9 Hardtails from the Albstadt XC World Cup 2022

May 8, 2022 at 9:04
by Ed Spratt  
Norco Revolver HT

A pretty slammed cockpit setup on this Norco with a pretty normal looking stem compared to some of the other bikes being run this weekend in Albstadt.

More riders are running dropper posts this year and the wireless options do mean a broken saddle doesn't cost you a good result when it has to be swapped out.

Mona Mitterwallner's Cannondale Scalpel HT

Not every rider wants a big drop for their saddle, the Fox Transfer SL post has a smaller amount of drop and saves a decent amount of weight.

Specialized S-Works Epic HT

A relatively straight stem is becoming a rare sight in the World Cup XC pits.

More wireless and electronic goodies on this Specialized hardtail.

Lotte Koopman's American Eagle Atlanta 2.0

Suspension lockouts are definitely useful on the Albstadt course but they do make the cockpit look a lot more cluttered.

Anton Cooper's Trek Procaliber

While some of Anton's teammates decided to run their full-suspension Trek Supercalibers the New Zealand rider wanted to go for the hardtail for the Albstadt climbs and rocks.

The Procaliber uses an IsoSpeed junction to provide a slightly smoother ride than a normal hardtail.

The craziest stem being ridden this weekend?

Anne Terpstra's Ghost Lector

The wireless Reverb is quite heavy so the advantages must be worth the extra bike weights as more riders are choosing to run these on their race bikes.

The Ghost team is running the same eye-catching wheels that were used on the very light Orbea we showed off last week.

Malene Degn's Orbea Alma

Simple white and gold color scheme for Malene's race bike this week.

Malene is running Fizik's 3D printed saddle, it costs around $400.

Jofre Cullel's Mondraker Podium

Anne Tauber's American Eagle Atlanta 2.0

Another American Eagle, but this time it is Anne Tauber's very bright orange race bike.

Another steep negative rise stem to help with some of the tough climbs on the Albstadt course.


  • 145 0
 Dropper post for descending. Dropper stem for climbing. Add me another switch on the bars.
  • 14 17
  • 4 0
 We laugh now…
  • 1 0
 I does exist. Some Spanish folks created it and sell it (negative rise, in short mode it's a short stem, and mid and long modes it goes further and lower)
  • 85 0
 Fun fact: Anton Cooper ask his pit team and supporters on the course to read his GPS computer for him
  • 36 0
 He just has to tuck no hander whenever he wants to see his gps.
  • 4 2
 Hahaha, if I were him, I would ask the mechanic to flip the stem for a relaxed ride.
  • 2 0
 Joking aside, there are nice knock block GPS mounts. No idea why they're not being used
  • 1 0
 @mountainsofsussex: Had no idea this was a thing, neat solution!
  • 11 1
 It's an intimation tactic. If you're in front of him and look back you see all the mad stats he's pumping out
  • 2 1
 @HankHank: it's a pretty safe place to put a GPS - not likely to get knocked off in a crash. So we need bottle bosses on top of the down tube, tool mounts under the top tube and bento box/GPS bosses on top of the top tube...
  • 2 0
 Not sure why they are not using a K-Edge top-cap mount for the head unit.
  • 59 1
 Why does trek bother with the flex seat tube just run avreverb for a similar effect
  • 27 0
 Even bike with the most radical negative stem doesnt have big saddle to bars drop, it seems.
  • 19 0
 Rider proportions
  • 13 0
 @stpan it's funny, all the captions are talking about how crazy the low rise stems are, but you're right, the bar drop is super tame. On the Norco, for instance, it looks like the bars are level or even uphill from the seat, and on Anton Cooper's bike with the crazy stem there isn't a lot of bar drop. Compared to UCI road racing where guys are running 6-8" of bar drop, it's kinda weird that the mountain bikers stems aren't lower. It's all a 29" wheel thing- the 29" wheel puts your bars 60mm or more higher than they otherwise would be.
  • 2 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: roadies are kind of 26ers in term of total wheel diameter, their wheels are small compared to mtb. If we see bigger rims in future, I bet it will be there. And it will make sense.
  • 3 0
 @stpan: the suspension forks can add a lot of stack height too, especially with people going for 110-120mm travel. For instance the angle on Nino’s integrated handlebar setup has progressively increased as the Scott bikes have upped their travel
  • 8 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: exactly! Although I think that Norco has the saddle partially lowered so it’s more in line with the bars. One of the editors/staff said on another article last year they started doing that because it “looks better for photos” for whatever reason, except it doesn’t. It looks stupid and I wanna see how people actually set their bike up
  • 1 0
 Add 100mm of possible drop for a 100mm hardtail, sag + travel. Cooper has short legs?

Why not compare today's Fort Bill bikes with road bikes?--add 160mm of drop at full fork compression, assuming rear wheel is at sag
  • 1 0
 @ceecee: Yes, Anton is short.
  • 1 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: does it? Maybe I’m missing something but I don’t understand why that the American Eagle has a stack height like an enduro bike where an epic or procaliber does not.
  • 1 0
 @Scottsdale29er: I don't know why the American Eagle would have a higher stack height than the Epic or Procaliber. Same wheel size, same fork length, same travel, and similar head tube length. Where's the higher stack height coming from?
  • 1 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: American eagle geo chart shows 633mm stack for Olympic gold vs 600 or 614 for trek?
  • 1 0
 @Scottsdale29er: Good catch. Looking at the geometry charts, the head tube lengths are pretty similar, so the big difference between the three bikes that would probably account for the difference in stack height is head tube angle. The Epic has a 67.5 degree HA vs. 71 for the American Eagle in a size large, so that would actually make a pretty big difference across 633mm. That difference in head angle would mostly account for the difference in stack height.
  • 1 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: good point, trek seems to compensate with short head tubes for their 68.8.
633 stack on a medium is just nuts. It’s like the AE design team paid too much tribute to 1996 Bart and then slapped bigger wheels on it.
  • 1 0
 @Scottsdale29er: because it's a tiny frame.
  • 25 2
 I’ve seen zero American Eagles in Atlanta, but I’ll keep looking.
  • 16 0
 Bart won the Atlanta Olympic Games and he owns or is part of the American Eagle brand.
  • 4 4
 Are we talking the clothing company American Eagle?
  • 5 12
flag NorCalNomad (May 8, 2022 at 16:17) (Below Threshold)
 Nothing like a couple of Euros calling their bike brand American Eagle Very confused
  • 3 0
 @SonofBovril: Oh, that makes sense!
  • 5 0
 @NorCalNomad: You are aware of the brands story?
  • 4 11
flag Dustfarter (May 8, 2022 at 17:10) (Below Threshold)
 @NorCalNomad: It's such a Euro thing to do though. The name pairs well with wine, cheese and banana hammocks Smile
  • 26 1
As an American, I'm now going to name my bike brand European Swallow. The suspension system will be called the French Connection, and the commuters will be Dutch Courage.
  • 1 0
 That head angle suggests you're looking in the wrong decade!
  • 12 5
 @NorCalNomad: as an American myself, I strongly object to the USA's appropriation of the term American. (And by the way, your eagle is the *Bald* Eagle, not the American Eagle.)
  • 3 11
flag BiNARYBiKE (May 8, 2022 at 21:49) (Below Threshold)
 @mi-bike: you (presumably) live in the Federative Republic of Brazil; “Brazil” for short. I live in the United States of America. “America” for short. Who appropriated anything? Use the name as much as you like. Smile
  • 8 2
 @BiNARYBiKE: Your presumption is wrong. The Bald Eagle comment stands.
  • 4 3
 @mi-bike: nobody here calls the bird the “American Eagle” and that silly bike brand is European.
  • 7 3
 @BiNARYBiKE: My original comment was that Americans do not have the solitary right to the word "American" and was motivated by your compatriots' apparent displeasure with a bike brand with European roots using it. That comment (and opinion) stands. The Bald Eagle comment was in jest, but since we are now in a back and forth mode, the possible effect of that is now obviously gone Big Grin
  • 2 0
 @BiNARYBiKE: OTOH look at wikipedia and you will see a dozen or so US companies, brands and product solds by US companies under that named or nicknamed.after it. Airlines, Aircrafts, rollercoasters, boats, ammunition, car, etc.
  • 1 3
 @mi-bike: Serious question, how often do you refer to yourself as an American?
  • 12 0
 @dockboy: But an african swallow can carry a coconut while european can't so you should reconsider your name...
  • 8 0
 @winko: What if there were two swallows?
  • 4 0
 @SlowWheels: I'd assume two nuts, too big a load for just one swallow.
  • 18 0
 Love these hardtail galleries! Keep them coming PB
  • 3 3
 Agree - 2022 is becoming the year of the hardtail.. they are making a come back in a massive way.
  • 10 1
 @threesixtykickflip: No, 2022 is becoming the downfall of the Hardtail. There has never been fewer hardtails ridden in the Albstadt WC
  • 18 1
 My back already hurts just looking at those stems
  • 11 0
 So basically all XC bikes have head tubes that are too long. Maybe invent a fork with a stem mount below the head tube?
  • 9 3
 @blackthorne: If only there was a smaller front wheel standard that could give you a lower stack height. That would be really nifty.
  • 6 4
 @TEAM-ROBOT: i like your thinking but SHUT UP. we dont need little wheel bikes (plz dont get grumpy at me) Smile
  • 4 0
 @blackthorne: What's wrong with a negative rise stem?
  • 1 0
 @blackthorne: Shortest possible head tube for any bike using a tapered fork steerer is approximately 95mm... shorter than that and your headset split ring bottoms out on the increased diameter steerer.
  • 1 0
 @JMHPB: maybe the tapered part could narrowed down "more quickly" once the lower bearing contact point is passed?
More work for XC fork manufacturers ofc
  • 15 1
 I just had to look up the head tube angle on that American Eagle. 71 degrees. Seven. One.
  • 2 0
  • 7 0
 Yeah these guys are just importing generic catalogue carbon frames with their choice of logo and paint- No surprise the geometry is 5 years outdated. I bet one could find the same frame set listed on AliExpress if they looked hard enough…

