Scott’s All New Gambler

by Brian Mullin on August 4, 2012

SCOTT Presents the All New Gambler

all new SCOTT Gambler is ready to ride. After extensive prototyping
with Brendan Fairclough and Scott11, the Gambler is ready for its
official unveiling.

The Gambler is a very capable Downhill and Freeride bike. It boasts chain stay length adjustment, a progressive multi-pivot linkage system, and a low-slung front triangle for maximum standover clearance. It is used by our World Cup DH Team, Scott11, as well as by our big mountain Freeriders. The Gambler is available in two models to suit your needs.

History of the Gambler

Optimized In the Field – Race tuning and prototyping
In late 2009 we started race tuning the original Gambler with Nick Beer
and Fabien Pedemanaud of the Scott 11 WC DH race team. We made some
custom links in a small machine shop in Champery, in an effort to get
the suspension working better in big holes and g-out forces commonly
seen on a WC DH track. After many prototypes we found performance
improvements in geometry, suspension curve and feel. Before we got the
chance to analyze the new links with the engineers at Scott, Nick Beer
and Fabien Pedemanaud both graced the podium at Windham and Maribor.
These two podium results really fueled the fire, and we started
extensive testing with Fox to further improve many aspects of the
suspension. To take things a step further we started building custom DH
test tracks to better test the suspension.

Refine every detail – In order to optimize a bike f or racing every detail needs to be questioned.
Just because things have been done a certain way for years does not
mean that it is the best for everyone everywhere. We found that geometry
trends were getting lower and lower, and so were chain lines. The rear
axles stayed at the same height and we noticed a compromise in square
edged hit performance, acceleration and braking. This trend provoked a
couple of prototypes to be built to test main pivot heights and chain
line forces. One had an idler pulley that we could mount just about
anywhere and a 25mm higher main pivot. The 25mm higher pivot was a big
improvement for things like late braking in rough terrain, sprinting on
uneven ground with a low BB and greatly improved square edged big hit
performance. The bike was moving forward faster than ever. A lot was
learned from this bike and helped us back up the computer simulations
with real world feel testing.

Suspension Layout Test Mule
The next step was to find a force curve that could provide the support
AND comfort. We played around with many different linkages and layouts
until we decided it was not possible to have both with the style of
linkages we were using. We needed another degree of manipulation of the
force curve to be able to have that support without compromising
traction and comfort. That was when Mat Landre, the engineer working on
the bike, came up with the idea of the floating link. We were not sure
if it was too extreme, and we would not want to create problems with the
damping in the shocks, so we built 3 prototypes to test the proposed

DH Race Optimization
One of the main goals was the optimization of support in rough
situations without compromising traction and comfort. In addition, we
decided to fully dedicate our efforts to DH racing and creating the
fastest bike possible. This is where Brendan Fairclough comes into the
picture to help us take the bike even further. We feel he is the last
piece of the puzzle we need to complete the ideal development
conditions. Between creating custom tracks for testing, rapid
prototyping, an engineering department in the Swiss Alps and Brendan
Fairclough testing, we feel very confident our new Gambler is completely
dialed and ready for the roughest tracks the WC DH circuit has to

A fully refined WC DH race bike available to the general public
Downhill bikes are a passion of ours here at Scott. Champéry, one of
the most legendary tracks of the UCI WC DH racing circuit, is only an
hour down the road from our engineering department. The course builders
and race directors of this steep track work here at Scott. This close
relationship between engineering and track building created the perfect
venue for testing and prototyping. Out test team included Ben Walker,
Claudio Caluori and his Scott 11 DH race team, with riders like Brendan
Fairclough and Floriane Pugin to complete the ultimate development team.
Our development team lives and breathes DH bikes and we feel confident
that our team, process and passion are key elements to making a fast
bike. If these guys are happy with the bike then we are ready to show it
to the world. For those who are serious about downhill, this is a bike
that will give you every advantage.


Adjustable Geometry
The new Gambler has race tuned geometry with a low and slack or a
higher and steeper setting. Some tracks are rough and some are pedally
therefore we want a bike that can do both. The chain stay length is also
adjustable from 420mm to 440mm. The ability to dial in the bike for
your track and your riding style is key to going fast. We want you to
feel the best you can on your track. Whether you are Brendan Fairclough
or new to DH, this bike has the geometry to make you a faster rider.

Floating Link
The floating link suspension system enabled us to mix both support and
comfort, providing a confidence inspiring ride. This linkage arrangement
allowed us to fine tune the leverage rate and force curve to better
meet the demands of the world’s fastest racers. In addition, we almost
eliminated DU bushing rotation, increasing small bump sensitivity and
minimizing bushing wear. Another advantage of this layout is low bearing
load, further increasing durability and sensitivity. The weight of the
bike is centered and gets lower when things get rough. Brendan tells us
this is one of the nicest bikes he has ever whipped! The bike feels like
it pivots around its center whether in the air or fully committing to a
difficult corner. The floating link, has enabled us to achieve all of
our design objectives.

