Inside the pros' bikes

Lars flies off the bridge during the Lenzerheide World Cup race in 2023.


Growing up in Switzerland, it would be easy to get overlooked as a mountain bike racer when you have 10-time world champion Nino Schurter getting most of the nation’s attention. Something started to change four years ago, though, when Lars Forster passed Nino in Snowshoe, West Virginia, to win the final World Cup race of 2019.

Then, in June last year, Lars won the second World Cup race of his career—this time in Leogang, Austria. With that, the world started paying more attention to 30-year-old Lars Forster. Who was this guy?

Lars grew up in a racing family. His dad, Sepp, was a motocross racer who took up mountain bike racing to stay fit. Sepp got Lars riding by the age of 3 and racing as soon as he could. Lars loved riding bikes, and he was good at it, too. He soon started winning, with his dad serving as his mechanic.

Even though Lars won titles in both road and cyclocross events, mountain biking turned out to be Forster’s favorite kind of racing. In 2016, Lars placed sixth and fifth in his first two Elite Men’s XCO World Cup races, landing him on the Olympic team that summer. That year, riding for BMC, Lars had two-time Olympic gold medalist Julien Absalon as his training partner. Unfortunately, Lars had a bad crash in the Olympics that year, forcing him to withdraw from the race. “I’ll take a scar home instead of a diploma,” he said.

In 2019, Lars joined the Scott/SRAM team and won the Absa Cape Epic that year with Nino Schurter as his teammate. Having trained and raced with the two best cross-country riders in history, Lars Forster looks like he’s ready for greatness now. We expect that he’ll be aiming to win a gold medal for himself in 2024.


Lars was clearly happy with his win of the Leogang XCO World Cup race this year, where he brought his bike up on the podium with him.


Frame: Thömus Lightrider Worldcup M 110mm travel

Shock: DT Swiss r232 one 110mm

Fork: DT Swiss F232 One 120mm travel

Tires: Schwalbe Thunder Burt 29×2.35

Tire sealant: Schwalbe

Rims: DT Swiss XRC 1200 30mm

Spokes: DT Aerolite Straightpull

Front hub: DT Swiss 180 mit

Rear hub: DT Swiss 180 mit Ratchet EXP 36

Brakes: Shimano XTR, 180mm/160mm rotors

Handlebar: Bike Ahead flat bar, 720mm

Stem: FSA 80mm -20 Grad

Bottom bracket: Shimano

Grips: ESI grips

Cranks: (make, model, length): Shimano XTR 170mm

Chainring: (make, model, size): Shimano XTR 34-40

Pedals: Shimano XTR

Chain: Shimano XTR

Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR

Shifter: Shimano XTR

Rear cassette: Shimano XTR 11-50

Saddle: Selle Italia Super Flight [sic]

Seatpost: DT Swiss d232 One

Headset: Acros internal

Head angle: 68.5 degrees

Special touches: Wizard stickers

Weight of complete bike: 10.3 kilograms (22.7 pounds)

Estimated value of bike: $12,500

Check out Mountain Bike Action’s long term review of the Thömus Lightrider Worldcup here.


Forster was ecstatic as he crossed the line with the win of the XCO race in Leogang.



Name: Lars Forster
Age: 30
Birthdate: August 1, 1993
Birthplace: Switzerland
Height: 177cm (5-foot-8)
Weight: 68 kilograms (149 pounds)
Shoe size: 43.5
Helmet size: M
Marital status: Married
Current home: Rieden, St. Gallen, Switzerland
Cars: Heidegger BMW 330 D
Started racing: 2005
Turned pro: 2015
Racing specialty: All-rounder

Favorite course (North America): Mont-Saint-Anne
Favorite course (Europe): Lenzerheide
Favorite food: Pizza
Goals: Winning
Heroes: Remi Bonnet, Swiss male ski mountaineer, mountain runner and sky runner, who won 2015 Skyrunner World Series
Favorite recording artist: Eminem
Favorite movie: Bleed for This
Favorite hobbies: Ski touring
Jobs held (other than racer): Polymechanic
Always takes on a trip: Swimming trunks
What you would be if you were not a racer: Polymechanic


Lars won both cyclocross and road bike titles as a teenager before turning his focus to mountain bikes.



MBA: Where did you grow up?
Lars Forster: Rapperswil-Jona [a municipality in Switzerland].

MBA: What kind of work do your parents do?
LF: Dad is a mechanic in a printing house. Mum is a baker and works in school now.

MBA: When did you first learn to ride a bike?
LF: That early that I can’t remember. [We’ve read that Lars was already an expert rider when he was 3.]

MBA: Who taught you?
LF: My parents.

MBA: Did you compete on other kinds of bikes before mountain bikes?
LF: In the earlier years I did a lot of cyclocross, won in juniors the European champs and a World Cup. On the road bike, I won the Swiss championships in the U17 category.

MBA: When did you get your first mountain bike?
LF: When I was around 8 years.

MBA: When did you start competing on mountain bikes?
LF: With 8 years I did one race a year, as my father raced on a marathon race, and there were kids’ races, too.

MBA: How did you finish in your first competition?
LF: In the middle.

MBA: What have been your best results as a pro?
LF: Winning two World Cup races, two European champs, the Cape Epic and Swiss Epic.

MBA: Where did you go to college?
LF: In Switzerland.

MBA: What other sports have you done?
LF: Karate, soccer [and] floorball.

MBA: Can you tell us something interesting or unusual about yourself:
LF: As a kid I played clarinet—maybe it was good preparation for my lungs.

MBA: Is there some other interesting fact or trivia that people might like to know about you?
LF: I’m quite good in card and bar games—bowling, pool, table soccer and darts—and always in to play.

You might also like