You know how it happens: a ride starts out casually, three friends on a slow Sunday spin. The first hill comes, and one guy sets pace, the others following behind. Toward the top, one breaks away — nothing much, a small feat of bravado. The two ignore it. Then, on the downhill, the two pair together and slingshot past the hotshot KOM. Hotshot then catches up, and on the flat the three are engrossed in an all-out sprint. What started casually ends with everyone jockeying to prove their masculinity by means of leg strength. In those moments, it’s good to be clipped in to the Scott Addict Team Issue ($7,900), because, in a watt-battle with friends, casual racers, or the professional peloton, this bike won’t back down.

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For all the comfort, the Addict boasts palpable stiffness. When you push into it, the bike — like the tough kid on the playground — simply doesn’t give. Grabbing the drops and ripping into the pedals, the frame takes all the aggression in stride.

The last Addict iteration hit the market as the first production frame under 800 grams and boasted Scott’s best stiffness-to-weight ratio. In 2009 and 2010, it won 149 UCI races. It set new expectations for competition road bikes and pushed frame building farther into the ultra-specific engineering of lighter, stiffer and more aerodynamic carbon. To top the old Addict, Scott looked to improve those three major categories, but also focused efforts on the comfort of the bike and the road absorption of the frame.

For sprinters and power-pedalers, the new Addict gives a distinct advantage on the road. It is designed as a super performance bike, something to launch you over the flats and power past the competition. There are lighter and more comfortable climbers out there (Bike Radar’s tester disagreed, calling the bike an all-out climber), and the Addict can keep up with them on the hills, but it’s not trying to compete with them. Instead, it looks to give you the advantage with stiffness and pure power transfer.

Seatstays and forks aren’t the most glamorous things to discuss about a bike, but they make a big difference in how you enjoy the ride. Scott optimized the front fork stiffness to allow for adequate breaking support while still offering necessary road absorption. On the rear end of the bike, they narrowed the seatstays 12mm and focused on balancing stiffness and comfort at the three-way intersection of the top tube, seat tube and seatstays. The result is a more equal dispersion of the load weight and more compliance of the seat tube — and therefore, a smoother ride for your butt. On the road, that means cyclists enjoy better ride quality, improved speed and greater endurance. Every bump that throws the rider off or causes him discomfort also potentially slows him down; Scott looked to best dampen the bump’s impact.

The Route to Ride
The Addict performs best on long graduals — uphill or downhill — and flats. It does climb extremely well, but it excels at taking slight gradations of incline and tearing them up. This Santiago Canyon route, in Orange County, gives you plenty of time to test your top speeds and push hard. And although it’s an out-and-back, the canyon scenery doesn’t get old.

For all the comfort, the Addict boasts palpable stiffness. When you push into it, the bike — like the tough kid on the playground — simply doesn’t give. Grab the drops and rip into the pedals; the frame takes all the aggression in stride. Soaring down a long downhill in full tuck, the bike stays sturdy and stable. Scott gave the Addict the world’s widest down tube and bottom bracket intersection (a BB86), and they leveraged their IMP (Integrated Molding Process) to create a single, complex carbon fiber frame made from HMX Carbon Fiber. IMP works by adding carbon swatches onto an inflatable bladder. When the frame is fired and cured, the bladder inflates to compress the carbon layers evenly together. What comes out of the fire is a fully developed frame, ready for assembly with the remaining, pre-created parts like the forks and seatstays. It increases consistency and allows Scott to reach their ridiculous weight-to-stiffness ratios (here’s an engaging video of the entire process).

For all that sinewy carbon muscle, the bike handles smoothly and comes into and out of turns totally under control. Over the weeks of testing, we found the Addict to rest in that delicate balance between insanely stiff and long-ride comfortable. It’s a bike that does everything right, and it also offers one additional perk: when you hit the internal power boost button, the Addict’s ready to match you pedal for pedal and leave all your friends in the dust.