5 Bikes and a Few Tech Randoms: Albstadt World Cup XC 2019

May 19, 2019
by Daniel Sapp  
Kate Courtney s dancing shoes drying in the sun.
Kate Courtney's dancing shoes drying in the sun.

With the race this weekend Albstadt being the first stop on the XC World Cup calendar for 2019, there are a number of fresh bikes on course. Here are several that caught our photographers' eyes along with a few more interesting tech randoms.

Kate Courtney's Scott Scale

We've seen a lot of this bike lately, Kate Courtney's Scott Scale.

Scott's Twin-loc system isn't just used on the Spark.

DT Swiss wheels and hubs

Kate's mechanic, Brad Copeland, has integrated a blip in the grip to control the wireless dropper post.

It's all in the details for the world champ.
Sparkles in the paint.

Syncros Fraser iC SL bar and stem combo.

SRAM's AXS drivetrain kept in place with a small chainguide.



Jolanda Neff's Trek Procaliber

Another bike we've seen a lot of on the podium lately is Jolanda Neff's Trek Procaliber. That odd looking hole in the seat tube? That's Trek's Isospeed system. It decouples the seat tube from the top tube, allowing the seat tube to have more compliance and a bit more forgiving of a ride.


SRAM's AXS drivetrain held in place with an MRP chainguide.






Malene Degn's Orbea Alma

Malene Degn's Orbea Alma


FSA cranks keep the power numbers going through the SRAM XX1 drivetrain calcualted.


Nearly every top racer seems to be running a dropper these days. Proper.

Fox suspension up front smoothing out the interesting terrain here.


Michelin tyres.





Carter Woods' Rocky Mountain Vertex

Carter Woods s Rocky Mountain Vertex.
Carter Woods' Rocky Mountain Vertex.

Canadian heritage all over the graphics.
Canadian heritage all over the graphics.
More Canadian details.
More Canadian details.

Clean new XTR shifter.
Clean new XTR shifter.
Shimano XTR drivetrain with a 34T ring up front.
Shimano XTR drivetrain with a 34t ring up front.

Chrome goodness from Shimano.
Chrome goodness from Shimano.
New XTR brakes to boot.
New XTR brakes to boot.

Raceface Vault hubs to Next carbon rims.
Raceface Vault hubs to Next carbon rims.
Maxxis Aspens to Raceface hoops.
Maxxis Aspen tires to Raceface hoops.

Lockout function levers will be on full service on this course.
Lockout function levers will be on full service on this course.
Carter s Vertex is kitted out with a Raceface cockpit Shimano XTR goodies to put the power down and Fox takes care of the bumps up front.
Carter's Vertex is kitted out with a Raceface cockpit, Shimano XTR goodies to put the power down, and Fox takes care of the bumps up front.

Carter is coming in to the season with the top plate. The young Canadian will be one to watch when his time for U23 comes.
Carter is coming into the season with the top plate. The young Canadian will be one to watch this season.



Manuel Fumic's Cannondale FSi

Manuel Fumic s throwback Cannondale FSi complete with decals to match
Manuel Fumic's throwback Cannondale FSi complete with decals to match!


The chrome XTR bits really pop against the red frame.
The chrome XTR bits really pop against the red frame.
Fumic had a bigger chain ring on for XCC.
Fumic had a bigger chainring on for XCC.

XTR pedals. Tried and true.
Classy looking chain device. Less is definitely more for this one.
Classy looking chain device. Less is definitely more for this bike.

Era correct decals.
Era correct decals.
Lefty top down.
Lefty top down.

The simplicity of the old logos are truly missed.
The simplicity of the old logos are truly missed.

DT hubs to Enve hoops.
DT hubs to Enve hoops.
Enve M5 carbon bars mounted upside down for more low.
Enve M5 carbon bars mounted upside down for more low.

Downtube on Fumic s FSi and Cannondale s old typeface.
Downtube on Fumic's FSi and Cannondale's old typeface.

