2023 Scott Genius Review | The all-new Genius has split in two, and it’s all the better for it


The not-so-minor details

Product

2023 Scott Genius

Price

$5,199 AUD - $14,199 AUD

Weight

14.32kg (Scott Genius 910)

Positives

- Stunning frame design
- Lively & light-footed ride quality
- The plush, split personality suspension
- Incredible technical climbing agility
- Easily adjustable head angle
- Genius ST adds welcome option to range

Negatives

- Reliant on TwinLoc remote
- Headset cable routing
- Tight rear tyre clearance
- Lack of mullet compatibility
- Dropper post has developed some play

Mick & Wil review the new Scott Genius

It was no less than five years ago when the current version of the Scott Genius was unveiled. Mick and I have spent a load of time on that bike across a variety of different spec levels, and we thoroughly enjoyed its low weight, excellent handling and remote controlled suspension. It certainly stood the test of time, and it’s quite a testament to Scott that the current Genius has remained relevant for so long.

Of course nothing stays the same forever though. And with the latest Scott Spark arriving last year, the Swiss brand heralded an entirely new design era for its full suspension mountain bikes. The Genius is the latest model to undergo a wholesale redesign, adopting a similar theme of integration while offering more travel and capability over the Spark. There’s quite a bit more to it than that though. There’s a brand new piggyback shock and Scott will also be rolling out a new Genius ST model that many of you are going to be very interested in. Here we’ll be taking you through all of the new tech, as well as our experience of testing the brand new Scott Genius.


Watch our Scott Genius review here:


It’s no easy feat to make a full suspension mountain bike stand out these days, and the fact that Scott was able to build a long travel bike in such a space-efficient package makes it a true engineering marvel.

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Mick ripping some high alpine terrain on the new Scott Genius ST.

An overview of the 2023 Scott Genius

Sitting in between the Spark and Ransom, the Scott Genius is the Swiss brand’s long travel trail bike. Designed for maximum versatility, the Genius sits in a similar space to competitors such as the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO, the Canyon Spectral and the latest Trek Fuel EX.

Featuring an entirely new frame for 2023, the Genius has waved goodbye to the 27.5+ compatibility of the old model, and is now a dedicated 29er platform. Fork travel has grown slightly to 160mm, though it still features 150mm of rear wheel travel and a four-bar suspension design. The layout has changed considerably, with the rear shock now tucked away inside the belly of the frame.

scott genius 2023
The Scott Genius has been entirely redesigned from the ground-up, incorporating many of the features seen on the latest Spark.

The suspension continues to be remote-controlled via the updated TwinLoc handlebar remote. As well as integrating the dropper post lever, the TwinLoc remote allows riders to toggle between three distinct suspension modes on-the-fly. The TwinLoc system doesn’t connect to the fork on the Genius ST model however, and the shock’s function on that bike is also quite different. More on that in a bit.

Why hide the shock?

The concept behind the integrated suspension on the new Scott Genius is the same as the Spark and Patron. The shock is shielded away from the elements like dust, water, mud and bike cleaners, so in theory it’ll require less frequent servicing.

Scott also claims the internal shock lowers the bike’s overall centre of mass, and that the frame is stiffer thanks to the enormous junction between the seat tube, downtube and 92mm wide press-fit bottom bracket. Indeed it’s all very muscly and oversized down there.

The shock itself is driven by a link made from forged and machined 7075 alloy, which keys into the external rocker arms via a splined interface. With the exception of the shock mounts, all suspension pivot points are rolling on sealed cartridge bearings. This differs to the previous frame, which mostly used bushings. For further weatherproofing, Scott has added external bearing shields for the exposed pivots.

scott genius 2023
The Fox-manufactured Nude shock sits inside the frame to shield it from the elements. Scott says the design also helps to lower the centre of mass and increase chassis stiffness.

Cockpit integration

The theme of integration extends up to the cockpit on the new Scott Genius. A large 1.5in headtube gobbles up all the cables and the rear brake hose, which route internally through the upper headset bearing. A matching Syncros stem melds with a plastic sheath to provide a seriously clean and stealthy front end, irrespective of our thoughts on this routing method.

