XC Bike Checks: 4 World Cup Race Machines

May 24, 2014
by Matthew DeLorme  
Nove Mesto is the first standalone XC World Cup of the season. We took a stroll through the pits and found some interesting new goodies, namely from Shimano and in the form of the Rock Shox RS1. Nove Nesto lacks some of the super technical terrain of PMB and Cairns, and the track has plenty of roots and soft loamy dirt off the main lines. Most of the field is opting for the hardtail this weekend, with a few dual suspension hold outs for the rock gardens.

Kulhavy s S-Works Epic. This bike is set-up pretty close to stock. Note the mega steep seat angle and low front end.
  Kulhavy's S-Works Epic. This bike is set-up pretty close to stock. Note the mega steep seat angle and low front end.


Carbon Roval rims and S-WORKS Renegade 1.95 tires. Kulhavy will likely stick with this tire set-up unless the rains come.
  Carbon Roval rims and S-WORKS Renegade 1.95 tires. Kulhavy will likely stick with this tire set-up unless the rains come.


FOX Specialized Future shock on Kuhlhavy s bike. For the most part the bike is stock with only a few minor adjustments.
  FOX Specialized Future shock on Kuhlhavy's bike. For the most part, the bike is stock with only a few minor adjustments.


SRAM XX1 out back on Kulhavy s bike.
  SRAM XX1 out back on Kulhavy's bike.


Custom levers on Kulhavy s Avid XX brakes in memory of Burry.
  Custom levers on Kulhavy's Avid XX brakes in memory of Burry.


So far Kulhavy is the only one pushing a 38 tooth ring up front. While there isn t a ton of elevation here in Nove Mesto the course does pack in a fair amount of climbing. That could change by Sunday but for now 38 it is.
  So far, Kulhavy is the only one pushing a 38 tooth ring up front. While there isn't a ton of elevation here in Nove Mesto, the course does pack in a fair amount of climbing. That could change by Sunday, but for now 38 it is.


Nino Schurter is back for race three and looking for a win. This is the steed he aims to take it on. He is the only elite to run 650b in a sea of 29 inch wheels which makes his Spark rather interesting.
  Nino Schurter is back for race three and looking for a win. This is the steed he aims to take it on. He is the only elite to run 650b in a sea of 29 inch wheels, which makes his Scale rather interesting.


Just in case Nino needs a reminder it s there on his top tube.
  Just in case Nino needs a reminder, it's there on his top tube.


Schurter s ultra light Ritchey Paradigm Pro titanium pedals. 240 grams per pair and SPD cleat compatible though they work best with Ritchey s cleats.
  Schurter's ultra light Ritchey Paradigm Pro titanium pedals. 240 grams per pair and SPD cleat compatible, though they work best with Ritchey's cleats.


Nino and Dugast have created these tires from the ground up. They started with the carbon 650b DT Swiss wheels and then specially molded these tires. Nino has three tread patterns to choose from including a snake skin with ultra low profile side knobs for hard pack.
  Nino and Dugast created Nino's 27.5 tubular tires from the ground up. They are mounted to carbon 650b DT Swiss wheels. Nino has three tread patterns to choose from, including this snake skin with ultra low profile side knobs for hard pack. Dugast bonds the tread to hand-made casings for an undisclosed sum.


Schurter keeps track of all his training stats with a Garmin Edge 510
  Schurter keeps track of all his training stats with a Garmin Edge 510.


DT Swiss remote lockout on Schurter s Scale.
  DT Swiss XRC fork with carbon lowers and a remote lockout on Schurter's Scale.


Schurter is running a full XX1 group with a 36 tooth ring up front.
  Schurter is running a full XX1 group with a 36 tooth ring up front.


Behold the Shimano XTR 9000. The newly designed crankset allows for 3x 2x or 1x11. Shimano opted for an 11 X 40 cassette stating that 40 is a much shorter shifting distance than 42 and therefore more efficient.
  Behold the Shimano XTR 9000. The newly designed crankset allows for 3x, 2x, or 1x11. Shimano opted for an 11 X 40 cassette, stating that 40 is a much shorter shifting distance than 42, and therefore more efficient.


Shimano s new side-pull front derailleur delivers super strong quick shifting.
  Shimano's new side-pull front derailleur delivers super strong, quick shifting.


The BMC Team Elite of Julien Absalon. This bike already has two victories to its name this season and it just got some upgrades.
  The BMC Team Elite of Julien Absalon. This bike already has two victories to its name this season, and it just got some upgrades.


Julien is running a prototype BMC carbon guide and a prototype XTR 36 tooth chain ring.
  Julien is running a prototype BMC carbon guide, and a prototype XTR 36 tooth chain ring.


New XTR brakes are lighter and feature carbon levers. The Team Elite also has 3T carbon bars and stem.
  New XTR brakes are lighter and feature carbon levers. The Team Elite also has 3T carbon bars and stem.


The Fizik Antares is Absalon s saddle of choice.
  The Fizik Antares is Absalon's saddle of choice.


Absalon s BMC Team Elite gets the full XTR treatment down to wheels and hubs.
  Absalon's BMC Team Elite gets the full XTR treatment down to wheels and hubs.


