August 30, 2014

Cam makes the cover of Bicycling Magazine!

They didn't let him ride in his Vie13 team kit, but still awesome to see him as the cover photo!

August 24, 2014

Long Term 2014 Genius 730 Mountain Bike Review

Here I’ll be reviewing the Genius 730 after riding on it for a season.  My initial thoughts of the bike after my first ride on it can be found here...

Here are the specs of the bike...


Genius Alloy / 6061 custom butted
hydroformed tubes / Tapered Head Tube
BB92 / IDS SL dropout for 142 x 12mm
U-Mono Link / rear 180PM
BB Height adj.

Front 130mm
Rear 130 - 90 - Climb / Shock 190 x 50

Fox 32 Float Evolution CTD Air
CTD remote damper with 3 modes
15mm QR axle / tapered steerer
reb. Adj.

Rear Shock
Fox Nude / SCOTT custom w. travel / geo adj
CTCD 3 modes: Climb - Traction Control -
Descend / reb. Adj.

Remote System
SCOTT TwinLoc Remote Technology
3 modes front and rear

Ritchey Pro Minus Tapered 1.5" - 1 1/8"
semi integr. OD 50/61mm / ID 44/55mm

Rear Derailleur
Shimano XT RD-M786 SGS
Shadow PlusType / 30 Speed

Front Derailleur
Shimano SLX FD-M670-A-E / DM

Shimano SLX SL-M670-I
Rapidfire Plus / 2 way release
Ispec clamp

Brake Levers
Shimano SLX BL-M675-B Disc

Shimano SLX BR-M675 Disc
180/F and 180/R mm SM-RT64 CL Rotor

Shimano XT FC-M782
hollowtech 2
40Ax30Ax22A T

Shimano SM-BB71-41A / shell 41x92mm

Syncros FL1.5 Tbar
Alloy 7050 D.B. / T shape Flat / 9° / 720mm
Syncros Pro lock-on grips

Syncros TR1.5
2014 / 4D forged / oversize 31.8mm
1-1/8" / 6° angle


Syncros FL1.5 / 31.6mm

Syncros TR2.0 / CROM rails

Hub (Front)
Shimano SLX HB-M678 / 15mm

Hub (Rear)
Shimano SLX FH-M678 Disc CL
12 x 142mm / DT RWS axle

Shimano CN-HG54

Shimano CS-HG62-10
11-36 T

DT Swiss Competition 2.0-1.8-2.0 Black

Syncros XC / Eyelets / 32H

Schwalbe Nobby Nic EVO / 2.25
67 EPI Kevlar Bead
PaceStar compound
700 series: with SnakeSkin

Weights in KG
12.90 kg

Weights in LBS
28.38 lbs

I can’t really make any comparisons to other trail bikes, as this is the only one I’ve owned and I’ve never experienced any other. So this review will mostly be comparing the bike to the xc bikes that I have owned and the pros and cons of my experience with it.

The times I was able to get somewhere where this bikes shines rocks, roots, drop offs it was a blast to ride. I could ride into technical sections without a worry. After riding a hard tail for so many yrs it felt strange to be able to ride so fast through sections without being white knuckled and jarred. 


This was also the first yr I’ve raced a full suspension xc bike (spark 720)…. 

It has also made technical rocky roots sections much more comfortable but there were differences.  My xc bike is carbon and had some lighter parts, narrower rims and tires so I was not comfortable trying to do the same stuff I did on the genius like big drop offs. The genius has a wider space between chain/ seat stays so it will accommodate bigger tires and the angles are steeper making it more comfortable on decants (made me feel less like I might go over the handlebars) 

There were several times when I hit jumps and lost control, started sliding out around a corner or found my self going faster than I wanted into a technical section but the big tires, extra suspension and slacker angles made it all ok they save me. All the sections where I had in the past thought to my self “ I’m not sure about this” I was hitting without even thinking. The bike increased my self-confidence and made me feel like a superhero while riding it. Some footage of riding with teammate Jeff....

All the benefits do come with a down side. Trying to ride it at the same pace that I normally ride my xc bike was exhausting. The extra weigh and big slow rolling tires feels like I’m riding through mulch or sand on the climbs. 

If your riding party pace with friends than it won’t matter too much but if your trying to keep up with your xc racing buddies it could be hard; especially if there are long stretches of fire road or pavement included in your ride.

While it may be a slower bike a cool thing about it is that you can ride it everyday.  I could comfortably ride the genius daily off road even on super easy rest days without getting beat up. Being able to stay in the saddle and do a easy spin while off road was a strange feeling that I had never experienced before. 


