Bike vs Bike - Nino Schurter and Kate Courtney's Scott Sparks

Jun 26, 2020 at 6:24
by James Smurthwaite  

The XC World Championships were due to take place in Albstadt this past weekend and right at the sharp end of the favourites list were likely to be Scott's spearhead of Kate Courtney and Nino Schurter. Nino is reigning champion for the men, after picking up his 8th Elite Rainbow Jersey in Mont Sainte Anne while Kate would be looking to add to her collection having won her first in Lenzerheide in 2018.

Neither have taken to the race track yet this year but will no doubt be hard in training for the truncated season that's scheduled to kick off in September. Scott have fired over these pictures of their race bikes so we can know what to expect when racing does resume. Here, Nino's was set up for the Cape Epic, which requires a slightly different bike than World Cups, but we've included his World Cup numbers wherever there's a difference.

The Riders

Kate Courtney

Height: 162 cm
Weight: 54 kg
Age: 24
Instagram: @kateplusfate
Nino Schurter
Job done for Nino Schurter.

Height: 173 cm
Weight: 68 kg
Age: 34
Instagram: @nschurter

Frame

Kate Courtney

Frame: Scott Spark RC 900 Carbon
Size: Small



Kate's love for sharks is hinted at in her custom 'oyster pink' paint job.


Nino Schurter

Frame: Scott Spark RC 900 Carbon
Size: Medium



So, he's pretty good then...



Suspension

Kate Courtney

Fork: Rockshox Sid SL Ultimate RL3
Damper: Blackbox Race Day
Travel: 100mm
Pressure: 68 psi
Tokens: 2 tokens

Shock: RockShox Nude RLC3
Pressure: 99 psi
Tokens: 1.5 tokens



Nino Schurter

Fork: Rockshox Sid Ultimate RL3
Damper: Blackbox Race Day
Travel: 110mm
Pressure: 67psi
Tokens: 1 token

Shock: RockShox Nude RLC3
Pressure: 132psi
Tokens: 1.5 token



2 different forks for the 2 racers. Kate goes with the Sid SL at 100mm of travel with 32mm stanchions while Nino goes with the more burly Sid Ultimate with 35mm stanchions pared down to 110mm travel.

Wheels

Kate Courtney

Wheels: DT Swiss XMC 1200 Spline Carbon 30mm
Size: 29"

Front Tire:Maxxis Aspen ST
Width: 2.4"
Pressure: 16psi front

Rear Tire: Maxxis Aspen ST
Width: 2.4"
Pressure: 17psi rear



Nino Schurter

Wheels: DT Swiss XRC 1200 Spline 30mm
Size: 29"

Front Tire: Maxxis Aspen
Width: 2.4"
Pressure: 1.15- 1.20bar (16.6 - 17.4psi)

Rear Tire: Maxxis Aspen
Width: 2.4"
Pressure: 1.25- 1.30bar (18.1 - 18.9psi)



Nino and Kate run different treads, with Kate on the prototype, low profile Aspen ST we saw at some World Cups last year and Nino the regular version. Nino runs the same tread at World Cups or the Cape Epic.

Cockpit

Kate Courtney

Handlebar: Syncros Fraser IC SL
Width: 680mm
'Rise': -8°
'Stem' Length: 90mm

Grips: Syncros Lockgrip




Nino Schurter

Handlebar: Syncros Fraser IC SL Nino Special Edition
Width: 680mm
'Rise': -30°
'Stem' Length: 95mm

Grips: Syncros Silicon





Drivetrain

Kate Courtney

Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS 10-50

ChainringSRAM Eagle Dub Power Meter
Size: 32T
Crank Length: 170mm

Pedals: HT Components M1T



Nino Schurter

Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS 10-50

ChainringSRAM Eagle Dub Power Meter
Size: 36T (Cape Epic), 38T (World Cups)
Crank Length: 175mm

