While it seems some manufacturers are approaching the new ‘plus’ wheel size with a little caution, Scott appears to be fully committed, launching 11 new plus bikes across its mountain bike range. Established models including the Scale, Genius and Genius LT all receive the 27.5+ treatment, along with Scott's new electric full suspension offering, the E-Genius.
We headed out to Massa Vecchia, Italy to find out all about the bikes and see how they behave on the trails.
“Go for Plus and find an entirely new riding experience”, Scott Sports claims. But what are the contributing factors that could, potentially at least, sway people towards these fatter beasts?
Scott worked closely with German tyre company, Schwalbe on this project and tested a variety of different widths before settling on the 2.8in tyres seen here. “In the beginning we had 3in tyres. That’s what we started with. When we started doing test rides, we decided that this wasn’t the best size because they have a negative effect on the agility of the bike”, says Schwalbe's head of product management Marcus Hachmeyer.
Settling on 2.8in tyres meant wheel weight and rolling resistance was reduced (compared with the early 3in prototypes) and the bike became more nimble on the trail. In fact, Schwalbe claims the rolling resistance of the new 2.8in tyre is only one percent higher compared with a 2.35in tyre.
The new Genius 700 Tunes Plus rear end comfortably fits the 2.8in tyres that Scott specs as standard
Worried about the weight? With the standard SnakeSkin sidewall, Schwalbe claims its 2.8in Nobby Nic tyre weighs approximately 800g, keeping them within the realms of narrower 29in tyre weights. So, just as you’d expect, they’re not the lightest tyres out there and are ever so slightly more reluctant to roll, but that extra width does bring some substantial benefits.
First off there’s the increased contact patch which helps contribute to some substantial gains in traction. According to Schwalbe, the 2.8in Nobby Nic has a 21 percent bigger contact patch than that of a 2.35in Nobby Nic. Then there’s the increased resistance to pesky snake bite punctures. Schwalbe says the wider tyres can reduce the risk of snake bite flats by eight percent (it’s worth noting that these stats were produced when testing the tyres with what Schwalbe considers recommended pressures for each of the widths – 1bar in the 2.8in tyre and 1.7bar in the 2.35in tyre).
With rim width dictating so many critical factors when it comes to the overall performance of the bike, using wider rims not only increases tyre volume (which helps to improve ride comfort) it bolsters tyre stability and allows you to run much lower pressures. This in turn bolsters the amount of traction on offer.
After some time testing a variety of tyre and rim combinations, Scott decided to go with a 40mm (internal width) rim. “We decided to use a 40mm rim as it’s the best compromise”, says Rene Krattinger, Scott’s product manager, who led the development of its Plus sized bikes.
“With the 30mm rim you already have the tyre moving much more than with the 40mm rim, especially at low pressures," he continues. "This 40mm here is only 60g heavier than a 30mm 29er rim. The weight penalty is quite small.” On the subject of weight, it’s worth noting that Scott was keen to point out that the overall weight penalty for the complete wheelset (tyre and rim) is 250g over the equivalent 29in wheelset with 2.25in tyres fitted.
The total wheel diameter with a 2.8in tyre fitted is almost the same of that as a standard 29in wheel with a 2.3in tyre (the plus size wheel is approximately 10mm smaller), meaning the plus-size bikes are easily adaptable should you want to switch wheelsets depending on what you’re riding.
For the new Scott bikes to house the bigger 27.5+ wheels, they needed to incorporate SRAM’s Boost standard. This meant reworking the back ends of the bikes to increase tyre clearance and accommodate the wider 148mm rear hub, all the while trying to keep the chain stays as short as possible – the Genius 700 Plus has 445mm chainstays, 5mm shorter than the Genius 900.
The 6mm increase to the hub flanges pushes the chainline out a further 3mm, which is countered by the use of a direct mount chainring with a 3mm offset, ensuring the Q-factor remains the same. By increasing the distance between the hub flanges, the spoke bracing angle is widened and wheel stiffness is increased.
