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Yesterday I purchased a Scott Scale 940. I bought this bike because I really wanted a carbon bike with a lockout suspension. After buying it, however, I just find it really tedious to ride. I have high end Kevlar Continental tires on it, but the bike is just too difficult for me to get up to speed on any kind of pavement. Also, the handlebars are too wide and I just cannot find a good riding position. To be honest, it’s a beautiful bike, but it’s just not for me. Needless to say, I spent a lot of money on it.

Now, after further consideration, I think I should have opted for a gravel bike modified to a flat handlebar.

I am not sure what to do. Any thoughts about asking my LBS? I feel like I am now stuck with a nearly $2000.00 piece of metal that is just going to sit in my garage.

Any help is appreciated.


Editor's note

The OP mentioned the following use case in a comment: Riding not on roads but on sidewalks (allowed in Florida), other suburban paths, and well developed trails? One of the most used areas around here is the Gainesville-Hawthorne trail. (Editor: this appears to be a paved multi-use trail separate from motor traffic.)

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    What is your LBSs return policy? This is really a shopping question. – whatsisname Jan 11 at 5:12
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    Each country has different customer protection laws. I'd lookup these and try to return the bike, if possible. Maybe consult the shop you bought the bike from. – Klaster_1 Jan 11 at 6:01
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    Act immediately, and contact the seller right now. They may take it back, they may swap you for the bike you really wanted in the first place. Regardless, delay is your enemy right now. Phone them up for a chat. Now. Go. Do it ! – Criggie Jan 11 at 6:40
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    I don't know if there's enough info here for us to properly help you. Did you get the bike new or used? Did you get it directly from the manufacturer, through a bike shop, or from a 3rd-party seller? – LemmyX Jan 11 at 7:12
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    "gravel bike modified to a flat handlebar." there are some gravel bikes designed explicitly for flat bars, such as the Specialized Diverge Evo. Swapping drop bars with flat bars will impact handling, so it's probably better to buy a flat-bar gravel bike right away. – Erlkoenig Jan 11 at 7:55
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Here is another thing to do now: think about what sort of riding you want to do. The Scott Scale appears to be a performance-oriented hardtail MTB. I am not familiar with MTB disciplines, but it may be a cross country (XC) race bike. It is slow on pavement because it is designed for a completely different environment.

If you are mainly on paved roads or trails, there is little need for front suspension. Your tires can provide adequate suspension. Also, drop handlebars offer a better riding experience for most because they give you a large number of potential hand positions. And you don't need knobby tires for traction on paved roads. Actually, while it might seem alarming at first, you can run slick tires on dirt roads. It's only when you start to get a lot of loose gravel or mud that tire tread starts to become meaningful.

If you are mainly riding technical MTB trails, then you need an MTB, or possibly a more MTB-oriented gravel bike. For this type of riding, flat bars do offer advantages. Admittedly, because this is not my preferred type of cycling, I can't speak personally to this. My understanding is that they offer easier and/or more ergonomic braking on steep and/or extended off-road descents. Also, among MTBs, there is a spectrum of capability, with XC bikes being mainly oriented towards light weight and quick handling, trail and all-mountain handling better on descents than XC bikes, and a few more types besides. As I am not current on modern MTBs, I can't tell if enduro bikes just have more suspension travel and descend better than all-mountain bikes, or if there are qualitative differences as well. While this does not seem to fit the OP's use case, a prospective rider who is more oriented toward MTBs might want to do some exploration into the types of riding they expect to do and to enjoy.

If you are riding on general unpaved terrain, it may have a mix of more straight and open dirt or gravel roads and more technical terrain. At this point, the mix will influence your bike choice between a gravel bike and an MTB. There's also personal preference. A lot of people will prefer hardtail MTBs. However, suspension may or may not be strictly necessary to enjoy the ride. In addition, gravel bikes can be used on paved and unpaved roads alike; you may wish to change to slick tires if you are mostly on the road, but even knobby gravel tires roll faster on pavement than MTB tires.

Be aware that modifying a gravel bike to have flat handlebars will be expensive. You are talking about getting a new bar and shifters, likely a different stem to account for the different reach, and I believe new derailleurs. You then need to re-cable the bike and re-bleed the brakes. Why do you feel you need flat handlebars? Is it due to terrain? Is it due to a well-informed personal preference? If the latter, consider that there are a handful of gravel bikes that are offered in stock flat bar configurations, and I imagine there are some fully rigid MTBs. If it is not an informed preference, I would strongly consider trying out drop bars.

The above answer was given mostly from the point of view of performance-oriented bikes. For the use case mentioned in the comments of another answer, a hybrid bicycle might be worth serious consideration. If one is not comfortable with the riding position of a road bike, a hybrid offers a more upright position and usually thicker tires - which offer more suspension than the tires on many road bikes. I alluded to this above, but for riding on paved trails, I would eschew suspension as it is unnecessary. It would add weight, plus you are paying for the suspension. Without it, you could get a cheaper bike, or a bike with better specs on other important parts.