FOX Racing Shox has been making these lighter non-QR XC axles for a couple years now. Julian Absalon is running one on his BMC Team Elite. According to the team in a flat situation there isn t a noticeable time penalty compared to to standard QR.
  FOX Racing Shox has been making these lighter, non-QR XC axles for a couple years now. Julian Absalon is running one on his BMC Team Elite. According to the team, in a flat situation, there isn't a noticeable time penalty compared to to standard QR.


Jose Antonio Hermida s Merida Big Nine race bike. With the addition of the RS1 Jose is running an aluminum wheel up front because Fulcrum doesn t have the carbon wheel ready for the RS1 just yet. Hermida says the aluminum wheel actually works well with the RS1 because it has the right amount of forgiveness to compliment the fork stiffness. Hermida is one of three riders running the RS1 in Nove Mesto the other two are TLD SRAM s Russell Finsterwald and Unior Trek s Tanya Zakelj.
  Jose Antonio Hermida's Merida Big Nine race bike. With the addition of the RS1, Jose is running an aluminum wheel up front because Fulcrum doesn't have the carbon wheel ready for the RS1 just yet. Hermida says the aluminum wheel actually works well with the RS1 because it has the right amount of forgiveness to complement the fork stiffness. Hermida is one of three riders running the RS1 in Nove Mesto, the other two are TLD SRAM's Russell Finsterwald and Unior Trek's Tanya Zakelj.


Hermida is running XX grip shifts and Procraft bar ends. I m the only one still running bar ends he said no one understands it.
  Hermida is running XX grip shifts and Procraft bar ends. "I'm the only one still running bar ends," he said, "no one understands it."


Rock Shox RS1 on Hermida s bike. It s unlike anything we ve seen said WHO SAID THIS It s light and stiff and requires so much less in service.
  Rock Shox RS1 on Hermida's bike. "It's unlike anything we've seen," said Hermida, "It's light and stiff and requires so much less in service."

36 tooth XX1 and Time ATAC pedals on Hermida s Merida Big Nine.
  36 tooth XX1 and Time ATAC pedals on Hermida's Merida Big Nine.


Merida s Flex Stay technology designed to give the bike a bit of the supple suspension feel in the rough stuff.
  Merida's Flex Stay technology, designed to give the bike a bit of the supple suspension feel in the rough stuff.


Prologo Scratch Pro Seat on the Merida Big Nine.
  Prologo Scratch Pro Seat on the Merida Big Nine.


Only three of the New XTR 9000 groups with prototype chainrings are racing this weekend. That s all. Test Pilots include Trek Factory Racing s Dan McConnell BMC s Julien Absalon and Giant s Fabien Giger.
  Only three of the new XTR 9000 groups with prototype chainrings are racing this weekend. That's all. Test Pilots include Trek Factory Racing's Dan McConnell, BMC's Julien Absalon, and Giant's Fabien Giger. All are running some sort of upper chain guide.




261 Comments

  • 208 2
 I think how purpose-built these rigs are is as interesting as a WC DH race bike. No compromise for the intended purpose.
  • 76 1
 Agreed. I love the fact that progression and refinement happens everywhere in riding. The power required to push a 38t ring around a course in a race situation is scary!
  • 13 1
 Does anyone know if there is a weight limit on these bikes, like road cycling?
  • 14 1
 There is no weight limit
  • 10 13
 With Nino's bike being sub 20 lbs... There almost should be!
  • 7 4
 The weight restrictions in road racing is for safety, Nino's bike could handle anything the capable rider could do on it!
  • 6 1
 Weights on the bikes would have been nice(even though it makes us feel fat, lol).
  • 15 2
 @kdstones it's actually sub 17lbs!
  • 38 1
 Yes, yes you might be. But thats just fine.
  • 18 1
 XC does not appeal to me at all, but these bike are interesting to see and the engineering is amazing! Definitely a feature I'd like to see more of.
  • 12 0
 I hate when people say of a bike that it is "no compromise". Building mountain bikes is all about compromising weight, pedalling efficiency, acceleration, momentum, suspension, manoevrability, etc.
  • 19 0
 its great to see Pinkbike showing these XC bikes as all bikes are great, whatever you are actually into yourself!

