Scott Bicycles Genius 950  2015 Mountain Bike Review

Scott Bicycles Genius 950 2015

Reviews / Trail Bikes

Scott Bicycles 590,986

At A Glance

The Scott Genius 950 has to be something of a bargain. It is billed as being the ultimate trail bike, yet at a fraction of the cost.

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This is the entry-level model to the Genius range; there are no less than 16 different Genius models. The 700 series and the 700 LT series are aimed at the more enduro focused rider, where as the 900 series is the trail bike with 130mm of front and rear travel. The 950 sports a classy looking orange and black livery and a very much tried and tested kit list and suspension design.

Running 29er wheels, 130mm of travel front and back and a triple chainset the Genius 950 looks set to rumble and roll up and over anything that gets in its way.

On The Trail

The Genius 950 is a fun bike to ride, and at its price point it is a bargain too, however to really get the most out of this bike the set up is crucial, especially with the rear shock. We played around with various settings to get the most out of it, the Monarch RL lacks the “pedal” mode of its bigger brother, so you get open and lock-out as options here.

That makes for finding the best balance between pedalling efficiency and small bump and big hit compliance. Set at 27% sag we found that the Scott would swallow trail chatter and offer huge amounts of traction on technical climbs, but would give up pedalling efficiency and mid to end stroke support, making it a fun bike to ride over predominantly flat and downward facing trails.

Put a little more air in the shock and set it at 22% sag and small bump compliance was lessened and mid stroke performance was compromised; however the flip side of this was that the Genius pedalled far better in the middle chainring giving good drive on power climbs.

In the end we settled for bang on 25% sag and the high BB setting on the U Mono link. This leaves you with somewhat of a compromise, but play around with the settings and get the bike dialled in to the way you like to ride, that’s our best advice!

In the 22T the Genius 950 tightens up and climbs well, eliminating pedal bob and giving good drive. Traction is good, but square edge steps and the like will require careful negotiation.

If you have the legs to climb in the 30T then a marked change takes place, the Genius 950 drops some of the propel-you-forward tautness you get in the 22T and in its place you gain traction. The rear will absorb the square edges and offer up grip galore as the rear suspension tracks the undulations.

Once out on the trails all you have to do is spin the Genius up to speed and you’ll discover a bike that will flow over the ground beautifully, eating up miles on bridleway and field edge with ease. Hit the twisty woodland singletrack and flow is your friend, the Genius 950 will hold speed well, it carries pace through corners and rides rough ground with ease. Pedalling through root beds and rough sections produces little kick back with the suspension remaining active.

Head downhill on the Scott and things remain composed. Typical trail centre reds that cut across the hillside are great fun and the Genius will gain speed easily, smoothing out the trail and staying stable. The Genius 950 definitely has a comfort zone, and the type of rider who will buy this bike is very unlikely to ever take it out of that.

It can handle the descents well and remains composed up to a point. Run it down a DH track and you’ll discover it’s limitations soon enough, but as we said if you are looking at this bike then you won’t be looking at DH tracks.

For the money you’ll spend to get this bike in your garage you will go away a very happy camper, whilst it does need to be correctly set up to get the most out of it, the Genius 950 performs far better than the price point suggests. It’s fun on the twisty singletrack, fast on the steeper stuff and keeps the momentum and speed high putting a smile on your face.

Tech Heads

Scott use hydroformed, butted 6061 alloy tubing to craft the Genius 950 frame.

Features include a U Mono link that adjusts the geometry but not the travel, knocking around half a degree off the angles and taking 5 mm off the bottom bracket height. Out back there is a DT 135 x 5 axle system and a 180mm disc post mount.

Suspension duties are taken care of by Rock Shox; with a Sector TK solo air up front and a Monarch RL Air HV out back. Drivetrain wise it is over to Shimano, with Deore shifters and front derailleur, a M622 triple chainset and a SLX rear derailleur as a highlight. Brakes are Shimano M396 hydraulics with 180mm rotors.

The wheels are a mixture of Formula, Shimano and Syncros rims. These come with Maxxis Ardent 2.2 tyres. Syncros take care of the finishing kit too; a 31.6 seatpost means the Genius will take a dropper no problem. Controls wise the medium sized frame came with a 70mm stem and 720mm wide flat bar.

Geometry figures are shown with the U Mono link set in the high BB position.

Scott Genius 950 Medium

Seat tube 440mm
Effective top tube 599mm
Head tube 100mm
Chain stay 449mm
Front triangle 693mm
Wheel base 1142mm
BB height 341mm
Head angle 69.4°
Seat angle 74.4°
Reach
Stack

Weight w/o pedals 30.1lbs

For

Great value and clever kit spec, at no point did any of the components draw attention to themselves; they all worked and did the job required. The Genius 950 is a good all-rounder of a bike that had us rolling through the countryside for mile after mile just enjoying ourselves.

Against

The suspension needs to be just right; it is well worth spending time on though to find what works best for the way you ride.

Overall

Scott has put together a proper mountain bike for a superb price.

The Genius 950 is a comfortable bike that works well for all day adventures; it eats miles, barrels through single track and can climb well.

It is an excellent entry-level offering that will become a trusty companion on many an adventure, endurance team event and trail centre trip.

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This review was in Issue 35 of IMB.

For more information visit Scott Bicycles

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By Rou Chater
Rou Chater is the Publishing Editor of IMB Magazine; he’s a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, but his passion for bikes knows no bounds. His first mountain bike was a Trek 820, which he bought in 1990. It didn’t take him long to earn himself a trip to the hospital on it, and he’s never looked back since. These days he’s keeping it rubber side down, riding locally and overseas as much as possible.

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