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review

Scott Foil RC Pro 2023

8
£10,499.00

VERDICT:

8
10
A veritable speed demon and quite possibly the best all-round aero road bike available right now
Super-fast in all situations
Great climbing efficiency
Stellar handling
Light
No power meter included
Standard Vittoria Corsa Control tyres are not the best option
Weight: 
7,350g
road.cc Recommends

This product has been selected to feature in road.cc recommends. That means it's not just scored well, but we think it stands out as special. Go to road.cc recommends

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The aero road bike space is constantly in a state of flux as relaxed UCI legislation and the need for speed continues to reshape every new iteration, rendering many contemporary bikes instantly obsolete in the process. That's what this all-new Scott Foil RC Pro has done – not just to its predecessor but to some of its rivals, too, thanks to myriad changes to its frame blueprint. It's ridiculously fast yet super-easy to live with as an everyday bike, and that's what makes it so special.

> Buy now: Scott Foil RC Pro for £10,449 from LAP Bikes

The marketing spiel claims many improvements – it's 9% lighter, 21% faster and 10% more comfortable than before, but do these numbers mean anything for the average rider, let alone real-world riding conditions? For many, the £10,500 Foil RC Pro represents a somewhat unattainable purchase but it is loaded to the hilt in terms of specification and delivers a rewarding and truly refined riding experience.

2023 Scott Foil RC Pro riding GoPro.jpeg

I used Rapha's annual Festive 500 Challenge as the litmus test to validate the bold claims – 1,000km of wet, cold and sometimes dry miles across the notoriously lumpy Surrey Hills terrain.

Built for speed

Visually, the Scott Foil has a refined aesthetic. The bike tested is pretty much the same model ridden by Team DSM save for a couple of sponsor-specific decals. There's no visible cabling and all hoses are integrated within the headset and frame – it's all very clean.

2023 Scott Foil RC Pro Festive 500 with C60 wheels.jpg

The paintwork is pretty interesting, too, combining a brushed aluminium Scott wordmark logo on the down tube with a glittery turquoise wash that fades into flat grey at the rear. Look closely and, at certain angles, you'll clearly see the unidirectional carbon fibre under the paint finish, which has been sparingly applied to reduce the overall weight.

> How much would it cost you to insure a Scott Foil RC Pro? Compare quotes from over 30 insurance providers here...

2023 Scott Foil RC Pro wordmark logo on downtube.JPG
2023 Scott Foil Rc Pro paintwork fade.JPG

The design of the new Foil has been developed in partnership with aerodynamicist Simon Smart of Drag2Zero and the results are glaringly obvious. The rather shallow kammtail shapes of its predecessor have been replaced by more sculptural, almost time-trial-bike levels of tubing which we've seen liberally applied on recent bikes such as the Orbea Orca Aero. As a result, the Foil benefits from a truncated head tube and down tube with matching sections around seat tube and upper sections of the seatstays.

2023 Scott Foil RC Pro Rear wheel_seattube interplay.JPG

According to Scott, these aero gains have resulted in a 16-watt saving or 1m 18s faster 40km benchmark time at 40km/h than the outgoing model.

2023 Scott Foil RC Pro rear end in profile.JPG

As the second model in the range, the Foil RC Pro forgoes the HMX-SL layup of the RC Ultimate for the regular HMX carbon recipe. This, however, has done little to affect the bike's weight, which comes in at 7.35kg (without pedals), placing it among the lightest aero road bikes in the category.

2023 Scott Foil RF Pro zoomed out profile shot.JPG

It's available in seven sizes spanning XXS (47cm) to XXL (61cm). Our test bike is a small (52cm). Not surprisingly, its geometry is pretty racy, with a 527mm stack and 389mm reach. The 72-degree head angle and 74-degree seat angle are relatively steep, making for rather lively handling manners.

2023 Scott Foil RC Pro bike sizing.JPG

Performance & handling

The Scott Foil RC Pro is an easy bike to ride. There's nothing particularly awkward when it comes to setting things up, and the riding position – although racy and slammed – feels comfortable when strapped in.

2023 Scott Foil RC Pro riding snow.jpeg

The first thing you'll notice when riding the Foil is its turn of speed – both in the manner in which it responds to pedal inputs and in its ability to harness that into forward momentum. It's very fast, and the sensation of speed is a recurring theme.

The underpinnings – the lower section of the frame, fork and stays – are incredibly stiff, particularly around the bottom bracket area, and work well together with the rigid front end and fork. This makes for superb ride feel and communication, the latter painting a pretty vivid picture of what's happening underfoot.

2023 Scott Foil Rc Pro bottom bracket.JPG

This theme continues when the road ahead turns into spaghetti. The front end of the bike tracks predictably, instilling a heightened sense of assurance and an almost telepathic connection. It's just a matter of choosing your line, turning in and accelerating out of the corner. Of course, the Shimano Dura-Ace brakes have a lot to do with this sense of connection, allowing you to brake later thanks to the appreciable levels of modulation afforded by the new system.

2023 Scott Foil RC Pro Shimano Dura-Ace caliper and 160mm rotor.JPG

At 7.35kg, the Foil is on the lighter side of the aero road bike spectrum and this is evident in the way it dismisses lumpy topography. When compared with some of its rivals – particularly the Orbea Orca Aero, Cannondale SystemSix and BMC Timemachine – the Foil is notably more at home when gravity comes into play, and Scott has clearly looked at this area to gain an edge. As a result, the Foil climbs a lot like its feathery sibling, the Addict, which allows you to maintain momentum and speed on both rolling hills and steep kickers.

Specification

In terms of specification, there's a lot to like here. The Foil RC Pro is built around a Shimano Dura-Ace R9270 Di2 groupset, which includes a 52/36-tooth chainset and 11-30 cassette.

2023 Scott Foil RC Pro Shimano Dura-Ace cassette and rear derailleur.JPG

Not only does the Dura-Ace groupset look the part, but the satin-black components also do much to lift the overall visual drama, and it performs flawlessly, too. One bugbear, however, is the omission of a power meter – other bikes at this price point have one as standard.

2023 Scott Foil Rc Pro crank length.JPG

The finishing kit comes courtesy of Scott's in-house component arm, Syncros, which has been designed to work as an integrated solution. As referenced above, there are no exposed cables, hoses or wires – it's all super clean and this helps with aerodynamics.

2023 Scott Foil Rc Pro front end.JPG

The cockpit is a Syncros Creston iC SL integrated bar-stem arrangement, an update over the previous generation. It's appreciably stiff and complements the other touchpoint, a Syncros Belcarra V-Concept 1.0 saddle.

2023 Scott Foil RC Pro Syncros saddle and seatpost.JPG

The three-piece Duncan SL Aero CFT seatpost is interesting as it's designed to offer both aero and compliance benefits. The rubber section of the post can also be substituted for an integrated taillight, which is a clever idea.

Wheels and tyres

Measuring 28mm wide externally and 21mm internally, the Shimano C50 wheels are designed to play nicely with 25-28mm tyres. They come shod in standard Vittoria Corsa Control TLR G2.0 rubber, fitted in an aero 25mm front, 28mm rear width configuration. I usually opt for larger volume tyres for extra comfort, but this 25/28mm pairing works well in this context, and irons out pockmarks and other road imperfections quite effectively.

2023 Scott Foil RC Pro Shimano Dura-Ace C50 wheel.JPG

During testing, I did swap out the wheels and tyres in an attempt to unlock even more speed and compliance, choosing the bigger C60 wheels and 28mm Corsa N.Ext TLR tyres all round. These tyres are not just lighter than the regular Controls but roll better, too. This configuration allowed me to drop the tyre pressure to 42/48psi front/rear (something I referenced in my review of the Corsa N.Exts). 

