First Look: 650b and 29″ 2013 Scott Genius
With the growing buzz surrounding the reemergence of the 650b wheel size, when Scott Invited us to attend a press launch during the Ride Sun Valley bike festival in Sun Valley, Idaho, even though they’ve denied working on a production 650b bike, we had our suspicions on what they had in store. After all, spec wise, it was fairly obvious that the Genius was due for a major update for its 10th birthday.
However, the new Genius 700 (650b) and Genius 900 (29″) are much more than just different wheel sizes. The new bikes receive a 100% redesigned frame that no longer utilizes the Equalizer pull shock and includes features like a tapered head tube, and BB92 bottom bracket. The result is a pair of light weight bikes in both carbon and aluminum with bigger wheels, and plenty of trail capability.
Much more after the break.
At the start of the engineering process, Scott had 3 major goals for the redesign of the Genius – improved stiffness, increased Twinlock function, and to utilize the new 650b and 29 inch wheels. The new frames had to be more stiff, but more importantly, stiff in the right places like the bottom bracket. Thanks to advances in Scott’s HMX carbon process, weight was able to be cut out of the frame’s tubes and reinvested in the key areas of the frame. Also, the new design of the suspension linkage features a one piece mono-U link along with all new beefed up hardware that greatly improves stiffness over the Genius’ old two piece link.
Further improvements in stiffness were obtained through the use of a tapered head tube, a wide BB92 bottom bracket, and Scott’s proven IDS-SL drop out system. Both the 700 and 900 Genius will offer a stock 142×12 DT RWS rear axle for the top end models, but will have the option to run 135×12 and 135×5 axles as well.
For years, the Genius has featured the Equalizer pull shock, but for 2013 Scott worked directly with DT Swiss to develop a custom shock just for the Genius. The DT Nude 2 LTD shock features more advanced damping control and is 200g lighter, easier to set up, easier to check sag, and is more protected from debris coming off the rear wheel compared to a pull shock. Also, thanks to standard shock dimensions, the frame has the option to run other shocks.
Even without the pull shock, the 2013 Genius still features the ability to change the bike’s travel and geometry with the operation of one lever. The Nude 2 LTD (Lockout, Traction, Descend) is built with two air chambers so that the air volume of the shock can be changed with the Twinloc remote.
(From left to right: Descend mode, Traction mode, Lockout. Pressing the silver lever at any point drops the Twinlock to the previous position.)
Changing the Twinloc from Descend to Traction mode reduces the air spring volume by closing a valve between the two chambers. Not only does the new spring rate decrease the travel, it also causes the bike to sit up slightly creating a more climbing friendly position. Twinloc also changes the damping settings on both the shock and the Fox CTD fork based on the selected position – from wide open, to fully locked out. This means that the Twinloc is still the only remote system that offers full adjustment of both the shock and fork with only one lever.
Travel on the Genius is 0/100/150mm for the 700, and 0/90/130mm for the 900. Why the difference? When it came to designing the two bikes, it was very important to Scott that the two bikes kept nearly the same geometry. That meant that due to the wheel size and travel difference, the 29er could only fit 130mm without compromising the geometry. Other than travel, the rear shocks on the 700 and 900 are the same, but up front the 700 receives a Fox 34 CTD Talas, while the 900 sticks with a Fox 32 CTD.
In order to protect the frame, and help keep the chain in place, the carbon Genius’ come equipped with Scott’s two bolt chain blocker. Since the chain blocker was designed to do just that, and not to be a bash guard, 3 bolts weren’t needed which helps keep the weight down. However, if you want to run a chain guide with ISCG 05 mounting holes, Scott does offer an ISCG 05 adapter.
Cable routing on the new Genius has been cleverly thought out with a mix of internal and external routing. Shift cable routing is nearly all internal, with the housing popping out of the down tube just in front of the BB, with the front housing going to a stop on the swing arm, and the rear housing continuing through the chainstay. The Twinloc housing is internal as well, entering through the top tube and exiting just in front of the shock. Brake hoses are still routed externally though with a smart system of hose guides to keep them in place along the down tube and chain stay.
The down tube guides also serve as guides for dropper post cabling as well, with options for both internal routing for posts like the Reverb Stealth, and external for all the other posts. Dropper cables or hoses are routed externally along the down tube until they enter into the down tube through the oval port shown just above the brake hose clamp. From there, internally routed dropper post lines continue through the seat tube to the bottom of the post, while externally routed cables exit through another port on the back of the seat tube above the bottom bracket and are secured with a second cable guide further up the tube.
In spite of all the bells and whistles, frame weight on both the 700 and 900 comes in at 5 lbs including the shock, which is about 150g lighter than the previous Genius. It may not sound like much, but given that the new frame is 20-30 percent stiffer, it’s pretty impressive. Due to Scott’s recent purchase of Syncros, our Genius 710 and 910 test bikes were built with a high end carbon Syncros parts group with a Sram X0 2×10 drive train with Syncros Carbon wheels and Schwalbe Nobby Nics, which certainly helped to keep the weight down. Even for the build, the actual weights are impressive with the medium 910 carbon coming in at 24 lb 6 oz, the medium 710 carbon at 25 lb 5 oz, and the alloy 700 at 26 lbs 3 oz!
Scott did a fantastic job of making the alloy framed Genius look very similar to the carbon frame – so much so that we often had trouble telling them apart at first. The alloy frame ends up 450g heavier than the carbon variety, with nearly identical features. Really, one of the only differences is that the alloy frame has built in ISCG 05 tabs so it has no need for the adapter.
When you put everything together, the 2013 Genius has to be one of the most feature packed trail bikes available. The list of acronyms and numbers are long, but the payoff should be an amazingly confident, versatile trail destroyer.
Stay tuned for first ride impressions soon.
Oh, and about the name of the new wheels – while people may argue that 27 or 27.5 isn’t the actual measurement of the tire, Scott feels it’s important to stick with the same numbering system throughout the range to eliminate customer confusion. Trying to sell a customer a mountain bike by giving them options of 26, 27, or 29 is more intuitive than 26, 650b, and 29 (or 700c). We tend to agree (though 27′rs doesn’t quite have the same ring as 29′rs).