The newly designed rear triangles will fit a 3in tyre should you want to upsize later down the line. Interestingly they’ll also accommodate a front derailleur should you wish to still use a double chainring up front.
Up front the new 27.5+ bikes use the latest Fox suspension forks with 110mm hub spacing.
“We adjusted the chainstay shape a little bit and one of the things that’s most prominent is that we adjusted the seat stay shape as well, so we can wiggle around the tyres and still keep good heel clearance.”
So what are the bikes that make up Scott’s Plus range? There’s two Scale Plus hardtails, three Genius Plus models, three Genius LT Plus bikes and three E-Genius Plus bikes, one of which is a women specific model. Here’s what you need to know about the four all-new range toppers though.
Genius 700 Tuned Plus
Scott's new Genius 700 Tuned Plus bike gets 40mm rims (internal width) and 2.8in Schwalbe tyres
The main frame of the Genius Plus is the same frame as used on the 29in-wheeled Genius 900 series, though Scott has included offset headset cups to slacken the head angle out to 67.3 degrees. Other figures include a 445mm chainstay, 335mm bottom bracket height (low setting) and 600mm effective top tube (in medium). Rear wheel travel is 130mm (5.1in).
In this particular case, the main frame gets the full HMX carbon treatment and is mated to the newly revised alloy rear triangle with Boost technology.
There are four frame sizes available ranging from small to extra large.
Up front sits the new Fox 34 Float Factory fork with the 15x110mm Boost spacing, 140mm (5.5in) of travel and three modes that are selected by the new 1x-specific bar mounted TwinLoc remote, which has been redesigned and now sits under the handlebar on single ring specific bikes.
While in open mode, the small black dial that sits on top of the right fork leg lets you tune in the low speed compression damping. Push the TwinLoc lever past traction mode and engage climb mode and the 34 gets locked out for more efficient climbing.
Taking care of the 130mm of rear wheel travel is Fox's new Nude DPS rear shock with EVOL air sleeve
Out back is the new Fox Nude DPS (Dual Piston System) shock that, like the fork, also features three different modes controlled via the TwinLoc remote. While Open mode delivers 130mm of rear wheel travel, Traction Control reduces the shock's volume and limits the travel to 90mm while also reducing the amount of sag to help promote a more efficient climbing position. There’s also Lockout for the really flat bits of trail too.
The Fox Nude DPS shock also gets the EVOL air sleeve, which increases the negative air volume which helps to make the initial part of the stroke more supple but also adds more mid-stroke support.
The wide Syncros TR1.5 Plus wheelset and Schwalbe’s Nobby Nic EVO 27.5x2.8in up front and Rocket Ron EVO 27.5x2.8in at the rear really help the 700 Tuned Plus to stand out, though they are both in the faster rolling and less grippy PaceStar compound. The RockShox Reverb Stealth post, SRAM X01 11-speed transmission and Shimano XTR brakes all finish the new Genius Plus 700 off nicely.
- Weight – 12.3kg (27.12lbs) in medium
- Price – TBC
Genius LT 700 Tuned Plus
Scott's longer travel Genius LT 700 Tuned Plus offers up 160mm of travel at the front and rear
The LT uses the same main frame as used on the non-Plus bikes, and boasts a slack head angle of 65.7-degrees, a bottom bracket height of 345mm, a 74-degree seat angle and a 448mm chainstay length. There’s also 160mm of rear wheel travel on offer.
As the LT 700 Tuned Plus is the line topper, it gets an HMX carbon main frame and Boost equipped alloy rear end.
The LT only comes in three sizes which range from small to large.
Fox's burly 36 Float Factory fork
Though the rear Fox Nude DPS shock is essentially the same as the shorter travel Genius (though the stroke and eye to eye length differ), this longer travel (hence the LT) version gets a burlier 36mm stanchioned Fox 36 Float Factory fork with 160mm (6.3in) of travel and the latest FIT4 damper. Both the fork and shock have three different modes, all of which are controlled simultaneously via the newly designed under-the-bar mounted TwinLoc remote. In the open mode, the fork's low speed compression can be easily adjusted too.
