Bike Review: 2013 Scott Genius 710


The Scott Genius was made with the intention of being a “Do-It-All” trail bike.  As an endurance racer entering my first year of enduro, I wanted a bike that was light and efficient enough to train on, but also be capable of competing in enduro races.  Just in case you don’t know what enduro racing is, it’s pretty much like downhill racing but slightly less technical with a little bit of climbing thrown into the mix.  My Scott Genius 710 has so far met and exceeded my expectations.  I have been riding it nearly exclusively since late October (my other bikes are getting jealous) and I’m loving it.

THE DETAILS

Specs

Frame SCOTT Genius 27.5/650b Carbon, IMP technology, HMF carbon, BB 92, Alloy swingarm with 180PM, U-Mono Link, Tapered Headtube, IDS SL dropouts for 142 x 12mm, BB height adj., 150mm rear travel
Fork FOX 34 Talas 650b Factory CTD FIT Air, CTD remote damper with 3 modes, 15mm QR axle, tapered steerer, reb. Adj., 150 – 120 mm travel
Shock SCOTT DT Nude2 / 3 modes Lockout-TC-D, Ball joints, 200 x 57mm, reb. Adj.
Remote System SCOTT LTD suspension technology, Lock – Traction (travel / geo adj) – Descend activate by Twinloc Remote Lever, Lockout – 100 – 150mm
Headset Ritchey Pro Tapered 1.5″ – 1 1/8″ semi integr. OD 50/61mm / ID 44/55mm
Derailleur (Rear) Shimano XT RD-M786 SGS Shadow PlusType / 30 Speed
Derailleur (Front) Shimano XT FD-M780-E / DM
Shifters Shimano XT SL-M780-I Rapidfire Plus / 2 way release Ispec clamp
Brake Levers Shimano XT BL-M785 Disc
Brakes Shimano XT BR-M785 Disc 180/F and 180/R mm SM-RT64 CL Rotor
Crankset Shimano XT FC-M780 Hollowtech 2 42Ax32Ax24A T
Handlebar *SMAC SW820 Low Rise color Silver
Grips *Ergon GE1 color Blue
Stem *RaceFace Atlas 65mm color Blue
Pedals Crank Brothers Candy 3 color Blue
Seatpost Rock Shox Reverb Stealth inside hydraulic remote system / 31.6mm
Saddle Syncros TR1.5 / Titanium rails
Chain Shimano CN-HG74
Cassette Shimano XT CS-M771-10 11-36 T
Hub (Front) Syncros TR 2.0 650b CL / 15mm by DT Swiss
Hub (Rear) Syncros TR 2.0 650b CL / 12 x 142 RWS by DT Swiss
Spokes DT Swiss Super Comp black
Rims Syncros / DT Swiss TR 2.0 27.5”/650b 28 H
Tires *Maxxis HighRoller II 3C/EXO/TR 27.5 x 2.3

*Upgrades

Frame

The frame has a lightweight Scott proprietary HMF carbon front end with an alloy swingarm that allows for 150mm of travel for a 650b wheel size.  It’s burly enough to handle hard descending, but light enough for big climb days.  The frame comes equipped with a Press-Fit bottom bracket.  It also has a “High” or “Low” setting on the shock which changes the bottom bracket height and head tube angle.  I run mine on “Low” which also seems to be the most popular setting.  It is truly a “Do-it-All” frame.  It’s also sexy as hell!  Internal routing and flat black finish with blue highlights.  Blue happens to be my favorite color, as you can see from all the blue bling on the bike.  The 2013 model comes with a DT Swiss Nude2, which was replaced with a Fox in 2014.  More on that later.

SCOTT LTD

Every Scott comes with their patented SCOTT LTD (Lock/Travel/Descend) suspension technology, which is activated using their Twinloc Remote Lever.  After riding my Scott Scale 910 for the past year, I’m addicted to this remote lockout feature.  Fully open you get 150mm of smooth travel.  Hit the switch one click over and you’re in travel mode with 100mm on your fork and shock simultaneously.  Hit the switch again and you’re fully locked out… and I mean fully!  That shock doesn’t budge!  Suddenly your 150mm descending monster becomes a hardtail with the flick of a button.  Very handy.  I ride with my thumb hovering over the switch at all times.  It just feels weird to ride a bike without it now.

Wheel Size

The Genius comes in both 29er with 130mm of travel and 650b with 150mm.  Because the primary use of this bike was to race enduro, I decided to get the 650b.  In my opinion, the smaller wheel is better for fast, technical descending.  Dare I say we’ll see the 650b replace 26 in the downhill world!?  I would like to think so.  The 29er version is great if you’re looking for “Do-it-All” bike that can still throw down in XC races from time to time.  The bigger wheel size smooths out low speed bumps a little better, and climbs a little better as well.  In my opinion, 29er leans more towards “trail” riding and 650b is closer to “all-mountain” riding.  If you’re having trouble deciding between 29 or 650b yourself, check this out: http://wheelsizematters.scott-sports.com/

New In 2014
The biggest change to the 2014 Scott full suspension bikes is the Fox Nude2 shock replacing the DT Swiss Nude2 from earlier years.  Scott and DT Swiss have gotten a lot of flak in the past, so Scott finally went with Fox.  That being said, I have no issues with the feel and performance of my DT Swiss.  It locks out solid and feels buttery smooth when opened up.  I do have to admit though, I am on my second DT Swiss as the first one started leaking air badly.  DT Swiss took care of me promptly, however, and got my bike back on the trail in no time.  Remember, I’m an elite mountain biker putting down some big miles.  Things are going to break.  How quickly and well a company takes care of you speaks volumes to me.  DT Swiss gets a A+ in customer service from me.

