine’s rear caliper under the bottom bracket led to brake rub under more vigorous acceleration and climbing. In the Scott Foil 10 Disc, that’s a thing of the past.
At 7kg, the rim braked Scott Foil RC was also light for an aero bike. The Scott Foil 10 Disc has put on just under a kilogram, but sub-8kg still makes it one of the lightest aero disc brake bikes we’ve tested.
The manufacturer quotes a weight increase of just 100g from the rim-brake Scott Foil 10. We’ve also ridden the Scott Foil Premium Disc and weighed that at just over 7kg for a size large.
The low weight of the Scott Foil 10 Disc shows in the quick acceleration and lively climbing once you hit the hills.
£5.000 puts the Scott Foil 10 Disc at the premium end of the bikes we test. But it’s a high quality offering with a quality spec too, including the aero carbon wheels and Ultegra Di2 gears. It justifies that price tag with an excellent ride and slippery profile, coupled to an impressive palmarès under the Mitchelton-Scott pro team.
But £900 is quite a price hike for a disc-brake bike from its rim-brake stablemate. That’s maybe justified by the extra engineering that has gone into developing the disc-brake bike, such as the redesigned, more aero fork blades.
It’s nice to have the reassurance of disc brakes and they are becoming the norm for high-performance machines. But there’s a significant saving in cash and weight from buying the standard Scott Foil 10 if you’re prepared to live with rim brakes.
The Scott Foil 10 Disc provides an excellent ride and quality spec with the reassurance of disc brakes and a fast aero feel. This goes some way to justifying its £5,000 price tag, although that’s a big step up from the equivalent rim-braked machine.