In July, Scott held their 2016 product launch at Deer Valley. Deer Valley Resort is home to a significant amount of lift-accessed riding that, with its longer, mellower trails than many DH resorts, makes it a pretty ideal place to put in a lot of miles on a trail bike.
The big draw was Scott’s line of bikes with 27.5 Plus wheels and tires—also known as “27.5+” or “27 Plus” or “650b Plus” etc., etc. (And no, I can’t keep up either. Just pick your favorite.)
Before we rode them, Scott prepped us with a few presentations. You, lucky reader, get the cliff notes.
(But if you want to just skip ahead to how the Genius 700 Tuned Plus and Genius LT 700 Tuned Plus rode, then skip down to “The Ride” section.)
General Details from Scott
Genius LT to the USA
At the European launch back in June Scott, announced that they would not be bringing the Genius LT Plus to the U.S. Apparently there was enough disappointment expressed about that for Scott to change their minds. So the Genius LT Plus IS going to be coming to the U.S.
The latest, greatest standard change, Boost hubs, has been maligned by jaded riders everywhere, but Scott credits Boost hub spacing as being essential for allowing short chainstays with Plus sized tires. Looking at the tight clearance with my chainring (I can only run a 30T max) and rear tire on my Canfield Yelli Screamy it becomes easier to believe that a few millimeters of extra width there can make the difference.
Scott continues to spec shocks featuring their NUDE design on all their Genius bikes. The proprietary design provides adjustable travel and air volume in the rear shock. When in its traction control position, it reduces the shock volume, thereby reducing sag and leaning the bike forward for climbing.
For 2016 Scott has revised the TwinLoc lever assembly to sit below the bar in place of a front shifter. As long as you don’t intend to run a front shifter, this is better mounting. However it isn’t compatible with all dropper post levers.
Bars and Stems (and Sizing)
Scott has spec’d wider bars and shorter stems on all their bikes The top tubes haven’t grown to match though, so if you were on the verge of a larger size, you might want to consider sizing up now.
Scott also slightly reduced the travel on the Plus tired bikes relative to their regular 27.5 counterparts. The Genius Plus has 130mm, 90mm, and 0mm rear travel modes, while the Genius LT Plus has 160mm, 100mm, and 0mm modes.
Plus Sized Details
When touting their Plus tired bikes shod in 27.5×2.8” Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires, Scott quotes impressive performance gains over a 27.5×2.35” Schwalbe Nobby Nic tire, including: 21% more grip, 8% better snake bite resistance, and only a 1% rolling resistance increase.
(I asked them to elaborate, and was told that it took 8% more force on a test device to pinch flat the tire.)
Those 21%, 8%, and 1% gains were acquired with 24.7psi in the 2.35” tire, and 14.5psi in the 2.8” tire. I didn’t have a benchmark for tire pressures when they quoted this, but after riding the bikes, I do think those two pressures are relatively comparable.
Now how did Scott decide on a 2.8” tire? Scotts says they worked with Schwalbe to test and develop the ideal tire for their bikes, then used their in-house brand Syncros to create rims that are the ideal width for the tire.
So that seemingly random width of 2.8” came out of a lot of testing. They found that it provided most of the control and traction of the more common 3” Plus sized tire, but with appreciably less rolling resistance.
In addition to experimenting with the tires, they also explored rim widths between 30 and 50mm, before settling on a 40mm internal width as the best balance of weight and tire stability. This gives a visually similar ratio between the rim and tire as a 23mm rim does with a 2.35” tire.
After all these numbers, I was left wondering just how big the weight gain on the big tires would be. The Schwalbe Nobby Nic 27.5 x 2.8” tires are listed at 860g on Schwalbe’s website, and the 2.35” versions are 720g. So that’s an increase of 140g per wheel / 280g per bike. I expect the rims to be on the order of 100g heavier per wheel based on the weight difference between similar Stan’s and WTB rims.
So, in total, you are looking at ~500g more rotating weight for a Plus sized version of their bikes.
But enough numbers for now. How did the balloon tires actually ride?
NEXT: The Ride