It’s not often you get to ride a pro bike racer’s personal bike, so I didn’t hesitate to offer to ride Andrew Neethling’s personal Genius 700 Tuned from Bloemendal to the Protea Hotel, Durbanville via Majik Forest.
By Sean Badenhorst
Sure, it was only about a 30-minute ride, but what a cool opportunity. Those who don’t know who Andrew Neethling is should be ashamed. After Greg Minnaar, he’s South Africa’s next most successful downhill racer, with a couple of World Cup podiums, national and continental titles on his list of achievements.
He reached a career crossroads at the end of last year and decided to deviate from the pro DH racing circuit and take up SCOTT Sport International’s ambassador offer. He also opened a bike shop, The Hanger Bike Co. with his brother Jonty at Helderberg, Somerset West, where SCOTT is obviously the hero brand.
Andrew is one of the most stylish mountain bike riders you will ever see. He just oozes smoothness and control and is a pleasure to watch, which is probably why SCOTT asked him to be their ambassador. He probably has the coolest job in the world, getting flown to various countries and paid to ride the latest SCOTT bikes in new SCOTT gear on sick trails.
Anyway, after giving us some great insight into the new Genius as well as SCOTT’s commitment to this market segment, Andrew couldn’t join us for the ride back to the hotel, so I offered to make sure his bike got back via a trail and not in the back of a bakkie.
Andrew’s Genius 700 Tuned has 27.5-inch wheels with a full carbon frame, Fox EVOL Nude shock and a Fox 36 Float Factory Air fork – both are Kashima coated. He also has a SRAM Eagle 1×12 drivetrain and Guide brakes. I asked why his wheels are CSixx and not Syncros, SCOTT’s own wheel brand, and it’s because his ambassadorship for CSixx precedes his SCOTT deal, which SCOTT has graciously allowed him to continue to honour.
Also on the 700 Tuned and other models at the top of the Genius range is the new Syncros Hixon iC handlebar/stem – a single carbon unit that weighs just 290 grams and gives a very direct steering feel.
His 700 Tuned is easy to pedal and incredibly smooth over rough terrain. The remarkable smoothness is partly due to the high-quality componentry and partly due his suspension set-up, which he understands and tunes the way an experienced chartered accountant understands and tunes excel spreadsheets.
It was a classic post beer-stop sunset ride where testosterone suppression was only really evident on the longish climb. The climb came after a fun roll through the highly stimulating B-Spot trail at Bloemendal, where I was following the Bicycling duo of Oli Munnik and Myles Kelsey. After the climb, past astonishingly green vineyards, the entrance to the singletrack at Majik Forest was the unofficial, silent start gun.
Not having ridden this trail for a couple of years, I was happy to let SCOTT Sports Africa Brand Manager and Durbanville local, Joggie Prinsloo lead the way. He was on his Nino Schurter replica Spark RC but he’s skilled enough to set a solid pace and the singletrack stokemeter reading was high as we zigged and zagged into fading light and the final, fun descent through an indigenous forest.
It was here where Andrew’s 700 Tuned really impressed me. Not surprising really. It is a top-end Enduro bike! I was constantly looking for a way past Joggie but the low light in the forest combined with the risk of riding into a hiker saw me giving the Guide brakes more attention than they deserved. Not to mention having the skilled Oli Munnik behind me, no doubt exercising his most well-mannered restraint.
Once we reached the Majik Forest exit, the smooth cruise along the tar was begging for a ride-ending wheelie. Obviously I obliged and for a few seconds, as I appreciated the moment, I felt like I was floating…
For the full spec on Andrew’s Genius 700 Tuned, head here: Genius 700 Tuned
To watch Andrew riding it, check out the SCOTT Genius 2018 launch video
To find out more about the tech on the new SCOTT Genius 2018, check out this video
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