July 13, 2010
The other new bike launched by Scott at it’s press camp a couple of weeks ago was the new Genius LT. Last year, the Genius started being seen as more than a cross country machine as it upped travel to 150mm, with the ‘Traction Control’ setting of 110mm available to keep it nippy for climbing and contouring. Scott has now taken that idea to extremes, to see just how big a bike it can make, while still keeping it light, and pedalable. And behind much of the engineering is Joe Higgins, a transplanted Brit who knows something about UK riding and conditions, so we have high hopes for it.
So, let’s bring on the Genius LT…
Rather than just being a ‘stretched’ Genius, it’s a ground-up redesign and it takes over from the Ransom which, compared to the LT looks very cumbersome and antiquated all of a sudden. The same low standover of the Ransom is kept, but the bike is much narrower, lighter and has more travel. A top-shelf build of an LT should be just over 28lbs!
The frame weight of the carbon LT is 2.8kg or 6.2lbs with the new Equaliser 3 shock. Travel is 185mm in full travel, 110mm in TC mode (60% of full travel). With the two-step Lyrik, the travel is 160mm or 110mm in step-down mode. While we’re jiggling with geometry, there are two heights that the bike can run at – either a 14.4in BB (with 66.7° head angle with full travel mode) or 14.1in with 66.3°.
The DT-made Equaliser shock is all new for 2011 too – For a start, although it’s still a pull shock, the shock has been reversed, so that the rocker link pulls the shock shaft, rather than the shock body, making for less unsprung mass. The shock stroke has increased and the shock ratio has gone down to 2.8:1 from 3:1 – this means that it now takes slightly less air pressure (around 15psi less) – there’s now an integral sag meter (yay!) which the new Genius XC will also get.
There will also be alloy framed Genius LTs coming out. They differ in a few ways. The LT Carbon features a PF (Press Fit) 92 bottom bracket shell and ISCG 05 mounts. The alloy one has a standard threaded 73mm shell (and will take a Hammerschmidt, unlike the carbon frame). Frame weight will be ‘around 400g more’ making the alloy one around 7lbs including shock. Both frames will take a full size waterbottle too, not that we expect to see many fitted. Although the seat tube is big enough for an adjustable seatpost, it does offer a full straight seat-tube for the rigid saddle droppers out there too.
And now for the test ride…
Suitably briefed on the joys of the new bikes, we had a couple of days to try them in the Sun Valley Resort, Idaho and in the huge, nearby trail network of Ketchum. The first day consisted of a lift-accessed trail, with endless, fast runs through the trees. The afternoon held a few big climbs and another section of sweet, Idaho singletrack. Day Two held more climbing and more descending, giving us the chance to really see if these bikes went uphill too…
So how was the Genius LT to ride? The short answer is ‘odd’. Not odd as in ‘funny riding’ but odd-feeling in that it’s strange to get on a bike with over 7in of travel and be able to ride uphill on it at 8,000ft. And not just ‘coping’ climbing, but some pretty good speed, taking in the ups, downs and rolling terrain in between at Sun Valley. Of course it went downhill well – it would be hard for it to not feel great with that amount of cush, but the bits in between were also great – being able to instantaneously bring the bike down to ‘only’ 110mm for out the saddle chasing down of riders ahead, or for rocky climbs, was great. It was rare that we locked the bike out, though a three-hour Lake Garda climb would definitely benefit from it. Most of the time we just switched between full travel and Traction Control.
Obviously this is a carbon, XO equipped superbike. Of course it’s going to feel great – saying that, though, the alloy version won’t be much more and even with slightly less flash components, a sub-30lb weight is entirely possible without costing you a car… The improvements over the Ransom, which the LT will directly replace, are legion. It has the same low standover, but none of that wide-hipped stance of the Ransom’s many tubes – it also weighs far less – and importantly, it goes uphill. And it does it enjoyably – not even merely bearably.
We can’t wait to get hold of one of these in the UK and see if that long-legged lightness translates to all dayers in the Lake District, or if 185mm of travel is only of use somewhere where they have ski lifts. And sunshine. And dust…
For details of Scott’s newly improved Scale hardtails, see our story here.