Bike Check: Nino Schurter's New Scott Spark RC

Jun 14, 2021
by Alicia Leggett  


Photography by Michal Cerveny, Daniel Geiger, Gaudenz Danuser, & Jochen Haar

Last week, Scott released the all-new Spark lineup, with a hidden shock design borrowed from Bold Cycles, which Scott bought a majority stake of in 2019. Just a few days after the release, Nino Schurter lined up in Leogang to put the new bike through its paces.

While Nino did not have the race weekend he wanted and seems to be having a slow start to his season, the Scott Spark has won an absurd number of World Cup medals, and it likely isn't about to stop now. In fact, it may be the winningest XC bike model out there, mostly thanks to Nino's World Cup dominance (I haven't run any numbers on that, so let me know if you've been counting), and the 2022 model release comes just in time for the Scott-SRAM MTB Racing riders to get comfy on it before the Olympics.

With the Leogang World Cup now in the books, we're already looking forward to the next one in Les Gets, and we hope to see Nino achieve big things aboard this rig.

Nino Schurter // Scott-SRAM MTB Racing
Age: 35
Hometown: Chur, Switzerland
Height: 173 cm / 5'8"
Weight: 67 kg / 148 lbs
Instagram: @nschurter

The new Spark RC is a race bike through and through, and weighs in at 10.58kg race-ready.

It's kitted out with SRAM, Maxxis, RockShox (including the shock hidden in there), and Syncros.
Spark RC Details
Frame: Scott Spark RC
Shock: RockShox Nude 5 RLC3 120mm
Fork: RockShox SID Ultimate RD3 120mm
Wheels: Syncros Silverton SL2 29"
Tires: Maxxis Aspen 29x2.4WT
Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS
Brakes: SRAM Level Ultimate
Cockpit: Syncros Fraser IC (Integrated Cockpit) SL WC, -40 degree rise, 90mm stem, 700mm width
Size: M
More info: Scott Sports

bigquotesIt's safe to say that I've had a lot of success in recent years with the Spark. From the first moment I stepped on this new version, I knew that I have every chance to continue that success for years to come. From the geometry to the integration, the all new Spark RC takes everything I loved about the previous version and makes it so much better.Nino Schurter

This bike is made for winning World Cups.

Robot shifting for Nino.

These Eagle cassettes are gorgeous.

Oil slick HT pedals.

There's so much integration on this bike. Look at those spokes.

Despite the abundance of levers here, the cockpit stays very clean, thanks to the headset routing system.

The Blip dropper post button is neatly housed in the grip.

This is the same BlackBox power meter we've seen on lots of XC racers' bikes this season, plus an ultra-minimalist chain guide. Nino will typically use the power meter crankset with a 36t chainring for longer events like the Cape Epic, while he will ride the standard XX1 crankset with a 38t chainring for the World Cup races.

With the shock hidden away, Scott added an external sag-o-meter.

Here's a peek under the hood.

That -40 degree cockpit rise is certainly aggressive.

The color is stunning.

The devil's in the details.

The AXS dropper is what's in Nino's official spec, but he was spotted testing something different in the race. More information on that here.



155 Comments

  • 335 0
 Oil slick pedals explain why he slipped a pedal at the start of the XCC race
  • 42 2
 And the fact that the pedal isn't screwed all the way into the crank
  • 2 0
 @magnusc: Big if true.
  • 1 0
 @magnusc: was Mini's last name "Gwin" and that mechanic would be living under a bus for a while
  • 1 0
 Meant "Nino's" not Minis, autocorrect...
  • 1 0
 @magnusc: keen eye
  • 101 2
 The red and white water bottle bothers me.
  • 5 1
 Agreed. Definitely should be yellow
  • 11 8
 lol spend the day on that bike and you wont be thinking about the color of that bottle anymore
  • 25 0
 I can’t believe he even drinks water during a race, what a rookie! Real pros do races completely dehydrated to save weight bro!!!
  • 3 1
 red, green and black
  • 4 1
 @madmon: The colors of your Jamaican flag would be a better fit
  • 8 0
 That's the battery range extender.
  • 2 1
 Lack of Speed Holes in the chaining.
  • 3 0
 @suspended-flesh: Oh yeah, what's up with the different chain rings between pictures I wonder?
  • 2 0
 @Shred-BC: The solid ones are with power meter and the other is without.
  • 1 0
 @Shred-BC: it's a mystery
  • 53 1
 Love the look of this bike, but showing off your new awesome world cup XC bike and not mentioning anything about weight is kinda lame.
  • 12 1
 Oh it's actually on Scott's website, that's nice. 10.1kg for the top of the line model.
  • 28 0
 @rarerider: I'd like to know too! It's a slightly different build from even the top-end publicly available builds, so I've reached out to Scott about the weight and will add it to the article when I hear something Smile
  • 4 1
 @rarerider: need dat frame weight!
  • 8 0
 @rarerider: for reference, Nino's old 2021 bike weighs 10.14 kg with pedals

@hamncheez: depending on the size of the frame, HERE and HERE
  • 3 0
 @alicialeggett: it would be interesting to actually confirm his setup, because as far as I know, since 2016 he has been riding 680mm wide handlebars with a -25 or -30 degree rise, so I find it really strange that he chose to change his setup in an Olympic year. Furthermore, since 2019 he has been riding with 120mm rear travel combined with 110mm up front. I'm not a professional athlete, but that seems like a lot of changes.
  • 3 0
 @dolores: as you said yourself, since 2019... That's plenty of time to adapt but I've seen a video showing them match the setup exactly on this new bike to his old one
  • 2 0
 Weight of the Nino bike is 10.58 kg
  • 1 1
 @alicialeggett: the author of the bikecheck can´t use their own scale on site to weight the actual bike? I wonder if that's restricted or is simply something that is not done, but it will make more sense and be more interesting than listing the information sent over by the manufacturer
  • 2 0
 @hamncheez: hmx-sl 1870g / hmx 1990g / hmf 2150g / hmf +alooy rear 2590g / alooy 2990g .... these for 120mm rear travel
  • 1 0
 @Ftajiri: how does that compare to the 100mm versions and the old 120mm trail Spark?
  • 38 3
 bold xc bike = crap that noone liked / new scott bold looking bike = everyone drooling
  • 15 1
 Haha exactly. No one gave a crap when the unplugged was released years ago but now that Scott used the design people acting like this is a new cutting edge design. I like how the article says they borrowed the design.
  • 3 7
flag trillot (Jun 14, 2021 at 17:37) (Below Threshold)
 And... isn't this one of the worst showings Nino has had in a long, long time, as he is preparing for the Olympics (ie. peaking)? Anything to do with the new design possibly?
  • 7 4
 @srsiri23w: "borrowed from Bold Cycles, which Scott bought a majority stake of in 2019". You think they shouldn't be allowed to us a design when they actually bought the company, or just object to the word "borrow'?
  • 7 0
 @trillot:

It’s about 98.7% rider, so I’d guess not.
  • 7 1
 @trillot: Dunno I think his later laps were pretty quick to gain 10 places.
  • 1 0
 Why crap?
  • 2 2
 A Bold move indeed from Scott
  • 4 0
 Marketing. Its a bit like The Force. Powerful it is. Surrounds all living beings.
  • 1 2
 so Scott too away the horst link from Bold and replaced it with flex system. They improved the cable routing to have a clear access to the shock. Anyway probably we will see enduro bike from scott on this platform
  • 5 7
 Is everyone drooling cause it's the most e bike looking non e bike ever?
  • 1 1
 @DoubleCrownAddict: it’s definitely a good looking bike and no doubt other manufacturers will follow suit with a more integrated approach
  • 1 0
 @trillot: No definitely not...
  • 21 0
 Great to see the bike; didn't get to see it at all during the race
  • 2 0
 Lol, I see what you did there
  • 20 3
 I guess its official XC bike are now 120-120....I will need to start wearing spandex on my 120-120 trail bike....I assume Nino and others are setting up to peak in Japan for a shot at Olympic medals and not early WC points.
  • 3 0
 And It was only two years ago that Scott moved the regular Spark out of XC and into Trail on its website.
  • 1 5
flag Grosey (Jun 15, 2021 at 6:05) (Below Threshold)
 If they'r using a lockout why not just 200 travel F&R? Or whatever you can build to maintain good climbing geo?
  • 3 0
 @Grosey: Thats what they did. 200mm would make for an extremely slack head angle or an extremely high bottom bracket, not good for going fast uphill or fast downhill.
  • 12 0
 It seemed like nino was racing a different dropper than the standard AXS Reverb last weekend, lightweight xc version to come?
  • 2 0
 Based on his Instagram pics it looks a bit like the fox post that comes stock on the bike. The seal nut thing looks unlike any reverb.
  • 1 0
 @Austink: not sponsor correct if true, I wasn't able to make out a dropper cable from those pics.
  • 1 0
 @Mtbiker32: www.instagram.com/p/CQB8zmCBiaV/?utm_medium=copy_link

