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​The collective groan as the new 27.5+ standard first made an appearance could be heard around the globe. Like, do we REALLY need more wheel sizes, haven't we been through enough with 29 and 27.5 already? The internet forums were ablaze with naysayers, of course, but in the real world that meant little. SRAM introduced a whole new BB and rear hub spacing standard dubbed "BOOST", among other things to support the introduction of this new fat bike/traditional MTB hybrid, built around the principle that a bigger tire contact patch should equate more grip and a more forgiving ride. Tire makers blatantly disregarded the hate and started developing 27.5" tires up to 3.0" wide, which leads us to this article and the introduction of a whole slew of PLUS models in the 2016 SCOTT line-up.

“These Plus bikes are flat out fun. Tricky descents, slick roots, steep climbs, whatever, the Genius Plus takes it all in stride. This thing had a grin on my face from the get go.” - Brendan Fairclough, World Cup DH racer and general bike wizard

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So what is 27.5+? Basically, it's a combination of a wider tire and a wider, 27.5" rim. The result is a wheel with the external diameter close to a traditional 29" wheel, but much wider (but not to be confused with a proper fat bike tire, which is usually around 4" wide). SCOTT worked with Schwalbe to determine the ideal 27.5+ width, and found that at 2.8" wide, the tradeoff between increased grip, weight, and rolling resistance was optimized for "proper" mountain biking. In other words, this is not some kind of semi fat bike meant for riding on the beach or in the snow, but rather a high-performance mountain bike designed to offer a new riding experience.

“The Genius 700 Tuned Plus is probably the most capable bike I’ve ever ridden. The traction and control that the Plus offers is just unbelievable. But it`s not only the wider tires - the geometry is dialed, so the bike is up to the task of delivering more aggressive handling.” - Kyle Jameson, SCOTT Athlete

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One of the key enablers of 27.5+ wheels is a wide rim. At 40-mm internal width, the Syncros rims featured on SCOTT's new PLUS bikes is said to offer increased lateral support, and enable riders to use lower tire pressure - all in the name of traction and fun, says SCOTT. Of course, wider rims are currently being (re)introduced to regular sized MTB wheels as well, so rather than look at 27.5+ as something new, it could be considered the most extreme end of that evolution. We've certainly been able to observe the benefits of a wider rim on a "normal" MTB wheel for ourselves, so we're open to the idea that one size may not fit all, and that new concepts shouldn't be thrown out just because they are different to what we know. Just a few short years ago, DH bikes were "never going to" go to 27.5"...

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One of the major challenges in getting 29" bikes to handle better was related to geometry, specifically fork offset and chainstay length. The same holds true of 27.5+. The introduction of the Boost standard moves the chainline outboard by 3-mm, which has freed up enough space around the BB to allow SCOTT to use 445-mm chainstays yet maintain front derailleur compatibility (even though the new bikes are optimized for 1x).

In terms of weight, the new Genius 700 Tuned Plus weighs in at a scant 12.3kg, great numbers for a capable 140mm travel bike regardless of wheel size. The 700 LT Plus (which will not be offered in the US), bumps travel to 160-mm but only adds 400-grams to the overall bike weight. Of course, this is with a tubeless Nobby Nic set-up - if you were to start looking for DH-rated Plus tires you'd look a long time, and you'd end up with a pretty hefty weight penalty at this tire size. Regardless, the new PLUS bikes are a far cry from heavy and sluggish rides, at least on paper.

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The new PLUS bikes all benefit from the 2016 FOX suspension tech as well, introducing the general improvements made by FOX this year to SCOTT's TwinLoc versions - with travel adjust modes that affect both travel and suspension behavior.

Pricing and availability for the new bikes are yet to be determined, but you can check out the models below, and cruise on over to www.scott-sports.com for more when it becomes available.

2016 SCOTT 27.5 PLUS Bikes

GENIUS 700 TUNED PLUS

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GENIUS 710 PLUS

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GENIUS 720 PLUS

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SCALE 710 PLUS

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SCALE 720 PLUS

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