SCOTT present the 2023 Genius ST Tuned 900, the second bike in their line up featuring the hidden shock design after the Spark XC bike, and the sixth generation of SCOTT’s iconic Genius model. Will it have to hide from the competition, too? We put the 2023 SCOTT Genius ST Tuned 900 through the wringer to find out what it’s capable of.
The first Genius was introduced as far back as 2001 and has functioned as SCOTT’s all-rounder ever since. Six generations later, the 2023 Genius ST Tuned 900 hardly has anything in common with its predecessors other than its name, going so far as to integrating the shock. One thing that has remained, is SCOTT’s particular attention to weight. For the latest Genius ST, the designers aimed to reduce the weight to a minimum while achieving maximum integration. What they came up with are two models: the Genius ST – ST standing for Super Trail – and the Genius. The models are based on the same frame, providing 150 mm travel at the rear, and paired with a 160 mm travel fork, though they’re not targeted at the same type of riders, differing in their components and intended use. The Genius is marketed as the all-rounder of the family and promises trail fun for all thanks to its simple adjustability. To that end, SCOTT spec the Genius with their proprietary FOX Nude 5 T shock as well as the tried and trusted SCOTT TwinLoc system, allowing you lock out the fork and shock simultaneously. Due to the lockout function on the fork, it has fewer fine-tuning options, which makes it easier to set up but also comes at the cost of performance on the Trail. The SCOTT Genius ST, on the other hand, is trimmed towards absolute trail performance and can be finely tuned and adjusted. To that end, SCOTT rely on the more capable FOX FLOAT X Nude shock, which can still get locked out remotely from the handlebar, though the fork can’t get locked out in favour of increased adjustability and therefore better performance.
The new Genius ST slots in between the gravity oriented Spark ST (Super Trail) XC bike (what some might call a downcountry bike) and the big-hitting Ransom enduro shred-sled, making it SCOTTs anything-goes all-rounder. If you’re thinking the design with the integrated shock looks awfully familiar, you’d be right: SCOTT bought up Bold Cycles quite a few years ago, who are known for pioneering this technology. SCOTT have taken the internal shock design and developed it further, in-line with their own objectives.
The different frame options of the 2023 SCOTT Genius ST
You could almost mistake the 2023 SCOTT Genius ST for the latest Spark. That’s no coincidence, since SCOTT have taken a lot of the design elements of the Genius ST from its XC sibling. The shock is also integrated vertically into the frame, stretching from the bottom bracket into the seat tube. Aiming to achieve perfect integration, SCOTT worked closely with FOX in developing the shock, designing the frame and the shock to work together.
The carbon frame is available in two different carbon layups, which differ in their weight and price: the HMX layup and the HMF Hybrid layup. For the HMX layup, SCOTT resort to higher quality carbon fibres, promising greater stiffness at a lower weight. As such, there are fewer layers of carbon required to achieve the same level of stiffness as the frame using the HMF layup, reducing the weight by 500 g compared to the HMF Hybrid frame. Added to that is the fact that the HMF Hybrid frame is combined with an aluminium rear end, as the name suggests. For the top-end models, SCOTT rely on the higher-end HMX layup, whereas the other models must make do with the heavier HMF Hybrid option.
If you’re a fan of aluminium and hopefully haven’t yet tuned out, you’ll be happy to hear that SCOTT are also offering the SCOTT Genius ST with an entirely aluminium frame. The complex aluminium frame features the same design, kinematics, geometry, and level of integration as the carbon versions. To achieve the same level of stiffness as its carbon counterparts while also making use of the integrated shock design and the opening required for that in the downtube, the area around the bottom bracket has been reinforced.
The 2023 SCOTT Genius ST 900 Tuned in detail
Besides its clean looking frame, the 2023 SCOTT Genius ST 900 Tuned has a range of clever features to offer. To make the integrated shock accessible, SCOTT have integrated a service flap under the bottom bracket area, which you can open at the push of a button. However, you’ll have to flip the bike upside down to get proper access to the shock. On the inside of the service flap, you’ll find a convenient table of suggested air pressure settings for the shock for different rider weights. There’s a sag indicator on the rocker link, allowing you to see the percentage sag externally so you don’t have to guess with the shock hidden inside the frame. It’s a nicely implemented solution and works well in practice. The internally routed cables are clamped in place inside the frame, near the shock, making sure that they don’t rattle. Furthermore, there’s a schematic diagram on the inside of the service flap telling you which cable gets clamped where inside the frame to avoid confusion when servicing or replacing any of the cables.
