Scott Contessa Spark RC

The top rigs for tackling cross-country trails and epic downhills

Contessa Spark RC

Contessa Spark RC    Photo: Courtesy of Scott Sports

BEST FOR: Cross-country plus. THE TEST: While some riders eschew full suspension to save weight, the 4.7-inch Scott Spark eliminates the need to compromise. This 24.5-pound full-suspension carbon 26er can be both stiff for pedaling efficiency and plush for sucking up the rough stuff, and it’s so light that testers said it practically floated up climbs. That versatility stems from the ingenious bar-mounted lever that flips both front and rear shock to traction mode (3.3 inches) with one click and locks them out with two. Bonus: Precise and durable Shimano XT components. THE VERDICT: A fast trail bike that’s not watered down for women. 24.5 lbs

Brand: Scott $4,000
From 2012 Summer Buyer's Guide Get the Latest Issue