As the LT is deemed a more aggressive bike, Scott has slapped a TrailStar compound 27.5x2.8in Nobby Nic EVO around the Syncros TR1.5 Plus rim at the front and stuck with the fast rolling PaceStar Nobby Nic EVO 2.8in tyre at the rear.
SRAM’s X01 11-speed transmission helps this big hitter cover the miles when you need it to, while Shimano’s XTR brakes take care of bringing things to a halt.
- Weight – 12.7kg (28.04lbs)
- Price – TBC
Scale 710 Plus
Scott's Scale 710 Plus bike is more trail orientated than its skinnier tyre Scale counterparts
Though the Scale is renowned in the world of cross-country racing the world over, Scott was quick to point out that the new Plus version of the bike should be considered more of a trail bike than a purebred race rig. The top 710 Plus model gets an alloy frame which has internally routed cables and provisions for a stealth routed dropper post (though one isn’t spec’d).
Scott has tried to keep the chainstays as short as possible at 439mm and kicked out the head angle to 67.6 degrees. Effective top tube length on the medium is a claimed 602mm.
The Scale has four different frame sizes ranging from small to extra large.
Gracing the front of the Scale sits the Fox 32 Float Performance fork with FIT4 damper. Adjustments between the three modes are done via the below-bar mounted RideLoc remote and there’s 120mm (4.7in) of travel on offer.
The Syncros X-40 rims are wrapped in Schwalbe Rocket Ron EVO 27.5x2.8in tyres, both of which are the slippier but faster rolling PaceStar compound. SRAM 11-speed GX transmission should offer a decent spread of gears no matter what the terrain.
- Weight – 11.44kg (25.24lbs)
- Price – TBC
E-Genius 710 Plus
The E-Genius 710 Plus boasts Bosch's Performance CX 250w e-bike motor and 3in tyres
The 6061 alloy frame houses the Bosch Performance CX 250w E-Bike System and 500wh battery which, according to the guys at Scott, will last about an hour when in turbo mode. One key thing that Scott has designed is its own three piece motor cover. This means they could move the main pivot point closer to the bottom bracket axle for improved handling, fit the bigger 3in tyres in the frame but still maintain the same 490mm chainstay length. Rear wheel travel is the same as the Genius Plus, with 130mm at the rear.
Cable routing is all internal, including the stealth routed dropper post. Because of design constraints, the E-Genius doesn’t use Boost at the rear, but instead uses a full 150mm downhill standard hub spacing.
There's plenty to fettle with while you ride, including a the TwinLoc suspension remote and RockShox Reverb remote
The Fox 34 Float Performance fork and Fox Nude shock are both controlled via the newly designed TwinLoc remote, offering up the same three modes as seen across the other bikes.
As the rear end uses a downhill hub spacing, Scott plumped for the ever reliable Shimano Zee rear hub. Other Shimano highlights include their SLX brakes and the new 11-speed XT transmission which includes the 11-42t cassette.
- Weight – 21.86kg (48.2lbs)
- Price – TBC
First ride impressions
We spent the majority of our time aboard the Genius 700 Tuned Plus. What became apparent straight away was just how sensitive it was to tyre pressure adjustments. Once we settled at around the 1bar mark, it didn’t take long to get a good feel for this new type of bike. We were certainly impressed by how agile the Genius Plus was and didn’t have any issues when trying to gap sections of trail or loft jumps at speed.
Rob Weaver puts the new Scott Genius 700 Tuned Plus through its paces in Italy
In terms of grip, the Plus-sized tyres will still slide when cornering hard, the main difference is how predictable and controlled the drift is. When pushing hard through some small rock sections we did puncture twice though, reminding you quickly just how bulky Plus size tubes are.
Where the bigger tyres seemed to shine was when braking late down steeper sections of trails into fast turns or when pointed back up loose, gravelly climbs, where it was possible to stand up, put the power down and get reliable traction with every pedal stroke.
Stay tuned for a full first ride review soon.
Scott's promotional video for its new Genius Plus