So close, yet so far. Some minor tweaks would make this bike so much better
Solid alloy frame will last a lifetime
Smooth gear transmission
Carbon fork and Shimano brakes would set this above its peers
By Jack Elton-Walters published
This Scott Speedster 50's design and paint job belie its low price and make it look like a much higher-spec ride. The slick looks and slight aero profiling to the down tube mean it wouldn’t look out of place in a race.
However, the ride doesn’t quite match the looks.
The frame itself is made from double-butted alloy, as you’d expect in this price bracket. The frame is stiff and responsive, but there’s a compromise for that low price: it’s quite heavy.
>>> The Scott Speedster 50 is featured in - The best cheap bikes: ridden and rated
The first disappointment to mention in this review is the alloy fork, which gives a harsh ride and passes every bit of road buzz on to the rider.
Other brands offer, for a similar price, bikes with a carbon fork; this tweak — and even a minor price increase to facilitate it — would improve this build a great deal.
On the whole, the groupset suits the price, and the gear transmission is smooth and accurate — as is to be expected from Shimano.
The mix of Shimano Sora and Shimano Claris runs well, and the inclusion of a 32t sprocket helps when hauling this bike’s 10kg up the climbs. The eight-speed cassette means that the gap between the gears can feel a bit clunky, but does not affect the ride quality too severely.
>>> Road bike groupsets: A complete buyer’s guide (video)
Moving on to the Tektro brakes — the second disappointment to mention — they felt unresponsive and did not instil much confidence on steeper descents. The inclusion of Shimano brakes would noticeably improve the spec.
What to expect on a budget
The Speedster’s wheelset felt spot-on for the price and in relation to the rest of the build. Stiff and strong, and able to bounce off some questionable road surfaces, these low-cost wheels do what’s expected of them.
>>> Road bike wheels buyer’s guide (videos)
They have an aero profiling, which is a good touch for entry-level hoops, and they work well with the aesthetic of the bike.
With some very minor tweaks, the Speedster could be a formidable entry-level sportive machine. Unfortunately, the manufacturer has missed the mark in a few places, which has had a serious impact on the ride as a whole.
As mentioned, the alloy fork sends all the road buzz into the rider’s wrists, something that could be dampened with a carbon fork. This could also be alleviated with 25mm tyres, which are now the common option on most road bikes.
>>> Buyer’s guide to road bike tyres (video)
The rest of the bike actually rode very well. The frame is stiff and the power transfer is efficient, as you would expect from Shimano.
This is a good-looking bike competing in a competitive beginner market. On first sight and first sit, you might think you’ve landed a bargain.
However, with a bit of market research to see what other manufacturers supply for a similar amount of money, and a couple of miles on some rough road surfaces, it becomes clear that the Speedster doesn’t quite hit the mark.
Jack Elton-Walters hails from the Isle of Wight, and would be quick to tell anyone that it's his favourite place to ride. He has covered a varied range of topics for Cycling Weekly, producing articles focusing on tech, professional racing as well as cycling culture. He moved on to work for Cyclist magazine in 2017.
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