DirtTV: Aaron Gwin interview

Our very own Steve Jones asks the questions that are on everyone’s lips to Aaron Gwin and some of the Specialized crew in Val Di Sole.

Who thinks Gwin is going to be back on top this weekend now that he’s on a better fitting bike?

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  1. sam

    that was interview rape

  2. Tinks

    Quality stuff, love these insights into the pro teams. Is it just me though or did everyone at Specialized seem a little uncomfortable discussing the issue?

    1. Alex

      I thought they were very open! Not many companies would go about saying and admitting frustrations

  3. Ben

    Arguably the best racer in the world, on one of the wealthiest teams in the world doesn’t do the correct off-season testing and training?!
    And to think that they were’nt even going to be carrying a spare large frame?!

    Just seems rookie to me. Both Spec and Gwin have let themselves down.

    1. Maya Rider

      I had that exact thought: I mean, didn’t they take the new Fox and Rockshox stuff for testing to Italy? if that’s not world cup enough, why not race the BDS round at fort William? Surely they could’ve figured it out then?
      First ride in Jan, 6 months later, discover the size aint right.
      Right. whatevs.
      Slammer: what’s really retarded is finding out on race weekend that your bike’s apparently too small. Jan to Jun is 6 months. Just saying…

  4. slammer

    Wow, Gwin changes frame size and we have 15 minutes of the same question being asked multiple times to multiple people. How many different ways do you want to hear he felt like he needed more room? And from how many people? Insights are great, this was retarded.

    1. Russ

      for a moment, I thought I was the only one that realized the repetition!

  5. Maya Rider

    i flipping love JC.

  6. spacehopper

    what strikes me about the size issue is..

    Frame size was originally measured in seat tube height.. and this is how most consumers see frame size i think and where confusion arises..

    what Aaron and Gee have gone for.. is a longer bike.. the seat tube / top tube height isnt that much of an issue really anymore as saddle heights are lower in downhill and thus the seatpost doesnt need supporting like it would have back in the days of modified cross country frames..

    /ramble

    1. Satchel+Paige

      The “industry” tried to sort this with “reach” and “stack” measurements, but that’s only confused things more. You’d have to know what “reach” works for you before “reach” is meaningful. Same with “stack.” It’s just a data overload.

      Of course average riders tend to descend in the saddle, so seat tube measurement is their only point of reference. Maybe if they got some good skills tips/coaching, they’d start riding their bikes properly and figure out what they need, size-wise, rather than just saying “oh I’m five-nine, must be a medium, but I’m riding DH so must be a small.”

      1. Craig

        Average riders descend in the saddle? Really? I’d better start sitting down then…

  7. Jack

    As Ben says – totally insane blaming the lack of riding on rough / fast tracks – he is at the top of the sport and SHOULD have tested on WC level tracks in the off-season.

    FFS, could he not have came to the UK a week early for testing at the National at fort william?!

  8. Jack

    Man does he seem pissed at the end of that interview too.

    I can understand that, but it is his paid job and he is an ambassador for the brands who support him therefore he should be happy to answer questions about the parts he uses and plug the guys who pay his wages… moody fekker

    1. Satchel+Paige

      I think he’s sponsored because he’s fast, not because he’s an “ambassador.” This “ambassador” line of thinking is absurd. They are racers, not image-brokers.

      I’d be tired of Jones’s questions too. Same idea asked about 15 different ways? Come on. He wanted more room to move, and wanted to be positioned between the axles as he likes. What more do we need to know?

      1. Hancock

        They are image brokers, fast or not, if Spesh didn’t think he’d help sell bikes they wouldn’t be sponsoring.
        .
        Also, it’s a big question that needs asking. It’s not exactly a secret that Ft Bill is bumpy and fast, maybe in the lead up the best rider in the world in one of the best teams might have thought to test on some bumpy and fast tracks, rather than assume they set up that works in Cal would work in Scotland.

      2. Jack

        He isn’t an ambassador for the sport, but should be for his sponsors.

        He can ponse on about not wanting to leave home and moan that ‘you guys are too into this stuff’ but its the sponsors that pay his mortgage, food bills etc!

        The answer should have been : ‘mid rise renthal bar and ’45mm renthal stem’

        I think everyone needs to remember, this is a JOB.

      3. Satchel+Paige

        Hancock & Jack,

        The first reason to sponsor a DH racer is his speed and consistency. If it was all about personality and image-brokering, the sponsored rider’s race results wouldn’t matter at all.

