Words: Paul Aston (Twit: @theastonator)
Photos: Martin Bissig (riding and lifestyle) and Markus Greber (bike/detail shots)
Venue: Davos/Klosters resort — Graubunden Canton – Switzerland
Excited to receive a last minute invitation from Jochen Haar – Scott PR and Communication Manager – to the Scott VIP Enduro ride. I checked my packed diary. The haircut could wait.
24 hours later on Monday afternoon I was eyeing up a line of 14 Scott Genius LT bikes.
An early start the next morning: 6am Breakfast and on the bikes by 7am. The sunrise descent was a Baptism of fire. Debuting on a fresh bike we were straight onto some loose Swiss singletrack, lead out by local MTB guide and all-round legend Thomas Giger of Bahnentour.ch.
Over two days we managed around 4000m of descent, which was quite impressive considering the continuous siren calls of the coffee/cake stops combined with the many photo opportunities.
The trails were a great mix of steep and loose singles, we also savoured some of Davos’ newly built dual purpose MTB/hiking trails, a similar feel to some UK trail centres but more rugged – clinging to the sides of some 3000m peaks.
Serious efforts have been put into the trails here, with a refreshing contribution from the locals including Politicians and farmers who believe that building more singletracks for mountain bikes is an interesting and safer way forward for everybody!
Genius LT description
The new Genius LT is easily one of the best looking enduro bikes for 2014: orange on matt-black carbon is always going to be a winner, with flowing lines and unsurpassed attention to detail on a bike of this kind. The engineers and designers really have started from the ground up on this bike. It’s clear to see that even the smallest components have been tried, tested and improved upon.
There’s way too much geeky tech stuff for this report so I’ll try and keep it to the point:
Full HMX Carbon Frame
Fox 34 170mm Kashima + Fox Nude C/TC/D Shock
TwinLoc System Lockout/135mm/170mm Travel adjust.
650b Syncros Tubeless Ready wheelset (25mm internal width)
Shimano XTR 203mm/180mm rotors,
Rockshox Stealth Reverb
Internal cable routing
Syncros Carbon 35mm 760 mm bars
Integrated Chain guard and Downtube protection
European Pricing: €6500 (TBC)
I was riding the ‘Tuned 700’ version of the Genius LT. Scott’s top of the line bike aiming to be an off the shelf enduro race machine. It was refreshing to see a 203mm rotor on the front (180mm rear) rather than weight weenie 160mm discs. In my opinion if you’re not running big rotors in the Alps – the sort of terrain that this bike is aimed at being able to deal with – you’re already on the back foot before you’ve left the start line.
Also good to see are the burly Syncros wheels which are light and stiff with a 25mm internal rim width. (Syncros have been working closely with DT-Swiss and share many of the same features of their latest ‘Splineone’ wheelset.)
I would almost go as far as saying that this is the perfect enduro setup. After racing the first three rounds of the newly formed EWS (Enduro World Series), this, I think, is the bike that has everything covered.
If I were to race this beast the only thing I would change is the Evo Snakeskin casing of the Schwalbe Hans Dampf. The Hans is a good all-rounder but for big alpine descents a tougher casing is required for reliability and better stability.
The X01 groupset is the cheaper sibling of X11, the price saving more than out-weighs the minimal weight penalty.
The Tuned 700 version of the Genius LT has a stiffer suspension tune aimed towards racers and hard hitters. The two lower models of Genius LT have a softer tune in relation to the price.
The one-piece shock linkage has a travel adjust chip that raises or lowers the BB height by 6mm and gives a head-angle change of 0.5deg. However, personally (and probably for most riders) the chip will only ever see the ‘Low’ setting.
Unfortunately I was only able to spend two days on the bike but quickly got to grips with it. This was probably thanks to Rene’s setup advice outside the Jakobshorn gondola. Rene really loves this bike and is clearly proud of it, staying out in the cold and dark helping to adjust sag and tyre pressures with me while everyone else was inside making a start on the local Cherry Schnapps!
The Large size was just about roomy enough (625mm T.T /451mm Reach) for me at 6’1″ but sporting a freakishly long arm span of 6’5″ (it worked for Neanderthals then). I think an XL frame with a slightly shorter 50mm stem would give me a bit more room for manoeuvre, but it would also pull my hands a little further back behind the front wheel. The geometry of this bike has had a lot of attention, the BB has become quite low, top tube/reach has got longer and the head-angle is pretty slack for a 27.5″ wheeler.
The suspension had great balance front to rear, Scott have been doing huge amounts of testing with Fox and athletes like Brendan Fairclough and Nino Schurter. What really impressed me was when changing to ‘Traction Control’ the balance of the bike remained virtually the same, even though the rear suspension changes to 135mm (but not the forks).
The rear shock has a twin air chamber that when the Twinloc remote is switched closes the smaller chamber of the two, decreasing the air volume by 30% and also improving the bike’s climbing/ pedalling geometry by sagging less. Clicking into ‘Climb’ mode adds much more low speed compression to nearly lock out the shock while travel stays at 135mm.
The ‘Tuned’ version of the bike has a firmer compression tune than the lower spec model, confirming that this bike is aimed towards hard-hitters. Rene noted that Brendan is running this exact suspension tune on his own bike.
My only real issue with the bike is the Twinloc lever. I struggled to reach the lever even after lots of re-positioning, on a normal ride it’s OK, but in a race situation I would like something that I can find and change quickly; I wouldn’t want to be losing time with my hand half off the bars trying to unlock/ lock.
I spent most of the time in Traction mode because I just loved the fast acceleration of the bike when laying down the power on short, sharp ups, and the superb support from the suspension giving it a playful nature. I generally only clicked into Descend mode for the really steep and rough. I rarely found myself using the full lockout mode – even on the roads – just because the bike was so efficient in Traction mode.
This is an extremely well thought out bike, one of the few enduro bikes on the market that I would be happy to use off the shelf.
It has huge capability on a variety of terrain. Just a quick change to a tougher tubeless tyre setup for alpine riding and you really could charge down anything.
2014 is really shaping up to be the Year of the Enduro Bike. Manufacturers are finally giving the riders what they have been asking for since the beginning of the decade, seeing a general shift towards longer front-centres, lower BBs, slacker head angles and 650b wheels. (OK maybe we haven’t been asking for the wheels for that long!)
The new Trek Slash, GT Force and Pivot Mach 6.6, to name just three, are all heading in this direction too.
It will be interesting to see “Who is riding what?” next year on the circuit, I’m sure this bike will be up there.
As mentioned, I only had two days on this bike but we at Bike Magic are looking forward to a long term test on this and also the Genius LT’s slightly smaller brother, the 150mm travel Genius, which will also be available in a similar ‘Tuned’ guise for 2014.
Will that be the fastest UK trail bike?