Scott Genius LT 720 Plus
Travel: 160 mm rear / 160 mm front
- Drivetrain: Sram NX / GX
- Brakes: Shimano M615
- Fork: Fox Float 36 Performance
- Rear Shock: Fox Float Performance Twinlock
Size Tested: Medium
Blister’s Measured Weight: 33.3 lbs (15.1 kg) without pedals
Reviewer: 5’9”, 155 lbs.
Test Location: Moab, UT
We swung through Outerbike in Moab a few weeks ago to hang out, ride some bikes, and partake in the good times that happen when bike people gather together in the desert.
If you don’t already know about Outerbike, you should; it’s a great opportunity to demo new bikes on some great trails. There are three Outerbike events throughout the year — Moab in the spring; Crested Butte in the summer; and Moab again in the fall. Each event lasts 3-4 days, and you can get more information at outerbike.com.
So we had three days to ride some of this year’s new bikes on a smattering of Moab’s best trails. And while it was a great opportunity to learn a good bit about a number of new bikes (including the one reviewed here), we only rode these bikes for a few hours each, so keep in mind that this isn’t our normal full-scale review.
The Genius LT has been a staple of Scott’s lineup for a while now, and it fills the “enduro” slot in their offerings. Scott was also one of the first to offer their longer travel bikes with plus tires, and we took a look at a prior iteration of the Genius LT Plus a few years ago.
A day or two before I took out the new Genius LT Plus, I spent some time on the Scott’s shorter-travel Spark Plus, which I’ve declared to be the most fun bike I rode at Outerbike. So after having a lot of fun on the Spark Plus, I figured it was time to take its big brother down some Moab classics like Captain Ahab and Jackson’s.
While “regular” Scott Genius bikes are available with both 27.5” and 29” wheels, the Genius LT series is only available in a 27.5”+ configuration. Skinny-tire aficionados are out of luck.
The 720 version of the Genius LT Plus that I rode is the most reasonably priced of the bunch. At the other end of the spectrum is the Genius LT 700 Tuned Plus, which gets a carbon frame and fancier parts across the board.
While the 720 is certainly a lot more modest in its parts spec, it has a pretty smart mix of components that works well. The Fox Performance level suspension runs the lower-end Grip damper, but it still handles nicely, and the fork still feels reasonably refined. The bike also gets Fox’s Twinlock mechanism, which can stiffen or lock out the fork and rear suspension simultaneously with the flick of a lever on the handlebar. While I thought that a similar system was unnecessary on the shorter travel Scott Spark, I actually found it to be pretty useful on the Genius (more on that below).
The drivetrain on the 720 is primarily Sram NX, with an upgraded GX level derailleur. While the NX level componentry weighs a bit more and doesn’t shift quite as crisply as the higher-end Sram options, generally speaking, it functions well. My biggest gripe about the NX group is that the cassette doesn’t get a 10-tooth cog for the high gear. It has an 11-tooth. On the trail, this just means the gearing range of the drivetrain is a little bit narrower, and you might spin out the gears a little easier on super fast descents. The lack of an XD driver also means future upgrades are a bit more expensive.
The Shimano M615 brakes aren’t quite as adjustable or powerful as Shimano’s higher-end options, but they’re consistent performers and they keep the price down. And the power issue is largely resolved with Scott’s choice to spec big rotors — a 203 mm rotor in the front, and a 180 mm rotor in the rear.
Fit and Geometry
I rode a size Medium Genius LT, and at 5’9”, the fit was comfortable, albeit a touch on the small side. A 417 mm reach is a bit shorter than what’s probably considered “normal” on a Medium frame, but it’s certainly not out of the realm of reasonable. Similarly, while the top tube length isn’t particularly long for the size, I found it to be long enough to not feel cramped on seated climbs. But as I’ll discuss below, the Genius LT feels pretty big and heavy, so geometry numbers that are a touch short were actually welcome.
Like a lot of bikes these days, the Genius LT Plus frames have adjustable geometry via a flip chip at the lower shock mount. I rode the bike in “low” mode, which yields a fairly slack 65.8° head angle and a range-y 1192 mm wheelbase. That slack head angle, long wheel base, and the lengthy 448 mm chainstays mean this bikes isn’t one that I’d call ultra maneuverable or whippy. Even though the frame sizing isn’t huge by modern standards, the bike certainly doesn’t feel small on the trail.
NEXT: The Ride, Bottom Line.