Pedals: HT Components M1T






128 Comments

  • 131 1
 38T....lol
  • 11 0
 Scott has to custom make that frame to clear the chainring. Consumer model won't come close. ????
  • 1 0
 my thoughts exactly.. bloody hell... that is impressive....!!!!!!!
  • 3 32
flag Extremmist (3 days ago) (Below Threshold)
 As someone who can leg press 300 kg I'd love to have that on my bike.
  • 7 0
 @Extremmist: if you can squat and deadlift accordingly, I'd give you a chance. If your upper body can't handle it, your legs won't bring the pressure on the pedals.
  • 9 1
 @yeti85: as someone with a 850kg leg press, I'm happy with my 34 tooth.
  • 6 0
 @RonSauce: my point was that leg press alone is somewhat irrelevant as a measure of how much torque you can put on your cranks, as in the end it's a matter of how strong ur core is to handle the force of your legs. Hence squats and deadlifts will be a better measure....in the end it comes down to the real world anyway.
  • 2 1
 What is common then for 29" wheeled XC bikes? They've got a 50t cassette in the rear so even with a big front ring you can still get a fairly light gearing when you want or need it. As long as they can make it on the climbs, having something fast and heavy on the easier downs (like straight and not too rough) would help them too in some race situations.
  • 1 1
 @saladdodger: That's because they are required to ride with Eagle cassette. They were fine with the previous 11s XX1 cassettes.
  • 2 0
 @Whipperman: They were fine, but nino would probably not be able to get away with running a 38 if he was using a 10-42. The eagle cassettes are quite a bit heavier, and these guys are racing at a level that those rotating grams count. If nino was faster with a 10-42, I think he'd use it.
  • 6 1
 @thegoodflow: I’m not sure he would, I suspect SRAM would have an issue with him not using their 12 spd cassette
  • 6 0
 @SonofBovril: Pretty sure about that too. Eagle is the flagship product they're pushing. Pretty sure they don't pay and supply those athletes only to prove that they get along just fine without the latest stuff. Or even worse, admit that they'd perform better without it.
  • 4 5
 @SonofBovril: he's Nino f*cking Schurter. If he thought he would be faster with a 10-42, then that's what he'd use, and SRAM would like it and say thank you for allowing us to be your sponsor.
  • 9 3
 @thegoodflow: absolutely false. As a pro athlete he's there to sell new products, not to win.
  • 1 0
 @mrbadwrench: well, he's there to do both. He probably wouldn't have sold many products if he didn't make such a habit out of winning. If he wasn't using all of the range of the cassette, then he wouldn't be swapping rings for different races. But you guys think he'd be faster on a 10-42 but he's only using eagle because of sponsorship obligation?
  • 3 0
 @thegoodflow: he is there to win, SRAM pays him to sell products. This is a typical headbutting in most racing, your sponsor wants you for sales and development, not winning. If that wasn't the case they wouldn't sponsor so many social media influencers. I know I'm not Nino, but I've never dropped onto a 50t ring riding XC.
Look at that stupid syncros handlebar they sell, full nino spec. I dont know anyone who would ride it or is interested, but Nino rides it, so Scott is going to sell it. Do you honestly think if Nino wanted to ride a 10-32 cassette that SRAM would let him? You dont think that would affect sales? Imagine trying to sell top of the line spec, but nino wont touch it, but it's the best, but your top rider isnt on it.
  • 2 0
 @thegoodflow: Nino would be slower on a 10-42 compared to a 10-50. I dunno why people have such a hard time understanding that a big front chainring and a 10-50 cassette allows you both a wider range of speeds on a race course.
  • 1 0
 @clink83: serious doubt. On another article way back they mentioned when he was running 11 speed he had the lowest 2 gears locked out on the derailer. He doesn't need the range, he's an absolute monster. I gaurantee he never uses the top 2 or 3 on eagle.
  • 1 0
 @yeti85: Weight lifting isn’t going to turn the average pony into a race horse. It might turn a horse that places or shows into a winner, or a winner into a triple crown winner. It’s not going to take a horse from 3w/kg to 6w/kg.
  • 1 0
 @mrbadwrench: it’s got nothing to do with the cassette guys... it’s all about chain line. The efficiency loss of going all the way to either end of the cassette is worse than just staying in a higher,or lower gear and just pushing harder/faster.

These guys change chain ring size according to the average speed of the race course so they can stay in the middle of the cassette most of the time.

