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Another ride on the Scott Plasma: a few positives and negatives

Wednesday, November 11, 2015 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

November
11
2015

Yesterday morning I decided to take my new Scott Plasma Time Trial bike for another test ride. My first ride on the Plasma was done with a full race setup (both me, and the bike), so this time I decided to ride the bike in more of a training configuration. Here are the differences:

Race Setup: Skinsuit, shoe covers, time trial aero helmet, single bottle cage, Zipp wheelset, race tires, no saddle bag, no rear flasher, no video camera.

Training Setup: Regular road kit, no shoe covers, standard road helmet, 2 bottle cages/2 bottles, stock non-aero wheelset, Gatorskin Hardshell tires, saddle bag, video camera, rear flasher.

Digging the Scott Plasma so far!

Digging the Scott Plasma so far!

 

I did not bolt up my Stages power meter for yesterday’s ride, but normally I will for all training rides and races (it’s just a matter of swapping the NDS crank arm, which takes only a couple of minutes). I wish I had taken the two minutes to put the power meter on yesterday, as the data would have been very interesting.

I purposely did an out-and-back course, so I got to experience headwinds, tailwinds and crosswinds in (more or less) equal measure.

The bike is definitely fast. Yesterday I did 33 miles with a ride average speed of 23.0 MPH. Again, I really wish I’d put my power meter on to help better quantify that speed, but I can tell you from my heart rate and experience that I was probably just mid-Zone 3 (tempo)–perhaps around 250 watts average. In other words, not an easy ride, but far from slaying. Also, considering this ride was done in full “Training mode” (see above), I think if I’d put out the same watts in “Race mode” I would have easily been north of 24 MPH. That’s pretty exciting to me since I was only mid-Zone 3 yesterday, and am capable of putting out a lot more power for a lot longer.

I really like how the Plasma handles. Even on the aerobars it doesn’t feel overly-twitchy, and I have good control.

Power transfer felt excellent. The bike is very responsive, and stiff.

The carbon frame/fork, carbon handlebars and carbon seat tube all combine to make for a very smooth ride. Even with the very harsh-riding Gatorskin tires, the bike felt quite comfortable without feeling “floaty” or disconnected from the road.

A couple negatives…

After enjoying the button-click elegance of electronic Di2 shifting on my Madone’s aerobars (before I removed them), the Plasma’s Dura Ace mechanical bar end shifters feel, frankly, archaic by comparison. I suppose I’ll get used to them, but I’m not going to lie: Di2 is much, much better in my opinion.

The stock saddle is also probably going to have to go. I’ve become spoiled by my road bike’s Specialized Power Pro saddle. I love the Power Pro’s short nose, large cut out and minimal padding; It’s easily the the most comfortable saddle I’ve ever used. The Plasma’s stock saddle is extremely long, doesn’t have a cutout and has too much padding for my liking. The stock saddle is fine for shorter rides, but on long training rides it’s just not going to cut it.

I still have some fit issues to work out, but that’s pretty standard with a new bike. I am waiting on a carbon saw blade (I somehow misplaced mine) so that I can cut down the steerer tube. Because the steerer tube is carbon, Scott requires that I leave one 5mm spacer under the stem. Unlike Trek, Scott does NOT require a 5mm spacer above the stem, so that’s good (looks much cleaner without a spacer above, IMO). So I won’t be able to fully slam the stem, but I will be able to drop the bars at least 15mm from their stock position, and that will make the bike much more aero and comfortable for me.

John Stone Fitness Comments

2 Responses to “Another ride on the Scott Plasma: a few positives and negatives”
  1. Thank you! I am very interested in hearing how much of a difference the bike makes and know the way you get in to the data will help make it a fair comparison.

    I can’t believe you lost the saw blade as organized as you seem to be. Maybe it already found its home in the gym. Ha Ha.

    What would the cost be to add the Di2 to the TT bike?

    Sorry for jumping all over.

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    • I think I remember damaging the carbon blade and tossed it out, but I can’t remember for sure. It’s been years since I last used it.

      This bike frame is not very Di2 friendly. I knew this going in, and buying a bike with a mechanical DT is a trade-off I willingly made to get a killer deal on a great bike.

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