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Scott: ’27-plus’ adds up to huge benefit for off-road riders

Published July 20, 2015
Swiss brand touts merits of new wheel standard at media launch.

PARK CITY, Utah (BRAIN) — It’s little wonder the 27.5-plus mountain category gets top billing in Scott Sports’ 2016 catalog. The Swiss brand has been beating the drum lately about the wheel/tire combo, in which 2.8- or 3-inch tires — make that 2.8s in Scott’s case — combined with wide rims and the Boost front and rear hub spacing are claimed to offer some of the flotation and bigger contact patch of fat bike tires without significantly sacrificing the rollover performance of traditional 29er tires or the nimble handling of narrower 27.5-inch treads.

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Scott will be bringing eight new 27.5-plus models to the U.S. this fall — two hardtails and six full-suspension rigs — marking the broadest introduction yet for the emerging wheel/tire size. 

At a media launch Sunday in Park City, Scott USA mountain bike marketing manager Zack Vestal likened the leap to the company’s early dive into the 27.5/650b market three years ago. “We’re excited to to be at the front of another leap forward into mountain biking — and that’s the 27-plus size,” he said.

Scott announced in June that it would be launching five 27.5-plus bikes in the U.S. and 11 in Europe this year, including an electric model for the international market. But the enthusiastic dealer response to the initial announcement spurred Scott to quickly add a trio of bikes to the U.S. launch. So the three-model Genius LT Plus range, with 160 millimeters of adjustable rear travel via a Fox Nude rear shock, complements  Scott’s three Genius Plus 140-millimeter full-suspension rigs and two Scale Plus aluminum hardtails. 

The bikes are on target to arrive at Scott’s U.S. warehouses in November. 

Much like the rider experience has been enhanced by longer-travel bikes, larger disc brake rotors and dropper saetposts, Vestal said, the greater traction and stability of 27.5-plus could help open riders of all skill levels to new types of terrain. “It makes any trail more fun thanks to the grip and confidence on the trail,” he said.

Scott zeroed in on a 40-millimeter rim width — produced under the Syncros brand, which Scott acquired in 2012 and relaunched in 2013 — after experimenting with rim widths from 30 to 50 millimeters. The 40-mil puts a generous portion of the tire in contact with the ground while still lending the tire ample support down to pressures as low as 13 psi, noted Rene Krattinger, Scott bike product manager based in Switzerland.

As for tires, Scott leveraged its relationship with longtime spec partner Schwalbe. The first design, a 3-inch-wide tread, proved too bouncy and unstable cornering, Krattinger said. A subsequent 2.8-inch design was hampered by excess rolling resistance, but a lower-profile 2.8 revision delivered the desired cornering and control.

“For me, the tire size is just beginning. … It’s just a new world. It helps the beginner — even the pro is better,” Krattinger said.

2016 Scott Sports 27.5-plus bike MSRPs: 

Scale 720 Plus: Scale Plus alloy frame, Suntour Raidon RL-R/Air 120mm fork, Shimano Deore XT Shadow rear 10-speed derailleur, Shimano Deore SL-M610 Rapidfire Plus shifters, Shimano FC-M627-B Boost 36/22T crankset, Shimano M425 disc brakes (180mm front/160mm rear): $1,699

Scale 710 Plus: Scale Plus alloy frame, Fox 32 Float Performance Air FIT4 120mm fork, SRAM GX1 1x11 drivetrain, Shimano M506 disc brakes (180mm front/160mm rear): $2,599 

Genius 720 Plus: 34 FIT4 140mm fork, Fox Float rear shock with DPS damping 140mm travel, Shimano Deore/XT drivetrain, Shimano SLX disc brakes (180mm front/rear), X-Fusion Hilo Strate dropper seatpost: $3,999

Genius 710 Plus: 34 FIT4 140mm fork, Fox Nude rear shock with DPS damping & EVOL 140mm travel, SRAM GX1 11-speed drivetrain, Shimano SLX disc brakes (180mm front/rear), RockShox Reverb Stealth droppert seatpost: $4,999 

Genius 710 Tuned Plus: Fork 34 FIT4 Factory 140mm fork, Fox Nude rear shock with DPS damping & EVOL 140mm travel, SRAM XO1 11-speed, Shimano XTR M9020 disc brakes (180mm front/rear), RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper seatpost: $7,999

Genius LT 720 Plus: Fox 36 FIT4 160mm fork, Fox Float rear shock with DPS damping 160mm travel, SRAM GX1 11-speed drivetrain, Shimano SLX disc brakes (203mm front/180mm rear), X-Fusion Hilo Strate dropper seatpost: $4,199 

Genius LT 710 Plus: Fox 36 FIT4 160mm fork, Fox Nude rear shock with DPS damping & EVOL 160mm travel, SRAM GX1 11-speed drivetrain, Shimano SLX disc brakes (203mm front/180mm rear, RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper seatpost: $5,299

Genius LT 700 Tuned Plus: Fox 36 FIT4 Factory 160mm fork, Fox Nude rear shock with DPS damping & EVOL 160mm travel, SRAM XO1 11-speed drivetrain, Shimano XTR disc brakes (203mm front/180mm rear), RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper seatpost: $7,999

Scott Genius LT Plus

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