I don’t know exact numbers but it’s a big difference in wattage requirements running 15mph with a straight chai line and the same speed with a sideways line. It’s quite a common practice in XC racing.
  • 1 0
 @HurricaneCycles: I'm surprised that the efficiency loss would be that big, but I'll believe it. But, in that case, not only is the ultimate range of the eagle cassette wider, but so is the middle of the cassette with the ideal chainline. So, by having a wider range, he is able to stay in that ideal chainline range for longer.
  • 40 7
 Take note of the tire pressures! So many ride with way too much pressure.......give less a try, v liberating
  • 28 4
 Hopefully they are running inserts because with that low of pressure on EXO sidewalls I would be rolling the tire off the rims on normal rides.
  • 10 1
 @bman33: I would think the minimal knobs on these would cause the tire to slide before it squirms or rolls. Either way, that's super low.
  • 9 2
 I've always felt like pure XC tires aren't really ideal for any type of casual riding. XC tracks are gnarly, but do they have sharp edges rocks and features that will cut tires? I know locally a lot of our XC tracks just aren't that tire abusive, and I'm in AZ. I guess being superlight riders also helps tires longevity and durability. My fat ass would probably cut a tire like the Aspen riding off a curb.
  • 16 1
 @PHeller: I've always had this thought that higher psi actually causes cut sidewalls more than low psi, think of popping a balloon full of air vs one half inflated. When the rubber is under so much tension it'll tear easier.
  • 51 0
 Pressures that low would liberate my rims from their circular shape.
  • 57 0
 I took note, and also took note that I weigh just shy of two Kates. So I'm not running 16-17 PSI except when I'm running a Spark RC 900 on each leg.
  • 12 5
 @bman33: podcast with vittoria dude: ALL xc racers are running inserts, whether they say it or not. Allegedly.
  • 8 1
 @dirtyburger: big if true
  • 7 0
 But seriously, depends on what you're riding. You won't see any elite enduro racers running 19PSI without an insert would ya? Different kind of riding. XC racers ride tech like ballerinas.
  • 19 0
 I mean Nino weighs 68kg and rides micro knobbies. If he rode anything more than 20psi, it would probably be like trying to corner with a piece of garden hose for a tire.
  • 3 0
 @dirtyburger: I think I listened to part of that one. Is that the same as where they discuss roadies lowering pressure as well?
  • 5 3
 @bman33: Nino runs a rear insert. Just goes to show, now matter how good your suspension (and on the whole MTB suspension is fairly shite IMO) the tire is still the most important component. Especially when uphill traction is required.

Now let’s see an Enduro or DH racer ride with those pressures without spooning the rim.
  • 6 0
 @Tmackstab: triangle shaped rocks squishing the tire into the rim is what causes most of my punctures
  • 9 1
 I’ve tried trendy low pressures and the tires squirms around so much even with inserts that I get no corner traction
  • 8 0
 @Paddock22: I think you'd be surprised how much grip XC tires provide.
  • 4 1
 @dirtyburger: I believe you (or Vittoria dude) is correct. I know the Scott team was running them at Lenzerheide last year. Kate didn't have a terrific race but she passed Neff because she flatted.
  • 2 0
 @dirtyburger: What podcast is that?
  • 1 0
 @kleinblake: but what sidewall are you running?
  • 5 0
 2.4” on XC race bikes. It’s a Maxxis but still. The times are a changing.
  • 2 0
 @LeDuke: Vital
  • 1 0
 LOL,... thanks for that.. that made me laugh
  • 5 0
 They also get free tires and free wheels.... unfortunately us mere mortals also have to consider our wallets in these equations.
  • 4 1
 I get on just fine with 1.2 bar in the rear and 0.9bar in the front tire (with the ProCore tube inflated to about 5.5bar). Tires are fairly light (Conti Trailking 26x2.4 in the front, Schwalbe Nobby Nic 26x2.35 in the rear) and even though they might roll when cornering hard, it doesn't necessarily mean they easily let go. I think it might feel weird when the tire rolls sideways on the rim, but there is still a good bit of grip to be had after that. But you'll indeed need something inside the tire that keeps the tire snug to the rimbead to keep it sealed. In my case, the ProCore system does just that. No experience with other systems, but I suppose they should help as well. Would never ride pressures this low without an insert but then again, I wouldn't ride with higher pressures (without insert) either as I'd compromise on the amount of grip I can get from my tires.
  • 1 0
 @bman33: plus Nino and Kate probobly weigh 13kg wet...
  • 1 0
 @LeDuke: "World's Okayest Mountain Bike Podcast" (others might mean the singletracks one...) --but I guarantee you the WOMBP pod is the nerdiest tire podcast you will ever listen to
  • 3 0
 @mh731 I tried it at various lower pressures, it liberated me all over the place, into hedgerows, off the side of a berm... it was awful and I went back to running 27psi front and 30psi rear on my dh casing magic mary's. I don't get on at all with all the unpredictable squirming and the associated loss of speed due to drag. Was just reading about Cam McCaul's Trek Remedy setup and he runs the same pressures as me so I can't have it all wrong. But 'horses for courses' I guess.
  • 1 0
 @lognar: always heavy enduro sidewalls or DH casing
  • 2 0
 @landscapeben: But they have to run that low for low speed grip and climbing traction. The question is, how do they cope at higher speeds with the common issues you rightly point out. The top XCO guys are total ninjas.
  • 1 0
 @jclnv: true dat!
  • 1 0
 @jclnv: I think to a certain extent its spending lots of time adapting to race setups. Kate and Nino both spend absurd amounts of time riding their MTBs on all kinds of terrain. I remember seeing a pic of Kate's fleet and its basically three bikes. Her Spark hardtail and this article's full suspension, and a road bike. That's it. I'd imagine that at first it would feel sketch, but after a few hundred miles and lots of downhills, you get used to it - because that's all you ride.
  • 2 0
 @rickybobby18: keep in mind they run carbon rims. On my carbon rims I run similar pressures. They can take the hits as they are resilient. On my lightweight aluminum rims I cannot afford a single bottom out or they will bens. So I run 18Fr and 23 rear.
  • 1 0
 @clink83: or GRAVEL tires. Or even 28mm road ones on some very mild gravel roads...
  • 25 0
 2,4 tire, 30 mm rim, 35 mm stanchion tube fork. this is XCO
  • 5 0
 Yes. Was thinking same. Few years ago when I was arguing the physics of low rolling resistance with wide tires so many were saying 'but the pros are running narrow tires and they know best' . Nope. It takes time to adapt if you invested so much in training with a particular type of setup. But now they've adapted and of course it's faster. Either that or they just get paid to show this. :-)
  • 16 0
 i'm curious about how much these bikes weigh.
  • 1 0
 Came here to ask this! My guess is around 20 for Kate's and maybe just over for Nino's.
  • 3 0
 @seraph: the 35mm SID is about 300gr heavier.
  • 2 0
 @clink83: and the AXS droppers are boat anchors.

