What reasons are there to hate a Porsche? Because it’s too expensive? Because it makes us dangerously fast? Because the complex technology improves the driving dynamics?

Humans have always possessed the desire to build machines which make our abilities faster, better and safer. Whether through weight tuning, innovation or cunning incremental improvements. And the mountainbike industry has just reached one such milestone: we’re talking about Plus tyres.

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New dimensions, new standards and new outrage

The SCOTT Genius Plus 2016 heralds the beginning of a new era of trail bikes. Of course it is understandable that many bikers, retailers and even some manufacturers are annoyed, confused or outraged. The bike industry changes fast and new trends and innovation carriers are continuously coming to light. No sooner had the wheel diameter debate settled down the rumours and early samples of the new tyre widths started to emerge.

And those seeking to pass the buck will find what they want in this article: SCOTT was one of the biggest proponents of the new Plus trend. You could be annoyed at this point but most bikers should just thank SCOTT, but more on that later.

ENDURO-founder Robin Schmitt travelled to Massa Vecchia, Italy with World-Cup riders like Brendan Fairclough, Remy Absalon, Thomas Frischknecht as well as SCOTT engineers to test the new Plus bikes. But see for yourself:

The Genius is one of the most popular models in the globally operating Swiss bike manufacturer. With the Genius Plus, SCOTT is one of the first to fit a production, long travel full suspension bike with Plus tyres. But not just that: for 2016 they will offer a total of 11 different Plus bikes. This proves that the brand, which operates in over 80 markets sees great potential in this new trend. Rene Krattinger, SCOTT brand manager confirms: “With their unbelievable grip and confidence inspiring ride Plus bikes offer huge potential for all bikers. Current models are just the start of a big trend which will become established – we are 100% completely sure of it.”

Zeitliche Punktlandung –  serienreife Plus-Reifen und Felgen sind aktuell noch Mangelware, entsprechend gering ist die Langzeiterfahrung.
Precision landing in timing – production Plus tyres and rims are still a scarcity, so long-term experience is correspondingly low.

Belief and reality

Please don’t believe anybody – regardless of manufacturer or media, who tells you they already have years of experience and extensive test procedures with which to develop these bikes. The fact is at the moment there are only very few available Plus compatible wheels, forks, frames and tyres which is why most manufacturers are only just starting to learn from hands-on testing. As this trend offers frame designers a huge variety of new parameters: different tyre widths, tyre-wheel-combinations, the new Boost standard, new geometries and different suspension requirements which all need taking into account and optimising with one-another it will take some time before the true extent of this trend becomes known.
And it’s for exactly this reason that this test ended up different than expected.

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The Bike

What are the differences to the current Genius? Even though the 2016 model remains visually similar there are a number of big differences in the Plus version.

Das Genius Plus verwendet den gleichen Hauptrahmen aus HMX-Carbon wie das bisherige Genius, lediglich der Lenkwinkel wurde mithilfe eines Angelsets auf 67,5° abgeflacht.
The Genius Plus uses the same front triangle as the current Genius HMX-carbon model just the head angle was slackened to 67.5° using an angleset. Instead of 150mm travel the Genius Plus has 140mm front and 130mm rear suspension.
Am Heck kommt ein vollkommen neuer Aluminium-Hinterbau zum Einsatz, der auf den Boost-Standard ausgelegt ist.
At the rear end a completely new aluminium-swingarm is used based on the new Boost-standard.

Boost is a new hub and drivetrain standard which provides both more stiffness and improved tyre clearance. Technically it means that the front hub is 10mm wider measuring 110mm. The rear hub axle grows to a 148mm width whereby both hub flanges move outwards by 3mm creating an improved spoke tangent and stiffer wheel. Additionally the chainline moves 3mm further outwards without affecting the Q-factor.

Die Kettenstreben des Genius 700 Plus sind mit 445 mm Länge sogar 3 mm kürzer als die des aktuellen Twentyniners Genius 900.
The 445mm chainstays of the Genius 700 Plus are actually 3mm shorter than the current Genius 900 29-er.
Die Brücke an den Sitzstreben wurde so konzipiert, dass der möglichst kompakte Hinterbau maximale Reifenfreiheit garantiert. 3.0" breite Plus-Reifen sollen kein Problem sein. Das Genius Plus wird jedoch serienmäßig mit 2.8" breiten Reifen ausgeliefert. Die gute Nachricht: Das Genius 700 Plus lässt sich auch problemlos mit 29"-Laufrädern fahren.
The seatstay bridge was conceived to give maximum tyre clearance with the shortest possible rear end. 3.0“ wide Plus-tyres fit without problems. However the production Genius Plus is fitted with 2.8“ tyres. The good news: the Genius 700 Plus can also be ridden with 29“ wheels.
Statt 150-mm-Fahrwerk kommt das Genius Plus mit 140 mm an der Front und 130 mm am Heck.
For suspension duties SCOTT chose Fox- damping units fitted with their in-house 3 level Twinloc-Technology, which has been further refined for 2016.
Durch Betätigen des neuen Remote-Hebels, der an der Position des linken Schalthebels angebracht werden kann, lässt sich das gesamte Fahrwerk synchron regulieren: Descend (voller Federweg und offene Dämpfung), Traction-Control (an der Front: voller Federweg, aber höhere Dämpfung; am Heck: von 130 mm auf 90 mm reduzierter Federweg, steilerer Winkel in der Geometrie und höhere Dämpfung) und Lockout.
By operating the new remote-lever, which can be positioned like a left shifter the entire suspension system can be regulated in synchronisation: Descend (full travel, open damping), Traction-Control (at the front: full travel but more damping, at the rear 130mm reduced to 90mm travel, more damping and steeper geometry), and Lockout.
Das Fahrwerk des Genius Plus ist für 1x11-Antriebe optimiert, kann jedoch auch mit zwei Kettenblättern in der Front gefahren werden.
The chassis of the Genius Plus is optimised for 1×11-drivetrains but can be ridden with two front chainrings.
SCOTT setzt beim Genius Plus auf Syncros TR1.5 Plus-Felgen mit 28 Speichen und einer Felgeninnebreite von 40 mm. Diese Kombination soll für ein geringes Walgverhalten sorgen.
SCOTT uses Syncros TR1.5 Plus rims on the Genius Plus with 28 spokes and 40mm internal width. This combination should decrease tyre wallowing.
Bei der Entwicklung des Bikes hat SCOTT eng mit Schwalbe und DT Swiss zusammengearbeitet und sich auf eine optimale Reifenbreite von 2.8" geeinigt.
During the bike’s development SCOTT worked closely with Schwalbe and DT Swiss. Both agreed on an optimum tyre width of 2.8” for the Genius Plus.
Laut Schwalbe hat der Nobby Nic in 2.8" bei einem Luftdruck von 1,0 bar im Vergleich zu einem Nobby Nic in 2.35" mit einem Luftdruck von 1,7 bar eine 21 % größere Kontaktfläche zum Boden und weist dabei einen lediglich um 1 % höheren Rollwiderstand auf. Zudem verfügt er über eine um 8 % bessere Durschlagssicherheit, aber auch ein um 11 % höheres Walgverhalten.
According to Schwalbe a 2.8” Nobby Nic at 1.0 bar pressure has a 21% bigger contact patch compared to a 2.35” Nobby Nic at 1.7 bar but with just a 1% increase in rolling resistance. In addition snake bite resistance improves by 8% but with 11% more tyre wallowing.

