While we’d known Scott was working on a successor to its Plasma 3 frame, we really weren’t quite sure what to expect. Would it be a revolutionary redesign, or more of an evolutionary approach? Our first clue of what to expect was when Sebastian Kienle showed up at Challenge Kraichgau with an outrageously painted Plasma frame featuring some very unique integration. At first glance, it appeared to be a slightly modified Plasma design with a large amount of fuel integration. However, upon further inspection, we realized it was more than just “slightly modified.”
Fast forward a month and we know what he was riding—the new Plasma 5—a bike with evolutionary frame changes and revolutionary fuel integration.
Multi Fuel Storage
The most obvious place to start when talking about the new Plasma 5 is the front end with its multi-fuel storage system. This system was designed in conjunction with Profile Design and integrates fully into the bike. In front of the head tube you have the Plasma 5 Aero Drink vertical hydration. Sized to match the frame (550ml\625ml), the bottles are easily removable. The clip-on connection ensures a firm linkage to the stem and a secondary connection (via a soft interface) to the front brake cover. The soft interface helps to avoid vibrations. The bottles themselves are dishwasher safe.
A storage box resides on the top tube. The box features a two-cell design, which allows for the separation of fuels (or a convenient space to throw your trash). The cells are created via a removable divider allowing you to modify the space as needed, and with the divider removed, the box can hold a good amount—up to 8 energy bars. Designed with a solid body and a rubber top, the box is connected via a standard 64mm bolt interface that can be replaced with a standard bottle cage
Also, when the storage box and aero drink are removed, the bike is completely UCI legal. We thought that was pretty exciting. Looking for a single machine for TT as well as Tri? Scott has you covered.
The Plasma 5 has two stem options – Tri and TT. The TT stem stays in line with the top tube and allows for a very low position. However, the aero drink cannot be installed. The Tri stem increases handlebar stack by 45mm while maintaining reach and allowing for the installation of the aero drink. The new stems are 90g lighter than the previous Plasma 3 stem, yet the head tube torsional stiffness has increased by 47%.
Scott’s partnership with Profile Design was not just limited to the storage options. The Plasma 5 features a modified Aeria that uses an ulti-flat clamping area (versus the standard 31.8mm clamping area). One of the biggest reasons that Scott went with the Aeria is the combination of aerodynamic performance and 3:1 UCI compliance.
Scott will be offering three versions of the bar – a 420mm flat bar, a 420mm bar with 30mm of rise, and a 400mm bar with 30mm drop. The drop bar is designed for smaller sizes and very low handlebar positions. The rise bar is intended for riders with more up right riding positions. The spacers and extensions brackets allow for a rise up to 75mm.
The extension clamping system is the based on the standard 22.2mm and can take either the included extensions or the new extensions shipped with the Plasma 5. The new extensions were designed around the needs of Sebastian Kienle and bridge the gap between straight bars and ski tips. The pads feature a narrower mounting option and lower pad design.
The Plasma 5 features integrated front and rear brakes. Out back there is a Shimano direct-mount brake located behind the bottom bracket. Up front Scott has chosen to do something we consider to be very novel. While the Plasma 5 ships with an integrated dual pivot / center pull brake, the frame can actually accept almost any brake currently available. The fork features mounts for both a Shimano Direct Mount interface as well as a standard brake interface. Have a preference for a TriRig Omega, Shimano 9K, or SRAM Red? All are an option (however, the brake cover cannot be used).
The integrated brakes were developed in partnership with TEKTRO. They feature an improved leverage ratio due to the increased length of the lever arms and stiffer construction thanks to a brake booster that keeps the brake bolts from flexing under arm.
In Tri configuration, the new frame (including aero drink and storage box) show a 7% reduction in drag as compared to the Plasma 3. With the TT stem (and no storage) the reduction is 5% versus the Plasma 3.
At launch Scott will be offering two builds. Both will be built with Scott’s top-tier HMX carbon. The Plasma Team Issue will feature SRAM Red22 and a Zipp 404/808 combination.
The Plasma Premium is built around Dura Ace 9000 mechanical and will include a Syncros Race 27 wheelset.
Prices have not yet been announced.
We cannot understate how important it was for us to see that Sebastian Kienle was such a large factor in the development of this bike. While we understand pros are paid to use products, athletes like Kienle are not going to risk their chances at the podium on a product they don’t believe in. The onboard hydration and nutrition is a big win for us as well – especially regarding the ease of use of the products. The integrated aero drink can easily be removed, cleaned, and replaced. That’s one of those little touches we really appreciate. While we need some actual saddle time to gauge a product, based on everything we have seen so far, we like it.
The Plasma 5 allows users to have both a legal UCI TT frame while getting all of the storage and aided aero that triathlon allows. For Scott this appears to be much more than just an evolutionary upgrade to the Plasma 3. Instead, this appears to be an exciting new collaboration between frame builder and component manufacturer to develop a product that meets all of their users’ needs with almost no sacrifices. We think that’s a win-win!