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    You should give MTB a try someday! Rent/borrow a bike for a day and have fun. – MaplePanda Jan 12 at 17:26
  • @MaplePanda I may. I did briefly own an XC bike about 17 years ago, and I was a lot less skilled than the MTB riders on my cycling team. However, MTBs have progressed very considerably since then. – Weiwen Ng Jan 12 at 19:03
  • 17 years ago?!? My gravel bike is probably just as capable as that thing on trails haha. You really should give a modern bike a try, it’ll blow your mind. – MaplePanda Jan 13 at 1:22
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I went back to my LBS and the owner was very happy to help. Apparently the Scott Scale 40 comes with handlebars that are meant to be cut to size based on a person’s arm length. I got that done and they took off an inch on both sides.

In addition, they swapped me out for 32 mm Kenda tires. I rode the bike afterwards and it was really nice. Perhaps the tires are a bit too thin, but I want to try them for a while before I make a judgment. Given the type of riding I do, I think they will work well. Anyway, my LBS was happy to help.

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    Slightly wider (around 38-45mm) wider tires would be nearly as fast on the road, while making you MUCH more capable off-road. – MaplePanda Jan 12 at 17:27
  • In OP you say "940" and here "40." Do you want to update one of them so people aren't confused? – Michael Jan 13 at 16:20
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    Scott Scale 40 and Scott Scale 940 are both valid bike models, this could be slightly confusing. – Criggie Jan 13 at 23:41
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Yes, you spent a lot of money, you learned the hard way a lesson [1]. Cheer up, not all is lost! For relatively cheap money you can try to "correct" it.

  • Handlebar: you can get a narrower one, as well as one with a different shape.

  • Tires: you can get different tires, high end kevlar tires maybe are just heavy, or noisy, or a combination of both. What kind of pavement are you riding mostly? On what kind of pavement would you like to be fast?

I would say that the costs involved in these two things are on the order of 200€/USD/GBP, your LBS may assist you, the most difficult part is having the right torque applied to the new handlebar, before screwing your fork/headset by overtightening it.

Worst case scenario: if you can resell it without hassle (i.e. you have the original receipt or you can prove ownership in written form), the most recent completed bid on eBay shows the price of a Scott Scale 940 being around 1400USD.

[1] bike prices: going from 2/300 €/USD/GBP to 500 there is an improvement, from 500 to ~1200 there is a huge improvement, from 1200 upward the improvements are marginal and noticeable only by the trained riders. For ebike, same rule applies, multiply the values by 3.

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    I wonder if the LBS would charge a restocking fee - they're going to loose money on the sale cos ethically its now a used bike. A return for no fault (ie "changed my mind") could incur a 5/10/20% restocking fee. – Criggie Jan 11 at 9:03
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    @Criggie The shop is in no way required to accept any such return where I live. – Vladimir F Jan 11 at 12:31
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    @Criggie I referred to ebay because I assume worst case scenario, where the shop says "bike out of my door, bike no more my business". So I think one way or the other the OP will end with 1000$ less in his pockets. Incidentally, 1000$ is likely to be the combined value of the time we will end up spending giving him (and anyone which in future will have same doubt/needs) advices :D ! So in a sense we are helping LBSs :D :D – EarlGrey Jan 11 at 12:49
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    I disagree with your claim that from $1200 and up, bikes only get marginally better. Especially in the context of MTBs, there’s significant upgrades. Even if we ignore full suspension bikes and focus on hardtails, the level of suspension performance, ride quality, and weight improve significantly. – MaplePanda Jan 11 at 19:13
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    @MaplePanda fair enough, especially in the context of MTBs ... maybe I downplayed a bit, but I am still relatively sure that you can notice increased suspension performance and you can benefit from weight reductions only if you are a trained rider. Not so difficult to be a trained rider (disclaimer: I am not) and you can be of course a trained rider for MTBs, for road bicycles and as well a trained bicycle commuter, all at the same time. – EarlGrey Jan 11 at 20:25
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For the issues you mention, you can have your LBS fit a different handlebar for you, that should be no big problem.

As for your difficulty to get it up to speed, I think the tires are to blame, you are using tires for off road.

I ride in the city and for the last 4~5 years I have been using Maxxis Hookworms https://www.maxxis.com/catalog/tire-316-137-hookworm They are heavier than other tires, but they roll incredibly well, and the grip is just awesome, not to mention that because they are wide the bike feels and controls really nice. (Full disclaimer: I DO NOT work for Maxxis :p)

They do not seem to be available anymore for in 29", but again your LSB can help you find other alternatives, the point is: you should change those tires if you are going to be riding in the city for ones that roll easier on roads and side walks

