“I know it’s meant to be a women’s bike, but I don’t care, I’m getting one,” said the bearded bloke at the bike shop when we picked up our Scott Contessa Genius for review. We hear you, buddy! This bike is one of the best looking machines out there, for men or women.
Off to a good start!
The Genius platform just underwent a huge redesign for 2018 (read all about it here in our Genius Launch piece), bringing its frame design into line with refreshed Spark. The 2018 Genius is off to a good start in Australia – Rowena Fry just claimed the Enduro National Champs on a Genius (interview here), and her young protege Isabella Flint took out the junior women’s on a Contessa Genius too.
More aggressive, but still very much an all-rounder
The geometry of this latest version is slacker than its predecessor (you can adjust the head angle from 65 – 65.6 degrees), but the bike hasn’t ventured into full on Enduro territory, it has stayed true to its adaptable roots, which make it such a exceptional all-rounder. It runs 150mm travel at both ends, and the suspension is adjustable on-the-fly with the Twin Loc system. Hitting the lever shortens the rear travel to 100mm for climbing, and firms the fork damping, or you can lock both ends out completely.
What makes this a women’s bike?
So what makes this bike women’s specific? Just the paint job, a women’s saddle and a ‘Contessa Custom Tune’ rear shock, as far as we can tell. The geometry is identical to the men’s version, but you don’t get wheel size options – the men’s Genius comes in both 27.5 or 29er, but the Contessa is 27.5 only, rolling on high-volume 2.8″ Maxxis rubber. In all though, there’s not a lot of difference between this bike and the men’s version.
By way of comparison, we’re also going to be reviewing the men’s version of this bike, but in a 29er format. Our experiences with the Genius go way back over a decade now, so we’re itching to experience the improvements of this new evolution.
Check out our reviews of the earlier versions of the Genius below too