2014 Scott Genius 920 – Long Weekend Test
This bank holiday weekend I was offered the chance to try out the latest and greatest 2014 Scott Genius 920. Having been blown away by the 710 Tuned early this month, I was keen to see if wheel size would make a dramatic difference to how much I enjoyed the Genius frameset. At a glance these bikes look very similar, though the 710 with it’s massive shining 34mm fork and lower slung geometry was instantly a winner for me; it would take something special to erase my long-established hatred of everything 29er.
We reached Winlatter in the Lake District on a mild day with very few clouds to be seen in any direction. It had been a while since I’d ventured out of Hertfordshire into any proper mountainous terrain and as we glanced up the hillside I noticed a soul destroyer of a climb ahead of us. I, like any sane human being, have never enjoyed climbing but the Genius made short work of the inclines, though I did struggle initially in the corners while acclimatising myself to my extra 3 inches of wheelbase. This problem was short lived as the climbs just seemed to flatten out ahead of me, much to the dismay of my 26 inch wheel companions.
The top of the first climb was a turning point in my life. It was clear that the gents who had invited me on this trip had started to despise my bigger wheels. It felt wrong, I had no great love for huge hoops, but this climb had been easy and I had enjoyed it; I’d barely broken a sweat and I was still smiling and ready to continue up. I craved acceptance from my buddies on their 26 inch machines, but could only see this big wheel perversion sending our riding relationship down a slippery slope with little chance of returning untainted to 26 inch normality.
As we neared what looked like the start of a singletrack descent I feared the honeymoon was over and I’d be cursing the 920’s long gangly spokes and slack steering. I found the thought of descending on a bike that every fibre of my being was telling me was too big for me would be no picnic. As I dropped in and tore into the first corner I realised very quickly I was on a hugely capable bike and the rest of the way down would be a lot of fun. For a 140mm travel bike the wheel travel felt endless as it skipped over rocks and locked into berms like I wanted it to. It conquered any line I threw it at fearlessly, still only suffering on sharp uphill turns – a characteristic I can only attribute to rider error!
Day 2 at Kirroughtree in the 7 Staines was epic. I had been warned the trails were long and brutal and if I had saved any energy from the previous day, I would need every last ounce of it here. A quick checkover of the bike revealed no problems whatsoever – we were ready to do battle with Scottish terrain and take our relationship to the next level. I didn’t want to admit it, but I couldn’t wait to drag those gigantic wheels up another mountain just to smash them back down it again. I was hooked on this lightweight loam muncher of a bike, I had been turned and was no longer ashamed of it.
Tempting as it is to gush about my dirty weekend with my big-wheeled-bit-on-the-side, I am supposed to be reviewing a bike. So, if you’re after something light, fast, agile but not fragile then these bikes are definitely for you. If you ride XC, trail centres and get involved in the occasional bit of racing, these bikes are definitely for you. And, if you want one bike that goes everywhere, does everything and keeps coming back for more then these bikes are definitely going to tick more boxes for you. Personally, my only reservations regarding this bike are purely down to my 26 inch upbringing. For me, it’s no longer about fashion, or pride, or even availability of my favourite tyres. I went away expecting to hate the 920, I thought it would be limiting and dull. I came back singing it’s praises and wanting one. Personally, if I was going to drop my money on a Scott, I’d drop it on a 650b Genius LT, simply because my riding is predominantly bike park, with the occasional trail centre sortie. I’d drop my money on the 650b (but I’d be having naughty thoughts about the 920).
And here’s what the delightful folks at Scott Sports have to say about it: