With a truckload of traction thanks to its 2.8in tyres, the Genius Plus is a riot to ride on any trail

Product Overview

Scott Genius 700 Tuned Plus

Pros:

  • nparalleled traction and control take the 130mm travel Genius to a new level. It helps too that it’s the most fun bike I’ve ridden in ages.

Cons:

  • Temperamental Shimano XTR brakes and a Rocket Ron rear tyre are not for the faint-hearted.

Product:

Scott Genius 700 Tuned Plus (2016) review

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£6,099.00

Need to know

  • Do-it-all carbon trail bike with 2.8in Plus tyres
  • Fox Nude rear shock delivers 130mm travel while the new Downside TwinLoc remote lets you toggle between the three suspension modes
  • Fox 34 Fit4 fork with 140mm travel
  • Shock mount with flip chip offers two geometry settings
  • SRAM XO1 Boost drivetrain

It’s April 2015 and I’m in Tuscany, Italy. Scott has just launched an impressive range of Plus bikes, with depth in numbers to rival the girth of the tyres. E-bikes, trail bikes, enduro bikes, hardtails… you name it, Scott has it with 2.8in or 3.0in tyres.

The wide-wheeled £6k Genius is literally in a a class of its own

The wide-wheeled £6k Genius is literally in a a class of its own

It’s the first time I’ve seen a Plus bike in the flesh, and I’m trying to keep an open mind, even though the bikes look more than a little kooky. But then I thought the same about 29ers when they emerged, and I’m determined not to make the same mistake twice.

Following advice from the Scott tech team, I head out on the Genius 700 Tuned Plus with 14.5 psi in the tyres. The bike rolls along effortlessly on the blacktop that snakes its way up to the trailhead, and any concerns about increased rolling resistance with the fatter tyres quickly vanish.

>>> Click here to find the best plus bikes

Off-road, on the hard-pack trails of Massa Vecchia, the Plus tyres felt a little vague and floaty when cornering hard. Sure, braking and climbing traction were both amazing, but it was hard to get a feel for the benefits of the bigger tyres without the opportunity to pre-ride the trails on regular size tyres.

Even with Plus wheels the Scott is a looker

Even with Plus wheels the Scott is a looker

Not that it really mattered, as the ride turned into a stop-start affair thanks to multiple pinch flats, even though the tyres were set up tubeless. Given that Scott had been boasting about the 2.8in Nobby Nic weighing less than 700g — a fair bit lighter than any 2.35in tyre I’d normally use — I couldn’t help thinking that Plus bikes were non-starters. As such, I left Italy feeling a little nonplussed about Plus.

Plus-sized wheels keep things nicely planted

Plus-sized wheels keep things nicely planted

It wasn’t until I rode the Genius 700 Tuned Plus on my local trails that the benefits of the bigger volume tyres became apparent. Even in damp, slippery conditions the harder PaceStar compound 2.8in tyres hooked up.

With every corner, my confidence in the Nobby Nic front tyre grew, even if the distinct lack of side knobs on the semi-slick Rocket Ron out back meant the rear end was almost overtaking the front with frequent controlled drifts. I was hooked.

Running 16.5psi in the front tyre and 1psi more in the rear, the wafer-thin casing felt very stable mounted to the wide, 40mm Syncros rims. The extra bounce in the tyres gave the bike more pop too, which instantly translated to improved manoeuvrability and more fun. But it was the massive increase in traction, up or down, that really sold me on the fatter tyres.

Boost hubs are 110/148mm

Boost hubs are 110/148mm

In my short time on the Scott, the only quirk that I uncovered in the handling was an occasionally steering shimmy when overloading the tyres in fast, bermed corners. Once you know it’s going to happen, it ceases to be unsettling. And if this is the only negative to Plus size tyres, it’s a compromise that I’m more than happy to live with, especially given all of the other benefits.

130mm Fox Nude shock has three travel settings

130mm Fox Nude shock has three travel settings

In fact, I was much more concerned about the ever-changing bite point on the XTR brakes. Shimano has assured us that this is now fixed. We have a new set of brakes on the way, so I’ll keep you posted.

As for how the Scott Genius 700 Tuned Plus stacks up against the competition, it’s hard to say, as there aren’t many six grand trail bikes with Plus tyres to compare it with. What I can say, with certainty, however, is that it’s the only bike that I want to ride at the moment. And given how many great test bikes we currently have in the mbr shed, that’s high praise indeed.

Scott Genius 700 tuned plus featured

Details

Frame:Plus Carbon/aluminium, 130mm travel
Shock:Fox Nude Scott custom with Lockout, Traction Control and Descend modes
Fork:Fox 34 Float Factory, 140mm travel
Wheels:Syncros TR1.5 PLUS Centre Lock, Schwalbe Nobby Nic/ Rocket Ron PaceStar 2.8x27.5in tyres
Drivetrain:SRAM XO1 chainset 30t, r-mech and shifter
Brakes:Shimano XTR M9020, 180mm IceTech rotors
Components:Syncros FL 1.0 carbon bar, TR1.0 carbon wrapped stem, RockShox Reverb Stealth 125mm dropper post
Sizes:S, M, L, XL
Weight:12.7kg (27.9lb)
Size ridden:L
Rider height:5ft 11in
Head angle:67.4°
Seat angle:67°
BB height:327mm
Chainstay:445mm
Front centre:737mm
Wheelbase:1,182mm
Down tube:712mm
Top tube:625mm
Reach:448mm
  • darren636

    Cab buy a 250 cc dirt bike for that money
    Absolutely insane.