The custom Acros headset features additional bearing shields to minimise water and dirt ingress. And based on our long-term experience of testing the Scott Spark RC, the headset bearings should last a good while before they require replacing.

Unfortunately there are no moulded-in guide tubes for the cables though, with individual foam sleeves used to stop the cables from rattling around inside the downtube. Compared to a modern Specialized or Trek, replacing a cable on the Genius will be a more time-consuming affair.

scott genius 2023
The huge 1.5in head tube swallows up all of the cables and the rear brake hose to create a very sharp and stealthy front end.

It’s gotten heavier

With its stout frame and compact suspension linkage, the Scott Genius cuts a stunning, low-slung silhouette. The chunky frame has added some weight over its predecessor however, which is somewhat unexpected from Scott.

In its most premium form, with a full HMX carbon construction, the Genius frame is claimed to weigh 2,295g without the rear shock. Compare that to the old frame, which was claimed to weigh 2,249g including the shock. Perhaps that just serves to reiterate how bloody light the old bike was.

On the note of frame weight, it’s worth noting that the Genius will be available in a full carbon (HMX), carbon/alloy hybrid (HMF), and a full alloy frame. Here’s how the frame weights (without shock) compare between all three;

scott genius 2023 alloy
The alloy frame is arguably more impressive due to the sheer number of manufacturing process required to achieve the final form.

The new Scott Genius ST

Far more exciting than counting grams, is the introduction of the new Genius ST.

Standing for ‘Super Trail’, the Genius ST utilises the same frame, wheelsize and suspension travel as the regular Genius. You’ll still find a remote up at the handlebar, but it’s called the TracLoc and it only links up to the shock. This allows Scott to spec a fork damper that prioritises adjustability and big-hit control over having a lockout. For example, the top-end Genius ST model comes with a GRIP2 damper instead of the FIT4 damper.

scott genius 2023
A new addition to the range is the Scott Genius ST. The ST models are built around the same frame, but they’re equipped with a custom piggyback Float X Nude shock, a burlier front tyre and a non-remote fork damper.

The rear shock is also different on the Genius ST. It’s a brand new design called the Float X Nude, and as its name implies, it’s based on Fox’s Float X shock. As such, it features a piggyback reservoir and adjustable low-speed compression damping. Its three remote-adjustable suspension modes are a little different too. Here’s how the modes compare between the two platforms;

Genius TwinLoc Modes

Genius ST TracLoc Modes

The result is a different ride experience out of the same chassis, which will likely appeal to more aggressive riders who are less fazed by lockouts and more interested in descending performance. Expect to see more ST models coming from Scott in the future.

scott genius 2023 fox float x nude
The Float X Nude shock features a piggyback reservoir, adjustable low-speed compression damping, and three unique suspension modes that are controlled by the TracLoc remote.

The middle Ramp Control mode actually performs pretty much the same function as the external lever that was used on the shock body on the previous Genius and Ransom. And because it doesn’t add any compression damping, this setting is designed to be used on flowy singletrack and high-speed jump trails to provide a poppier and more progressive feel to the rear suspension. You can then select the Climb mode for, well, climbing, as it increases compression damping to provide a firm and more efficient pedalling platform.

In addition to the different fork and shock, the Genius ST models are also spec’d with a meatier front tyre. The result is a different ride experience out of the same chassis, which will likely appeal to more aggressive riders who are less fazed by lockouts and more interested in descending performance. Expect to see more ST models coming from Scott in the future.

2023 scott genius 910
We expect a lot of folks will be pleased to see the Scott Genius ST. Expect to see more ‘ST’ models coming from Scott in the future.

Adjustable geometry

With its brand new frame and suspension design, the Scott Genius has also received some big updates to its geometry.

As with the latest Spark, the Genius adopts modular headset cups that allow you to adjust the head angle independently. After taking off the stem, these plastic cups can be removed without tools and rotated to change the head angle by a full degree. The regular Genius comes with the cups set in the steep position to provide a 65.1° head angle, while the Genius ST flips the cups into the slack position to deliver a 63.9° head angle. Carbon models will come supplied with an additional set of headset cups that be fitted to provide a neutral 64.5° setting.

Shown above is the geometry for the Genius ST, with the headset cups set in the slack position.
scott genius 2023
The plastic headset cups can be removed by hand and rotated to slacken or steepen the head angle by a full degree.

