Scott have been in the sport for countless years, never scared to innovate and always determined to be ‘cutting edge’. In the past we’ve seen full-suspension cross-country race bikes (Frischknecht won the 2003 World Championships on a 120mm travel bike – the first to ever win on full-sus), intelligent ‘Equalizer’ shocks, crazy materials (Scott have been using carbon in their all-mountain bikes for longer than most) and fully adjustable geometry.
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What’s new at Scott?
So what’s changed in recent times? Well, the brand is clearly pushing to make themselves ‘cooler’ – the addition of style-meister Brendan Fairclough to the team roster confirms that – and in doing so to make themselves as popular in mountain biking as they are in the many other sports markets that they support (all sorts of winter sports, motocross, outdoors…).
Their range of bikes has been radically updated recently too. It’s probably fair to say that one or two of the designs had needed a little ‘modernising’. Not that they weren’t great bikes, simply the fact that they were at the forefront of mountain bike technology when released but had been left as they were for some time.
Thankfully, Scott appear to be back to form and their 2013 bikes are shaping up as some of the best yet. The Genius has always been a great trail bike that has incorporated the latest trends and ideas, and its newest incarnation stays true to that pattern. We met up with the bike’s designer, Joe Higgins, back in October to get the lowdown on the new bikes and all things Scott (you can read the article here). Since then we’ve waited with great anticipation to get our hands on the new bike..and it’s finally arrived!
Scott Genius 720
We’ve got a Genius 720 – one of the builds in the 700 series of 27.5/650b wheeled Genius bikes (there’s also a 900 series which is the 29er Genius range). We’ve only managed to sneak out for a quick lunch-time blast on the nearby trails, but we mostly like the bike so far.Scott Genius 720 with 650b/27.5″ wheels. Incidentally, the seat took a beating during a minor ‘off’ – if you’re wondering about the quirky angle..
What can we tell you? Well clearly we’re not going to be writing a full review based on an hour of riding singletrack, especially as there were some minor fights over who should get to ride the bike, but we can tell you that it felt very much at home on rooty, tech and steep-ish trails, available grip was never an issue and the three-stage suspension does work.Fox have their CTD (Climb, Trail, Descend), and Scott have LTD – Lock, Traction, Descend. This lever is smaller than the former’s but it doesn’t half take a strong thumb to get it shifting.
Let us expand a little on the suspension, that’s something we did get to terms with. A lever on the handlebars (Scott call this TwinLoc) allows the rider to remotely adjust both the fork and rear shock to three distinct settings – tagged as Lock, Traction and Descend. This system does work, plus the lever is less bulky than other manufacturers’ similar systems, but we did find the lever incredibly hard to push, almost to the point of dislocating thumbs! We’re not sure how much we’d actually use this function, but then that is what people said about suspension when it was first introduced to mountain biking so we’ll no doubt be eating our words…Scott Genius 720 in action. The wheels, although we hate to admit it, do seem to grip pretty well… A good set of Schwalbe tyres of course help.
Talking of technology, there is a distinct lack of RockShox Reverb/similar on this particular model. We understand that some people don’t need/want a telescopic seatpost, but on this bike, especially when Scott have gone to such lengths to make the suspension remotely adjustable, it seems bizarre that it doesn’t come equipped with one.
That’s about the end of our gripes though, and the rest of the bike is outstanding on first looks. The frame is made in sleek and sexy carbon, geometry is easily adjustable by changing a small part in the shock mount and Scott have shown they are willing to take a risk and move with the times in their use of 650b wheels.The geometry on the Genius can be easily adjusted (head angle +/- .5 degree, bottom bracket height by +/- 6mm) by changing the ‘shock mount chip’.
The forks are Fox 34 Talas Evolutions, which we can’t imagine there being any issues with – that classic Fox silky-smooth action is definitely present and in the last two years Fox have greatly lowered the need for all-too-regular servicing. Rear shock is the DT Nude2, which on first impressions seems to work just fine. We’ll have to wait about performance and life expectancy.Firing out a few laps on one of the test tracks just minutes from the BM office. The Genius seems to lap up technical terrain, but we’ll have to wait until we’ve fully tested it to give a real verdict.
We’ll be out and about on the Genius over Christmas and no doubt there will be plenty of time spent debating diameters and traction, strength and fads. We’ll let you know the findings at a later date…
Read more about the Scott Genius 700 and Scott Genius 900 ranges over on the Scott Sports website, and keep your eyes on Bike Magic for a full review soon.