SCOTT Genius and Genius ST First Look Review

Written by Alvin Holbrook, on November 04, 2022

The SCOTT Genius has been redesigned and is back with two models: the Genius mountain bike and the new Genius ST - short for ‘Super Trail’ - that are designed to bring integration and more descending capability to the Genius lineup.

Among other things, the new Genius receives a slate of updates to the venerable Genius name. The Genius ST receives a piggyback shock, and on the ST, the fork isn’t attached to SCOTT’s TwinLoc remote either. Big stuff for a brand that has stuck steadfastly to their divisive suspension remote. 

The SCOTT Genius comes with a 150mm frame and 160mm fork that are decisively on the long side of trail bikes. Is this where trail bikes are going in the future, and if so, how does the future look? We break it all down below.

SCOTT Genius 910 bike review in snow - Contender Bicycles

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A Bold Redesign

About four years ago, SCOTT purchased a majority share of a small Swiss company called Bold Cycles. Their concept was to hide the rear shock away into the frame. At one point we had one of their long travel bikes -  the Unplugged V2 on display in the shop. Because of the hidden shock, most thought it was an electric bike, while others were surprised it even had rear suspension. 

More recently was the release of the SCOTT Spark. It was the first SCOTT to receive the polarizing internal shock placement and all array of integration. The shock was hidden internally, but the frame still received two water bottle mounts rather than the one of the previous Spark. Further, it received a whole lot more integration; all models routed the cables through the headset, and top models paired that to a one-piece carbon bar and stem. 

The result was a bike that looks unlike anything else out there - outside of Bold’s bikes, and now, the SCOTT Genius trail bike. 

SCOTT Genius trail bike options in stock at contender bicycles

Mounting the shock internally has objectively been the most polarizing piece of the bike. SCOTT calls this redesign Integrated Suspension Technology, but the shock layout is the same Horst-link suspension as used before. Really, the most important thing to note is that SCOTT was able to move the shock lower than almost anything else out there. 

Mounting the shock internally has a few benefits, at least practically. SCOTT says a lower shock placement in the stiffest part of the bike allowed SCOTT to increase frame stiffness around the bottom bracket, increasing strength for both the bottom bracket and shock mounting area. It's a two-for-one with no unnecessary material being used. Hiding the shock also protects the suspension from the elements, though based on our experience with the Spark, service intervals aren’t extended much longer than one would expect. 

Frame Features

The Genius frameset is available with a full carbon version, a slightly different carbon frame paired with an alloy swingarm, and then an alloy model. All models receive external sag indicators on the non-drive side of the bike - since the shock is hidden - and access to the shock is done through a push-button hatch on the downtube. Setting up the bike should be roughly the same as setting up any other mountain bike. 

SCOTT Genius sag indicator and shock hatch - Contender bicycles

Here are the SCOTT Genius frame weights:

  • The top HMX carbon frame weighs 2295g in a size M, with hardware and without a shock.
  • The mid-range HMF carbon frame (with alloy swingarm) weighs 2795g in a size M, with hardware and without a shock.

SCOTT put a lot of work into ensuring the internal shock setup would work neatly with the rest of the bike. And for SCOTT - and their marketing material - integration was key. Beside the rear shock’s integration, there is also integration in the form of semi-internal cable routing up front. In the case of the Genius, the cables enter from the sides of the stem and into the top of the headset. The look cleans up the look of the bike at the bars, particularly for bikes that receive the standard TwinLoc setup. 

All Genius models receive either an updated version of a Syncros stem or a Syncros Hixon iC one-piece bar and stem. These bars are updated for the new Genius and receive external cable guides to neatly route the cables to the headset ports. Two rise options - 15mm and 25mm are available depending on frame size with two different virtual stem lengths, with a whole bunch of mount options for lights, computers, cameras, and other accessories.

SCOTT Genius bike review - Hixon iC SL handlebar detail

Each Genius receives updated frame protection. The rubberized downtube protection doubles as the hatch to access the shock, but the rubber extends under the bottom bracket as well. Ribbed chainstay and seatstay protectors protect the frame from chain slap.

All Genius models regardless of build fit a massive 2.6” tire while working with up to a 34T chainring. And of course, the SCOTT Genius uses a SRAM UDH derailleur hanger for easy replacement. 

SCOTT Genius bike review - bottom bracket area detail

SCOTT Gets Rid of Twinloc (Kinda), Stays NUDE

One of the most interesting parts of the Genius ST variant of the frame is that it doesn’t use SCOTT Twinloc, a suspension remote that simultaneously controls the shock and fork lockout. You read that right folks: for the first time in who knows how long, a SCOTT full-suspension mountain bike isn’t using Twinloc. It still receives a remote of some kind, here called SCOTT TracLoc. This one is a rear-only remote that controls a new (to SCOTT) shock: a Fox Float X with a piggyback reservoir!

SCOTT’s TwinLoc system has generally needed a pair of dampers that work with the push-to-lock feature of TwinLoc’s suspension system. But freeing up the fork means the Genius ST uses either a Fox 36 fork with a Grip2 damper, an Ohlins RXF36 fork, or a RockShox Lyrik fork with a Rush RC damper. Plenty of folks have noted that they’d use a suspension lockout if it controlled just the shock; this does just that.

SCOTT Genius bike review - TwinLoc lever detail

And then there’s a new shock. The Fox Float X NUDE shock is exclusive to the Genius ST as well. The Float X shares its damper design with the DHX shock, essentially a coil-sprung version. It has two air chambers, with a piggyback reservoir It offers plenty of adjustability through a low-speed compression adjuster and a rebound lever. This NUDE version of the shock essentially adds a cable-actuated control for what is normally just an ‘open’ and ‘firm’ setting on the shock.