I bet close to 23 pounds for Nino's.
  • 17 3
 They're not running the new 10-52? Man, they're missing out!
  • 7 0
 Most XC racers wont ever use the 50 even with a 38 t front like Nino, spinning usually is too slow to keep up the pace. If these guys didn't need to fulfill sponsors needs i'm sure many would shorten their cassettes to save weight too.
  • 6 0
 @CAshredder: Exactly ! With Shimano you have the choice. For exemple, Maxime Marotte use the 10-45 version.
Sram sould have produced a smaller version of his cassette, not that 52t...
  • 5 0
 Don't they know it's 20% more range??
  • 10 0
 No new Spark 2021 yet?
  • 4 0
 Yeah taking a while eh? I suspect it will be rather good when it arrives.
  • 2 0
 @jclnv: Guessing it will be released ahead of the original Olympic XC race date, just like the Epic ahead of the cancelled Worlds?
  • 6 0
 Anyone got a comparison between the Aspen 2.4 and Minion SS? I know they're completely different tires, but I've curious about the aggressive XC tires lately.
  • 1 1
 They're surprisingly similar until you corner. They're both a little drifty until the side knobs bite on the SS. Minion SS corners a little better because of the increased grin while the aspen is a bit faster on the off camber stuff.
  • 9 1
 Um, oyster pink? And what exactly does that have to do with sharks?
  • 12 0
 Maybe because oysters are like the sharks of phylum mollusca...come on everyone knows that.
  • 7 0
 A from kAte is a shark fin. That’s the hint in the special paint job
  • 3 0
 the A in her name is a shark fin
  • 2 0
 Doesn't matter, that frame is HAWT! That frame is so beautiful it had me forget how overpriced these bikes are.
  • 6 3
 I've just patented my new device called the TireWiz ( or TyreWiz for those of you from the old country). Unlike the shock wiz this device allows both men and women to:

1. Take a wiz while riding without getting urine on their tires ( obviously)
2. Calculate the ideal tire pressure for the rider, terrain and riding style. ( no more guess work)

TireWiz Plus will adjust the pressure to the optimum continuously to be released in 2021.
Compatible with your windows or blackberry phone, iphone and android release delayed due to covid.
Works only on 26 inch bikes up to 2.4 width
  • 1 0
 f*ck yeah! Got a port for my old atari?
  • 3 0
 I was not able to find all your claimed specs on the website