Carbon saddle thanks to Prologo.
Carbon saddle thanks to Prologo.
No dust cap spacer overt he headset bearing in an attempt to keep it real low up the climbs.
No dust cap spacer over the headset bearing in an attempt to keep the bars low as possible for the climbs.

Look how cool this thing is



A new power meter integration from SRAM
A new power meter integration from SRAM?

Fresh oil for Sina Frei s Rockshox SID Ultimate.
Fresh oil for Sina Frei's Rockshox SID Ultimate.

Mondraker is sporting an interesting dropper post spotted on one of their bikes.
Mondraker is sporting an interesting dropper post spotted on one of their bikes. Specialized's Command post is tapered to fit smaller diameter seat tubes.

This Command Post is tapered to fit the frame yet still offer enough drop. How much drop About three inches.
This Command Post is tapered to fit the frame yet still offer enough drop. How much drop? About three inches.


MENTIONS: @mdelorme @andy9



102 Comments

  • + 194
 Even though I never owned one, that red cannondale really elicits an emotional, nostalgic response. Mountain bikes are cool.
  • + 13
 Trip down memory lane!
  • - 28
flag gshep (May 19, 2019 at 9:31) (Below Threshold)
 Mountain bike ARE cool ????????
  • - 23
flag gshep (May 19, 2019 at 9:32) (Below Threshold)
 I’m sorry I don’t know where all the ?’s came from. Just trying to be one of the cool kids
  • + 18
 That red Cannondale exactly the same old memories of Tinker Juarez giving it some on the World Cup xc. Amesome
  • + 11
 It should have a big C on the head tube. That triangle predates the capital Cannondale lettering running down under the down tube. It was more like 1994 for that one head badge. The rest is more like 1997 or 1998. The reason I know this is because I used to be Cannondale's biggest fan. I had a 1997 F2000 in red, and it had a big C on the head tube. That was before they started using the capital typeface, which I think kind of started in 1998 when they switched to blue and yellow for the team bikes and they had that huge team.
  • + 5
 Fumic's bike is really hot!
  • + 5
 @jaame: I had a 1990 Cannondale that had that head badge. The sides of the downtube looked like the bike above, and I don't think there were any other markings on the bike, except maybe "made in the USA" because they were back then. There wasn't anything on the bottom of the DT or top of the top tube, and there certainly wasn't a web site.

The throwback paintjobs are kind of a mashup of old designs rather than an actual replica, no?
  • - 1
 Hard to reconcile the laughty for me. Good styling otherwise.
  • + 1
 I had a CAAD2 Cannondale R400 or R300 in that red and yellow, many moons ago. Only sold it a few years ago, lovely bike. www.pinkbike.com/photo/10768342
  • + 1
 @Weens: I guess so. It's cool. I just always thought that C was cooler.
  • + 1
 Nicest one by a mile. Cant put your goofy team fork colour on that one
  • + 23
 I raced a Volvo team issue Killer V and a Sobe HeadShox slalom hardtails. Still two of my favorite team colors so Fumic's throwback is rad! Brings back the NORBA days.
  • + 4
 I’m right there with you!!! Can’t we get the rockstars back from the early 2000’s?
  • + 20
 Cannondale is getting their shit together again it seems. Love them or hate them Cannondale is one of the most iconic MTB brands and it is right propper seeing them back at it as they should. That bike is HOT!
  • + 15
 Visions of Tinker demolishing Norba rounds on those old Volvo Cannondale bike.....yeah I'm a 90s kid.
  • + 11
 Anyone know why these riders aren’t on dt 180 hubs? Everyone is on 240’s but if I had the choice I’d bump it up to the 180. Just curious why top riders aren’t using top components (not that 240’s are bad)
  • + 4
 No clue other than 240s being the OEM choice for the wheel makers? I've wondered this myself.
  • + 2
 Probably because the only difference between the two hubs is the ceramic bearings, and pro racers thrash their hub bearings in a single ride sometimes. Easier and cheaper to keep replacing standard bearings. You can be a little rougher on the install when pressing them in, too.
  • - 3
 Because ceramic bearings are far from being a good idea on a mountain bike and carbon fibre body is as good at enhancing performance as aluminium bricks.
  • + 6
 Correctly fitted, ceramic bearings should outlast stainless ones many times over. Ceramic is far harder than steel. Which is nice seeing as it gives you essentially 0.000% actual performance advantage in terms of watts used.

