How has Aaron Gwin changed the YT Tues?
3rd generation of Aaron Gwin’s World Cup winning YT Tues is sleeker than ever with all models now fully carbon – right down to all stays and rocker link.
The new Tues comes in two price points starting at €3,999, plus the public can now get their hands on an exact replica of the machine that just won the first 2018 DH World Cup too, thanks to a special YT Mob edition for €5,499.
YT Tues geometry
Using carbon fibre everywhere dumps a considerable 500g from the frame, with 300g shaved off the back end alone. The smoother chassis follows the same cleaner design lead as the latest YT Capra with flared headbox, less angular shape and more subtle colour schemes. Also like the Capra, there’s a smoothed-out seat tower extension rather than a reinforcing strut, and an internally piped cable routing for easy set up and maintenance. The downhill-specific Tues pumps the hoses out of the side of the headtube at an angle to make it easier and cleaner for racers to mount number boards though.
Aaron Gwin’s YT Tues desires
The chassis still uses YT’s V4L suspension design, based on a classic 4-bar layout with a chainstay pivot, and dishing out 200mm rear travel. The rear X2 air shock now sits tighter and more parallel to the downtube for a neater silhouette, and also to achieve a lower overall centre of gravity.
Aaron Gwin personally requested the geometry changes on the new bike, which now comes in five sizes, right up to an XXL. The frame has grown slightly in all sizes with the longest now one of the largest DH bikes on the market, stretching up to just over 500mm reach (with the integrated, tuneable headset cups orientated to the longest position). These Acros-branded cups can extend or decrease front end length by around 8mm. Stack (or headtube position relative to the BB) has grown by around 5mm on all Tues sizes too, so the bar position is now slightly raised.
One other neat change is how Tues chainstay length grows by 5mm on the biggest two sizes to maintain proportions – from 435mm on S-L sizes to 440mm on Xl-XXL. The carbon back end still uses the proven X-12 axle system with 150mm hub spacing and rear wheel guide recesses. Despite adding significant tyre clearance for mud or fatter rubber inside the stays, heel clearance on the outside is just as good as the older Tues too.
YT has significantly refined the way the shock and linkage bolts in the frame by using a single-sided, expanding collet-style wedge interface. This means all hardware, aside from Horst-link pivots, tighten and release from the non-drive side. It delivers a cleaner look, and as the wedge expands into the axle housing, the suspension through-shafts essentially became braced in position and a structural part of the frame, which add stiffness. Double row (two races side by side) bearings are used on the highly stressed pivots, while full complement (gapless/cageless) bearings are used elsewhere. YT has also added an additional, bottom-bracket-style, rubber washer donut to keep more crud and moisture away from the main bearings and further extend life.
Deliberately designed-in flex
The YT mob liked the flex balance and ride quality between both ends of the chassis on the old Tues, so while the front triangle is built super stiff for precise steering response, YT worked hard to keep some tuned movement or flex in the rear end to aid with comfort, tracking and grip at the tyre.
The Tues frame is well armoured and rides quietly, with a wraparound under belly protector made from a special stiff plastic designed to slide well glancing off obstructions. The back end protection extends to a thick chain slap protector that wraps all around the inside and underside of the seat stays to help silence chain rattle.
As well as tweaking the frame’s shape, Mr Gwin wanted to keep the old bike’s neutral ride quality but asked for slightly increased ground clearance for the kind of flat-out risks he takes and suggested raising the BB by around 2mm. YT engineers weren’t keen on this change, and instead set about refining the bikes suspension curves to achieve a marginally higher dynamic ride height, rather than fiddling with the static BB measurement. The suspension achieves this by very subtle changes to the leverage ratio throughout the stroke – subtle since Aaron was already very happy with (and winning on) the older Tues. Essentially the new curve gives more mid-travel support to make the bike ride higher in the travel at equivalent forces and act more efficiently pumping and pushing against the terrain and cornering hard.
At the opposite ends of the travel, YT says the Tues now offers increased sensitivity off the top for better traction, and has actually had a slight reduction in end-stroke progressivity for smoother absorption of the hardest impacts. The result of the suspension changes mean the YT Mob are now racing on a lighter compression damping tune on this new bike, with the option to add volume spacers if more progression is needed.
How does it ride?
We got to ride the latest Tues in full YT Mob livery after the first round of the DH World Cup in Lošinj, Croatia this week. After a detailed track walk with race winner Aaron to point out the best lines we got multiple runs down the track. However, it was one of the most awkward, rocky DH tracks of recent years and tough enough to really challenge the top World Cup racers, so it was pretty hard to reach any firm conclusions about the new Tues while hanging on and picking a way down the track.
One thing’s for sure though, the chassis shape and rider position feel lightweight and totally dialled from the off with a neutral ride that’s easy to adjust too. We felt confident hitting smaller gaps and jumps straight away and the new back end feels noticeably light and flick-able launching off edges and cornering – something Aaron said he also immediately noticed about the new frame.
The parts package on the YT Mob version (or the Race Pro edition with a different colourway) is totally sorted too. Fox Factory level suspension means a 40 Float air fork and X2 Float (269 x 89mm) shock that feels well balanced, and multiple E13 LG1 DH parts that are proven tough. We subjected the cranks and rims to multiple horrible-sounding hits and scrapes trying to creep down the Lošinj rocks, and everything stayed solid and true. Gwin is confident enough to race the e13 LG1r carbon wheels week in week out too, which says a lot. Renthal 35mm carbon bars and 50mm stem, plus Gwin’s own kit in the form of TRP G-Spec brakes and Onza Aquila 2.4in tyres also performed great in the bone dry, smashed up Croatian terrain.
YT has always been well regarded at MBR for its brilliant specification, as well as the obviously competitive pricing. Component prices have pushed the overall cost up by around €500 over previous versions, but true to form, this new Tues ticks all the boxes you could expect for a great price. The bonus is there’s now a full carbon chassis that’s considerably lighter, plus an absolutely dialled parts package that’s proven to win, and the option to buy the exact same specification as the World Cup champion’s race bike, minus the Flat Tire Defender inserts he runs, which you’ll need to wrestle into place yourself if you fancy it.