2023 Scott Foil Rc Pro rear tyre clearance.JPG

I continued to use this wheel/tyre arrangement for the balance of my testing as I felt it not only accentuated the bike's true potential, it made for a more comfortable ride. The frame has clearance for up to 30mm tyres.

2023 Scott Foil RC Pro Front tyre clearance.JPG

Value and conclusion

The Scott Foil RC Pro is an impressive bike – no question. It comes loaded with a comprehensive component list so there's a lot to like (though the lack of a power meter is a bit shortsighted), but it also looks great and performs as expected for a bike of this ilk. The improvements over its predecessor in terms of design are hard to dispute, but what makes the RC Pro such a solid consideration is what Scott has done when it comes to culling weight and dialling in comfort without it affecting the bike's stiffness and performance.

In terms of its rivals, the Foil RC Pro goes head-to-head against the Merida Reacto Team. Spec-wise, they're nearly identical, but at £8,500 the Reacto trumps the £10,500 Foil on price – a £2,000 difference is a lot of money in today's economic climate.

That said, the Foil RC Pro is still a whole lot cheaper than the £11,500 Cannondale SystemSix Hi-Mod Dura-Ace, not to mention Pinarello's Dogma F Dura-Ace, which is a frighteningly expensive option at £13,200. For context, you'd need to downgrade both the SystemSix and Dogma F to Ultegra level before they become comparable.

> road.cc Recommends Bikes of the Year 2022/23: the best road bikes

Overall, the Scott Foil RC Pro is not what you'd label as 'cheap', but within the context of the upper echelons of the best aero road bikes, it's not the most expensive option either and is without a doubt a front runner for the segment crown. I like it a lot. Especially the geometry and the way in which it dismisses the climbs, flats and descents with consummate ease and comfort.

Verdict

A veritable speed demon and quite possibly the best all-round aero road bike available right now

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Scott Foil RC Pro

Size tested: Small

About the bike

List the components used to build up the bike.

Frame: FOIL RC Disc HMX Road Race geometry

Fork: FOIL Disc HMX 1in Eccentric Carbon steerer

Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 RD-R9250

Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-R9250

Shifters: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 ST-R9270

Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace FC-R9200 Hollowtech II 52x36T

BB: Shimano SM-BB92-41B

Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-M9100-12

Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-R9200-12 11-30T

Brakes: Shimano BR-R9270 Hyd.Disc, Shimano RT-CL900 rotor 160/F and 160/R

Bar: Syncros Creston iC SL Aero

Seatpost: Syncros Duncan SL Aero CFT

Saddle: Syncros Belcarra V-Concept 1.0

Wheelset: Shimano C50 24 Front / 24 Rear

Tyres: Vittoria Corsa Control TLR G2.0 25/28c F/R

Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Scott says: "Aero, Lightweight or Comfort – choose three. Welcome to the next evolution of aero bikes with the all-new Foil RC. Designed to meet the demands of WorldTour sprinters, attackers and breakaway riders, this is the fastest road bike we've ever produced."

Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options

The Scott Foil RC Pro sits below the top model, the RC Ultimate, and above the RC 10 in a range comprising five models.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
9/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

Superb quality and a well-made frame with a glittery, blue fade-to-grey finish.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

Scott's second-tier HMX carbon recipe.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

The bike's geometry is pretty racy and benefits from a 72-degree head angle and 74-degree seat angle.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

The Foil has a 527mm stack and 389mm reach and is in line with the segment's racier options.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Very close to class-leading regarding comfort, ride quality, and feel. This comes down to the carbon recipe and seatpost.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Appreciably stiff around the bottom bracket and front end.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?

No.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Steering is quick and precise.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

The handling is sharp yet predictable, which provides confidence in fast descents.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

The standard Vittoria Corsa Control tyres, while perfectly up for the task, are not the lightest options around. Swapping out to something such as the Vittoria N.Ext changed things up, and unlocked the bike's true potential by improving comfort and compliancy.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
8/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
10/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
6/10

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for weight:
 
6/10
Rate the wheels for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels for value:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?

