Product Preview: 2016 Scott Foil
2015 has been a pretty good year for Scott. Their two sponsored road teams, Orica-GreenEDGE and IAM Cycling, have won races and classifications all across Europe, Asia, and Australia, including stage wins in the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España. And when these teams have needed to be at their fastest, they've relied on the Foil frameset, one of the stiffest, lightest, and highest-performance frames in the world, to carry them to the finish line. The 2016 model year is going to see significant changes to the frameset, making it even better than before. Discerning riders with a taste for the best bikes will fall in love with the 2016 Foil.
The most visible change to the bike is in the cockpit. The Syncros Aero RR1.0 is a one-piece handlebar and stem, designed for ergonomics, weight savings, stiffness, and aerodynamics. The cockpit is carbon fiber, with a layup schedule designed to optimize each individual size, and internally routed for brake cables and mechanical or electronic shifters, leaving the cockpit space aesthetically and aerodynamically cleaner. Garmin users will enjoy the two mounts designed for the Aero RR1.0, which ensure the display stays centered and easily read at all times. The overall weight of the system, meanwhile, averages around 395 grams, which leaves it between a quarter and a half pound lighter than traditional handlebars and stems, all of which will be both heavier and less rigid than the Aero RR1.0 to a greater or lesser degree.
The frame itself also came in for a radical redesign. To reduce drag from the rear wheel as much as possible, Scott's designers want to shrink the space inside the Foil frame's rear triangle, but they're limited by the International Cycling Union's 3:1 rule; no tube can be over 3 times wider in profile than it is from the front. If the frame's head tube is one inch when measured from the front, for example, the tube must be three inches wide or less when measured from the side. Frames that don't conform to this rule (among many others) are ineligible for racing.*
To solve the problem of lowering rear triangle drag without breaking the 3:1 rule, Scott has positioned the seatstays considerably lower on the new Foil frame. This prevents air churned up by the rear wheel and cyclist's legs from stagnating within the rear triangle, since there's less space in which the air can be trapped. The new seatstay design also increases vertical compliance in the frame; no matter how light or aerodynamic a frame may be, a design that can't soak up road vibrations will ultimately slow down any rider due to fatigue. Additionally, all tubes in the Foil frame have been reshaped with Scott's F01 Aero design, resulting in an aerofoil shape with lower air resistance from headwinds and crosswinds. Scott claims the result is a frame that, compared to the previous version of the Foil, saves up to 20 seconds over a distance of 40 kilometers.
Finally, Scott has upgraded their carbon fiber processes. Whereas the previous generation of Foil frames was made with HMF carbon fiber, similar to other companies' high-performance carbon blends, all the new Foil frames are made with Scott's proprietary HMX carbon fiber, resulting in a 20% improvement in strength by weight. This process allows the frame designers to reduce the overall frame weight, improve power transfer, and increase vibration dampening. The Foil Premium, meanwhile, is built with HMX-SL carbon fiber, which further increases the frameset's qualities of light weight, stiffness, and efficiency.
So is this bike you upgrade to this year? That depends on you. How fast do you want to go? Are you ready to fall in love with speed?
As soon as the 2016 Foil becomes available, we'll have one on the floor. Keep an eye out for future newsletter updates on this bike...
* If you want to see what aero bikes looked like before the UCI cracked down on designs, click here. Note the smaller front wheel, downward sloping top tube, very low front end, and the extreme width of the tube profiles. Generally, bikes like this are not available now, because the UCI has banned such features for reasons of safety and leveling the technological playing field. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is a debate beyond the scope of this article.