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Nino Schurter's Scott Spark 700 RC with SRAM Eagle

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Nino Schurter's Scott Spark 700 RC is one of those race bikes that just looks fast. Perhaps it stirs thoughts of Nino smashing the pedals and descents, or perhaps it's the less common 'race-day' setup

Nino Schurter's Scott Spark 700 RC is one of those race bikes that just looks fast. Perhaps it stirs thoughts of Nino smashing the pedals and descents, or perhaps it's the less common 'race-day' setup (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Weight is saved wherever possible. That top cap and alloy preload bolt are surely feathery

Weight is saved wherever possible. That top cap and alloy preload bolt are surely feathery (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Scott and DT Swiss originally collaborated for the 'TwinLoc technology. This DT Swiss TwoInOne switch controls front and rear shocks simultaneously

Scott and DT Swiss originally collaborated for the 'TwinLoc technology. This DT Swiss TwoInOne switch controls front and rear shocks simultaneously (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Another look at the new SRAM Level Ultimate brakes. Being a top model, material is relieved wherever possible and titanium hardware is supplied

Another look at the new SRAM Level Ultimate brakes. Being a top model, material is relieved wherever possible and titanium hardware is supplied (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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This DT Swiss fork is now available for sale, it's an impressive option within the limited superlight fork market

This DT Swiss fork is now available for sale, it's an impressive option within the limited superlight fork market (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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You'll find similar logos on products sold by Scott. For example, you can buy a 20in kids bike plastered with the same labels, including Nino's name

You'll find similar logos on products sold by Scott. For example, you can buy a 20in kids bike plastered with the same labels, including Nino's name (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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A close look at the tread of the Dugast Fast Bird 50mm tubular. While widths typically vary greatly depending on brand and setup, this was comparable to many 2.1in tyres on the market

A close look at the tread of the Dugast Fast Bird 50mm tubular. While widths typically vary greatly depending on brand and setup, this was comparable to many 2.1in tyres on the market (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Schurter rides Ritchey's new WCS XC pedal, now in production. SPD cleats can be used with these

Schurter rides Ritchey's new WCS XC pedal, now in production. SPD cleats can be used with these (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Dropped chains are rare, but riders at this level rarely take chances. This simple guide stops the chain from lifting off the ring and adds little weight

Dropped chains are rare, but riders at this level rarely take chances. This simple guide stops the chain from lifting off the ring and adds little weight (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Schurter is sponsored by both Garmin and GoPro. Both devices are turned on during races

Schurter is sponsored by both Garmin and GoPro. Both devices are turned on during races (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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A special bracket mounts the GoPro directly to the Ritchey WCS stem

A special bracket mounts the GoPro directly to the Ritchey WCS stem (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Schurter dropping in from the 'Rodeo Drop' at Cairns World Cup. Such technical features caused riders such as Julien Absalon and Dan McConnell to use dropper seatposts

Schurter dropping in from the 'Rodeo Drop' at Cairns World Cup. Such technical features caused riders such as Julien Absalon and Dan McConnell to use dropper seatposts (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Attacking on a short power climb like he typically does. Very few riders can hold on when this Swiss powerhouse chooses to make his move

Attacking on a short power climb like he typically does. Very few riders can hold on when this Swiss powerhouse chooses to make his move (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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All the Ritchey components on Schurter's bike are given custom graphics to match the frame. Want the same? Win four world championships

All the Ritchey components on Schurter's bike are given custom graphics to match the frame. Want the same? Win four world championships (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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More gold. Even the derailleur's cage is anodized to a shade of bling

More gold. Even the derailleur's cage is anodized to a shade of bling (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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DT Swiss recently moved all its forks to low friction SKF seals. Great improvements to performance and durability have been made as a result

DT Swiss recently moved all its forks to low friction SKF seals. Great improvements to performance and durability have been made as a result (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Yep, that's bigger than your face. SRAM's new Eagle drivetrain features a 10-50t cassette

Yep, that's bigger than your face. SRAM's new Eagle drivetrain features a 10-50t cassette (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Gold everywhere for the top-tier SRAM XX1 Eagle groupset. Perhaps it's based on the Olympic medal being chased this year. Either way, dust off your old ano-gold bolt kits, it's cool again

Gold everywhere for the top-tier SRAM XX1 Eagle groupset. Perhaps it's based on the Olympic medal being chased this year. Either way, dust off your old ano-gold bolt kits, it's cool again (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Dugast provides the tubular tyres, although those 27.5in DT Swiss carbon tubular rims may present a larger issue in sourcing for your replica Nino bike

Dugast provides the tubular tyres, although those 27.5in DT Swiss carbon tubular rims may present a larger issue in sourcing for your replica Nino bike (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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We suspect it's due to better heat dissipation, but Schurter was racing with an alloy version of the DT Swiss X313 Remote rear shock

We suspect it's due to better heat dissipation, but Schurter was racing with an alloy version of the DT Swiss X313 Remote rear shock (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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The Scott Spark frame offers two geometry positions. Schurter raced Cairns on the 'High' position, something we suspect he normally sticks with

The Scott Spark frame offers two geometry positions. Schurter raced Cairns on the 'High' position, something we suspect he normally sticks with (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Ritchey provides its WCS (or higher) components for all of Schurter's contact points

Ritchey provides its WCS (or higher) components for all of Schurter's contact points (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Schurter was the only rider in Cairns with SRAM's new Eagle drivetrain. However, it seems the big American component company couldn't get the matching crank made in time. On another note, that's a 38t chainring you're looking at

Schurter was the only rider in Cairns with SRAM's new Eagle drivetrain. However, it seems the big American component company couldn't get the matching crank made in time. On another note, that's a 38t chainring you're looking at (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Seems Ritchey has some new superlight foam grips on the way. We've seen another version similar to these that's claimed to weigh just 9g – these could be lighter again

Seems Ritchey has some new superlight foam grips on the way. We've seen another version similar to these that's claimed to weigh just 9g – these could be lighter again (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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New SRAM Level Ultimate brakes for this whip. These brakes feel amazing, and hide a few cool features such as sealed bearings at the lever pivot points. Also note the Ritchey handlebar which drops 5mm from the centre

New SRAM Level Ultimate brakes for this whip. These brakes feel amazing, and hide a few cool features such as sealed bearings at the lever pivot points. Also note the Ritchey handlebar which drops 5mm from the centre (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Yep, there's little about this bike that's low cost. Apparently this DT Swiss carbon fork crown and steerer is made in Switzerland

Yep, there's little about this bike that's low cost. Apparently this DT Swiss carbon fork crown and steerer is made in Switzerland (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Topeak is an accessory expert and doesn't offer much for use on the bike. The exception may be bottle cages, with Schurter choosing the brand's Shuffle carbon

Topeak is an accessory expert and doesn't offer much for use on the bike. The exception may be bottle cages, with Schurter choosing the brand's Shuffle carbon (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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Where many Fox-sponsored athletes use bolt-up thru-axles for weight savings, Schurter's bike sticks with tool-free DT Swiss RWS axles

Where many Fox-sponsored athletes use bolt-up thru-axles for weight savings, Schurter's bike sticks with tool-free DT Swiss RWS axles (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
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The Cairns World Cup course became dusty and drifty on race day. Riders will return here in 2017 for the World Championships

The Cairns World Cup course became dusty and drifty on race day. Riders will return here in 2017 for the World Championships (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

As the current world champion in Olympic-discipline cross-country, Nino Schurter is always one of the race favourites once the start gun blows. With explosive power, supreme technical skills and masterfully tactical efforts, Schurter typically delivers results with the consistency of a Swiss-made watch.

Of course, a rider of this level will usually receive special attention when it comes to equipment selection and Schurter's bike is absolutely at the pinnacle of 'race day' equipment. Wanting to learn more of this setup, we manage to sit down with the four-time world champion before his win at the opening World Cup round in Cairns, and chat about his preferences for bike setup.

Attacking on a short power climb like he typically does. very few riders can hold on when this swiss powerhouse chooses to make his move: attacking on a short power climb like he typically does. very few riders can hold on when this swiss powerhouse chooses to make his move

Grab a drink, sit back and read on as we delve into the finer details of Schurter's bike setup (and don't forget to scroll through the gallery above).

Still one of the lightest

Scott Sports has a long history of creating class-leading lightweight mountain bikes. The Scale hardtail remains one of the lightest money can buy, as does the Spark RC dual suspension, which has seen little change in recent time. Schurter tells BikeRadar that the Spark will remain his key choice for much of the season, with the Scale hardtail set to make only occasional appearances.

The Spark is one bike that pushes cross-country convention. Built to win XC races, this 27.5in-wheeled version nonetheless offers a rather long 120mm of rear wheel travel. For reference, most of the direct competition sit at 90-100mm.

