Best For: Skeptics seeking an aero baptism.
The Test: Because shaped tubes reduce drag, many companies are jumping on the aero-bike trend. But shaped tubes are also usually heavier than round ones and can make for a backbreaking ride. Enter the Foil, which uses a truncated airfoil tube shape (tail lopped off) to both cheat the wind and remain compliant and feathery. That sounded like a tall order to us, but on the road the Foil railed the flats and was as agile and quick on steep climbs as any bike in the test. The Foil comes in seven models, but the 20’s full Ultegra components and workhorse Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels pack the highest performance-per-dollar punch.
The Verdict: The one bike that practically every tester said they’d buy. 17.4 lbs
Want to Know More?
Read the full review of the Scott Foil before our editors got their hands on it.
Though it doesn’t necessarily look the part, this was the sleeper aero bike of the review. It’s no secret that properly shaped tubes can reduce drag (hence your effort), which is why so many companies are jumping on the aero bike trend. But shaped tubes are also usually heavier than round ones and can make for a backbreaking ride. Enter the Foil, our Editor’s Pick road bike in the May edition. It uses a truncated airfoil tube shape (rounded on the front; tail lopped off) to both cheat the wind and remain compliant and feathery. Frame weight is just 840 grams (1.85lbs.)—that’s staggeringly light for an aero frame—and based on wind tunnel tests, the company claims the Foil has 20 percent less drag than a traditional round-tubed frame. Scott was so confident of this bike that they completely did away with their flagship road bike, the much-loved Addict, to make room for the Foil.
It sounded like a pretty stiff sales pitch to us, but after months of pushing this bike hard on the road, we have to admit that we’re sold. Simply put, the Foil looks and feels like a traditional bike while still ripping along on the flats like an aero frame. We didn’t have a wind tunnel to verify the 20-percent drag claim, but we do know that on the rolling terrain south and east of Santa Fe, we were able to regularly drop friends on standard-shaped bikes whom we normally can’t shake. Yet at 15.3 pounds, the Foil 10 packed sprightly climbing power on the 16-mile, 3,500-foot Ski Santa Fe hill climb, even with Mavic’s 52mm-deep Cosmic Carbone SL wheels. It’s not a total mountain goat like, say, the Cannondale SuperSix EVO, but it holds it’s own just fine in the hills and drops like an anchor on twisty, turning descents. Even better, unlike some aero frames that beat us up as badly as a round with Mike Tyson, the Foil was comfy enough to ride hard for hours at a time. “It’s the surprise all-arounder,” one reviewer noted. “Unexpectedly fast uphill, stable on fast descents and even in the wind, and like a bullet train in the flats. This bike can do no wrong.”
Beyond the killer frame, our Foil 10 was hung with Shimano Dura Ace components, the smoothest, quietest mechanical option out there. As always, the Ritchey WCS carbon cockpit bits felt downright luxurious, and the flush seat post clamp bolt was not only one of the most elegant designs we saw, but it also worked better than many. Finally, testers raved about the clean, classy internal cable routing. “This is how a bike is supposed to look,” said one.
The Foil 10 is an absolute dream to ride, and it proved itself again when Simon Gerrans powered one to the win at 2012’s first classic, Milan-San Remo. But if you don’t have that much coin, take a look at the Foil 20. With full Ultegra components and workhorse Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels, it weighs a pound or so more than the 10 but rode just as well and costs a much more manageable $3,400. Need more convincing? That’s the bike that several of our testers said they were saving up for after riding the 30-some bikes in the review this year. 17.4 lbs; scott-sports.com