Shimano C50 wheels are a good balance between aero and speed. They behave well in crosswinds and track predictably. I did swap them out for Shimano C60s to test if this had any bearing on speed and performance.

Rate the tyres for performance:
 
6/10
Rate the tyres for durability:
 
6/10
Rate the tyres for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the tyres for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the tyres for value:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?

The stock tyres let the package down. I subsequently changed the 25/28mm F/R Corsa Control TLR tyres to 28mm Corsa N.Exts for increased compliance, reduced rolling weight and speed.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

The Syncros Creston iC SL Aero bar is ergonomic and easy to navigate. The rounded edges are good on the hands, but the one-piece bar-stem might make life tougher for those who require adjustments.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes – especially for those racing or wanting a faster, more precise and special ride.

How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

At £10,500 Scott Foil is slap-bang in the middle ground when it comes to pricing. The Merida Reacto Team at £8,500 is still the clear value winner here but the Foil is much cheaper than the Cannondale SystemSix Hi-Mod Dura-Ace and Pinarello Dogma F Dura-Ace.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
5/10

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 0  Height: 175cm  Weight: 62kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Novice

I regularly do the following types of riding:

Aaron is the editor of off-road.cc. He completed his BA honours at the University of Cape Town before embarking on a career in journalism. As the former tech editor of Cyclingnews and Bike Perfect, digital editor of Bicycling magazine and associate editor of TopCar, he's travelled the world writing about bikes and anything with wheels for the past 17 years. A competitive racer and Stravaholic, he’s twice ridden the Cape Epic, raced nearly every mountain bike stage race in South Africa and completed the Haute Route Alps. He's also a national-level time triallist and eSports racer, too - having captained South Africa at both the 2022 and 2023 UCI Cycling eSports World Championships. 

Add new comment

7 comments

Avatar
Dadams7378 | 10 months ago
0 likes

Nice review Aaron, thanks.  In response to the various value comments below, bike prices for the halo products have been sky high for years now.  Some people can afford them of course, and why not have products that you can aspire to own?  Everyone benefits in any event as the new technology that costs so much day one invariably filters down making bikes lower in the ranges better.  As far as the bike is concerned, it looks a little too Cannondale SystemSix to me (i.e. hit a few branches on its fall out the ugly tree), although I guess it probably looks better in the flesh.  I'd be interested to hear whether it is materially faster than a Tarmac SL7 (any views Aaron?), as this still hits the aero / lightweight all rounder better in my view.  My Tarmac SL7 is 6.2kg with Roval Rapide CLX wheels (including pedals), so a good kilo or so lighter than this in the same size.

Avatar
cro2 | 10 months ago
0 likes

Bike prices are really getting ridiculous. 10 grand is motorcycle territory and, mind you, those are not budget machines. Will this bubble ever burst?

Avatar
andystow | 10 months ago
2 likes

I love reviews like this, because they make me feel a lot better about how much I've spent on bicycles (probably about this much total for the four bikes I currently ride, and the tandem hanging from the rafters.)

Avatar
Steve K | 10 months ago
0 likes

Has anyone made the "but will it take a rack and mudguards" joke yet?

Avatar
Dicklexic | 10 months ago
1 like

Ten and a half grand, and it's not even the top of the range model! That would be the Pro Ultimate with HMX-SL layup, SRAM Red AXS instead of DuraAce, and Zipp NSW454 wheels instead of DuraAce C50. All this costs an extra £5400, taking the  RRP to a truly gobsmacking £15,899!!!

Avatar
Boofus replied to Dicklexic | 10 months ago
1 like

Right?!!? Like what's even the point of reviewing bikes like this any more. Honestly I see a aero hyper bike and might take a mild interest in what pro teams are riding etc, but stuff like this just isn't even on my radar. 

Avatar
Surreyrider replied to Boofus | 10 months ago
0 likes

And  "quite possibly the best all-round aero road bike available right now" at that eye-watering price still only gets 8 out of 10. Doesn't say a lot for all the competitors then. Alternatively, Road CC's marks are just bizarre.

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