The most honest and in-depth reviews of outdoor sports equipment on the planet.

2017 Scott Genius LT Plus

Scott Genius LT 720 Plus

Wheels: 27.5+

Travel: 160 mm rear / 160 mm front

Geometry: Here

Build Overview:

  • 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

MSRP: $3,599

Reviewer: 5’9”, 155 lbs.

Test Location: Moab, UT

Noah Bodman reviews the Scott Genius LT Plus for Blister Gear Review

Scott Genius LT Plus

Note

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.

Intro

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.

The Build

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).

Noah Bodman reviews the Scott Genius LT Plus for Blister Gear Review

Noah Bodman on the Scott Genius LT Plus, Moab, UT.

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.

5 Comments

  1. Bruno June 9, 2017 Reply

    Thanks for this review. This is not a mountain bike I am remotely interested in, but I’ve been in the bike industry a long time (30 years?) and your review is not the only, but one of the very few, that tell the truth. Well done. I’m not saying this just because your review was somewhat negative–in fact, you even found a way to put a positive spin on aspects of this bike, or tried to imagine who might really like this bike, the same way you guys do with skis. I just wanted to point out that having that dose of honesty every so often makes all the other reviews that much more credible. In terms of this bike, maybe it would be good for rental fleets? And I don’t mean that in a derogatory way. It might help people get used to gnarlier trails. Anyway…what about some hard tail reviews?

    • Thanks for the comments, Bruno, they are much appreciated. My only quibble — as the founder & editor-in-chief of blister — is your comment about “that dose of honesty every so often.” The aim of every single one of our reviews is to be honest not just every so often, but all of the time. That is hugely important to me, and it’s an expectation I have — and our editors have — for all of our reviews. For us, it’s always about trying to (1) assess the product’s performance accurately, (2) locate the product among other offerings, and (3) figure out who the product is best suited for.

      As for hard tail reviews, we’re working on it. We’d certainly like to do more in that space, so thanks for the nudge.

  2. Bruno June 11, 2017 Reply

    Hi Jonathan. No, I wasn’t clear enough. I appreciate Blister for exactly the reasons you describe. You guys are honest about everything–skis, bikes, clothes…whatever. When I said, “That dose of honesty every so often,” I meant that dose of honesty that Blister brings consistently, contrasted against the larger world of product reviews, which are often little more than advertising. The reason that I added my comment here, in the bike review section, instead of anywhere else (in any one of your other excellent reviews) is because I simply have more experience with bikes, and could thus appreciate this review more deeply, and because it is very rare to have a bike journalist playing with words and obviously having a great deal of fun, trying to describe some negative characteristic of a bike (while acknowledging that the bike might be good for some folks). Noah’s various descriptions of the suspension made me smile. Many moons ago, when Mountain Bike Action literally shaped the industry with their reviews, I remember how they absolutely excoriated a smaller company for giving their bike a name like “destroyer.” I don’t remember the exact name, but it was aggressive and destructive. The journalist went on for a long and entertaining paragraph about what name might come next: two-wheeled back hoe, Earth rapist, and so on. The name of a mountain bike might seem trivial, but in environmentally sensitive times, then and now, they had a point. However, since I have your attention, I do have one point: as a consistent rear of the bike reviews, it’s awkward and a little tiresome to read the same intro about outer bike. I think spreading the word about outer bike is a good idea, and it sets the stage for where and how you tested bikes, but perhaps you can accomplish the same with a short sentence and link, as you occasionally do when transitioning from a flash review to a full review of skis, something like, “We rode this bike at outer bike. If you haven’t read what we have to say about outer bike, check it our here (link). Or something like that. So, thanks for what you guys do, and for taking the time to respond (by the way, based on listening to one of your Podcasts, I bought some Folsom skis…really excited to try them this season).

  3. Blister Member
    Tom June 11, 2017 Reply

    Awesome review. Not afraid to tell it like it is. Rare.

    Applause!

  4. Ralph June 16, 2017 Reply

    Noah, given all that you said regarding the “monster truck, marshmallow nature” of the bike, why on earth did you ride / report on it in the flip-chip “Low” setting, when running the “High” setting might have alleviated some of the issues you found (?)

    Would have at least been quite useful to hear about its performance in the “High” setting – one can probably assume it would be more responsive….

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