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.

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