New geometry and a single frame that embraces multiple wheel and tyre sizes.
A revised Scott Genius follows on from last year’s new Spark. The new Genius accepts pretty much any wheel and tyre size you can chuck at it.
Last year Scott released its new Spark with a comprehensive overhaul of frame layout and geometry. The result was a bike that defied expectations and rode away with our 2017 Trail Bike of the Year award in 27.5 Plus guise.
For MY2018 (that’s Model Year 2018 to you and me) that successful template has been applied to Scott’s trail bike; the Genius.
Here’s a quick rundown…
2018 Scott Genius need to know
- Single frame accepts both 27.5in wheels and 29in wheels with nothing more than a flip of the shock chip
- Clearance for up to 27.5 x 2.8in and 29 x 2.6in tyres
- Big volume tyres come stock on all models
- 150mm of travel front and rear
- Twinloc remote with three modes lets you reduce the rear travel to 110mm and increase the compression damping for improved pedalling efficiency
- Rocker link driven Trunnion mount shock, Horst link and superior leverage curve delivers tangible improvements to suspension over previous model
- New sizing and geometry is about as long and slack as any mainstream brand has gone
- Full carbon, carbon/alloy and all-alloy frame options
- Weight of size large Genius 900 Tuned without pedals is 12.12kg (26.7lbs)
New Genius then? Looks a lot like the Spark?
Indeed it does, with the new frame layout moving the shock from its previous position beneath the top tube to a vertical plane, in line with the seat tube.
Just as it is on the Spark, the shock is inverted, allowing the engineers to take maximum advantage of the Trunnion mount with a cradled position at the base of the down tube – utilising a locating point on the frame that’s already heavily reinforced makes the most efficient use of material to keep weight to a minimum.
It also allows impressively clean cable access to the damping controls on the dual chamber Fox Nude shock for the TwinLoc remote system.
As with the Spark, the shock is driven by a compact rocker link, but from here back, the two models diverge; the additional travel of the new Genius prohibiting the use of a pivotless, flex-stay swingarm similar to the one found on its shorter travel sibling. Instead there’s a Horst link.
A Horst link? Doesn’t Specialized have a patent on that?
It used to, but the patent has now expired, allowing Scott to use it once again. We say again because the original 2003 Genius used them, then had to switch to a seatstay pivot when Scott set up stall in the US.
All of this is a good thing, right?
Yes, the old Genius had quite a low leverage ratio at the start of the travel, making the shock hard to compress, then a relatively high leverage ratio from the sag point, making it easy to compress.
This meant it lacked sensitivity at the start of the stroke and yet was easy to bottom out.
The new design flips that on its head, giving a more supple initial response, better support and a more progressive end stroke.
What does the TwinLoc system do? Is it a remote lock-out?
Not quite. TwinLoc gives you three riding modes: open, trail (or traction) and lock.
The first (Open) gives you the full 150mm of travel and the compression damping in the open setting (you can still independently fine-tune the Fox fork’s low-speed compression).
Traction mode shuts off one of the air chambers in the shock and reduces travel to 110mm. It also simultaneously adds low-speed compression damping at the fork and shock. So you get firmer suspension, less travel and a bike with a taller dynamic ride height – improving pedal clearance on technical climbs.
Finally there’s a lockout mode, which is really only for road climbs and we think could be ditched entirely.
To access the three positions, there’s a dual lever remote beneath the handlebar. It’s the best TwinLoc remote yet, but it’s still far from perfect. Mainly because you have to compromise the position of your dropper post remote as a result.
Overall, we think the system is a benefit on the 150mm travel Genius, but still we’d be happy with just two-positions, a connection to the shock alone and maybe a twist-style shifter for changing modes.
So there are 29er and Plus versions?
Well, yes and no.
There’s actually just a single Genius frame, that will run 27.5in or 29in wheels, and you can buy it as either a 29er or a 27.5in complete bike, but you can convert it from one to the other with nothing more than a switch of wheels and a flip of the geometry chip.
In a further move towards inclusivity, the Genius frame is built to accommodate big volume tyres. Specifically you can run up to 27.5×2.8in and 29×2.6in rubber, and that’s exactly the tyre size specced on the new models.
But if you’re not a fan of Plus tyres, there’s nothing stopping you fitting something narrower.
So the new Genius is a Plus bike then?
Scott is not pitching it as a Plus bike, even though it comes with what are commonly known as Plus tyres.
Scott makes the case that tyre sizes are so arbitrary that this label is misleading. To back up this argument it points to the fact that a Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5in wide trail is within 0.5mm (width) of a Maxxis Rekon 2.8in. So it has a point.
What about the geometry?
For a mainstream brand, it’s great to see that Scott’s approach to the geometry on the new Genius is far from conservative.
Perhaps it wants to ensure than the Genius won’t be out of date in a few years time? We also know that Scott has a Nicolai Geometron in its fleet for evaluation purposes, so perhaps that has influenced the new sizing.
Either way, the result is that the new Genius offers a comprehensive size range that actually caters for riders over 6ft.
The geometry chart is below, but as you can see, the XL gets a 505mm reach, the large is 472mm and the medium 445mm.
Other numbers of note include the 65º head angle and 438mm chainstays. By flipping the geometry chip the head and seat angle steepen by 0.6º and the BB raises 6mm. It’s advised to run the high setting for 27.5in and the low setting for 29in, but there’s nothing stopping you from playing around with alternative combinations.
Being Scott, there must be about fifty different models?
We’re delighted to say Scott has been relatively restrained with the new Genius range.
There are actually seven different models, and not all are available with both wheel sizes, which means there are 11 different bikes to choose from.
At the top of the tree is the 700 Ultimate, then the 900/700 Tuned that we rode on the launch. Both feature full carbon frames (frame weight is 2,249g including shock and hardware) made up from around 900 individual pieces of carbon. Below that is the Genius 710 and 920/720 with carbon front end/alloy swingarm.
Finally there are three all-alloy models to round out the range. No word on pricing as yet, but we’ll update this page when we do.
Is that a one-piece bar and stem?
Sure is. Syncros has developed an integrated carbon bar and stem, called the Hixon IC SL, that’s fitted to the top two models. It weighs 290g and comes in three reach extensions (40/50/60mm).
According to Syncros is mimics identically the handlebar position of the FL1.5 mini-riser and equivalent stem, with a 6º upsweep, 9º backsweep and 12mm rise. Width is 760mm.
There’s also a Syncros mudguard that bolts into the brace of a Fox 34 or 36 Boost fork. This comes as standard on the Genius, but you can also buy it separately for €14.