Final Review: Scott Genius 930

The Scott Genius 930 is an unsung hero of a trail bike. While it forgoes some of the flash and bling that some other brands offer, the Genius has the ability to radically transform its demeanor and tackle a host of different terrain.

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This demeanor switch is courtesy of the shock mount chip in the linkage. For more information on this and other technical specifications, be sure to check out my on review article, here.

The stock build of the Genius 930 is most definitely on the XC end of what this bike is capable of. Since the Genius would have required a significant number of changes to fully realize its potential as an aggressive trail bike, I chose to review it solely in its stock XC configuration. For an analysis of what I’d personally change to transform this into a more aggressive trail bike, see my breakdown below.

Stock XC Build

While I’m referring to the stock build as the XC build, that is merely because it’s on the more XC end of the spectrum of what this bike can cover. Even with its stock setup, the Genius 930 is a trail bike that is more than capable of tackling formidable terrain. With a full 130mm of travel up front and the great rollover characteristics of the 29er wheels, long, fast, technical descents that aren’t too insane are easily dealt with aboard the 930.

Over the course of my test I rode some very formidable trails (trails that made me pause and manually lower my seat), and while I wasn’t able to pin through the gnar with the confidence that I would on my more aggressive enduro bike, 130mm is plenty of squish.

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Definitely a saddle-down descent

When descending, my main complaint, aside from the stock Schwalbe tires, is that the front end felt noodly and didn’t track very well at top speed in chunky terrain. I attribute this, yes, to the stock tires, a bit to the steepness of the headtube, and a bit to the 32mm fork stanchions. With 34mm and 36mm stanchions becoming the norm, 32 just seems under gunned, in my opinion. And while the model reviewed here is still on sale and the most recently-announced versions of the Genius won’t be available for some time yet, Scott has chosen to bump up the stanchion size in their future Genius models. It’s great to see them addressing my concerns before I even voice them. 🙂

Check out this quick clip to see how the Genius 930 descends a pretty techy rock garden:

While I did have that concern with the front end while descending, in every other area the Genius 930 was superb. The very-respectable for this price point weight of 28.77 pounds, coupled with the excellent suspension design and the absolutely genius TwinLoc remote to control the CTD on both the shock and fork simultaneously (read more about it here), allowed the 930 to climb like a billy goat, with only the real constraint being the engine on top.

Putting the power down on a steep, technical climb. Photo: Tom M.
Putting the power down on a steep, technical climb. Photo: Tom M.

The climbing was indeed superb, but I probably had the most fun pedaling the Genius through rolly, twisty singletrack. The “trail” classification is spot-on, as pedaling, rolling, and ripping through tight, twisty, sometimes techy trail felt blissfully effortless. This is where the Genius 930 truly shines, and it checks the only box that matters: it’s fun to ride.

Entertaining, rolling trails.
Entertaining, rolling trails.

Enduro Transformation

I mentioned above that the Genius 930 is a very versatile rig, and could be transformed from the XC end of the trail bike spectrum to the enduro end of the spectrum. If I owned this bike and wanted to make it more aggressive, here are the changes I would make.

Critical Changes

I would begin first and foremost by dropping the XC-oriented Schwalbe tires and replacing them with as wide and burly of a tread as I could fit, and setting them up tubeless. Heck, I’d probably do this even if I kept this set up as an XC-oriented bike.

Next, I’d flip the geometry switch to the low and slack position, to eek the best performance possible out of the bike’s geometry.

Finally for the critical changes, installing a dropper post is an absolute must.

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Optional Changes

To truly realize this bike’s descending potential, I’d consider a few more major component changes that would require some real money output. If this was my bike, would I make these changes? Maybe, if I had the parts lying around, or if I broke a component and had to replace it. But the fact is that doing these first two things will require some serious money.

First, I’d recommend bumping up the fork to at least 34mm stanchions. And if you’re upgrading the fork, you might as well bump up the travel length to 140mm or 150mm.

Second, at some point a wheel upgrade is in order. Something lighter, stiffer, and wider would definitely benefit performance. But if it was me, I’d probably ride the current wheels into the ground, and then consider an upgrade when it’s time to replace them.

Finally, if switching the shock chip doesn’t result in a slack enough headtube angle, I could always install a Cane Creek AngleSet to get a slacker angle. Bumping up fork length will also rake the front end out more, but if I wanted to stay with the 130mm travel length but with a slacker HT, an AngleSet could be in order.

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Bottom Line

I don’t make all of these comments about alternative parts specs to say that the Genius 930 is truly lacking in any way, save for the tires. Rather, I expend all of these words on alternative setups to show that the Genius 930 is a truly versatile mountain bike. With many bike purchases you’re subsequently roped into a limited style of bicycle, with only a certain number of modifications that can be made.

The Genius 930, on the other hand, is not comfortable with limitations or compromise. This is a mountain bike that will enable you to do what you want with it, in order to maximize the most important statistic: your level of fun!

MSRP: $3,500

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