by Jorji Frederiksen
July 3, 2014
What bike for the Tweedlove Enduro World Series? Jorji chose the Genius, here's why
The Scott Genius LT 700 Tuned must surely be one of the handsomest bikes out on the trails.
With it’s clean, unadulterated frame, smooth curves, matt black finish and popping orange vinyls, it’s been a true head-turner and talking point everywhere we’ve pedalled together. With 170mm travel front and back, it has the most travel of the three bikes in our #totallymoreendurothanyou review – perfect for taking on the steeps of the Tweed Valley EWS stages.
The Genius LT line was wholly redesigned for 2014 from the bottom up. A new carbon production technique was developed for the frames, with precision placement of ultra-strong HMX and HMF fibers in high stress areas. And by doing away with layers of weight-adding cosmetic carbon and placing decals straight on the naked frame, the Genius LT 700’s frame comes in at a mere 2.45kg including shock – whilst still having super high stiffness. Complimented by a top-spec component choice – SRAM X01 drivetrain, Shimano XTR brakes, Reverb Stealth seat post, carbon handlebars and lightweight just about everything else – the complete bike build weighs in at only 12.4kg.
Other frame features include a semi-integrated tapered headtube, neat internal cable routing, press fit BB with adjustable height ‘chip’, an integrated chain guide, direct front derailleur mount, interchangeable dropout system and frame protection on the vulnerable rock-strike areas.
However, what really defines the Genius LT 700 is the unique suspension system. The three riding modes of climb, trail/traction and descend not only change the suspension travel, but also – very cleverly – the geometry of the bike. Scott’s proprietary Nude rear shock was developed in close conjunction with Fox. It has two internal air chambers, which precisely allow the shock’s volume and damping characteristics to be adjusted. And these changes happen whilst still hooning round the trails, as the Twinloc control lever is conveniently placed on the handlebars.
In full-on descend mode, 170mm travel is deployed in both the shock (full air volume, supple damping) and Fox Float 34 CTD fork. Traction mode has 135mm travel in the shock (reduced volume, increased damping), and it’s whilst in this mode that the sag point decreases to steepen up the front end of the bike, but keeping the fork at 170mm. Climb mode locks out the front and back suspension completely with no travel and engages an even steeper front end. So whilst the 170mm travel initially hints at downhill riding, the other riding modes make it versatile for pedally riding too.
For the Scottish EWS trail gloop – some pre-ride tyre swapping was required. Out of the box, the Genius LT comes with a Hans Dampf up front and a Rock Razor on the rear – fast rollers, but for an altogether drier terrain. The Hans Dampf we switched to the back, whilst Chipps kindly leant me his Magic Mary for some optimum front mud gripping.
With the long, gruelling climbs between stages – and necessary (but slightly draggy) mud tyres – 95% of the EWS was spent in climb and traction modes. The fully locked-out climbing setting does noticeably steepen the front end, turning the Genius into a super quick, stiffened, fire-road climbing machine. However, a small degree of damping in climb mode ensures rougher, loose terrain can be also comfortably tackled when the suspension is locked out. As the bike is such an efficient climber – whose lightness you actually feel when riding – it’s easy to forget you’re pushing a 170mm travel bike up the hills.
Then, dropping into twisty singletrack, flicking the Twinloc lever once on your handlebar sinks the bike into traction/trail mode. As the BB lowers, suspension softens and head angle slackens – you’re set to play. The fully open 170mm Fox Float 34 CTD fork is, of course, overkill for most UK trails – and you do feel to be a fair distance from your front wheel. But for nimbling up rocky climbing sections, the back end grips well and stays firmly planted by the shock, whilst pedalling is stablised without any evident bobbing. And on tight, twisty sections – despite a longer geometry – the bike is super manoeuvrable.
As soon as the trail takes a turn for the steep, another flick of the Twinloc lever and the rear suspension fully opens, the head angle slackens (though not noticeably) and the bike springs into GNAR mode. At this point the beefy forks and big rear bounce can happily take you down whatever vertical shenanigans you dare scare yourself upon. Though with such long travel suspension, you would typically expect a slacker head angle, so whilst the Genius LT is an insanely awesome bike, it doesn’t feel quite as aggressive as you might hope.