The Pinkbike Podcast: Episode 125 - Nino Schurter's Mechanic on the Fastest Race Bikes & His Favorite Tools

Jun 2, 2022
by Mike Levy  
Pinkbike Podcast
Art by Taj Mihelich

Nino Schurter is one of the most dominant athletes our sport has ever seen, and the same person has been building, maintaining, and tweaking those winning bikes for the last decade: Yanick Gyger. As a mechanic for the Scott-SRAM MTB Racing team, Yanick has seen everything from a perfect season to the Olympics to the muddiest World Cup races, and I caught up with him in his very clean workshop for a chat about it all.

Episode 125 sees Yanick the Mechanic explain why electronic drivetrains make so much sense for racing, how he used to brew his own chain lube, World Cup cross-country bikes with 2.4" wide tires and inserts, and some of the tricks he uses to make sure Nino's bike is as fast and efficient as possible.

June 2, 2022

How clean and tidy is your workshop?

Yanick the mechanic double checking Nino s fit.
Yanick checking the fit of Nino's bike at the 2021 Nové Město World Cup.

Nino Schurter is also on the blip program with the button poking through his comfy Syncros grips.
With a Twinloc remote on the left, Yanick had to come up with a different solution to control the AXS dropper post.
Nino s mechanic opted for the easily accessible option for the Sram junction box. Sometimes in racing easy access trumps sleek looks.
Originally mounted inside the frame, the junction box is now tucked under the handlebar for easier race-day access.

Featuring a rotating cast of the editorial team and other guests, the Pinkbike podcast is a weekly update on all the latest stories from around the world of mountain biking, as well as some frank discussion about tech, racing, and everything in between.

