Scott Genius Hero 996
Scott released info on its 2016 mountain bike line last week. Updates were minor outside of one big adjustment: the addition of plus-size tires on several bikes. We got a ride on the Genius 720 Plus to check out the new size.
Both the Genius and longer-travel Genius LT models get the plus-size treatment in 2016. Each model comes in three options, ranging from the entry-level 720 through to the top-of-the-line 700 Tuned models. The 720 and mid-level 710 model have similar specs as the Scale hardtails (above), with the 710 fitted with a RockShox Reverb Dropper. The top-end models, which Scott gives the Tuned desgination, rely on XO1 drivetrains, XTR brakes, RockShox Reverb droppers, and Syncros carbon rims
The Genius LT has 160mm travel in both the front and rear, while the Genius has 140mm travel. Both families of bikes rely on Scott’s long-running TwinLoc trigger to cycle through suspension settings, from complete lockout for climbing; to partial lockout for reduced travel, a steeper head angle, a tighter spring rate in the rear shock, and increased low-speed compression in the front; and a wide-open setting for gleefully bombing downhill.
Genius LTs are fitted with Fox36 forks, while the Genius bikes receive Fox34s.
Scott has long partnered with Schwalbe to develop tires—a precedent the company continued with the plus-size Nobby Nic and Rocket Ron. After trying a few different sizes, Scott settled on 2.8-inch tires mounted on 40mm (internal) Syncros rims. It claims the pairing offers the best traction and support of all tested combinations, while also keeping rolling resistance within 1 percent of narrower, normal-sized tires, such as a 2.2-inch mounted to a 24mm rim. The combination also offers the increased control, reduced incidence of pinch flats, and better traction for which plus-size tires are quickly garnering a reputation.
When we tested the Genius 720 Plus, the entry-level model in the three bike line, we first noted its trail-worthy spec: a Shimano 2x drivetrain with an XT ShadowPlus rear derailleur, Shimano SLX brakes, and a respectable 140mm Fox 34 Performance fork for handling suspension up front.
To test the bikes, we headed out on the lift-accessed trails around Silver Lake Lodge in Deer Valley, Utah. The trails are a combination of buff IMBA style singletrack and burlier rock-strewn doubletrack, with a healthy dose of berms, jumps, and twisties tossed in for good measure. All of it is high-speed and perfect for showcasing the abilities of the fatter 2.8-inch tires.
After playing around on various Frankenbikes (29ers fitted with 27.5+ tires and wide rims), and testing plus-sized bikes, wheels, and tires from a few manufacturers over the last few months, I was ready for the feel and grip these offerings claimed to bring into play.
The Genius 720 Plus’ increased traction is noticeable right out of the gate, and steering precision and flickability are there in spades. Like many other plus-sized bikes, if you stray from the line, you may need to muscle yourself back more effortfully than with smaller tires—but it takes a bigger wander to put you in that position in the first place, because the traction is just that good. Scott’s TwinLoc does a good job of changing the bike’s feel from full-open on the descents to a shorter-travel, steeper-angle middle position for trail riding and climbing. As promised, the system really does give you almost two different bikes in one. The trigger is easy to reach and simple to use—even if the bar is a bit cluttered with the front and rear shifters, dropper switch, and TwinLoc controls. One setting I found myself never using was the fully-locked position. It was too unforgiving on the Silver Lake Lodge trails, but perhaps would have gotten more use during pavement commutes to trailheads or sustained, smooth climbs.
One disappointment was the X Fusion Hilo dropper post. It could be the setup of this particular unit, or it might have needed a little tinkering, but the action of both the post and the trigger were sub-par. Additionally, the trigger is decidedly un-ergonomic. It sits on the right side of the already-crowded handlebar in a position that you need to remove a hand to actuate. I found it frustrating to use and would rather see a straight post, so riders can choose their own option or a model with a better, more accessible, trigger. On an competitively-priced bike this good, that small detail needs to be addressed.
As for the rest of the Scott mountain bike lineup, some of the small changes do add up to big performance gains. The Scale hardtail comes in two models, both of which feature a new alloy frame with Boost 148 spacing. There are updates to forks and shocks across the board—outside of the addition of 34mm forks on the Genius range and 36mm models on the Genius LT—and select models will recieve Evol air cans and single rings up front. Another noteable update is the inclusion of a new under-the-handlebar TwinLoc lever on models with 1x drivetrains. When asked about why so many models come with double chainrings, Scott cited the continued preference among European riders for the wider gear range this style offers. Company representatives did note, though, that with the Shimano supplied cranks on those bikes, swapping to a 1x setup was as simple as removing the front derailleur and installing a single ring. There is no Boost spacing on the regular-sized (non-Plus) bikes, but, when questioned about that, reps said that it would likely happen for model year ‘17.
All bikes will be available in both the US and Europe later this summer, with pricing as-yet-unset.
Source : http://www.bicycling.com