You don’t have to be a genius to make the right decision
Ten years ago, Scott unveiled the Genius, its first “Do-it-All” super-lightweight carbon trail bike. Times have changed, and trails have changed, and Scott’s genius line of bikes has evolved to fit the needs of today’s riders. The latest Genius bikes are full-suspension trail bikes with two unique designs. The Genius 900 has 5.1 inches of travel with 29-inch wheels. The Genius 700 utilizes the new 27.5-inch wheel standard. Because the smaller wheel opens the door to more travel, Scott can offer it with 5.9 inches of travel.
WHO IS IT MADE FOR?
The Genius is designed to be a “do-it-all” bike. Both versions sport enough travel to tackle some very technical terrain but still have the pedaling efficiency and overall low weight to get you to the top of the hill in record time. Regardless of which wheel platform you choose, the Genius gives you the option for everything from cross-country epics to technical and rock-strewn trails.
WHAT IS IT MADE FROM?
Both bikes sport aluminum construction from top to bottom. While Scott offers carbon versions of both these bikes, the aluminum versions keep the cost down and allow for higher-end component packages. The 730 and 930 are both built to maximize value while delivering great trail performance. Both bikes feature tapered head tubes, 12 x 142-millimeter dropouts, single-pivot suspension designs, and Scott’s exclusive Twinlock suspension damping system.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
The Shimano component package pulls the best from Shimano’s bag without breaking the bank. The XT triple drivetrain came through with solid, crisp and reliable shifts during our testing, and the SLX brakes were up to the task on any stop.
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
Moving Out: Both Geniuses use air-sprung Fox suspension, which makes setup a simple process. Just make sure the TwinLock lever is set to the “descend” mode, and set the air pressure for matched 25- to 30-percent sag front and rear. The TwinLock lever keeps you from adjusting the compression damping independently, meaning if one of the suspension components is off, there’s no way to dial it in independently on the fly. Making sure the suspension is matched and balanced is key. Both bikes have a relatively high standover height, which could be tough for smaller riders.
Handling differences: Right off the bat, we knew that even though these bikes share the same name, they handle the trail differently. The 730 27.5-inch version sports a slacker geometry that’s certainly more capable on the gnarliest of terrain. The 930 29er has sharper and quicker handling manners and relies on the stability of the big wheels to keep it tracking over rough trails.
Descending: Both bikes proved to be reasonably stable with active suspension, although their strong suits are vastly different. We found ourselves much more confident on high-speed sections with the 930, thanks to loads of traction and stability provided by the big wheels. The 730, by contrast, is more nimble and delivers better performance on drops, jumps and steep, technical terrain.
Pedaling: The relatively simple single-pivot suspension design has a small amount of pedal bob. Fortunately, that’s exactly what the Twinlock switch is designed to help. We had great luck setting the bike in the “trail” mode for rolling and semi-technical terrain where riders need a balance between pedaling support and active suspension.
Climbing: This is where the Twinlock really makes sense. With just a quick flip of the lever, either of the Geniuses is ready to tackle any climb. Quick transitions from descending to short and punchy climbs can be handled with the middle “trail” setting, which allows the suspension to remain active and effective on technical steeps. On smooth fire road grinder climbs, the “climb” position offers the efficiency that only a true lockout can deliver.
Since the 930’s larger wheels take a little more to get spun up to speed, the triple-ring drivetrain is much more useful on this bike. The smaller wheels of the 730 accelerate quicker, especially in technical climbing situations, so we tip the scales to the smaller wheels in this test.
Cornering: The adjustable bottom-bracket height is a nice feature in theory, but the 13.6-inch height in the “Low” setting left us wondering why we would ever want to raise our center of gravity. We left both bikes in the low setting for the bulk of testing and never looked back.
The geometry of both bikes feels on the steep side, so cornering is quick and very responsive. The 730 is very agile at slow speeds, making tight switchbacks, either up or down the trail, a breeze. The 930 can be a bit of a handful when the trail gets tight, thanks to the extra heft of the larger wheels, but more than makes up for it with high-speed stability.
Suspension Feel: This is where the difference can really be felt between the two bikes. While both Geniuses use a simple single-pivot and rocker design, testers across the board noted that the 730 felt noticeably more plush and aggressive. The 930 feels somewhat aggressive but lacks the bottomless suspension feel we’ve come to appreciate on most enduro bikes we’ve tested.
THE WHEEL-SIZE DEBATE
Scott has taken one bike and split it into two distinct categories. The 730 27.5-inch wheeled Genius is more nimble and fun to flick down the trail. It manuals and wheelies well and makes mincemeat out of rocky, technical terrain. It also has a more plush suspension feel and confidence-inspiring geometry when the trail gets steep and nasty.
The 930 is more stable thanks to the “wagon wheel” 29er hoops. The bike feels much more at home on rolling singletrack than it does steep chutes, but it can still handle its fair share of rough and rocky terrain. The larger wheels make it more in-tune with the rider who wants the bike to “ride itself” and keep the wheels just chuggin’ through.
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
Both bikes come equipped with a flat bar and relatively low-rise stem, which is perfect if you’re looking for a cross-country quick feel. Some of the crew noted that a shorter stem and wider bar with some rise would suit the bikes better for aggressive terrain.
The fixed-height seatposts are fine for a stock build, but the trails the Genius is meant for demand a dropper post. Thankfully, both Genius bikes come equipped with Stealth internal routing for dropper posts. The only downside to installing a dropper aftermarket will be further cluttering an already crowded handlebar. With brake hoses, shifter cables, and the TwinLock system, a dropper seatpost would make a seventh cable coming off the bar, and that’s the most complicated cockpit we can imagine.
The TwinLock system elicits two distinct responses. Some will swear by the performance gains of having a remote lockout, while others will find it needlessly complicated. Regardless, the lever puts Fox’s CTD adjustments at the tips of your fingers and forces you to use them. The cockpits of these bikes feel a bit like a jet airplane’s, with something always needing to be adjusted to stay on course.
Still, both Genius bikes do their jobs dutifully. The suspension is active and effective when it needs to be and incredibly pedal-efficient when the Twinlock system is engaged. Both Geniuses are truly built to be “do-it-all” bikes. Whether you’re looking for the playful fun and plush suspension of the 730 or the roll-over-anything and never-slow-down feel of the 930, Scott’s Genius bikes have you covered.