Review: Scott Genius 900 Tuned | Unadulterated trail fun

Scott’s ‘any trail, any time’ promise is a bold one to bandy about. I mean is it really possible to build a bike which is ready to rally the flowy Braamfontein Spruit, the janky gravity runs at Helderberg Trails and the smooth-rolling hills of Holla Trails?

The makeup of such a versatile bike would need to be special. The geometry would need to put the rider into a good climbing position to optimize power and simultaneously allow the rider to adopt a centered position on the bike on technical terrain or descents. The leverage curve and shock would need to house more than one personality type. Lastly, weight, the bike simply must be light. Let’s take a closer look at the Genius.

The Scott Genius 900 Tuned – a special order only item here in South Africa but it it most certainly a beauty. The Genius has generous reach numbers across the size curve with good standover, stack and a geo-adjust flip-chip. Did somebody say mullet?


DETAILS

  • Frame: Genius Carbon, Carbon SMC Link, Carbon swingarm, VLK Virtual 4 Link kinematic, 27.5″ (2.6 & 2.8) and 29″ (2.4 & 2.6) tire compatible with Geo -BB adj, Trunnion Box construction, 150mm/110mm/0mm
  • Fork: FOX 36 Float Factory Air / Kashima FIT4 3-Modes with low speed compression adjust / 44mm offset / 150mm
  • Shock: FOX NUDE TR EVOL Trunnion, SCOTT custom with travel/geo adjust of 3 modes. Ramp Adjust. DPS Kashima.
  • Remote System: Scott Twinloc with 3 modes
  • Wheels: e13 TRSR Carbon 29″
  • Brakes: Shimano XT 4 piston
  • Crankset: Shimano XT
  • Drivetrain: Shimano XT
  • Tires: Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5WT EXO+ and Maxxis Minion DHR2 2.4WT EXO+
  • Seat: Syncros Tofino 1.5 / Titanium rails
  • Seatpost: FOX Transfer dropper remote, 150mm
  • Bars: Syncros, 790mm, 20mm rise
  • Stem: Syncros XM 1.5, 50mm


GEOMETRY & FIT



THE TECH

A remote suspension adjust system transforms the bike from a fully locked out suspension setup on the front and rear – to a 110mm rear travel with open fork setup – to a 150mm rear travel. In the 110mm rear setting the bike rides slightly higher in its travel with the BB marginally raised and a slightly more progressive rear. This technology unleashes the many personality types of the bike (Fully rigid, Down-country and Enduro) and is perhaps, the fundamental advantage the Genius has over so many of its competitors. Also, while I am on the subject, the internal cable routing for the rear shock really cleans up the overall aesthetics.

The proprietary rear shock also features an external ‘ramp control’ lever which gives the bike a more linear rear or more progressive rear. This enables you to fine-tune the ride to suit the specific section of trail you are on.

Scott is well known for producing incredibly light bikes and the Genius is no exception. The ‘over the counter’ Tune 900 edition (our test bike was a slightly custom version) weighs in at a remarkable 12.40kgs. The frame and shock, including mounting hardware, is a featherweight 2,249grams. This is one of the lightest in class.

Regarding wheelsize, a flip-chip on the top shock mount gives you the ability to run either 27.5″ or 29″ wheels with more or less a constant BB height. Coincidentally, this flip-chip also means the bike will easily accommodate a split wheel size setup of 29″ front and 27.5″ rear which is a real futureproof benefit.

The suspension layup is what Scott has coined a Virtual Four Link Design with pivots and linkages optimally placed for pedaling efficiency, braking response, small bump sensitivity, mid-stroke support, and a controlled deep stroke. The idea was to design a bike with ride characteristics which appeal to XC riders and trail shredders alike whilst combining well with the Twinloc system. This is one of the more technically advanced trail bikes on the market!



