Review: Scott E-Genius 720 Electric Mountain Bike

Words by David Hicks

on 23/08/2018 16:11:13

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Article written by #TeamRutland Ambassador Eddie Jefferies. Find out more about Eddie >

An electric bike expert, Eddie has been putting the Scott E-Genius 720 through its paces for the last few months.

As with other bikes that Rutland Cycling have been kind enough to allow me to review, the Scott E-Genius 720 arrived securely and well packaged. I had no prior expectations about the bike, and indeed try to make a point of not looking at other reviews in order that I can format my own opinion.

First impressions

The first surprise to me upon going to lift the bike from its box, was the weight. The weight as quoted on the frame, is 27.5kg, but according to my own scale, came in at 24.9kg. Either way the bike could never be considered lightweight, and whilst this could be considered a negative, in practice things were very different, but more in respect of that shortly. Moving on, the next detail of note as I removed the packaging, was the quality of the satin grey paint finish. Although not quite battleship grey, it is close to it, and also happens by chance to be one of my favourite of colours. As with very much all bikes these days, the welding on what is actually a newly designed frame was exceptionally clean. The next point of note and one which was very pleasing, was the decision by Scott to supply the bike with Maxxis 700 Series 2.80 x 27.5 tyres, a combination of Minion DHF on the front and Minion DHRII on the rear. The Syncros X-30s rims are also tubeless ready, so yet another bonus.

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Rutland Cycling have always proved to be very efficient at preparing their mail order cycles, and the Scott proved to be no different, and although I do tend to go through the finer points of preparation once again myself, there is really no need and it is just a case of straightening and tightening of the handles bars, adjusting the seat post height to suit, and away you go. Even the battery was showing a full charge, a detail that an eager to ride new owner would appreciate. I did take things further though, and moved the layout of the cockpit around to suit my own requirements, which is something that I tend to do with any new bike, and I'm sure that others do the same. Speaking of adjustments, care does have to be taken when altering the saddle height, as the Syncros Pro cable operated dropper post, can become detached at the seat post end of the cable. This is no real issue or concern, and won't happen if the cable is either pushed or pulled from the headstock end, in conjunction with the seat post height.

After a short spin to bed the brake pads in, it was time to set off for a proper ride on the bike.

Scott E-Genius 2018 Full Suspension Electric Mountain Bike Grey

Scott E-Genius 2018 Full Suspension Electric Mountain Bike Grey

Uncover previously unexplored territory with the new Scott E-Genius 720. The 2018 model features an all new frame design, fully integrating the 500Wh battery, the E-Genius is able to take on any terrain you can throw at it.

  • Frame - NEW Alloy Frame
  • Fork - Rock Shox Recon RL Solo Air, 140mm Travel
  • Shock - X-Fusion NUDE Trunnion, 150mm Travel
  • Drivetrain - SRAM NX1 11-Speed
  • Brakes - Shimano Deore M6000 Hydraulic Disc, 203mm Rotors
  • Motor - Shimano STePS E8000, 250W, 70Nm
  • Battery - Shimano 500Wh, Integrated
  • Display - Shimano E8000 Remote & Display
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First ride

Straight onto the Shimano STePS E8000 drive unit, I was immediately struck by two things, the first being that the drive unit seemed louder that my current Bosch CX drive unit, and then second by the comparative smoothness that the transition from assist to no assist was, at the UK legal cut off point. In respect of the noise, this is a very subjective detail and one that everyone appears to offer a differing opinion about. I recall having a similar opinion when using the Yamaha PWX drive unit. In reality though, I suspect that it isn't actually the overall noise that is so different between brands, I think that it has more to do with how the power is being delivered, and how this affects the corresponding pitch and tone.

Back on to specifics about the Shimano system as fitted to the Scott 720, I initially found the left hand trigger mode change to be slightly un-natural in use, and also back to front for me. It didn't actually take very long to become accustomed to using the trigger, I am still not overly keen on how it feels back to front to me, but imagine that with a simple software change, that it could be reversed. The display unit is neat and tidy though, and I really like the menu of available options, all of which are available from one push button. These include overall distance, odometer/trip, range, riding time, average speed, maximum speed, cadence, and clock, and of course current speed, power setting and remaining battery level on one screen setting.

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The available mode setting in respect of power, are off, eco, trail and boost. As yet I haven't completed any significantly long rides on the bike, so cannot currently offer an opinion of range, but intend to do so very soon, although as usual, this is very subjective to conditions, power settings etc. For the most part I have been using either eco or trail, and only dipping into boost on rare occasions. I have slightly mixed feelings about how the power is delivered, and would prefer an option between eco and trail. In use, the feeling that I get is that the system operates more efficiently at a lower cadence than a higher one, and to me it felt as though a cadence of between 75rpm-80rpm suited the system, rather that the 85rpm - 90rpm that I am more accustomed to. It made for quite a relaxed ride, and the available torque was transferred in a user friendly way. Shimano use two types of sensor and magnet options, and on this Scott 720, Scott have opted to use the integrated RT- EM800 centre lock disc mounted magnet, and SM - DVE 11 speed sensor. The combination works very well in respect that there is no potential for the movement of the magnets, but it does have the negative of tying the owner into a specific brake rotor, or at least it appears to.