The seat angle is over two degrees steeper than the old frame, moving to 77°. Reach has also increased by quite a bit, with our Medium test bike growing to 460mm. The BB is 5mm lower to the ground, and the chainstays are a fraction longer.

More significant is the stack height, which has grown by 16-30mm depending on the frame size. This is partly from the increased fork travel, but it’s also due to longer head tube lengths being employed across the board.

While the old Genius had a flip chip, this new frame does not. That means there’s no way to account for the change in BB height if you wanted to run a mullet setup with a 27.5in rear wheel, and so Scott doesn’t recommend it. Given how hot the mullet trend is at the moment, this is a curious omission.

scott genius 2023
It’s pretty tight inside the seat tube, and particularly at the upper shock mount. You won’t find a flip chip or a big bearing mount here.

Scott Genius price & specs

There will be seven Scott Genius models coming into Australia for 2023. Prices will start at $5,199 AUD for the Genius 940, and will go up to $14,199 AUD for the Genius ST 900 Tuned. You can see the detailed specs and prices on all of those models down at the bottom of this review.

As part of the Genius launch, Mick travelled over to Aosta in the Italian alps to spend a couple of days testing out the top-end Genius ST 900 Tuned in some properly big mountains. While the new bike certainly impressed, we were eager to see how it would perform on more familiar home trails. Following the launch, we arranged to test out a Genius 910, which I’ve been riding for well over a month.

Here we’ll be discussing our collective experience of testing both the Genius and Genius ST platforms.

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Mick has been riding the Scott Genius ST 900 Tuned, which is the highest spec option that we’ll see coming to Australia.

2023 Scott Genius ST 900 Tuned

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Wil’s been testing the Scott Genius 910, which comes in quite a bit cheaper thanks to its hybrid carbon/alloy frame, SRAM GX AXS drivetrain and alloy wheels.

2023 Scott Genius 910

scott genius 2023
Mick travelled to the Italian alps to put the Scott Genius ST to the test on some properly big mountain terrain.

In comparison, the Genius is a bike that is decidedly more of an all-rounder. Having been born in the alps, this is a bike that is designed for tackling big mountain climbs in order to access those far-reaching, lesser ridden descents.

scott genius 2023
Meanwhile, Wil’s been testing the Genius 910 on home trails for the past month.

Scott Genius sizing & fit

To suit Mick’s height of 178cm, and my height of 175cm, we elected to ride a medium size in the Scott Genius. At 460mm the reach is 20mm longer than the old bike, and that’s suited us both well.

The proportions are well balanced, with the 626mm stack height being pretty much identical to the Specialized Stumpjumper EVO and Canyon Spectral 29.

You only get 20mm of spacers underneath the stem however, which does limit adjustability. And the design of the integrated stem and headset means that if you do lower the bar height, you’ll need to chop the fork steerer down to achieve a flush fit.

Thankfully we found the stock position to work well and had no complaints from the sweep profile of the one-piece Syncros Hixon iC cockpit. The handlebar features a modest 15mm rise, while larger frame sizes get a 25mm rise. It would be possible to fit a set of regular bars if you wanted a taller rise again, though we’d recommend sticking with a Syncros stem to maintain the tidy cable routing.

To access the shock and its adjustments, you’ll find a large plastic hatch underneath the downtube. This uses a new push-button release system, which is a notable improvement over the twist-lock design used on the Spark, which tends to stiffen up when it gets packed with dirt.

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The integrated sag guide and travel indicator is brilliant.

Suspension setup

As with the Spark, the Scott Genius features a nifty sag indicator that’s built into the rocker link. The updated design is a more user-friendly solution, with a plastic ring that rotates with the linkage to indicate both sag and the total travel you’ve used throughout the ride.

Scott recommends 30% sag for the rear shock, which is defined by a red mark on the travel guide. To access the shock and its adjustments, you’ll find a large plastic hatch underneath the downtube. This uses a new push-button release system, which is a notable improvement over the twist-lock design used on the Spark, which tends to stiffen up when it gets packed with dirt. 

To support my 68kg riding weight, I needed 180psi to hit the 30% sag figure. I set the rebound lever halfway through its stroke with 7/15 clicks.