The weight of an individual Schwalbe Nobby Nic in 2.8“ (Pacestar-compound) is 814g, although we should mention that the tyres have quite thin sidewalls to achieve this.

Mit einem Gewicht von 12,3 kg in Größe Medium ist das SCOTT Genius 700 Tuned Plus rund 1,5 kg schwerer als das bisherige Genius 700 Tuned.
At 12.3 kg in a medium the SCOTT Genius 700 Tuned Plus is around 1.5 kg heavier than the previous Genius 700 Tuned.

The Geometry

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The Specification options

The Scott Genius will be available in three different specifiation options and four different sizes. Prices are yet to be annonced.

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The prices for the models have not been released yet.

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The trail performance

That’s enough on theory and technical basics, how does the bike ride on the trails? Those who fear change can be reassured: sitting on the bike doesn’t feel much different to the previous version – even if the dimensions of the fork, wheels and tyres are completely new. The big differences are only revealed when you hit the dirt:

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On the multi-faceted trails of Massa Vecchia with twisty, steep and flat sections, hard packed berms and high-speed passages one thing was soon very clear: the Genius Plus is damn quick!

Robin gibt Vollgas – das Genius Plus geht leicht auf das Hinterrad und lechzt nach hartem Terrain und einer aktiven Fahrweise.
Robin on the gas – the Genius Plus is easy to get onto the rear wheel and craves for hard terrain and an active riding style.

The updated geometry (slacker head angle) for the 2016 model and the plush feel of the tyres give the rider a big boost in confidence. Lines which appear difficult lose their fear. The high-volume tyres forgive rider blunders and mistakes and give massive grip. If you haven’t tried it yet you’d never believe in the traction the 2.8” high-volume Schwalbe Nobby Nic tyres generate.

Confidence-Inspiring würden die Amis das nennen: Die großvolumigen Reifen geben Selbstvertrauen und Sicherheit.
Confidence inspiring: the high volume tyres boost your self confidence and safety.

Contrary to all expectations the bike never felt sedate and could be willingly piloted through tight sections. The Plus tyres could really show-off their strengths in open or off-camber corners. Thanks to the 45mm wide rims (interior width 40mm) the tyres are very well supported. At 1.2 Bar pressure there was no annoying wallowing sensation. However you do ride slightly less precisely than on conventional tyres and don’t stay 100% on your chosen line – but this is never a problem, after all the big rubber just flattens the trail and creates higher comfort and confidence.

Kurven gehören zum Lieblingsmetier des Genius Plus – insbesondere offene, weiche Turns.
Corners are the favourite territory of the Genius Plus – especially open, soft turns.

Honestly: We didn’t have enough time to taste and test out the limits of the bike step-by-step. This might be down to the fact that initially you need more time to setup the optimal tyre and shock pressures. During our test phase it was tricky to clearly feel what the suspension was doing exactly and whether the tyres were reaching the edge of their grip.
Here we expect that test riders and manufacturers will surely gain much experience in the future enabling furhter increases and jumps in performance. The fact that we had a puncture during the test due to a cut tubeless tyre sidewall shows that finding the right balance between weight and puncture resistance presents the tyre manufacturers with a clear challenge.

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We’ll see how the SCOTT Genius 700 Tuned Plus compares to current bikes in a comprehensive, upcoming test.

Concluding we can say: the first impressions of the SCOTT Genius 700 Tuned Plus is stunning. The increase in traction, confidence and comfort is immediately noticeable and offers clear advantages for most mountainbikers. Rumours are already circulating that we can expect new best times and KOMs on Strava pretty soon.

And to answer our initial question: damn it yes I’d love to drive a Porsche.
Because it’s fast, sexy and safe. Just like the new SCOTT Genius Plus.

Words: Robin Schmitt Pictures: Markus Greber

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