No blip in the grip. And Lar’s bike clearly has 3 cables coming out of that mega lever they have. So whatever it is it is cable actuated.
  • 1 0
 @Austink: it can be, for sure, because to use the "triple shifter" on the left, the dropper must be cable (although there are adapters for hydro).
  • 9 0
 Isn't the big news here the 120mm front and rear? Aren't most xc bikes still 100mm front and rear? Seems like a noteworthy developement if this is the start of a trend.

Im sure this will be nice in St. Anne, but riders are still using hard tails at many stops (Leogang, Austria last weekend?), and I’d expect the Tokyo olympic course will be paved with some pretty rocks strewn about. Seems overkill.
  • 13 0
 ONIN
  • 1 0
 Hmmm, wonder what Onin means? Must be where he comes from or the bike model. Doh!
  • 1 0
 @Bob-Agg: maybe he meant OMEN bikes ? they had simmilar shock setup but w/o hiding it into the frame
  • 1 0
 I thought the same at the beginning. "What does ONIN mean?"
  • 2 0
 haha - NINO !!
  • 10 0
 Anybody else notice that there are two different cranksets pictured? Are these photos of two (nearly identical) bikes?
  • 5 0
 With & without the BlackBox Power meter.
  • 1 0
 Yes what is up with this? Two different bikes but it says Ninos race bike? Not bikes? What is up with this pinkbike?
  • 13 3
 I’ll never get tired looking at that frame.
  • 10 4
 I think its the best looking XC frame out there right now
  • 2 4
 @SATN-XC: I'd like to see it with a Lauf fork
  • 8 0
 Slipped out of his oil slick pedals on Friday - coincidence?
  • 4 0
 Hmm Pinkbike I don't think this is the exact one he rode on that race. The one he actually raced on had a light XC dropper prototype that I cannot see here.
I actually read this article to find out about the new prototype but see no info.
Check this out: www.instagram.com/p/CP-KaOmhhoc/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link&fbclid=IwAR3JjLzPHqSW0X5MEKpqDw8cUK-qf5gZjzSujgCPi9z3G9Nu2ZUnA9zpT54

Two wrongs in this artice
1) Wrong bike.
2) you've missed a good news cos that new seatpost is making already some noise
  • 6 0
 38t chainring, jeeze Nino, try to keep some semblance of humanity...
  • 2 0
 Interesting that on a bike that clearly prioritises weight saving, they choose the heavier electronic shifting and seatpost. Is there some durability or performance gain using these that I'm missing? Sure cables are a pain to set up, but with pro team mechanics at your disposal, wouldn't have thought that really matters.
  • 3 0
 There’s also making sponsors happy.

