Now 31, Nino recently completed what may well be the greatest year of competitive success in the history of mountain bike racing.
Nino started off the past year by winning the Absa Cape Epic in South Africa, a race widely considered the toughest mountain bike race in the world. After that, Nino went on to win all six World Cup races of the year, clinching the overall title in commanding fashion without a single loss, racking up the first perfect World Cup season in history. It was his fifth overall World Cup title.
As if that weren’t enough, Nino also won the UCI World Championship in the Elite Men’s division this past year. It was his sixth win at the highest level of the sport, breaking the record for the Elite Men’s cross-country division. If that’s not enough, you can add Nino’s three other UCI World Championship titles to that number. He won his first UCI World Championship as a junior in 2004, then picked up two more titles in the U23 division (2006 and 2008) before he moved up to the Elite Men’s category.
Add up all of Nino’s accomplishments, including his bronze, silver and gold medals from the last three Olympics, and you have one of the greatest mountain bike racers in history, and he’s just finished the best year of his career.
Nino’s Bike and Tire Changes Through the Years
Nino is never afraid to change his equipment choices if he thinks that doing so will help him win more races. If you’ve been following World Cup racing for a long time, you might recall that Nino was a key player in the wheel-size revolution of the past few years.
After the 2011 season was over, Nino began testing some new bikes from Scott that would let him start racing 29-inch wheels. Jaroslav Kulhavy had started winning World Cup races on 29ers, and the bigger wheels were being seen as an advantage in those races. Nino tried riding some new Scott bikes with 29-inch wheels, but he didn’t like the feel of the frames with the bigger wheels. However, Scott also created a new bike for Nino with 650b (also known as 27.5-inch) wheels. Nino found that the new 650b-size Scott was faster than his 26-incher, so he made the switch and began using the “tweener” 27.5-inch size.
Within a few months, Nino started dominating the 2012 World Cup series on the “Goldilocks” tire size. The mountain bike world took notice of his success. Over the next couple of years, riders, racers and bike companies around the world quickly adopted the 27.5-inch wheel size as the new standard. The 26-inch wheel was soon deemed obsolete and replaced by the 27.5- and 29-inch wheel sizes in the mountain bike lineups of the world.
In the spring of 2016, after trying out an all-new design of the 29-inch-wheeled Scott Spark, Nino gave up his allegiance to the 27.5-inch size. It was rumored that he did it to keep Kulhavy or anybody else from being able to out-sprint him at the Olympics again. For those who don’t remember, the 2012 Olympic mountain bike race was decided when Kulhavy out-sprinted Schurter to the finish line in the final seconds of the race. Our thinking at the time was that if Nino had been racing 29-inch wheels and he were spinning his legs at top speed, he would have gone several inches farther per pedal stroke in the final seconds of the race and might have won the gold medal in 2012. Nino didn’t want to miss that opportunity again.
In any event, Nino adopted the 29-inch Spark as his main race bike in the spring of 2016. To say that it has served him well would be an understatement.
Name: Nino Schurter
Home: Chur, Switzerland
Childhood home: Tersnaus, Switzerland
Date of birth: May 13, 1986
Profession: Pro cyclist (multimedia design)
Marital status: Married to Nina
Height: 173 cm (5-foot-8)
Weight: 67 kilograms (148 pounds)
Shoe size: 43
Helmet size: Medium
Waist: 31 inches
Started racing: Age 7
Resting pulse: 45 beats per minute
Maximum pulse rate: 199 beats per minute
Hobbies: Free-riding, back-country skiing, traveling, tech (GoPros, computers, phones, etc.)
Jobs held other than racer: Mediamatiker (website designer)
Racing strengths: Downhill, speed starter, mental load
Claimed weaknesses: Patience
Trainer: Nicolas Siegenthaler
Mechanic: Yanick Giger
Training region: Graubünden, Switzerland
Favorite race: Nove Mesto, Czech Republic
Favorite dish: Asian foods
Team: Scott-SRAM MTB-Racing Team
Interesting facts: “When I was the Elite world champion in 2009, my father was the Master’s downhill champion.” Nino’s father coached the Swiss national down-hill team from 2003 to 2009. Nino raced both downhill and cross-country on the Swiss national team as a junior.
1. Frame: Scott Spark RC 900 World Cup; Carbon HMX SL; Custom; bottom bracket height of 319.5mm; head angle of 68.5 degrees. “Built for racing and the current fastest cross-country race bike. The results tell it all.”
2. Fork: RockShox SID World Cup Carbon Charger; Black Box Damper; Boost hub spacing; 100mm travel. “Great partner to work with because they have awesome products and excel- lent race support.”
3. Rear Shock: RockShox Deluxe; Black Box model, 100mm travel.
4. Remote: Scott TwinLoc system allows Nino to lock or unlock the suspension while riding.
5. Headset: Syncros FL1.5; TIB bearing.
6. Stem: Syncros XR1.5 , -17 degrees or -25 degrees.
7. Handlebar: Syncros FL1.0 SL Carbon T-Bar; +/-5mm; 9 degrees; 680mm width.
8. Seatpost: Syncros FL1.0 SL Carbon; 10mm offset.
9. Saddle: Syncros XR1.0 SL Carbon.
10. Grips: Syncros foam.
11. Pedals: Ritchey WCS V6.
12. Rear derailleur: SRAM XX1 Eagle.
13. Shifter: SRAM XX1 Eagle.
14. Crankset: SRAM XX1 Carbon Eagle, 175mm, Q-168mm, 38T chainring.
15. Bottom bracket height: 319.5mm.
16. Chain: SRAM XX1 Eagle Gold.
17. Cassette: SRAM XX1 Eagle Gold/10-50T.
18. Brakes: SRAM Level Ultimate.
19. Wheelset: DT Swiss XMC 1200 Spline Carbon 29-inch wheels with DT Swiss hubs and DT Swiss spokes.
20. Tires: Maxxis Aspen, 29×2.25″ “The fastest on the market and yet very reliable. Not one flat tire all season long!”
21. Bottle cage: Topeak Shuttle Cage, carbon.
22. Computer: Garmin Edge 20
23. Tire sealant: Stan’s NoTubes.
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