I spent years racing BMX and DH, and then Freeride, I don't do that anymore but am still interested in seeing all kinds of bikes;- road, cross country, bmx, downhill, etc.
  • 23 1
 Keep the race bike porn coming. I dig it.
  • 3 2
 As this is a uci event you would think that the weight limit would be the same as for road racing (6.8kg, 14.99lbs)
  • 1 0
 THats funny!
  • 3 2
 does anyone know if there not allowed to use dropper posts?
  • 1 0
 Yup, bikes are coooooool.
  • 2 0
 @maxhajdu23, there is no rule that prohibits dropper posts. I watched the live coverage of the last round in Cairns and Georgia Gould had one on her bike.
  • 1 0
 It's not worth the weight penalty.
  • 3 0
 Ya okay I just never have understood why they don't cause they have a seat smashing their asshole the whole way down
  • 3 0
 the weight limit is 6.8kg or 15lb for all bikes in uci competition. but if your bike is lighter you just add lead weights down the seat tube or under the bb.
  • 1 0
 Yeh I have read articles of roadies adding ballast to the bottom bracket region.
  • 2 0
 Usually in the form of a power meter to make UCI weight restrictions.
  • 82 1
 That seat angle though
  • 15 16
 It actually makes some sense given how steeply angled the stem is.
  • 63 29
 No it doesn't.
  • 114 3
 I think it's meant to be super uncomfortable, to make you want to get off the bike ASAP, leading to a faster finish time. That's my theory anyhow.
  • 28 2
 It's angled down like that to put the rider in a stronger and more comfortable climbing position. That's also why the stem is so low, as when the front axle is higher than the rear, the riding position on the bike returns to neutral. Pick the front wheel up a few degrees and all of a sudden the seat is level and in a strong and comfortable position for seated climbing and steep grades. Also makes it much more comfortable when moving forward towards the nose of the saddle. That's the logic anyway, but this does look like a crazy exaggeratedly steep angle that goes outside of the conventional nose-down for climbing line of thought.
  • 11 0
 Works for him... he is one of the best.
  • 27 9
 @hllclmbr considering he's a world champ and an Olympic gold medalist you don't have a clue what you're talking about.
  • 2 1
 I know someone who was using a negative 33 degree stem and his seat angle was still the same
  • 2 0
 Yeah I though it actually looks cool until I saw the seat
  • 2 0
 I run my seat quite steep as well, although not as steep as this. I feel it makes pedalling a bit more efficient with not as much energy lost in wandering over the seat. Quite personal though, as these photos show, they all know what they're doing but have their own setups. That said I can't imagine Kulhavy's bike being that comfy when riding longer distances in the saddle.
  • 11 0
 Come on folks, where are you sit bones? Are they in your balls? No, they are in your ass, way back there. When you ride with the nose even slightly pointed up, your perineal nerve gets all the weight. The larger the difference between the saddle and your bars, the more your bent over, the lower the nose needs to be. On a downhill bike or BMX bike, where the seat is below the bars, it's the opposite.
  • 2 0
 It allows you to rotate your hip far better and much less lower back pain in racing attack position... i know cause i had same pain / problem...
Also less risk of infertilitie...
The opposite side of sadle like this is your arm triceps gets much more tension all time cause all your wheight is forward to the handlebars...
  • 3 0
 Same strategy Specialized has with fitting a time-trial bike- if you rotate the rider forward and lower, you should adjust the seat angle to match the drop distance. It's science.
  • 3 1
 @srbdude1 One person in all of professional racing runs their seat at a crazy downward angle like that, and it's the way to go based on results? Have you adjusted your saddle to a 30 degree downslope? How much faster did you become?
  • 2 0
 I'm not a world class XC racer and have much shorter legs so it wouldn't work for me. He wins quite often so I wouldn't question his setup. How you ride and what you ride is irrelevant to Yari.
  • 2 0
 An ideal seat angle is all relative to the application, but there are a few misconceptions. To a certain point, angling the nose down can place more weight on your nerve, as the slope rotates your hips forward and forces you towards the front of the saddle, both of which place more pressure on your perreneal nerve and your wrists. Your seat angle should support your sit bones and allow you to sit unsupported by your arms while placing a minimum amount of pressure on your nerve. It's a delicate balance, and is all relative to the application and terrain. Time trialists are resting their upper bodies on aero bars and need to be forward with a perch to sit on and push back against for a ton of power in a very very low and awkward position. If their seat was flat, and their bodies were in that aero position they would squash their balls and be pushing themselves off the back of the saddle. Totally different than Anything being done on an mtb. In mtb it's for climbing and maintaining a low attack position, and still mostly comes down to rider preference. On mtb for trail riding I generally prefer level to slightly nose up depending on the saddle and intention on the bike, which usually has a bias towards descending.
  • 2 1
 I've always run a steep angle like that and have always copped shit for it. Whether it is cross country, DH or freeriding it saves my balls getting sqeezed, smashed and chafed. Nice to see a pro who doesn't want testicular cancer.
  • 3 0
 So riding with a level seat = testicular cancer? Thanks for the advice Dr. choppertank3e!
  • 3 0
 With that much drop distance between the seat and handlebar position, riding with a level seat generally places more pressure on "sensitive tissue", not just balls. That pressure reduces blood flow which can lead to a number of short term (i.e. riding discomfort) and long term problems (i.e. numbness, etc). Depending on the person, saddle choice, short/bib choice, lowering the nose of the saddle in relation to how much drop exists between the saddle and the handle bar is generally a really smart, comfortable, and efficient move.
  • 2 1
 Pinkbike: where the haters come to hate.
  • 2 1
 more specifically, people with firm opinions about mountain bikes.
  • 2 1
 Its so he can use less upper body muscles (waste) to hold himself on the bike while climbing, just a more efficient position. With that said I still think it looks kinda silly
  • 1 3
 I literally said something accurate and got voted down, and someone who said I was wrong got voted up. Then someone else confirmed that what I said was right (a steep stem/seat angle makes sense) and got voted up.