Down Tube Protector
The down tube of a DH bike gets abused by rocks kicked up by the front
wheel on a regular basis. This adhesive backed lightweight guard
provides huge protection where it matters most.

Integrated Fork Bumpers
A DH fork can impact the frame pretty hard in the event of a crash. In
addressing this we optimized frame strength and integrated bumpers at
the point where the fork can hit the frame. Cable routing was also
optimized to eliminate the possibility of being crushed in a crash. No
more worrying if your fork bumpers are in the right place, and a cleaner
tidier looking front end.

IDS -X Dropouts
The rear axle of the Gambler features a unique design which increases
the torsional rigidity of the rear end of the frame, providing better
cornering and suspension performance. The simple to use system has an
innovative shaped head which fits like a key in the rear dropout of the
frame. The axle head is both eccentric and conical, two features which
lock the rear axle in place, illuminating the need for pinch bolts.
Reduced weight, reduced complexity, improved tracking and more
consistent drifts: the new IDS-X Dropouts, simpler and better.

Lower leverage ratio proves itself both on the ground and in the computer
In the past we found that the long and rough tracks pushed many shocks
to their limits, and since this project was all about minimizing
compromise and optimizing the bike for the roughest tracks, we set out
to find a solution. After testing many different shock tunes, linkages,
shock lengths and layouts, the development team and WC race testers
found a substantial advantage to the lower leverage ratios on longer
stroke shocks. These longer shocks gave us a better useable adjustable
range of tuning, enabling us to provide the support and grip our riders
need, without creating higher internal pressures inside the shocks.
Another advantage was more consistent damping at the end of long runs.
There was less heating inside the shocks compared to the shorter shocks
we were testing, and the oil was doing a better job for longer service
intervals. The increased tuning options alone were enough to convince
the team, so the increased durability and more consistent damping at the
end of a long run were a bonus. After testing all the variables we
decided running a shorter shock might be lighter, but the performance
increases gained by a longer shock and lower leverage ratio definitely
outweighed the small weight penalty. This is a serious bike for serious
tracks, and a suspension compromise was not an option.

Gambler 10 Specs

  • Sizes – S / M / L
    – Gambler Alloy 6061, Hydroformed custom butted, PF BB107 / IDS X 12
    x150mm Dropout, BB height and chainstay length adjustable, ISCG05 /
    210mm rear travel
  • FORK – Fox 40 RC2 FIT Factory 203mm travel /
    Coil, preload adj. / Reb-Comp High & low speed adj.,20mm thru axle /
    alloy steerer
  • REAR SHOCK – Fox DHX RC2 Coil / Boost valve
    technology, Reb.,low-speed comp., Bottom out force adj, custom tuned /
    267 x 89mm, spring rates S 250 / M 300 / L 350″
  • HEADSET – Syncros DH adjustable, semi integrated / adj +-1° or +-2° with cup, ID 49.6mm / OD 55mm
  • REAR DERAILLEUR – Shimano Saint RD-M820-SS , short cage / 10 Speed
  • CHAINGUIDE – E.thirteen LG-1 ISCG05 w/Taco, alloy backplate
  • SHIFTERS – Shimano Zee SL-M640, Rapidfire Plus / 2 way release
  • BRAKELEVERS – Shimano Zee BL-M640 Disc
  • BRAKES – Shimano Zee BR-M640 / Disc 4 piston, 203mm F+ R SM-RT76 IT Rotor
  • CRANKSET – Shimano Saint FC-M825, 36T alloy chainring, Hollowtech II / 165mm
  • BB-SET – Shimano SM-BB71-41A / shell 41×104.5mm
  • HANDLEBAR – Funn Fatboy, 6069-T6 Alloy, 15mm rise, 810mm Syncros Pro DH dual lock on grips
  • STEM – Funn RSX Light Direct mount , 15mm rise / 45-50mm ext.
  • PEDAL – nil
  • SEATPOST – Funn Arrow / 31.6mm, Alloy 7050 / 0mm offset
  • SEAT – Syncros DH 20 / CROM rails
  • HUB FRONT – Formula DH-92 20mm thru axle,
  • HUB REAR – DT Swiss FR 350 / 12mm thru axle, 150mm wide
  • CHAIN – Shimano CN-HG54
  • CASSETTE – Shimano CS-4600, 11-25 T DH cassette
  • SPOKES – DT Swiss super comp black
  • RIMS – DT Swiss FR 600, 32H
    – Schwalbe Downhill Evolution Line, front: Muddy Mary 26 x2.35
    Vertstar, rear: Muddy Mary 26 x 2.35 Trailstar , Triple Nano Compound /
    Wire Bead, 2-ply DH casing,, Snake Bite Protection
  • WEIGHT – ? kg / ? lbs

Detailed Feature Descriptions

Suspension Technology

The low and centered floating link optimizes the suspension curve to support the rider
This suspension layout enabled our engineers to achieve all of the
criteria our racers need. The heaviest parts of the frame are located in
the same low central location. The weight gets lower under compression,
keeping the weight between the rider’s ankles. This feature makes the
bike change directions faster, corner with more stability and is a real
blast to whip around in the air.

