First Impressions: Scott Genius 900

A crazy-light, climbing machine that'll takcle bigger hits with ease

By Vernon Felton
Photos by Dan Barham

The 2013 Genius line represents a serious departure from the Scott models of yore that bore that same name. Not only has the entire frame design changed, Scott has also purged the Genius line of 26-inch wheels entirely.

For 2013, the Genius comes in a variety of both 27.5 (700) and 29er (900) models. Ryan LaBar wrote about the new Genius line for already, but I decided to give the bikes a spin myself today. I'd originally intended to ride the 700 and 900 models back to back on the rugged trails of Boulder City, but the 27.5-inch wheel variety were reserved far in advance: I couldn't, in other words, even get my hands on one. Clearly, 27.5 (650B) is going to be big with consumers next year.

It took fairly agressive riding to get the Genius 900 to use all 130-millimeters of its travel. I'd like to see an ever-so-slightly more linear spring rate from future generations of the bike, but if your looking for a marathon racer that'll handle more technical terrain, this is a bike that should be on your must-ride list.

Scott claims that the frame on my test rig weighs a scant five pounds. I can tell you this, my 130-millimeter travel 29er moved up the climbs with little effort. The Genius sports Scott's unique TwinLoc lever, which simultaneously firms up the DT Swiss Nude2 rear shock and Fox fork. In its "wide open" setting, the 130-millimeter travel Genius is reasonably plush--it could never be mistaken for a bottomless-feeling, all-mountain shredder, but for a lightweight bike that could be raced XC, it is surprisingly capable. I found myself riding mainly in the middle "Traction Control". The full lock-out compromises traction on anything but smooth pavement climbs.

The Genius 900 uses a Fox fork up front and DT Swiss Nude2 rear shock--both of which can be tweaked (from rock hard to jello-squishy) with the flick of the patented TwinLoc handlebar-mounted lever.

On the whole, I was fairly impressed by the Genius 900. It climbs like a maniac and it has decent descending traits. I found myself wishing the suspension was a tad more linear on the bigger rock sections of Boulder City, as it took a lot of bashing through rock outcroppings to get full travel, but if I were doing some kind of marathon race, the Genius 900 would be a contender. I'm also looking forward to throwing a leg over its 150-millimeter travel 700 sibling. How would that bike fair in the rock gardens?

At just 5 pounds (for a size Medium) the Genius 900 is a freakishly-light frame.

Fortunately, you won't have to wait long to find out. Expect a review of Scotts new 27.5 Genius in an upcoming issue.