It ain't about opinions - it's about haters doing their thing. Wah.
  • 2 0
 Why do you care if some 13 year old voted you down
  • 1 0
 Its just herd mentality... if i see some one down voted, I'm going to down vote them. Im sure I'm not alone here
  • 1 2
 I read comments and if they display stupidity and/or ignorance they get voted down.
  • 2 0
 Dual function dropper to change the seat angle ?
  • 1 0
 ^ Would be awesome.
  • 1 1
 It'd also be cool if you could have a lever adjust fork height that didn't adjust your fork travel length (like a dropper post for the front end of your bike).
  • 1 1
 Think about that a second. How's that supposed to work?
  • 2 1
 by the amount of stanchion showing on the fork. done by raising the 'floor' inside the fork, not the ceiling.
  • 1 1
 But if your fork is 150mm travel, and there's 150mm stanchion showing, how can you reduce the amount of stanchion showing without reducing the travel?
  • 1 1
 I can't tell if you are trolling or just stupid at this point. Haven't you ever seen a u-turn fork?
  • 2 0
 No need for name calling. U-turn CHANGES THE AMOUNT OF TRAVEL.
  • 1 1
 I give up.
  • 1 0
 No, I'm actually interested how you plan to make a fork with (X) amount of travel that can lower the axle to crown without reducing the travel. Please, do explain.
  • 1 0
 What I'm saying is that companies with big R&D budgets pay engineers to work day in day out on how to minimize the a2c for a fork with a given amount of travel, and they will gleefully announce in press releases that they've finally managed to reduce it by 4mm. You think there's somehow a way to pull an extra 3-4 inches of drop from... where exactly without reducing the travel?? Come on man. Why would you even want to do that? If you're pedaling up a hill so steep that you need to drop the front end, why in the world would you need full travel?
  • 1 0
 You are thinking about it wrong. If you have an xc bike with 80mm of travel and a low front end like that epic at the beginning, it'd be cool to prop that front end up on downhills. And you wouldn't want the fork to be able to dive 140mm, only 80mm. So its not making a fork travel longer. It'd be pushing the lowers away from the uppers with a u-turn like system, which is done by turning the fork's coil. Instead of using the forks coil, you'd want a solid coil that couldn't compress. So its essentially like unscrewing a screw, where the crown sits on the head of the screw, or where the bottom of the lowers sits on the head of the screw, depending if you want it to be inverted or not.
  • 1 0
 Not worth the added weight. Fork and Shock lockout are most important with all else just adding a weight penalty.
  • 1 1
 You never know. Its just an idea anyways. Maybe it'd be more appropriate than lockout for an xc race. Do they actually use lockout while racing? I'm gonna ask Emily Batty on her article.
  • 1 0
 Yes they do. Climbing and flats most run lockout.
  • 1 1
 Dunno about reducing but I increased my forks axle to crown without increasing the travel. You could do the inverse. However you would have to have a relatively high axle to crown distance to begin with which no one wants.
  • 1 1
 I'm talking about increasing, like you did, not reducing. Why would you reduce an already extremely low axle height for downhills?
  • 1 0
 Bionicon does this already and their bikes weigh a ton. Scott Genus and Cannondale Jekyl/Trigger do this in their rear shock setups.
  • 59 1
 hell yeah. love the xc coverage. the new xtr cranks are very unfortunate looking.
  • 12 2
 They look like glossy deore cranks....
  • 8 0
 My coworker and I came to the agreement they resemble the low end cranks that get spec'd on entry level mountain bikes. google Shimano M131 crank, then frown.
  • 3 0
 Yes they look just as ugly in real life as the studio pictures we've seen... Very disappointing.
  • 1 0
 Sometimes shimano does make a mess..
  • 50 6
 I still wonder when all these guys will start to run dropper posts. Its got to be getting close to being an advantage. Some of the wc tracks have gnarly sections where guys are crashing and they clearly would have been fine with a lowered post.
  • 7 2
 I agree, surely the weight penalty would justify the control benefit
  • 43 0
 I hear your point, but if aluminum brake levers are considered a weight penalty for these guys, I doubt they'll ever run droppers.
  • 22 2
 If there was an advantage they would use them, they can make up more time climbing faster than descending faster.
  • 12 1
 Use a Hite-Rite. Much lighter than a dropper. Had one through the 80's. Grease yer post and zip tie a section of inner tube over the insert section to keep it clean. Hell, leaving the seat QR open, it was consider "suspension"! Ha ha.
That one goes out to the old folks. Har har har!
  • 14 18
flag bobsten (May 23, 2014 at 23:30) (Below Threshold)
 Keep in mind the mental prowess it takes to operate a dropper post when you're gassed - I guarantee you can't. These guys are going 120%, they can't be bothered trying to fuss with a silly dropper. Also, these guys are so skilled at riding tech / descending with a high seat that operating the dropper is still a disadvantage, when compared to riding their descent and immediately powering out.

