Skip to main content

Aaron Gwin’s YT Tues CF race rig

Image 1 of 15

Aaron Gwin's new YT Tues CF is not a well known bike – but this is certainly the fastest up and coming brand in gravity mountain biking right now

Aaron Gwin's new YT Tues CF is not a well known bike – but this is certainly the fastest up and coming brand in gravity mountain biking right now (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 2 of 15

YT Industries is a very young brand, but this German consumer-direct outfit is on an extremely fast rise right now

YT Industries is a very young brand, but this German consumer-direct outfit is on an extremely fast rise right now (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 3 of 15

Friction tape on the shift paddles ensures slip-free gear control

Friction tape on the shift paddles ensures slip-free gear control (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 4 of 15

Something you don't see so often anymore, Gwin is using SDG's I-Beam saddle and seatpost combination

Something you don't see so often anymore, Gwin is using SDG's I-Beam saddle and seatpost combination (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 5 of 15

A pedal Gwin co-designed. The HT X2 is a downhill-specific clipless pedal (

A pedal Gwin co-designed. The HT X2 is a downhill-specific clipless pedal ( (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 6 of 15

Solid linkages are there to prevent flex. There are very few riders in the world that can push a bike as hard as Gwin

Solid linkages are there to prevent flex. There are very few riders in the world that can push a bike as hard as Gwin (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 7 of 15

Does this cassette look tiny? That's because it is. Gwin is using e*thirteen's new race-specific 9-21t 7-speed cassette and matched rear hub

Does this cassette look tiny? That's because it is. Gwin is using e*thirteen's new race-specific 9-21t 7-speed cassette and matched rear hub (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 8 of 15

TRP has its own two-piece rotors. Note the carbon-shelled e*thirteen hub

TRP has its own two-piece rotors. Note the carbon-shelled e*thirteen hub (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 9 of 15

Renthal provides its award-winning carbon bar. It's super light and extremely strong

Renthal provides its award-winning carbon bar. It's super light and extremely strong (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 10 of 15

The ODI Elite Motion lock-on grips are a little different to generations past, with just a single side locking to the bar for a lighter design

The ODI Elite Motion lock-on grips are a little different to generations past, with just a single side locking to the bar for a lighter design (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 11 of 15

Now that's a brand of brake not seen on pro bikes too often. Gwin has moved to the Tiawanese braking company TRP for 2016

Now that's a brand of brake not seen on pro bikes too often. Gwin has moved to the Tiawanese braking company TRP for 2016 (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 12 of 15

In the effort of saving weight, nearly all the bolts are swapped out with high-tensile titanium. These are typically replaced every few races and after major crashes as a safety precaution

In the effort of saving weight, nearly all the bolts are swapped out with high-tensile titanium. These are typically replaced every few races and after major crashes as a safety precaution (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 13 of 15

Gwin. He literally has 'win' in his name

Gwin. He literally has 'win' in his name (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 14 of 15

Built with YT's own SL4 suspension system, the Tues CF offers 208mm of rear wheel travel. We were told Gwin prefers the feel of the Fox Float X2 air shock on this new ride

Built with YT's own SL4 suspension system, the Tues CF offers 208mm of rear wheel travel. We were told Gwin prefers the feel of the Fox Float X2 air shock on this new ride (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)
Image 15 of 15

After two rounds, Gwin leads the World Cup series

After two rounds, Gwin leads the World Cup series (Image credit: David Rome / Immediate Media)

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

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.

Aaron Gwin and YT Industries will be going downhill together in 2016
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 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.

Air shocks have come a long way in recent time and offer important weight savings

Speaking to Gwin’s personal mechanic, John Hall, it appears Gwin is quite content with the Fox Float X2 air rear shock and will likely use it all season. It’s a perfect match to the air-sprung Fox 40 fork up front and helps to reduce weight of the bike too.

"We don’t disclose any actual suspension settings," Hall says when asked about specific setup, "but I can say it’s a pretty balanced feel. However, these settings change from course to course. It doesn’t change much though, maybe a click or two on the compression and one or two PSI in the air chambers."

