Bike check - A world champ's Scott Spark RC

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A build unconstrained by budget (Photo: Scott)
A build unconstrained by budget (Photo: Scott)
  • This is by far the best example of Scott's new Spark RC mountain bike
  • Build for multiple World Champion, is features only the best parts - including some bit, you can't buy
  • The gearing shows just how strong a World Champion mountain biker is

There is precious little that Nino Schurter has not won on a mountain bike. Many World Championships. World Cup series wins. An Olympic gold medal. The Cape Epic.

Nino has been the dominant force in XCO mountain biking for the last decade, and his victories have all come aboard Scott’s Spark or Scale mountain bikes.

This season Nino is on a new bike, as Scott has updated its Spark platform with a radical new design. Scott has been kind enough to share the intricate details of Nino’s specific factory build – and we can now tell you about the bits that make it unique.

mountain bike
Nino turns a massive chainring, which has an integrated power meter, to keep him on pace (Photo: Scott)

Blackbox suspension bits

Although Nino’s Spark has the same frame that you can buy, his suspension set-up is a bit different. As XCO mountain biking has evolved, with courses becoming more challenging to ride, Nino has opted for a bike with 120mm of front and rear suspension – which is exactly what the new Spark RC is.

He uses a RockShox SID Ultimate RD3 fork, with special features inside. RockShox produces a series of high-performance suspension components, for its elite athletes, under the Blackbox name. And Nino’s new Scott uses a Blackbox 3 setting, for its SID fork.

Balancing the fork is a Nude 5 RLC 3 shock, which is hidden in the Spark’s frame. Nino can lock both the fork and shock, when he is climbing up steep terrain and doesn’t want to waste valuable energy with pedal-induced suspension bop.

Wheels and tyres are crucial components on any mountain bike, and here Nino also uses stuff you can’t buy online – or get from your local bike shop.

mountain bike tyre
Carbon spokes and a tyre casing you can't buy - yet (Photo: Scott)

Wheels and tyres we can only dream of using

Rolling the Swiss mountain bike machine along are Syncros Silverton SL2 29 wheels, featuring carbon spokes that are moulded into the rim. If the one-piece carbon-fibre wheels aren’t trick enough, they mount special tyres, too.

Maxxis is a broadly popular tyre brand and Nino uses the Aspen model, in a 29x2.4” size. You can buy an Aspen, too, but Nino’s tyres have a 170 TPI casing. The highest thread-per-inch count on a production Aspen tyre, is 120.

What is the benefit of Nino having 170 TPI Aspens? The more thread-per-inch in the tyre’s construction, the better it can shape to terrain, and grip.

Scott bikes
A Garmin Edge 130 computer sits atop Nino's crazy handlebar set-up (Photo: Scott)

A very low handlebar angle

What makes Nino’s Scott Spark RC very different to the one that you would ride, are its drivetrain and handlebar. The difference in fitness and leg strength between a normal mountain biker and multiple World Champion Nino, is neatly illustrated by the gearing on this bike.

Nino uses a 38t chainring to turn the 1x12 SRAM AXS Eagle wireless drivetrain. The fittest weekend warriors would use a 34t.

Quite how Nino manages to steer his Spark RC down steep, rocky terrain, is a mystery. He uses a 700mm wide integrated handlebar, with the equivalent of a 90mm stem. The crazy bit is its -40° drop, giving Nino’s bike a strangely futuristic appearance.

So what does it weigh? Scott has not disclosed that information. But our educated guess would be less than 10kg.

Scott bikes
The man who has defined XCO mountain biking, for the better part of a decade (Photo: Scott)

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