Scott Genius 10 Bike Review

Pro Reviews

Innovative Is Just The Beginning

Great Googly Moogly

Go ahead and gawk, everyone else is. Taking the Scott Genius 10 to the trailhead is akin to showing up to the prom with Jessica Alba or rolling up to the local cruise night in a Ferrari. Other riders stalk and they stare. Some go as far as to approach with skepticism, fear and wonder. Others still dare run a finger along the carbon fiber top tube or push down on the saddle to see if the shock really extends rather than compresses (it does). We might have gotten annoyed had we actually dropped eight large on this black and white beauty but as seeing how we were forced to borrow a demo model from a very generous local shop, we found ourselves joining in on the drool-fest.


We better come right out with the specs before even attempting this bike test as there is a lot of, what’s the word- uniqueness to talk about later on. The Genius 10 comes equipped with a Fox TALAS 32 RL fork (15mm quick release) and Scott’s own Equalizer2 TC shock in the rear. The entire drivetrain (shifters, cranks, both derailleurs, chainrings and cassette) is Shimano XTR as are the brakes. Getting the pedal-power to the ground are Schawalbe Nobby NIC tires wrapped around DT Swiss XR rims. The remaining bits come in the form of Ritchey Carbon (stem, bars and seatpost). Finally, Scott spec’ed the Fizik Tundra saddle.

All told our medium (17.5 inch) test bike came in a shred under 26 pounds.

The Walk Around

We started this review by saying that Scott Genius 10 gains some serious trailside attention and this really is expected considering many of the bike’s unique characteristics. The carbon fiber frame is extremely trick in person and that Scott Branded shock definitely sports a look all its own. To put it simply, the Genius looks expensive and (when you stop to consider that there is a $13,000 version of this bike available)- it is! The sticker hanging off this particular bike’s handlebar read $7395 and that was including a discount since it was used as a demo model! Ouch.

Climbing on board instills a very cross-country race bike persona. The reach to the bars is a bit longer than comfortable and the relationship between the razor thin saddle and the pedals allows for full, extended crank rotations. Even though the bike targets the very hot (at the moment) 6-inch travel all mountain market, there is a rigidity and stoutness about it that screams XC.

Setting the bike up is an exercise in oddity (even for our own in-house mechanic who thought he had seen it all). The Equalizer shock requires a special pump provided by Scott (don’t leave the dealer without it). We quickly discovered that what makes it so special is that it’s equipped to deliver the type of air pressure commonly required to inflate a blimp. We settled on 300 PSI in the positive air chamber and understand that we were running it a little on the low side!

The shock also has a unique system Scott calls OTS (or Oil Transfer System) that allows the rider, via a bar-mounted trigger, to choose from three variations- full six inches of travel, three and a half inches of travel or fully locked out.

Finally and certainly adding to uniqueness theme, that’s no simple single-pivot linkage back there either. Well technically it is, but what makes this system unique is that leverage being fed in from the back wheel actually causes the Equalizer2’s shock shaft to expand like the pneumatic cylinder when you swing open your screen door rather than to compress like a normal shock. Are there any benefits to this configuration? Even after two weeks of testing, we can’t say that we discovered any. In fact because the design requires such outrageous air pressures to function, expect a lot of trial and error before getting the shock dialed in correctly.

The Ride

Now that we’ve overloaded you with technical details to ponder, you’ve got to be wondering just what it feels like to clip in and blast of on the Scott Genius 10. We know that after a few days of tinkering to get the suspension setup, we were certainly getting anxious. Unfortunately, thanks in no small part to all of the anticipation; the word to summarize the experience would have to be anticlimactic.

The Genius feels a lot like a cross-country race bike. The flat bar and stretched out rider position hint toward this even at a standstill but powering away really seals the deal with spurt-like acceleration and a rigid-feeling chassis. It’s pretty easy to loft the front end with a pedal mash so our testers quickly discovered that to get the Genius flowing the rider needs to stay seated and work an even cadence. This is a bike that requires a lot of shifting to find its rhythm. Fortunately the XTR group was more than up to the task appointed it.

The chassis comes into pretty confident balance when clipping along at a good pace on the flats but we were never fully comfortable with slamming it hard into a corner or powering through a tight switchback. While we’re normally quite enamored with the Fox 32 TALAS’ performance, the Genius chassis tends to overwork the fork. As such cornering is often vague rather than planted and the sensation that front wheel just may wash out was always present.

Fortunately, that same lackluster steering works surprisingly well on the climbs. The front-end nervousness immediately disappears and in fact allows the rider a better ability to stick his lines once the ground starts pointing skyward. Again, we hate to keep coming back to the cross-country comparisons but this area further confirmed our initial instincts that the bike enjoys spurting up-hills rather than zinging down them.