Ensuring it climbs with the best, Scott employs its 'TwinLoc' technology, offering a three-position suspension control remote to switch the bike between descending (open), traction (firm) and climbing (locked) modes. Fully open, the bike sits at 120mm of travel, but switch mode and it reduces to 85mm. The front fork is linked to the same handlebar remote; switch the rear shock and the fork's compression changes to match.

In addition to the TwinLoc technology, the Spark offers a flippable chip that allows for a choice between two geometry positions. What shouldn't be too surprising is that Schurter runs his in the 'High' position for a more aggressive head angle.

The High position also raises the bottom bracket, but this likely doesn't present any issues as Schurter uses a 100mm travel fork on this frame designed for a 120mm version. That shorter fork will obviously lower the bottom bracket height, but it'll also steepen the 68.8-degree head angle closer to 69.8 degrees.

That 100mm fork is DT Swiss' latest OPM Race, an impressively lightweight item as a result of the new carbon steerer and crown. New low friction seals from SKF help to improve small bump performance.

In a slight change from last season, Schurter is using a standard, non-carbon version of the DT Swiss X313 Remote rear shock. We suspect this may be due to how the carbon air sleeve handles excessive heat from Schurter's descending, as otherwise he'd be taking the opportunity to save a few more grams here.

Helping to ensure the bike stays in the right hands, Schurter's bikes are nearly always treated with custom paint – as was the case here. It's worth noting that these graphics typically carry some 'cred', and Scott successfully sells 'Nino' replica product and bikes (including for kids) in many markets.

Bike fit is course-dependent

Bike setup, Schurter says, will change to suit the varying courses. "I adjust suspension, tyres and sometimes even my position. If there are really steep climbs, and I feel like it's not comfortable to ride my position for long climbs, then I go higher on the seat to help. My seat height will vary 2-3mm."

With a set-back measurement of just 4.7cm, Schurter rides in a relatively forward position. It's a trend that's flowing from the top of cross country lately, with positions tailored to the hard, flat-out and technical racing that the sport has become.

Schurter's choice in handlebar width is another aspect of evolving setup. For 2016, he's moved to a 710mm width bar, a far cry from the 580mm width bars of cross-country racing's past.

"I went wider recently for cross country," he says. "On my other bikes I always have wide bars. Now the downhills are more technical and I prefer more control. You don't win races on downhills, but you sure can lose them."

Tubular-wrapped mid-size wheels

Schurter's move to a 27.5in wheel, among a 29er crowd, was met with much interest a few seasons ago. At the time, Scott already had a full quiver of World Cup-grade 29ers, but it was said that Schurter was unable to achieve the handlebar height he desired without greatly compromising handling.

As a longtime user of tubular tyres, Schurter's wheel and tyre choices sit in the pro-only realms. Sure, at €103 a piece you can buy the 50mm width (approx. 2.1in) Dugast tyres he ran in Cairns, but his DT Swiss 27.5in carbon tubular wheels aren't something you'll find as easily.

Glued to the carbon rim, tubular tyres offer some significant benefits for those who have a mechanic to do the work. For one, the system is seriously light at the rim, right where it counts. Low pressures can be ridden without risk of burping or rolling the tyre from the rim. Rolling resistance is potentially lower by allowing for a suppler tyre construction. Finally, if a flat does occur, the tyre will stay in place for the rider to get to the nearest service zone.

However, obvious costs and mechanic hours aside, transporting pre-glued wheels and tyres present logistical issues. Schurter believes five different tyre types were brought across to Cairns from Europe for him. However, his Swiss-based team surely has access to far more options on its home continent.

Prior to travelling, the riders have a pretty good idea of the terrain ahead and so can limit their choices without having to bring everything. In Schurter's case, he says, beyond the obvious tread changes even the construction of the tubular can vary, with more protection being built into it to suit the conditions.

So why not just run a more protected tyre all the time? Weight and rolling resistance come back into play.

SRAM soars

Schurter was the only rider with SRAM's new 12-speed XX1 Eagle drivetrain at this opening World Cup round – and it was impossible to miss in its gold livery. Offering an enormous 500% range, the new drivetrain is surely the future of single-ring setups.

"I've already raced it before Cairns," says Schurter, before we ask about chainring size to match the enormous 10-50t cassette. "I'm on a 38t," he replies. "I don't think I'll ever go down in size for the rest of the season – I may go up to a 40t, but for slow courses I use a 38. For a stage race if it's really long or steep climbs, then maybe I'll use a 36t. But 38t is about the smallest you (pros) need for XC."