Previous Pinkbike Podcasts
Episode 1 - Why Are Bikes So Expensive?
Episode 2 - Where the Hell is the Grim Donut?
Episode 3 - Pond Beaver Tech
Episode 4 - Why is Every Bike a Trail Bike?
Episode 5 - Can You Trust Bike Reviews?
Episode 6 - Over Biked Or Under Biked?
Episode 7 - Wild Project Bikes
Episode 8 - Do We Need an Even Larger Wheel Size?
Episode 9 - Why Are We Doing a Cross-Country Field Test?
Episode 10 - Getting Nerdy About Bike Setup
Episode 11 - Are We Going Racing This Year?
Episode 12 - What's the Future of Bike Shops?
Episode 13 - Are Bikes Too Regular Now?
Episode 14 - What Bikes Would Pinkbike Editors Buy?
Episode 15 - What's Holding Mountain Biking Back?
Episode 16 - Who's Your Mountain Biking Hero?
Episode 17 - XC Field Test Insider
Episode 18 - Electronics on your Mountain Bike: Good or Bad?
Episode 19 - The Hardtail Episode
Episode 20 - MTB Conspiracy Theories
Episode 21 - Stuff We Were Wrong About
Episode 22 - Does Your Riding Style Match Your Personality?
Episode 23 - Grim Donut 2 is Live!
Episode 24 - Why Even Buy a DH Bike?
Episode 25 - Fall Field Test Preview
Episode 26 - The Three Most Important Mountain Bikes
Episode 27 - The World Champs Special
Episode 28 - All About Women's Bikes
Episode 29 - Freeride or Die
Episode 30 - Would You Rather?
Episode 31 - Wet Weather Riding Tips & Tricks
Episode 32 - What Needs to Change in the Bike Industry?
Episode 33 - Behind the Scenes at Pinkbike Academy
Episode 34 - Grilling Levy About Field Test Trail Bikes (and His Bonspiel)
Episode 35 - Story Time - Stranger Than Fiction
Episode 36 - Grilling Kazimer about Field Test Enduro Bikes
Episode 37 - The 2020 Privateer Season with Ben Cathro
Episode 38 - Editors Defend Their 2020 Best-Of Picks
Episode 39 - Predicting the Future of Mountain Biking
Episode 40 - The Pinkbike Awards!
Episode 41 - Racing Rumours and Team Changes
Episode 42 - Mountain Biking's Guilty Pleasures
Episode 43 - Dangerholm's Wildest Custom Mountain Bikes
Episode 44 - Mountain Bike Suspension Decoded
Episode 45 - What Makes a Good Riding Buddy
Episode 46 - The RockShox Zeb vs Fox 38 Deep Dive
Episode 47 - High Pivot Bikes: The Good, The Bad, and The Why?
Episode 48 - Rides That Went Horribly Wrong... & Why That Made Them So Good
Episode 49 - What's the Best DH Bike?
Episode 50 - Are Bikes Actually Getting Less Expensive? (Value Bike Field Test Preview)
Episode 51 - Should MTB Media Post Spy Shots?
Episode 52 - Our Most Embarrassing MTB Moments
Episode 53 - Should Climbers Still Have the Right of Way?
Episode 54 - Best and Worst MTB Product Marketing
Episode 55 - Big Dumb Rides & Staying Motivated
Episode 56 - What Were the Most Important Inventions in Mountain Biking?
Episode 57 - What Were the Best (and Worst) Trends in Mountain Biking?
Episode 58 - Debunking Mountain Biking's Biggest Myths
Episode 59 - Value Bike Field Trip Surprises & Spoilers
Episode 60 - What Kind of Mountain Biker Do You Want to Be?
Episode 61 - Athlete Pay, Lycra, Equality and More from the State of the Sport Survey
Episode 62 - Editor Preferences and Why They Matter
Episode 63 - Our Best (And Worst) Bike Buying Advice
Episode 64 - Who's On Your MTB Mount Rushmore?
Episode 65 - The Hardtail Episode
Episode 66 - The Best and Worst of Repairing Bikes
Episode 67 - The Story of Mountain Biking's Most Interesting Man: Richard Cunningham
Episode 68 - Who Are Mountain Biking's Unsung Heroes?
Episode 69 - The Good, Bad, and Strange Bikes We've Owned - Part 1
Episode 70 - The Good, Bad, and Strange Bikes We've Owned - Part 2
Episode 71 - The Story of Mountain Biking's Most Interesting Man: Richard Cunningham - A Pinkbike Podcast Special, Part 2
Episode 72 - Hey Outers!
Episode 73 - The Details That Matter... and Some That Shouldn't
Episode 74 - The Best Trails We've Ridden and What Makes Them So Special
Episode 75 - Things MTB Brands Waste Money On
Episode 76 - MTB Originals and Copycats
Episode 77 - Interview with Outside CEO, Robin Thurston
Episode 78 - Modern Geometry Explained
Episode 79 - What's the Future of eMTBs?
Episode 80 - The Best Vehicles for Mountain Bikers
Episode 81 - You've Got Questions, We've (Maybe) Got Answers
Episode 82 - Behind the Scenes at Field Test
Episode 83 - Does Carbon Fiber Belong On Your Mountain Bike?
Episode 84 - Explaining RockShox's Computer Controlled Suspension
Episode 85 - Is the Red Bull Rampage Too Slopestyle?
Episode 86 - Greg Minnaar on the Honda DH Bike, World Cup Racing, and Staying Fast Forever
Episode 87 - How to Love Riding When it's Cold and Wet
Episode 88 - Mountain Biking on a Budget
Episode 89 - The Derailleur Pickle
Episode 90 - Is Supre the Future of Trouble-Free Drivetrains? (with Cedric Eveleigh of Lal Bikes)
Episode 91 - Riding Every Double Black in the Whistler Bike Park with Christina Chappetta
Episode 92 - Does Bike Weight Really Matter?
Episode 93 - Staying Motivated and Overcoming Burnout
Episode 94 - PBA Contestant Tori Wood on Her First Race and Finding the Right Mindset
Episode 95 - Field Test Down-Country Bike Debrief
Episode 96 - PBA Contestant Israel Carrillo on Riding in Mexico and Why It's Not Always About Speed
Episode 97 - Can We Predict the Future of Mountain Biking?
Episode 98 - Field Test Trail Bike Debrief
Episode 99 - New Year, New You?
Episode 100 - Q&A with the PB Editors
Episode 101 - MTB Tradeshows Explained
Episode 102 - Should MTB Media Be Going to Press Camps?
Episode 103 - Secrets from the World Cup Pits with Henry Quinney
Episode 104 - Lachlan Morton on How to be a Happy Bike Racer and the World's Longest Climb
Episode 105 - The 3 Bike Budget Challenge
Episode 106 - What's Your Ideal Ride Look Like?
Episode 107 - How (And Why) Did You Start Mountain Biking?
Episode 108 - Behind the Scenes at the Value Bike Field Test
Episode 109 - Berm Peak's Seth Alvo on Making Videos 24/7, Soul Rides, and Building a Bike Park
Episode 110 - Trying (and Failing) to Reinvent the Mountain Bike
Episode 111 - The Pinkbike Racing Podcast: Episode #1 - It's All Downhill From Here
Episode 112 - The Pinkbike Racing Podcast: Episode #2 - The Lourdes World Cup Post-Race Wrap-Up
Episode 113 - PB Editors Answer Your Questions (again)
Episode 114 - The Placebo Effect and Your New Mountain Bike
Episode 115 - We Are One's CEO Talks Future DH Bike, E-Bikes, & Domestic Manufacturing
Episode 116 - New Bikes and Gear from Sea Otter
Episode 117 - Mountain Biking's Worst (or Best) Cliché Crimes
Episode 118 - Music and Mountain Biking
Episode 119 - Road Trips Gone Horribly Wrong
Episode 120 - Gee Atherton on Titanium Additive Manufacturing, Million Dollar Machines, and 3 New Bikes
Episode 121 - How To Film Rampage & Field Tests with the PB Team
Episode 122 - Do Social Media & Mountain Biking Go Together?
Episode 123 - The Pinkbike Racing Podcast: Episode #3 - Fort William World Cup Wrap-Up
Episode 124 - Bike Parks or E-Bikes?

