First Look: The 2018 Scott Genius
Onto the trails of Aosta Valley with the new machine
When I heard Scott was releasing a new version of its Genius, I was expecting a new 170-mm-travel enduro-focused bike equipped for all the challenges of the Enduro World Series. When I arrived in Aosta Valley, Italy, this past June, Scott revealed that it had something else in mind: a 150-mm allmountain trail bike ready to take on epic all-day backcountry and trail adventures. So I took the chin bar off of my helmet and swapped my knee pads for a pack filled with snacks, before my group set off to pedal up a mountain and drop down the other side of it. As I weaved my way up the access-road switchbacks and tried my best not to bug any of the cows scattered throughout the countryside, I was very happy that Scott outfitted the new Genius with a 110-mm climbing mode, which isn’t the same as a full lockout. With the push of a button, Scott’s Twinloc limits the Fox Nude evol rear shock to 110 mm of the total 150 mm of travel available. It also reduces the amount of sag offered by the shock – which gives the you a better position for climbing – as well as simultaneously firming up the fork’s valving. As you climb, you still have 110 mm of travel, which soaks up small bumps, helping you maintain traction on steep technical ascents. I liked this feature. By the time we reached the summit – an hour and a half ride with a short hike-a-bike – I barely needed to dip my head in a high-mountain pond to cool myself off. I did submerge my head into the water, but not just to cool off from the climb. I wanted to snap my senses to full attention for the 2,000 m of descending that was about to happen. Aosta Valley is home
to some of the best trails in the world. I was excited to see how the Genius would perform when pointed downhill because that is truly what the bike is all about. With a head-tube angle set at 65.6 degrees and equipped with house-brand Syncros integrated Hixon carbon bar (with 50-mm reach and 760-mm width), the Genius puts you in a good position for descending. The suspension does a great job of dealing with smaller bumps, especially with the 29" wheels, allowing you to corner or make adjustments to your line even when things get choppy. On bigger hits that use up the most of the travel, the Genius does a great job of maintaining a progressive travel feel, which helps you recover quickly instead of being bounced all over the trail. A few times when I entered rocky sections too quickly, the suspension remained active. The same was true for heavy braking. In both of those situations, I was able to stay in control instead of needing to eject. When you choose a less-than-ideal line, the Genius can save you from disaster, which really inspires confidence and encourages you to push your limits. With the bike having such a lightweight build, it’s easy to throw around and might even be up for a few bike-park laps.
After climbing up a mountain and plummeting down the other side, it’s safe to say Scott has a winner with the new Genius. If you’re not into taking the lift or shuttles, but still like to play in the steep and rough stuff, the Genius might be the best way to get you there.
“When you choose a less-than-ideal line, the Genius can save you from disaster, which really inspires confidence and encourages you to push your limits.”