An upgrade that I would suggest if you are considering purchasing this bike is a dropper seat post (the higher end geniuses come with one but the 730 dose not I put on a rock shock reverb dropper post) and some wider tires (I was using 2.4 continual trail kings, the bike came with 2.25 knobby nicks). I feel the dropper post and wide tires did as much (if not more) for making the bike handle confidently as the 150 mm of front/ rear suspension. Being able to move my weight around more efficiently improved my cornering abound ability to deal with steep terrain. The big tires improved breaking, cornering and improved stability. 

The bike comes with Scott’s twin lock remote lock out lever. It offers 3 modes of suspension (locked out, half locked out, and fully unlocked). I did notice that the lock out was very sensitive if I was in full lock out. If I bumped it by accident it would jump to half unlocked mode when I didn’t want it to. I thought this might have been an issue with just my bike (because I set it up wrong) but my teammate Jeff who was also riding a genius with twin lock also had the same issue. I’ve used the twin lock on my xc bike without this issue occurring. It’s possible Jeff and I both had this set up wrong but I think there may be another issue linked to dealing with the extra travel.

The Syncros XC67 rims that came with the bike were durable (no issues with the wheel coming out of true or broken spokes). They are 27 mm wide which is a bit   wider than an your average xc tire (normally about 24mm wide). Jeff was riding Stan’s flows (which I also run on my training xc bike) they are 29mm wide.  i think jeff was happy with the way they performed ( i know i have been very happy with mine, they have lasted 2 yrs of hard riding with out any issues and are still going strong).

Unlike the flows the Syncros XC67 where very hard to set up tubeless.  I installed Stan’s yellow tape on the Syncros rims and spent about 2 hours and when though the majority of a 1 liter Stan’s tubeless sealant container trying to make it happen. I finally got one wheel to hold air but ran out of patience before getting the other. I wouldn’t recommend trying to set them up tubeless. 

Comes with a Fox 32 Evolution CTD air Fork and Fox Nude shock. This was an upgrade from last year’s genius that came with the same model fork but a DT Swiss rear shock. In my opinion DT Swiss dose not make suspension that is as smooth as Fox. You can read Nathaniel’s review of last yrs (2013) 730 Genius here…

I am 6 feet tall and I was on the fence about choosing to go with. I decided on the 27.5 size because I wanted a quicker handling bike. I was worried that with the extra suspension and longer chain stays that the handling would be slow unless I had the smaller wheels.  I was happy with the decision but I think I’m at a height where 29” wheels would have been fine too. 

I am overall happy with the bike.  I think the 730 or 740 models are the best bang for the buck when compared to the other models in the genius line. However like I mentioned earlier in the review adding a dropper post and larger more durable tires would go a long way in making the bike handle better.

here are some pics of the bike speced the way it came (except for the ESI grips and the Continental Trail King tires)...


July 24, 2014

Cam's Post-Nationals Interview in

Cam "Probably Had the 'Ride of the Day'" at the US National Championships

Cameron Dodge celebrates break-through performance at Nationals

Top-five finish for up and coming mountain bike and 'cross racer

Racing in his first year in the elite category, 22-year-old Cameron Dodge (Pure Energy Scott Mountain Bike Team) put in an impressive ride at the US Cross Country Mountain Bike Nationals last weekend to finish on the podium in fifth place. It was a break-through performance for the up and coming racer.

"It's been a bit different racing with the elites - the guys are stronger," said Dodge, who was third last year in the under 23 cross country race. "Obviously, the bigger guys are some heavy hitters, and the extra laps hurts. That sixth lap in the cross country race - I was pretty smoked!"

Elite racers tend to race one or sometimes two more laps on a typical course than the under 23s do.
Dodge lives in Hungtington Valley, Pennsylvania, a little over an hour from where the cross country nationals was held.

"I came up a couple of times to pre-ride the course, but I've raced here for years. It was definitely a home court advantage for me."

Dodge juggles working for his dad in general contracting with training. "I get home from work, eat some food, get a bit of rest and go out and train. I don't have a coach - I keep it pretty simple. I used to work for an electrical contractor last year, but I quit so I could race a little more. It's working out well."

He takes inspiration from other young riders who are about the same age, but also racing well with the elites. Dodge named Kerry Werner, who won the silver medal in the elite race and Russell Finsterwald, who was having a great race in the top three until he flatted.

Dodge plans to race next at both the Mont-Sainte-Anne and Windham World Cups during the first half of August. Last year, Dodge finished in the top 20 in the U23 race at Mont-Sainte-Anne, and he's hoping for another good performance or two at the North American World Cups.

