Scott’s Genius is the flagship of their mountain bike range and has been around forever. What will Pete make of the composite iteration of the current Genius?
The most recent incarnation of the Genius brings Scott’s flagship model well into the 21st Century with the ability to run either 27.5 or 29″ wheels, has adjustable geometry to suit both wheel sizes and on the 920 model, Scott’s patented TwinLoc system.
Just how versatile is Scott’s 150mm travel all-mountain weapon? Pete has been testing it in the Scottish, French and Italian hills to find out.
- Carbon front triangle, alloy rear.
- 27.5 or 29″ wheels.
- Adjustable flip chip geometry.
- 150mm travel.
- TwinLoc suspension system.
- Fox 34 Performance and Nude EVOL shock.
- SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain.
- FOX Transfer dropper.
- Syncros TR2.5 wheels.
- £4,099.99 RRP
Looking at the numbers, the Genius looks to be a solid mix of aggressive geometry, especially with 29″ wheels fitted, without being anything ‘expressionist’. With a low seat post, I opted for the medium to get a slightly roomier cockpit and didn’t find myself hovering on the seat like I did on the Enduro 29 I tested last year.
A 439mm reach on the medium is plenty roomy enough for a person of my stature and allows plenty of space to move your weight about the bike. The 760mm bar and 50mm stem don’t pull your weight too far forward, meaning your weight naturally sits central.
From the word go, the Genius is obviously destined for speed. The voluminous Schwalbe Nobby Nics accelerating fast and not adding much drag to any trail situation, and the 29″ wheels fitted making light work of smaller trail features.
Up and down.
On the climbs, the TwinLoc makes perfect sense. The ‘Traction Control’ mode, which reduces the travel on the suspension and firms up the forks means all your power goes to the fast rubber, propelling you forwards. Anyone used to a ‘south paw’ style dropper level may find themselves going into ‘N1no Schurter’ mode accidentally though, as I found out on my first few runs.
When I remembered to get the Genius into ‘Scotty Laughland/Brendog’ mode, i.e. full travel, there is an urgency about the Genius that takes some adjusting to. Being so central on the bike, moving about to weight the bike never seems to be all that troublesome and forward momentum seems to be the modus operandi of the Genius.
Flatter, choppier trails seem to level out in front of the Genius; the multiple higher-G turns of Flat White in Innerleithen don’t seem to phase the bike either; a fast, rocky blast down Beinn Ghlas never really found the hardware wanting.
The addition of the Syncros fender is a cracking addition to what most people are going to add to a bike anyway, doing a great job of keeping the worst of the cack from your eyes. The water bottle tool storage is yet another great example of making the most of the space on a bike.
In my opinion, there’s only three things holding the Genius back from having two hands firmly on the ‘one bike to do them all’ prize, and thankfully, anyone that knows their bikes, will know these things are easily remedied.
Any avid shock fettler will notice the lack of compression damping adjustment on the Genius. TwinLoc gets the priority here, and for longer miles in the saddle, the Traction Control will save you so much energy.
If you’re not one of those people lucky enough to have base tunes work for you though, adjusting the rebound is as far as you can go. For me, the compression tune on the fork and shock seem a little too firm at the start of the stroke to get the wheels tracking the ground.
The higher speeds of the Alps should have made more sense of the firmer compression, but alas, the sweet spot was never something I managed to find during the test period.
That said, the support at the deep end of the dampers is superb.
A bike this fast needs appropriate anchors to bring it to heel. Shimano’s XT brakes are, for the most part, competent stoppers, if a little binary in their action. On longer runs, or where the stoppers are in use most of the time, they lack the power and modulation of a 4-pot, which would allow the bike to be let off the leash.
I will start this by saying that Scott do offer the Genius 920 with some Maxxis Rekon EXO 2.8″ tyres in the 27.5″ guise. I wouldn’t say it would make me choose the 27.5″ model though.
While the Schwalbe Nobby Nics fitted are light and very fast, contributing to the bikes forward urgency, they don’t have the support in the carcass in turns or protection against punctures that you need on a bike of this ability. On loose surfaces, the rear simply locks as soon as your attention turns to the back brake with enough air to keep them on the rim, and too many flats with enough air to find traction.
What do we think?
The Genius is now a jack-of-all-trades and rapidly approaching mastering them all with the addition of the TwinLoc system. Riding bicycles off road is a very personal thing, and many my find the stock tyres, brakes and dampers much to their liking.
For me, some subtle tweaks would see the Genius find the overdrive gear I can’t currently find. There’s no doubt the Genius is a very capable beast, and even with the foibles mentioned above, I’m going faster than I ever have, I might just enjoy it more with the changes I mentioned.
- Go anywhere, do anything capability.
- Easy speed in all situations.
- Wheel compatibility.
- TwinLoc system.
Could do better:
- Compression damping adjustment would be nice.
- Needs heavier duties tyres.
- Needs 4-pot brakes and larger rotors for bigger descents.