2006 Scott Plasma
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Purchased 3/31/06 | Pro reviews/articles | Update 4/7/07
The Scott Plasma features a very state of the art frame with integrated seat post/down tube. Quoted frame weight is 980 grams (2.1lbs); Scott takes these measurements assuming the seat mast is cut completely off (poor methodology). Actual weight for the 56cm frame was 1200 grams (2.6lbs); 25 grams of the seat mast was cut, so that brings it to 1175 (2.59lbs). Fork was 360 grams uncut (.79 lbs) and seat adapter is 147 grams. Built weight is 15lbs 15 oz as shown; 16 lbs 11 oz with Hed Alps wheels.

From top

With American Classic Wheels:

Nice touches by Dmitry; cable tie creates tension to keep cables off the frame.

Once the seatpost/ "mast" is cut, you have less than 3CM of height adjustment. Measure 2, 3 times, then cut! Scott supplies dealers with a die (that looks like the seat post) for perfect cuts.

New Triathlon frame: Scott Plasma!
Purchased this sweet tri frame from Cyclepath of San Mateo. Gebhardt (owner) and Dmitry (mechanic) have a great shop full of high-end frames and built bikes including the Cannondale Six13, tons of Scotts, Look 585, and Orbeas. The also carry high end Look Keo cleats, Zero Gravity brakes, and even a Stronglight Pulsion crank.

Gebhardt did a very thorough sizing and Dmitry did a masterful job of building this frame up, with some very nice touches including carbon tape, nicely routed cables, and some velcro strips to quiet the aerobars.

How does it ride? Initial "around the block" ride indicates a very smooth and comfortable frame. Bumps and even potholes are soaked up. However, surprising amount of flex while standing. I guess this was meant for hauling butt in the aero bars, not climbing.

Ride report: took it out on Sunday-cold and overcast. This bike is incredibly smooth. Amazing; I thought the Teschner was smooth, but this is an order of magnitude more plush feeling. Bumps simply get absorbed. It's very comfortable in the aero position-and you don't feel like your getting bucked off from being so far forward. Descending was surprisingly comfortable and uneventful. Climbing was also quite good. However, my rear derailleur was slightly out of whack and I couldn't stay in the 39x19-it would ghost-shift. Tightened the derailleur cable two turns, then all was good. Climbed Old La Honda in 21:07; 1:20 off the PR but the bike wasn't holding me back. It climbed well but didn't have the "snap back" of my road frame. There is some flex in the BB (chain rubs) and it prefers spinning versus mashing. Neck and shoulders are a bit beat up after riding in the aerobars for so long; got to get used to that again. The Selle SLR T-1 is very comfortable; a bit long but very comfy for the weight.

Problems? Seatpost thingy. There is a lot going on with the seatpost mount; it's got to hold the seat on the mast and control to/fro shifting, as well as height. Here are some problems:

  • Seat angle. I hit a hard bump, heard a screech, and the nose tilted upward. The two bolts holding the seat parallel to the ground weren't tight enough and the seat slipped, pointing nose up. Secured it down tighter and it seems "fixed". Might stick another bolt through (see picture to left) to make sure this doesn't happen again.

    Seatpost height. Dmitry had this configured a bit too short; about 1/2 CM (50mm). Twice, I stopped to raise the seat, but the two rear bolts didn't compress the holder well enough. So it kept sliding back down to it's original position. It's supposed to hold, but didn't. As a remedy, I took the cut mast and hack-sawed a small teardrop shape of  the cut tube. This yielded ~50 mm in height so the clamp has something to push against. Voila-it's fixed! Note to all Scott Plasma owners/prospective owners. Save the cut piece!

Of course, the magic of owning a bike is dialing it in just right. In addition to the few hours on Saturday spent adjusting the finicky Zero Gravity brakes and tuning the aerobars, spent Sunday after the ride adding the shim and a supporting beam (nail!) to the seat post.

Here's the "shim"

Here's the supporting nail (we'll see if this is just plain silly):

The cut section:

Update 4/7/07
Made some modifications to the Plasma, including:

  • 54 tooth FSA chain ring. This sucker is heavy; 215 grams vs 95 for the standard 53. But very stiff.
  • 38 tooth FSA small chain ring. This saves 10 grams vs the standard 39. Gives one more inch (45 vs 46) with an 11-23 cogset.
  • FSA C-16 compact derailleur. Allows the 54-38 spread. 90 grams; 20 more than Dura Ace
  • Easton Attack TT aerobars.190 grams less than the cowhorn/hed combo I had; 390 grams vs 575.

The Easton Attack bars are pretty impressive; they are the lightest base/aero bar combo available. They are also expensive -- $500; but got 20% off at TriSport. They are also less expensive than Oval, Zipp, and Hed comparables. They are very light (390 grams for the large; 360 is advertised). When I got them, I tried to install the cables but was perplexed by the 90 degree bend for the brakes. I ended up taking the bike to a shop; they were too busy and essentially refused to install the cables. They were more concerned with the internal cable routing through the frame, but they gave me some good tips. Turns out that the cables go all the way through the bars and to the ends of the brakes/shifters (there are these flimsy stoppers that just broke off). I stuck a wire hanger down the downtube to route the internal cables with some tape on the cable end; not that difficult.

How does it ride? The bars are surprisingly comfortable, even though they are only 38 cm wide. They are very stiff and the whole bike now feels as if it is one piece. It would be great if the "base bar" could move independent of the aero extensions, but it can't. The base bar would be better if canted upward a few degrees; this would make descending better. Speaking of descending; there isn't much travel with the brake levers; you have to dial in the brakes at super close tolerances to get good braking. The angle of the bar limits the brake lever travel; you can easily "squeeze up" all of it. The brakes seem to be a bit further out than a road bike setup, so you stretch a bit. On a long descent, my hands were getting tired. Standing out of the saddle is ok; there is a bit of a wobbly feel because your hands are far forward. The bends in the aerobar are ok; wish they were s-bends. Also, the "large" isn't that big. I am 5' 11'' and they are about right for me. If you are a lot taller, these are probably too short. The pads have very little cushion and don't feel great; I emailed Cee Gees and they just added replacement pads for $19.95. On the flats, though, the bars are awesome. I tucked in behind a motorcycle and was able to hold 35-37 mph for a glorious stretch.

In sum, the bars are made for going fast and flat. They are surprisingly comfortable when climbing; the 90 degree bend is very comfortable for your palms and riding on the pads isn't bad. In the bars, they are feel secure and aero. Out of the saddle is ok once you get used to the somewhat wobbly feel. The only detraction is descending; the small clearance between the brakes and the bars requires extra attention with finger/hand placement and there isn't much travel for the brake levers.

New bars

 

Cable Routing

Here's what it weighs now.

Scott Plasma 15 lb 14oz    
Component Brand Actual Ounce
Frame Plasma 1200 2.646
rear brake bolt Generic 5 0.011
Headset FSA   100 0.220
Fork Scott 380 0.838
Seatpost Seat clamp-3cm adjustment 147 0.324
headset spacers Carbon (save 5 grms) 15 0.033
Brakes Zero Gravity  185 0.408
Brake Levers Profile 175 0.386
Shifters Dura Ace 9 spd - Bar Ends 178 0.392
Crank FSA Carbon Superlight 175 515 1.135
Chainring TT chainring (215 g vs 95) 120 0.265
Chainring 38 tooth chainring (-10) -10 -0.022
Crankbolts Dura Ace 35 0.077
Bottom Bracket Dura Ace 9-spd 175 0.386
Front Der hanger Brazed on 0 0.000
Front Derailleur FSA  90 0.198
Cassette Dura Ace 9spd 154 0.340
Rear Derailleur Dura Ace 10spd 180 0.397
Chain Dura Ace 285 0.628
Pedals Look Keo Carbon Cromo Ti 195 0.430
Stem Syntace - 100 105 0.231
Stem Cap Scott 10 0.022
Aero bar Spacers/Pads 25 0.055
Aero bar Easton Attack TT 390 0.860
Handlebar Tape Deda Tape 20 0.044
Cables Shimano 50 0.110
Housing Shimano 90 0.198
Saddle Selle Italia SLR T-1 215 0.474
Tires(f/r) Vittoria CX 450 0.992
Tubes(f/r) conti 140 0.309
Wheels Am Classic 1350 1362 3.003
Rim Tape velo 40 0.088
cyclometer db4 50 0.110
Cages (2) Rav-X Alpha 36 0.079
Skewers Am Classic   80 0.176
  Total 7187 15.845
  ratio 0.002205 15.975

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Pro Reviews/Articles: what the press is saying about the Scott Plasma

Here's my "review" from Slowtwitch, 4/9/06:

So the Scott Plasma was the most exciting frame I'd seen in a while. I decided to buy one versus the Cervelo P2/3 (or anything else) because:
- TWO WATER BOTTLE HOLDERS. The Scott has them, Cervelo does not. Seriously, if you are going to train on your tri bike, why can't it have two holders? Personally, I hate having water bottles behind the saddle, especially while training in our SF Bay Area climbs. It's pretty common to hang your butt behind the seat on steep descents, and I don't like having a big water bottle in the way. During races, I may put the bottles in the back, but maybe not.
- Weight. The Scott is lighter than the P22C and is likely lighter than the P3. And lighter than anything else out there.
- Integrated seatpost/downtube. Ever sincee seeing the magical Time VXRS frames, I've thought this was an incredible idea.

Because of the integrated seat/downtube, this was one bike I didn't want to mail order. I ordered the frame from Cyclepath of San Mateo. I wanted them to dial it in (and cut) it perfectly. It finally arrived 2 weeks ago. They did a great job fitting me and suggested I get the 56cm (i ride a 58 cm Teschner road bike).

Reactions:
Quoted weight of 980 grams. Apparently, Scott quotes the weight with the seatpost mast completely cut. Not sure what exactly that would look like. Needless to say, my large (56cm) was 1200 grams. 25 grams of the seat mast was cut, putting this at 1125. Not bad, but more than advertised. The good news is the seatpost (seatclamp) thingy-I have seen articles claiming it weighs 330 grams. It weighs 147. The beautiful Scott fork was 360 grams, uncut.