The floating link has almost no
DU bushing rotation, increasing sensitivity and extending bushing life.
We tested fancy bearing systems to decrease friction but felt this was a
compromise. In the end we figured out a way to eliminate the problem
rather than treat the symptoms. In addition, there is extremely low
bearing load at beginning stroke, adding further sensitivity and

Thanks to the floating link our engineers were able to
give our racers exactly what they want in a suspension curve. The extra
degree of manipulation allows for a perfect blend of support and
traction, in the form of a slightly progressive beginning stroke,
transitioning to a rising linear rate. Combining a linear and a
progressive suspension curve is the key to giving our racers the tool to
win races.

The lower leverage ratio with the longer shock enables
the rider to tackle longer runs without compromising damping
performances. Furthermore, the shock sees lower internal pressures and
provides for a wider useable adjustable range of damping through
external adjusters. This bike was developed on long extreme tracks and
the lower leverage ratio really showed it’s advantages in both
durability and performance.


  • The Floating Link balances support & traction.
  • Minimized DU bushing rotation, improves small bump sensitivity & increases durability.
  • The low and centered mass placement enables faster direction changes& sicker whips.

The floating link enabled the engineers to mix comfort and support,
providing the riders with exactly what they need to go fast. There is a
subtle dual progressive curve to achieve the goals, but not too
exaggerated to avoid shock tuning limitations.

The floating link creates a progressive feeling suspension with an almost direct compression of the shock, minimizing DU bushing rotation. By our calculations and testing this increases shock bushing life and improves small bump sensitivity.

The more the pivot height increases the more efficiently the impact is absorbed. The Gambler pivot height is as high as it can go before needing an Idler pulley. We find the pivot height on the new Gambler to be a perfect mix of improved acceleration, braking and impact absorption, without any negative performance traits.

This layout keeps all the weight centered and low between the rider’s
ankles. This makes direction changes faster and more efficient because
the bikes mass is pivoting around the center. In addition, this low and
centered weight aids in cornering stability. The mass mimics the weight
shift of a rider in a corner on the vertical axis. We feel this helps
the rider feel “one” with the bike.

Adjustable Geometry

420mm, 425mm, 435mm, 440mm Chain stay length

World Cup Downhill Race Tracks are never the same
When designing the adjustable WC DH race geometry on the new Gambler we
knew we wanted to offer what the pros have as stock. However, we also
wanted to make sure normal riders would not be held back. Therefore;
this bike has 2 distinctly different feeling setups. Much of the testing
we did was to see if an intermediate rider could handle Brendan
Fairclough’s exact race geometry.

0mm or +10mm BB Drop

There is nothing wrong with pressing in angled headsets or short
shocking bikes to get the low BB heights. However, we wanted to run
stock geometry on real WC DH tracks. The higher and steeper setup works
better for pedally tracks like in South Africa, and the lower and
slacker setup is optimized for tracks like Champery. This is basically
like having 2 completely different bikes, giving the racer a better
chance of geometry optimization on any given race weekend.


  • The adjustable geometry on the Gambler is ready for racing.
  • Riding style and different race tracks need different setups.
  • The low and slack geo can handle the demands of tracks like Champery
    while the higher and steeper settings feel right at home on tracks like
    Pietermauritzberg or bike parks. 

The chain stay length is adjustable from 421mm to 436mm in the high BB setting and from 425mm to 440mm in the low BB setting.

Gambler is offered in three sizes with the seat tube staying at the
same low height. The low seat tube and top tube help the bike to keep
the weight lower to the ground.

The Gambler has two BB height options adjusted by the lower shock bolt. The lower hole provides a 0mm BB Drop, while the upper hole gives a +10mm BB Drop.

The Gambler has two head angle options adjusted by the lower shock bolt. The lower hole provides a 62° head angle while the upper hole gives a 63° head angle. The head tube is also very short allowing an extra degree of adjustment by raising or lowering the crowns of the fork. Three centimeters of additional fork height equals one degree of head angle adjustment.

Dropouts and Rear Axle Technology

Our test tracks created problems and we found solutions
In our development process we created a track with compression in mind.
There are holes, g-outs, hard berms, roots in holes and many other
things to give the compression damping a real challenge. On this track
we routinely saw the negative effects of the rear ends twisting and
scissoring until everything was coming loose. The bikes were not only
coming loose but the tracking and suspension performance was also being
compromised by extreme side loading in the hard corners. We started
creating rear axles that are simpler, stiffer, lighter and easier to use
than anything we have seen before. We created a track
that created problems and then we found a solution that had more than one benefit.
The IDS-X system adds torsional rigidity and ease of use over a
traditional pinch bolt design. Thanks to the eccentric and conically
shaped axle heads that key into the frame, we were able to gain
performance in flat cornering drifts through a more consistent feel,
improved suspension performance deeper in the stroke and an easier to
use system compared to a pinch bolt design.


  • IDS -X dropouts enable the rider to hold a tighter line when the drifting gets rough.
  • Sliding the rear end becomes easier with a more consistent feel.
  • The axles are simpler to use and stiffer than traditional pinch bolt rear axles.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: