THE BRAINS BE­HIND THE GE­NIUS

Australian Mountain Bike - - The Hub - WORDS: MIKE BLEWITT IM­AGES: MIKE BLEWITT, KENO DERLEYN

Scott's Ge­nius has been an in­te­gral part of their moun­tain bike range since the early 2000s. 15 years ago Thomas Frischknecht even won the 2003 Cross­Coun­try Marathon (XCM) World Cham­pi­onships on a Ge­nius MC, the 130mm vari­ant of the bike! The Scott Ge­nius has evolved via a num­ber of it­er­a­tions, and in 2017 Scott un­veiled a long-travel trail bike boast­ing the ge­om­e­try num­bers of an en­duro bike, with the weight of a light trail bike, and even the climb­ing prow­ess of some XC bikes. With one bike that could take either 27.5” or 29” wheels with the flip of a chip, had Scott truly re­leased a moun­tain bike, for moun­tain bik­ers? We tested a Ge­nius 920 in our Alpine Is­sue, and found it truly did per­form across a wide va­ri­ety of ter­rain – but to find out more we trav­elled to Friebourg to visit Scott and meet with the brains be­hind the Ge­nius. “The Spark re­ally re-de­fined the next gen­er­a­tion of moun­tain bikes, as we cy­cle through the range each time,” states Joe Hig­gins, Chief of MTB En­gi­neer­ing at Scott Sports as I ask about the lat­est Ge­nius. “We went quite far with new ideas on the Spark. We didn't go so far as to redesign the steerer tube or the crown. There's a cer­tain limit as to how far you can go with an in­te­grated sys­tem de­sign when you have to work with off the shelf com­po­nents.” The Spark was de­signed with an Olympic medal in mind. And it won two. And two World Cham­pi­onships ti­tles, and then Nino Schurter went and won all the World Cups, World Cham­pi­onships and the Cape Epic in 2017. The bike met the brief! But what of the longer travel Ge­nius, a bike that has been known to be ready to tackle long climbs and charge de­scents? “It's one of the best projects I've worked on, it's the bike I use the most,” says en­gi­neer Ti­mothy Stevens. “It's like a moun­tain biker's moun­tain bike. It's a trail bike that can do every­thing. You do see the in­flu­ence of what we ride around here, it's a bike you can take out for a big ride all day and still have a lot of ca­pa­bil­ity for big de­scents. We do 2000 or even 2500m of de­scend­ing in one go here, and you need to be com­fort­able, and you need to save en­ergy on the climbs.” The new Ge­nius sports 150mm of travel, but with frame weights of barely 2200g with shock and hard­ware, they are se­ri­ously light, too. “It makes your rid­ing days much bet­ter to not be haul­ing around a heavy bike and not be strug­gling go­ing up or down, or hav­ing too lit­tle travel and tir­ing out. You can go for big dou­ble-day week­ends, and it's per­fect for this.” It's not just low weight that stands out with the new Ge­nius. It can take either a 29” or 27 plus wheel, with­out the need for head set spac­ers or a new fork. But the TwinLoc sys­tem where you can ad­just the travel and damp­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics – and there­fore the ge­om­e­try – with one lever re­ally sets this trail bike apart. But on pa­per, the ge­om­e­try re­ally stands out. With a slack head an­gle of 65 de­grees (65.6 with 27.5” wheels) and a long reach, the Scott Ge­nius pushes modern ge­om­e­try for a ma­jor brand. “I do a lot of rid­ing, from cross­coun­try on our lunch ride to big tours in the Alps. But also I do down­hill,” says Stevens. “The Ge­nius was al­ways the bike I rode the most. I re­ally liked the Ge­nius, it was su­per ca­pa­ble. I re­ally had a vi­sion in my head of the di­rec­tion I wanted it to go, in terms of the ge­om­e­try. I tested a lot of bikes, and we can mod­ify our own bikes with an­gle sets or more com­pli­cated mod­i­fi­ca­tions. I tested some very, very long bikes on the mar­ket, and I tested those a lot. In some sit­u­a­tions they are re­ally good. But if you want an all-round bike, you need to be a re­ally good rider rid­ing at 110% to make it work. And

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