What’s the difference between a trail/enduro bike and a XC racing machine? We took a closer look at Nino Schurter’s current race bike, the SCOTT Spark RC 900 World Cup. And while we were there, we had a chat with his trusted team mechanic Yanick Gyger, who filled us in on the details.
Looking beyond our own horizons is always a good idea. While testing bikes for our latest group test on the hills around Massa Marittima, we stumbled across the SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing team, which happened to be training on the same trails. Due to the travel restrictions imposed by governments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team was forced to move their training camp from South Africa to the Tuscan hills. For us, this was the perfect opportunity to take a closer look at Nino’s current race bike, the SCOTT Spark RC 900 World Cup in the “European Champion” finish.
When it comes to XC bikes, weight plays a crucial role – on the race track, every gram counts! We talked to Yanick Gyger, chief mechanic of the SCOTT-SRAM MTB Racing Team, who told us everything about Nino’s bike and shared a few interesting details with us. Most EWS riders run tire inserts to prevent punctures and protect their rims from impacts. However, tire inserts are relatively heavy and thus not ideal for XC bikes, which are all about low weight and climbing efficiency. A light wheelset with a super-light tire accelerates more eagerly but is also more prone to punctures compared to a more robust tire with thicker sidewalls.
The tires are the Achilles heel of a bike and a pinch flat can quickly shatter your dreams.– Yanick
120 mm rear travel combined with 110 mm upfront is an unusual setup. Yanick explained the choice as follows:
“The Spark RC was originally developed to offer 100 mm of rear travel (40 mm stroke), which is what you still get with the current production bike. Since XC World Cup courses have become more challenging over the years, we had to increase the travel. However, we didn’t want to change the bottom bracket or head angle too much. After running several configurations with different rocker links, we managed to find the ideal riding position and achieve 120 mm of travel (45 mm stroke) without affecting the original pedalling position.
We wish Nino a good 2021 season and perhaps he can soon replace his European champion paintwork with an Olympic-gold finish!
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As the proud father of Robin and Max-Philip, Manne has been there from the start and is the wise elder of the editorial team. He won his first cycling race in elementary school at a school sports day. After less successful attempts at football, he found his passion for cycling via endurance racing in 1989! The world of racing still consumes him and no one in the team knows the EWS pros better than Manne. As a former head analyst of a state agency, he knows how to do proper research and finds exclusive news that no one else has. He supports his sons in day-to-day business dealings as the authorised signatory for 41 Publishing – viva la familia!