Bike Check: Kate Courtney's Scott Spark RC - Mont-Sainte-Anne XC World Champs 2019

Aug 31, 2019
by Mike Kazimer  

Kate Courtney will be looking to defend her World Champion title in Monte-Sainte-Anne, and to do that she'll be aboard a custom painted Scott Spark RC. The bike's color scheme pays homage to the Canadian location of this year's race, but there are a few extra little American-themed touches added into the mix.

As far as set up goes, Kate hasn't had to alter her settings very much from what she's been running all year. Tire and suspension pressures are right in the middle of the range of options that are selected from depending on the course, although there is a Pepi tire insert in the rear tire for a little extra puncture protection.

How much does it weigh? We don't have the exact number, but it's likely just a bit under 22 pounds (10 kg).

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

An American flag is hiding underneath the saddle.

Scott Spark Details

Frame: Contessa Spark RC, size small
Shock: RockShox Nude RLC, 100mm
Fork: RockShox SID Ultimate, 100mm
Wheels: DT Swiss XRC 1200 Spline 25mm
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
More info: Scott Sports

There's 100 psi in the RockShox Nude RLC shock...
...And 67 psi with two tokens in the RockShox SID.

Kate's been running SRAM's AXS wireless dropper post all season, and it doesn't sound like she'll be swapping it out any time soon.

It's all about the little details.

Kate Courtney will be on the hunt to defend her World Champion title. The 'Blip' button she uses to activate her dropper post can be seen in the background.

The futuristic looking Syncros Fraser iC SL carbon bar / stem combo.

Ritchey pedals.
SRAM Level Ultimate brakes.

A set of 2.25" Maxxis Aspen tires are inflated to 18 psi in the rear and 17 psi up front.

Race ready.


  • 14 1
 Only 18 psi for XC? I guess I never thought about XC pressures but I assumed it would be higher than that for less rolling resistance.
  • 17 0
 Lower pressures prevent vertical bike/body deflection over rough ground which reduces forward speed... or something..
Pinkbike did an interesting tech feature on lower pressures for xc a few years back which made me go from 40+ psi on raceday rubber to in the 20's on higher volume tires with a better race day experience.
  • 7 0
 Gone are the days of running rock hard tires at the expense of traction (friction is friend not foe here). For a rootier less dusty course like MSA at low body weight these gals can run pretty damn low pressures without sacrificing efficiency. Here's an interesting article where Sonya looney talks about what she runs for XC in various conditions.
  • 15 0
 aldo pressure is relative to weight, she weights less than 50kg
  • 6 0
 @ismasan: >This! Figure out PSI/body weight and then multiply it by your own weight. Came out pretty close to what I'm running.
  • 5 0
 A good starting point is your weight in pounds divided by seven, which is close to what Kate is running. I'm 160 pounds and run 23 at the most in the rear, 20 in the front. I can go down 3 psi at both ends on smoother trails.
  • 1 0
 Then Pierron goes 1.8 bars front and 1.9 rear... World up side down....
  • 3 0
 @iamamodel: and normally front is 10% (+/-2%) than the rear, and it'll be a good starting point
  • 2 0
 @iamamodel: can't edit my post...just adding that some psi less, will make less sketchy riding on wet
  • 2 0
 @iamamodel: This is what I go by as well. Granted, I'm not an XC athlete or anything but it feels right to me
  • 1 0
 @iamamodel: Does that formula give you Front or rear pressure?
  • 1 0
 They have also been thinking PTN inserts.
  • 1 0
 On my XC bikes I just run the lowest pressure I can up front without squirming too much or dinging. I don't run as low as I can in the rear, just the right balance for speed and grip as needed.
  • 5 0
 I've done lots of roll down tests on my enduro bike on rough terrain. Lower pressure always rolls further. So then it becomes a question of 'how low can you go with out rolling a tire off the rim, flatting, or destroying a rim'. Inserts help this equation greatly so with a lightweight insert (i.e. Pepi's or TuboLight) you can have a much faster rolling bicycle overall.
At 180 and riding very rough terrain with a few 5' drops thrown in, I run 20/ 24 with inserts front and rear.
On my wife's bike, she is built very similar to Kate at 114#s, I run 15/ 18 for casual trail riding with inserts front and rear.
  • 2 0
 @SunsPSD: it depends basically on your weight & skill (how deep can you throw your bike into corners / squach / pump & line choice)

On one side of that scale you'll have a Lighter, less agressive and good line picker, and in the oposite side an Heavy, agressive and having "imanigative" line choice.