Also for 2014, Scott went with a 32 Fox fork instead of a 34 on the Genius 700 series.  With the debut of the new Genius LT bike advertised as an enduro/all-mountain race machine, my guess is they wanted to differentiate it more from the Genius model, which is intended to be a trail bike.  This change also cuts down the weight of the 2014 model as well.  Personally, I like knowing I have a 34 up front since I’m going to race enduro on it.  It was a tough choice between my Genius and the Genius LT which has more travel (170mm) and enduro specific geometry.  In the end, I’m not looking to be a top level enduro racer.  I am looking to be a top level endurance racer, so I needed a bike I could use for all my endurance training, but still shred trails.  That’s exactly what it does.

Notable Upgrades
Ergon GE1 Grips

These are the perfect enduro grips.  They put you in the proper position of keeping your elbows out, and absorb trail noise beautifully.  They are also comfortable enough for 5+ hour rides.  They come in an array of colors including a sexy blue.
Ergon Bike Ergonomics

SMAC SW820 Low Rise Handlebar

SMAC Innovations makes my favorite all-mountain/downhill bars on the market, hands down.  It comes in a looonnngggg 820mm length.  I actually rode with it at this length for months before breaking down and cutting it down to 790mm (still long for all-mountain).  Trail vibration is cut down to a minimum with this big beauty.  I don’t know how to explain it, but this bar just feels right.  I paired it with a short 65mm stem for the perfect enduro setup.  The bar comes in an array of colors as well.
SMAC Innovations




Maxxis Highroller II 27.5×2.30 3C/EXO/TR

I “heart” Maxxis tires.  The Highroller II digs in deep at the corners and under hard braking.  They have surprisingly good rolling resistance as well.  The EXO Protection sidewalls makes this tire bulletproof without sacrificing weight.  They are also tubeless-ready so they’re super easy to set up with your favorite sealant.  They absolutely rip when the trail turns downward!  I used them in the loose rocky terrain of the Las Vegas area for three weeks and here back at home in Colorado where conditions vary.  They quickly have become my favorite all-round tires.
Maxxis


HOW IT RIDES

Climbing
The SCOTT LTD suspension technology with Twinloc Remote Lever makes climbing a dream.  Punchy climbs?  Lock it out and stand like it’s a hardtail.  Rocky/techy climb?  Put it in “traction” mode and let the 100mm keep the tire on the ground for maximum traction.  This thing climbs like no other.  That’s what makes it such a great “Do-It-All” bike.  It can go from 150mm to locked out with the flip of a switch.

Descending

Whenever I read reviews on the Genius I always hear something along the lines of “doesn’t descend like other 150mm bikes”.  That’s because other 150mm bikes are full-on all-mountain rigs, which are meant more for downhill than climbing.  Scott has that bike too: the Genius LT.  Let’s get this straight, the Genius 710 is a 650b “Do-It-All” TRAIL bike that happens have a huge 150mm of travel.  Compared to other 650b trail bikes with 120-130mm, that’s a lot more travel.  It’s not supposed to be compared to all-mountain bikes, and Scott never claims it is an all-mountain bike.  As stated by Scott, the Genius has a descent to ascent ratio of 50/50.  Perfect for a climber like me.  The Genius LT has a ratio of 70/ 30 and is categorized as their all-mountain line.  Perfect for anyone who prefers downhill but wants a bike they can still pedal to the top.

Okay, now that we cleared that up, let’s move on.  The Genius is a trail bike that descends like an all-mountain!  I’ve ripped this bike down rocks, drops, water bars, and everything else to beat the hell out of it.  I even rode some crazy black diamond downhill trails at Bootleg Canyon in Boulder City, Nevada on this bike.  The suspension soaks up big hits like they are nothing.  It descends absolutely amazingly!   Even better, the 710 comes equipped with a Rock Shox Reverb Stealth dropper post.  Get a short stem and long bar, and this trail bike becomes one capable enduro race bike.  On smooth, fast, and flowy descents I put it in 100mm.  When it gets rough, I open it up to 150mm.  This makes it incredibly versatile on the varying terrain seen in enduro racing.  The best part is, it will destroy any all-mountain category bike on the climbs other reviewers put it up against.

Handling

The Genius 710 handles fantastically.  The 650b wheels smooth out the trail, but is still as flick-able as any 26er.  It also accelerates just as quickly out of corners and up steep, short climbs.  This bike eats up switchbacks, tight turns, flowly trails, or any thing else thrown at it.  The geometry is spot on and gives confidence all round.  It feels solid at speed and stable when maneuvering over stop-go tech sections.  The Genius 710 will give you the confidence to take your abilities to the next level.  When I hop on my Scale 910 hardtail XC race machine, I can tell my technical skills have improved from riding my Genius.


Final Thoughts


I always pictured myself retiring from racing and selling the endurance race rig before I got my dream bike.  Luckily, I didn’t have to wait that long.  The Genius 710 is my dream bike come true.  I may have bought it as an enduro race bike, but it can truly do everything.  Hell, I even raced the True Grit 50 miler on it just to prove it.  I can’t wait to see how it performs during the enduro race season.  One way or another, this bike continues to impress me. I can’t ride it without having a smile on my face.

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