I gotta admit I'm confused by their choice of hubs too. Top riders riding top end hubs should be a no-brainer from both the rider and DT's point of view. Why on earth aren't they running them?
  • + 6
 Boost 180 series aren't available yet.
  • + 4
 @WAKIdesigns: Doesnt matter Waki...Its all about my dick is bigger than yours...Now, xtr 4 pots (click)...Add to cart!
  • + 7
 @gabriel-mission9: yes ceramic bearings are harder that’s why they explode. Glass is also harder than steel... Nothing illustrates the ceramic bearing hype better than the expo stand of Ceramic Speed pulleys and cage combo. On that little stand you are given pulleys on regular bearings and the Ceramic Speed bearings. The difference in how smooth Ceramic Speed bearings can felt instantly. Because the expo steel ones come greased and ceramic are not greased... snake oil. Fricking snake oil. Not to mention that 180 hubs save 40g over 240s and it is actually cheaper to buy 240s and the. Buy and fit stupid ceramic bearings to them losing only 10g to 180... ceramic bearings are some of the best robbers of kook money. You pay tons and get virtually nothing.
  • + 1
 @JohanG: that would explain thanks
  • + 3
 @seraph: Thrash their hub bearings in a single ride? Is that really true?
  • + 1
 @jaame:
No, not really. tup
  • + 2
 @WAKIdesigns: ceramic bearings dont explode. Well only when you push them in wonky. They dont explode in use. They dont give you any speed/energy saving advantage at all, but they do last a very long time.
So they only reason not to run them i can think of is the cost issue you mention. But then these guys are the worlds top pro's. They arent paying for them. I dont get why dt arent pushing them to ride the most expensive snake oiliest hubs they produce. It seems silly not too.
  • + 1
 @gabriel-mission9: talk to bike mechanics. If they don’t explode, they implode or get pulverized or disintegrated, call it whatever you want. Efficiency wise they come from a one big bowl of wank.
  • + 8
 All the bikes are art, but other than the cannondale none of the fork colors are tied into the rest of the bike, making them look to me as after thoughts. If these bikes are the top of the top and meticulously built..why not at least put a seat collar, some bolts, whatever onto the bike that matches the fork so they all blend together?
Admittedly I am a a bit of a geek when it comes to customizing my bikes, and have an artsy OCD with this stuff, but, these are tough but beautiful creations..why not celebrate them with the best aesthetic they can have? Smile
  • + 8
 Kate’s is
  • + 1
 I have often thought this myself. It adds a lot to a bike to have matching fork crown and lowers. You always see it with custom bikes. The closest thing you get is a bike company painting their frame orange to match Fox forks, or colour matched decals. I had a Giant STP from 2009 or 2010 which had colour matched Marzocchi DJ forks and it looked sweet.
  • + 1
 @jaame: Though I really want the fork color to be matched somewhere else on the bike, I've never been a fan of frame/fork color matching...to me it's too "stock" looking and I like my bikes to always look "one of/customized".
I'd say the orange(which I can't stand) of the Fox fork should have something like a seat collar, steer tube spacers..whatever, or even the kashima goldish color tied in, but out their on it's own with no color bond, it's just...out there, no unity.
  • + 6
 "Nearly every top racer is running a dropper post."

