Previewed: The New Scott Genius

The Genius is back. A patent dispute with Specialized had prevented Scott from selling its Genius bikes in the U.S. for years, but the company has completely redesigned the bike for 2009 and will soon offer six versions of this new 150-millimeter trail bike.

It’s an important step for the company. Until know, the company lacked a model for mountain biking’s hottest market–the 5 and 6-inch travel trail bike category. “We have arrived in the off-road market and are no longer going to be perceived as a strong road company, but rather a strong brand,” said Adrian Montgomery, Scott USA’s marketing director.

Scott unveiled the new bike in Idaho, offering the chance for a few rides on Sun Valley’s finest trails. The bikes immediately drew attention to their carbon frames and proprietary rear shock. But the Genius 30s on display had a slew of important changes and features worth taking a closer look at.

First, the pivot location of the bike has moved from the chainstay to the seatstay. That crucial detail freed Scott from any patent disputes with Specialized and allowed the company to bring the line back to the United States. (Scott has sold a line of Horst-link Genius bikes in Europe and elsewhere for years.)

The bikes also feature an alloy Traction Control lever. The Genius uses Scott’s Traction Control design, and the handlebar-mounted lever allows riders to toggle between 150 and 100 millimeters of travel, or to completely lock it out. Scott has used similar systems on Ransom and Spark models, but this is the first bike to use the more durable, alloy switch.

The Traction Control rear suspension system relies on a propriety pull-shock that Scott co-developed with DT Swiss. The rear shock uses two chambers to control the amount of oil that flows from the main chamber as the shock is compressed. Locking one chamber reduces travel to 100 millimeters; closing both completely locks out travel.

What do you think about the Scott Genius? Leave a comment below.