The Scott Plasma 10 triathlon bike tested, rated and reviewed to give you the definitive verdict
This third-generation Plasma frame was one of the first of the latest collection of integration-rich superbikes when it was introduced in 2011.
An enviable list of triathlon and time trial wins include victory in the fastest ever Tour de France stage.
Scott Plasma 10 – Frame and Fork
While the custom-shaped Profile Plasma 3 stem has a rise built in, the low-stack head-tube and top-tube cutout sync the front end together – it’s still very neat.
The head-tube and frame front-centre section is super narrow too, with Scott staying with a 1in fork steerer to minimise frontal area.
The only way the Plasma slightly betrays its age is the use of a conventional front brake rather than any specific flush-fit, shrouded or imbedded aero brake. Otherwise the internally routed cables feed into the top of the shoulder for the lower steering bearing and there’s another cutout behind the base of the head-tube to sync with the deep fork crown.
The whole front end and all other tube junctions are as deep as road cycling regulations allow.
The press-fit bottom bracket gets a flat-topped triangulated section above it for stiffness and smoother airflow with the rear brake tucked in above the chainstays. The stays themselves are particularly interesting, starting off super deep then tapering suddenly in the mid section and flaring out to form two diagonally canted wings. These sections are designed to deflect wind flow away from the turbulent air of the rear cassette and hub and have been widely copied on other frames.
Having written off a Plasma 2 frame in a crash, we’re also relieved to see a replaceable gear hanger for such slap-down insurance. The frame is only available in small, medium and large sizes, however. With dedicated Di2 or conventional format frame and fork sets costing £3,499, the complete bike looks pretty good value.
Scott Plasma 10 – The Kit
The Scott Plasma 10 build uses mechanical gearing rather than electrically actuated Dura Ace. That means no satellite shifters on the cow-horns or automatic front mech adjustment. But it’s still a super smooth shift across the 11-speed rear block. With no motors on the mechs and no battery, it’s significantly lighter too. Although it’s worth noting that this conventional cabled frame can’t be easily upgraded to Di2.
The conventional Dura Ace front brake delivers as much easily controlled power as you and the tyres can cope with, while the rear TRP brake is an adequate rather than outstanding anchor. Conventional brakes make it compatible with even the widest wheelsets though.
The Profile base bar and extensions are definitely in the workmanlike rather than wishlist component category too, with the skinny ovalised, alloy base bar looking pretty basic alongside the integrated carbon-fibre cockpits of other superbikes out there.
The ‘space saver’ wheels are from Scott’s pet component brand Syncros too, with Schwalbe’s fast but tough Durano S tyres making them a solid mile-eating set if not particularly flattering in overall performance terms.
Scott Plasma 10 – The Ride
Every tester immediately felt at home on the Scott Plasma 10. The totally sorted ride position and handling create an instantly friendly feel – the least like an aero road bike and more like a road bike. Heavy wheels, training tyres and the slightly bouncy Profile bars mean you lose some snap power delivery though – especially out of the saddle.
You can get some wheel rub on the brakes if you really crank it too, but it’s a smooth ride. Swapping to Mavic Cosmics and race tyres saw a notably quicker pick-up.
As long as we kept the power down and stayed in an aero tuck, the Scott happily traded through and off pulls with the fastest bikes on the market.
The fact it stays stable and unthreatening even in windy conditions, or when upgraded to deep section wheels, underlines a relaxing ride feel that noticeably helps delay mental fatigue. The seemingly effortless way it holds onto speed is great for morale and it gets better the longer and further you ride.
Pros: Friendly and balanced ride character plus great aerodynamics
Cons: Analogue frame can’t be easily upgraded to Di2 shifting