We otherwise set up the Fox 36 as per the recommended settings, which have worked well. One minor annoyance with the fork is that Scott, being a lover of Torx hardware, has replaced the standard 6mm pinch bolt in favour of a T25 version. This means you’ll need two different tools when removing and installing the front wheel, when you should really only need one. The saving grace is that the rear axle lever has both a T25 and a 6mm key built into it, though because it rattles, I ended up removing it entirely.

scott genius 2023
While the Scott Genius still features 150mm of rear travel, it’s now equipped with a 160mm travel fork.

Scott Genius weight

Confirmed weight for our Scott Genius 910 test bike is 14.32kg without pedals and with the tyres setup tubeless.

Unfortunately Mick didn’t get the chance to weigh the Genius ST 900 Tuned model at the launch, but according to the claimed weights, you can expect it to be around a kilo lighter.

The hybrid frame on the Genius 910 is mostly responsible for the difference, with the alloy back end adding 500g over the full carbon HMX frame.

The alloy Syncros Revelstoke wheels are also heavier, weighing in at 1,960g on the workshop scales. While I was at it, I also weighed the Nude 5T shock (394g), and one of the Maxxis Dissectors (1,033g).

On the note of the Dissectors, these have a huge 2.6in profile, but the use of lightweight EXO casings mean they’re on the thinner side. With that in mind, I fitted a CushCore Pro insert for the rear wheel to bolster pinch-flat protection. Pressures were set at 20-21psi up front and 22-23psi at the rear.

scott genius 2023
We’ve been impressed with the versatile nature and lively ride quality of the Scott Genius.

What do we dig about the Scott Genius?

Regardless of what you may think about the extravagant levels of integration, it’s hard not to be inspired by the striking silhouette of the Scott Genius. It’s no easy feat to make a full suspension mountain bike stand out these days, and the fact that Scott was able to build a long travel bike in such a space-efficient package makes it a true engineering marvel.

Thankfully the Genius backs up its good looks on the trail. It’s a terrifically versatile bike, and we’ve been thoroughly impressed by its wide-ranging usability.

We say this since many modern 150-160mm travel bikes tend to be designed for heavy duty enduro riding. Typically these bikes are biased towards outright descending performance, which is well suited to shuttle-assisted riding in bikeparks and modern trail centres.

In comparison, the Genius is a bike that is decidedly more of an all-rounder. Having been born in the alps, this is a bike that is designed for tackling big mountain climbs in order to access those far-reaching, lesser ridden descents.

scott genius 2023
It’s a sporty bike that’s poppy and easy to move around on the trail.

It feels crisp, sporty and light on its feet. The handling is responsive, especially on the Genius 910 with its steeper 65° head angle. It’s an easy bike to pick up and move around on the trail, with an enthusiastic character that suits a wide variety of terrain and trail types.

The stiff chassis is a big part of this. Both the downtube and seat tube flare out as they reach the 92mm wide BB shell, creating an enormous, flex-free hull. Along with the splined rocker links, chunky stays and oversized pivots, the Genius feels stout underfoot. Up at the grips, the big headtube and one-piece cockpit enhance steering precision.

Despite the strong interconnection between your hands, feet and ground, we wouldn’t describe the Genius as being overly harsh. The high volume rubber and supple suspension performance help a lot here, while the alloy wheels on the Genius 910 also contribute to overall compliance. I found it to be a mostly comfortable ride, though Mick did experience more feedback on the Genius ST 900 Tuned, which is likely due to the carbon wheels and the full carbon chassis.

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With Traction Control engaged, the Scott Genius is an incredible technical climber.

TwinLoc brings a lot to the trail party

Of course a big story of the Scott Genius is its clever TwinLoc system, which is a feature we’ve grown familiar with having spent a heap of time on the previous Genius and Ransom, as well as the latest Spark and Patron.

On the regular Genius it’s all about the middle Traction Control mode, which makes for a profound difference in the overall character of the bike. In this mode the suspension sits higher in its travel, steepening the angles and lifting the BB. The suspension is also firmer and more responsive, which helps to drive more of your pedalling efforts into the rear wheel.