Definitely a contrast to the modern Norco Revolver, which actually looks like a fun light-duty trail bike.
  • 2 0
 My 2014 Norco Revolver sports a 70.75* HTA, as far an XC race bike goes it's still pretty solid.
  • 13 1
 Interesting that the American Eagle bikes are running CST branded tires, instead of Cheng Shin Tire Co.'s Maxxis brand.
  • 6 3
 The is because they are sponsored by CST ?
  • 5 6
 @Joecx: woosh
  • 2 0
 @Joecx: Correct, Cheng Shin Rubber owns both Maxxis and CST brands. The AE team is sponsored by CST and runs mostly the CST brand tires (made of the team) but does occasionally run Maxxis.
  • 11 0
 I'll always have a soft spot for race hardtails.
  • 12 1
 That's a very rigid position to take.
  • 1 0
 In France, the word for "tail" is "queue" and it's also used for talking about one's banana
  • 9 2
 Norco, For the love of all things hardtail, Make me a version of that Revolver with sliding dropouts! SS dream race machine
  • 1 0
  • 4 2
 Funny to see how many riders are running stems with significant drop, and using a spacer under the stem to bring the bars back to where they would have been with a straight stem (Norco, Mondraker above, road and gravel bikes everywhere). Gotta look the part.
  • 5 0
 Only one of those drop stems had a spacer that I saw at first glance, but remember there is a relationship between stack and reach. Adding a spacer will reduce reach and increase stack, and then a stem angle can be chosen based off that starting point. I assume these racers are rather particular about their fit.
  • 2 0
 Just the Norco as far as I can see and it is impossible to get a stem angle to suit every position. You use a 5 - 10 mm spacer to fine tune bar height when the only choices for most stems are -6 or -17 degrees.
  • 2 1
 @tim-r: Any reduction in reach that comes from adding spacers is an illusion unless you don't care about the stack. Once you have chosen your frame and fork, for any given position the grips end up in it makes zero difference whether you put the bars there using spacers, changes in stem angle and length, riser bars etc. Body position relative to all the contact points will be identical, as will bike handling.
I agree WC racers are entitled to be particular about fit, and the examples in this article are far from the worst offenders, but it is something that appears to be a general trend among 'wannabes'.
  • 1 0
 @Joecx: Looks like about 10mm of spacers in this photo. www.pinkbike.com/photo/22536314
Also looks like the bottom of the bar is about where it would be with a straight stem, but there could be a couple of mm drop which would prove your point. My comment really was mostly about regular riders trying to emulate the look, rather than WC level pros getting their position exactly where they want it in the era of increasing fork travel.
  • 3 0
 @dsut4392: could be that they change the height depending on the course and just use the negative stem.