Give it time though, it'll happen
  • 7 0
 @wingnutbert. They could reserach something like the hi-rite. Actually I've been thinking a lot about it. Could be ligther and simpler. Ther's room for improvement over there. My reverb is giving me the blues hahaha
  • 7 1
 did you guys watch Nino Schurter in Utah? I'm not sure he needs a dropper for XC tracks.
  • 3 0
 They said full sus wasnt needed for xc races
  • 3 2
 @bobsten - It's only the top of the pack riders like Schurter, Absalon, et al that are confidently hitting the tech sections. The rest of the field would definitely benefit from a dropper post, no question.
  • 3 9
flag AllridersAgency (May 24, 2014 at 9:10) (Below Threshold)
 if UCI would be far clever enought they should have put just ONE RULE: mandatory adjusttable seatpost for everyone and dramatic wheight problem solved!... And ah... Wait a moment ... We may at this time for the increased show we would be using another word too for xc racing.. Emmm... i can t remember... ENDU... whatelse??...
  • 8 1
 XC racers occasionally use dropper posts, especially taller or oddly proportioned riders; Todd Wells is a good example. I think part of the reason that they aren't prevalent is that on an XC bike, with a steep seat tube angle, it's relatively easy to get behind and out of the way of the saddle while keeping it at a good climbing height. I ride a lot of XC and I rarely have trouble descending technical terrain.
  • 1 0
 I bet we'll see some form of dropper post integrated with electronic suspension here in the near future. Powered up, and powered down seatposts, too.
  • 2 0
 Giant's working on one; it's motorized. But it seems like they've been having trouble with the size of the battery pack.
www.bicycling.com/mountainbikecom/bikes-gear/sneak-peek-giant-s-electric-dropper-post
  • 2 0
 donpinpon29: Yep. It's lite and doesn't have much in the way of parts to break or god forbid batteries! Wink . I'm thinking if I get the urge for one, I'll hack one of those grip-strengthening thingys and weld on a collar on one arm to clamp to the seat post. Advantage of being a welder Wink
  • 2 1
 They don't need bloody dropper posts! I went to watch the xc world cup in Dalby a few years ago and some of the men were descending Medusa's Drop like downhillers!
  • 2 0
 I just wonder if anyone has tested this. Run a couple laps with then without. Half a pound makes a difference I get that, but maybe a few seconds per lap on the ups? What gains on the downs? If its a few seconds and so it equals out then would it not be worth it just to prevent a crash or two?
  • 37 1
 All I can see here is many different forms of spine shattering stiffness.....
  • 3 0
 That's EXACTLY what I thought -- "Oh hell, my back..." Smile
  • 2 0
 Carbon HTs ride quite a bit differently than alu ones...
  • 23 2
 Am I the only one who got a kick out of the bar-ends? I haven't seen those since I was 11, when you weren't cool if you didn't have them. Props to that rider!
  • 9 0
 I thought I was so hip for rocking bar ends with colored tape when I raced XC as a kid back in like 97'.
  • 4 0
 I've got an old cannondale m400 with bar ends I use as a commuter/frankenbike with bar ends on it. Takes me back to the day!
  • 2 0
 Two bar ends... Damn whiskey...
  • 7 0
 And he's placed third in the last two races! maybe i should look into some...
  • 3 0
 Maybe he'd have gotten some firsts if he'd been rockin' some Scott AT4's! OH YEAH BABY!!!!! 8hr epic weekend rides with the AT4's and the Ritchie 1.5's! ZOOM!!!! I miss them things!! sniff* Frown
  • 2 0
 Saw an old timer rocking a spider web seat and bar ends with riser bars on a new Scott Genius.
  • 24 4
 Im just saying, if you dont appreciate WC XC then dont mountain bike. ALL the guys that race downhill, ride XC. I race XC, and DH and personally xc is painful and everything but its awesome pushing yourself to the limit.
  • 2 14
flag OprahsMinge (May 24, 2014 at 19:00) (Below Threshold)
 ya it's super awesome intentionally putting yourself at a disadvantage with a painful bike and a seat that's ten feet up your ass.
  • 9 0
 Not much of a disadvantage if you know how to ride.
  • 5 1
 So your saying these pros will win on 150mm travel bikes cause its plusher.. no, these bikes are designed for one thing, being fast. They are meant to be stiff because the power transfer through the cranks. These companies know what they are doing and design bikes for the purpose.
  • 4 0
 Also carbon HTs ride pretty nice. Aluminum HTs ride pretty horribly in comparison. My 29er alu HT is BRUTAL lol. I have demoed alu and carbon HTs back to back. When I got off the carbon bike and got on the alu one.... lol it was horrid.
  • 1 0
 My carbon HT is crazy stiff, and its a rocket cause all the power transfer cause its so stiff. They are stiff but they are also really responsive. Also steel HT make awesome AM hardtails paired with a 130mm 29 fork its awesome!!
  • 2 0
 I have a carbon hard tail and a steel aggressive hard tail.... will never ever go to an alloy one. They ride like shit
  • 22 0
 hand fucking made tires.
  • 8 0
 Most tubulars are handmade and it is not rare for brands like Dugast, Challenge and FMB to put whatever thread you want on their tubs. Still, freaking cool to have custom made tyres!
  • 3 0
 One high performance bike tire is just as hand made as the next. The big difference between tubulars like these and a beaded tire is that the tubular has it's tread glued on to the sewn shut carcass with inner tube enclosed and a beaded tire has it's tread and open carcass vulcanized together into one peice. Otherwise they use similar production techniques, and in both cases lots of hands touch a tire to make it.
  • 4 0
 it was the custom-made-for-him part that got me.
  • 1 0
 his name is on them
  • 1 0
 Is it easy to roll a mtb tubular off the rim because like on a road bike 120psi is also forcing the tire onto the wheel and a mtb only has ~25-35 psi but a lager gluing surface? i hate the sound and feeling of burping by tubeless and just wondering would this be a non feasible solution. Screw paying ~$200 for a tire.
  • 19 2
 That RS1 fork is the future. finally, forks can aesthetically match some of these sexy frames.
  • 12 0
 "Hermida says the aluminum wheel actually works well with the RS1 because it has the right amount of forgiveness to complement the fork stiffness"
...and when the carbon wheel is ready to run the aluminium wheel instantly starts to suck. Aren't carbon rims usually considered more shock absorbing anyway? On top of that, he's raving about having this stiff ass fork and then ruining its benefits with a flexy wheel. Wut?