Like so many riders at this level, it's near guaranteed that Gwin is using some custom damping tunes within his suspension. He has a long history working with Fox suspension and such adjustments are almost always done in the lead-up to the new season.

Micro drive gearing and carbon wheels mate

Tiny cassette shows ground-up innovation

Courtesy of e*thirteen, Gwin’s bike is set up with rather special gearing and wheels. The SRAM X01 DH shifter and rear derailleur send the chain across e*thirteen's new 9-21t 7-speed cassette, an item that’s effectively built with its own rear hub.

This new cassette design not only offers tight ratios, but the market-leading 9t cog allows Gwin to use just a 32t chainring, which offers improved ground clearance when attacking the rock gardens. To put this in perspective, many of Gwin’s closest competitors were running a 36t chainring on the same course.

Traditional cassette freehubs can’t host anything smaller than an 11t cog, while SRAM’s XD design can go to 10t. This e*thirteen LG1r design may be proprietary, but in addition to the gearing it allows for the creation of a far stronger and stiffer wheel too. With a narrower freehub width, e*thirteen has been able to space out the spoke flanges ultra wide. By increasing this spoke bracing angle, you can bet the e*thirteen LG1r carbon wheels with a 27mm internal width are well up to a punishing.

Titanium bolts and friction tape at the shifter

Looking back at that SRAM X01 DH shifter and Hall has glued friction tape (aka sandpaper) over the thumb levers for guaranteed traction at the thumb.

Don’t talk about the tires

With a new team comes a new tire sponsor, and it’s not likely a brand you’ve tried before (at least not in recent times) – Onza. Taking a peek in the pits, there was certainly a variety of the new rubber.

However, with inclement weather, Gwin was trialling different combinations nearly every run. When we photographed the bike, the blacked out tyres were clearly something else and amongst the pile of Onzas sat other treads from a variety of brands.

"He’s very specific about his tire pressures, but we don’t disclose what that is," says Hall when asked if there’s something specific about how Gwin sets his bikes up.

TRP at the top level

TRP gets its first World Cup downhill win with the Quadiem SL brake

Another aspect that Gwin is particular about is his brake feel. "He prefers a short throw and solid feel. It’s not too uncommon for riders to prefer this," confirms Hall.

And in a sport where brake control is crucial, Gwin’s move to TRP brakes – the performance product division of Tektro – also comes as a surprise. The Taiwanese brand has had its four-pot Quadiem SL downhill brake on the market for sometime now, but at least it'll now be known. With composite pistons, carbon lever blades and two-piece rotors, these silver stoppers look the goods.

 Frame: YT Tues CF, size Large
Shock: Fox Float X2 Factory
Fork: Fox 40 Float RC2 Factory
Stem: Renthal New Integra, 50mm length
Headset: Canecreek 110, tall cover
Grips: ODI Elite motion lock-on
Bars: Renthal Fatbar Carbon, 790mm width, 30mm rise
Front brake: TRP Quadiem SL w/ 203mm TRP two-piece rotor
Rear brake: TRP Quadiem SL w/ 203mm TRP two-piece rotor
Brake levers: TRP Quadiem SL
Chain guide: e*thirteen LG1+
Rear derailleur: SRAM X01 DH
Shift levers: SRAM X01 DH 7-speed, with grip tape
Cassette: e*thirteen LG1r 9-21t, 7-speed
Chain: SRAM PC-XX1
Crankset: e*thirteen LG1r carbon, 165mm, 32t
Bottom bracket: e*thirteen pressfit 30
Pedals: HT X2 clipless
Wheels: e*thirteen LG1r
Front tire: Unbranded 27.5 x 2.4in, tubeless (sponsored by Onza)
Rear tire: Unbranded 27.5 x 2.4in, tubeless (sponsored by Onza)
Saddle: SDG I-Beam I-Fly
Seatpost: SDG I-Beam carbon

Critical measurements

Rider's height: 1.78m (5ft 10in)
Rider's weight: 75kg (165lb)
Top tube length (effective): 624mm
Total bicycle weight: 15.5kg (34.17lb) (approx.)