On Saturday a pair of new World Champions rode away from the competition on two Specialized Epic/Eras for the men’s U23 and elite women’s wins. Then on Sunday the remaining two new champions repeated, this time on the new Scott Spark RC World Cup, officially released just a week ago. In the morning Jenny Rissveds lined up on the 27.5″ version of the new bike, but for the afternoon’s big show, returning 2015 World Champion Nino Schurter took to the Nové Město course on the 29er Scott Spark RC 900 WC. His bike shared some similarities with Rissveds’ ride, but Nino had some of his own special touches. Take a closer look with us after the break…
Nino Schurter won the fourth and last of the main World Champion races over the weekend. And while we saw at least a third of racers competing on hardtails, it is probably worth noting that all of the winners (and maybe even every podiums finisher we saw, come to think of it) were racing full-suspension bikes. At the same time that full-suspension XC race bikes seem to climb more efficiently almost every year, Nové Město is an example of race courses adding more technical elements to keep the racers on their toes.
The elite men’s race was less of an open and shut case, with the podium of local course favorite Jaroslav Kulhavý and MTB legend Julien Absalon going back and forth for the first few laps. Ultimately Schurter was able to put in a big effort and distance his rivals to roll across the finish for his 5th elite, and 2nd consecutive Worlds title.
Like Jenny Rissveds, Schurter had just received his customized team paint job bike in the week leading up to the World Championship after racing the season on a geometric camo version of the bike before the revised suspension design update was officially announced last week. Also like Rissveds, Schurter raced and won aboard a World Cup-level frame, using Scotts’s standard HMX carbon material, instead of the just announced lighter Spark RC SL frame with its HMX-SL carbon fiber and optimized layup. In the 29er the SL is claimed to save around 100g, which realistically isn’t that much, and any difference in stiffness or performance probably wasn’t enough to warrant riding a new and less real-world-tested bike at such an important race. Clearly it didn’t hold Nino back.
Again the same as Rissveds, Nino rode perched atop a Ritchey WCS Streem saddle, this time with carbon rails, and bolted to and Ritchey’s no-offset 2-bolt WCS carbon seatpost.
It is of course also of note that each of the 4 main event winners was racing on SRAM’s new 12 speed XX1 Eagle. While Jenny Rissveds was riding a carry over set of XX1 crank arms, all of the winners used Eagle’s wide 10-50 cassette matched up to an X-Sync direct-mount spiderless chainring. These four also all used the single trigger shifter to control the XX1 Eagle rear derailleur, instead of the grip-shift option.
Schurter pedaled a big 38T X-Sync Eagle chainring on the XX1 Eagle carbon cranks to keep a fast pace and his competitors behind him. Schurter clips in to those cranks with the new Ritchey WCS XC pedals that he helped develop.
Schurter’s new bike doesn’t just get his custom yellow eagle on the toptube, but also his name, rainbow stripes, and Swiss flag on either side of the seattube. The 100mm travel of Schurter’s new Boosted frame is managed by a trunnion mount high volume R414 shock from DT Swiss. And his single water bottle is held in place by a Topeak Shuttle carbon cage,
Even though Schurter has been well-known to race on tubulars and had previously raced the same new Dugast Ori tubeless tubulars that Rissveds won on, he was instead racing on a set of prototype tires with their non-sponsor-correct Maxxis hot stamps blacked out with Sharpie. A closer look revealed that they are a pre-production set of Maxxis Aspen tubeless tires in a 29″ x 2.1″ casing. Even though Schurter has seen good results with the Dugasts, he apparently wanted something a little more durable to handle the several rock gardens of the Nové Město course. The tires were mounted up tubeless to DT Swiss’ new 24mm wide internal XMC 1200 Spline carbon rims.
Handling suspension up front is the newest version of the carbon-crowned DT Swiss OPM O.D.L. 100 Race team fork. While the new Scott frame uses a Boost 148 spaced rear end, DT’s fork sticks with a 15x100mm thru-axle that they feel is up to the stiffness needs of XC racing. As did Rissveds, Schurter’s bar was setup with a Two-in-One DT Swiss TwinLoc remote for 3-position open-platform-lock out for both fork and shock. He also raced with a small Garmin Edge 25 GPS to track ride and heartrate data.
Sponsored by Ritchey Logic, Schurter’s Scott-Odlo team races with their WCS cockpit components, mostly in a Team neon yellow WCS finish. He races with a flat WCS carbon handlebar flipped over for a -5mm rise (drop) attached with an alloy 90mm, steep negative rise WCS C260 stem with its tiny reverse facing Torx clamping bolts. Schurter grabs onto the bar with the shapely neoprene foam WCS Truegrip grips. Like the other three winners, stopping duty is handled by SRAM’s new Level Ultimate disc brakes.
Schurter’s race bike weighed in at just 9.79kg/21.58lb, about half a pound heavier than the smaller 650b bike with tubulars that Jenny Rissveds won on earlier in the day.
It certainly wasn’t the first big win from Nino Schurter, but he seemed pretty excited at the finish. It was a hard-fought race, with Kulhavý dominating for at least the first lap, so Nino said after the race that it felt like one of his biggest ever wins.
He was of course happy to put on the rainbow jersey again and look forward to racing at the Olympics.