That said, there’s negligible weight gain, if any, from axs, but the reverb is definitely portly for a dropper, but another poster claimed he was using a different, supposedly lighter version during his race.
  • 1 0
 Wireless shifting relieves your thumb from the need to apply force. If it saves the rider a little energy, then that is worth it over the weight gain, I think.
  • 5 0
 -40 degree, my back will be screaming.
  • 3 0
 I wonder if the shock service intervals would be better on a basically enclosed shock like this compared to one that's in the open.
  • 4 0
 I wonder about the cooling of the shock in hot & rocky environments. Around here (AZ) even Green trails give your shock a pretty constant workout. Could the lack of air flow over the shock body lead to overheating, lower ride height, bottoming out, dampening fade, etc?
  • 4 0
 @Augustus-G: now this is an interesting point that I didn’t think of. Would be cool to see a test regarding cooling in different temperatures, direct sunlight, or enclosed such as this. I feel like a black shock in the direct Arizona sun could melt as it is. Haha.
  • 1 0
 It's a genuine question. Why do XC bikes have such a low stack with a negative rise stem. I can see the huge disadvantage to have such an unbalanced position going downhill but I can see the benefit going up. It's not like they were going to loop out with too much power or too steep terrain. Regardless, they still need some weight on the rear to get some traction. I think a more neutral position could also have proper aerodynamics (which has very little influence anyway.. especially going up). Maybe there is some biomechanic I'm missing but my theory is that it's just a dumb legacy from road riding and from anachronic unnecessary short chainstay design.
  • 1 0
 I’ve got a feeling it’s because the top riders train so much on their road bikes and they try to replicate the position across both bikes. Not sure though.
  • 1 0
 Anecdotally, there may be a biomechanical benefit to low stack height (glute, anterior chain muscle recruitment) but can't quote any studies though.
  • 2 0
 It’s so you can keep front wheel traction under power, pointing uphill
  • 3 0
 Low bar is good for climbing
  • 4 0
 At the speeds that they go, aero does come into play. The main reason though is that being low helps one develop more power.

Also, Nino is short and riding on 29s. His bars aren’t really radically below his saddle.
  • 1 0
 @Linc: This is the answer. Also pretty good for flat cornering while going fast, since you weight the front wheel enough to not wash out.
  • 1 0
 @nattyd: I think most people realise it’s to get weight over the front when climbing, it’s just that some riders seem to have really extreme positions compared to others.
  • 2 0
 @rsbromley: Nino in particular likes a low front end, but most of these positions aren't actually all that low, when you look at the stack height of even a 100 mm XC bike versus a drop bar bike. Especially for a shorter rider, 600+ mm stack is like a full 8-9 cm higher than what you'd get for the same size road bike. So it's not ergonomically extreme at all. There are a lot of riders who struggle to get their bars *low enough*.

Personally, I've never understood why people here seem to think that a high position is better for descending. As long as you can get your center of gravity back far enough to neutrally weight the wheels on steeps, you're good. That's much less about bar height than reach/stem length and front center. None of these XC riders seem to have any trouble with this, at least on XC terrain.

As those of us from the Brian Lopes school of skillz know, getting low is good for cornering too.
  • 4 0
 Bar width is shown as 70 mm wide.
  • 4 0
 Waiting for the Dangerholm build of this.
  • 7 3
 I'm not down with this integration nonsense.
  • 4 0
 Na.
  • 3 1
 Does it bug anyone else when they list the frame travel in the shock spec instead of the actual eye-to-eye and stroke?
  • 3 1
 Not on XC bikes. On Enduro bikes- yes. I’m a bigger guy I want a 60+mm stroke shock.
  • 4 0
 70mm wide bars?
  • 3 0
 Yeah he likes them extra, extra narrow.
  • 3 0
 I think that bar / stem needs some pharmaceutical help....
  • 2 0
 I agree.. looks kind of depressed
  • 3 0
 So integrated - Beautiful!
  • 2 3
 Super cool looking bike, but he didnt win on it, I know he effectively started a fair way back, so did Pidcock and he made his way into the lead in the 1st round until a mechanical took him out (twice).
Should have rode a HT Nino. Wink
  • 2 3
 I few years ago Nino was the best descender in the WC field. Now he has to ride the bike with most suspension. Times are changing…

