SCOTT Genius 920 – Ride Impressions from Garda Bike Festival´13: by c_g

Last summer the SCOTT Genius was one of the bikes leading the way to get away from a 26“ version altogether. This Trail-/All-Mountain bike carrying the legendary „Genius“ name (which has been a trademark for utmost versatility for years now) was to come in 650b (150mm travel) and as 29″er with 130mm – with different models in carbon or alloy to choose from.

I think we all agree that this is one elegant looking 130 mm frame – especially the seat tube hugging linkage is a sight to behold. At a claimed 2300 g it is extremely light, (though not the lightest), and a perfect starting point for a bike that is designed to „Do-It-All“. The Genius´ 3-stage TwinLoc-System, operating fork and shock with only one remote is unique. In three well defined positions you can go from „Full Travel“ (fully open mode) to „Traction Mode“ (a claimed 90 mm travel) to Lock-Out (speaks for itself ;)) it really doesn´t get more convenient than this … unless you go fully automatic like E:I or ICT.
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So far every SCOTT 29″er we have ridden has been well balanced and so we had high expectations when we set of on our test ride on our SCOTT Genius 920 (in size L). The Genius 920 is the medium model with a carbon main frame and alloy rear triangle. It comes with good quality components with no compromise in function – SHIMANO XT level drive train and loads of SYNCROS parts (incl. wheels). The shock is the DT-SWISS developed NUDE2, combined with a 130 mm FOX F32 Evolution series fork.

Euro retail for the Genius 920 is set to € 3799.-.


But now let´s get on with our ride impressions.

The first part of the ride up Mt. Brione is on a rural road. Here the Genius immediately revealed an easy going, yet efficient and comfortable seating position. For my liking weight distribution felt a bit rearward shifted, but that was because even with size L (which with its 625 mm effective top tube is just right for me) I needed to run my seat post almost fully extended, which by the bent seat tube allows for the slightly rearward shifted weight distribution. With only 1 or 2 inches less post extension the position ends up perfectly balanced and central. If it were my bike I likely would mount a non-offset post (or go with a dropper post from the start) and be happy with it. On the uphill the Genius was very neutral to pedal but with the suspension so easily manipulated with only the flick of the left thumb I often ran it halfway or fully closed. One positive side effect of the locked mode is that it means with the compression damping being 100% locked, you only briefly unweight the rear end and it fully extends and stays there … very good for steep climbing. The upper uphill section is really steep with lots of loose gravel and some stone steps and it would have been possible to ride all the way locked out, but I opted for the medium setting „Traction mode“ for that exact reason. In consequence the rear end sinks in a bit deeper, but it still took little weight shifting to get up to the top. The triple cranks further assist in keeping the Genius 920 versatile.

To this point the SCOTT Genius had me positively impressed– by the TwinLoc on-the-fly adjustment one can generate 3 bike characters with the flick of the thumb. I like it!

The upper downhill sections are fast and flowing. Here the Genius did really well with absolutely no complaints from my side – it moved about willingly and was very precise to steer. The suspension also did a great job in damping shocks yet keeping me in the know of what is going on underneath – just right for what I expected from 130mm travel.

The only thing I noticed was that on the tight switchbacks it took a bit more maneuvering than with the other bikes I rode. Nothing extraordinary, but still noticeable. Why? Hmm, frame stiffness and precision sure were not the reason, as both were really good. The lower parts are steeper and more technical and the Genius did well here, too – for the most parts. Interestingly the Genius didn’t give me that level of confidence I had expected. I discussed this with the SCOTT rep at the booth and he immediately pointed out to me an important detail I had missed – the Flip Chip geometry adjustment. I had been riding the Genius in the „High Position“ on my ride which meant a higher bottom bracket and steeper angles. From my experiences with similar geometry adjustments I know what tangible effect even 0.5° slacker angles and a 6mm lower bottom bracket will likely make it a lot more capable, but I would need a lot more time on the bike to verify.

The specs of the Genius 920 was well thought out and in sync with the bike´s nature – my only point of criticism being the XC-ish narrow rims (17 mm inner width only) – the Genius deserves better in my opinion. Everything else was working flawlessly.


Summary: We have only had a short time on board the SCOTT Genius 920, but it was intense and full of valid impressions. By my opinion, the Genius 920 fits the bill of an „One for everything“ kind of bike well. The seating position, suspension performance and component spec are in line with such a bike. The Genius 920 offers maximum versatility and is capable of long outings, XC-style rides and trail adventures alike. As tested I found it to be less confidence inspiring than hoped for but this likely does change fort he better when changing the Flip Chip setting to the „Low“ position.

… tomorrow we will bring to you our ride impressions of another bike we sampled during Garda BIKE Festival´13.