Why a Float X? Doing so allows the Genius ST to have that stick-to-the-trail feel that people like when cornering and descending. Its larger air piston reduces the average air pressure required to support the rider when compared to an equivalent Fox NUDE 5T. Lower needed air pressure means increased shock sensitivity right around the sag point without blowing through the suspension travel on harder hits. Needless to say, a Float X shock rather than the standard shock available on the Genius sacrifices a bit of climbing efficiency in exchange for a whole lot more adjustability and downhill capability.

SCOTTGenius_FloatXshock_DPSshock

In the wide open setting of the Float X - or ‘Descend’ setting as SCOTT calls it - the shock is has both air chambers open for the best descending performance. The middle setting - called ‘Ramp Control’ - has one air chamber closed, making the shock more progressive. It isn’t unlike adding and removing a volume spacer on the fly. Keep the shock in the ‘Descend’ mode if you’re looking for a plush rear end for keeping your tire glued to the ground. Put the shock in the middle ‘Ramp Control’ setting if you’re riding flow trails with lots of compressions, berms, and drops. We like the Ramp Control setting quite a bit on the SCOTT Ransom, so it is cool to see it on the Genius ST, and better to see it so controllable from the handlebar.

Paired to the new Float X NUDE shock on the Genius LT is a standard fork without a cable-actuated lockout. Top models receive a Fox Factory 36 with a Grip2 damper, and the Genius ST 910 receives an Ohlins 36m2 with a TTX damper. 

It's a brave new world for the SCOTT Genius, and intriguing that these specs come out of the box for SCOTT. Suspension kinematics on the current Genius indicate that to get the best performance out of the frame, riders had to use SCOTT’s proprietary shocks. These latest updates - and particularly the new Float X shock - show that isn't the case.

It should be noted that standard versions of the SCOTT Genius retain the TwinLoc lever system, allowing riders to control the fork and shock lockout simultaneously as they ride. Standard SCOTT Genius bikes also receive a 160mm fork, most receiving a Fox 36 of some level with a FIT4 damper. Out back, the Genius receives a Fox NUDE EVOL shock, an updated version of the shock used in the previous Genius mountain bike. Per SCOTT, this suspension setup provides excellent pedaling performance for a 150mm travel bike with easy suspension adjustment. 

SCOTT Genius Geometry

The previous-generation SCOTT Genius well-known to be an excellent climbing bike, particularly at it's 150mm rear suspension travel. But compared to bikes like the Orbea Occam, Santa Cruz Hightower, or even the SCOR 4060 ST, the bike could sometimes feel a bit overdamped and overwhelmed on the descents. The new SCOTT Genius seeks to change that, largely to great success.

SCOTT genius mountain bike geometry 2023

Like the Spark, the Genius receives an adjustable-angle headset that allows for two different head angles, at either 64 or 65 degrees. Genius ST models come with the cups in the slacker position. All carbon frame Genius models also receive a halfway headset cup that creates a 64.5-degree head angle, in case Goldilocks was asking.

A size medium frame gets bumped up to a 460mm reach measurement - a 20mm bump - while all models receive ~30mm longer front center length. That should make the bike feel quite a bit more surefooted, especially on the descents. 

Last bit of note here: smaller sizes see around a 10mm drop in standover height, and the frame has been redesigned so that most riders should be able to fit a 150mm dropper or longer on their bike.

SCOTT Genius bike review - toptube logo detail

Our Top Picks

Initial availability of the SCOTT Genius is minimal across the world. We were fortunate to receive a SCOTT Genius 910 (pictured throughout the blog post), which receives a SRAM GX AXS drivetrain, Fox Performance-grade suspension, and an HMF carbon frame with alloy swingarm. It also receives the Syncros Hixon iC carbon on-piece handlebar. All told, the bike is said to weigh in right at 31 lbs. We expect this model to be one of the most popular choices.

SCOTT Contessa Genius ST 910 bike at contender bicycles

Secondarily, we also quite like the Contessa Genius ST 910. Its frame, drivetrain, and wheels are similar to the aforementioned Genius 910, just with the Float X shock and Ohlins fork. The Contessa model receives women’s specific saddle and grips, and one of our favorite colorways of the expansive lineup. 

SCOTT Contessa Genius 940 trail bike at contender bicycles

The Genius 940 might be the entry point to the Genius line but its raw-look aluminum frame is perhaps the most attractive Genius available. It also has a Marzocchi Z2 Air fork, X-Fusion NUDE shock, SRAM SX Eagle drivetrain, and Shimano MT501 brakes.

scott genius bikes at contender bicycles

Overall, SCOTT offers a massive ten variations of the Genius, between the Genius, Genius ST, and various Contessa Genius variations. Top models receive Syncros Revelstoke carbon wheels, Fox Factory suspension, and SRAM AXS wireless shifting. All of them should feel quite capable on the descents, and the increased capability means it can work well as a trail bike and even moonlight as an enduro bike as well.

Conclusion

The SCOTT Genius is easily one of our most asked-about trail bikes, and these latest updates are sure to spike conversation for everyone looking at a new trail bike. Between the vast number of options, the array of technology between the hidden shock and ramp adjust settings, the Genius continues to stand apart from the crowd. Is it the trail bike for you? Good question; find us at Contender Bicycles and we’ll help you decide between the wide array out there.

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SCOTT Genius bike review - side profile

Words by Alvin Holbrook. Images by Carter Hall, or courtesy of SCOTT Sports.


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