For the last year, the buzz in the mountain bike world
has been all about 27-inch wheels. While this new
wheel standard has become the talk of the town, many
of the most well-known bike makers have not jumped on
Scott Bikes, however, has committed to the new standard
by introducing the Genius 700 series with six different models. Early indications are that their gamble has paid off, as
Scott has received more orders for their 27-inch Genius than
even their 29-inch version.
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
As mountain bike technology has advanced, so-called
quiver-killer bikes have become possible. Scott calls their
Genius 700 series the ultimate trailbike, the one bike to do
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
The Genius’ front triangle is constructed of Scott’s HMF
carbon fiber, while the rear stays are aluminum. It offers 5.9
inches of suspension travel, front and rear. It features a 1
1/2- to 1 1/8-inch head tube and a 92-millimeter, Press-Fit
bottom bracket. The Genius uses Scott’s IDS-SL Dropout
System to allow the frame to be set up with a variety of rear-axle configurations and comes stock with a 12x142-millimeter through axle. The frame features 5.9 inches of suspension
travel with a faux bar design and standard push shock rather
than the pull shock found on the Genius of old. The geometry is adjustable via the two-position, rear-shock mounting
The frame uses internal routing for the derailleur cables
and features ISCG mounting tabs, along with a stock chain
blocker to keep the chain from sucking into the bottom
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
The 710 is Scott’s second-tier offering below their top-of-the-line 700 SL model. The 710 has a smart spec anchored by
a Shimano XT drivetrain with a Shadow Plus rear derailleur.
Scott’s TwinLoc adjustable on-the-fly suspension system allows
the rider to switch between three damping modes (lock, traction, and descend) on the fork and shock simultaneously with
the flick of a handlebar-mounted lever. The Genius comes
stock with a RockShox Reverb Stealth seatpost with internal
cable routing accessed through the rear of the seat tube.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
Moving out: The Genius’ adjustable geometry is easy to
swap, but is not something you would necessarily want to do
on the trail. We spent the vast majority of our time in the low
setting that gives you a lower bottom bracket and slightly slacker geometry. Despite the somewhat slack 67.7-degree head tube
angle, the 73.8-degree seat tube keeps the rider balanced in the
center of the bike. Our size medium fit true to size.
Climbing: Climbing should be a chore on a bike with this
much travel. However, even at 29 pounds, the Genius is a surprisingly capable climber. The Genius won’t leap out from
underneath you like a lightweight cross-country rig,
but a consistent, seated technique proved to
be a very efficient way of getting over climbs. We
found ourselves taking full advantage of the
TwinLoc’s traction mode. In this mode, the front
and rear travel are limited, and the rear sits higher in its travel, giving the bike a slightly more
front-weighted, agile feel. While the Fox TALAS
fork had two travel settings (4.7 and 5.9 inches),
we found ourselves relying solely on the TwinLoc
adjustments and leaving the fork at its full travel.
Cornering: Hitting corners aggressively was one
of the highlights of riding the 710. The bike holds the
edge through swooping, off-camber corners, but maintains
its quick handling and ability to pump hard out of corners. The
low bottom bracket height and increased traction from the 27-inch wheels are perfect for pushing hard through turns. In short,
it had us hitting corners on our usual trails as well as, if not
better than, we ever have.
Descending: The Genius’ slack geometry, mid-sized wheels
and 5.9 inches of travel make for a bike that is a blast to
descend on. The bike handles much like a 26er, yet has more of
a runaway-freight-train feel (like a 29er) on long, open stretches. The Reverb dropper post increases the fun on the descents
However, the rear suspension isn’t the plushest we’ve come
across. While the rear suspension is 5.9 inches, on the trail it
feels like less, especially in the chop. The Nude2 shock seemed to ramp up quickly, which meant that while it handled big hits
well, it left us feeling that we weren’t able to get as deep into the
travel as we’d like most of the time.
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
Braking: Scott did themselves a favor by spec’ing Shimano’s
XT brakes. The XT stoppers are consistent and powerful. The
lever feel is fairly instantaneous, which some riders may find
too abrupt. We find this is just something the rider adapts to
from brand to brand.
Between two brakes, two shifters, a dual-cable TwinLoc
lever and a dropper seatpost remote lever, there is a lot going
on in the front of the bike. The seven cables, while all serving
their purpose, look busy and messy against the clean lines
of the rest of the bike. Your best bet is to make sure your
shop cuts down all the cables to the perfect length to avoid
any extra mess.
The TwinLoc system can be a blessing or a curse. While
some riders love the ability to fine-tune their ride and get the
most out of the bike, others look at the input as somewhat of
a chore. Thankfully, if you’d rather leave it be, the TwinLoc
lever itself is very low profile, and riding the bike in the
descend mode at all times still makes for a very fun ride.
While not the plushest 5.9-inch travel bike out there, the
Genius makes up for it in versatility. Cornering and
descending make you feel like a hero without making you
pay the price on the climbs or feel sluggish out of the saddle. The list of trails that this bike would rip on goes on