Nino Schurter's Scott Spark 700 RC with SRAM Eagle

Insight from the man himself on his 9.79kg race rig

As the current world champion in Olympic-discipline cross-country, Nino Schurter is always one of the race favorites once the start gun blows. With explosive power, supreme technical skills and masterfully tactical efforts, Schurter typically delivers results with the consistency of a Swiss-made watch.

Of course, a rider of this level will usually receive special attention when it comes to equipment selection and Schurter's bike is absolutely at the pinnacle of 'race day' equipment. Wanting to learn more of this setup, we managed to sit down with the four-time world champion before his win at the opening World Cup round in Cairns, and chat about his preferences for bike setup.

Attacking on a short power climb like he typically does. very few riders can hold on when this swiss powerhouse chooses to make his move: attacking on a short power climb like he typically does. very few riders can hold on when this swiss powerhouse chooses to make his move
Attacking on a short power climb like he typically does. very few riders can hold on when this swiss powerhouse chooses to make his move: attacking on a short power climb like he typically does. very few riders can hold on when this swiss powerhouse chooses to make his move

Nino Schurter attacking his way to a win at the first World Cup round of 2016 in Cairns, Australia

Grab a drink, sit back and read on as we delve into the finer details of Schurter's bike setup (and don't forget to scroll through the gallery above). 

Still one of the lightest

Scott Sports has a long history of creating class-leading lightweight mountain bikes. The Scale hardtail remains one of the lightest money can buy, as does the Spark RC dual suspension, which has seen little change in recent time. Schurter tells BikeRadar that the Spark will remain his key choice for much of the season, with the Scale hardtail set to make only occasional appearances. 

The Spark is one bike that pushes cross-country convention. Built to win XC races, this 27.5in-wheeled version nonetheless offers a rather long 120mm of rear wheel travel. For reference, most of the direct competition sit at 90-100mm.

Scott and dt swiss originally collaborated for the 'twinloc technology, this dt swiss twoinone switch controls both front and rear shocks simultaneously: scott and dt swiss originally collaborated for the 'twinloc technology, this dt swiss twoinone switch controls both front and rear shocks simultaneously
Scott and dt swiss originally collaborated for the 'twinloc technology, this dt swiss twoinone switch controls both front and rear shocks simultaneously: scott and dt swiss originally collaborated for the 'twinloc technology, this dt swiss twoinone switch controls both front and rear shocks simultaneously

Remote at the left hand controls the suspension

Ensuring it climbs with the best, Scott employs its 'TwinLoc' technology, offering a three-position suspension control remote to switch the bike between descending (open), traction (firm) and climbing (locked) modes. Fully open, the bike sits at 120mm of travel, but switch mode and it reduces to 85mm. The front fork is linked to the same handlebar remote; switch the rear shock and the fork's compression changes to match.

In addition to the TwinLoc technology, the Spark offers a flippable chip that allows for a choice between two geometry positions. What shouldn't be too surprising is that Schurter runs his in the 'High' position for a more aggressive head angle.

The High position also raises the bottom bracket, but this likely doesn't present any issues as Schurter uses a 100mm travel fork on this frame designed for a 120mm version. That shorter fork will obviously lower the bottom bracket height, but it’ll also steepen the 68.8-degree head angle closer to 69.8 degrees.

Yep, there's little about this bike thatõs low cost. apparently this dt swiss carbon fork crown and steerer is made by dt swiss in switzerland : yep, there's little about this bike thatõs low cost. apparently this dt swiss carbon fork crown and steerer is made by dt swiss in switzerland
Yep, there's little about this bike thatõs low cost. apparently this dt swiss carbon fork crown and steerer is made by dt swiss in switzerland : yep, there's little about this bike thatõs low cost. apparently this dt swiss carbon fork crown and steerer is made by dt swiss in switzerland

A carbon fork steerer and crown is said to save 120 grams

That 100mm fork is DT Swiss' latest OPM Race, an impressively lightweight item as a result of the new carbon steerer and crown. New low friction seals from SKF help to improve small bump performance.

In a slight change from last season, Schurter is using a standard, non-carbon version of the DT Swiss X313 Remote rear shock. We suspect this may be due to how the carbon air sleeve handles excessive heat from Schurter’s descending, as otherwise he'd be taking the opportunity to save a few more grams here.

You'll find similar logos on products sold by scott. for example, you can buy a 20in kids bike plastered with the same labels, including nino's name: you'll find similar logos on products sold by scott. for example, you can buy a 20in kids bike plastered with the same labels, including nino's name
You'll find similar logos on products sold by scott. for example, you can buy a 20in kids bike plastered with the same labels, including nino's name: you'll find similar logos on products sold by scott. for example, you can buy a 20in kids bike plastered with the same labels, including nino's name

More than a decal, Schurter has his name below the clearcoat

Helping to ensure the bike stays in the right hands, Schurter's bikes are nearly always treated with custom paint – as was the case here. It's worth noting that these graphics typically carry some 'cred', and Scott successfully sells 'Nino' replica product and bikes (including for kids) in many markets.

Bike fit is course-dependent

Bike setup, Schurter says, will change to suit the varying courses. "I adjust suspension, tires and sometimes even my position. If there are really steep climbs, and I feel like it’s not comfortable to ride my position for long climbs, then I go higher on the seat to help. My seat height will vary 2-3mm."

With a set-back measurement of just 4.7cm, Schurter rides in a relatively forward position. It's a trend that’s flowing from the top of cross country lately, with positions tailored to the hard, flat-out and technical racing that the sport has become. 

New sram level ultimate brakes for this whip. these brakes feel amazing, and hide a few cool features such as sealed bearings at the lever pivot points. also note the ritchey handlebar which drops 5mm from center: new sram level ultimate brakes for this whip. these brakes feel amazing, and hide a few cool features such as sealed bearings at the lever pivot points. also note the ritchey handlebar which drops 5mm from center
New sram level ultimate brakes for this whip. these brakes feel amazing, and hide a few cool features such as sealed bearings at the lever pivot points. also note the ritchey handlebar which drops 5mm from center: new sram level ultimate brakes for this whip. these brakes feel amazing, and hide a few cool features such as sealed bearings at the lever pivot points. also note the ritchey handlebar which drops 5mm from center

Wider bars are a common trend across all disciplines of mountain biking

Schurter's choice in handlebar width is another aspect of evolving setup. For 2016, he's moved to a 710mm width bar, a far cry from the 580mm width bars of cross-country racing's past.

"I went wider recently for cross country," he says. "On my other bikes I always have wide bars. Now the downhils are more technical and I prefer more control. You don’t win races on downhills, but you sure can lose them."

Tubular-wrapped mid-size wheels

Schurter's move to a 27.5in wheel, among a 29er crowd, was met with much interest a few seasons ago. At the time, Scott already had a full quiver of World Cup-grade 29ers, but it was said that Schurter was unable to achieve the handlebar height he desired without greatly compromising handling.

Dugast provide the tubular tyres, although those 27.5in dt swiss carbon tubular rims may present a larger issue in sourcing for your replica nino bike: dugast provide the tubular tyres, although those 27.5in dt swiss carbon tubular rims may present a larger issue in sourcing for your replica nino bike
Dugast provide the tubular tyres, although those 27.5in dt swiss carbon tubular rims may present a larger issue in sourcing for your replica nino bike: dugast provide the tubular tyres, although those 27.5in dt swiss carbon tubular rims may present a larger issue in sourcing for your replica nino bike

The 'W' refers to tread compound

As a longtime user of tubular tires, Schurter's wheel and tire choices sit in the pro-only realms. Sure, at €103 a piece you can buy the 50mm width (approx. 2.1in) Dugast tires he ran in Cairns, but his DT Swiss 27.5in carbon tubular wheels aren’t something you’ll find as easily.

Glued to the carbon rim, tubular tires offer some significant benefits for those who have a mechanic to do the work. For one, the system is seriously light at the rim, right where it counts. Low pressures can be ridden without risk of burping or rolling the tire from the rim. Rolling resistance is potentially lower by allowing for a suppler tire construction. Finally, if a flat does occur, the tire will stay in place for the rider to get to the nearest service zone.

However, obvious costs and mechanic hours aside, transporting pre-glued wheels and tires present logistical issues. Schurter believes five different tire types were brought across to Cairns from Europe for him. However, his Swiss-based team surely has access to far more options on its home continent.

A close look at the tread of the dugast fast bird 50mm tubular. while widths typically vary greatly depending on brand and setup, this was comparable to many 2.1in tyres on the market: a close look at the tread of the dugast fast bird 50mm tubular. while widths typically vary greatly depending on brand and setup, this was comparable to many 2.1in tyres on the market
A close look at the tread of the dugast fast bird 50mm tubular. while widths typically vary greatly depending on brand and setup, this was comparable to many 2.1in tyres on the market: a close look at the tread of the dugast fast bird 50mm tubular. while widths typically vary greatly depending on brand and setup, this was comparable to many 2.1in tyres on the market

Schurter chose this fast-rolling tread pattern for the dry and dusty conditions at Cairns

Prior to travelling, the riders have a pretty good idea of the terrain ahead and so can limit their choices without having to bring everything. In Schurter's case, he says, beyond the obvious tread changes even the construction of the tubular can vary, with more protection being built into it to suit the conditions.

