Bike check: Nino Schurter's Scott Spark
Nino Schurter needs little introduction, one of mountain biking's most accomplished and celebrated racers. He's known for his attention to detail and absolute focus with precision bike handling skills. It isn't uncommon to see footage of Schurter whipping it on race courses and giving the crowd a show.
The Scott-SRAM MTB Racing team plays a significant role in the success and has one of the few team environments that consistently tailor their approach to the Absa Cape Epic. Teammate Andri Frischnecht stepped up this year as Schurter's partner and impressed fans as they both took on some of the strongest competition in recent years to hold onto yellow for a significant part of the eight-day race.
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The team have long assisted Maxxis, SRAM, Rockshox, Syncros and Scott Sports in developing new technologies and products. Fine-tuned by Yannick the mechanic. To that end, we delved into some of the finer details of Nino's Scott Spark race bike.
Nino's bike is one of the cleanest-looking builds out there. Subtly loaded with tech and personal tweaks.
A special tyre for the "Cape Epic" was a must after last year's puncture debacles. The team collaborated with Maxxis to produce an Aspen tread pattern with stronger sidewalls and rubber under the tread profile.
Full XX Eagle with SRAM's new T-type AXS drivetrain. A clear performance after an exceptionally bruising edition of the Cape Epic through wind, dust and mud.
HT M2 pedals with titanium spindles. The Taiwan brand is the pedal used throughout the team and has an increasing presence on the international circuit.
Integrated one-piece bar/stem cockpit. According to the mechanic, handlebars are cut to 700mm wide. Note the Velcro-backed race board with a plug blade sheathed.
A roll of duct tape is easily accessible just below the dropper post collar.
A single-piece ultra-light bottle cage with a Topeak Racerocket HP hand pump. At 85g this unit can pump up to 11 Bar (160 psi) of pressure. Notice the gold fleck frame job? You can do that when you win Olympic gold and everything else.
A junction box, wired to the TwinLoc and likely used for the suspension. Although the exact reasoning wasn't clear, we suspect it is to do with the boldy branded forks and shock.
A neat cut-out in the ESI grip with an AXS blip for the dropper.
Board holes are the perfect placement for a quick link. The board itself has a velcro backing and can be pulled off to swap bikes in case of a mechanical delay. Recent changes to rules allow for members of the same team to swap a bike in the event of a crash or mechanical.
SRAM Ultimate four-pot brakes and a new prototype fork from RockShox.
Another angle of the 'Cape Epic' Aspen shows the tyre profile.