Scott’s Genius LT has been around for a while now, but the latest 700 Tuned model is the most sorted version yet, with firmer damping giving a much more balanced feel.
Frame and equipment: full-gas capabilities
The LT has the same neat frame layout as the standard Genius and Spark, but Scott has managed to squeeze 170mm (6.7in) of travel into the wraparound swing-link design. It's one of the most experienced carbon users in the business, and that shows in the chassis, which is lighter than a lot of short-travel frames.
The Genius's multitude of cables are routed internally
The dropper post, rear brake, shock remote and gear cables are routed internally, and there are chain guide and front derailleur mounts built in, though the SRAM X01 drivetrain fitted here doesn’t need them. The LT is generously long too, with an enduro style 66-degree head angle and 1,200mm wheelbase. Flipping a chip at the shock mount lifts the BB by 7mm and steepens the angles by half a degree for a more ‘trail bike’-like feel.
There’s big news in terms of full-gas gravity capability in the shape of Fox’s new 36 fork stretched to 170mm of travel to match the twin-chamber Nude shock. Both are linked to the same remote lever, with the Reverb Stealth dropper post button adding another cable to the cat’s cradle front end. The SRAM X01 transmission means only one shifter though, so there’s plenty of space on the wide, 35mm diameter carbon bar.
The new Fox 36 adds a serious amount of stiff steering, big-hit happy control
Production bikes should get the latest Shimano XTR M9020 brakes, but our sample still had the older, heavier, all-metal M985 version. Scott-owned Syncros provides the pimpy carbon-rimmed AM1.5 wheels, stubby 50mm stem and Ti-railed saddle, while one of Schwalbe's Hans Dampfs and one of its Rock Razors add front grip and rear speed respectively.
Ride and handling: a real turn of speed
It’s the speed of the LT that’ll really take you by surprise if you’ve ridden other 170mm bikes – the 12kg Scott leaps forward and carries on accelerating hard even with relatively light pressure on the cranks. While it can wallow a bit at full travel, one click of the remote closes part of the shock chamber for a firmer 110mm (4.3in) travel setting that’s great for putting the power down. Two clicks gives you full lockout front and rear for smooth trail efficiency. Add the pedal clearance from the tall BB and the LT is an impressive climber.
Out back, Hans Dampf's Rock Razor rubber helps ensure this Genius is no slouch
Unsurprisingly, this easy speed carries through on to singletrack too, and the Scott was a lot of fun to hustle along the twisty rise-and-fall trails of Bootleg Canyon. While there’s some twang from the frame if you drive it hard through corners, the fat-legged fork and chunky cockpit mean serious stiffness for hooking the front end into the tightest lines. Firmer, race inspired damping for 2015 also keeps the bike more level and balanced when cornering, even in the fully open mode.
The LT still feels more like a mid- rather than long-travel bike when clattering through big stuff, but now you can feel what it’s doing and drive it hard rather than wallowing about in mush unless you’re in Traction mode. The slick rear Rock Razor also helps offset the slight frame flex and tall ride height, by starting to drift out just before it feels like the bike might highside you.