Moving on to the battery, I cannot pretend that I am generally a fan of fully integrated down tube batteries, and in the case of the Scott, this is no exception. I struggle to see any logic or reason to mount a battery, with the power on button, the key position, and the charging point, all facing the front tyre, and in a position that means that everything gets covered in mud within moments of starting a wet ride. I'm sorry, but that is to me a design disaster. The battery is also not the easiest of designs to install and remove, but others I'm sure wouldn't share this opinion, and might even like the downtube mounted design.

Now for the important bit, how does the Scott e-Genius 720 ride and handle?

As I mentioned at the start, the bike is heavy and I was expecting things to be slightly negative, this assumption actually proved to be very wrong. I am lucky in that it takes me less than sixty seconds from leaving home, to enter some glorious single-track riding, and the riding characteristics of the bike were soon uncovered. The initial impression was that the bike felt very wooden, but oddly the combination of the weight of the bike and this feel, made the bike handle in a highly stable and fun way. Taking the bike further afield to some lovely fast-flowing man made and well-groomed down hill trails, the feel was one that this bike would give an in-experienced rider a massive amount of confidence, as whilst it struggled to keep a fast flow in very tight turns due to it feeling slightly unwieldy and long, it never once felt unsettled. I didn't have any preconceived expectations of either the Rockshox Recon forks with their 140mm of travel, nor the X-Fusion rear shock absorber with its 150mm of travel, but again, neither disappointed and I have certainly not felt a need to alter any of my initial settings. On two occasions I have heard mention that these days it is hard to find poor suspension, and it is a statement that I am now in agreement with. Whilst you arguably get what you pay for in respect of suspension and even other components, if you remain open minded, you can often be pleasantly surprised. There is no doubt that the suspension components add significantly to the overall weight of the bike, but I'd certainly not let that steer me away from a potential purchase, or at least when it comes to eMTB's. The compliancy of the suspension and the bike weight also make this bike feel very stable when tackling very smooth but steep climbs. The weight seems to pull the bike towards the ground, and it makes for a very confidence inspiring and safe feel. Once again, something very beneficial to a beginner rider, or someone returning to mountain bike use. When accustomed to the weight of the bike, it can with relative ease, hopped over obstacles such as fallen branches, ruts left by vehicles or open ditches and the like, but it does require a degree of forward planning to get thing right.

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The tyres don't even need detailing and they work brilliantly on this bike, and I don't see the thinner carcass ever being an issue to an owner of this bike. The dropper post works efficiently, although I would sooner mount it on the left-hand side of the handlebar, as for me the right-hand side mount doesn't feel very natural. Move the remote for the suspension and this then becomes a viable option.

The SRAM NX1 11 speed drivetrain is far from being the smoothest or quietest system to use, with very pronounced jumps when changing up through gears, and slow thoughtful operation required, but the ratios are well suited to the bike - this is always something that could be upgraded, it is something that I would personally do if I owned the bike and the time had come to replace wear parts. Brakes are something else that I constantly read negative things about, but I have nothing but good words to say about the Shimano Deore M6000. They have to date done exactly what they should be doing, and perform at a level that I would expect from the use that this bike is probably ever going to be put to.

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One aspect that I haven't yet covered and one that is a delight to me, is that out of all of the bikes that I have either owned or simply ridden, this is the first that hasn't given me tension in the shoulders/neck after a couple of hours of use. I have spent countless hours altering handlebar widths, stem length saddle position etc on bikes with no real satisfactory result, yet I can jump on this bike and it feels just right. Buying online without trying is always a gamble in respect of size and fit, but at a touch under 1.80m tall, opting for a large size frame feels spot on for me.

Overall impressions

To summarise, this bike has so much to offer, especially for perhaps the more inexperienced rider or someone that is just after a stable and predictable bike. It inspires confidence, is a very well put together package and, most importantly, is great fun to ride. A bike that is certain not to disappoint.


eddie-bio

Eddie Jefferies

Instagram: sussexmtb

Facebook: eMTB Electric Mountain Bike Collective

At 51 years old, I have had a life-long passion towards cycling, but since the early 1990's my focus has predominantly been within the mountain bike scene, and for the last five years, actively owning and using eMTB's, encouraging and supporting others for both with his enthusiasm and passion along the way.

I ride almost every other evening throughout the year, plus at least once over the weekend period, and have an annual off-road mileage of approximately 3,500 miles. My main passion in respect of eMTB's is for climbing and elevation gain, with the Swiss Alps being the main playground of choice. I've completed many truly epic climbs and have many more planned. Beyond riding bikes, I'm just as passionate about the maintenance and detailing of them - a natural extension from my days of both Supersport and Grand Prix bike racing, where attention to detail was everything.


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