I rarely use the phrase; "Bad ass," but when I do, I am speaking about Nino Schurter.
Nino Schurter's Scott Spark
Nino Schurter crushed the field at the World Championships this year aboard his Scott Spark and, as if winning wasn't enough, he was throwing down style wherever there was a chance to get some air time. Schurter and his arch rival, Julien Absalon, broke a monstrous field of competitors as the two went neck and neck, mowing through the XC World Cups - and they did it on dual-suspension bikes. The fireworks show ended with Schurter edging out Absalon from the World Cup Series and Nino again battling with Julien for the World Championship win.
Schurter making shapes - Hafjell, Norway. Vanja Kodermac photo
XC venues took a turn towards the technical, which showcased Schurter's skills and proved, without a doubt, that a dual-suspension bike can deliver the winning edge in the last arena where it was thought that a hardtail would be the first choice in any situation. Nino and Scott may have ushered in a new era in XC racing. International old-school Spandex snore-fests have suddenly become visually exciting and technically challenging chapters in the history of cross-country mountain bike competition. Schurter is King.
Schurter's Scott Spark was on display exactly as it crossed the finish line: caked with the detritus of Vallnord's muddy and technically challenging race course. Check out that 36-tooth chainring and the DT Swiss carbon tubular wheels, with handmade tires by Andre Dugast.