For seven years after it launched in 2007, the Scott Addict went largely unchanged. The American/Swiss brand had little reason to tinker with the design as its top-tier race bike kept racking up win after win, first with Columbia-HTC and later with Orica-GreenEdge. Even now, the latest-generation Addict RC ridden by Team DSM is not wholly dissimilar to the original from all those years ago.
Throughout its 16-year history, the Addict has been focussed firmly on light weight, and the foundations were laid with Scott’s previous super-light race machine.
‘The Addict is a direct result of the CR1, which was 880g in its lightest configuration,’ says Frank Oberle, road product manager at Scott. ‘The road teams were asking for a lighter version, the market was asking for a new version and because the CR1 was already four years old, we said, “OK we need a new model,” so we created the Addict.’
The first iteration of the Addict featured an integrated seatpost and the frame weighed just 790g. To go from CR1 to Addict, Scott developed a new manufacturing method called integrated moulding process (IMP), which allowed the Addict to be 10% lighter than the CR1 frame.
‘IMP meant we could make the front as one piece, so the top tube, head tube and down tube were all one single unit,’ says Oberle. ‘It was a big milestone in carbon technology and meant we could create the lightest bike on the market.’
‘Before this, carbon frames were made like they were metal with the tubes welded together,’ adds William Juben, head of road bikes and bike components engineering at Scott. ‘This was the first frame where tubes weren’t glued together but made as one piece, which meant there were fewer bonding joints as we didn’t need to add material to link the pieces together. That saved quite a bit of weight. It was really the lightest production frame in the world when it was introduced. There was nothing like it.
‘This idea of reducing the number of joints has been really important throughout the history of the Addict, and for generation after generation that is what we have done.’
Blast off with the Missile
The Addict’s crowning moment came two years later when the frame was in the hands of Team Columbia-HTC.
‘The most successful season was in 2009 with Mark Cavendish,’ says Oberle. ‘The team had 87 victories and amassed 12,289 points. Then everybody was asking to get this lightweight Addict frame and demand really grew.’
‘The team’s results showed that sprinters like Cavendish could win on the lightest bike possible; that the bike was also fast and strong,’ adds Juben.
‘That year Cavendish won six stages of the Tour de France, three stages of the Giro d’Italia, and Milan-San Remo, all on the Addict. It was quite a message that the Addict was a climbing bike but also an all-rounder, and it was still the lightest bike of its kind at the time.’
The next major development emerged in 2014 when Scott introduced a new type of carbon fibre composite and reduced the number of joints to produce a complete frameset under 1kg – the Addict SL.
‘We used a new HMX-SL grade of carbon fibre, which shaved off some weight as we could use less material,’ says Juben. ‘When you use a stronger and stiffer fibre, you can remove one layer of carbon to reduce the weight.
‘Both seatstays were one piece, as were the chainstays and bottom bracket. We reduced more of the bonding joints on this generation to make it lighter again.’
‘A major change was also the integrated cabling, which reduced even more weight as we removed the stoppers that attached the cables,’ adds Oberle. ‘It was all about these smart little details that made it lighter. We also removed the integrated seatpost to make it more user-friendly.’
Next came the emergence of disc brakes in 2016, and with that, Scott essentially overhauled the Addict.
‘We kept the racing DNA but completely redesigned the bike with a new fork and a completely new rear triangle to accommodate disc brakes,’ says Juben. ‘We removed the seatstay bridge, added more tyre clearance and full carbon dropouts for the fork and rear triangle. The result was a frame that weighed 830g, with only 60g added for the frame plus the fork compared to the rim brake version. The total frame kit weighed 1,175g, and so again the Addict was one of the lightest on the market.’
Four years later, Scott introduced its latest engineering developments in frame moulding with the launch of the RC Ultimate, the current top-tier Addict.
‘It was the first time the frame was completely bonded hollow,’ says Juben. ‘There are no solid parts in the dropouts or anywhere. It’s a fully hollow structure.
‘There are only four bonding joints in this model. We halved the number from the previous model, which meant we could save weight just from the manufacturing process.
‘The frame is made of just three parts. The full front triangle is one piece, even the seat tube and the bottom bracket come together with the front derailleur mount, and then there are the two bonded half rear triangles.
‘We also added fully internal cable routing, even with mechanical shifting, and this had no negative impact on the complete frameset weight. When we compare the complete frame kit, it’s 160g lighter than the previous version.’
As of 2020, Scott uses finite element analysis (FEA) software to simulate and map out the carbon layup for the frame, which it says has optimised its design capabilities.
‘With FEA we can simulate different real-world forces on a virtual model of the frame,’ says Juben. ‘We can see where we can remove layers or where we need to reinforce them, and optimise the carbon layering so we get the perfect mechanical properties of a frame at the lowest weight. It has opened up a lot of possibilities.’
It’s all in the genes
Since the Addict’s launch 16 years ago, the bike has clearly evolved alongside Scott’s own carbon expertise, but it has never lost sight of its original DNA.
‘Compared to the 2007 frame, the stiffness and weight are quite similar,’ says Oberle. ‘The geometry is different because now we have 28mm tyres, whereas in 2007 we had 23mm. The latest generation also has some aero features, which is becoming more normal for lightweight bikes.
‘When we launched the most recent edition we thought it was quite different to the one before, but some people thought it was the same, so it depends on your feeling. But it remains an Addict – a lightweight racing bike.
‘It has been a few years now since we launched a new Addict. The normal timeline for a bike like this from concept to market is four to five years,’ Oberle admits, before a wry smile appears on his face. ‘We are working very hard on something for the future.’
Scott Addict timeline
The Addict’s greatest moments
2007: The Addict launches and is the lightest production frame in the world at 790g. The CR1 is equipped with Campagnolo Record and a Ritchey WCS finishing kit.
2009: Mark Cavendish wins Milan-San Remo, three stages of the Giro d’Italia and six stages of the Tour de France. The Addict racks up 87 wins.
2010: Cavendish wins five stages of the Tour de France and the green jersey at the Vuelta a España on an Addict RC.
2014: The Scott Addict SL is introduced as the world’s first sub-1kg mass-production frameset. A size 54 weighs a claimed 995g.
2016: Launch of the Addict Premium Disc. The addition of disc brakes marks the biggest change since the first iteration, with a new fork and rear triangle.
2016: Scott makes a special edition Addict RC for the Rio Olympics.
2017: Simon Yates wins the white jersey at the Tour de France on a Scott Addict SL.
2019: The Addict RC Premium Disc racks up 17 pro wins.
2020: The Addict RC Ultimate launches with hollow moulding, aero features and fully integrated cable routing.
2020: Scott creates a custom Addict RC to celebrate Annemiek van Vleuten’s 2019 Road Race World Championships victory. It features a windmill and tulips on the frame.
2021: The Addict RC Ultimate racks up 18 wins with Team DSM women, eight wins for the development team and eight wins for the men’s pro team.
2021: Anna Kiesenhofer wins the Olympic Road Race gold on an Addict RC.
2022: Lorena Wiebes of Team DSM wins 13 stages on the Addict RC Ultimate.
2023: The Addict RC Pro launches and features the same blue paint used on Team DSM bikes.
• This article originally appeared in issue 139 of Cyclist magazine. Click here to subscribe