Surfing the 2013 Scott Gambler

When I visited the Scott tent at Crankworx to catch up with “The Dude”,  Scott Bikes guru Kelly Servinski, I didn’t think I would be spending the next two days on board Scott’s 2013 Gambler 10.

Bike in da woods. Killin it!Kelly introduced me to Ben Walker, product manager for the Scott Gambler. Ben lives in France building trails to test the bikes he helps design.  Within 5 minutes of our conversation he started disassembling the test bike to help explain the research and technology that went into the changes made to the Gambler.

Suspension
Scott raised the position of the main pivot.  They say this improves small bump sensitivity and absorption of square edge hits.

My Experience – Whether I was riding steep root/rock gardens, breaking bumps, or weaving single track the rear tire was planted.  Want to further improve traction and stability?  The chain stays can me lengthened to 445mm.

Scott introduced a “floating link”, adding one more point of manipulation of the suspension curve.  This increases their ability to tune a suspension curve.  The curve is linear for the first half of the travel and becomes progressive through the last half. The result is “Bottomless” travel.  I have never felt the overwhelming urge to land flatter and flatter every run.

Adjustable Geometry
Scott spec’d the Gambler with a 62 degree head angle and a Syncross DH headset.  The Gambler 10 comes with different headset cups.

  • 62 degree straight cups
  • +/- 1 degree cups
  • +/- 2 degree cups

Riders can run 60-64 degree head angle.  I had the headset at 62 degrees.  Keeping in mind the average rider will not be swapping headset cups in between laps, I like that they spec the Gambler 10 with all three options.  Steeper, the better.
Adjustable BB position.  You can set the BB height 0mm offset (from the rear axle) or +10mm offset.  I tested both settings over the two days I had the bike.  I liked the low BB setting for corners and high speed.  The high BB worked well for riding slower, pedaling intensive trails.

Upper Crown height adjustment.  The new Gambler has a short head tube that riders can adjust crown height within 3cm.  Scott’s website says it adds an “extra degree of adjustment by raising or lowering the crowns of the fork.  Three centimeters of additional fork height equals one degree of head angle adjustment.”
IDS-X Dropouts and adjustable chain stay Length. 425mm – 440mm (low BB) or 421.5mm – 436.5mm (high BB). If I was going to pick one thing about the bike that I liked the most this would be it.  IDS-X is an eccentric axle bolt position with a conical head that keys into the frame. This feature was a difference in performance compared to a normal axle/dropout configuration.

My experience – When I was sliding around corners was a chattering rear tire being replaced by a smooth, gradual, transition from traction to drift.

Specs
Frame – Small, medium, and large frames all have identical stand-over. Top tube length increases with size.
Weight – (from Scott’s website) is 39.21 lbs.
Components – Shimano, Syncross, Dt Swiss, Schwalbe, Funn, and E.Thirteen.

Final Thoughts

I really liked the Gambler. Lots of small changes to different parts of the bike add up to a big difference overall. I like having all the traction and stability I want without giving up the ability to pick the bike up, wheelie and have some fun.
Some will say the Gambler is too adjustable. The way I see it riders can set it and forget it. If understanding geometry isn’t your bag, leave the bike alone, you are not going to notice the difference. Besides, the bike feels great in the stock settings.

As geometry and tuning become a more important aspect of consumer level products, access to world cup level technology becomes increasingly attractive.  Riders who see the benefits of adjustable geometry welcome these features.
Kelly and I agreed the best word to describe the Gambler is PLANTED. It is a race bike with a big mountain alter ego that begs you to let go of the brakes and land flat.

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