The Genius flows well along tight singletrack but can become an instantaneous handful if the trail turns rough, choppy, or rocky. We’re not sure if the high shock air volume is to blame or if it’s the chassis itself, but the bike exhibits some instability when the conditions turn ugly. The rear tire tends to buck off line if you don’t make a conscious effort to get your weight way off the back. Doing so gets the rear to stay planted but allows for enough chassis flex to get out of shape up front. It’s a shame really as the six inches of travel occasionally show signs of brilliance but never seem to collaborate when called upon.

Braking from the XTRs is, as always, quite impressive and dependable with minimal burn-in required.


We really don’t like to come down hard on products- especially those that have clearly been the result of countless hours of hard work and pride. However, the best way to judge the Genius 10 is to look upon it as a work in progress. With a few years of refinement, Scott can very easily have a world-class All Mountain entry based on this starting point.

Were it ours to keep there are a few simple swaps that could certainly help it achieve its intended purpose. We would drop kick the flat bar in favor of a nice riser and without a doubt, slap a WTB Rocket V where once sat the Fizik Tundra. The Scott Genius’ greatest strength has got to be its weight. The bike is light- not just on paper but it feels even lighter on the trails than its numbers reveal. It’s a real attention getter because of its high-class looks and quite inviting as the choice for all day epics thanks to its wispy persona. With a few tweaks it could easily be a class leader.

We began this review by comparing the Scott Genius 10 to a Ferrari and we’ll end it with that analogy as well. The Genius is a high-class, expensive, exotic of a mountain bike that demands a rider who is willing to treat it with the respect it deserves. Riders who beat their equipment down then put it away wet need not apply. Everyone else should prepare to gawk.

This review brought to you by Mountain Bike Tales digital magazine:

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  • Anonymous says:

    Sorry, not too impressed by the ‘Faux-Bar Linkage’, especially for such an expense piece of kit. Too bad they didn’t want to pony up for the Specialized Horst Link Patent.

  • Anonymous says:

    they should have just paid Specialized. over 7k for that contraption? ooof

  • Anonymous says:

    Would the Horst Link work with this crazy shock?
    The part of the review that gets into setting up the custom Scott shock says they had to put 300 lbs of pressure in the air chamber. Not to mention it appears to be compressed at rest then gets stretched in response to wheel-motion.
    I’m no engineer but this whole pull-shock concept sounds like a gimmick to me to justify the $8,000 asking price.

  • Anonymous says:

    the genuis 50 $2,000.00 pretty cheap for a sub 29# 6″ travel bike!!! I dont know about alot of trial and error to set up the shock…recomended pressures are printed right on it..and it works really well….the 2000 dollar bike has the same shock as the 8000 bike…i would demo one of these bikes before i would judge it by this poor review…and by poor review i mean they did a pretty poor job of reviewing this bike..and i will hold any review by this site suspect.

  • Anonymous says:

    Actually gman, I thought it was a pretty accurate review. I mean what’s the first thing you think of when considering a bike that costs nearly $8,000- “what’s it like to ride something like that?”, right? I especially appreciate the comment that blasting off on it was anticlimactic; like a typical cross country bike. I say this because riders like me can’t buy a bike for more than $2000- I have had a lot of Treks and Giants and always wonder what makes a really expensive bike worth so much. Is it a totally different experience from what I’ve been feeling? Could that be the difference maker between top 10 local xc race results versus top 100? I track MBT’s reviews down like a hawk just because they tell it to you like you were an average joe (and not a pro who doesn’t know the meaning of paying for their own equipment/ bikes).

    I mean you said yourself that the $2000 Genius 50 has the same shock- And this is a lot more in my price range. So then I again wonder what makes Scott feel like the Genius 10 is worth 4 times as much?

  • Anonymous says:

    Dear average Joe,
    If you look at the top bikes from all the big guys, specd’ with XTR, they are all around the $8000 price point. If you ride a bike at this price level, you will see what a 6″ bike that weights 26# versus a 5″ bike that weights 32-33# feels like. You really have to compare apples to apples. XTR bikes are not for everyone. I will probably never own a Ferrari, but man would I like to drive one someday. I have watched this bike do an 8′ drop with a 250# rider and eat it up. I have watched the same rider pass all the guys walking up a steep climb on the same machine. I wish the review had been written by a rider rather than a writer.

  • Anonymous says:

    you say you thought “it was a pretty accurate review”
    have you ridin the bike?

  • Anonymous says:

    No but I read all of the mags’ reviews and it coinsides with what everyone else has been saying. I mean in other words I would be more suspect if after all of the research I’ve done, this review said something like “this is the most incredible bike we’ve ever tested”.
    I would consider the Genius 50 version based on this review- definitely more in my price range and it sounds like a good bike. Maybe I’ll demo one when I retire my Trance.

