The Best Tech From Albstadt XC World Cups

Jun 26, 2020
by Ed Spratt  
Albstadt has become a mainstay on the XC World Cup calendar since it was first introduced in 2013. The course may not offer the hardest technical challenge for riders, but with plenty of climbing and the threat of a washout in the wet the venue has brought some of the most exciting racing on the circuit for the past few years. With this weekend's World Championships cancelled we took a look back at some of the finest XC race technology from the past five years.

2015

Albstadt WC XC Germany 2015
Helen Grobert's Ghost Lector

Albstadt WC XC Germany 2015
Albstadt WC XC Germany 2015

This is it Merida s new Ninety-Six 9 Team. A high-end racer aimed at aggressive XC. Available in 27.5 as well as 29 .
Merida debuts its new Ninety-Six 9 XC race bike

Well it beats the RockShox RS-1 s stiffness by a fair margin without a doubt.
The Lauf TR 29 uses composite leaf springs to provide a small amount of cushion and weighs just 980 grams.

Jordan Sarrou s BH hardtail frame is almost ready for production. The Spanish brand would not tell us the weight as a final version was not available but did say it would be their lightest ever.
Jordan Sarrou's Prototype BH Hardtail

XTR Di2 direct-mounted. Cable routing has not been finalised yet.
Foam grips save grams.

Albstadt WC XC Germany 2015
Manuel Fumic's Cannondale F-Si

Albstadt WC XC Germany 2015
Albstadt WC XC Germany 2015



2016

World Cup XCO 2 Germany tech
Lea Davison running Specialized's Command Post XCP with just 35mm of drop.

World Cup XCO 2 Germany tech
Trek riders were riding Bontrager's new Kovee XXX wheelsets. They have a 29mm internal width and are said to weigh under 1400 grams for the set.

World Cup XCO 2 Germany tech
Ceetec's direct mount guide weighs less than 20 grams.

World Cup XCO 2 Germany tech

World Cup XCO 2 Germany tech
World Cup XCO 2 Germany tech

The Biturbo RS wheels use six carbon spokes and weigh in at a minuscule 1189 grams.

World Cup XCO 2 Germany tech
Martin Gluth brought both a hardtail and this full-suspension bike for the race at Albstadt.



2017

Cross Country Bike Checks from Albstadt World Cup
Jolanda Neff's Kross Level TE

Cross Country Bike Checks from Albstadt World Cup
Cross Country Bike Checks from Albstadt World Cup

Cross Country Bike Checks from Albstadt World Cup
Florian Vogel's Focus Raven Max

Cross Country Bike Checks from Albstadt World Cup
Marco Fontana's Bianchi Methanol CV

Cross Country Bike Checks from Albstadt World Cup
Cross Country Bike Checks from Albstadt World Cup

Cross Country Bike Checks from Albstadt World Cup
Sam Gaze's Specialized Epic S-Works

Annie Last s Silverback Storm.
Annie Last's Silverback Storm

Cross Country Bike Checks from Albstadt World Cup
Chloe Woodruff's Pivot Les, 27.5

Cross Country Bike Checks from Albstadt World Cup
Cross Country Bike Checks from Albstadt World Cup

Cross Country Bike Checks from Albstadt World Cup
Evie Richard's Trek Procaliber

Cross Country Bike Checks from Albstadt World Cup
Cross Country Bike Checks from Albstadt World Cup

Simon Gegenheimer s Rose Psycho Path. Whilst most racers choose to ride 29ers the explosive rider prefers his 27.5 bike for the course.
Simon Gegenheimer's Rose Psycho Path

The Ghost Lector teambike is one of the most tricked-out bikes in the World Cup circuit.
Malene Degn's Ghost Lector

The Tune W rger seatclamp. Minimalist redefined. 4 5 grams.
Malene runs the Reverb control on the right hand side.

[PCAPTION]The Tune Würger seatclamp comes in at only 4.5 grams.[/PCAPTION]

Reto Indergands BMC Teamelite 01 is equipped with Shimano s XTR Di2 with a 11-40 cassette. The frame provides the option to mount different elastomers to provide harder or softer compliance on its rear end. The Fox 32 Stepcast can be locked out on the handlebar via electronic lockout which draws its power from the Di2 battery.
Reto Indergands' BMC Teamelite 01

More Bike Checks From the Albstadt XC World Cup
The Team Elite frame provides the option to mount different elastomers to provide harder or softer compliance from its rear end.

Mathieu van der Poel s Stevens Senora SL.
Mathieu Van Der Poel's Stevens Senora SL



2018

Chiara Teocchi
Chiara Teocchi's Bianchi Countervail CV

Anne Terpstra's Ghost Lector


Anne Terpstra chose to run a tire insert for the Albstadt course.

Kate Courtney
Kate Courtney's Epic Hardtail

The Th mus Tomcat CT 29 hardtail
Kathrin Stirnemann's Thömus Tomcat CT 29 hardtail

A carbon KS Lev Integra dropper post.
Safety first single ring setup with a chainguide.