"Then I'll take a little time off and get ready for 'cross. I did more 'cross last year and I'll probably do more again this year, but I like both 'cross and mountain biking" he said. Last season, Dodge won the UCI C2 'cross race in Highland Park, New Jersey.

His 'cross season will begin with the Nittany Cross, then it's onto 'Cross Vegas and Charm City. Racing his second year among the elites in 'cross, Dodge said, "I'll do lots of big races and do the best I can." Since last year, he's been accumulating UCI points that should help him with better start positions.

July 19, 2014

2014 US National Championships Update - Cam 5th in Pro XC - Jay 3rd in 55+

In the XC, father/son duo of Jay and Cam Dodge both placed on the podium in their XC races at the 2014 Mountain Bike National Championships this past week -- Cam was 5th in the Pro race and Jay was 3rd in the 55+ event.  Wow!  What a weekend for our team and the Dodge family.

Cam in the Heckle Pit - Photo (c) Scott Kingsley

Here's Cam with 1 lap to go -- he had moved into 5th

And the finish (audio)

July 11, 2014

Wednesdays at Wakefield 2014 race series (round 4)

Conditions - Unlike the last few weeks, the final installation of the 2014 Wednesdays at Wakefield saw wet trails and cool(ish) temperatures.  The humidity was as high as ever.

The last round of the W@W series saw a stacked field take the start.  It wasn't clear whether the race was going to occur.  I ran straight into a large thunderstorm on my bike commute home from work prior to the race.  Somehow, there is a local weather pattern at Wakefield that diverts storms away from the park.  The storms parted and left us with just a sprinkle of rain and fast, tacky conditions.

Expert field start
Joe Dombroski's rumored return to Wakefield turned out to be correct. Joe's performances in the DC area are legend.  He missed the start of one cyclocross race by a few minutes, yet caught and passed the entire field to win by minutes.  He used to rule the Wakefield races - riding away from everyone before he turned to road racing and moved off to Europe to join Team Sky and take on the world's best road racers.  Jared Neiters, also a past W@W champion joined in, as did multi-time national champion, Wes Schempf, Ian Spivak, Chris Dobroth, Jed Prentice, and others.

2009 W@W Champions - Neiters 1st, Dombroski 2nd, Matt Bailey 3rd
At the start, Dylan got into a good position, entering the singletrack third behind teammates Schempf and Neiters.  He was patient until a slip on a wet off-camber root by Schempf gave Dylan an open trail and he was not seen from again.

Dylan with a good gap on 2nd
Dylan put in consistenly fast lap times - going almost 20-30 seconds per lap faster than the same time in 2013 - showing his great form going into next week's U-23 National Championships.

Keeping the power to the pedals
Dylan was one of the few riders to stay upright.  Possibly that was due to the extra low pressure he was able to maintain on his Stan's Race Gold wheelset (maybe 15psi) that let him stick to stuff where the rest of us crashed.

I had a tougher time of it than Dylan.  I started a bit slower and eventually made my way through the field into second place toward the middle of the first of four laps.

But, going into the second lap, I crashed heavily on one of the newly constructed bridges.  I'm not sure why they were built this way, but the new bridges require either turning when entering the bridge or a mid-way turn to cross it properly.  My rear wheel slid out when turning off the final bridge, I fell on my side and slid off the bridge and down ont a pile of broken concrete, landing on my shoulder and ribs.  I had a 30 second lead on 3rd place at that time and I gave all of it up while laying stunned in the ditch.

Eventually, I got up, having conceded 8-9 places.  I got back into a rhythm and started picking riders off. Finally, I got around the 4th and 5th placed riders with a lap left to go and could see Joe and Jared off in the distance.

I worked my way up to them at the top of the climb (helped by lapped traffic that slowed them down a bit) and got a pass on Jared after a stream crossing (he also flatted).

In the last climb following the final stream crossing, Joe took the high line and I took the low line.  I got around him to finish 2nd (though I think at that point, he was just riding easy into the finish -- he's got bigger things to think about than a local mtb race!).

A day later, and I can't get my wedding ring on my left hand because my fingers are 3x their normal size and I can't take a deep breath without stabbing pain; either bruised or cracked ribs.  Ouch.

But, it was a very fun way to end the season.
Dylan also took the overall series win - he took 3 convincing wins in the four race series this year.

Testing the winning gold medal
2014 Series Podium - Dylan 1st, Chris Dobroth 2nd, Kevin Carter 3rd
A fine end to a fun season at Wakefield - though, it felt like we were riding through a swamp it was so humid!
 Next up, the national championships at Bear Creek, PA, July 17-20.  Hope to see you there to cheer Dylan in the U-23 event, and Cam in the Pro field, and Adam in the Cat 1 19-24 race.