So why not just run a more protected tire all the time? Weight and rolling resistance come back into play.

SRAM soars

Yep, that's bigger than your face. sram's new eagle drivetrain features a 10-50t cassette: yep, that's bigger than your face. sram's new eagle drivetrain features a 10-50t cassette
Yep, that's bigger than your face. sram's new eagle drivetrain features a 10-50t cassette: yep, that's bigger than your face. sram's new eagle drivetrain features a 10-50t cassette

SRAM Eagle won its debut World Cup thanks to Schurter

Schurter was the only rider with SRAM’s new 12-speed XX1 Eagle drivetrain at this opening World Cup round – and it was impossible to miss in its gold livery. Offering an enormous 500% range, the new drivetrain is surely the future of single-ring setups.

"I’ve already raced it before Cairns," says Schurter, before we ask about chainring size to match the enormous 10-50t cassette. "I’m on a 38t," he replies. "I don’t think I’ll ever go down in size for the rest of the season – I may go up to a 40t, but for slow courses I use a 38. For a stage race if it’s really long or steep climbs, then maybe I’ll use a 36t. But 38t is about the smallest you (pros) need for XC."

Schurter was the only rider in cairns with sram's new eagle drivetrain. however, it seems the big american component company couldn't get the matching crank made in time. on another note, that's a 38t chainring you're looking at: schurter was the only rider in cairns with sram's new eagle drivetrain. however, it seems the big american component company couldn't get the matching crank made in time. on another note, that's a 38t chainring you're looking at
Schurter was the only rider in cairns with sram's new eagle drivetrain. however, it seems the big american component company couldn't get the matching crank made in time. on another note, that's a 38t chainring you're looking at: schurter was the only rider in cairns with sram's new eagle drivetrain. however, it seems the big american component company couldn't get the matching crank made in time. on another note, that's a 38t chainring you're looking at

The matching crankset wasn't ready just yet

Clearly the gearing setup is extremely fresh as the matching crankset was not in place. Sitting above the crankset, Schurter continues to use a minimalist chain guide that simply stops the chain from lifting off the top of the ring.

Equally as new as the Eagle gearing, Schurter is using SRAM’s latest flagship hydraulic disc brake – the Level Ultimate. Like every new top-tier product, these are the lightest and highest-performing the brand has offered yet. Including hardware and rotors, a pair of these is claimed to weigh just 636g without any compromise to braking function.

New Ritchey bits

As a longtime rider of Ritchey equipment, Schurter showcases both proven and fresh components on his bike. On the fresh side, Schurter is running the new Superlogic foam grips and WCS XC clipless pedals.

Seems ritchey has some new superlight foam grips on the way. we've seen another version similar to these that claimed to weigh just 9grams, these could be lighter again: seems ritchey has some new superlight foam grips on the way. we've seen another version similar to these that claimed to weigh just 9grams, these could be lighter again
Seems ritchey has some new superlight foam grips on the way. we've seen another version similar to these that claimed to weigh just 9grams, these could be lighter again: seems ritchey has some new superlight foam grips on the way. we've seen another version similar to these that claimed to weigh just 9grams, these could be lighter again

New grips for Schurter

The Superlogic grips appear to have a simpler profile to the ‘Ergo’ version we’ve seen launched. Regardless, they look to be made of the same ‘nano foam’ as the Ergos and therefore likely weigh less than 9g per pair!

Now in production, schurter rides ritchey's new wcs xc pedal. spd cleats can be used with these : now in production, schurter rides ritchey's new wcs xc pedal. spd cleats can be used with these
Now in production, schurter rides ritchey's new wcs xc pedal. spd cleats can be used with these : now in production, schurter rides ritchey's new wcs xc pedal. spd cleats can be used with these

Mint condition. Schurter uses Ritchey pedals

The pedals are something Schurter rode for much of last season, but in a prototype form. For 2016, they were officially released and the SPD-compatible design jumped up in weight to a claimed 298g for the pair. These are only marginally lighter than Shimano’s best offering, but by the looks of it offer improved mud clearance. It’s possible Schurter’s pedals run on lighter titanium axles, but that’s just our speculation.

Certainly not a common occurence on a race bike of this level, all of Schurter’s contact points are taken care of by this one Swiss-based brand.

Dropper for Nino?