Hows it ride?
First ride was a bit disappointing. Besides it being cold and raining slightly, the seat was too low and climbing was annoying b/c my rear derailleur wasn't dialed in.

The seatclamp is a disappointment. Cyclepath says I ride too high and I allowed them to cut the post at where they believed was optimal. The seatclamp is supposed to have 3CM of adjustment. Well, on my first ride, I found I had to raise the seat 1CM. I did, but the clamp doesn't secure tight enough. Within miles, it had "fallen down" to the height of the seatmast. That's a bummer.

*FIX: luckily I saved the piece of the seatmast that had been cut. I carefully hacksawed a 1CM section. Because the piece is very wide, you can actually get a fairly consistent/straight cut. Stuck this "riser" on top of the seatpost and glued it. Seems to be perfect. Of course, I can't lower the seat height without removing that shim.

Seatclamp, part 2: The seatclamp controls the angle of the seat. Because the wonderful carbon frame soaks up bumps (even potholes) almost magically, you get lulled into to a sense of comfort. Well, I hit a bump, "creak", and the seat was left tilting skyward. Maybe the bolts weren't tight enough, but I think the void in space where the aft bolt is is a design flaw. Perhaps something like the way thompson does it would be better.

*FIX: since the hacksaw was out...cut a large nail and put it through the rear seat rail support.

Ride report:
On Saturday, I was able to put the Plasma through it's paces. In sum: incredibly smooth riding frame. Soaks up bumps, absolutely luxurious to ride in the aero bars. Went on a 75 mile ride, and on the way back, on the flats, towed my roadie friend for 10 miles at 27 mph avg. Incredibly comfortable and fast. This bike will win Ironman Hawaii!

However-climbing. This is definitely not as stiff in the bottom bracket as the CR-1 (at least, based on what I have read). I have a scandium/carbon stayed Teschner road frame. That thing JUMPS when you are out of the saddle. Not sure if it is because of the more forward seatpost or because the bottom bracket/rear stays are simply less rigid, but standing in the pedals with the Plasma results in a bit of mushiness and not huge acceleration. This being said, I am not in great shape right now, and the Plasma sent me up our local hillclimb in 21 mins (Old La Honda road), about 1 1/2 minutes slower than my PR.

Descending. Probably because of the shock absorption of the carbon frame, the plasma is very comfortable and safe feeling on descents. Ever since having our kid, for some reason, my desire for bombing downhill has tempered a bit. With my Teschner, when I have my hands gripped on the brakes, hitting bumps results in the rear end skipping out. With the Scott, bumps are absorbed. So, despite it's steeper seat tube, descending in the Scott is remarkably sweet.

In any case, if you are aiming to do 1/2 and full ironmans, especially in flatter courses, I would highly recommend this frame. The ride is truly amazing. Just make sure you have it fitted by an expert shop. (PS: licensed shops are given a special jig, that looks just like the seatclamp, to cut the seat tube.)
 

 
Build and Weights:
Scott Plasma 15 lb 15oz    
Component Brand Actual Ounce
Frame Plasma 1200 2.646
rear brake bolt Generic 5 0.011
Headset FSA   100 0.220
Fork Scott 380 0.838
Seatpost Seat clamp-3cm adjustment 147 0.324
headset spacers Carbon (save 5 grms) 15 0.033
Brakes Zero Gravity  185 0.408
Brake Levers Profile 175 0.386
Shifters Dura Ace 9 spd - Bar Ends 178 0.392
Crank FSA Carbon Superlight 175 515 1.135
Crankbolts Dura Ace 35 0.077
Bottom Bracket Dura Ace 9-spd 175 0.386
Front Der hanger Brazed on 0 0.000
Front Derailleur Dura Ace 10spd 75 0.165
Cassette Dura Ace 9spd 154 0.340
Rear Derailleur Dura Ace 10spd 180 0.397
Chain Dura Ace 285 0.628
Pedals Look Keo Carbon Cromo Ti 195 0.430
Stem Syntace - 100CM 105 0.231
Stem Cap Easton   10 0.022
Handlebar   Cowhorn (cut 3TTT road bar) 215 0.474
Aero bar Hed Aero-Clip light S-bend   355 0.783
Handlebar Tape Deda Tape 20 0.044
Cables Shimano 80 0.176
Housing Shimano 100 0.220
Saddle Selle Italia SLR T-1 215 0.474
Tires(f/r) Vittoria CX 450 0.992
Tubes(f/r) conti 140 0.309
Wheels Am Classic 350 1362 3.003
Wheels Am Classic 350 0 0.000
Rim Tape none 0 0.000
cyclometer db4 50 0.110
Cages (2) Rav-X Alpha 36 0.079
Skewers Am Classics 95 0.209
  Total 7232 15.944
  ratio 0.002205 15.151

Weighs 16 lbs 11 ounces with Hed Alps wheelset.