Author Info:
mikelevy avatar

Member since Oct 18, 2005
2,032 articles

  • 32 0
 Pinkbike staff, @brianpark

Please address the “closing of BETA.” Did the employees all get let go?

I’m very disappointed because I “subscribed” just a few weeks ago during your special offer. With the Beta team in the podcast, I wanted to support the media I enjoy.

I did not receive a refund, an explanation, and unless I missed something it was not “covered” by the Pinkbike staff.

I’m very disappointed in this “take over” by Outside.

My request to you is to be a journalist and cover what the hell is going on with Beta and it’s employees. They deserve better.

Thank you for your time.
  • 17 1
 @outside750 Certainly some big changes and we're going to talk about that stuff soon, but I can't tell you what's going to happen when I don't know. No one who bought a membership will get screwed, and you'll receive some news/explanation at some point soon.

"My request to you is to be a journalist and cover what the hell is going on with Beta and its employees" - We've always been very open and honest with Pinkers about what's going on and that's not going to change, even if it takes another week or two. This is a super weird time, but we're trying Smile
  • 11 0
 Yeah, I have been amazed there has been no official announcement from PB/Beta/Outside about this yet...very sad.
  • 5 0
 It is unfortunate that they decided to offer international shipping for the Beta print issue just a few weeks before shutting it done.
Instead of simply de-publishing the pinkbike article and shutting down e-mail addresses, it would have been nice to inform customers.
  • 3 0
 I’m sorely disappointed as well. Part of the reason I paid for an Outside+ membership was access to Beta including the print magazine.
  • 3 0
 I'm thinking Ryan Palmer should just get onto Freehub or formal PB staff...Bike Mag (cooked), Beta (cooked, publication anyway). I effin' love paper mags, and yeah: I know, paper. Still love 'em. Palmer's got plenty to say in my view so hopefully he's not getting the ax. He's not formally shown on the PB staff page...can't we do a GoFundMe and get him on?
  • 2 1
 Wait what @brianpark ?! So the discounted Beta subscription just a couple months ago was pure bait and switch in bad faith knowing it was going to get shut down. Where's my refund? Guess I have to file a credit card dispute for failure to deliver.
  • 3 0
 @tcmtnbikr: Or maybe we didn’t know? You can also see my previous comment, just above yours, where I explain that we will be sorting everyone out and bringing everyone up to speed.
  • 2 0
 @Mtn-Goat-13: Palmer’s already gotten the axe, homie.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: As someone who does not do well with uncertainty or change, hope you're all up to speed and doing okay.

