The Best Tech From Val di Sole XC World Cups

Sep 13, 2020
by Ed Spratt  
Val di Sole offers a difficult challenge for the worlds best XC racers with some tough technical features and gruelling climbs it is a real test of every rider's ability. Since 2013 only two men have won with Nino Schurter winning every Val di Sole stop from 2013 to 2018. Although he was bested last year by Mathieu Van Der Poel. The Women's racing has been far more varied with no repeat winners in the same time frame. With this weekends World Cup stop in Val di Sole cancelled we took a look back at some of the finest XC race technology from the past seven years.


2017

BH Linx Race 2018
Jordan Sarrou's BH Lynx Race

BH Linx Race 2018
BH Linx Race 2018

BH Linx Race 2018

BH Linx Race 2018
BH Linx Race 2018
SR Suntour's dual-remote locks out shock and fork with a single push

eva lechner s Orbea Alma
Eva Lechner's Orbea Alma

eva lechner s Orbea Alma
eva lechner s Orbea Alma
Shimano Di2 XTR electronic shifting, 11 x 46 cassette

eva lechner s Orbea Alma
Fox Step Cast fork with iCD electronic remote lockout

Kate Courtney Specialized Epic
Kate Courtney's Specialized Epic

Kate Courtney Specialized Epic
Kate Courtney Specialized Epic

Kate Courtney Specialized Epic

Kate Courtney Specialized Epic
Ceramic Speed pulleys are said to reduce chain friction and improve shifting but if nothing else they add a further touch of bling to the rig. Off the shelf Ceramic Speed pulleys will put you back $379. To have custom ones? who knows.



2018

Nino Schurter bike check
Nino Schurter's 60th Anniversary Edition Scott Spark

Nino Schurter bike check
Nino Schurter bike check

Nino Schurter bike check
Syncros' one-piece, negative rise stem/handlebar combo. The handlebar measures 680mm wide with a 5mm drop, and the stem is 90mm, with a 25° drop.

Nino Schurter bike check
Nino Schurter bike check

Nino Schurter bike check
The bike was running a Fox Nude shock but the stickers were removed to keep the sponsors happy



2019

Haley Smith's Norco Revolver

There's a 100mm-travel SID on the front of Haley's bike, as well as an ultra-light carbon cockpit from German brand Beast

Smith uses a Grip Shift lockout lever to firm up both ends of her bike at the same time


Superior's XC Prototype

The bike uses A single-pivot, linkage-driven suspension layout


FSA's K-Force Light cranks get a UD finish and weigh 535-grams

Components from FSA, Trickstuff, Crankbrothers, and DT Swiss make for a very eclectic spec sheet





39 Comments

  • 32 1
 How do they climb with those slack seat tube angles
  • 12 3
 The same way I do on my 2017 XC bike....POWAAAAH
  • 44 2
 Steep seat-tube angles are the gateway drug to eBikes.
  • 4 0
 @JVance: first ones always free
  • 1 0
 look at the angle from seat to crank-centre looks steep to me, ignore the actual seat tube, this is kinked to allow sus travel
  • 3 0
 short travel and locked out, and they have their weight forward on their hands too. The angle you see in the photos is about the angle they climb with.
Put your average fat amateur on a 160mm bike, doing a gentle pedal sat upright with a high cockpit - their shock will be at about 40% sag and the fork at about zero. Theres a good few degrees of rotation there, compared to the steep angled unsagged photoshoot image of the bike.
  • 1 0
 @AyJayDoubleyou: hahaha "fat amateur"
  • 8 0
 I'd never seen that 60th anniversary Spark. Love it, although the fork looked a bit like they were phoning it in.
  • 2 2
 As someone who hates most modern graphics, I wish every Rockshox fork had that same aesthetic.
  • 6 0
 Love seeing the SR Suntour stuff. There high end stuff is so good and the graphics actually looked good on that Axon.
  • 5 0
 So, how big percentage of the XCO field run droppers these days?
  • 173 0
 It goes up and down...
  • 3 1
 It depends on the course. If there are a lot of technical rocky descents full of large rock gardens you will see a high %. I think sponsors might have some influence.
  • 9 0
 The number of fixed post riders dropped recently.
  • 2 1
 Almost all of the women and probably 3/4 of the men at this point. There are a few holdouts, most notably Nino, but he ran a reduced-travel dropper on a hardtail at Albstadt a few years ago.
  • 4 0
 The Scott and Norco give me a boner and I am not an XC rider
  • 3 1
 A red painted fork would match so much better then the Sid blue. I like the blue but it clashes with pretty red and white.
  • 1 0
 Ceramic speed improves shifting... Because Shimano, Sram and Campy don't know how to make a pulley or what is important in reliable shifting
  • 1 0
 Turn that Syncros handlebar upside down and it's now a dirt jump handlebar. Clever, SCOTT.
  • 1 0
 Do xc riders use oval chainrings????
  • 3 0
 I assume XC is the discipline in which they'd be most effective
  • 1 0
 You see them occasionally. I run them on my Epic.
  • 1 0
 Nobody does
  • 2 2
 Using a crank bros dropper but not pedals seems backwards, no?
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