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Scott Genius 2018 | First Impressions | MBR

A revised Scott Genius follows on from last year’s new Spark. The new Genius accepts pretty much any wheel and tyre size you can chuck at it.

Last year Scott released its new Spark with a comprehensive overhaul of frame layout and geometry. The result was a bike that defied expectations and rode away with our 2017 Trail Bike of the Year award in 27.5 Plus guise.

For MY2018 (that’s Model Year 2018 to you and me) that successful template has been applied to Scott’s trail bike; the Genius.

Scott Genius 2018 need to know

Single frame accepts both 27.5in wheels and 29in wheels with nothing more than a flip of the shock chip
Clearance for up to 27.5 x 2.8in and 29 x 2.6in tyres
Big volume tyres come stock on all models
150mm of travel front and rear
Twinloc remote with three modes lets you reduce the rear travel to 110mm and increase the compression damping for improved pedalling efficiency
Rocker link driven Trunnion mount shock, Horst link and superior leverage curve delivers tangible improvements to suspension over previous model
New sizing and geometry is about as long and slack as any mainstream brand has gone
Full carbon, carbon/alloy and all-alloy frame options
Weight of size large Genius 900 Tuned without pedals is 12.12kg (26.7lbs)

New Scott 2018 Genius then? Looks a lot like the Spark?
Indeed it does, with the new frame layout moving the shock from its previous position beneath the top tube to a vertical plane, in line with the seat tube.

Just as it is on the Spark, the shock is inverted, allowing the engineers to take maximum advantage of the Trunnion mount with a cradled position at the base of the down tube – utilising a locating point on the frame that’s already heavily reinforced makes the most efficient use of material to keep weight to a minimum.

It also allows impressively clean cable access to the damping controls on the dual chamber Fox Nude shock for the TwinLoc remote system.

As with the Spark, the shock is driven by a compact rocker link, but from here back, the two models diverge; the additional travel of the new Genius prohibiting the use of a pivotless, flex-stay swingarm similar to the one found on its shorter travel sibling. Instead there’s a Horst link.

A Horst link? Doesn’t Specialized have a patent on that?
It used to, but the patent has now expired, allowing Scott to use it once again. We say again because the original 2003 Genius used them, then had to switch to a seatstay pivot when Scott set up stall in the US.

All of this is a good thing, right?
Yes, the old Genius had quite a low leverage ratio at the start of the travel, making the shock hard to compress, then a relatively high leverage ratio from the sag point, making it easy to compress.

This meant it lacked sensitivity at the start of the stroke and yet was easy to bottom out.

The new design flips that on its head, giving a more supple initial response, better support and a more progressive end stroke.

So there are 29er and Plus versions?

Well, yes and no.
There’s actually just a single Genius frame, that will run 27.5in or 29in wheels, and you can buy it as either a 29er or a 27.5in complete bike, but you can convert it from one to the other with nothing more than a switch of wheels and a flip of the geometry chip.

In a further move towards inclusivity, the Genius frame is built to accommodate big volume tyres. Specifically you can run up to 27.5×2.8in and 29×2.6in rubber, and that’s exactly the tyre size specced on the new models.

But if you’re not a fan of Plus tyres, there’s nothing stopping you fitting something narrower.

So the new Genius is a Plus bike then?
Scott is not pitching it as a Plus bike, even though it comes with what are commonly known as Plus tyres.

Scott makes the case that tyre sizes are so arbitrary that this label is misleading. To back up this argument it points to the fact that a Maxxis Minion DHF 2.5in wide trail is within 0.5mm (width) of a Maxxis Rekon 2.8in. So it has a point.

Is that a one-piece bar and stem?
Sure is. Syncros has developed an integrated carbon bar and stem, called the Hixon IC SL, that’s fitted to the top two models. It weighs 290g and comes in three reach extensions (40/50/60mm).

According to Syncros is mimics identically the handlebar position of the FL1.5 mini-riser and equivalent stem, with a 6º upsweep, 9º backsweep and 12mm rise. Width is 760mm.

There’s also a Syncros mudguard that bolts into the brace of a Fox 34 or 36 Boost fork. This comes as standard on the Genius, but you can also buy it separately for €14.


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