Tuesday, May 27, 2014

First Ride On The 2014 Scott Genius 700 - Initial Impressions

Date: May 11th 2014
Location: fountainhead park

Jeff Dickey and I (Mike) both purchased 2014 Scott Geniuses with 27.5 wheels. We are both used to xc riding and this was our first real test pushing each other on an all-mountain/enduro/trail bike (not sure what the proper definition is).  The Genius 700s have 150mm of Fox suspension on the front and rear and are meant to ride downhill fast and still be ride-able on ascents.

I'm riding a Genius 730 with Shimano XT and SLX components and a full Aluminum frame.  The stock bike does not come with a dropper post, but I purchased a Rock Shox Reverb and installed it on the bike.  I also installed a set of Continental Trail King Protection 2.4 width tires as the stock Schwalbe Nobby Nics did not have Snakeskin sidewall protection.  Jeff is riding a Genius 710 with full Shimano XT components, a carbon main frame and Aluminum rear triangle and a Rock Shox Reverb Stealth dropper post.  Jeff is riding the stock 2.25 width Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires (the Genius 710 version came with Snakeskin sidewalls) until he gets disc rotors to fit his Stan's Flow wheels and he can get his Conti Trail Kings set up.

The Genius has a lot of on-trail adjustability to get you along the trail the best way possible.  You have three levels of adjustment on the front and rear suspension, all controllable from a single lockout lever on the bars.  A flip of the lever moves both the  rear suspension from full open to half open and leaves the fork in full open mode. Another flip of the lever locks both the front and rear suspension.

In addition to the suspension lock, you can raise the bottom bracket and steepen the head tube by flipping a chip in the rear suspension linkage.  The bike can go from a super fast and stable descender, to a more responsive singletrack bike just through the flip of the chip.

Finally, the dropper post lets you get your weight way back for stable descents, railing berms, or taking jump in the trail, but bring the seat back up to climb or ride flat terrain.

In short, the bike is extremely adjustable to fit your particular riding style of the moment and can be quickly adjusted to whatever the trail throws at you.

First impressions: The Genius is very comfortable -- it feels similar to my 29er XC bike. The angles on the Genius are a little more slack than my Spark 29, but the sharper turning, smaller 27.5 wheels make the geometry feel similar to riding my Spark 29.

The Genius lets me take lines -- through rocks, over jumps and through corners -- that I would not attempt on an XC bike.  Further, the Genius is far more forgiving of rider-errors (because of the extra suspension travel (about 50mm more travel and very knobby and wide tires). And, with the dropper post down, it's easy to lean the bike more into long sweeping corners, letting you carve through turns that you can't do quite as well on narrower tires and a fixed saddle position.

For a trail bike it is pretty light (about 29lbs) but it is still heavy compared to the Scale 920 that I rode last year for XC races.  This year I am on a Spark 730 XC bike, and the Genius is much heavier so trying to maintain an XC-training and race pace up climbs can be really tough. I also found that the Genius 730 is so confident on the descents that I found myself pedaling to go faster in areas that I would normally be coasting or braking.  All that extra pedaling made the climbs even more difficult because there was less time to rest.

We were riding at Fountainhead park in Fairfax Station, VA this past weekend.  The trail network has short and steep climbs and descents in rapid order, so there is a lot of transitioning from downhill mode (fully unlocked suspension and seat post dropped down) to uphill mode (locked out suspension and post up) and back. I'm still somewhat new to using a full-suspension bike with remote lockouts and at first it can be a bit tricky to gauge if a decent is long enough to switch modes or wait to a longer decent because switching back and forth for every little decline or incline would be overkill and mess up the flow of the ride. I ended up spending most of my time with the suspension unlocked and seat post up. I only put the seat post down for longer descents and only locked out the suspension for longer climbs. Knowing what was coming up in the trial really helps and on our second lap at Fountainhead it was much easier to know what mode I should be in.

I will write another review later in the year after putting some miles on the Genius.

If you want to demo a Genius yourself, talk to AK at Pure Energy Cycling & Java House in Lambertville, NJ (Phone - 609-397-7008 / Web - http://pureenergycycling.com/).  He can get you set up properly, like on this recent demo day at the shop over the past weekend:

Some photos from our ride...

One of the rock sections
Banked turns

Drop off
Skinny section through the trees

Considering a second lap
Though the spring growth
Leaning the bike more with dropper post down

Post up and climbing up a short, sharp climb

1 comment:

Madison said...

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