If it's not on the table with everything that's happening, and not to be a broken record, but could we have some sort of crowd funding option for the incredible rag-tag bunch of miscreants travelling under the banner of the Pinkbike Racing; I think of them as Kelly's Heroes - Ben being Private Kelly, with Henry filling Donald Sutherland's shoes as Sergeant Oddball.

Another great podcast, by the way, now need to get a bigger chainring.
  • 1 0
 @markymarkindenver: Whaaaaaaaaa…. Really? Not to deny but where'd that post up? I thought he'd at least stay on the digital version
  • 1 0
 @PawnSacrifice: Thx for reiterating this - I’d fully support a gofundme / whatever for the PB DH team. So many ways to do it: memberships, raffles, PB gear giveaways: Cathro’s dirty white XX size 37 inseam Vince Neil DH pants (vs the trash - quoting him); a set of PB nursing home slippers (whatever those flipflop things are); jerseys (bonus signed by Levy & Kaz)… monthly 5-10$ chip-in during race season. There are so many ways to raise funds from us for the DH crew. Haven't heard a peep in response from PB on this idea -several of us have mentioned it
  • 1 0
 @Mtn-Goat-13: I've been banging on about it for a while now with the same no response, but given what must have been going on in the background I'm not surprised, and I can't blame them for trying to use that to support Beta, given people's jobs were involved. Anyway, hopefully there's an opportunity to support the team when things settle - it might even be in what Levy said was coming soon.

I was thinking of going low-tech and just throwing a few quids at them at Fort William, but when I went past the PB Racing pit it looks like Aimi was setting up for her race run. The energy at the bottom when Cathro came down was incredible, I think people would love to support him if nothing else.
  • 1 0
 @Mtn-Goat-13: For a public source, check his LinkedIn.
  • 1 0
 @markymarkindenver: Wild. Bummer. Wonder whats next… seems like PB would be a good fit
  • 19 0
 Podcast idea: interview with an expert in cycling nutrition/hydration but focused for the average bro.
  • 8 1
 Cheat sheet for the average bro: stop eating so much processed food and you should actually drink enough water for every day.
  • 3 0
 @KUBBY Chris Hall on Downtime has been digging into recently. Still takes more homework but it's a pretty good start.
  • 3 0
 @Mtn-Goat-13: Deadly. Thanks, I'll check that out
  • 11 0
 Pro tip, beer contains water AND carbs. Toss some fried chicken in there and you've got all your macros covered
  • 2 0
 @sudochuckwalla: I'm gonna have to make a running list of my fave PB posts and this is one of 'em
  • 2 0
 Don’t forget your b12 and caffeine, just add some berry flavored Red Bull to that beer for the full pro effect, but don't tell anyone I told ya @sudochuckwalla:
  • 9 0
 Great interview @mikelevy & please just answer these questions if no others again from me:

1) did you pre-butter yr chamois' (or chamois's?) or butter it yourself during the interview?

2) how many chamois' did you go through thinking about how close you got to Nino?

2) is the Nino interview next week and will you need to double or triple chamois to make it through?

Inquiring minds want to know
  • 3 0
 Oops - that's 3 not two 2's. I need a secretary
  • 5 0
 I have a question for @brianpark why don't bike manufacturers Powdercoat their frames? The finish is way more durable than normal paint. Or is the process too expensive? I could get a well-rated local powder-coating shop to do my frame for around $100-$120.