The ribbed chainstay protector goes all the way to the front of the chainstay, providing effective protection from the chain and keeping the bike pleasantly quiet on the trail. Another way SCOTT make sure the bike keeps running nice and quiet is thanks to the little fender over the main pivot point on the Genius ST, preventing it getting packed with mud and grime and eventually creaking. In case any of the bolts need retightening, there’s a tool integrated into the axle, featuring a T25, T30, and a 6 mm Allen key. As if that wasn’t enough, you’ll find a tubeless repair kit stuffed into the bar ends, providing everything you need for a quick trail-side puncture repair.
The FOX FLOAT X Nude shock and the TracLoc remote
The Genius ST relies on the FOX FLOAT X Nude shock, developed exclusively for SCOTT in close collaboration with FOX. One of the biggest challenges in developing this shock was its compact size. It was also designed specifically to be integrated into the frame, meaning that all adjustment dials and the valve are placed in such a way that they’re easily accessible through the service flap. You can control the shock on the Genius ST via SCOTTs TracLoc remote on the handlebar. This lets you select one of three modes: Climb, Ramp Control and Open. In Climb mode, the compression on the shock is closed, locking out the shock to avoid any of your pedalling input getting absorbed by the shock. Ramp Control mode closes one of the shock’s air chambers. By doing so, the shock is more progressive – in essence, it’s like adding a volume spacer at the flick of a lever. According to SCOTT, this mode allows you to take on rougher trails than you initially intended to, or hitting a big drop or feature, giving you added progression on the fly. Open mode is for the descents and corresponds to the shocks normal open setting, as you’ll be familiar with from other shocks. It takes some time to get used to using the TracLoc remote at first: it’s easy to push the wrong lever and it isn’t always clear what mode you’re in while you’re riding. Moreover, the additional cables on the cockpit clutter the otherwise very clean look of the Genius ST to some extent.
The spec of the 2023 SCOTT Genius ST 900 Tuned on test
SCOTT didn’t hold back when speccing the 2023 Genius ST 900 Tuned on test, equipping the HMX carbon frame with a lot of top-end components. Tipping the scales at 13.7 kg, the bike can be yours for € 10,999 Up front, you get a FOX 36 Factory GRIP2 fork featuring the golden Kashima coating on the stanchions and relying on the GRIP2 damper, providing high- and low-speed rebound and compression damping adjustability. The fork is paired with SCOTT’s proprietary FOX FLOAT X Nude shock, which lets you adjust the low-speed compression and rebound.
Taking care of the gears is SRAM’s wireless, 12-speed X01 Eagle drivetrain, combined with a GX Eagle AXS trigger. The GX trigger performs just as well as the top end model, though it weighs a hefty 3 g more ;). The chain is kept in place with the help of an in-house chain guide that’s mounted directly to the frame. Shimano’s high-end four piston XTR brakes won’t have any trouble keeping your speed in check. Unfortunately, the 200 mm front rotor isn’t matched on the rear, where you’ll find a smaller 180 mm version instead. Heavier riders are likely to see their trail fun go up in smoke with this setup and we recommend upgrading to a 200 mm rotor at the rear, too.
The 780 mm wide one-piece carbon cockpit is supplied by SCOTT’s in-house brand, Syncros. The rise of the handlebar is dependent on the frame size, giving you 15 mm on sizes S and M, whereas sizes L and XL get 25 mm rise. It determines the final height of the cockpit and can’t be adjusted with the help of spacers. All the cables leading from the cockpit are routed along the bottom of the handlebar before entering the frame via the stem. This keeps the cockpit looking neat despite all the controls.
The Duncan dropper post is also supplied by Syncros in house and grows with the frame size. That said, the 170 mm travel dropper post doesn’t provide enough freedom of movement for the size L frame – there’s room for improvement here. On the other hand, the dropper post can be inserted all the way into the seat tube, which is great news for riders with short legs. The Syncros show continues with the carbon Revelstoke 1.0 wheels. Thanks to the Quark TyreWiz they’re equipped with, you can always keep an eye on your tire pressure by having it displayed on your bike computer or via the app on your phone. That’s a good thing since you will indeed have to keep a close eye on your tire pressure considering the fact that both the MAXXIS Minion DHF up front and the DISSECTOR at the rear must make do with the flimsy EXO casing. These are bound to get punctured rather easily and, unless you’re careful, you’ll destroy the fancy carbon rims. The tires rely on the MaxxTerra rubber compound and are 2.6″ wide, front and rear. We would have preferred the softer MaxxGrip compound for more grip, at least at the front, and the thicker EXO+ or even Doubledown casing while we’re at it.
