It was inevitable that SCOTT would relaunch its Genius after radically redesigning its Spark last year. The industry-wide incorporation of Boost width in wheels has given new possibilities to engineers from a frame design perspective. So while not unexpected, the new Genius did offer some elements of surprise.
By Sean Badenhorst
We got to do two rides on the Genius 930 at the South African launch in Durbanville in early September 2017. Firstly, let’s highlight what’s different on the fifth-generation Genius over the previous generation.
The most obvious and major change is the suspension design. Following in the wheel tracks of the current generation Spark, the Genius now also has the Horst-link design with a vertically orientated trunnion-mounted Fox shock that offers 150mm of adjustable travel.
That adjustable travel works simultaneously with the Fox 34 Performance Float fork via SCOTT’s TwinLoc remote adjustment system.
Like most modern mid-to-big travel full-sus bikes, the Genius can fit both 27.5-Plus wheels and 29-inch wheels (our test model had the latter).
Geometry wise, depending on wheel size, it’s been slackened to a 65- or 65.6-degree head angle, its seat angle is plenty steep at 74.7 or 75.3 degrees, and its chainstays have been reduced to 438 or 436 millimetres. The reach is also quite long, with the Medium size stretching to 439 or 445 millimetres.
Obviously with Boost-width hub accommodation, the 2018 Genius is capable of running either traditional 29er tyres (2.4 to 2.6 inches in width) or 27.5 tyres (2.6- to 2.8-inch range). A flip chip in the rocker link keeps the bottom bracket height relatively similar when changing between wheel sizes, a switch that does not require any changes to the fork as the diameter of the two wheel/tyre options is similar. The headtube angle is about a half degree steeper with a 27.5 wheel fitted (65.0-degrees and 65.6-degrees on the Medium).
The 930 comes with Shimano XT 2×11 drivetrain and SLX brakes with 180mm rotors front and rear. So plenty of climbing gears and plenty of braking power…
The wheelset is Syncros TR2.5 with a 30mm rim width and the cockpit is all Syncros, other than the Fox Transfer remote dropper seatpost.
The black, orange and teal colouring is very in vogue currently. And for good reason. It looks damn beautiful!
How did it ride?
In Durbanville, there is very little in the way of flat riding. You are either climbing or descending. On our longer 36km ride we climbed – and descended – 1054 metres. That’s proper; and perfect to discover the performance of the new Genius, a bike that’s designed for gradient-rich riding.
Firstly, we were truly grateful for the range of gear ratios provided by the 2×11 drivetrain. Yes, the Genius does also come with 1×12 SRAM Eagle options, but man we climbed some gradients that peaked at 23 degrees, where just pedaling in a straight line was a priority and having just small jumps between gear ratios was highly appreciated… The 14kg of bike weight are undeniably evident on long climbs, but we did find a good tempo on most of the ascents and were never really in a rush to reach any summits. As it should be on this category of bike. Climbing comfort over climbing speed.
But downhills are where the Genius really finds its natural rhythm. Hoo boy! Long, twisty, fast singletrack descents were so damn exciting! It surprised us how confident we felt at what seemed like too fast for certain sections (we were riding most of these trails blind). But it also surprised us how in control we felt when we had to brake hard to make a tighter turn than expected or conquer a series of berms. Not once did we ever feel the bike couldn’t handle the downs at speed. The rider on occasion, yes, but not the bike.
The SLX brakes may be mid-range, but they performed superbly when called upon. The Fox Transfer dropper post was bloody brilliant! But then we’ve always liked this dropper since we first rode it in the Swiss Alps last year.
The 29×2.6 Maxxis Rekon tyres seemed spot on, hooking up superbly on the firm surfaces and offering loads of cornering confidence on looser, stony twists and turns.
The TwinLoc remote adjust system does add to the cockpit cable clutter, but it works so damn well that you find yourself forgiving this awkward aesthetic… When fully open, the suspension offers 150mm of travel. We probably only challenged it on some jumps and found ourselves using the Traction Control mode a fair bit, which is 110mm of travel. The lockout mode is ridiculously firm and perfect for steep, smooth climbs. The versatility the TwinLoc offers is impressive.
We loved the controlled feel of the Syncros bar/stem combo. A 760mm wide mini-riser (12mm with 9-degrees sweep) mated to a stumpy 30mm stem with a 6-degree rise, gives a very direct-steering feel, which was noticeable on switchbacks (up and down) and through tight, sketchy turns where a rear-wheel drift was called for…
We’d love to have done a few more rides on the new Genius, and probably will in due course. But we did get to ride the 930 for over three hours in total at the launch, on appropriate terrain for a 150-mm travel All-mountain/Enduro bike. This category of bike is still quite small in South Africa, so we don’t get to test ride bikes of this type as often as we’d like in the country. So we’re not going to give it our TREAD rating out of 10.
We have ridden the previous generations of Genius over the years though and can say that the new Genius design put SCOTT right up at the top of the list of brands that are producing premium quality, superbly-designed, appropriately-specced All-mountain/Enduro bikes.
The difference with SCOTT in South Africa against some of its competitors in this bike category, is that it’s a big brand with big-brand back-up. Also something to consider is that SCOTT’s three-year warranty on all new bikes sold in South Africa has been extended to five years if you have the bike serviced at an authorized SCOTT dealer (with service history book stamped at least once a year).
Sizes: S, M, L, XL
Colours: Gloss black, orange and teal
Weight: 14.40kg (approx.)
RRP: R59 990.00
Spec Details: Scott Genius 930
All rights reserved.