INTERVIEW: Nino Schurter – What’s up with the whip?

Chances are if you have watched a World Cup XCO race, the Cape Epic or World Champs you would have seen Nino Schurter doing some pretty classy mid-race whips. We asked him if it’s for the show or is there something else going on there.

Nino Schurter performs at the UCI XCO World Championships in Lenzerheide on September 8th, 2018
Nino at the UCI XCO World Championships in Lenzerheide, whipping the hip jump.

BN: Nino, I want to ask about your signature move – the whip. You are the only XC / marathon rider that regularly throws down whips in a race. It certainly gets a lot of attention but I mean in a race, your heart rate is sky high and you are whipping. What’s the story there – why?

Nino: Haha. Its just how I like to ride my bike.  The feeling of a flowy trail, a nice jump and it’s just something I like to do. It’s not an effort for me, its something I do regularly, outside of racing. It feels nice to do something in the air as opposed to just jumping straight to get over something.

BN: The TV crew and spectators all love it. What about the other competitors – are there any mind games going on there?

Nino: In racing the spectators are loving it and it’s good to put on a little bit more of a show for them. Also sometimes in racing it’s good to show your rivals that you are still able to jump and do some whips. So it’s also a mental game. They are still XCO whips so nothing like what Brendog does.

Another World Cup – another whip.

BN: Well we don’t see too many other XCO riders doing them – it’s pretty cool. Now, with regards to geometry and handling XC bikes have changed quite a bit – are they easier to ride at speed these days and easier to play on?

Nino: Yea the bikes have changed quite a lot. If I compare some pictures from years ago, like 10 years back, we had super narrow handlebars, steep head angles, small wheels and all that. Now on our XCO bikes with a dropper post and some good tyres you can even ride down some of the downhill tracks if you have to so. The head angle is much slacker now for the handling you know, because the downhills are much more important as well. I guess I am also just more relaxed on the bike so whipping and playing is easier.

BN: Doesn’t that super slack head angle impact on the climbing of the bike?

Nino: It’s not just all about climbing. You need to have a bike that also descends well. Also, our races have changed a lot. In the past, we had races that the climbs were much longer and it was important to just have the lightest bike and now we have a lot of short sharp uphills. The descents are intense and the new bikes were quite a big help for us. We are always trying to pioneer things and push the bikes to new boundaries and we try to always be the first with new things yea. We want to have the fastest bike and also a fun bike to ride. It must be fun.

BN: Thanks so much. Good luck for the rest of the season. Cheers Nino.

Nino: Thank you.

Nino Schurter performs at the UCI XCO World Championships in Lenzerheide on September 8th, 2018
Seat up or seat down the whip is always on.

Images: Bartek Wolinski/Red Bull Content Pool

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