Also, why don't more manufacturers leave their aluminum frames raw? Most aluminum used in bike frames is extremely corrosion resistant and the manufacturers wouldn't need to worry about painting the frames. I have heard that you can remove scratches on a brushed aluminum bike using fine still wool or on a polished frame use a little polish.
  • 8 0
 Added to the list - we'll talk about that in the next podcast. Probably.
  • 3 0
 I work at a US domestic equipment manufacturer that has a powder coat operation for non-bike related items. The main reason we powder coat is durability and much lower volatile organic compound emissions during application which are heavily regulated in the US. Smooth powder coats are thicker and thus heavier than liquid paint. I also believe there are some limits to effects like metal flake with powder.
  • 1 1
 @jonemyers: metal flake is easy to achieve with powder coating. Just take a look at Prismatic Powders catalog to get an idea what’s possible.
  • 1 0
 @jonemyers: Does the oven temperature affect the temper of the aluminium alloys used in bike frames?
  • 1 0
 I have an old steel road bike that I got powdercoated. It looks great!
  • 1 0
 I think old comencals around the meta 4/5/666 era ie 2008 and older were powder coated
  • 1 0
 most manufacturers build frames using 6000 series alu which has a higher rate of oxidation compared to 7000 series which can be kept raw. ideally 6000 series should have lacquer if rawed. 6000 is also much cheaper to use.
  • 1 0
 @codyben123: Maybe some cheaper brands do, but brands that are better known for their aluminum frames such as Commencal, and Knolly use 6060 or 6066 Aluminum which is well known for corrosion resistance (it is commonly used in the food industry). It is slightly less hard than 7000 but much easier to weld, heat treat, and hydroform.
  • 1 0
 @Sethsg: yeah but still corrodes and dulls over time with no paint/protection.
  • 1 0
 @McMeta666:pretty sure around the same era Santa Cruz bikes had powder coat option and shortly after a custom paint program.
  • 1 0
 @map-guy: I think i have a vague memory of that also. All i know is that taking the paint off of my meta666 swing arm was an 8 hour process....
  • 1 0
 @boozed: No. We powder coat some T6 heat treated aluminum parts and it is not a problem. The powder coat ovens are set at 350-450F. The aging temperatures for heat treatment is around 1000F if I remember correctly.
  • 4 0
 Good listen and cool story about Yanick Gyger. Wish he would have given a little more depth on his time as a mechanic in down hill tandem racing. Having to manage the setup of two athletes on the same dandem bike (dh tandem) seems like juggling fire.
  • 4 0
 Great podcast. The Scott team seems to have pretty well balanced individuals. Nino, Kate, Frischi, Brad, and Yanick all come across all seem like super likeable, highly talented, hard working yet happy people. That is not the vibe you get from some other race vibes. I semi expected Yanick to have some Toto Wolf vibes but he seems chill.

An idea for other podcasts, we always hear of quiver killer bikes but Levy, Kaz, Sarah, Henry if you had 10k what would your quiver be? one do it all $$$ enduro bike, or a dh, dirt jumper and cheap gravel bike (levy?)
  • 3 0
 You can hear Levey's excitement in his it! When the chain lube comment came up I was waiting for Mike to go a little deeperdoes he make his own or use a sponsors...etc...maybe I am just a nerd for the little details and no one else would find that interesting...haha.
  • 3 0
 Re: handlebars with no sweep. Waaay back in the early 90s when I was a broke teenager, and trashed some bars, I replaced them with some straight 6061T6 aluminum tubing from an aircraft parts supplier (Who are apparently still in business! that I ordered for like $10. Ran that as my handlebars for the better part of two years. And yes, they were super-narrow compared to current bars.
  • 3 0
 That was a superb interview. Mike Levy seemed to gain Yanick’s trust right away. Yanick opened up a lot more than I anticipated — about the details of his work, life and bike set-up details. Good work and thanks. The podcasts are one of PB’s best productions.
  • 5 0
 Sometimes I wonder of Pinkbike, CyclingTips and VeloNews would have been better off without Outside.
  • 1 0
 I had a question pop into my head last night.. is it better to have your fork's pressure set a little higher for rougher stuff? Or is it better to have your fork set to an appropriate pressure per rider weight, and then increase compression stiffness?
  • 1 0
 I think I've answered my own question actually.. just add some volume spacers.
  • 1 0
 really was hoping for a discussion about twin-loc. I enjoy the function but working on my TL equipped bike is a thing of nightmares.