Cool bikes nonetheless Smile
  • 2 0
 Made no sense here either. carbon rims are so much better on the ragged edge- besides, no bike here seems to have any soft spots... Would be neat to see an inverted fork on the podium though.
  • 10 0
 He is a world cup racer and they say he doesn't have a carbon wheel because they don't produce them yet... When have WC racers had to wait for production?
Couldn't they have just laced a carbon rim onto an rs1 hub? Seems like a big oversight
  • 1 0
 I thought carbon wheels were stiffer and have read that they rode harsher.
  • 11 2
 I would like to merely point out an interesting fact about geometry. Look at seat angles of those bikes, they are quite slack by "Enduro" standards, where people claim they need 74-75 degrees. Worlds like "it's physics", "it's efficient" pop up in internet discussions, well... think again, who else than XC racers can need more efficiency on uphills? My point is, don't put so much trust in numbers, put lots of it into mobility of your body.
  • 2 1
 Numbers trust no, feel you must - yoda/waki.
Me- I fully agree! Waki for major!!!
  • 2 0
 Seat angle =/ seat tube angle.
  • 1 0
 that is because even the FS bikes don't run any sag.

add 2" of sag on a 6" enduro bike and you need a much steeper seat tube when a rider is actually on it.
  • 3 0
 Off course they run SAG, what? There is only one bike that runs no sag, it is called rigid bike and the reason why xc race bikes do run sag (even if it is 15-20% is because suspension makes them more efficient when riding and pedalling through rough terrain. For dead flat sections those guys use lock out.
  • 1 0
 lol yah. I run about 10% sag on my Spark 29.
  • 1 0
 Full suspension World Cup xc bikes run sag equiv to about 5-8mm at the wheel. 5-10%.

Enduro bikes are more like 30%, or 50mm at the wheel.

Do the math. Xc bikes need about 2-3deg slacker seat tubes to be in the same place relative to the bottom bracket. Or, long travel trail bikes need a 2-3deg steeper seat tube compared to an xc bike.
  • 1 0
 The sag doesn't apply to the front as well?
  • 1 0
 marshalolson - when you sag a full suspension bike with quite equal amount of travel front and rear, the bike angles stay more or less the same Blank Stare There is no relation in that subject between XC bike and Enduro bike.I am not saying steeper seat angles are bad, no they work better as long as you have an adjustable seat post, or you live in the mountains. It is very hard to ride a 75 deg seat angle with seat up. Then Xc bikes use slacker seat angles because they need room in the cockpit while pedalling seated, their frame reach is short to provide as short wheelbase as possible. Uphill handling is the key, no xc race is won on downhills even though many are lost there.
  • 1 0
 a pro xc bike sees around 10% fork sag along with 10% frame sag. a trail/all mountain bike sees ~15-20% fork sag and ~30% frame sag. you are comparing apples and oranges. there is much more bias toward rear wheel weighting on a trail bike vs. an xc bike, so the seat angle at static needs to accommodate this.

xc bikes run more offset in the seatpost to gain watts when mated to long stems, low/narrow bars etc. it gives leverage at different places in the circle.
  • 1 0
 Sag shmag, 20% front to 30% rear on a 7" frame with 7" fork means a difference of 10% means roughly 15-20mm bias which equals barely a full degree, equaling seat position going roughly an inch backwards. I can off course check your theory in a CAD program but to me there is no water in it. You further mention offset posts which proves my point more because that slackens the effective seat angle even more. I am open for suggestions and I like people disagreeing with me
  • 1 0
 Just to clarify: my original point was that steepening the seat angle from previous am dogma being 72ish to nu school 75ish has next to nothing to do with pedalling efficiency.
  • 9 0
 good article, can we see more of these XC racer bike articles please PB, maybe with bike weights.
  • 6 0
 Seeing people being narrow minded about these bikes and the sport that built what you love infuriates me. More tech-depth like this is welcome as far as I'm concerned.. especially when they look as good as this.
  • 1 2
 Angry Lycra man! Grrrrrr
  • 6 0
 Great article! very schwingworthy bikes...I love going to my XC 29" after a few weeks on the AM full squisher...feels awesome...you fly..
  • 5 0
 Really not into XC racing but I have to admire some of the engineering that goes into these bikes these days. All of those bikes would have been unimaginable just 10 years ago...
  • 4 0
 I'd give it a watch, the courses are much more technical now and the top guys are definitely keeping it interesting.
  • 4 0
 Nino must like running a higher cadence than the other riders seeing that he is on a 27.5 wheel and running a 36t ring. That would be like a 34t on a 29er, much smaller than the other racers run. I guess the higher cadence works...
  • 4 0
 Higher cadence does work, less effort per revolution of the crank, thats why you see roadies pedal at 90+rpm
  • 1 0
 Depends on the rider, although I don't think Nino has a higher cadence in particular, as I think a 38t ring is overkill, you're not gonna spin that out on that course, so why not have a lighter ring with better clearance.

Also, although a higher cadence is generally more efficient (up to a point), a lower cadence works much better for some riders. Using the road example, Tony Martin goes at about 75rpm through most of a 25 mile TT; and when some of the specialist climbers like Contador climb, they sort of stand up and bounce, with a relatively low cadence.
  • 4 0
 I think this site is meant for all disciplines not just the ones you like, bodagget82, I'm not that fussed on the XC discipline or road but i don't think this site should be for just the styles i like, i just read to much of the styles i don't like and look at the ones i do simples.
  • 6 1
 Frame looks cracked to me, third picture, Kulhavy's bike.
  • 2 1
 I saw that too! What's up with that?
  • 2 1
 Gel coat damage maybe? Doesn't look right.
Do you think he uses the autosag on the shock?
  • 4 0
 The frame is fine, it’s just the carbon layup.
  • 3 0
 Would love to know the weight of some of those! Also are they all running foam grips for weight saving, or are some of them running silicone grips for a little more comfort?
  • 3 0
 a lot of the guys use something like ESI chunky or ritchey wcs foam grips, for comfort and to some degree, absorbtion of shocks in their hand joints.
  • 4 0
 Hurray for New shimano fd, as it allows new bikes to have shorter chainstays w/o being only 1x!
  • 4 3
 To be fair, these are just some of the men's field bikes.... there are more women using 650Bs... Nino is short for a guy, hence why he doesn't run a 29er (and back to back world championships and world cup overall titles on 650B as well).
  • 4 0
 He's average height, 5'9".
  • 5 0
 please more of theese articles! i loved it!
  • 2 1
 Very neat stuff going on here, I just can't see why anyone would want to ride XC for fun. I'm all for exploring on bikes, long rides ect, but idk. It just seems like it wouldn't "fun", which is why we all ride in the first place.
  • 4 2
 Where is there a very dodgy Photoshop job on the display numbers of Nino's Garmin? The archaic Statute system of numbers and figures would not be used by a Swiss man!
  • 8 1
 I'm betting it's a dummy unit that's just there for the photo--basically an empty case with a fake screen. See here: www.peterverdone.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/DSC_2275.jpg
  • 2 0
 What are you talking about? That's all real - seriously.
  • 3 0
 If it's real it wouldn't have exactly the same numbers add the Peter Verdone cardboard link above. As the first comment says, no chance a Swissy would be working in Ft and MPH...
  • 4 0
 Schurter's bike is a Scott Scale, not a Spark as stated.
  • 2 4
 It clearly says Scale
  • 5 0
 @warmerdamj The Article has been edited, it said Spark before.
  • 2 1
 My appologies then!
  • 2 0
 The carbon levers, bars, and stem on the BMC are neat, but wtf is the deal with the two wires going into the damper side of that fox fork?
  • 5 0
 I believe it's fox iCD technology (electronic lockout)
  • 1 0
 wondered the same, found out that the iCD always uses two cables... But since we are talking about forks, what about the brain sticker on the specialized?
  • 1 0
 that is not something new, specialized has had for years full suspension bikes with BRAIN modded shocks, that basicly act as a filter that allows the shock to absorb impacts coming from the terrain and locks the shoc when climbing & bobbing. I've seen it being implemented in forks for a couple of years at least.
  • 1 0
 Nice, I knew about the shocks but not about the upgrading of forks!
  • 3 0
 I want that Scott 650b bike. So sexy with all of that DT Swiss gear. I bet it's a blast to ride.
  • 4 0
 That last XTR shot has the ugly bits removed! Win.
  • 1 0
 Really interesting article Wink Awesome to see the RS1 on Hermidas bike Wink
Does anyone know what kind of seatpost Schurter is running on his bike? Looks like one without setback?
  • 2 0
 a new fork for an old champion, seems legit Smile
  • 1 1
 That first bike is a perfect example of why a lot of these guys walk through tech sections. Talk about an absurd set up dedicated to just climbing. Nino's bike looks bang on par for the course and his results show he knows how to set up a bike.
  • 3 0
 Beats the hell out of my poor old element 70
  • 7 4
 I like the crack in toptube on the Specialized, I said "Pardon"
  • 8 0
 It's the light on the layup of the Carbon - all good man.
  • 4 1
 Such a terrible finish on a top shelf frame is sub standard to me.
  • 1 0
 Lets say that is "just" a crease in the lay up. Ever heard of notch failure? I would expect the lay up to be precise.
  • 1 0
 rismtb: Points for the "Champ" reference!!!
As for the crack....."SNAP!!!.......LOSE IT!!!" ;p
