Danny Hart, Jared Graves & Tara Llanes' race bikes

World champ's Giant Glory, rail-equipped Yeti 4X, FOX-sprung custom trike

The Sea Otter Classic isn't just about showing off new gear for the coming season – there's plenty of racing going on, too, and lots of race bikes to go along with it. Among the top-level talent on hand were gravity racers Danny Hart and Jared Graves, and inspirational superstar Tara Llanes.

Hart's (Giant Factory Off-Road Team) Giant Glory was decked out in a manner befitting his status as UCI downhill world champion and a member of SRAM's exclusive BlackBox testing program. The spec included a new RockShox Vivid Coil rear shock and DLC-treated Boxxer fork, a SRAM/Quarq power measuring crankset, SRAM's new X0 Type 2 clutch-equipped rear derailleur, Avid's latest X0 Trail four-piston disc brakes, and even a Truvativ BooBar BlackBox handlebar with a custom 25mm rise and nine-degree backsweep.

Factory rider Jared Graves competed at Sea Otter on this Yeti four-cross machine

Graves tackled the dual slalom course on a prototype Yeti four-cross rig, specially built for the discipline with a short 3.75in-travel rear end, low-slung geometry and burly aluminum construction. Unlike the old Yeti 4X production bike, Graves' team-issue machine uses a linear-rail based suspension setup similar to that found on the company's original 303 DH downhill bike.

The multiple world champion went with a stiffly sprung FOX 32 831 fork up front and matching Float rear shock – both with a slippery Kashima coating – a mix of Shimano XTR and Saint components, DT Swiss wheels, grippy Maxxis tires and custom clipped ODI lock-on grips.

The short rail is used to precisely control the shock rate on jared graves' yeti:

The short rail is used to precisely control the shock rate on Jared Graves' Yeti

Perhaps the most interesting pro machine at Sea Otter wasn't a bike at all but rather a wicked custom trike piloted by Tara Llanes. Llanes was severely injured during a dual slalom event in September 2007 that left her paralyzed from the waist down but that hasn't tarnished her passion for shredding trails. Her trike sports a hand crank system augmented by a Schlumpf two-speed transmission and a powerful BionX pedal-assist electric motor housed inside the rear hub. 

Suspension is provided by a simple single-pivot rear end matched to a double-wishbone front, all controlled by FOX Float shocks. Llanes is still resolute in her drive to regain mobility and we at BikeRadarcontinue to wish her the best. In the meantime, don't feel bad if she passes you on this awesome creation. 

Double wishbone suspension for the front end of tara llanes' incredible trike:

Double wishbone suspension for the front end of Tara Llanes' incredible trike

James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA

Related Articles

Back to top