Bike Check: Kate Courtney's Scott Contessa Spark RC - Vallnord World Cup XC 2019

Jul 6, 2019
by Daniel Sapp  

After taking third in the short track, Kate Courtney is no doubt looking to better that result coming into the XC race this Sunday in Andorra. The World Champion is rolling on a limited edition colorway Scott Contessa Spark RC this weekend. Kate's frame is a one-off, with a few different graphics, but it is very similar to the limited edition "N1NO HMX frame kits" that Scott's men's team, and of course, Nino Schurter, are riding this weekend.

If you're looking to drop your hard earned money on a fancy looking silver bike. the frame kits will come with color matched Syncros Hixson handlebars, SRAM XX1 AXS group, Level Ultimate brakes, and RockShox suspension. The frames will be available later this month through Scott dealers. Pricing is yet to be announced and there will only be 100 available.

Kate Courtney was playing the game well it just wasn t enough today.
Rider Name Kate Courtney // Scott-SRAM, Red Bull, Oakley
Age: 23
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Instagram: @kateplusfate

Kate Courtney attacked part way through but ultimately couldn t hold on in the final lap.

Kate Courtney Scott Spark
Scott Contessa Spark RC Details
Frame: Contessa Spark RC, size small
Shock: RockShox Nude RLC, 100mm
Fork: RockShox SID Ultimate, 100mm
Wheels: DT Swiss XMC 1200 Spline 30mm
Tires: Maxxis Aspen 2.25", 17psi front, 18psi rear
Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS
Brakes: SRAM Level Ultimate
Bar/Stem: Syncros Fraser iC SL, 680mm width
Seatpost: RockShox Reverb AXS, 100mm drop
Saddle: Syncros Belcarra
Weight: 21.8 lb (9.9 kg)
More info: Scott Sports

The set up this weekend on the bike is pretty similar to what Kate usually rides, according to her mechanic Brad Copeland. Tire pressure and suspension is adjusted for the course and otherwise, outside of a few small position tweaks, everything has remained consistent from Kate's baseline settings.

Kate Courtney Scott Spark
Kate Courtney Scott Spark
Cable routing is kept tidy in the sleek silver frame.

Kate Courtney Scott Spark
A 100mm RockShox AXS Reverb is actuated with a blip button in the left grip.

Kate Courtney Scott Spark
Kate Courtney Scott Spark
Maxxis Aspen tires with 17psi in the front, 18psi in the rear.

Kate Courtney Scott Spark
A high volume RockShox air can manages the rear suspension. With a baseline of 97psi, pressure has been increased to 104psi for the track in Andorra. Fork pressure remains the same at 67psi.

Kate Courtney Scott Spark
Kate Courtney Scott Spark
SRAM's XX1 AXS drivetrain with a Quarq power meter.

Kate Courtney Scott Spark
Custom brake lever details for the World Champ

Kate Courtney Scott Spark
Kate Courtney Scott Spark

Kate Courtney Scott Spark
Kate Courtney Scott Spark
Unique colored calipers on the SRAM Level Ultimate brakes

Courtney Keller and Terpstra battle it out in the early laps.

Regions in Article
Vallnord Bike Park


  • 120 0
 I'll take know, for my wife. She's 6'1", 200 lbs, and answers to the name Dave.
  • 59 1
 Dave sounds hideous. Probably wears khakis huh?
  • 35 0
 @chillrider199: Yeeeep....from Costco!
  • 9 10
 that gives riding down a hill and singing “I will survive” a whole new dimension
  • 2 0
 @WAKIdesigns: seems like not so many people seeing things as you are Waki, or maybe they are too stiff... as suspensions now days...
  • 27 3
 It must be really fun to get the perfect handlebar roll on handlebars that can't be rolled
  • 8 1
 Get some, Kate! I got up at 4AM PST for the DH today and I just might do it again tomorrow. Y'all have made XC interesting again!!
  • 2 0
 Glad for your enthusiasm.
  • 9 0
  • 10 1
 ~*~sPaRkLe WaTtS~*~
  • 7 1
 lower tire pressure than I would have expected. Would have thought that low would hinder rolling speed.
  • 15 1
 Body weight dived by 7, add 2psi for the rear. She’s a fairly small yet mighty human
  • 8 3
 @dynamatt: I've learned over the years that a 2.whatever mtb tire (casing/tread/whatever aside) inflated to 26psi and 50psi will roll the same on dirt and pavement, and at one of those pressures the tire is going to ride like shit.
Arbitrary statement af i know but it's 1230am and I should've been asleep 2 hours ago at least
  • 19 2
 That's a myth that's been perpetuated because of road bike tire pressures for decades now. In actual fact, and this has been tested by many XC race teams, lower pressure tires ROLL OVER small trail irregularities easier than higher pressure tires do. This results in less energy being lost to the tire deflecting off a root or small rock rather than just conforming over it. I'm over 200 pounds with my pack on and I used to run 24-26psi with 29 x 2.25 tires.
  • 3 1
 @deeeight: roadies know lower PSIs are faster now
  • 3 0
 @clink83: That's only because they've gone to wider tires with more air volume across both the professional and amateur bike levels.
  • 2 0
 @deeeight: Thanks that makes a lot of sense.
  • 2 0
 @deeeight: we've been pushing lower tire pressures on road bikes for years now actually. A lot of pro teams are running wider tires at lower pressures to combat deflection. Plus with the advent of road tubeless you can go even lower than usual without the chance of getting a pinch flat.
  • 1 1
 I prefer the 25cc compared to the 23cc that came stock on my ‘13 road bike. Same bike in ‘19 comes stock with 25cc. Might even be able to accommodate larger tyres. I’d want a new bike to handle no less than 28s though.
Specialized had a YouTube video where it showed wider tyres at lower psig is faster than narrower harder tyres.
  • 1 0
 @gonecoastal: and 30c are even better than 28c
  • 7 1
 Chrome carbon is pretty rad. I bet the limited edition frame is pricey.
  • 2 0
 Two cables go from the left side handlebar to the frame´s downtube. One of them (grey) should be a remote for the rear shox. And the other one? The tiny black cable that is attached to the grey remote is for what?
  • 4 1
 Cable for the dropper blip I believe
  • 1 2
 I see 4 from the left side. Front Brake, Fork Lockout, Shock Lockout & Seat Post .
  • 4 0
 @Augustus-G: It's an AXS dropper
  • 3 2
 @Kamba6: While it is an AXS dropper i think the button in the grip still has a cable than runs to where they hid the original dropper button.

edit: or goes directly to the dropper they have sram factory support.
  • 1 0
 Probably Scott's twinloc system - a lockout for the rear shock. The dropper is probably AXS wireless.
  • 3 1
 @rrsport: You're correct on that, though it is for the dropper which is still axs it has to run to a junction box of sorts, which houses the wireless internals.
  • 2 0
 @Jacquers: The rear shock lockout is the silver 4-5mm housing, the mystery is what is the skinny black wire that has the spiral wrap holding it to the silver housing. Since seatpost and rear derailleur are both AXS wireless, people are confused as to why they need a wire, which looks more like something from Di2.

I think @GriefTheBro has it right, in that Blip buttons don't have their own power source, and are supposed to be connected to a master controller, like a shifter with its own battery supply, which then sends the wireless signal. They seem to have hidden the AXS seatpost wireless transmitter in the frame, and then have that wire spiral wrapped to the lockout housing in order to allow remote operation with the Blip. It is nicely executed, however it is still a bit of a bodge in my mind, as they've managed to add a wire back into a wireless system, however until there is a Blip size wireless transmitter I guess they've decided it's the most ergonomic way to deal with squeezing all those controls into a small area.
  • 2 2
 @KillaK801: It's called a Blip Box. While AXS components are all wireless, they still need a sending unit. On the road bike the Blips attach to the shifters, but on any other setup they need a remote unit.
  • 2 1
 Blip button is just a button. Not a transmitter, and has no power. Her mechanic has hidden the Blip button's electronics inside the frame. It is this electronic unit that sends the signal to the dropper post to open the valve. It's a slick compromise to using the twin-lock remote and a dropper remote, but unfortunately not "wireless" like AXS promises. But this really is only an issue on a bike using a left-hand operated lock-out. Otherwise the standard AXS Reverb remote mounts where a 2x shifter would mount and works totally wirelessly.
  • 1 0
 Frame, suspension, drivetrain, cockpit included.

So add your wheel/tire of choice, saddle, grips...what's the point of a 80% complete "kit"? Why not just finish it off with the XMC1200 wheels/Aspen Tires and call it a complete WC replica bike?
  • 4 0
 Button in the grip for the dropper? if so that's slick AS.
  • 2 2
 All Twinloc bikes need this. The current dropper lever placement is... awkward.
  • 1 0
 @boozed: I never had a problem with it. As with anything, you get used to it over time.
  • 2 2
 @seraph: "Getting used to" poor ergonomics is a recipe for RSI.
  • 2 1
 @boozed: It's not poor ergonomics, it's just different than what people are used to.
  • 13 10
 Oh man she's a beauty, and the bike is pretty cool too. WHOA, WHOA ???? ???? ???? Okay creepy guy signing off now.
  • 24 11
 Being straight is no longer allowed on pinkbike
  • 4 0
 Nice blue brakes!
  • 1 0
 they don't run syncros wheels because why?
  • 2 0
 Becuase they're sponsored by DT SWISS
  • 1 0
 Syncros wheels are DT Swiss anyway. The rims may differ slightly in shape but the hubs use DT internals.
  • 1 0
 Shark with brass bells, nice one!
  • 1 3
 Kate is winning on just about any bike she rides, she's on another level. But, a bike weighing 45 big macs will definitely help with winning.
  • 1 1
 Not today though
  • 1 0
 @nick1957: The Big Mac bites back.
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