  • 2 0
 Holy beefy chainstays on Kulhavy's bike... built for some power transfer or what!
  • 2 0
 Is it just me, or does the Scott bike look like it has a 650b rear and a 29er front?
  • 3 0
 I never thought I would say this, but damn that Merida is sexy!
  • 5 2
 New XTR, why you so ugly?
  • 2 0
 I agree, looks fugly. Last version of XTR looked ace!
  • 1 0
 Literally gives me the creeps
  • 2 0
 If I were hipster, I would take meridaWink ) USD fork & grip shifts reminds me of early 2000's rigsSmile
  • 2 0
 I think ESI grips deserve a shout, on practically every bike, best grips ever
  • 2 0
 No dropper posts; all I see is myself flying over the handlebars of all of those bikes.
  • 2 0
 With the RS1 - regular forks are now officially dead, uncool and banned. Buying a 2014 non Rs1 bike is so 2013...
  • 2 0
 i want those tubulars. i bet it would feel better than tubeless
  • 1 0
 Nino's bike sure looks good, not-super-low front end and some travel! Keepin it fun!
  • 2 0
 I see an awful lot of steel bolts in these pics... bush league. Wink
  • 3 0
 More of this please
  • 2 0
 Yeah! Finaly! I always wanted to see closely what are they riding on.
  • 2 0
 some of the most uncomfortable bikes known to man
  • 1 3
 @SocalMTB98 I didn't say they should race with 150mm you came up with that on your own buddy. You were talking about how awesome xc is and how painful it also is which i mentioned could have something to do with your body taking all the hits because you're on a hardtail and your butt hole getting raped by your seat.
  • 1 0
 Haha i race XC and i have a carbon 29er hardtail and at first it was bumpy as hell and hated it but after a couple rides, i started using my legs as suspension. Plus hardtails have a different feel compared to full sus bikes, they feel more attached to the ground and they are fun to throw around. And no your ass doesnt get raped haha, your not sitting on your seat through rough terrain, you either hover over your saddle or stand up. Dont talk crap before you try it.
  • 1 0
 Hey that's not the bike Nino used! He was on the Spark today, I request an article on his Spark plz.
  • 3 0
 Next time. We were told he was going to ride the Scale, then he changed his mind a day later.
  • 1 0
 Awesome!
  • 1 0
 Still waiting on that Spark article... he just got another win on it!
  • 1 0
 Haven't seen skinwall tires since the '90s! They are easier to customize with Sharpie porn, though..
  • 1 0
 @SocalMTB98 I don't try anything that involves full grown men shaving their legs and wearing spandex
  • 1 0
 does any one know the chain guide on nino's bike?
ep1.pinkbike.org/p5pb10979440/p5pb10979440.jpg
  • 1 0
 The Merida looks like an F1 car... it's gotta worth something when a bike looks fast just standing there.
  • 4 3
 Did I see a grip shift up there? lol
  • 3 2
 Grip shift AND bar ends. It's practically my bike from 1997 haha
  • 1 0
 grip shift and bar ends 1991 your your not as old as you think you are
  • 2 1
 Seems my 2012, $8000 carbon Tallboy is outdated already.
  • 2 0
 Time to buy the TallBoy 2
  • 2 1
 Is it me or does the paint on the specialized look cracked?
  • 5 0
 it is cracked. and not just in one place either. seems the whole triangular shock mount that connects to the top tube is cracked. PB: does he prefer racing with more compliance generated by those cracks? Wink
  • 1 0
 /\/\/\ hahahahhaah!
  • 4 4
 The only reason people care about XC is so they can see pics of Emily Batty.
  • 1 0
 Anyone know the advantage of tubular mtb tires over regular beaded tires?
  • 1 0
 "Does anyone remember playfulness?"
  • 1 1
 @jedrzeja right?? wtf is up with the full spandex and shaved legs. It's so douchey and lame
  • 1 0
 Loved this. More please!!
  • 5 8
 1100ft / 20 miles. That ain't mountain biking.

Interesting to see stock Sram and XTR cranks. I would expect to see more custom lightweight units like the S-Works and Cannondale bikes.
  • 1 1
 Can someone explain the steep saddle angle on Jaroslav's bike?
  • 1 0
 Absolutely light
  • 2 4
 No compromise light weight build down to the gram, mounts a Garmin. Eye roll.
  • 4 1
 It's still practice remember.
  • 1 0
 Don't they use the power meter whilst in the race too? Only reason I would imaging they would run with the Garmin in race trim.
  • 2 0
 the garmin edge 510 weighs 98 grams.. So with a bike thats about 8.5kg it doens't matter that much..even these guys know when it starts getting crazy thinking always about the weight
  • 1 0
 Literally says on the picture that he "keeps track of all his training stats with a Garmin Edge 510"
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