2013 is a year of changes. This applies to bikes too. I have ridden nothing but hardtail mountain bikes for the last two years and I decided to get rid of my trusty Niner A9C in favor of the new Scott Genius 700 SL, in the 650b flavor. A few headaches in the ordering process and then the build itself (which thanks my buddy Cache we managed to get done by 1am Saturday night). I waited with my eye on this frame specifically because it was not a conversion but a true 650 frame, and Fox released their first 650-specific fork, again I did not want to convert anything and deal with ill handling later down the line. Glad I waited.
Build as follows: Genius 700 SL carbon frame, DT Nude shock, Fox Talas 34 fork, Enve post/handlebar, XX cranks/RD/shifter, American Classic 650b wheelset, XT hydraulic brakes (180 in the rear due to frame spacing). We weighed it in at 25 lbs on the dot with pedals. I am going to skip the 2x10 (no FD at the moment) and keep it at 1x10 after I decide on which chainring to run up front.
I have never ridden a full suspension bike, so I was a little nervous on going on the maiden voyage the following day, but boy was in for a pleasant surprise. The technical climbs (think 20% grades, tight switchback type of trail) were a breeze with the TwinLoc lever locking out both shocks into climb mode, it felt rigid with no rear bounce and very little front compression when standing up. With my weight slightly over the rear wheel, clearing tough sections of the trail were painless. It is definitely easier for me to push the smaller wheel up steep terrain which I have only done on 29ers. I felt like I was flying. After several K of climbing, we hit the first section of downhill single track: rocky, sharp, steep. I let the brakes go and just let the bike soak up the trail as it glided over stuff I normally dismounted for on my hartails. Dropped off tech sections almost bottoming out the 160mm fork at full speed. I seriously felt like it was my first time truly “mountain biking.”
Second downhill we hit was smooth but very fast single track. This was a trail I was very comfortable on my hardtail, so it was interesting to see how much faster I was able to go down this trail, not losing momentum in the sharp switchback turns and powering out of the turns. It was mind-blowing.
A 3.5 hour, 25 mile, 5300 ft vert day is just a scratch on the surface and I can’t wait to get back out on the bike and relearn the trails I have ridden countless times. Cheers!