        If a UCI ranked 135 rider was a “terrific ambassador for the sport,” do you think Whitely and Sinyard would do economic battle for his sponsorship?

  9. ShopMechanic

    Great job Steve! Props for keeping everyone honest.

    Being from the same place that Aaron is from, his explanation makes total sense to me. So Cal tracks are short, relatively smooth, steep and twisty and don’t resemble what you see at the World Cup. For all the commenters criticizing Gwin, if you were that dominant last year and all you did was ride the same So Cal tracks that you did the year before, why would you believe that you needed to do anything differently? It is completely reasonable to expect that he would be just as dominant this year, which is the whole reason why his performance is so shocking.

    What all of this proves is that this sport has finally matured to a level where true professionalism is required 100% of the time. What made Gwin special was that he was more professional (i.e. better training, better coaching, a more holistic approach to racing) than his competitors. Now everyone else is stepping up and they are beating Gwin at his own game.

    1. TimBud

      Off season was much longer this year though.
      And the first race wasn’t in SA for once… last few years thats been a nice cushion to start for most guys. Well, it looks that way from my sofa ;)

      1. Leon

        This blaming tame US tracks is a PISS POOR excuse….

        Does he think UK guys train by riding 2-3 minute UK tracks ? Of course not , you get on a plane and go to spain/italy/where ever and ride some real tracks in the off season.

        No one to blame but him self

  10. Ben

    Great content guys, more of this please. Can I offer my services as a camerman Steve. No offence guys but you need to sort it out…. That is all.

  11. Ben Manning-Wade

    Great content guys, more of this please! Can I offer my services as a cameraman. No offence but you need to sort it out. Drop me a line Im sure I can help… That is all carry on ;)

  12. David

    “you guys get too into this stuff man”Last week it was ” its just bike riding” and now even more of this cocky superior attitude BS = no more respect for the man.

    yeah sorry Aaron, we’re fan of this sport and we like debating/talking about all this stuff, just like people do about a TV show…

    1. Jus

      Nah that’s bull. Master of the Isle of Mann TT and top Superbike racer Guy Martin refuses to be a paid pro racer and has a day job as a truck mechanic because “it’s just racing bikes, its not a real job is it?” So yeh, if Gwin doesn’t see DH as an amazing, awesome be-all-end-all sport because he’s grown up riding mx in Cali, then so be it. He’s sponsored because he is fast. Often, the most talented people aren’t that bothered. I know a guy who came 5th in his 2nd ever National race in the UK, beating Rob Warner amongst others, but he wasn’t that fussed and didn’t have a clue about his setup. Also, Gwin is religious so this years set of tubes with nice paint and stickers doesn’t compare to ‘the creator’… He just has a different perspective to most of the other pros who have only ever ridden push bikes. Did Palmer know all the specs of his bikes after coming from snowboarding?

    2. TD

      Hang up your anorak David and go for a ride.

  13. Stevie

    I think Gwinn’s excuse about nothing to ride in Cal/USA was a bit of a cop out really. He won loads last year with the same excuse at hand here. I also got the impression Steve was trying to catch them out, but hey thats just my perception. In any case, Hart for the win lol :-)

  14. gabe

    5.44 What is that stem? Jacy says its a Renthal. Doesn’t look like their normal split top/bottom design. Can we see more please?

    1. Maya Rider

      yep, it’s Renthal’s proto stem. Some more pics over at Sicklines:
      http://www.sicklines.com/2013/04/22/renthal-prototype-direct-mount-stem/

      1. Gabe

        Safe! Cheers man

  15. Pete

    Agree about the 15 minutes to find out Gwin wanted a longer bike comment, anyone else notice that when Steve questions the team he mentions Gwin as being the fastest racer in the world coming in 17th place at Fort Bill, fact check anyone? Gwin was 20th at Fort Bill. He had a bad day, we all have them, he’s back on form now…

  16. Snitch

    ….ok. so now dirt moved the rear kissing to specialized. i get it. will this take all summer long? just so we know

    1. slammer

      If a change in frame size got them a 15 minute slot, God help us if he wins on Sunday. We might be looking at an entire issue dedicated to him.

  17. hgm

    Interesting interview.
    Seams like they don’t offer a downhill bike that fits guys like me (6.5 foot tall).
    And if the longer bike makes Gwin faster it is certainly not a trend but a necessity.
    I guess Spec just messed up the frame sizing.