I run procore, and in real wet rides, i
I go as low as 13psi front / 15psi rear (85kg btw)
No problems with flats/dings & tons of grip
  • 5 0
 @jon123rjk: It's from Stan's, the stated formula is this:

Rider Weight in pounds divided by 7 = x

x - 1 = Front tire pressure in PSI

x + 2 = Rear tire pressure in PSI

Example: 185 lb rider:

185/7 = 26.4

Front tire pressure: 26 - 1 = 25 PSI

Rear tire pressure: 26 + 2 = 28 PSI

This was for a tire that is 2" wide on a Stan's rim, but everyone starts with these values for the most part. Hope this helps.
  • 1 2
 That formula is quite low pressures.
  • 2 0
 @iamamodel: If I ran pressures according to that formula, I would get snake bites regularly and be destroying rear wheels quite often. I'm 145lbs geared up (135lbs) and 20 front 23 rear is super low. I'm running 24 front 28 rear.
  • 2 0
 @tacklingdummy: I run 20f 22r on my singlespeed, flow ex rims with 2.3 tires and I'm just over 200 pounds kitted up riding new England tech with drops up to maybe 4 feet of the landing isn't a rock garden. Rims are on their second bike, close to 2,500 miles and two very small dings. No inserts.
  • 5 0
 @yzedf: yea I'm 215ish lbs and usually run 20ish psi too. Dunno why people freak out about low psi.
  • 2 0
 @jon123rjk: it gives a starting point. See @Zhehan post above.
  • 1 0
 @tacklingdummy: what size tires are you running? are you running tubeless?
  • 1 2
 @unikid: most likely the device he is using to measure his pressure in inaccurate. Same for most people.
  • 5 0
 @zede: doesn’t matter so long as they get the same reading from day to day.
  • 1 0
 @unikid: 2.3 and 2.35. Yes, tubeless. If I was running tubes, pressure would have to be even higher. I do ride in some quite rocky trails.
  • 2 0
 @Zhehan: i’ve never seen this formula, but it is pretty close to my tire pressures, depending on the tire. Schwalbe’s I’m a tad lower than the Mezcal’s I’m running now.
  • 1 0
 You ever seen KC in person? She weighs about 65lbs. jk but seriously...she is little.
  • 1 1
 Your comment is inaccurate. My pressure gauge is accurate. @zede:
  • 1 0
 @zede: My pressures is the same for four different gauges. One digital, one analog, and two floor pump gauges.
  • 1 0
 @tacklingdummy: snake bites at 145lbs with 28 psi ? Allow me to doubt your pressure gauges. Unless you drop 4m to flat on rocks I dot understand.
I'm 155lbs without gear, and I use 25psi rear, measured with Schwable gauge, verified with a garage pump +-1psi. And it feels I could go lower.

I don't get how it's possible that everyone obtains such different results with similar pressure
  • 1 0
 @zede: part of it is running Maxxis tires. When I ran dhf and dhr2 combo in double down casing I had to run 28/30 psi to keep them from feeling like garbage in the turns on my Reign. Now that fall is coming I switched to Specialized Butcher GRID casing front and rear and 22/24 psi feels stiffer than the Maxxis setup I took off.
  • 2 0
 I'm going to copy and paste some info from Schwalbe, but higher pressure will be more rolling resistance off-road and also the wider the tire, the better to rolls:

"The lower the inflation pressure, the lower the rolling resistance. This applies equally on hard gravel roads and soft forest tracks. Explanation: A tire with low inflation pressure can adapt better to a rugged surface. It sinks into the ground less and the whole rotational mass is held back much less by the uneven surface.

Tires with a smaller diameter have a higher rolling resistance with the same inflation pressure, because tire deformation is proportionally greater. The tire is flattened more and is “less round”.

Wider tires roll better than narrower tires. This statement generally invokes skepticism, nevertheless, with tires at the same pressure a narrower tire deflects more and so deforms more."
  • 2 0
 @coppellstereo: You can go too low and be draggy though. I notice it all the time if the rear is too low.
  • 12 3
 Kate’s bio keeps saying shes from San Francisco. It like saying your from London but you really live in Watford.
  • 27 0
 Few can endure the stigma of being a Marinite.
  • 6 2
 @GorgeousBeauGaston: Bwahaha!! Those in the know, know how damn funny this is...
  • 5 1
 @GorgeousBeauGaston: as a person born in SF and raised in MV, I can confirm. Though I usually just say I'm from "the Bay Area" and leave it at that.
  • 2 2
 I would forget I'm on a ball breaker xc and blast some beast coast rocks then break the bike and my ass.
  • 11 1
 Or it’s like saying your when you really meant you’re...
  • 2 0
 Nothing like a crotchety yay area thread on pinkbike, makes me smile.
  • 5 1
 @seraph: are you a trust fund yuppie who complains income inequality? Lol that was my experience with 90% of people in Marin for the 7 years I lived there.
  • 1 1
 @GorgeousBeauGaston: West Marin is cool and you can buy fat crack rocks in the Canal district of SR.
  • 1 0
 @mtemp: No, I'm a married bike mechanic living at home just trying to save enough money to move out of state. I've been here 35 years.
  • 3 2
 @mtemp: Exactly. Capitalist pigs who complain about capitalism lol.
  • 1 0
 Rough but true
  • 1 1
 I am from Las Vegas...(Phoenix).
  • 33 25
 Let's fucking go!!!! Get em' Kate! USA! USA! USA!
  • 4 5
 Beautiful bike - glad she didn't put a "Make America Great" sticker on it!
  • 1 0
 @cirque4: Right!? Would have ruined the aesthetic.
  • 2 0
 @formula411: what do you mean?
  • 1 0
 @cirque4: she’s not allowed to add stickers to my art
  • 1 0
 @bbcopeland: what was she shooshing you about on the starting line?? Smile
  • 6 0
 The quality of these photos is outstanding!!!
  • 2 0
 Interesting. In the Details Section is says "DT Swiss XMC 1200 Spline 30mm" but in the photos it's the XRC model which is a 25mm Internal Width rim. I know she's used the XMC in the past. Guess we'll just have to wait for race day to see what she rolls on.
  • 3 0
 Theres a new version of XRC rims which are 30mm. I saw some details a couple of weeks ago
  • 1 0
 @rrsport: That's something new. Last I looked into them it was only 25mm. Thanks for the heads up.
The XRC 30 is a bit lighter than the XMC 30, 1480gr vs. 1529gr.
  • 1 0
 @rrsport: The logo on the pictures looks like the "25" to me but I'm not certain. A bit too small to clearly read.
  • 1 0
 Mistake in the text.......model shown is clearly XRC 25mm
  • 1 0
 @Augustus-G: I’m not saying she’s using them. I’m just saying there is 30mm xrc rims coming out soon. I’m pretty sure nino is using them/has them available for use though
  • 2 0
 Can't see running 2.25" Maxxis tires on a 30mm IW rim being an effective combination... She must be running the 25mm XRC
  • 2 0
 @Garethccc: According to all of the Bike Checks I've seen this year that's exactly what Nino is running.
A 30mm XMC with a 2.25" Maxxis Aspen He even ran that combo in the Cape Epic.
  • 1 0
 @rrsport: No worries, I didn't assume you where. The XRC 30 is up on the DT Swiss website so they're out in the wild now.
  • 1 0
 @Augustus-G: I stand corrected then... I’m really wierded out by that combination though!
  • 3 0
 She runs XRC 25mm with 2.25” and Nino, Lars and Andri use 30mm rims (XMC previously and New XRC 30 since Lenzerheide) with 2.4” tires
  • 1 0
 @bbcopeland: thanks for the info, that makes more sense
  • 5 0
  • 2 3
 Stunning pictures! Am I the only one wanting more about the Blip button? Since sram is one of the major sponsors for the Scott team, why aren’t their more deep dive articles on how to mount and use the AXS Reverb together with Scott Twinloc? You can’t use the AXS remote due to that the Twinloc are mounted at the same location. So you have to order a separate Blip box and Blip button? There must be more nerds out there than me Smile
  • 6 7
 I have an idea

Dont run a Scott, than you can take the normal Axs lever????????‍♂️
  • 2 1
 The end schould be an emoji bit pinkbike does not like it
  • 4 2
 Kate is mint, love her positive hard working attitude and the bike's not bad either. I hope she wins again. ????
  • 3 1
 He has two first names......Rick Bobby
  • 2 0
 If she ain't first, she's last. :-)
  • 1 0
 Not sure how the XC racers keep the rubber side down with those tires. They look like slicks to me.
  • 1 1
 It would be a great addition to these BikeChecks if you put a picture of the bike hanging on a scale into the article.
  • 1 0
 21.7 lbs
  • 1 0
 That bike is sick. The integrated stem/bar combo is a work of art.
  • 3 3
 Gorgeous Bike and Kate!!
  • 2 2
 I'm in love
  • 1 2
 Pretty bike. I'd ride it.
  • 1 2
 Paint job is sweet!
  • 2 5
 Just a few weeks ago, Kate was taunting Pauline, telling her to kiss her ring.

Who's wearing the rainbow jersey now?
  • 3 0
 This is completely inaccurate. They are friends and respect each other tremendously.
  • 1 1
 @bbcopeland: Kate respects her a lot more because she's getting smoked every weekend. 4X world champ is back!
  • 3 0
 @toprace: she clearly is back. It’s great to see. Kate has never taunted her or anyone. They are friends. All facts. Your comment: False.

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