I didn't want to say itoadaso, but itoadaso!
  • + 9
 Fuckin way she goes
  • + 6
 Nice Rickyism bud!!!
  • + 10
 I am still waiting for people who called me names and say how dare I tell WC racers what to use to come out. You know who you are and you owe me “Waki was right”. The biggest outrage happened when I asked Emily Batty on “ask me anything” why wasn’t she using a dropper. People went nuts. But Waki was right. Now suck it btches
  • + 8
 @mhoshal: not every day that you can get two birds stoned at once with a pinkbike comment.
  • + 0
 @WAKIdesigns: waki, a hero we need but we don't deserve...
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Could you give a link to that discussion? I'm surprised to see people going nuts over a question like that. It seems to go right alongside questions like:
"Why are you using ..." wheels?"
"Why are you running (no) rear suspension?"
"Why are you riding (without) tire inserts?"
"Why are you running (no) remote lock-out?"
Any of these questions and any answer to these from a WC XC racer should be just fine, shouldn't it?
  • - 3
 @vinay: the darkest and weakest parts of my character seeked the "ask me anything with Emily Batty" as soon as I saw a Reverb on her bike on insta few montsh ago. But the article is gone, she did ask me anythign on her insta and that Pinkbike was just an advert for it. However I babble about droppers on every second article with XC WC so just find some recaps from last years WC.
  • + 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Alright, so the outrage mentioned was on instagram or on a removed Pinkbike page? Unfortunately that will be hard to find for me then. Would have been interesting though because the Pinkbike crowd appears to be very much "pro-dropper", going to the point that a budget bike would be a bad bike if it doesn't have a dropper (or like people have been commenting on the full susser Ryan Nyquist got to ride in Whistler, as if a BMX rider needs a high saddle on a descending jump trail). I'd say let those who really like to have a dropper on their bike choose their own. The cheap rigid posts adds next to nothing the price of the complete bike. But getting the "wrong" dropper is kind of a waste. Some people just need cheap and decent and would be fine with Pro or Brand-X (CRC). Others are very specific and want something from One-Up or BikeYoke. Except for a few German brands like Focus and Alutech, a cheaper full susser implies the full SRAM OEM deal with their Reverb dropper that pleases neither camp.
  • + 0
 @vinay: on a removed Pinkbike page. It was an announcement the Emily will have ask me anything on her insta, post questions in the comment board. Whatever I don’t care. Why should I? I won Smile
  • + 1
 i find it more interesting to see EXO casing tires on these xc hardtails. wild to see the weight weenie thing going away.
  • - 1
 @WAKIdesigns: #istandwithwaki
  • + 1
 @SnowshoeRider4Life: I don't stand with Waki. Get the f*ck out of my Trailer Park Boys appreciation thread with your bizarre grievances.
  • + 2
 FSA is a werid company.
They have real gems in their catalog.
The crank above was presented over 1 year ago, maybe even two. He did not hit the shelf until one year later.
Hey, thank you, if you postpone the launch of some products because you found some issue and wanted to fix it (Like Shimano and unlike Sram). But almost all products you present hit the shelf a year later?
  • + 5
 Remember the Lefty that crashed? It's alRight now.
  • + 1
 That pun has no right to support.
  • + 4
 The Command Post XCP doesn't give 90mm of drop though. It's offered in 35 and 50mm drops (1.37 and 1.96 inches).
  • + 2
 SRAM Reverb on Pro bikes??? Oh that's right, it was redesigned based on Bike Yoke Revive dropper post. *Reattaches eyelids, shakes head.
  • + 1
 why are so few man running dropper posts?? To me it seems pretty obvious that the advantages outweigh the "extra" weight issues..
  • + 2
 XC it kinda looks like mountain biking, but it just is what roadies did before gravel bikes
  • + 4
 Maybe before the world was fully covered in asphalt
  • + 3
 The Trek & Rocky Mountain hardtails are beautiful Drool
  • + 2
 There's some spy shots floating around of a new soft tail/low travel full sus from Trek. Since we didn't see it raced here but it was in the pits, expect to see it next week
  • + 1
 Heads up, those aren't the Hixon bars on Kate's bike there the Fraser IC SL's.
  • + 0
 Frasers have a negative rise, the ones on Kate's bike have a positive rise. I would assume Hixon, unless they have a third version of the Fraser coming out with the positive rise.
  • + 1
 @Offrhodes: that's actually incorrect, they have two types of fraser bars ones with out the -25 that nino rocks and these ones, attached is the link to the website showing the two different ones

