America’s speedster, Aaron Gwin, burst onto the downhill scene and quickly surged to the top of the sport with a ridiculously quick and calculated riding style brought across from motocross. Much as Sam Hill changed the speed of the sport in the past, Gwin upped that level again.
With a long history of riding exclusively for American bike brands (Yeti, Trek and then Specialized), his 2016 signing to consumer-direct German brand YT Industries shocked all. All the more significant, YT had never competed at World Cup level in downhill.
The 2016 season kicked off in Lourdes and the story couldn’t have started any better. Gwin took the win, earning YT its first World Cup win on debut and proving his rather unproven list of sponsors have serious merit. Perhaps not the result he sought, but a podium at Cairns is further proof this new outfit for Gwin is working.
A stock YT Tues CF running on air
Gwin railing a turn on his way to a fourth place in Cairns, Australia (credit: @robertconroycreative)
Gwin is riding a stock large size YT Tues CF Pro, a frame that offers a long reach, a slack 63.5-degree head angle and a dumped bottom bracket. Despite a price tag lower than nearly all its competitors, the 208mm-travel Tues CF is clearly a fast frame.
While YT pitches it as both a park and race bike, the Tues CF’s carbon construction and 27.5in wheels certainly sing performance. The carbon version is said to be a full kilogram lighter than the cheaper alloy offering, even though the two share the same metal chainstays.
Where many of world’s best race on coil-sprung rear shocks for delicate small bump sensitivity, Gwin’s setup is far firmer. Such a setup obviously requires great strength to ride, but doesn’t wallow and slow through the bumps or on heavy landings. With enough speed, Gwin stays on the top of obstacles, rather than sinking through them.