SCOTT Genius ST Tuned 900
Fork Fox 36 Factory 160 mm
Rear Shock FOX FLOAT X NUDE Factory 150 mm
Seatpost Synchros Duncan 170 mm
Brakes Shimano XTR 200/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM X01 Eagle AXS 1x12
Stem Syncros Hixon iC Carbon 40 mm
Handlebar Syncros Hixon iC Carbon 780 mm
Wheelset Syncros Revelstoke 1.0 29"
Tires MAXXIS MINION DHF MaxxTerra EXO/MAXXIS DISSECTOR MaxxTerra EXO 2.6/2.6
Size S M L XL
Weight 13.7 kg
Tubeless Repairkit in the bars
Other variants of the 2023 SCOTT Genius ST
The SCOTT Genius ST is available in 3 different builds. Of these, the Genius ST 910 is the most interesting. On this model, SCOTT combine the more affordable HMF Hybrid frame with a FOX FLOAT X Nude shock and the Öhlins RXF 36 fork. The drivetrain consists of the slightly lower end yet still wireless SRAM GX Eagle 12 speed groupset, and it rolls on aluminium Syncros Revelstoke 2.0 wheels. SCOTT have thought of the girls, too, with the Contessa Genius ST 910. The bike is available in sizes S to L and all components except the fork and saddle are identical to the Genius ST 910. Here, SCOTT chose to swap the Öhlins fork for a FOX 36 FLOAT Performance model, which doesn’t have the Kashima coated stanchions but still gives you the adjustability and performance of the GRIP2 damper.
The geometry of the 2023 SCOTT Genius ST 900 Tuned
SCOTT are offering the Genius ST in five sizes from S to XL, and the geometry doesn’t go to the extremes in either direction. The reach ranges from a moderate 430 mm in S to a modern 510 mm in XL. By rotating the headset cups, you can make the 64.5° head angle 0.6° steeper or slacker. You don’t even have to remove the cockpit to do so, only requiring you to loosen it. The chainstay remains static at 440 mm on all frame sizes, meaning the rear end doesn’t grow with the front triangle. Unfortunately, the rather long seat tube (440 mm in L and 470 mm in XL) and short-travel dropper post restrict your freedom of movement on the bike.
Riding the 2023 SCOTT Genius ST 900 Tuned
We were fortunate enough to swing our legs over the Genius ST 900 Tuned and put it through the wringer for several weeks before the official release. The moment you climb aboard, you’ll find yourself nicely centred and feeling at one with the bike. As such, you don’t have to shift your weight forward too much on steep climbs, allowing you to winch your way up in a relaxed manner. The pedalling remains largely unaffected by the rear suspension with the shock in the fully open setting, providing a relatively neutral pedalling platform. So, it’s an efficient climber even before you reach for the TracLoc remote. When things get technical, the rear end generates tons of traction with the shock open, turning a dreaded chore into a fun challenge.
Once you arrive at the trailhead, the Genius ST 900 really comes into its own. Hitting the trail, you’ll immediately feel balanced and integrated with the bike, putting you in a position that’s neither too far over the front nor too far towards the back. SCOTT have also struck a good balance between composure and agility with the Genius ST. The bike feels just as comfortable on fast, open sections as it does on tight and winding singletrack. Overshot your line? No problem. With the SCOTT Genius ST, changing direction requires minimal input, allowing you to pick and choose your lines as you go and use the full breadth of the trails. This is certainly down to the wealth of carbon components to some extent, making the bike very stiff and responsive. However, that comes with a downside, too, as vibrations and hits get transferred to the rider more directly, causing you to tire out sooner. Beginners or riders with an imprecise riding style will struggle with this the most as they don’t benefit from the bike’s precision but suffer the consequences of its direct feedback. The suspension provides a lot of pop and mid-stroke support, seldomly bottoming out. This characteristic motivates the rider to look for things to ping off of and catch air at every opportunity, which it does willingly. Riders with an active riding style stand to benefit the most from the direct handling of the Genius ST.
The 2023 SCOTT Genius ST 900 Tuned ticks all the right boxes, excelling as an allrounder and making no compromises on the descents. The Swiss brand have done a great job with the shock integration, making for a clean looking bike without detracting from its performance. It’s an efficient climber, and provides agile, direct handling for quick direction changes on the descents. This allows experienced riders to ride fast and precise, though beginners are likely to find it too stiff and unforgiving.
- precise handling
- clean looking and highly integrated frame
- excellent added features like the TyreWiz and the tools hidden in the axle
- TracLoc remote isn’t the most intuitive to use
- flimsy tire casings that don’t live up to the bike’s potential
For more information visit scott-sports.com.
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Words: Felix Rauch Photos: Daniel Geiger, Thomas Weschta