The Scott Foil Team Issue is a high-performance, aero road bike, and, with a price tag of £6,499, clearly a machine aimed at the serious competitor.
What do you get for your money? A collection of slippery, aero-formed tube profiles (the result, say Scott, of time spent in drag2zero’s wind tunnel at the Mercedes F1 facility in Brackley), a SRAM Red groupset, a Zipp 404 alloy-carbon wheelset, and Richey carbon finishing kit.
How did it ride? The Foil Team Issue was stable, comfortable, and eager; and if you (rightly) expected that to be a given for a machine of this value, you’d be sadly mistaken.
The frame was extremely stiff in the bottom bracket, whose oversized shell delivered excellent power transfer. Happily, on the evidence supplied here, Scott understand the difference between stiff and harsh; within the sphere of carbon frames, the Foil Team Issue was very comfortable.
The geometry is race oriented, which might be a consideration for readers seeking a more forgiving position (Scott would doubtless edge those with comfort at the top of their agenda towards their CR-1). The head tube on our 52cm Foil was just 13cm high. We removed the spacers for a truly ‘slammed’ position (which, sadly, created an ugly stack above the stem, but trimming the fork steerer on a test bike is pure bad manners) and remained comfortable, but this may not be the case for everyone.
Handling was reassuringly stable. We packed the Foil Team Issue for a recent trip to the Alps, and while descending the Madeleine at speeds in excess of 40mph, it held steady. It tracked reassuringly through the hairpins of La Plagne, and plotted a predictable course through a fast, flowing, open descent of the upper slopes of the Cormet de Roselend.
On climbs, it truly excelled, a performance derived undoubtedly from its low weight (circa 6.5kg) and excellent power transfer (a quality one truly appreciates when the road rises from nine to 12 per cent after an hour of continuous climbing).
The alloy rimmed, carbon-shrouded Zipp 404s were not the ideal rolling stock for such a climbing-oriented expedition, and on their sudden union with cross winds on the descent of La Plagne, delivered a few heart stopping moments. On the flat, they were excellent, getting up to speed quickly and requiring little additional effort to retain momentum.
Shifting and braking came courtesy of a SRAM Red groupset; sadly not the recently released, model year 2013 iteration, but its predecessor. Double Tap shifting is an acquired taste in our opinion: excellent at the rear when shifting into higher gears, but a little clumsy when selecting larger sprockets for lower gears. At the front, we experienced the chain rub that the self-trimming successor of the mech supplied with our test model is said to have eliminated. Braking was excellent, we’re pleased to report. There’s perhaps nothing quite like an Alpine descent to focus the mind on a brake’s ability to slow you down.
It was hard to fault the Scott Foil Team Issue. An industry colleague spent an enjoyable day aboard it, and returned with the sober assessment that it was the equal of his 2012 Colnago C59 (a heavier rider, he experienced no problems with cross winds on the 404s). Is there more to come from future models? The aero brake positioning of Trek’s Madone 7, the model year 2013 iteration of what must be the Foil’s closest rival, could perhaps hint at future developments in the Scott camp.
If you’re a competitive rider seeking a machine equal to the most challenging terrain, the Scott Foil Team Issue is the bike for you, providing you’re sufficiently well resourced. Five further variations offer the same geometry, starting with the 105-equipped Foil 40 at £2,199, offering more affordable routes to the Foil’s magnificent handling.
We were extremely glad to have had the Foil with us in France, and are sorry to be returning it. Parting isn’t always such sweet sorrow, but we shall miss the Foil Team Issue and would recommend it to anyone seeking a machine whose only desire seems to be to go forwards.