Using a corner of the vast Matterley Basin circuit near Winchester – actually a small slice of woodland with some gentle trails inside – a gathering of riders like Clement Desalle, Shaun Simpson, Jordi Tixier and Petar Petrov joined a host of media on the new Scott Genius Plus model for a brief ride-out and then talked about how the knobbly tyres compliment the many miles on the road bikes.

“It depends on your training but I would say that 70-80% for me at the moment is mountain bike riding,” reveals British Champion Simpson, who will allegedly help launch a brand new Scott goggle at Grand Prix of Belgium at the end of July. “I do a lot of road cycling as well but with mountain bike you can find some similar conditions as to what you’ll find on a motocross bike. Of course the jumps aren’t as big but you can get near the same kind of intensity in terms of concentration. You need to stay alert and your reactions are constantly being tested which is something that road cycling doesn’t really give you.”


The Scot says he normally ‘MTB’s’ according to time as distance can obviously be difficult to track and average speed can vary a lot depending on the course and path. Simpson says he hits moto length ‘pushes’ of around forty minutes and can reach 70-90% of his heart rate capacity. Other, longer, outings sees the twenty-eight year old aiming at 60-75%. “It is impossible to reach higher levels consistently because your legs would just blow up,” he points out. “The HR level is different for everyone…so you have your own zone to work in. It is a special key part of my training and is just a bit more fun; time passes quicker. Road cycling can get a bit monotonous.”

“For working on fitness and heart rate then you are looking at the road,” believes former MX2 World Champion Tixier, “but I am also doing a lot of mountain biking in France and it is more fun. I try to do it as much as I can.”

Scott share out the fun at Matterley with a fleet of the new Genius Plus. “It has still got a 27.5 wheel but also a 2.8 inch tyre for masses of grip,” says Scott UK Rep Josh Gibson. “This means a 21% contact patch increase and for climbing uphills and in loose terrain; it is just a 1% increase in drag.”

The Genius Plus also has a special touch. Gibson: “It has a twin-lock lever patented to Scott and we are the only ones on the market allowed to use this technology. A push of the lever simultaneously locks both the front and rear suspension; it locks the front and pushes a platform on the rear to stop the travel at 90mm so the geometry becomes a lot better for climbing. The back end comes up and pushes the front more for traction.”


The bicycle is light – just 13.2kg in standard trim and a medium sized frame – and has a carbon front end and aluminium construction on the back. A single gear cog on the front might confuse a few that think the Genius Plus doesn’t have the rideability compared to other models but as Gibson points out “with the 42 tooth cog on the back it is actually a better ratio coming up than having two cogs on the front.” The bike comes-in at a wallet-stretching 3800 but is a tasty piece of kit and just one in the Scott catalogue that also features E-Genius battery powered creations. There are other benefits to the Genius Plus: “You can also put a 29 inch wheel in there so it is like having two bikes in one; with the bigger wheel you can cut through mud much easier and find a lot more grip,” ends Gibson. “The Scott bikes are second to none. It is great to see such technology coming through,” offers Simpson.

“I think most motocross riders use mountain bike as a form of practice,” opines Petrov. “There are differences but it is useful for balance and coping with conditions. Many people can do it and it is also pretty easy just to get out on the bicycle.”

“I like to use both forms of bicycle and change around a lot,” admits Desalle. “On mountain bikes you can get closer to nature and not just tackle the road.”

A fifteen-minute ‘sortie’ sees media trying to keep up with the athletes even though there are clearly some competent riders among the photographers and journalists. The Genius Plus is a vastly capable vehicle for the outing and some of the shallow bumps on the trail. For a moment motocross and the pressures of a Grand Prix are lost in the comparative silence of the English trees and greenery. There couldn’t be a better way to preface a world championship event where other knobbly tyres get turned a whole lot faster in a matter of hours.

Photos by Ray Archer/Wheeler


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