It’s that time of year again, the start of the race season, at this time of year no one gets as excited as UK Editor Jim Buchanan. He gets to put together his special build race machine based on a Scott Genius LT to take him through the up and coming season. Read on to discover what he chose and why.

SCOTT Genius Custom Build Bike Shot 1

It had been a long winter, the titanium Kingdom bike had bitten me badly during the last race of 2015, it couldn’t be forgiven and stuck in my brain as a bad omen for me; even if it is a rad bike! So as I got back on my feet and back up to fitness upon the Vitus Escarpe 29 Pro plans were afoot for a bike that was to be my finest creation yet. Some kit was to be carried over from last season to complete thorough testing, that being the XTR cranks and Di2 gearing and the rest was a free reign to find parts, especially for the job. For me, as a self-confessed tackle tart, loving attention-grabbing bling and high-end componentry; this thing had to be and look something special, real special!!

SCOTT Genius Custom Build Bike Shot 2

The Build

So let’s start with the frame, an ex-pro friend of mine (whose opinion in bikes I regard as reliable) has been riding one of these Scott Genius LT bikes for a while and assured me it was the best thing he had ever ridden; that being after years of sponsorship by one of the other top selling brands! I liked the idea of the 170 mm on the rear for tackling the gnarliest of descents and with the frame’s light weight, surely I couldn’t go wrong. The head angle of this bike with its stock Fox 36 170 forks being adjustable between 66.3 degrees and 66.8 degrees it wasn’t quite slack enough for an ex-downhiller like me, I had got to prefer a good raked out front end, so Works Components were contacted for the use of one of their 1.5° angleset. With this and the BB being press-fit, then my local shop was paid a visit to press it and the always reliable Hope BB in place with a shop press; fail to do this correctly with press-fit and you can often suffer annoying creaks for the entire life of your bike.

SCOTT Genius Custom Build Bike Shot 3

Cable Routing

Cable fitting was up next, the Scott Genius LT is fully internal for cables, not a favourite of mine and many a racer, to be honest, it looks great, but is a bit of a faff when it comes to changing and testing different components. Luckily I came armed with Park Tool’s internal cable routing tool, wow, how much easier does this magnet and wire system make the whole process. The Scott comes with real neat internal cable end fittings, made from properly machined alloy, these slide in and screw tight around the cable, these were very impressive and so much better than the tricky rubber grommets found on lots of frames.

SCOTT Genius Custom Build Bike Shot 4

Setting up the Ohlins Suspension

Coming from a dirt bike background I have never been more excited about any suspension prior to its arrival than the Öhlins new RXF34 fork and TTX coil rear shock. Öhlins are still working on the production of a 27.5” fork, so I made the bold move of going for the 160 mm travel version of their 29er fork. This may sound like madness to many, with 170 mm of travel on the rear and a taller fork, but there was a method in my madness! Firstly I had found out that the axle to bottom of steerer length of the Öhlins was only 10 mm more than that of the 27.5” Fox 36 with 170 mm, secondly, I had got the heads up from Hope’s Woody Hole on running this fork on a 27.5” bike. Woody had run this same fork all of 2015 on a 27.5” bike when he won the EWS Masters World Title; say no more! (See our how to on fork installation) As for the front and rear travel difference, this could be counteracted by the use of Öhlins special twin chambers, one for ramp-up and the other for air pressure; no need to mess around with those silly volume spacers! From the start the forks and frame were also fitted with Invisiframe’s clear protection tape and Rockguard’z bash guard, to keep things clean and longer lasting, avoiding a lot of those inevitable crash scratches and dents.

SCOTT Genius Custom Build Bike Shot 5

Decking out the Cockpit

British brand Burgtec sent over their stem and carbon bars, I wasn’t too sure on the back sweep of the Burgtec bars, but decided to give it a whirl. I went with 50 mm on the stem, due to the top tube of the Scott not being the longest at 625 mm. Shimano’s XTR cranks were fitted, I had tried some very trick Raceface SixC carbon cranks the previous year and a pedal strike had seen them written off with a stripped thread, so strength and lightweight were top priorities here. The jury is definitely out on how much more efficient an oval chainring is, but I had been testing Absolute Black’s version for a while, with no problems, even if it is a placebo effect I’ll roll with that! The Scott came with their own very neat little top guide to keep the chain in place, so I’ve stuck with that for now. Whilst talking of the drivetrain, the ‘made to fit’ Scott chainstay protector is good, but not quite long enough, so rubber frame protection has been added too.


I’m a big fan of the Ergon shaped GE1 grips and their saddles, this year I am running their slimmer grip, and of course the laser lemon colorway was a must for this build! With the pedals it is time to try HT’s DH version, they are a kind of mix in feel of the great click of Shimano and the extra float of the Crank Brothers, plus the large platform and grip pins is so good for those foot-out moments in rough racing and just check that colour!. The Schwalbe Pro Core is fitted inside Maxxis’s trail tyres (of which I have a selection of the different types). I’m a bit of a die-hard Maxxis fan, but the Pro Core is a new system for me, so let’s see how it runs for now. Ideally, I am also a fan of the Enve carbon rims on Chris Kings, but with the deep Enve rims unable to house the Pro Core, then the reliable Hope rims on the new Evo 4 hubs were chosen, although the new Enve HV’s will also be on test too; I mean they have to be tested too, right! (See our how to on tubeless installation)

Stopping Power

When it comes to stopping power, no others seem to be as powerful as Magura’s limited edition MT5 Raceline 4 pot callipers, also, they fitted the bill with their fluoro colour and to add the bling I opted for their carbon MT8 XC levers and green Uberbike Components radiator floating rotors. These brakes with their original MT5 levers had been part of the original Kingdom custom build, I had found them to have too much bite, but wanted to give them a second chance to shine with the carbon levers; and hey, they do look seriously trick too! With the dropper post, I opted for X-Fusion’s Hilo Strate, I liked it’s simplicity, quiet operation and the ‘operate from any angle’ remote. (See our how to on bleeding Magura brakes.)

SCOTT Genius Custom Build Bike Shot 7

Eventually around six hours later and a lot of faffing, a beautiful machine was born, this is by far the biggest head turner I have ever created, plus I shall be running it all season. So I’ll be able to get used to this weapon a lot and hopefully pull some results in. The tape measure, angle-finder app and scales have been put to work on completion of this bike and she comes in at 64.8° Headangle 14.42 kg (31.8 lbs) with Hopes, Pro Core and Uberbike rotors 13.71 kg (30.04 lbs) with the Enves and Magura rotors (both with pedals and tubeless fluid fitted) and has a wheelbase of 1223 mm compared to the standard 1203 mm.

I love the look of this bike more than any bike I have ever seen and will feel very proud to ride it, but also very paranoid about where it lives and leaving it anywhere; especially with a value estimated at around € 12,700 (£ 10,000) It will be a bit of a ‘high end’ parts mule for the season, with long term testing reports coming from it throughout the coming months, so watch this space to see what is ditched and what remains on this dream rig and how it rides, as I put it through its paces throughout the year.

For more information on the bike head to the SCOTT website.

Words: Jim Buchanan Photos: Isac Paddock / Jim Buchanan

Did you enjoy this article? If so, we would be stoked if you decide to support us with a monthly contribution. By becoming a supporter of ENDURO, you will help secure a sustainable future for high-quality mountain bike journalism. Click here to learn more.