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    Again I thank everyone for the suggestions. I went back to my LBS and the owner was very happy to help. Apparently the Scott Scale 40 comes with handlebars that are meant to be cut to size based on a person’s arm length. I got that done and they took off an inch on both sides. In addition, they swapped me out for 32 mm Kenda tires. I rode the bike afterwards and it was really nice. Perhaps the tires are a bit too thin, but I want to try them for a while before I make a judgment. Given the type of riding I do, I think they will work well. Anyway, my LBS was happy to help. – Anil Rao Jan 12 at 2:29
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    @AnilRao you can answer yourself your question with this last comment, and mark it as best answer. It looks like the LBS is one of the helpful and decently managed (ok, they should have told you about the handlebar at first, but still, they helped). Good for you! – EarlGrey Jan 12 at 11:22
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I just want to thank everyone again for all of the suggestions. After a fairly detailed search, I finally found a bike I really like. It’s the 2021 Trek Domane AL2 Disc. It was about $1200.00 out-the-door with nice pedals and a smartphone holder. It’s a road bike with just lightly wider than regular road bike tires, had disc brakes, a carbon fork, and an aluminum frame. I got lucky because a shop in Ocala, Florida had ONE such bike in stock (not the color I wanted, but gold on a black frame is good enough - at least it’s not some gaudy color). Anyway, I’ve had it not for about four days and I just love the way it rides (even with the drop handlebars which I have now decided I like much better than I thought I would).

Just to close: I did not want to spend the money on a Trek Domane SL5 (that bike is close to $3K).

Thanks again!

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  • The black and gold looks good. I think you made the right choice there with the AL2 vs AL5. If you go aluminum for a modern road bike, I would say keep it on the cheaper models and upgrade later if you so chose to for carbon fiber. Enjoy your new ride. – Tude Productions Jan 28 at 0:40
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Keep the bike.

I think you still need to find new trails to ride with it, and I am sure you made the right choice. That price though.

I have bought 3 bikes which I was doubtful I would ride them but I enjoy each moment when I ride.

Give that new bike a chance.

P.S : I would not recommend any changes to the bike. No parts removed/changed or anything else until you get some rides done.

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  • I really appreciate everyone’s suggestions and thoughts. Before I venture down the path of finding another bike, what kind of bike would be best suited for riding not on roads but on sidewalks (allowed in Florida), other suburban paths, and well developed trails? One of the most used areas around here is the Gainesville-Hawthorne trail: floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/…. Again, I appreciate everyone’s thoughts. – Anil Rao Jan 11 at 12:31
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    @AnilRao a follow-on question in a comment will probably get ignored due to lack of visibility. You can edit you original question post ti incorporate this sub-question and additional info about where you intend to ride. – Argenti Apparatus Jan 11 at 14:56
  • That leaves only $700 for each of the three bikes, which isn’t much at all. – MaplePanda Jan 11 at 16:29
  • @AnilRao I would still let the shop know you have reservations and notate the date so that they do not say why did you not tell us sooner. – Tude Productions Jan 13 at 22:29
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Anil,

I would recommend talking to the bike shop, letting them know it is not the right bike for you and if they would either help you find another bike or refund you the money.

Most bike shops have a return window even on bikes provided they are not trashed. Also, do not necessarily feel like you have to stick with that shop if you want to do another brand.

I would say look this bike is not right for me I would like my money back and then take some time to research the right bike for you.

Also, you should look into Florida deceptive trade practices law. I have a better idea of Texas Law, but there probably is something in there that protects the knowledge disparity between you and the shop. For example, they have some if not more onus as the professional to help pick the right bike for you vs. you do as the customer, who is new to the sport.

https://floridabusinesslawfirm.com/blog/florida-deceptive-and-unfair-trade-practices-fdutpa-florida-statutes/

Hopefully the shop will resolve this in a civil manner so that you can find the right bike for you.

Also, if you are riding on the road primarily perhaps an endurance fit road bike like a Trek Domane SL5 or Specialized Roubaix would work.

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Update after a week.

I have now gotten all suggested adjustments with the handlebar and tires. My LBS was very helpful, but, to be honest, I am just not able to ride this bike effectively. It’s extremely labor-intensive to maintain speed on this bike, and I find myself moving much much slower on pavement in comparison to the Trek hybrid I own (which is a very basic bike). I have spoken to the owner of my LBS and he says he will work with me.

In scoping out other bikes, the ones that grab my attention are the Giant Fastroad Advanced 1 (https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/fastroad-advanced-1-2021) and the Cannondale Quick 1 (https://www.cannondale.com/en-us/bikes/active/fitness/quick/quick-1?sku=c31100m10sm). Any thoughts on either of these bikes?

Worst come to worst, I will sell the Scott Scale 940 either through consignment or a buyback from my LBS.

It’s been a trying purchase. I did not expect to be so unhappy with this bike.

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  • Anil this really should not be something you have to eat costs on. For a bike less than a few days old you should not feel guilted into agreeing to consignment or buy back etc. Tell the owner you would like to return the bike in the same condition for a full refund to your original payment method. You also have leverage too if you made the purchase via credit card. Remember part of the job of a shop is to help you make an educated purchase. Clearly for some reason that did not happen and you saw that in a few days. If you came back months later and trashed the bike that is different. – Tude Productions Jan 16 at 22:33

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