While the suspension is firmer and the rear travel is limited to 100mm, you still get decent traction, which is complemented by the big volume Dissector on the rear. Indeed with the extra ground clearance and the steep seat angle putting you in a comfortable pedalling position, there are very few trails the Genius can’t winch its way up.

When you do need to get out of the saddle and reef on the bars to get up and over an awkward crux point, the firm suspension doesn’t wallow under your bodyweight. Even as you move across the cockpit, the suspension remains stable and responsive. With Traction Control engaged, the Genius is a remarkably adept technical climber.

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The Float X Nude shock on the Genius ST gives it a different attitude compared to the regular Genius.

Climbing on the Genius ST

The Genius ST also climbs well, though its attitude is a little more relaxed. The middle Ramp Control limits rear travel to 100mm, though it leaves the compression damping open. This means you get a tighter feel and a taller ride height, but traction is actually better compared to the regular Genius. And since the fork is unaffected, it can continue sagging into its travel to maintain comfort.

The downside is that the fork will dive whenever you get out of the saddle. As such, we found the Genius ST and its Ramp Control setting to work well for a sit ‘n’ spin climbing style.

If the climb is smoother, flipping the TracLoc lever into the Climb mode closes off the compression damping. The shock isn’t fully locked out, but it does provide a very firm feel to the rear suspension, which is ideal for fireroads and smoother climbing sections. We found it to be too firm on technical singletrack, where we’d drop back into the Ramp Control mode.

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A cutaway of the new Float X Nude shock shows the twin air chamber design. In the Ramp Control and Climb modes, the air volume is heavily reduced to increase progression and limit rear travel to 100mm.

Plush suspension

Flip the remote into the Descend position, and the Scott Genius quickly reverts back into its plush and floaty long travel form.

It’s worth noting that the suspension on our test bikes wasn’t overly sensitive at the start, since the top shock mount uses a DU bushing and needs a couple of rides to bed in. Once bedded in however, the Genius delivers a supple and comfortable ride quality with masses of grip on tap. The suspension kinematic features a mostly straight-progressive leverage rate, which is a little less curvy than the old bike. The result is improved mid-stroke support and a more consistent feel throughout its 150mm of travel.

Bottom-out control is superb thanks to the progressive suspension design, and even with the Nude 5T shock on the regular Genius, I never hit full travel. The Float X Nude in the Genius ST is even more supportive thanks to its larger bottom-out bumper.

To put the Genius’ rear suspension performance in context, it isn’t as gooey as the Stumpjumper EVO but it’s plusher than the Fuel EX and Spectral. Overall it achieves a great balance for all-round trail riding, and we love that there is such a distinct difference in attitude between the remote-activated suspension modes.

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While the chassis is tight and responsive, the plush suspension and big volume tyres give the Scott Genius plenty of traction and compliance on rocky terrain.

What could be improved?

While it is impressively engineered, the Scott Genius isn’t the quietest bike. Shimano’s finned brake pads rattled away in the callipers, which can be partially solved by spreading out the pad springs, or by replacing the pads entirely with a non-finned variety. There’s also some play in the rear thru-axle lever, which I ended up removing after the first couple of rides.

Compared to a Shimano equivalent, the clutch in the AXS derailleur isn’t as strong, leading to more chain slap on big compressions. Like the other noises, it’s no big deal, but we did notice them more on the Genius due to its cavernous downtube amplifying those vibrations. Thankfully all the cables were well managed on our test bikes.

Given its all mountain intentions, the Genius could do with more protection along the underside of its downtube. The carbon is quite thin in this area, so we’d like to see some more armouring to shield it from rock strikes and general trail damage.

Scott has missed a trick with the lack of mullet compatibility, and the omission of any in-frame storage seems odd given how much the theme of integration has dictated the overall frame design. At least there’s heaps of space in the front triangle for a tube strap, and you can easily fit a full-size bottle.

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While there’s heaps of room for a full-size bottle, the lack of in-frame storage is strange given there’s already a big hole in the frame.

Remote reliance

Of course the main turnoff for many will be the remote activated suspension and the extra cables it brings to the cockpit of the Scott Genius. If you detest remotes, this bike simply won’t be for you.

The TwinLoc system is hardly a new thing, having been a key part of the Genius since its inception back in 2003. Each model since has been purpose-built around a multi-mode suspension system, and to get the most out of the bike, you really need to embrace it. That continues to be the case on the new Genius.

Just like the Spark, it doesn’t pedal amazingly well in the Descend position. Anti-squat is said to sit around 100% at the sag point, but there is also quite a lot of leverage on the shock in this part of the travel. This is what makes it so plush and floaty on the descents, though it also means the Genius feels a bit soft under power.

2023 scott genius 910
The suspension is very active in the Descend position, which meant we always approached climbs in the Traction Control mode.

As such, you really need to be utilising the Traction Control mode to boost pedalling response along undulating terrain. Once you get used to the TwinLoc remote however, it becomes an effective tool that you’ll be using all the time on every ride.

The paddles themselves have a nice and light action, though it does take a few rides to get used to their position so that you’re not accidentally hitting the dropper post lever, or vice versa. The ergonomics aren’t perfect and the adjustability could be better. Riders with shorter thumbs may struggle to reach the suspension paddles without having to move their hand along the grip.

Those quibbles aside, it is the remote-activated suspension that provides the Genius with its impressive versatility. It allows you to quickly and easily adapt the suspension on-the-fly, with settings that are optimised for climbing and descending.

scott genius 2023
The TwinLoc remote works fine, but the ergonomics could certainly be better. And with the cables making a number of tight bends through the headset, we found the dropper post lever to be a little sticky.

Could there be a wireless future?

We love the ability to control the character of the Scott Genius via its TwinLoc remote, though we’d love it even more if the system was wireless. Even if it remained a manually operated system, it would surely open up options to design a more functional remote, while losing two cables from the cockpit.

Then again, having spent so much time riding Fox Live Valve and RockShox Flight Attendant bikes lately, we’re curious whether the Genius could be adapted with an automated electronic suspension system. Flight Attendant is already based around a three-mode damping system, so there’s no reason why a similar module couldn’t control the Genius’ three suspension modes automatically. How cool would that be!

rockshox flight attendant vs fox live valve
We’ve been fascinated by the clean wireless setup and automated control of the RockShox Flight Attendant system. Could a similar level of automation be applied to the Genius?

Electronic fantasies aside, it is worth noting that you don’t have to run the TwinLoc remote or the Nude shock on the Genius. It’s possible to fit a conventional rear shock inside the frame, and Scott says it’ll even work with a coil. Not all coil shocks and piggyback reservoirs will fit in there, so you’d need to check clearance first. And accessing the adjusters is likely to be an issue too. But if you were desperate to get rid of the remote and cables, there are options for de-Nuding the Genius.

Component highs & lows

While we won’t be going into a lot of detail on the spec on our Scott Genius 910 and Genius ST 900 Tuned test bikes, there are a few components shared across a number of models that are worth touching on.

Firstly, the new Syncros lock-on grips are fantastic. These use a softer compound and a zoned tread pattern that gives them decent traction without being bulky. You can fit whatever aftermarket grips you like since the TwinLoc remote is no longer integrated into the left-hand grip, but we felt no need to swap them out.

The Syncros Duncan 1.5 dropper post is also new, and it affords a fast and slick action along with a low stack height. The 160mm drop on the Medium frame is great, though the insertion depth is limited due to the shock sitting quite high up in the seat tube. That’s something you’ll need to pay close attention to if you wanted to upgrade to a bigger travel dropper. Unfortunately the post on our Genius 910 test bike has developed some rotational play, and since the cable has to make quite a few bends on its way through the headset, there is a little more friction that can be felt at the lever.

On that note, we’re not overly thrilled with this trend of routing cables through the headset on a mountain bike, but with the number of other brands adopting this design, it seems we may be fighting a losing battle. Sigh.

The adjustable head angle is a brilliant feature though. And the headset itself is well integrated into the one-piece cockpit, giving the Genius a sharp and distinctive front end.

scott genius 2023 maxxis dissector
With its supple EXO casings, the fast-rolling Maxxis Dissector is a great match for the Scott Genius.

We’ve put a fair bit of riding into the Syncros Revelstoke 1.5 wheelset on the Genius 910, and they’ve barely flinched throughout testing. The low-profile alloy rims offer great compliance and a reliable tubeless seal, while the rear hub delivers rapid pickup thanks to its 6-pawl, 78pt engagement.

