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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Specification options
The Scott Genius will be available in three different specifiation options and four different sizes. Prices are yet to be annonced.
The prices for the models have not been released yet.
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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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