Scott Bikes Get Smart: The Genius

The Scott Company began in Sun Valley Idaho 50 years ago with the first tapered aluminum ski pole. It was the most sophisticated pole yet created. And that continued into the bike world as well. Scott made their first mountain bike in 1986, aero bars for Greg Lemond’s Tour De France win in 1989, and Ruthie Mathes’ mountain bike world championships winning bicycle in 1991.But that’s all ancient history. Scott aims to make more history with its current line of bicycles, including some of the most out there technology. The Genius Mountain bike is coming out again. We got to ride it in Sun Valley, Idaho.img_3045.jpgThe Genius is made of carbon fiber for the lightest weight per travel of any mountain bike. That’s 150mm of travel with total bike weight under 25 pounds, or 15 grams per mm of travel according to Scott. The dollar-per-gram calculation is another story. The 25lb. Genius 20 we rode runs $5999.00. And if you really want to push the bar, the Genius LTD is available for $11,499.99 (23.8lbs in medium). Now someone has to make the most expensive production MTB on the market, it may as well be Scott. I applaud the audacity.This bike is sweet. Coming off a bunch of 30lb+ bikes, I was like a new-and-improved rider on the Genius. While the Horst link has been moved to the chainstay for patent compliance, there is other stuff going on that makes the Genius excel.The shock is a three-piston pull shock. The main piston has negative air in its chamber. As the shaft pulls the piston, air expands to create a spring while oil on the other side of the piston pushes through valves and into one of two secondary chambers, each positively charged with air. Controlling the valves changes the travel. With both valves closed, no oil moves, rendering the bike locked out. With one valve open, chamber one is activated. The bike sags into a little slacker head angle and rides with 95mm of travel. Open valve two and you get two air springs providing 150mm of travel, plus a little more head angle and BB drop.


Specifically, the head angle changes from 68.5˚ in locked out position to 68.4˚ in the “traction” or 95mm setting to 67.7˚ in the full 150mm setting. This drops the bottom bracket from 13.7” in lockout to 12.5” in the 150mm setting.How did this pan out on the trail? With all the climbing and descending in Sun Valley, the Tractor travel control on the handlebar came in handy. I made a point of using it and was not disappointed. On dirt road climbs and the more buff singletrack, I switched the lever into the lockout mode for a nice, efficient pedaling position over the bike. Maximum efficiency combined with the light weight, and I’m able to keep up with the resident pros much better than I’d expected. Yet still in back of the pack, fyi. The 95mm “Traction” setting was great when the climbing got a bit more bumpy/technical, and is a great general-purpose setting. And the 150mm setting was just balls-out plush, for those fast fast fast descents with their big rocks hidden amongst the buff track.img_3050.jpgMore on the shock and rear suspension. Scott has moved away from the Horst link after they were unable to license the design from Specialized. So we’ve got a single pivot aligned with the middle chainring for well-mannered behavior in most gears. On the trail, I found this to be a non-issue. Only in granny gear and full long travel did I notice, as I should have not been in that gear anyway. More raddness is found in the carbon fiber construction. Deemed IMP-4, the latest carbon fabrication technique is an improvement on Scott’s CR-1 carbon manufacturing method. Now the front triangle is one piece for more optimalness. Other frame features include a direct mount front derailleur that pivots as the swingarm swings, full cable housing for dirty avoidance, clearance for 2.4” tires and a place to hang you bottle cage.Gallery here: