Scott Genius MC40 £1799

The Genius has been around for several years now, but its innovative design still looks and feels state of the art. Undoubtedly superb performance potential needs a thinking rider to get the best out of it though.

BikeRadar score 4.5/5

The Genius has been around for several years now, but its innovative design still looks and feels state of the art. Undoubtedly superb performance potential needs a thinking rider to get the best out of it though.

 

The facts

Scott have always been unashamed innovators and the Genius is loaded with unique features. The alloy front end uses forged gussets and shaped tubes to keep strength despite a remarkably low frame weight. A kinked seat tube makes room for the chunky 3D forged linkages and unique Scott TC3 pull shock. This big twin chamber air unit is double the weight of standard shocks but can be toggled from fully open (125mm travel) to Traction Control (70mm or so) or completely locked out via the neat handlebar thumbshifter.

Box monocoque dropouts and seatstay bridges deliver maximum stiffness for minimum weight, while pivots on the chainstay create a proper four-bar linkage for a more vertical than forward curved axle path. Neat combined hose/cable/ bottle mount clips and guides inside the stays and under the linkage keep control lines super neat, and they're all fully sealed too. There's mounts for two bottles inside the mainframe and plenty of room for filthy tyres, even beefy 2.3in uns. The laid back seat tube also means the saddle moves back significantly as you raise it, so the bike effectively gets longer the taller you are. It can make sizing a bit odd if you're between sizes, but all our test team fitted fine without knocking weight balance out of kilter.

 

The feel

The really clever thing about the Genius MC40 is that shock tweaking isn't essential and we ran it fully active at least 90% of our trail time. It still pedals as well as the best bikes here, with no bob or squelch to eat enthusiasm so we only used Traction Control for extra kick on climbs and lockout for the road. Adjustable negative pressure lets you set the shock 'Felt' tight or softer, although high pressures mean it always felt slightly tight compared to the Fox shocks on other bikes tested. Set up is a fine art too, and there's certainly potential to create a fine mess if you're not a fan of fettling.

The rest of the bike couldn't complement the shock better. With the Fox fork set at 120mm steering is keen enough for medium paced trails and while a 100/90mm stem would improve close combat reactions it would compromise high speed peace of mind. Obvious fork flex at full 140mm stretch meant we only used that on big, straight descents anyway, although the 100mm is useful for short steep climbs.

The real stand-out feature is that despite a full 5in of rear travel, and up to 5.5in front it's still impressively light and acceptably stiff. Easy acceleration and well weighted all round agility puts a snap into every trail situation. It really fires you up to flick and fling the bike into techy sections and then charge out the far side in search of the next one. It's certainly responsive and naturally rapid enough to race but that's only half the story.

Down the far side of the hill, extra travel and the four-bar axle path sucks up square edges and big blocks without drama, and places the wheel really smoothly off bigger drops. This really boosts control and confidence when you're heading flat out into rocky sections that'll have you instinctively braking on the Giant Trance, Kona King or Felt Virtue. The only downsides are regular pedal and chainset grounding due to the low bottom bracket and occasional sharp, sudden impact spikes from the TALAS fork, which is something we've noticed on others.

 

Kit notes

The highly adjustable rear shock is matched with a top class Fox TALAS RL fork for instant 100/120/140mm travel adjust and lockout. This means loads of feel and geometry flexibility although it's not quite as smooth as fixed travel Fox Float fork models we've ridden.

Truvativ Firex cranks and X9 rear mech and shifters give crisp accurate shifts every time while SRAM's 2:1 cable pull and continuous outer cable runs promise excellent long term function. Already powerful Avid Juicy 5 brakes get a 185mm front rotor for even more anchorage, and production bikes will come with knobblier, less slippery Scott Stroke tyres, not the Kenda Cortez on our sample. A Shimano rear hub equals trouble-free mileage, and we've been riding round on Sun's DS2 rims for years without a hitch.

Cockpit and seating gear are all own brand, but good quality. Like we said, the stem is slightly long for singletracking but good for speed stability and the oversize low rise bars give stiff but not wrist breaking feedback for chasing front end traction. The minimalist thumbshifter is super neat compared to most shock/fork remotes we meet as well.

 

Summary

Scott's Genius needs a thinking rider to reap its full potential offroad, but set up right it's a superb all-round performance bike. Light enough to race or climb hard especially with the extra shock boost, but agile and eager enough to tackle the big rocky stuff without backing off. Add well sorted kit spec and it's ready for any trail if you are.

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