When 29ers hit the market a few years ago, there might have been questions in some peoples minds about their place on hard hitting trails, but there has been almost universal acceptance of the wagon wheels among the elite XC crowd since.

In 2012, Nino Schurter shook up the status quo with a world cup win on 650B wheels. While we don’t normally cover racing events, that story was significant enough to merit it’s own lengthy post.

So while the world cup athletes were busy racing in South Africa, we took a closer look at the historic bike on display at Scott’s booth at Sea Otter.


While the UCI has weight minimums for road racing, the XC field has no such restrictions. This XC bike was littered with one off carbon and titanium bits to achieve its rumored ~17lb weight.


The blackbox designation across the levers of these Avid XX brakes indicate some fancy magic is hidden behind the shiny brakes exterior.


A DT-Swiss fork with carbon lowers and a remote lockout that is routed through the aluminum steer provides handles suspension duties.


The bike is built around a one-off carbon frame that features touches you would never see on a consumer oriented frame – like this built in seat post binder. While this design is ultra light, it’s also the kind of thing a ham fisted mechanic could easily break.

The other main difference between this frame and the production unit is the head tube length. Schurter prefers a lower front end, so his head tube has been made shorter.


A little bit Swiss and a little bit World Champ, the rainbow stripes and crosses do homage to Schurter’s winning ways and heritage.



Scott integrates a chain guide into several of it’s frames, but the World Cup winning bike’s (pictured top) is shaped differently than the stock unit and placed much closer to the chain ring.


The rear triangle is tastefully plastered with the logo of various sponsors.


Front and back, Nino is sporting custom tubular tires.


How custom? It’s not just the tread. The A.Dugast tires also bear his name and his favorite configuration of colors.


As a SRAM sponsored athlete, Nino has been sporting an XX1 drivetrain since it’s release. He won a silver medal on this groupset at the last Summer Olympics.



  1. patrik on

    They might as well put a sticker on it that reads, “This looks Euro, in case you couldn’t figure it out yourself.”

  2. badbikemechanic on

    This article is a little misleading- Absolon, Fontana and Kilhauvey regularly win world cups on 29ers. Kilhauvey even won the 2012 Olympics xc on a 29er epic. Shurter has admitted that he rides a 27.5 because 29ers are too big for him. It’s the engine not the bike or wheel size that wins world cup races.

  3. MarkV on

    Guys, Scott did make this bike in a Limited Release of 200 frames for sale to the bike shops. I have had one for a while and really, really like this bike……but I swear I didn’t steal it from Nino! This is the best hardtail I have ever ridden and XC racing it is a blast!

    BTW- 27.5″ makes a lot of sense for me at 5’7″, 29″ was never an option I could get comfortable on.

  4. Colin on

    The only reason it is a 650b is because Scott invested in the “bigger is better” concept, and wouldn’t make him the bike he really wanted, a 26″!

    Mark, REALLY?!? The whole “not tall enough to ride a 29er” argument is so 2008. Emily Batty is 5’3″, rides a men’s frame and just finished 2nd at Cairns, and I have friends that are below 5′ that love their 29ers. Frame size is dictated by height, not wheel size.

  5. badbikemechanic on


    I am glad there are plenty of wheel options for folks to choose from. I personally ride a 29er because I think they look awesome, they ride like a monster truck on the trails, and they really rip on east coast single track. However it’s a dog in the air. If a 650b works for you… great! Mountain biking is traditionally a very inclusive sport. Whatever gets you out there and hopefully racing. I would hate for out sport to become elitist like road biking and how cyclocross has become in recent years.

  6. packfill on


    2008…really? Frame size is indeed dictated by wheel size. Ever seen a 5’2″ woman racing world cups on a 29r with a riser bar flipped upside down? I have. Longer axle to crown and a taller front wheel means that it’s really hard to get the front end down low enough. I believe Emily Batty is running her headset without a top cap. she’s also running a custom made ridiculously steep negative rise stem. Those aren’t practicle options for most people.

  7. Heffe on

    Nino claims that he specifically chose 650b over the other 2 wheel sizes after extensive testing. He has said this in interviews, video and print, over and over again.