Video: The SCOTT TwinLoc Suspension System



MY SETUP

  • Fork: 88psi with 6 clicks of low speed compression
  • Fork rebound: 8 clicks from closed
  • Shock: 205psi
  • Shock rebound: 7 clicks from closed
  • Front tire pressure: 22psi
  • Rear tire pressure: 28psi


THE RIDE

Descending: Yea boy. The Genius is a shredder. I wouldn’t classify it as a “big hit drop your heels and smash it” shredder but it’s incredibly capable and fun on fast and challenging trails. For Giba Gorge, Sabie, Karkloof or Helderberg Trails the Genius will handle just about all the gnarly lines there are – with ease. The BB is low though – so you want to make sure you are running the right psi, sag and spacer setup to avoid pedal strikes.

You really will get the best performance out of this bike by playing around with that external ramp control on the rear shock. On smooth trails with lots of jumps and berms I ran the bike in the more progressive setting which helps with pop on the big jumps and to prevent wallow through turns. On straight line square edge rocky trails, the linear setting naturally works best. Don’t just set it and forget it. Play around with the settings and keep trying new stuff. It’s like a new iPhone, you don’t spend all that money just to make calls and send texts – the technology is there to improve the ride experience and with this bike in particular, you really will improve your ride with a bit of tinkering.

Despite there being no bearings in the top shock eyelet the small bump is very very good. Overall, in ‘Descend’ mode, the ride is pretty liner with good square edge rollover for a 150mm bike.

The rather linear descend setting delivers a calm and planted feel through any trail chunder.

Cornering: So this is where the low BB and generous reach numbers put you into a good posture to nail turns. Couple all of that with some super supple suspension, great traction and – “voilà!” – you are dropping your mates. I especially liked the super agile feel of the bike in corkscrew sections, where you are hopping from left turn to right turn and back again. The bike is intuitive and does exactly what you are wanting it to, with minimal body language. This is really the sign of a good bike – it becomes an extension of your body – and this is something I don’t feel with every bike I test.

Technical ability: Without the external compression adjust on the shock you want to make sure you get your shock air pressure, tokens and rebound setup on point. I was slamming pedals a bit through some technical sections until I got things dialed in. Given the choice, I would however, build the bike with slightly shorter cranks to reduce pedal strikes and the OTB risk factor. With chainstays under 440mm they are firmly in the ‘play / agile’ range and it’s noticeable through the technical stuff, in turns and when jumping. The Genius is a light bike. So much so that if you do run into a technical section a little hot it’s super easy to scrub speed, correct the line and get through it unscathed. It’s really an agile ride which means it’s highly capable on technical trails.

The Genius has an intuitive nature on the trails.

Climbing: Yea – let’s talk about this. The Genius climbs incredibly well. On smooth transitions using the full lockout mode the bike moves swiftly. The lockout is pretty much all on, full, it’s like riding a big rubber fully rigid bike. In the 110mm rear mode – or what Scott call ‘Traction control’ – the Genius is as efficient as a down-country bike – it climbs so well. I was adding in extra laps on my regular test loops – just because I was fresh enough to do so.



SUMMARY

It was around 10 years ago when I first spent time on the Cannondale Jekyll which is a similar concept to the Scott Genius, in terms of the travel adjust and lockout modes of the rear shock that is. There is also the Canyon Strive which plays in this multiple travel / multiple personality space, but I haven’t ridden the Strive, yet. Ever since those rides on the Jekyll I have loved the on the fly travel adjust as it significantly broadens the spectrum of trail that a bike can rally. There is obviously extra cabling around with these bikes and that might turn some away. On this Genius, the cabling is well concealed.

I can see why the Genius is a popular choice for EWS privateers – its does everything so well. I can also see that in SA with a 150mm fork it will do really well on all of the Enduro tracks.

This bike also suits riders in SA who are perhaps moving away from marathon racing and are looking for a do it all bike that they can explore technical trails on, hit that gnarly line they have been scoping and boost the doubles.

The Genius is a very good option for riders moving away from marathon racing and just want to ride and have fun.

BIKE: @thehangerbikeco | IMAGES: @waynereiche | Learn more



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