- Jeff

July 09, 2014

Mid-Season 2014 Genius 700 Impressions

Wow. That pretty much sums up my experience thus far with my 2014 Genius 710.

The best way I could describe how I feel about riding this bike is to analogize to my ski racing days.  I was an alpine ski racer for about 18 years and worked for years and years to carve turns on my 200mm+ length straight skis.  Even with years of work, I could only get a perfect turn some of the time, and not usually in bad conditions.

I eventually gave up ski racing (burnout after multiple years of 7 hour training days) to focus on bike racing, but returned to skiing for fun after the shape ski revolution was in full swing.  My first time out on shape skis was a revelation - I could carve a perfect turn every time, with little effort. I couldn't stop laughing at how easy it was. And skiing became fun again.

That's the feeling I've gotten with the Genius.

I took a long ride in the Frederick Watershed this past weekend; a place notorious for its unforgiving rocks.  Usually, I need to pick my lines carefully through the rocks and, even riding carefully, I end up getting beat up after a 4 hour ride.  That all changed on the Genius.

On the first descent through rock gardens that I'd usually dab, or have to walk, I dropped the seatpost and blasted a straight line through.  I let the 150mm travel and 2.4 width tires soak up everything in the way.  I should have crashed.  I should have been stopped in my tracks. The bike opened up lines of travel through/over rocks that I didn't realize existed.

I laughed the whole way.  Just like my first time on shape skis.  I couldn't wait for the next rock strewn descent.

It's going to be hard to go back to my Spark 900. Don't get me wrong, I love to ride my Spark.  It's fast, light, comfortable and predictable and I've been riding a Spark since 2007.  But, the Genius 700 is just damned fun.

If you have a chance to test ride a Genius, do so.  You won't regret it.

- Jeff

*I did make a few changes to the stock bike that might change how it rides.  I swapped out the stock wheels for a set of wide Stan's NoTubes Flow EX wheels and swapped the relatively narrow stock Nobby Nic tires for a set of 2.4 width tires with more grip.  The wider tires combined with the wide profile Stan's rims made a ton of difference in grip and bump compliance.

July 03, 2014

Wednesdays at Wakefield 2014 race series (round 3)

Conditions - like the past two weeks, temps in the mid-90s, high humidity and a threat of thunderstorms

Dylan put in a blistering first lap of the 4 lap race and didn't let up, eventually winning by about 3 minutes.  Zack, riding in 3-5th most of the race, had a mechanical on the last lap, dropping him back to 8th overall.

Dylan now has the lead in the 4 race series after last week's co-series leader, Kevin, had a mechanical, forcing him to DNF.

The last race of the series is coming up on July 9th.

Dylan on the top step - dust caked to everything during the race (especially sweat)

Resuts and lap times

June 26, 2014

Wednesdays at Wakefield 2014 race series (round 2)

Conditions - low 90s, high humidity, dry trails and a threat of strong thunderstorms

Dylan used his aero Vie13 skinsuit to get an early lead at the W@W race #2 until an untimely pedal strike, a resulting mechanical and crash dropped him from 1st to 3rd.  Jeff also had a mechanical (chain skipped out of the rear derailleur cage requiring pulling the derailleur apart and putting it back together with the chain in the correct position).

Lap times were extremely fast - almost a minute faster than last week - and any bobble was costly.  Kevin Carter took the win with Wes Schempf in second and Dylan third.  Jeff ended up 5th.

Dylan is now tied for the lead in the 4-race series with Kevin.

Dylan at the start

Lined out in the power line section of the course
Post race


Results and lap times

June 24, 2014

Guy's Neshaminy Classic 2014

 This past weekend was the Guy"s Neshaminy Classic MASS race and the team was out in full force. Cam rode away from everyone else in the Pro/Elite field to get the win with Dylan coming in 3rd an Adam in 10th. Jay had an awesome ride with a 4th in the Elite 40+ and 15th overall. Nathan also had a strong ride finishing 19th overall in the Elite field.

Cam, Nathan, Jay showing off the teams new Vie 13 Kits
 Dylan decided to go with the Vie 13 short sleeve skin suit 
 Pro/Elite Podium
 Elite 40+ Podium 

June 19, 2014

Wednesdays at Wakefield 2014 race series (round 1)

conditions: low 90s and very humid, dry trails
Dylan on his way to winning the race.

Mike got 6th

1st, 2nd and 3rd

Results and lap times