  8. Colin on

    It’s not a custom made stem, and her headset is 100% in tact. I have 2 of those stems on the rack next to me, I run a 17degree stem, slammed and neg, on my 29er, and I’m 6’1.

    badbikemechanic, I agree with you completely, there are a lot of reasons someone might want, or not want a 29er, but I height is a totally invalid one.

    heffe, every pro rider says they are on the best bike currently made, do you believe all of them?

  9. Kaj on

    That Dugast tread (Pipisquallo) is available for anyone.
    I wonder if any close ups of the rims were made? As far as I know, Schurter has a custom wheel size. I saw one of his bikes on display last year, and the rims were marked as 600 (27.5 = 584, 28 = 622)
    Story is this is the biggest wheel size Schurter can handle.

  10. packfill on

    @colin… if you run a -17 degree stem slammed and your 6′ 1″, how’s a 5’2″ woman supposed to get her handlebar down low enough? thanks for proving my point.

  11. Colin on

    It has to do with personal preference, I also have 5 inch drop seat to bars on my road bike.

    also, your is possessive, you’re is a contraction for you are

  12. RUN DMZ on

    Taking swipes at others’ grammar is totally fun to read and not passive aggressive at all. This post is also fun to read and not passive aggressive.

  13. MarkV on

    Colin, I choose the 27.5″/650B because it works better for me proportionally and for where I live and ride. You are right a 29’er can be made to fit a 5′ foot tall rider, but it is done in a less than ideal way (silly stem, flipped bars, no headset cap, lower gearing, etc).
    Normal riders (not WC racers) under 5’8″-5’9″, have a harder time powering the bigger wheel for real “mountain biking”. If I lived in Texas, Florida, Kansas or somewhere flatter, this may be a non-issue….but I don’t and the mid size wheel just plain works better in my opinion.

    As a side note, I spent a few days riding with Nino in Utah and he fully believes the same and seems to be making his mark with the 27.5″/650B wheel size. He was the driving force in bringing this bike to market for Scott. Like it or not, 29’ers aren’t for everyone and now we have a choice. I bet someday soon, most bike brands (Trek, Spec, even Niner) will have both wheel sizes for XC and you will see a change in what is considered the best option for each rider.
    For now, Enjoy riding whatever makes you happy!

  14. A on

    @Colin you are right in the sense that anyone can fit a 29er the same way you can adapt the wrong size bike to fit someone, Emily batty has to run an inline (backwards) seat-post, saddle slammed way forward and custom stem and bars TO MAKE HER 29er FIT HER…..
    I reckon she’d feel at home on a 650b!

  15. b on

    …a remote lockout that is routed through the aluminum steer provides…

    a remote lockout that is routed through the aluminum crown provides

    We are bike people, this stuff matters.

  16. Jdog on

    Scale based sizing makes the most sense to me. Look for some bike MFGERS using this in 2015. 27.5 in XXS, SM , MED / 29″ in MED, LG, XL, XXL. XC guys who have tried 27.5 and compared it to 29er, (for the most part) complain that you have to pedal more on 27.5 since they carry less momentum. 29ers on a fast, flowy course with few 180 degree switchbacks are hard to beat. Throw in a ton of switchbacks and a Lot of quick accelerations, and a 27.5 starts to make sense. On the east coast, any XC race is well attended by those on Scalpel 29ers. For good reason. This debate is far from over. If you are 6′-2″ or 5′-2″ the choice should be obvious. For those in the middle… Maybe less so??

  17. Kark on

    @Colin, your initial argument for fitment of a 29r is based on a n=1. Emily, while awesome, is not representative of most peoples requirements or wants.

    e.g. Are you extraordinarily talented, incredibly strong, absolutely focused 100% on fastest possible lap times on an XC course and sponsored by a company with an investment in 29rs? no? yeah, me neither.)

    Jdogs post resonates with me. I tried the 29r thing, fought it for a year and sold it as it didn’t suit me or my local & preferred terrain. (east coast technical single track) That said, there are places I’ve ridden that, were I to live there, I’d likely have kept the 29r as a viable option for some rides. As it is, I’ve no interest in the big wheels anymore and I’m 175cm.

  18. Jdog on

    As a side note.. If your product manager is 5′-4″ tall and he comes out with a full line of 27.5″ wheeled bikes.. Well he made a fleet of awesome bikes that are well suited for him. Buyers have a right to be suspicious.


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