    1. Hancock

      In all seriousness, at 6ft 5 you’re probably better off going to a custom builder. Someone like 18Bikes or Curtis (or a bunch of US builders) could make a storming DH frame, probably for less than the £3k+ than an off the peg brand wants for carbon.

      1. hgm

        Santa Cruz offers an XL V10. Greg Minaar is 193cm and rides it with a 60mm stem. So should be fine for me, since I don’t ride world cups.
        But it’s a shame that only very few companies offer downhill bikes in XL.

      2. Big G

        Totally agree guys, I’m 6ft 6 and as far as I know only santa cruz and evil make an xl bike. I think bike companies should realise that not everyone is a short arse. lol

      3. Jason Chamberlain

        If you compare the TT and Reach numbers, a Specialized Large is the same size as Evil/Santa Cruz XL. They just named it differently.

  18. max

    It’ll all be settled tomorrow.As for dissing him because he doesn’t want to talk anymore about exact bar and stem lengths to the nearest mm-not everyone cares!

    I remember I questioned a guy at a race about the specifics of his bike and set up and he said “i’m not too bothered about bikes i just like riding them”

    Let’s let his riding talk………

  19. Gaz

    How smug does Steve look? This is like all his Christmases come at once! How many bike tests of the last few years have had 50% dedicated to the size of the frame with the most relevant being the current issues carbon review. To top it off they’ve given Gwinn HIS frame which Steve no doubt requested specially. Look out for more suits articles in the coming issues ;o)

  20. Gaz

    Suits = sizeist – bloody phones

  21. Nozes

    The most shocking part of this interview is founding that the country that invented the sport and put out the best bikes doesn’t have world cup level tracks.
    That and trying to understand how can a top level professional racer can underprepare his season this way.

  22. Leo Coyle-Smith

    I think Aaron hit the nail on the head with “You guys get too into this stuff”, if your bike is comfortable, you will have the confidence in it to go fast. Also, bigger frames throughout the industry would be nice, us 6ft-ers will be forever grateful.

  23. ddmonkey

    I think many people ride bikes that are too SHort for them, and any bike manufacturers make bikes too small generally. Fabien Barel was on the right track with the Mondraker forward Geo thing, Gee now has a GT that is longer and enables him to ride properly, if you ride fast and really weight the front of the bike you need it to be longer… I’m amazed Gwin was on a medium. Good point from Steve too that if you are over 6 foot not many companies make bikes to fit you. And now with 29′ers being flavour of the month many companies are stopping making anything expect 29′ers in XL. Industry needs to take a step back at the moment I think.

  24. Ronan

    Excellent stuff, asked all the questions and said what most of use were thinking. well done.

  25. barry

    Holy shit Jones likes the sound of his own voice. Get over yourself.

    1. mitsos

      Indeed he does.

  26. Jon

    Seems Mr Jones is going for the Louis Theroux questioning style….Getting right in there…but in a “nice” way.

  27. Hunni

    Any chance we could see some features on some privateers not just the sugar water sponsored guys?

    1. Tommy

      Great idea!!

  28. Alex

    Top interview guys! Exactly what we have all been wanting to know.

  29. CQP

    All the way through that, I couldn’t help thinking about supercross bikes. Do they come in small medium and large? Or does the wheelbase just come in one size that suits the job the bike has to do? I’ve got no idea, because I’ve never ridden one. But it seems reasonable that longer wheelbases work for the pointy end of world cup DH and smaller wheelbases work for the rest of us.

  30. ben

    Seems the people who actually comment on here just want to nit pick every little detail, whether its the filming, or riders. Almost as bad as pinkbike. Get over yourselves, ride your bike and have fun!

  31. wheelerman

    Best bit is when you hear the crosser scoot past when AG is saying there’s nothing to ride in the US. Did God do that?

  32. Jason Chamberlain

    If you compare the TT and Reach numbers, a Specialized Large is the same size as Evil/Santa Cruz XL. They just named it differently.

  33. Oz

    The question Jones should have asked to the bosses was ‘what the hell were you doing for 6 months for your top rider to end up on the wrong size bike?’. It has effectively cost them any chance of winning the overall this season and seriously damaged Specialized and Gwin’s reputations. I know it’s just riding bikes, but that’s their business, and in any other business someone would probably be fired for that kind of mistake.

  34. ilk

    man, best dh rider in america saying that there is no such trails to ride…. well in such case just make one! i wouldnt say that their is lack of mauntains…..;)

  35. Craig

    Where did Jonesy get his new louis theroux breath intakes from?

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