Aaron Gwin Signs with YT Industries
Current World Cup Champion with the biggest move of the decade!
It is the news that everyone has been waiting for, and we can now confirm that all the rumours are true, current World Cup Overall Champion Aaron Gwin has signed a deal with direct sales brand YT Industries (full press release below). Which ever way you look at it, this is huge news.
Gwin, the ‘all-American dream’, has really mixed it up this year, we're not completely sure how it will all work out, but he has seemingly ditched the traditional company owned trade team and is going it alone on his own deal (with help of course). And lets not forget that Aaron Gwin almost singlehandedly rekindled America’s love affair with downhill racing, before he appeared on the scene there were some pretty barren years for the US of A.
Gwin separated from 2015 sponsor Specialized at the end of last year (after being with the team for three seasons), with much of the discussion centring around how much he was worth. Reading between the lines, Specialized weren’t willing to stump up the cash. Maybe a set of rainbow stripes and the World Championship title may have changed their minds, but even though Gwin has dominated (pretty much) the World Cup series, the gold medal and stripes have eluded him.
So Gwin has chosen to go it alone, to set up his own deal, to do things his own way. His choice of bike sponsor couldn’t be more different or controversial within the industry. Up until now Gwin has always ridden for American companies: Yeti, then Trek and then Specialized. Companies with history and roots, and they all play by the traditional manufacturer/dealer/shop network. YT are only young (they started out in 2008), their first complete DH bike only appeared in 2010, but most importantly of all their approach to bike industry is ‘of the moment’. They wanted to make affordable bikes and the only way that they could do that was by cutting out the middle man and selling direct. This can have its drawbacks, but so far all is looking good. I guess I should also point out that YT are German, and they (along with others like Canyon) are turning the MTB world on its head.
I’m guessing that for many in the US bike industry YT were nothing really to worry about, they were a few thousand miles away doing their thing, “very Euro"! But YT had a plan, and then they got clever, they hooked up with none other than Cam Zink; a key and influential person in the US scene, and set up distribution right under the noses of their competitors across the pond. The team developed but only really on the slopestyle/freeride side of things. We know that YT have wanted to get involved with racing, but they wanted to do it their way, and didn’t wanted to be involved with mid-packers, they wanted a big scalp. This signing of Gwin is the next piece in the jigsaw. Sign him up, get him winning races and then YT will be hoping that they can keep up with production demands! If he has a bad year (as he did in his first year with Specialized)… well then the alarm bells might start ringing. But wouldn’t that be the case with any bike sponsor, direct or otherwise?
If the move to YT wasn’t big enough news on its own, then the fact that Gwin is back with Martin Whitely and his 23 Sports Management has left us almost speechless. This seemingly being a perfect example of ‘forgive and forget’. Whitley and Gwin had a slightly public falling out when the whole Trek team deal ended in 2012. No one was quite sure what had happened, but the outcome was that Gwin was no longer with Trek and had moved to arch rival Specialized. It is no secret that Gwin and Whitely kept a wide berth from one another for some time but that both agreed to ‘get over it and move on’ some time last season. What a great story.
The press release below names an interesting list of sponsors, the mighty Tues frame takes centre stage, but oddly the list does not include Fox Shox even though their logo is one the race jerseys. The reason? Just Gwin is sponsored by Fox and not the team.
Onza tyres is another interesting choice, as too TRP for brakes. No Shimano or SRAM either... so who for shifting!?
Aaron Gwin knows what he is doing here. Is this just a big finger in the air to those not prepared to pay him more, or is it just a case of this being the best option for him and his future? This move will send ripples through the bike industry, and could prove to be a much bigger deal than anyone ever imagined… without being overly dramatic, it may even change the bike industry for ever!
GWIN'S SPEC (there may be the odd change here!!!)
Frame: TUES Carbon 27,5"
Shock: Fox Float X2 Factory (208mm)
Fork: Fox 40 Float Factory (203mm)
Headset: Cane Creek 110.IS42-TALL COVER
Rear Mech: SRAM X01 DH
Shifter: SRAM X01 DH
Chainguide: e*thirteen LG1+
Brakes: TRP Quadiem SL
BB: e*thirteen PressFit 30
Tyres: Onza Ibex GRP40
Stem: Renthal New Integra
Grips: ODI Elite Motion Lock-On
Seatpost: SDG I-Beam
Saddle: SDG I-Fly
Crankset: e*thirteen LG1r
Wheelset: e*thirteen LG1r
Weight: 15.4 kg / 33,9 lb
The YT Mob: YT joins the World Cup with Aaron Gwin and Angel Suarez
The bike manufacturer YT finally shares its secret and presents its first Downhill World Cup racing team named “The YT Mob". None other than American Aaron Gwin along with Spanish Youngster Angel Suarez will stir up the downhill world, while the team will be operated by 23 Degrees Sports with Martin Whiteley as Team Director.
Exactly one week ago the terrible news about the death of YT team rider Kelly McGarry made headlines all around the globe. The team at YT is still at a loss for words regarding the sudden loss of this extraordinary character. Unsure about the right moment to release the much-anticipated news about Aaron Gwin and the downhill team, YT has now decided to make it official: Aaron Gwin is coming to Forchheim!
After an extensive search, the 28-year-old downhill superstar has decided to join the German bike manufacturer. Aaron Gwin’s team mate is 20-year-old Angel Suarez from Vigo, who can look back on a very successful motocross career and who has already showcased his immense downhill racing potential with a top 20 finish at the World Cup in Lenzerheide in 2015. With the Mob, YT joins the World Cup circus for the first time in its history.
Finally, the long-awaited wish to send the TUES onto the world’s toughest tracks to prove that the downhill machine is not just a top-notch freeride beast, but also a proper racing tool is now coming true. With his distinctive racing focus and his untamed will to win, Aaron Gwin adds a new dimension to the YT family. It was particularly important for Gwin that his new bike sponsor shares the same passion and dedication for downhill as he does. With YT he has a like-minded crew on his side, one that is completely committed to the gravity aspect of mountain biking. The set-up of the bikes out of Forchheim could not be any better: The kinematic concept and the geometry of the TUES convinced the multiple World Cup winner already after the first ride. There will be no changes made to the frame itself, Gwin will ride all the World Cup races with a stock TUES frame.
So, has YT had a change of heart, deviating from their Good Times mentality to now only heavily focus on nothing but rankings and podiums? “No way", says CEO Markus Flossmann. “Good Times is also the motto of our YT Mob. We are going to offer our riders the best bikes and conditions, so they can focus on doing their thing. The fun of racing will always come first, because eventually the rider who can stay relaxed and calm during the heat and stress of racing will take the win. We are beyond thrilled to have Aaron and Angel joining us."
Gwin is also excited about his new sponsor: “The unbelievable hype that we’ve seen over the last few weeks and the feedback of the fans were incredible, but I am really happy to finally announce the news. We are a great match because the guys at YT share the same passion for mountain biking as I do. I am sure we will have a great time together. The TUES is perfect and I am really happy to officially ride it from now on."
In addition to YT as title sponsor, the YT Mob will have the following co-sponsors: e*thirteen, Onza Tires, TRP, Renthal, SDG, Motorex, ODI, Cane Creek and Alpinestars.