The Maxxis Dissectors are also a great match for the Genius. These are quite fast-rolling tyres, though they provide usable traction thanks to their supple casings and generous width. Clearance is unusually tight in the rear though, both at the seatstay bridge and in between the chainstays. I’ve been on some pretty wet rides lately and it’s yet to be an issue, though I can see this bridge getting gunked up in muddier conditions.

The Minion DHF on the front of the Genius ST improves cornering stability further, offering more grip for technical trail riding. While I quite like the supple feel of the EXO casing combined with the CushCore insert, harder riders may want to consider upgrading to a burlier EXO+ or DoubleDown tyre on the rear, and a slightly narrower 2.4-2.5in width would be a good idea given the lack of clearance.

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Tyre clearance is weirdly tight on the rear. We haven’t experienced any excessive rubbing, but some riders may wish to fit a narrower 2.4-2.5in tyre.

Scott Genius vs Genius ST

There’s a lot to grab your attention on the new Scott Genius, though we reckon it’s the addition of the Genius ST that many folks will be most excited about.

While we love what the TwinLoc system brings to the party, on longer travel bikes it creates limitations when it comes to the fork damper. For that reason, many Genius and Ransom owners out there have modified their bikes by removing the TwinLoc cable from the fork in order to fit a GRIP2 damper.

The beauty about the Genius ST is that Scott has simply spec’d the bike this way from the get-go. Along with the improved adjustability and high-speed damping control from the GRIP2 damper, the Float X Nude shock also boosts big-hit support. The result is an even plusher and more tuneable bike.

scott genius 2023
The Scott Genius ST is a fantastic addition to the range that will appeal to less active riders who place a higher value on descending performance.

The Ramp Control mode on the Genius ST is also an interesting feature. Mick typically used this mode whenever he wasn’t descending, as it helps to provide a tighter and more energetic feel at the pedals. The increased progression also makes it useful on flowy jump trails and bikepark-type terrain, and because it doesn’t add any compression damping, it’s no biggie if you descend a rocky trail having accidentally left the shock in Ramp Control. In this sense, it’s not unlike the Shapeshifter function on the Canyon Strive.

And so with its piggyback shock and TracLoc remote system, the Genius ST is closer to an enduro bike. If you value the extra adjustability and prioritise descending performance, it’s the bike to pick out of the two. The only caveat is that there are far fewer Genius ST models to choose from, and they’re not exactly cheap.

In comparison, the regular Genius is the faster and more efficient option for all-round riding. It’s better suited to active riders and those that are seeking out technical climbs, as the increased support from its Traction Control mode helps to resist wallowing when you’re moving around the cockpit. Of course it also has the lockout function, and for many riders that’s a must-have feature.

In comparison, the regular Genius is the faster and more efficient option for all-round riding.

scott genius 2023
The taut chassis and progressive suspension design makes the Genius a pleasure to whip through the turns.

Despite not having a piggyback shock or the GRIP2 fork, I’ve actually been really impressed with how supple and active the suspension has been on the regular Genius. The FIT4 damper isn’t as tuneable, and it’s less composed on more violent impacts, but once bedded in it’s offered great sensitivity and comfort.

Scott Genius vs Trek Fuel EX

But what about the competition? Out of the bikes that compete directly with the new Scott Genius, it’s the Trek Fuel EX that we’ve been riding the most recently.

2023 trek fuel ex 9.9 xx1 axs
The latest Trek Fuel EX has also been totally redesigned for this year, offering more travel and greater adjustability than ever before.

Also designed for technical trail riding, the Fuel EX has a little less travel with a 150mm fork and 140mm at the rear. It features similar geometry to the Genius, and it also offers an adjustable head angle, but you’ll need tools to change around the headset cups. It is more adaptable overall though thanks to its Mino Link and the lower shock flip chip. The frame will handle a 160mm travel fork, and the Fuel EX is also mullet-compatible.

We’ll also point out that the Fuel EX is available in seven sizes, compared to just four for the Genius. On top of that, Trek gives you in-frame storage, guided internal cable routing and a threaded BB. Along with the fact that the cables don’t route through the headset, the Fuel EX is no doubt the more mechanic-friendly option.

