Inspired by it’s multiple World Champion, Nino Schurter, SCOTT was the brand that most embraced the 27.5-inch wheel platform over the past couple of years. Now SCOTT has taken a dominant place on this wheel size with it’s Plus range of bikes, including the Genius 700 Tuned Plus, which our editor got to ride recently.
Using the Genius 900 (29er) front triangle from 2015, SCOTT really only had to design a new rear triangle for its Plus models in the Genius 700 (27.5) category, incorporating the new Boost 148 design. Due to the wider rear, the headtube angle is slightly slacker than the regular Genius 700 Tuned (67.5 degrees vs 67.9 degrees). Fox’s new Nude shock with 130mm of travel and Kashima coating sits beneath the top tube attached to the main frame via a geometry-adjust chip, which you can set on Low or High, which gives a 10mm BB height difference and half a degree on the headtube angle (67.5–68.0 degrees). We only tested it on the Low setting.
With the rear shock mounted underneath the toptube, there’s space for a water bottle cage inside the frame, on the downtube. With the exceptionally well-finished paintwork, the interface between the alloy swingarm and the carbon front triangle is seamless.
The new Fox 34 Float Factory Air fork is Kashima coated and 140mm of travel. It boasts the new FIT4 damping system, which features three modes with low speed adjustment. The new Float Air Spring is a self-equalizing air-negative spring that Fox claims “offers smoother performance with reduced friction, quiet performance and is lighter than its predecessor.”
The suspension is remotely adjusted via SCOTT’s own redesigned TwinLoc lever, which sits neatly beneath the handlebar on the left hand side. The new Fox Nude shock has a dual piston system, which allows the Open/Descend mode to be adjustable. There’s full air volume and 130mm of travel in the Descend Mode; reduced volume, increased damping, a geometry change (slightly more aggressive) and 90mm of travel in the Traction Control Mode; and significantly reduced volume and locked out damping in Lockout Mode. There’s something called an EVOL air sleeve too. SCOTT and Fox claim that “EVOL significantly reduces the force to initiate travel, providing excellent small bump performance. The EVOL System is also more linear in its progression, offering improved mid-stroke support and better bottom out resistance.”
The wheelset comprises Syncros TR1.5 Plus rims, which have a total width of 45mm, an inside width of 40mm and a height of 21mm; and Syncros TR1.5 hubs, made in association with DT Swiss and with Boost 148mm on the rear and 110mm on the front. The tyres are Schwalbe’s Nobby Nic EVO 27.5×2.80 on the front and Rocket Ron EVO 27.5×2.80 on the rear.
SCOTT has maintained its mixture of Shimano brakes and SRAM gearing on most of its 2016 models. The Genius 700 Tuned Plus gets XTR brakes with 180mm Icetech rotors and X01 1×11 gears and crankset.
The cockpit comprises a Rock Shox Reverb Stealth dropper seatpost, a Syncros XM1.0 saddle and Syncros FL1.0 740mm wide carbon handlebar with Syncros TR1.0 carbon wrapped stem.
It’s a flagship model with top-end spec. It’s also a damn gorgeous looking bike! SCOTT has colour-matched the rims, hubs, fork and saddle, effectively creating a great balance of the orange/black colouring. The weight, for a size Medium, is approximately 12.30kg, which is deceptively light when you consider the amount of rubber it’s wearing…
Oh and if you want to, you can fit normal 29-inch wheels to this bike (with Boost axle/hubs of course). That versatility is pretty rare – and cool if you’re a shredder but also enjoy some endurance tests like marathons and stage races.
At first glance, the Plus sized bikes don’t look that different to a fat bike. The chunky tyres grab your attention immediately. With the memory of the harshness of fat-bike testing still too fresh in his mind, our tester, didn’t exactly embrace his set-up session on the Genius 700 Tuned Plus. The SCOTT mechanics set the suspension sag and tyre pressure and sent him on his way. His way being up the chairlift to the top of the Deer Valley trails in Utah, USA where the SCOTT 2016 launch was held.
Deer Valley and surrounding areas have over 400km of mountain bike trails ranging in altitude from 2100m to 3000m above sea level. The trails are largely singletrack, with some wider trails with jumps and big berms (think a long, descending BMX track). The surfaces in July are generally dry and sketchy – loose over hardpack and not much different to dry South African trail conditions, with some firmer sections in the forests. Despite the chairlift bonus, there are a number of ascending trails too, ranging from steady to steep with varying surfaces, including rocks, roots, stones and hardpack. Sean Badenhorst describes the experience:
The first series of rides were on largely twisty descending singletrack. The bigger tyres were top of mind and I was getting a feel for the bike, the trail conditions and the bigger wheels. My first thought, after my first run was that Plus rides more like a regular bike than a fat bike. Good thing! Once I’d become accustomed to the bike, trails and tyre size, I began to look for the bike’s limits. In terms of descending over rough, non-flowing trails, it shines. A combination of the voluminous tyres and the 130/140mm travel, relaxed headtube angle, shortish chainstays, longish top-tube, wide bars, short stem, dropper seatpost and Boost axle width gave me a high level of confidence, especially when riding trails blind, which to me is the ultimate thrill and a great way to test a bike’s capabilities.
