Silverback SCOOP FATBIKE RANGE - Geometry revision

The Scoop FATBIKE range has been synonymous with adventure in the fatbike market since it’s launch in 2015.

Whether you prefer the snowy slopes of Zermatt, riding up Mount Agung to look at the volcano, or heading for the sand dunes up the Diamond Coast, our high quality proprietary frame, with purpose intended spec got the job done and the smile glued to your face.
 
Fat tyres, coupled with a lightweight alloy frame provide excellent traction and massive on- and off-trail capability.

Adventure is integral to the human spirit, and so to keep the Scoop’s finger on the pulse of adventure, we here at Silverback are considering to revise it’s geometry.

 

Testing INTENT:

Incremental platform development.
Since the Scoop works well for its intended purpose and is loved the world over, we don’t want to drastically change anything on the platform at this stage in it's lifecycle.
Silverback design engineers are looking to update where needed, based on real world user feedback, and in-house testing.
The intended result being an up-to-date Scoop that meets and exceeds fatbike rider requirements across continents.

For this article we will only show one of these tests and its results, since we don’t want to show our hand on all developments.

 

What are we testing here?

Head Angle geometry.

 

Why would we look at that?

To see if we can improve stability, especially under speed, updating to slightly more modern geometry in the process,  and to guage how that will effect the bike on all terrain and riding scenarios the Scoop would be used on daily. 

 

HOW?

Cane Creek manufactures a headset component system called the AngleSet to adjust head angles on existing bikes. The part means that you can effectively adjust existing head angle geometry by 0.5, 1.0, 1.5 or 2.0 degrees - steeper or slacker, without having to prototype a new frame.

*2degrees is not a physical setting - but a combination of the 10mm stack height added by the part, gives roughly 0.42degrees of adjustment - rounded off to 0.5deg. and that with the 1.5deg part gives you the 2deg of adjustment.

Testing PARAMETERS:

For testing to be accurate/worthwhile it needs to happen under semi-controlled conditions (difficult with a mountain bike in nature - but also the best place to test it.)
Real world conditions, real testing and real riders giving real feedback.

Something like slight geometry modification is subjective to most users, whilst only a couple of riders will immediately be able to tell the difference, and even though the results can be verified in numbers - the improvement needs to be of such a nature that it enhances the riding experience or the product offering.

To make sure testing is consistent, the following parameters are checked and kept consistent:

Tyre pressures: Desired pressures set before test commences and kept consistent throughout.
Fork Pressure: Desired pressure set before test commences and kept consistent throughout.
Area / terrains: The same trails, typically same time of day is ridden for the test.

    *Day 1 was cool and overcast, but day 2 say slight drizzle, so traction was slightly reduced in open areas, where as tree covered areas was unaffected.

Testing results:

Initial feeling was that of more sluggish steering at slow speeds on level ground.
This however quickly became irrelevant once you pick up speed, at anything above jogging pace the bike feels more stable, more confidence inspiring, and the slightly less accurate steering goes unnoticed.
Climbing tight technical sections, where I suspected we may suffer from "understeer"- struggling to make tight turns- really is not a real concern.
The Scoop turns easily and I never felt like I needed to compensate for the new raked front end.

Going very slow, then you notice the heavier steering feel. Heavily loaded touring riders on long climbs may notice - but then again, if they did not ride the bikes back to back, would not be able to tell the difference. The positives far outweigh the negatives imo - as when you pick up speed, on any terrain, the bike is composed, that in my opinion benefits all riders - on sand, snow, gravel and trails that goes even moderately fast.

Conclusion:

The decision was made to update the frame slackening the head angle by 1degree - it is positively noticable on descents and not so much on slower rides - as well as retaining the do-it-all nature of the bike.