www.syncros.com/us/en/search/?text=fraser
  • + 2
 Why does everyone want their bars low?
  • + 10
 Because wheelieing up climbs sucks
  • + 2
 because they aren't allowed to run drop bars..
  • + 2
 A few reasons, and its often rider dependent. But number 1 will be how it helps when climbing.
  • + 4
 Except Kate Courtney. Her bars look higher than the nose of her saddle. She definitely runs a new school fit, not an adapted road bike fit. And it seems to work for her okay on the climbs.
  • + 1
 @whambat: Yep "new school" is the perfect way to describe it. Im still surprised Anton runs such an aggressive stem, TBH.
  • + 3
 @WRXJim: From what I've heard Anton chooses to size up his bike as he prefers the longer reach/top tube. The downside of this is larger bikes have longer head tubes, as such he uses an aggressive negative stem to get the bars lower
  • + 2
 @whambat: the women typically have higher bars, they have different body proportions and a lower center of gravity. It's not a "new school fit".
  • + 2
 Front wheel grip.
  • - 1
 @WRXJim: I think it’s that people at that level don’t want to change the fits that they have been using to get to that level. Takes too long to adapt. As I understand it, Courtney came into racing as a mountain biker, in pretty recent history, when the sport wasn’t dominated by such huge bar to saddle drops.
And, no it’s not a women’s fit thing. Some women have higher bar heights because of smaller frame sizes on 29ers, but that was a factor of fitting them to the bike and it turned out it was still fast. They could run -25 drop stems like Nino, but it turns out it’s not needed. Back in the 26” days, pro women rode pretty big saddle to bar drops as well. Besides Fumic runs a pretty new school fit (maybe not as high as Courtney’s bars but still really upright, and he’s not a female, and he rides in baggies).
  • + 4
 @whambat: almost every single woman has level saddle and bars..it is a woman thing. Regardless of sex, almost every single rider has the same fit( KOPS, leg with 30 degree bend, 45* torso angle, 90 torso/arm angle with bent elbows). Some riders are more or less flexible, and some are at the extremes of morphology, but they all have the same basic fit.
  • + 4
 @whambat: sitting on a trainer/roller with arms straight it not how you ride.
When actually sitting and pedaling shes in almost the exact same position as langvad, with a torso angle right at 45 degrees. Taking individual riders as an example of whole doesnt work, because not everyone has the same level of flexibility. Its not a matter of "new school fit", you cant make power if you exceed your ROM.
www.bikehub.co.za/features/_/news/mtb/international-mtb/langvad-and-courtney-dominate-on-prologue-day-r7186

The two best male XC racers side by side, with almost identical fits despite different body builds:
cdn-cyclingtips.pressidium.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Screen-Shot-2016-08-18-at-4.02.12-PM.png
  • + 1
 The biggest difference is in aerodynamics.
  • + 1
 @clink83: you’re example of the two “best xc” riders is completely floored. Look at what Sagan is doing with his knees and you can judge any hip or knees angles from front on
  • + 2
 @rrsport: as far as as wins Nino and Absalom are the two most winningest XC racers in history. I believe Absalom is still #1. They have completely different body builds but the overall fit is the same.
You can compare the top road riders and they all look fairly similar on the bike too. Most of the greats roadies aren't the ones riding with slammed stems and flat backs in an attempt to be aero.
  • + 2
 Chris Froome has some long ass arms, but still has a pretty similar fit to any XC racer:
images.app.goo.gl/dP1ndUwxyWkttEoT9
  • + 2
 @clink83: Except your photo isn't Nino and Absalon, it's Peter Sagan and Absalon.
  • + 1
 @Ginsu2000: haha you are totally right! Sorry I've been studying nursing stuff all day. Sagan was an xc world champ as a junior right?
  • + 1
 @clink83: and that brings the discussion to the point that you don’t need a big drop from saddle to bar to have a bike can climb well when you can just bend at the waist as needed to keep the front end down or get in a good power position. Bars level with seat height does not necessarily equate with wheeling on climbs. Some of us remember when everyone in xc said you needed 140mm stems to climb well also. Long stems and low bars aren’t needed to climb well.

