Scott Genius 50 £2299

High-tech, multi-mode trail bike

BikeRadar score 4/5

Scott’s multi-mode Genius gets a new shock and a much plusher, more capable ride than ever before for 2011, setting it apart from other top trail options and making it a real contender – particularly as it offers up to 150mm of travel at a weight that's on par with most 120mm bikes.

Ride & handling: High-tech, multi-mode trail bike that's confident at speed

What sets the Genius apart from other trail bikes is its rear shock. Rather than a conventional push shock, the Equalizer is pulled apart as the bike goes through its travel. It has three chambers: two different sized air spring chambers and a third oil damper chamber that the shock shaft pulls through. The two air chambers can be opened or closed remotely from a bar mounted lever, with the fully closed position also locking out the RockShox Revelation fork.

In previous years the Genius's suspension performance was spoiled by stiction in the high pressure shock. However, the latest Equilizer uses a significantly lower pressure, with a smoother, more fluidly controlled feel through the bump speed/size range. It takes a while to set up because sag is harder to judge, there are two separate rebound knobs and the recommended pressures are on the low side, but done right it’s properly competitive with other 6in-travel trail bikes. 

With both air chambers open it delivers a smoothly controlled 150mm of travel, shutting one chamber gives a tighter feeling, shorter travel 'Traction Control' ride, and shutting both turns it into a hardtail. The geometry steepens as travel decreases too, for a control enhancing double whammy. In fully open mode the geometry leans back to an impressively stable and encouraging position that makes the Genius a natural trail nailer. The ability to reduce and stiffen the rear travel (and manually reduce fork travel) or even lock the shocks out completely gives the Scott a real edge on long technical climbs.

It could do with a wider bar and there’s still a bit of twang from the quick-release front fork through rough berms and the back end can stumble off big drops, but the fact we were pushing it hard enough to know that shows what a confident bike it’s become. Add the low weight for its category (12.8kg/28.2lb) and you’ve got a distinctive all-day trail bike with a personality shift to suit every situation.

Frame & equipment: High-tech multi-mode chassis; we'd add a wider bar and screw-through fork

The Genius frame is a proven piece based around big, heavily hydroformed mainframe shapes and massive rear stays that create a stiff and reasonably light structure for a 150mm-travel platform. The fork restrictions imposed by the 44mm inset headset will be eased by the introduction of Cane Creek's tapered fork compatible headset and those after chainguide tabs on the bottom bracket should look at the 185mm-travel Genius LT.

The unique shock and hydroformed frame might be geek fodder, but Scott always do a good job of the practical stuff. Cue bug tyre clearances, full outer cabling under bolted clamps, proper bottle cage positioning, metal remote levers and shrouding of the potentially sensitive Equalizer shock actuation hardware.

The Genius gets custom 2.35in Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres for a bit more girth than the normal 2.25in, although the Performance compound is slipperier than it sounds. It's a shame the Revelation fork doesn't get a screw-through axle but it is travel-adjustable, and the remote lockout is linked into the same lever as the rear shock controls. The rest of the kit is adequate for the price.

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