  • Anonymous says:

    i will trust my own personal experience over anything ive read..and thats what i will base the accuracy of this review on…ride on

  • Anonymous says:

    I’m a big Scott fan and love their innovative way of tackling the mountain. My complaint is the lack of shop presence in my area. I had to drive 70 miles to get my Marathon! I hear they have a bigger presence in Europe though.
    I don’t know, I sort of agree with the review that the Genius does feel a bit on the XC side for the All Mountain segment its targeted for. I actually went to buy the alloy Genius initially, test rode it around the lot and wasn’t particularly impressed with the layout. It felt a lot like the Spark with a little more give. As such I went with the Marathon even though I don’t do a lot of freeriding just because it was more comfortable for all day riding (of course the Gambler was way overkill). I’ll tell you what, if there was a way to swap out the cockpit of my Marathon and slap it on the Genius, I would have to buy two of them in case I broke one!
    I’ll stick with the brand though. My bike gets a lot of attention on the trails just like the review states theirs did. I’m thinking of getting a Contessa Sport for the wife next.

  • Anonymous says:

    Correction- I don’t know what the hell made me type Marathon in my above post. I have an alloy Scott Ransom that I bought after riding the Genius. Man I’m tired but really, that’s a new error even for me!
    I guess I’ve GT on the tip of my tongue tonight- oops.

  • Anonymous says:

    On the Horst Link issue…Scott DID attempt to enter a licensing agreement with Specialized a few years ago, so that they could bring their first-generation Genius design to the US. Although Specialized has licensed the Horst Link to over 20 companies, they denied Scott, clearly and understandably frightened by Scott’s market dominance in Europe, and realizing that Scott’s re-entry into the US market would eat into Specialized’s market share (which it already has, and will continue to do). I don’t blame Specialized for refusing to license their purchased Horst design to Scott. Scott is a big threat to the big S, and naturally Spec. would not want to help them.

  • Anonymous says:

    One big piece of info missing from this review is that the pull shock allows the effective seat and headtube geometry, as well as the BB height to remain the same regardless of the travel setting. Remember the Trek Liquid? In long travel mode the rear end kicked up, essentially making the geometry more XC. The short travel mode made the rear squat into its travel, making the geometry more DH. Having a pull shock on the Genius takes care of that problem.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey guys i have owned one of these new Scott Genius’s for 6 months now.
    I went for the 30 as it had carbon frame alloy swing arms and set of mavic wheels(entry level but at least sealed bearing).
    It did take me a couple of good rides to get the shock set up properly, and does change the whole feeling of the bike dramaticaly. I would say that these guys didn’t have the rear shock set up well and in doing so made the bike feel quite ‘cross country’,

    To anyone test riding one of these, try an extra 20psi into the (-)negative chamber and set both rebound dials to 7, or both to 8 and give that a go. If it still feels like a cross country bike, test ride the Scott Ransom cause u’ll love it

    Over all if you wanted somehing with 6″ of travel and nice and light buy the genius, if wanted something bit more robust and beefy’er more relaxed geometry go for the Ransom,

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh and one more thing i am running a set of 2.4 front and rear which does make the ride down a wee bit smoother

  • Anonymous says:

    Just tried the Genius on some North shore trails and after having been riding an Enduro for a few days this bike was a big handful at the start on some technical downhills. As the review says the front wheel was hard to know what it would do but with your weight shifted way back and higher speeds it felt much better and more in control.
    The amazing side of this bike is the uphill aggressive climbing over all sorts of terrian is just brillant.
    The bike certainly got some looks and by the end of the day felt like I had tamed a wild animal, albeit with some scrapes and brusies.
    Just need to convince the wife now.

  • Anonymous says:

    hey guys. i just picked up my scott genius 50 on the weekend. all i can say is wow! yes, it has a race rig feel to it, but that’s the idea isn’t it? it’s a 6″ travel all-mountain xc marathon bike that will appeal to xc riders that would like to enjoy/enter into the all mountain experience (like me). i also ride downhill. my first ride was actually at my local downhill park. it is a different animal on dh trails. where you would normally blast through on your big hit bike you have to finesse on this thing but where you would normally be praying for an extra lung on your dh rig this thing blows by everybody! i blew by everybody across the top and caught up to somebody and/or passed them on every run. this thing is blazing scary fast. the next day i took it to my favourite xc trails and was equally impressed/satisfied. my only criticism is the tires. with respect to the reviewer mentioning that it was unstable in corners is not the bike or the fork – its the tires! nobby nics are notorius for being unpredictable and sketchy in the corners. i will be replacing them right away. also, in response to egar’s comments that this bike does not alter geometry througout its 3 tracloc settings: actually, yes it does. go to the scott website and watch the traction control video. very cool. anyways, i love this bike and can’t wait to get out on it again. its exactly what i was looking for as an experienced xc and dh rider looking for something that can handle both. this does both, and then some, with aplomb. it’s super light, and it looks amazing! go get one! cheers!

  • Anonymous says:

    I bought this bike! It’s so Fucking Awesome! Don’t think the price ride it! You’ll See.

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