I would love to know how the team manages water ingress through the headset in particular. I have been partially disassembling my headset after wet rides to allow water to evaporate…. less than ideal to say the least.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy - can we get a photo of this guys travelling tool set up... im in the same position as Yanick, i admire the Toolbox war boxes, but i find it so impracticable as a race mechanic, and i often change set ups between events.
I Built either a box, electricians bag or wrap depending on the event.
  • 1 0
 Question for the podcast: having seen a lot of squabbling and say, constructive feeback on Pinkbike, the Pinkbike Racing episode 1 post that landed just now leads me to ask, what are the best received stories? Or is this a first and the site is about to disappear into a small black hole?
  • 2 0
 That's a good one. We just recorded this week's podcast but I'll add it in for the next episode. Thanks!
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: I have another, a little different - and I have been back and listed to Episode 10 first before asking...
How do you go about suspension setup? Especially where you have all the dials to play with.
Sag, obviously, then what?
And for rebound do you start at open, the open side of the recommended, or at the recommended setting?
And any order, shock or fork first?
And I assume a familiar test route, but how long? Big hits and little stuff on a known loop and how long does it need to be?
And testing under stopping, going, and climbing as well as descending?

Am I making a very good case for a hardtail or entry level suspension?
  • 4 0
 Don't let this distract you from the fact the Levy sold the mini.
  • 3 0
 I saw from a post on the Privateer Bike Owners FB page - apparently one of the guys bought it from him. It was the dude with the custom Marbollo F1 racing livery paint job Privateer 161.


So apparently they both have an affinity for bikes and cars.
  • 1 0
 @jalopyj: That's where I saw it. I have a 141. Dude says he was going to change it up so people would stop recognizing it, but I cant imagine there are that many slammed minis with flares near Whistler.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy so what type of downcountry auto are you building now? El camino SS for those shuttle days? Clapped out Tacoma to blend in with the rest of the crowd? Will this car be hucked in the next field test?

Inquiring minds want to know
  • 5 0
 @schlockinz: I just put a roof top tent, eight recovery boards, six red jerry cans, a tailgate pad, and two North Shore racks on my Taco.
  • 1 0
 Question for the editors to answer on the next podcast: what is the difference between sram and shimano drivetrains(how the shifting feels, etc.) and which do you prefer?
  • 2 0
 Hey Levy…did you sell the Mini?!?!
  • 2 0
 No mention of the crazy drop stems that the team is running. Hump
  • 2 0
 I loved this, thank you Yanick & Mike for the insight.
  • 1 0
 Great interview, and I'm floored that it wasn't an hour and 15 minutes of @mikelevy asking what Nino smells like.
  • 1 0
 Has Henry Quinney left Pinkbike? I miss him.
  • 4 0
 Pretty sure he's working with the PB racing team as a mechanic/tech editor
  • 2 0
 @AlejoBeletadpQ He was in the Park v Electric podcast recently, although he's also been very tied up with the Race team, iirc they're resting and testing more before the next race and getting Jackson caught up with the others as he was out to start.
  • 1 0
 he's the mechanic for the PB downhill team. He just did a podcast about the last race.
  • 1 0
 @AlejoBeletadpQ - Nope, Henry is still part of the team! He was in Squamish before so it was easier to have him on the podcast all the time, but now that he's in Europe it's a bit more difficult.

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