Pedaling response: 11.3/15
This isn’t a fat bike, but it isn’t a garden-variety trail bike either. The 27.5 x 3-inch Schwalbe Nobby Nic Evo tires look a bit grotesque, but they underline this bike’s brawn-over-brains character.
The suspension feels familiar, with 160 millimeters of travel, courtesy of a Fox 36 Float Factory fork and a Nude rear shock — both glimmering with gold Kashima stanchion coating. Scott’s bar-mounted Twinloc makes it easy to adjust compression for efficient pedaling. That said, we’ve never loved this suspension adjustment as it makes the handlebars cluttered, is sometimes in the line of fire when you crash, and occasionally requires adjustment of cable tension.
But back to the trail, once you start making turns, the Genius Plus feels, well, plus-sized. This is terrific for bombing scree fields or shredding high-speed turns. It isn’t so fun when the trails get twisty and quick, or if you feel like popping the wheels off the ground. It’s a monster truck, for better or worse.
Our test team puzzled over this bike for awhile. Who should buy it? For starters, it’s a very expensive bike, surpassed only by Santa Cruz’s 5010 (in our 2016 Buyer’s Guide, that is). Expert riders who regularly ride wild and crazy trails will probably relish the Genius’s down-for-whatever personality. Novices might appreciate the extra comfort and control afforded by those big tires. But everyone in between might have difficulty making the most of this latest variation on wheel/tire sizing.
Component Highlights: SRAM X01 drivetrain; Shimano XTR Trail brakes; Fox Nude/Scott custom shock; Fox 36 Float Factory fork; Syncros TR1.5 Plus wheels
Weight: 28.0 pounds (size M)