Yesterday morning we took a detailed look at first time World Cup winner Tahnée Seagrave’s prototype/pre-production carbon Transition TR11 which she rode to the elite women’s win in Leogang over the weekend. In the men’s race later in the day a rider more familiar with the top step of the podium – Aaron Gwin – took his third consecutive Leogang World Cup win on a YT Industries Tues CF Pro Race not so different from the same bike he rode last year. Besides a new paintjob and a slightly larger American flag on his toptube, Gwin’s bike did have a few customized tricks up its sleeves. Get a closer look at his customized shock setup and more…
Like last year, the YT Tues CF Pro Race that Gwin rides is the stock carbon frame. With its 208mm of rear wheel travel, YT calls the suspension design Virtual 4-Link, which basically means it is a Horst-link 4-bar design, but the shock mounts to the seatstay assembly instead for the rocker arm.
While last year’s Pro spec was very close to Gwin’s own race bike, YT added another tier for 2017 the Pro Race as the replica bike that you can buy & race your self for $6000/5000€. That’s a surprisingly reasonable deal on a bike that is effectively identical to this World Cup winning setup. All you need now is the rider.
On his B bike, the biggest difference we noted over last year’s bike was the switch to Gwin’s new signature series Onza 27.5 x 2.4″ Aquila tires. With a couple good thunderstorms in the days leading up to the race there we concerns that the course might be wet in places. But sunny days, and then really hot weather turned the Leogang forests into dust. So out came the new tires that Gwin had a hand in developing last year.
The B bike gets the Aquilas with their green GRP 40 labels that offer more grip in the wet (and were ready to be swapped out if the weather changed), but the A bike that Gwin actually raced used the dual-compound RC2 45a rubber compound. Their 55a durometer center section is faster rolling, while the 45a side knobs still offer a bit of softer cornering grip.
On to Gwin’s suspension, his A/race bike was set up with his standard Fox Float X2 Factory air shock with its EVOL extra air volume body, Kashima coating, and both high & low speed compression & rebound controls. He raced here last year with the same air shock, but had been seen in pre-season trainign with a coil DHX2 shock on his Tues CF as well, presumably for more technical tracks.
Of course on top of that his mechanic has fitted a 3D-printed box that allows for remote lockout of the shock. In fact it’s not really lockout, but the 2-position option that the 2018 Float X2 offers for either fully open or a firmer suspension feel. It’s pretty cool to see how the availability of 3D printing has made this a much easier thing to create than having to machine a prototype out of aluminum. It also has allowed Gwin’s mechanic/team to refine the prototype box that is held in place by a few grub screws so that they still have full access to both the compression & rebound controls with the remote box installed (high speed is adjusted with a 6mm hex, while a 3mm hex reaches deeper to get the low speed controls.)
Cockpit is mostly unchanged from last year as well, with a carbon Renthal Fatbar riser bar in classic retro ano finish & a Renthal Integra 50mm stem clamped to the fork. But his grips were something new.
It looks like Gwin is using the next generation of his own Signature ODI grips. Like the current AG-1 grips they use a one-sided lock-on with a reinforced alloy+plastic end cap. His new grips stick with a similar Ruffian-based grid with angled ribs, but adds Gwin’s signature eagle logo on the top inside of the grip.
Gwin’s YT gets a 2018 Fox 40 Factory fork for 203mm of Kashima-coated travel up front, and a new simplified set of controls on the top of the right leg that just say RAD. While the current version has one dial inside of the other for independent low & high speed compression adjustment, this new RAD once is simply + or -.
Next to those new signature ODI grips was a two button lockout lever to operate the Float X2 shock. You can also see some of the many trick anodized titanium bolts that can be found all over Gwin’s bike.
Out back we can see more of the components that round out Gwin’s build. He sticks with an e*thirteen carbon LG1R wheelset for his signature Onza tires, inside of which are some Flat Tire Defender foam tubes to get him down the mountain even with a puncture. His drivetrain is again a SRAM X01 DH setup with a hollow pin SRAM chain and a 7 speed e*thirteen cassette.
We hadn’t really realized it then, but last year Gwin was already racing on an XL frame which at the time hadn’t yet been available for consumers. YT has updated the bikes for 2017 with a S-XL range to please the taller riders too.
Finishing out contact point, Gwin sits on top of an SDG carbon I-Beam seatpost and an SDG I-Fly 2.0 saddle. His pedals are still the same HT X2 DH clipless platforms he’s raced on for a few years.
We can’t really go too much into the details of Aaron Gwin’s bike without a little shout out to his mechanic John Hall, and the owner of one of the nicest and most neatly organized traveling tool boxes we’ve seen. There’s plenty for the home (or even pro) mechanic to lust after in this case: adjustable Knipex pliers & wire cutters, a set of Beta 951 T-handle hexes, Wera rainbow hexes & torxes, just to name a few. Not to mention those custom cut foam organizing inserts or their own rolling case.
When it comes down to it the YT Tues CF does its job eating up the bumps along the way, but Aaron Gwin is just fast. We may be seeing the birth of a trend towards racing 29ers at the World Cup level of downhill, but Gwin & Seagrave proved that 27.5″ isn’t dead. A lot of chatter was heard leading up to race day about riders thinking that some changes to the Leogang course made it less technical & too fast, but that didn’t seem to bother Gwin and his smaller wheels, putting about 1.5 & 2.6 seconds on his closest two rivals, a pair of big guns on 29″ wheels from the Santa Cruz Syndicate that filled out the podium.