Kross has been working on a new full suspension bike 100mm travel for quite some time now and riders have been putting it through it paces. The frame is all-carbon including the rocker link. Cable routing is internal.
Kross' Prototype Race Bike

Cable routing for the lockout is still a bit quirky.
DT Swiss takes care of suspension with the DT Swiss OPM O.D.L 100 RACE up front and the R 414 damper on the back. Both can be locked from the handlebar with a single lever.

SRAM eTap
SRAM's prototype eTap system on Nino Schurter's bike

SRAM eTap
SRAM eTap



2019

Steep climbs mean even steeper stems.
Steep climbs mean even steeper stems.

Trickstuff Picolo Brakes Superior Bikes
Trickstuff Picolo Brakes Superior Bikes

Kate Courtney's Scott Scale


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

The Olympia in its entirety.

Scott Odlo s solution to keeping those AXS batteries charged and organized.

Jolanda Neff's Trek Procaliber


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

Malene Degn's Orbea Alma


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

More Canadian details.
Shimano XTR drivetrain with a 34T ring up front.

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

Enve M5 carbon bars mounted upside down for more low.
Era correct decals.

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 the front end low for the climbs.





26 Comments

  • 42 1
 I'm really - really - starting to like aesthetic of these. What's... happening... to meeee??? I think the short, steep, simple lines remind of DJ bikes; and as much as I love the brute strength look of a monster DH sled, it's hard to make all those links and pivots look pretty. IMO.
  • 4 0
 That's it, come to the light side
  • 28 0
 Those throwback Cannondale paint jobs were so cool
  • 13 0
 Backbreaking, neck snapping bicycles. Really dig Sam Gaze's Specialized Epic S-Works. XC bikes are so simple and yet so technical
  • 6 0
 That Epic is truly lovely.
  • 8 3
 > Backbreaking, neck snapping bicycles

Only if you're not strong enough to ride them as intended, although I must say Sam Gaze's bike does look straight up too small, even by WC XCO standards.
  • 8 1
 I started watching XC last year, it's fun to watch. Tho I pedal up, I've always been on gravity/adrenaline side of mtb. But I thought I was beginning to understand XC a little. Then I saw "The Tune Würger seatclamp".... and I realized that I am a long way from understanding the XC mindset... Perhaps I'll never fully understand.
  • 15 0
 What's hard to understand? Less weight = more better
  • 1 2
 You have to cut every possible gram to where it's almost unsafe and that will make you a lot faster. Training does nothing to help out. Ha ha
  • 4 1
 I guess if the XC people want more aerodynamics on the trails, they should move the handlebars down to the wheel's thru-axle. Then, they don't have to worry about lifting the front wheel while they're climbing and still have drag under control!
  • 1 0
 It's not mainly about aerodynamics. A lower handelbar helps a lot in achieving a bettee climbing position (at the cost of some sketchiness in the descents).
  • 1 2
 Aerodynamics are not relevant off-road, not in XC. The negative rise stems compensate for higher stack heights associated with 29 wheels, and they enable riders to get into powerful positions. You need to recruit the gluteal and hamstring muscles, the big powerhouse endurance propulsive muscles, if you want to make a bike go fast over long distances. Assuming your cleats and saddle are in the right place, a handlebar that is too high, or a reach that is too short or too long, will disable those muscles from firing. If I raise my stem 3mm it's like riding with the brakes on; I just can't make power. A XC bike position, like a road bike position, is a compromise between comfort, power, and handling. These athletes are on the threshold of comfort, and it's just a few millimetres.
  • 4 0
 Annie Last's seat is all the way forward on the rails, but has a laid-back seatpost. I guess they must have been out of 0 offset seatposts that year.
  • 1 0
 Also noticed that. There might be other reasons. This setup is much firmer in terms of the seatpost and the rails acting as springs. Most people prefer the softer feel of the seatpost attached further forward on the seat rails though.
  • 2 0
 My back hurts just looking at that 45 degree inverted stem. I'm so inflexible that I might not be able to grab the bars.
  • 1 0
 Well on xc tracks you climb the most of the time , so you basically optimize the bike for it. And when you are climbing a steep climb your bars are high anyway.
  • 2 0
 When did xc racers start using 1x drive trains? Must have been some time ago.
  • 3 0
 Sram XX1 was released 2012 so around then. Time flies, feels way more recent to me than that.

www.bikeradar.com/news/sram-xx1-set-for-release-in-october-2012
  • 4 3
 Cool flaccid looking stems.
  • 3 2
 Gross
  • 1 0
 So Rocky Mountain has a Vertex and DBR had a Vertex? Hmmm.
  • 3 0
 Rocky introduced the Vertex model in 1992 so that’s a pretty good claim to the name.
  • 1 0
 @ixianmachine: Good to know. I had had a DBR Vertex in 1997. I'm old.
  • 2 2
 Great looking bikes. I think Jolanda had a bike in front of her but didn't really notice.
  • 2 3
 4th!
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