More downhill course, maybe raise it a bit, more flat course, maybe drop it that 10mil

  • 1 0
 Those bikes with the drop stems don't have much of a saddle to bar drop. The saddle and stem almost look to be level. Because of the big wheel up front...shorter riders will have a harder time getting the bar low enough. Albstadt looks to be more of a climbers course...that's probably why you're actually seeing hardtails at an WC XC race.
  • 4 0
 That string-and-bolt carbon seatpost clamp on the Procaliber tickles my brain. Nothing but the essence of clampage.
  • 2 0
 it's the Darimo Sub4 (4g) clamp. Works well.
  • 1 0
 Could the actual straight line dimensions of the stems be smaller than the recognized size?

90mm measured at that more dramatic angle, but from headtube to bar center May be only 50mm

I’d have to do the trig to check.

  • 3 0
 How do top tubes handle getting smashed with stems? Surprised there are no bumpers or aren't more knock blocks.
  • 2 0
Anne Tauber's American Eagle has a bumper on the top tube.
  • 1 0
 @dlford: that bumper is for the bars/controls. I wonder if the cable ports take care of the stem.
  • 1 0
 Most seem to have enough of a sloping tope tube that the controls would probably clear.
  • 1 0
 @dlford: I was wondering about that! Didn't click, my first thought was a weight to change the vibration characteristics. Bumper makes way more sense.
  • 9 6
 Just so we're clear none of these hardtails are faster than the full sus bikes, ok
  • 2 0
 Does Anton’s stem work with knock block? Is not is that not dangerous if he crashes in the eyes of Trek?
  • 2 1
 They should put another lever on the bar that adjusts your wheel size, frame size, and travel amount, as well as changing the drivetrain from sram to shimano.
  • 3 0
 Small riders on big-wheel bikes = stems performing unnatural acts
  • 2 0
 What is that thing on Annie Tauber frame? Is kind of a "frame protector" or something?
  • 1 0
 To protect the frame if the bars turn when crashing
  • 3 0
 These will make great gravel bikes one day
  • 1 0
 20 years+ and I still can't get used to the look of the Lefty fork. I appreciate the technology put into it and someone doing something different, but....
  • 1 0
 These Ghost bikes always looks kickass, It's sad that you don't them much in the wild
  • 1 0
 Tauber's negative seat setback is crazy, it’s like running a seat post backwards
  • 2 3
 Being a 43kg/95lbs petite sized woman helps a lot....don't think we'll ever see someone like Gaze or Kerschbaumer winning a modern world cup on a hardtail.
  • 1 0
 Offset bars is another way to loose 5mm of stack height.
  • 1 0
 If you're short, you need the front lower especially on a 29er
  • 1 0
 Among these Scalpel wins, perfectly balanced with 110 fork.
  • 1 0
 Those American Eagle's are badass!
  • 1 0
 That's an FSi right? A Scalpel is full sus right?
  • 2 0
 Scalpel HT
  • 1 0
 @laupe: you're right. Some genius in the Cannondale's naming department there.
  • 1 0
 The Ghost Lector has a beautiful back end.
  • 4 6
 I don't even want to think about that fizik saddle with the dimples all over it, the comments could get pretty crass, or is that ass?
  • 1 0
 Looks HARD!
  • 1 0
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