Leogang definitely not the best course to launch this kind of bike. Wonder if he would (if allowed) use the Scale if he could do the race again.
  • 2 2
 Yes a few years ago Nino dusted everyone downhill on his 27.5 Scale hardtail and now he needs the new Spark trail bike to keep up.
  • 1 0
 It appears that the seat tube intersects the down tube forward of the bottom bracket. Knolly isn't going to be happy about this.
  • 2 0
 IDC if the shock is external or internal. Every bike should have an easily visible sag-o-meter like this.
  • 2 0
 Love everything about this bike except that the size S doesn’t have two water bottles. Another Epic for me, I guess.
  • 2 0
 Looking under the hood, there is a foam wrapped cable. Any ideas?
  • 2 0
 Foam wrap cuts down on noise and rattle. Lots of companies do this. Left on their own, internal cables can be kind of loud.
  • 1 0
 Surprising they did not do tube in tube for the cable routing, at least for production bikes where the 20g penalty can be tolerated
  • 1 0
 Shock lockout cable and rear brake hose.
  • 1 1
 @snarlymarley: Thakfully they didn’t as it screws anyone who runs a Moto rear brake.
  • 1 0
 You're all wrong guys. My Sherlock Holmes 6th sense tells me it must be battery wire... yes, that's it.
  • 1 0
 Imagine internal shock and internal gearbox drivetrain someday Big Grin daydreaming
  • 2 0
 Well, I've got some new wallpaper.
  • 2 2
 Id grab that thing by the bars and ride it right down A line naked with one flat pedal and one clip then get the UCI colours tattooed on my right cheek. God I love life!
  • 1 1
 Needs some custom brake levers with the hose outlet parallel to the bars. Looks proper goofy with the hoses heading forwards only to disappear...
  • 2 0
 Began to imagine what this build would cost me and then Schurt myself
  • 1 0
 Scott finally doing some amazing paint but then mucks it up with super loud early-2000s writing all over the frame.
  • 1 0
 Now I understand why they hid the shock, it is a RockShox *Nude* 5 RLC3 120mm
  • 1 0
 That is one futuristic looking machine- but not in a bad way by any means.
  • 1 0
 Looks good, but gloss black graphics would look soooo much better
  • 2 1
 That pedal does not look like it was screwed all the way in.
  • 1 0
 Because its not. Guess they just put it on for the photos.
  • 3 2
 Looks like a sweet ebike.
  • 2 1
 GAWD DAMMMMIT THIS IS ONE SEXY BULLET MACHINE..
  • 1 0
 Did they need 4 guys to photo a bike check?
  • 1 0
 its a pretty bike, a bit pregnant but still pretty
  • 1 0
 I don't want to know Nino's weight, I want to know the bike's weight. Lol.
  • 1 0
 I see the purchasing shares of Bold Cycles paid off for Scott.
  • 1 0
 Don’t get a twig in your spokes Nino !
  • 1 0
 Does he removed the air cap cover to save the weight?
  • 1 0
 Integration my bottom - sort that Garmin out!
  • 1 0
 What is that box under his handlebars?
  • 1 2
 Am I the only one who thinks Scott should just take some Shimano SPD and paint "SRAM" all over them, and get rid of the HT crap?
  • 2 0
 HT pedals are better than shimano tho so stfu
  • 1 0
 Dude HT pedals are amazing.

I’ve tried crankbrothers and Shimano spd’s and would pick HT over them easily.

Light, super easy to clip in and a wide range of adjustability.
  • 1 0
 Id swipe right to that frame on tinder
  • 1 0
 a weird looking bold with ewen weirder gemini handlebar
  • 1 0
 but who hase 15 grand to spend on this thing
  • 3 3
 Doesn't look like the front triangle has clearance for a second bottle...
  • 2 1
 Goes on the Seattube I think
  • 4 1
 what you can't see is that there are three holes for bolts on the top of the downtube, so the cage can be moved up. I was also thinking that but then I saw more pics.
  • 1 0
 agreed, thought that was one of the perks to the integrated suspension. Could it be the mounts are custom for his bike and the one that's on there is placed further back compared to the production version??
  • 2 1
 @Mooseymtb: Posted my comment before seeing yours....I believe you are correct. I can see three holes on the downtube in the other PB article on this bike.
  • 1 1
 @Davec85: no as in I can't see two bottles fitting in the front triangle. Not enough room
  • 1 1
 It has, they specifically said so in their promo video. With side loading bottles should be no problem.
  • 1 0
 Nice dropper actuator
  • 2 1
 looks like a hardtail
  • 1 0
 This is hot!!
  • 1 0
 Xc is the new enduro
  • 1 0
 Hope he finds his form.
  • 1 0
 Witchcraft
  • 3 4
 But he did not won the race? Despite all of the scott hype
  • 2 0
 He had a poor starting position (4th row I believe) in the XCO but was able to move up to 10th. Starting position for XCO is based on finishing position in short track. At the start of the short track he slipped a pedal and was passed buy a bunch of people right away
  • 1 1
 can't buy skills
  • 4 5
 Just a shame he fitted those bar and stem combo on upside down.
  • 1 2
 LOL at those tyres
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