The wider tyres allowed me to be less concerned with line choice and able to keep looking further ahead, knowing that the tyres would be fine on ‘trail furniture’. This made me feel faster (later analysis of Strava segments confirmed I was consistently a handful of seconds faster on the Plus than a regular Genius). The other obvious advantage (which I wrote about on Page XX) was the increased traction. This meant I could brake less going into turns, hold speed better through turns and obviously pedal less to regain speed on turn exits. All of this left me feeling like a kid that has just learned to do backflips on a trampoline. I kept wanting more.
So descending and cornering are superb. What about climbing?
When you’ve got that much traction (claimed by Schwalbe to be 21% more than a more standard size wheel/tyre), half your climbing challenge is sorted on rough or loose terrain. The TwinLoc remote suspension adjustment worked superbly and I used it mostly in Traction Control Mode on the climbs, occasionally slotting to the Lockout Mode when the climb was smoother or on tar. The Lockout is actually a proper lockout and the TwinLoc worked with a precision that I’ve not yet experienced with simultaneous remote suspension adjustment before. I found the 1×11 gearing (34×42) to be fine for all except the steepest of ascents where I really had to focus on my position and power efforts.
It certainly never felt like I was pedalling a burly bike. It felt pretty much like any other mid-travel trail bike, only with better traction. Way better traction.
I’ve not ridden the Shimano Icetech rotors before and can’t say if they performed better because of the self-cooling design. All I know is they were superb. The SRAM shifting was also excellent. Not one misshift in many, many hours of aggressive riding. Some of the roughess of certain descents would have ensured the SCOTT chainguide was doing its job of keeping the chain where it’s meant to be.
Based on the benefits offered by the Plus wheelsize, including superb rollover and traction, and the various specific design elements, including geometry, stability, suspension performance, cockpit set-up and high-end components and relatively light weight, the SCOTT Genius 700 Tuned Plus is the most complete trail/all-mountain bike we’ve ridden. It’s not designed to be a marathon bike, but you could certainly convert it to one by adding 29-inch wheels, probably only something a South African might actually do.
When it comes to international awards for 2016 bikes, we reckon this bike is going to collect a few…
SCOTT Genius 700 Tuned Plus
SIZES: S, M, L, XL
TOP TUBE LENGTH: 600mm
SEAT TUBE LENGTH: 440mm
HEAD TUBE ANGLE: 67.5 degrees (Low), 68.0 degrees (High)
SEAT TUBE ANGLE: 73.9 degrees (Low), 74.4 degrees (High)
CHAINSTAY LENGTH: 445mm
WHEELBASE: 1165mm (Low), 1164mm (High)
PRICE: R105 000
FRAME: Genius Plus Carbon front triangle with alloy swingarm with Boost and adjustable geometry
WEIGHT: 12.30kg (excl pedals)
FORK: Fox 34 Float Factory Air with Kashima coating, 140mm travel with TwinLoc adjust
SHOCK: Fox Nude SCOTT with Kashima coating, 130mm adjustable travel via TwinlLoc and geometry adjust
SHIFTERS: SRAM X01 Trigger
FRONT DERAILLER: None (SCOTT chainguide)
REAR DERAILLEUR: SRAM X01 11-speed
CRANKSET: SRAM X01 GXP Boost 30-T
BRAKESET: Shimano XTR hydraulic disc with 180mm Icetech Rotors
WHEELSET: Syncros TR1.5 Plus with DT Swiss Boost 148mm rear 110mm front
TYRES: Schwalbe Nobby Nic EVO 27.5×2.80 front, Rocket Ron EVO 27.5×2.80 rear
OTHERS: Rock Shox Reverb Stealth dropper seatpost, Syncros XM1.0 saddle, Syncros FL1.0 carbon 740mm handlebar, Syncros TR1.0 carbon wrapped stem
CONTACT: www.scott-sports.com; 011 201 4000
FOX NUDE SHOCK – 2-POSITION AIR VOLUME ADJUSTMENT
Our 2-Position Air Volume Adjustment is the system that allows us to attain two unique spring curves for TwinLoc equipped bikes. Either a single air chamber or a combination of the two chambers allows for two unique geometry and travel modes
with TwinLoc. When a smaller, single chamber is used, there is less air volume leading to shorter travel, less sag, and a steeper, more agile geometry- ideal for climbing. When both chambers are employed, the air volume increases allowing the bike to sag into a slacker position with more negative travel and more available travel at an engineered spring curve specifically chosen for the full travel mode. Effectively, this technology gives you two bikes in one. No other system on the market provides this.
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*Originally published in TREAD Issue 36, 2015 – All rights reserved