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Inside Triathlon Archives: Scott Plasma Premium

  • By Aaron Hersh
  • Published Dec 19, 2011
  • Updated Jun 19, 2012 at 12:17 PM UTC

Ride and Fit

In addition to creating wind drag, tall steerer stacks flex and sway when the rider torques on the bars. Scott’s integrated front-end system eliminates this problem by placing the stem directly on top of the frame, which improves the bike’s lateral stiffness when riding out of the saddle and cornering aggressively.

The handlebars are robustly linked to well-constructed handling geometry. This bike is designed to be ridden steeply, so Scott wisely gave it moderately stable handling characteristics. It responds in tight corners but never feels twitchy, even when in the aerobars, which heavily loads the front wheel and can cause frantic steering.

Bottom bracket stiffness is not critical to triathlon performance, but riding a bike that snaps in response to every pedal stroke is simply more fun than riding a noodle-y frame. The Plasma Premium does not feel quite as responsive as the stiffest tri bikes, but it responds sharply and is surprisingly stiff despite the bike’s narrow downtube.

The Plasma Premium cannot match the fit range of the Trek Speed Concept 9 Series, but it provides a wider range of fit possibilities than the bikes with proprietary handlebar attachment systems from many bike brands. To maximize the bike’s fit flexibility, Scott spec’d the versatile Profile T2+ Cobra aerobar, which allows for dramatic reach adjustment and an additional centimeter of vertical adjustment. The aerobar can be swapped to further alter the Plasma Premium’s fit. Cyclists who prefer a position with a short reach dimension from the saddle to the handlebar or a tall stack height from the bottom bracket to the top of the elbow pads might struggle to find a comfortable position on the Plasma 3, but many riders who choose a moderate or aggressive position will be able to find their ideal fit.

Components

The components on the stock Plasma Premium aren’t just race ready—they are race optimized. Sram Red is the lightest stock groupset and comes standard with a ceramic bottom bracket and derailleur pulleys. Scott included the Sram R2C shifters, which improve shifter ergonomics over standard bar-end shifters. The Profile Design Prosvet basebar has deep-section construction for aerodynamic performance and a confidence-inspiring brake grip surface. Zipp 808/1080 tubulars with reflective silver decals that match the frame are standard, but these wheels are not, however, built with Zipp’s new Firecrest rims.

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Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh

Aaron Hersh is the Senior Tech Editor of Triathlete magazine. To submit a question, write Aaron at Ahersh@competitorgroup.com.

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