While the two bikes are built for a similar purpose, the experience on the trail is quite different. Trek has designed the latest Fuel EX to be efficient and supportive, with no need for a remote lockout or regular toggling of compression levers. It possesses great natural efficiency thanks to its high main pivot, which increases anti-squat. There’s also a custom-valved shock that provides plenty of low-speed compression damping to help stabilise the suspension while pedalling.

2023 trek fuel ex 9.9 xx1 axs
The geometry and handling are brilliant, but the Fuel EX has a notably firmer ride compared to the Genius.

The downside is that the Fuel EX doesn’t offer great small-bump sensitivity. Along with the stiff chassis, the ride is quite a bit firmer and transmits more feedback to the rider. The suspension is plenty effective at speed though, and it gives the Fuel EX a brawny and supportive feel that suits high-speed flow trails well.

If you prefer a clean cockpit free of remote lockouts, the Fuel EX will no doubt be the more attractive option. Personally, I prefer the plusher ride quality of the Genius and the adaptable nature of its remote-controlled suspension, which makes it a more comfortable bike to ride over off-piste terrain.

2023 scott genius 910
The Scott Genius is an impressive feat of engineering, and it also rides brilliantly too.

Flow’s Verdict

With its striking silhouette and space-efficient suspension design, the new Scott Genius is a remarkable feat of engineering. More importantly, it rides bloody well. It’s a more capable bike than its predecessor thanks to the improved geometry and suspension performance. Combined with the taut chassis, it offers a sporty and energetic character that thrives on big all-day rides across technical terrain.

The adjustable head angle is a brilliant feature, and we like that the shock is hidden away from the elements. Scott must also be commended for the addition of the Genius ST model, which will appeal to riders who are less concerned by lockouts and more interested in outright damping control.

The internal cable routing does make it less appealing from a home mechanic’s perspective, and the lack of mullet compatibility or in-frame storage will be a major turnoff for some riders. The tight tyre clearance is also a little odd given the attention to detail elsewhere.

Really though, whether the Genius is right for you will largely boil down to how you feel about its remote-adjustable suspension. If you’re willing to take advantage of the TwinLoc remote, the Genius offers proper trail-tuning adaptability that allows it to descend with an incredibly plush and floaty ride quality, while offering dynamic support and pedal clearance on the climbs. It’s this system that makes the Genius such an impressive technical climber, and provides a level of versatility that is often missing in modern descent-focussed trail bikes.

2023 scott genius
If it’s big adventure rides in the mountains that gets you out of the bed in the morning, the Scott Genius is a bike that should be on your list.
scott genius 2023
The integrated design won’t be to everyone’s tastes, but it’s hard to argue with the versatility of the Scott Genius.

2023 scott genius st
The top-end Scott Genius ST 900 Tuned features a HMX full carbon frame, a SRAM X01 AXS drivetrain, Shimano XTR brakes and carbon Syncros wheels.

2023 Scott Genius ST 900 Tuned

2023 scott genius st
Selling for a few thousand bucks less, the Scott Genius ST 910 specs an Öhlins RXF 36 fork, alloy wheels and a SRAM GX AXS drivetrain.

2023 Scott Genius ST 910

2023 scott genius 910
The Scott Genius 910 is the highest spec option out of the regular Genius models that will be coming to Australia.

2023 Scott Genius 910

2023 scott genius 920
The Scott Genius 920 combines the hybrid carbon/alloy HMF frame with a Shimano SLX groupset and a Fox 36 Rhythm fork.

2023 Scott Genius 920

scott genius contessa 920
The Scott Genius Contessa 920 is the only women’s specific model coming into Australia.

2023 Scott Contessa Genius 920

2023 scott genius 930
The Scott Genius 930 features a full alloy frame, Fox suspension and a Shimano Deore 1×12 drivetrain.

2023 Scott Genius 930

2023 scott genius 940
The cheapest option in the lineup is the Scott Genius 940.

2023 Scott Genius 940

scott genius 2023
The entry-level Genius 940 looks rather splendid with its raw aluminum finish eh?
The Scott Genius has come a long, long way, hey?
Ok forget the bike, we want to go riding there!

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