Schurter dropping in from the 'rodeo drop' at cairns world cup. such technical features caused riders such as julien absalon and dan mcconnell to use dropper seatposts : schurter dropping in from the 'rodeo drop' at cairns world cup. such technical features caused riders such as julien absalon and dan mcconnell to use dropper seatposts
Schurter dropping in from the 'rodeo drop' at cairns world cup. such technical features caused riders such as julien absalon and dan mcconnell to use dropper seatposts : schurter dropping in from the 'rodeo drop' at cairns world cup. such technical features caused riders such as julien absalon and dan mcconnell to use dropper seatposts

Technical features like this caused a few top riders to use dropper posts, but perhaps only so they wouldn't lose ground to Schurter's downhill prowess

With the likes of Julien Absalon and Dan McConnell taking to dropper seatposts for the rocky Cairns course, we ask Schurter for his thoughts.

"I’m truly happy without a dropper seatpost for this course," the Swiss powerhouse says.

"All the dropper posts you get are too heavy or just not for cross country," he goes on. "I’m sure the future will have these, but they’re (currently) too slow, too long and you need to put your body weight on them. For real cross country they must be faster, lighter, easier and shorter." 

Race-day gadgets

Both Garmin and GoPro sponsor Schurter, and so he races while capturing both race data and footage.

A special brackets mounts the gopro directly to the ritchey wcs stem : a special brackets mounts the gopro directly to the ritchey wcs stem
A special brackets mounts the gopro directly to the ritchey wcs stem : a special brackets mounts the gopro directly to the ritchey wcs stem

The GoPro integrates to the front of the stem

His Garmin Edge 520 head unit sits directly on the stem with a standard rubber band mount. However, it’s the GoPro Hero 4 Session that sits on an integrated mount that bolts in with the Ritchey stem faceplate.

With permission from racing legend and Scott-Odlo MTB Racing team manager Thomas Frischknecht, we hang Nino’s race bike on our own scales – it reads 9.79kg. Making this figure all the more impressive, this includes the Garmin Edge 520 and GoPro Hero 4 Session camera as pictured.

Complete bike specifications

  • Frame: Scott Spark 700 RC, size Medium
  • Rear shock: DT Swiss X313 Remote
  • Fork: DT Swiss OPM O.D.L 100 Race
  • Headset: Ritchey Superlogic
  • Stem: Ritchey WCS C220, 90mm, -17 degree
  • Handlebar: Ritchey WCS Superlogic, 710 width, -5mm rise,
  • Grips: Ritchey Superlogic foam
  • Front brake: SRAM Level Ultimate, 160mm 2-piece CLX rotor
  • Rear brake: SRAM Level Ultimate, 160mm 2-piece CLX rotor
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM XX1 Eagle
  • Shift levers: SRAM XX1 Eagle
  • Cassette: SRAM XX1 Eagle XG-1299, 10-50T, 12-speed
  • Chain: SRAM XX1 Eagle, 12-speed
  • Crankset: SRAM XX1, 38T Direct Mount ring, 175mm
  • Bottom bracket: SRAM GXP Blackbox
  • Pedals: Ritchey WCS XC
  • Front wheel: DT Swiss XRC tubular (team only)
  • Rear wheel: DT Swiss XRC tubular (team only)
  • Front tire: Dugast Fast Bird 50mm tubular
  • Rear tire: Dugast Fast Bird 50mm tubular
  • Saddle: Ritchey WCS Carbon Stream
  • Seatpost: Ritchey WCS carbon, 1-bolt, zero set-back
  • Bottle cages: Topeak Shuffle CF
  • Other accessories: Garmin Edge 520, GoPro Hero 4 Session

Critical measurements

  • Rider's height: 1.73m (5ft 8in)
  • Rider's weight: 68kg (150lb)
  • Saddle height from BB, c-t: 715mm
  • Saddle setback: 47mm
  • Seat tube length (c-t): 440mm
  • Head tube length: 110mm
  • Top tube length (effective): 598mm
  • Weight: 9.79kg (21.58lb)
David Rome

Former Editor, Australia
Dave was the editor of BikeRadar Australia until early 2016.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road and cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Fast and flowing singletrack with the occasional air is the dream. Also happy chasing tarmac bends.
  • Current Bikes: Trek Fuel EX 27.5, SwiftCarbon Detritovore, Salsa Chilli Con Crosso
  • Dream Bike: Custom Independent Fabrications titanium, SRAM Etap and Enve wheels/cockpit
  • Beer of Choice: Gin & tonic
  • Location: Sydney, Australia

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