Clearly the gearing setup is extremely fresh as the matching crankset was not in place. Sitting above the crankset, Schurter continues to use a minimalist chain guide that simply stops the chain from lifting off the top of the ring.

Equally as new as the Eagle gearing, Schurter is using SRAM's latest flagship hydraulic disc brake – the Level Ultimate. Like every new top-tier product, these are the lightest and highest-performing the brand has offered yet. Including hardware and rotors, a pair of these is claimed to weigh just 636g without any compromise to braking function.

New Ritchey bits

As a longtime rider of Ritchey equipment, Schurter showcases both proven and fresh components on his bike. On the fresh side, Schurter is running the new Superlogic foam grips and WCS XC clipless pedals.

The Superlogic grips appear to have a simpler profile to the ‘Ergo' version we've seen launched. Regardless, they look to be made of the same ‘nano foam' as the Ergos and therefore likely weigh less than 9g per pair!

The pedals are something Schurter rode for much of last season, but in a prototype form. For 2016, they were officially released and the SPD-compatible design jumped up in weight to a claimed 298g for the pair. These are only marginally lighter than Shimano's best offering, but by the looks of it offer improved mud clearance. It's possible Schurter's pedals run on lighter titanium axles, but that's just our speculation.

Certainly not a common occurence on a race bike of this level, all of Schurter's contact points are taken care of by this one Swiss-based brand.

Dropper for Nino?

With the likes of Julien Absalon and Dan McConnell taking to dropper seatposts for the rocky Cairns course, we ask Schurter for his thoughts.

"I'm truly happy without a dropper seatpost for this course," the Swiss powerhouse says.

"All the dropper posts you get are too heavy or just not for cross country," he goes on. "I'm sure the future will have these, but they're (currently) too slow, too long and you need to put your body weight on them. For real cross country they must be faster, lighter, easier and shorter."

Race-day gadgets

Both Garmin and GoPro sponsor Schurter, and so he races while capturing both race data and footage.

His Garmin Edge 520 head unit sits directly on the stem with a standard rubber band mount. However, it's the GoPro Hero 4 Session that sits on an integrated mount that bolts in with the Ritchey stem faceplate.

With permission from racing legend and Scott-Odlo MTB Racing team manager Thomas Frischknecht, we hang Nino's race bike on our own scales – it reads 9.79kg. Making this figure all the more impressive, this includes the Garmin Edge 520 and GoPro Hero 4 Session camera as pictured.

Complete bike specifications

Frame: Scott Spark 700 RC, size Medium
Rear shock: DT Swiss X313 Remote
Fork: DT Swiss OPM O.D.L 100 Race
Headset: Ritchey Superlogic
Stem: Ritchey WCS C220, 90mm, -17 degree
Handlebar: Ritchey WCS Superlogic, 710 width, -5mm rise,
Grips: Ritchey Superlogic foam
Front brake: SRAM Level Ultimate, 160mm 2-piece CLX rotor
Rear brake: SRAM Level Ultimate, 160mm 2-piece CLX rotor
Rear derailleur: SRAM XX1 Eagle
Shift levers: SRAM XX1 Eagle
Cassette: SRAM XX1 Eagle XG-1299, 10-50T, 12-speed
Chain: SRAM XX1 Eagle, 12-speed
Crankset: SRAM XX1, 38T Direct Mount ring, 175mm
Bottom bracket: SRAM GXP Blackbox
Pedals: Ritchey WCS XC
Front wheel: DT Swiss XRC tubular (team only)
Rear wheel: DT Swiss XRC tubular (team only)
Front tyre: Dugast Fast Bird 50mm tubular
Rear tyre: Dugast Fast Bird 50mm tubular
Saddle: Ritchey WCS Carbon Stream
Seatpost: Ritchey WCS carbon, 1-bolt, zero set-back
Bottle cages: Topeak Shuffle CF
Other accessories: Garmin Edge 520, GoPro Hero 4 Session

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 1.73m (5ft 8in)
Rider's weight: 68kg (150lb)
Saddle height from BB, c-t: 715mm
Saddle setback: 47mm
Seat tube length (c-t): 440mm
Head tube length: 110mm
Top tube length (effective): 598mm
Weight: 9.79kg (21.58lb)