FRIDAY FLASHBACK: INSIDE NINO SCHURTER’S 2012 WORLD CUP TITLE WINNER

Checking out Nino's switch to 27.5-inch wheels in MBA's August 2012 issue

Nino Schurter and his 27.5-inch-wheeled Scott Scale, in 2012. (Photo courtesy of Scott)
“It took 10 years for 29-inch wheels to be accepted as a valid choice for the world’s best racers,” we wrote in our August 2012 issue of Mountain Bike Action. “That happened [in 2011] when Jaroslav Kulhavy of the Czech Republic rode his 29-incher to win five World Cup races, plus the series title, then topped it all off with the men’s cross-country win in the World Championships.”
Nino Schurter decided to try a 29er himself after losing those 2011 titles to Kulhavy. Upon trying a 29-inch Scott Scale, Nino, who is 5’8″, felt that the 29-inch model was too big for him.
Scott made a 27.5-inch version for him, and Nino tested all three wheel sizes—26-inch, 27.5-inch, and 29-inch—to find out which one worked the best for him. He found that he liked 27.5 inches the best of all three wheel sizes: “It turned out that the 27.5 was not only an expected compromise in between; the bike just felt ‘right’ from the very beginning,” Scott’s Team Manager, Thomas Frischknecht. told MBA.
Nino in 2012. (Photo courtesy of Scott)
Nino dominated the 2012 World Cup season on his 27.5-inch-wheeled Scott race bikes, but he didn’t win every race, and one of his few losses that year was a huge disappointment to him. Nino raced his 27.5″ bike in the 2012 London Olympics, where he lost to Kulhavy in the long, final sprint to the finish line in one of the most exciting cross-country races in history.
“Jaro” was on a 29-incher, and Nino was on the 27.5, and Nino must have decided that the bigger wheels gave Kulhavy an advantage in the final sprint.
The engineers at Scott soon came up with a 29-inch-wheeled Scott Scale for Nino that worked well for him, and he switched to racing on 29-inch bikes. After he made the switch, Nino went back to dominating the UCI cross-country races again, and he went on to take the gold medal in the 2016 Olympics.
Nino now has won 10 UCI World Championships and 9 World Cup titles. He has three Olympic medals now. He won bronze in 2008, silver in 2012, and gold in 2016. He took fourth in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. He is hoping to win his second Olympic gold medal this summer.

Here’s the cover of our August 2012 issue, with Nino Schurter on the cover. Our “Inside the Pro’s Bikes” feature on him and his 27.5-inch-wheeled Scott Scale appeared on pages 60 to 63.

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