by Wil Barrett
October 12, 2016
With fingertip control of the Genius LT's 170mm of suspension travel, is it really 2-bikes-in-1?
Rewind to Issue #107 of Singletrack Magazine for our grouptest with the Scott Genius LT 700 Tuned.
A first look at the Genius LT 700 Tuned (hereinafter referred to as the LT 700; life’s too short) will probably split readers down the middle, with words like ‘lurid’, ‘vibrant’, or ‘argh, my eyes!’ being bandied about. It’s considerably brighter than it appears in photographs. So our test machine is certainly colourful – but there’s plenty of interesting tech behind that arresting exterior.
The LT 700 is carbon, naturally. Scott has fired up the Impressive Acronym Generator (IAG) to produce a frame full of proprietary technology that – to cut to the chase – is lighter where it can be and stronger where it needs to be. Scott has eliminated the external cosmetic carbon layer too, to reduce weight. Both front and rear ends are made of the fantastic plastic, which helps to keep the weight nice and low – along with lashings of top, top-flight kit.
There’s a Fox 36 Factory Air up front, which yields 170mm of travel, and at the back, attached to the suspension rocker with a linkage chip which lets you adjust the geometry, is a Fox Nude custom number. This last is a collaboration with Scott, so you’ll not find it gracing any other machines. Essentially it’s two shocks in one, which can adopt three settings – a full travel fully open one, and a shorter travel mode with separate damper settings, as well as a more conventional lockout setting.
It’s controlled by Scott’s Twinloc system, that also controls the fork. At the handlebar, where in Ancient Times a front shifter sat, is a lever. Click it once, and that 170mm of travel at the back is reduced to 110mm, and the fork is also stiffened up. Click through again, and both front and back ends are effectively locked out – it’s not a total lockout, but it’s certainly enough to prevent any wallowing.
Depress the release next to the lever and it springs back through the middle setting to fully open again. It’s a very simple thing to use in practice, and it’s been completely flawless throughout the test period, although as a result of this technology, in front of the bars on the LT 700 is a frankly startling amount of cable and hosery, what with brakes, shifter, dropper post and one red cable each for front and rear shock adjustment. The remainder of the bike is somewhat more conventional, but rather bling.
There’s a pair of Nobby Nic EVO tyres surrounding Syncros wheels with DT Swiss-made hubs, a 1×11 drivetrain comprised predominantly of SRAM X01, and Shimano’s XTR M9020 Trail brakes with nice big rotors to add a little spice. There’s a RockShox Reverb Stealth, Syncros finishing kit including 760mm carbon bars and a 60mm stem.
I kept the geometry at the slackest setting throughout the test period, which translated to 66.38° at the head angle and a 74° seat angle, with a slightly lower bottom bracket. Reach numbers are on a par with current fashionable thinking; our Large bike yielded a respectable 446.4mm with a fairly rangy top tube and longish 440mm chainstays. It’s worth noting that this is the largest bike in this model range; Small and Medium sized bikes are also available, but lanky riders may have to look elsewhere. Which is a shame, as there’s an awful lot to like about the LT 700 whatever height you are.
After a small amount of playing around, it’s clear just how good Scott’s Twinlok system is. Working with the Fox shocks, it’s hugely capable. In the middle 110mm travel setting, not only does the bike have less travel, but it seems to sit higher in the travel that’s available too. It genuinely feels like a more cross-country-worthy bike, to the extent that I hardly used the lockout at all. Granted, the LT 700 felt a little wallowy if I climbed with the fork and shock fully open, but that’s as much down to my personal shock preferences as it is to the bike, and the great thing about the Twinlok system is that it let me set it up like that with few downsides.
When the shock and fork were open, though, the bike swallowed anything in its way. The chassis is stiff and responsive. The angles contributed to allowing the bike to feel sprightly rather than dead – I was somewhat worried that the slightly steeper head angle and the longer chainstays might affect traction and handling and make the thing too nervous, but honestly I was having way too much fun to notice.
It feels like a trail bike in the short-travel mode, but when the settings are set to ‘boing’, this thing absolutely motors. The top-tier spec level, along with a very healthy dollop of carbon wherever you look, keeps the weight down to trail-bike levels, but still with full enduro-bike capacity. This bike climbs like a caffeinated goat, and descends like a caffeinated goat on a skateboard. If you don’t mind a little more complexity to the controls on the handlebars, and if it fits you, the LT 700 is utterly brilliant.
The Scott Genius LT is perhaps at the opposite end of the scale. Not that it’s a poor descender – far from it, with 170mm of travel at each end it’s hardly surprising that it motors as it plummets – but the slightly steeper head angle, and (critically) the shock and lockout design all go towards ensuring that climbing is as good an experience as it can be. Basically you’ve got a nimble 170mm machine to rip descents on, and a 110mm machine to climb on. All in one well-designed, trail-bike light package.
The Scott Genius LT 700 Tuned Features:
- Frame // Genius LT 700 Carbon frame 170mm travel
- Shock // Fox Nude/Scott custom with travel/geometry adjust
- Fork // Fox 36 Factory Air/Kashmina FIT4 170mm travel
- Hubs // Syncros AM1.5 CL
- Rims // Syncros AM1.5 28H
- Tyres // Schwalbe Nobby Nic TrailStar and PaceStar
- Chainset // SRAM X01
- Rear Mech // SRAM X01
- Shifters // SRAM X01 trigger
- Brakes // Shimano XTR trail M9020
- Stem // Syncros XM1.5
- Bars // Syncros AM1.0 carbon
- Seatpost // RockShox Reverb Stealth 150mm (125mm on S model)
- Saddle // Syncros XM1 carbon
- Size Tested // L
- Sizes Available // S, M, L
- Weight // 27.3lbs