Did you miss the 2nd round of the World Cup in Albstadt? It was a muddy and intense race, but one where both current XCO World Champions came out on top. Jolanda Neff rode away from all her rivals winning over 2 minutes ahead of Yana Belamoina. In the men’s race Nino Schurter came back to the top step after losing the spring in Stellenbosch, Both riders were on hardtails with dropper posts.
The Scott Scale 29er frame is light at a claimed 879g and that is why it’s such a popular frame for marathon and XCO racing. Nino and his Scott-SRAM Team have used RockShox suspension since 2017 and that remains, with a SID World Cup taking care of suspension up front. You can see that Nino did have a guard fitted on the fork but we’re not sure it was on for the race. The Ardent Race certainly was, and it’s a versatile tyre and certainly a good choice in wet terrain.
Out the back Nino ran the new Maxxis XC tyre that is yet to be released. The edge knobs are a familiar L shape but otherwise it looks quite different. It’s hard to get a clear view of it here but you can get a good idea. Nino has also moved to the DT Swiss XMC 1200 wheels with 30mm internal width. Last year he was more frequently on the XRC 1200 with a 25mm internal width.
Nino was also using the SRAM Eagle eTap which everyone spotted earlier this year. It still doesn’t quite look like it’s in production, and it seems likely his mystery mechanical in the short track was a failure of the system, but that is just a guess.
The big changed for Schurter was the addition of a dropper post to his Scott Scale hardtail. The RockShox Reverb post had a limiter on it, which suggests he only wanted about 40mm of drop. All the Scott-SRAM Team had droppers fitted for the Albstadt World Cup XCO race – and many more riders did as well. A dropper post on a hardtail makes for a light and reliable bike, for marathons, stage races or XCO. It won’t help for pedalling on rough terrain but it is a smart upgrade to a hardtail when you need to keep the weight low but need more agility in steep terrain.
And steep terrain wasn’t in short supply in Albstadt, where the course has two major climbs and two steep and technical descents.
So while the Scott Scale is clearly a winning cross-country bike, in this guise with a dropper post, wide and light carbon wheels and aggressive tyres it could easily attack a whole range of marathons and stage races too – that hardtail is not dead, not by a long way!
Photos: Scott-SRAM MTB Team