And that’s the same position enduro and DH riders are in in the attack position as well, despite massive stack heights and riser bars. Bars don’t need to be low to get your weight forward or to bend at your waist.
snowbrains.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/enduro-mtb.jpg
  • + 3
 @whambat: enduro riders push their bikes uphill because they climb so badly...not a good example. Gravity riders aren't trying to be fast uphill.
This isn't hard, if you put your saddle in the correct position for pedalling efficiency you then put the bars where your hands are. For men it results in a low bar, for women not so much. There is this thing called science, and you're woefully ignorant about it.
www.njdsportsinjuries.co.uk/bike-fitting/bikefit-science
  • + 1
 @clink83: you keep ignoring the Fumic example. And he’s not the only one.
  • + 1
 @whambat: I have said over and over that not everyone has the same morphology or levels of flexibility. You are taking one rider out of context to prove a point that is heavily researched. Just about every rider on the WC, male or female, has the same basic fit +/- a few degrees. You fit a bike to put the pelvis, knees, and feet in the proper position relative to the bottom bracket and crank, and then put the handlebars in a position that is within the athletes range of motion. You don't just raise the handlebars for funsies for a "new school fit". You can also look at riders on the bike and see when they have problems with range of motion, if you know what to look for.
  • + 2
 @clink83: Very well stated. Thank you. It is a pretty logical process. For some reason, many on here have the opinion that all that can be discounted because "mountain biking is different. This isn't road riding." The act like you can take an optimized fit and slide the saddle all the way forward to somehow improve performance without downsides. They tell you fitting methods used and proven through racing are inapplicable, then you see them pedaling around sitting on their dropped saddle...

None of that in this thread, but it seems to be a growing trend when any geo/bike fit topic comes up.
  • + 1
 Leonardi racing chain device. Cool. They make the best aftermarket stuff for cannondale and beyond.
  • + 1
 Kate Courtney's Scott Scale running a wireless seatpost using a cable????????
  • + 1
 Blip shifter can't transmit in it's own, has to get plugged in.
  • + 1
 i couldnt hear anything over how loud that axs anodizing is
  • + 1
 Does anyone know how much these bikes weigh?
  • + 1
 Also, are there any weight restrictions on these bikes?
  • + 1
 Nino Schurter bike is 169 pounds with him sitting on it.
  • + 1
 @sschultz: I think the same weight restriction for road bikes apply in XC, bikes must be above 6.8kg/14lbs.
  • + 1
 @nozes: I don't think the UCI weight limit applies for XC. It's only for road iirc. You probably would never see even a hardtail bumping against the cui weight limit anyways. I wouldn't be surprised if they got rid of the weight limit at some point anyways.
  • + 1
 @clink83: There are rumours of UCI lowering the limit, but it isn't official yet.
But as you said, no racer on the world is using such a light bike. Most bikes (hardtail) that raced yesterday are in the 8,5-9kg range or above.
  • + 2
 @clink83: Actually the same UCI weight limit also applies to mountain bikes. It's in the rules. However, for practical purposes it doesn't really matter since 1. to the best of my knowledge the UCI never checks weights for MTB events, and 2. as you correctly point out no one is going to be racing a weight-weenie hardtail under the limit anyhow because it would compromise function too much (which is probably why the UCI doesn't bother checking). There have been a couple of notorious weight-weenies in the XC ranks over the years, but even their HTs were still in the high 17lb range iirc, and this was in the day of 26 not the heavier 29 setups.
  • + 1
 @Ginsu2000: I was mistaken, I thought the weight only applied to road bikes. Whoops!
  • + 1
 Power Box looks like a motor hahaha
  • + 0
 Dropper posts for all! ????????????
  • - 3
 Did the rider of the cannondale notice half their fork has fell off?
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