www.sram.com/en/quarq/series/tyrewiz
  • 1 0
 @Dustball1: Obviously TireWiz and TyreWiz are completely different. Keep it quiet I can't have SRAM all over me.
  • 1 0
 @mattman82: A sega geneis add-on will be available but no atary compatability is planned as SRAM has the rights to that on their TyreWiz.
  • 6 1
 I like how everyone is asking if they run inserts. They don't, cause they run "I don't have to pay for my wheels so I'll run whatever pressure I want"
  • 9 0
 Doubt it. A busted rim in the race can ruin you if you're a ways from the tech zone, and it's a PITA on any other day.
  • 3 0
 @mnorris122: i hear or read in one of the latest podcast/interview of nino that since he got big tires he doesn't put insert any more
  • 5 2
 having ridden DH and Freeride for so long its strange to look at a XC bike upclose...I feel like the handlebars are sitting on the front wheel.
  • 5 0
 The button on the grips is for suspension lockout?
  • 9 0
 It's for the AXS dropper post. There's another lever on the same side of the bars for the suspension.
  • 3 0
 No it is for the dropper. The spark runs twin lock for suspension taking up the normal area for the dropper lever.
  • 12 3
 It’s the on/off for the hidden motor
  • 19 1
 Nah it is the 100W boost for dealing with MVP.
  • 9 0
 It releases a small cloud of Van der Poel kryptonite powder.
  • 2 0
 Crazy how they can get away with such low pressures in lightweight tires. Are they running inserts or just that good they can avoid punctures with perfect tire placement all the time?
  • 4 0
 Have you seen the weight of the riders? At 70 Kg, I could run 17 psi as well, I'm running 20 psi right now at 85 Kg.
  • 3 0
 The Scott metallic paint jobs are great. K. Courtney's last metallic red Spark was excellent.
  • 3 0
 How about Kate's power meter? When will we see those for sale at you LBS?
  • 2 1
 If these two are running 30mm rims and 2.4s, wouldn’t that infer that all of us should be in at least 35mm and 2.6s?!?!? Why would common peasants run the same?
  • 2 0
 Someone want to explain what oyster pink shows a love of sharks?
  • 1 0
 For a small size frame, i think Irina Kalentieva's Scott Spark looks better than Kate's. Maybe it's the syncros cockpit
  • 1 0
 Those Syncros bars look awesome... I wouldn't want them on my bike, but they do give it the proper racing look don't they?
  • 1 0
 Can you say “BULLET BLING”????
  • 1 0
 Don't they usually ride hardtails at Albstadt?
  • 1 2
 What sort of Shock and Fork Remote are they using? Last season I think they both were using Fox Live Valve. Also is it common for XC riders to use Shock and Fork Remotes ?
  • 1 0
 Scott have twinloc cable remote, have 3 modes - lock, traction, open.
  • 2 0
 RS front and rear. Nino has never officially run Fox (he was running a Fox NUDE Performance and debadged in 201Cool .
  • 1 0
 @cws196: funny how that happens when RS doesn't make a compatible shock for their racers bike.
  • 1 0
 If I had to choose, I think I’d rather ride Kate’s bike over Nino’s.
  • 1 0
 Love when PB uses that photo of Nino.
  • 4 7
 16-19 psi on EXO casings......WOW. I understand this is XC racing, but damn squirm. Possibly they are using inserts I am not aware of. I know Nino can shred and rail turns when called for. I am sure Kate is the same
  • 8 1
 How many of us are 54-68kg or 120-150lbs.
  • 12 1
 No inserts. These dudes are really good at riding bikes, weight very little and have to use every weight performance advantage. Watch Nino race, that dude absolutely shreds.
  • 7 2
 I'm at 19psi on my all mountain bike and exo and I have no problem
  • 2 2
 @idahobrodown: see comment above about how they apparently are even if they say they aren't.
  • 1 0
 @idahobrodown: ya, that's a good point. being a 'good racer' could mean taking care of your tires, the way a good auto racing driver might. being fast doesn't have to mean slamming into every feature.
  • 3 0
 @dirtyburger: I'm 165 and I run aspen 2.25 exo at 19psi?? No inserts.
  • 1 0
 @mrbadwrench: I'm 165 as well, DHF / Aggressor combo. EXO up front and EXO+ or DD depending on model out back. No inserts. That said, I can ride Moab, park days and Enduro races like that and corner aggressively. It isn't about punctures it's about rolling tires in turns or jumps. Different riding/racing fir sure. Nino is a shredder no doubt.
  • 5 0
 Nino has a video where he literally recommends having your tire low enough that you can press it to the rim with your thumb (and all your weight).

www.vitalmtb.com/interstitial?page=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.vitalmtb.com%2Fvideos%2Fmember%2FLearn-Nino-Schurters-Bike-Handling-Skills-and-Tips%2C37813%2FBHowell%2C45918
  • 4 6
 How come we get a insta pose for Kate's pic, and Nino looking like a gawper (but presumably winning something?1?) for his?
Did she not win any races for Scott yet?
  • 4 0
 She won a bunch of World Cups and the overall WC title in her first season with Scott.
  • 1 1
 What about frame travel?, isn't Nino running an 120mm travel frame?
  • 1 0
 I'm dumb
  • 1 0
 pinkbike hehe
  • 1 4
 Why*
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