Jared Graves is no stranger to racing success, from BMX Olympian to Downhill World’s medalist, 4X World Champion to top-five Enduro World Series rider – it seems there isn’t much he can’t do.
This cross-discipline dominance was showcased again in Adelaide, Australia at the first round of the 2014 National Mountain Bike Series, where Graves turned up on a Yeti ARC Carbon 29er hardtail and dominated the elite cross-country race.
For a rider so well respected in the gravity circles, it may upset a few to see Graves choose a 29er, and a hardtail at that. Even with a blown suspension fork from half way through the race, the national level competition had little to answer with once the start gun sounded.
With Jared focusing on the World Enduro Series for 2014, his dominance in this race is a sign of big things to come.
Of mention, Factory Trek rider and second place overall in the 2013 XC World Cup, Dan McConnell was absent from the race, and it begs the question. How would Graves fare against the best? When asked if he’d consider racing XC for Australia, Graves laughed off the idea and just suggested it was good training and a bit fun, but not his focus.
BikeRadar got a look at what a top gravity rider chooses as a XC race bike. At the centre is Yeti’s new ARC Carbon 29er frame, this combines the proven trail inspired geometry of Yeti’s Big Top with a lighter-weight, high-modulus, full-carbon build.
The build brings across plenty of gravity inspiration while sticking with his Yeti Factory team sponsors. As a long time Fox suspension development rider, the Float CTD Factory fork had apparently recently been tuned to offer longer travel – a mod that perhaps didn’t work out so well judging by the blown left air seal. It appears he could be trialling a new damper too, with the bottom knob in a silver colour and the CTD in black.
Graves is no doubt a powerful rider and manages to push a single ring setup without issue. Even with a wide/narrow 32T Wolf Tooth chainring and a XTR Shadow + rear derailleur, Graves still chooses to use an E13 XCX top-style chain guide for additional security.
Potentially the most interesting part is Graves’ choice of footwear, even on a technical and loose course – he was running Giro’s Trans road shoes. We assume this is due to perfect stiffness and minimal weight, and something only with Grave’s skillset can get away with.
As a Stages Power meter rider, Graves tracks his data on a Garmin head unit – something he misplaced in A tumble during the race and a common occurrence, exclaiming – “That’s the third one I’ve lost in the past month!”.
Many people already believe Graves is the best-rounded rider of recent times, and his recent performance could be likened to the days of John Tomac. Will we see Graves race cross-country on the world stage? Judging by his recent performance – he should consider it.
Complete bike specifications
- Frame: Yeti ARC Carbon 29er, Size Medium
- Fork: Fox Float CTD 29er Factory – (potential prototype cartridge)
- Headset: Chis King Tapered Inset
- Stem: Easton EA70, 100mm x - 10°
- Handlebar: Easton EC70 low riser, 710mm
- Grips: ESI Racers Edge
- Front brake: Shimano XTR M985, Ice-Tech 160mm Rotor
- Rear brake: Shimano XTR M985, Ice-Tech 140mm Rotor
- Front derailleur: N/A – E13 XCX BB Mount Chain guide
- Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR M986 Shadow +
- Shift levers: Shimano XTR M980 I-spec – right hand only
- Cassette: Shimano XTR 11-36T
- Chain: Shimano XTR M981
- Crankset: Shimano XTR M980, 175mm, 32T Wolf Tooth Chainring
- Bottom bracket: Shimano XTR
- Pedals: Shimano XTR M980 Race
- Wheels: DT Swiss carbon prototype
- Front tire: Maxxis Ikon EXC 29 x 2.20” - setup tubeless
- Rear tire: Maxxis Ikon EXC 29 x 2.20” - - setup tubeless
- Saddle: Selle Italia SLR Carbonio
- Seatpost: Easton EC90 Zero Setback
- Extras:Stages Power Meter, Garmin with reverse mount and unbranded carbon bottle cage
- Rider's height: 1.78m (5’10”)
- Rider's weight: 76kg (167.2lb)
- Saddle height from BB, c-t: 725mm
- Seat tube length (c-t): 450mm
- Seat tube length (c-c): 360mm
- Tip of saddle to center of bar: 555mm
- Saddle-to-bar drop: N/A (blown fork)
- Head tube length: 100mm
- Top tube length (effective): 580mm
- Total bicycle weight: 9.14kg (20.11lb)