Scott Bicycles Genius 10  2010 Mountain Bike Review

Scott Bicycles Genius 10 2010

Reviews / Enduro Bikes

Scott Bicycles 606,816

At a glance

Scott first entered the mountain bike market back in 1986 and have been known for their innovation ever since. Often thumbing their nose at the accepted parameters of bike design their Endorphin frame in 1995 was different and effective. So the travel adjustable Genius is no surprise and it has been evolved as time has gone by.

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It has to be said that it is an eye catcher and the unusual shock design gets interest wherever we went. The oversize carbon tubing is slightly organic looking and the livery has a racy feel to it.

The question we found ourselves asking was ‘is this just a long legged xc bike?’

Only time and a road trip to Scotland would tell.

Tech heads

There are a lot of things to talk about when it comes to the Genius.

Firstly, the Equalizer 2 shock that offers 3 setting, each of which change the travel and geometry.

In the full travel setting you get the full 150mm of undamped travel, in the middle or traction setting you get 95mm of damped travel and in the closed or locked out setting you have a fully locked out rear end.

The shock has positive and negative air springs and dual rebound controls.

The next thing to point out is that the control of the shock is via the Twin Loc lever system which is mounted on the bars, this allows the rear shock to be switched between settings and also locks out the fork when the shock is locked out.

The Scott is a fully carbon frame and is both stiff and light. The top tube and down tube merge at the head tube to give a solid front end though the lack of a tapered head tube is a slip up. The top tube swells as it meets the seat tube and the seat tube and down tube join is huge as is the bottom bracket shell. There are no ISCG mounts and no cable guides for a dropper seat tube.

On our medium size frame the Scott sports a 68.5º head angle, 73.5º seat angle, effective top tube is 585m, chainstays are 428mm with a 1117mm wheelbase.

Kit is impressive as you would expect on a bike of this value.

A Fox 32 Talas RL 15mm thru axle with 2 position travel 120/150mm is plugged in up front with the Scott Equalizer out back.

Sram XO kit is present throughout the 3 x 10 drivetrain and Avid XO brakes look after braking duties.

DT Swiss XR15 wheels performed well and the Schwalbe Nobby Nics are a good all round tyre.

Finishing kit is mostly Ritchey carbon with a 80mm stem and 660mm wide low rise bars, the somewhat firm saddle is a Selle Italy SLR Team Edition / Vanox Rails.

Our medium test bike weighed 26.6lbs on our scales.

On the trail

Taking the advice of the guys at Scott I set the shock up bang on the recommend sag and matched the pressures in each chamber, the duel rebound controls were set the same too. Due to the Genius sporting a pull shock you will need the help of a friend to set the sag.

I picked up the Genius on my way to Scotland so I was hoping it would prove a worthy companion on what promised to be a terrific trip.

My main concern was that it would prove to be a compromised xc rig rather than a capable trail bike and my fears were highlighted by the lack of a tapered headtube, no ISCG tabs and no guides for a droppers seat post. The fact that it is a 150mm travel bike does hint at the fact it should be able to handle some tough terrain and this would suggest that the lack of the above is an oversight.

With regards to using the Twinloc Lever system I found that at first I used to toggle between full travel and 95mm Traction mode quite a bit but as time went by I just left it in full travel mode and occasionally I used the full lock out for long fireroads and tarmac sections. The reason for this was that the so called traction mode actually did not afford as much traction as the full travel mode.

Climbing on the Scott was a breeze, the light weight, good frame stiffness and steep seat tube angle meant long climbs passed comfortably and when the going got loose and rough the rear end absorbed undulations well when in full travel mode.

Through twisty singletrack the Genius handled beautifully, keeping speed superbly and once in the open the acceleration was impressive. Hitting rocky sections bought the 150mm of travel into play and control was better than had been expected as was small bump absorption. Mile upon mile of rocky trails failed to bring on any fatigue which is a testament to the bikes pedalling efficiency and the supple nature of the suspension which was quite linear.

It was when pinning fast downhill sections that the Scott surprised me most. Full speed descents down some of Scotland’s best red and black routes showed that the Scott is a bike that can walk on the wild side but it does require commitment. Double wheel drifts and railed berms aplenty were the order of the day but it is worth noting that you need your wits about you as the Genius is not a planted blast through anything machine, it requires a degree of skill and finesse.

For

The Genius is light, stiff and comfortable.

The suspension has a supple feel throughout its stroke, add to this its adjustability thanks to the Equalizer 2 shock and Twinloc Lever and you have a package that will appeal to the rider looking for just one bike to do a variety of riding on.

Handling is sweet through the twisty stuff and the overall feeling is that of a fast bike, add to that the fact it can tackle fast corners and berms at lightening pace and will not wilt when put through the odd section of rough terrain and you have a very capable machine.

Against

Whilst the Genius can tackle rough terrain it is worth noting that when dropping through rock gardens or steep rooty sections there is a slight tendency for the rear end to firm up under braking that can have the backend bouncing about, the solution is to give the bike its head and let it roll through which eliminates the problem.

A 150mm travel bike is likely to be bought by riders that want to get out and ride some wilder trails and these riders may very well want to go to a double and bash set up, or put a dropper on the bike and would be looking to install a tapered fork when the time comes for a change. I just wonder if by not including these details Scott have lost out on one or two customers.

The final problem with the Genius is the speccing of the 660mm wide bars, they are just too narrow and made things that touch more twitchy at speed than I would have liked, this combined with the ever so slightly too steep head tube angle meant that the Scott could be a little too nervous a ride for anyone other than the most accomplished rider.

Overall

Despite the points made in the Against section the Genius is a super bike and not very far of bring brilliant.

I do believe that with as little as half a degree off the head tube angle and a wider set bars married to a 70mm stem the Scott would be near spot on.

As it is it is a fast, comfortable bike that is spot on for fast trail riding and all day rides.

The position on the bike is balanced and the suspension works well throughout its range, quite linear in feel it does not blow through its travel and handled a vast variety of terrain from a 50 miles highland cross country traverse one day to Glentress Black the next.

So who should have the Scott on their shortlist?

Well Scott claim the Genius is a trail bike and it is certainly that, I would suggest it is one for the more cross country orientated rider that is looking to get out and ride some big back country trails but should be considered by anyone that is looking for a fast comfortable bike that is just that little bit different.

So was the Genius a worthy companion for a week in Scotland?

Well some 250km and 7500m of ascent later I would have to say…. Ooch aye, definitely!

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This review was in Issue 11 of IMB.

For more information visit Scott Bicycles

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By Nigel Garrood
Nigel Garrood was one of the instigators of the IMB project and has been with us since the very beginning. This loveable rogue has more stories than the Bible and is known to enjoy a beer or two. On the bike, he’s fast and loose and often puts younger riders to shame. Equally he’s been known to suffer from the odd crash and carries the scars to prove it. He was once referred to as being a robot sent from the future to save us all!

Tried this? What did you think?