Exciting times on the World Cup circuit

The off -season rumor mill climaxed yesterday with the announcement of Aaron Gwin’s move to YT Industries.

The newly formed YT Mob will be the first downhill team from the German direct order brand and poses a lot of interesting questions.

Here’s what we learned from one of the biggest moves in downhill history:

Aaron Gwin can have a fun side

One criticism levelled at Aaron Gwin is that he often comes across as being sterile. He has a focus on riding to win and a religious outlook that many riders (ok, internet forum posters) find uncomfortable.

This is at odds with the YT brand whose motto is simply “good times” – even the team name, YT Mob, seems to clash with Gwin’s corporate image.

It looks like Gwin is rising to the occasion though. This announcement video is completely different to this one he made for Specialized two years ago as he messes around with Suarez and the new bike. Could this be the year he comes out of his shell and embraces mountain biking’s wilder side?

New players on the World Cup scene

YT Mob bike set up

Sure, this may be YT’s first team on the World Cup circuit but it’s also the first major team to feature TRP (Tektro Racing Products) brakes and Onza tyres.

Neither brands have ever really set our pulses racing in the past (although we haven’t tested a set of TRP brakes since 2013) but we’re sure that Gwin wouldn’t allow either brand on to his ride without extensively testing them first.

His belief in the products plus his ability to give top-quality feedback could catapult both these brands into the mainstream

Martin Whiteley and Aaron Gwin have patched it up

Can Gwin continue his dominance with Whiteley?

The move sees Aaron Gwin back with his former agent Martin Whiteley under the 23 Degrees Sports Management banner. The pair previously worked together during Gwin’s dominant spell at Trek World Racing but suffered a very public falling out following Gwin’s move to Specialized.

We’re not sure what changed in the intervening three years to allow them to patch it up but if the Gwin/Whiteley juggernaut can gel as well as it did at Trek, then they’re sure to be a force to be reckoned with.

YT has big plans

The AL Capra can be as much of a game changer as the Pro (Fowler)

The one qualm everyone had with the “Gwin to YT rumor” was the money. As he left Specialized, Gwin told Pinkbike: “I proposed what I believe to be my reasonable market value, and they differed,” – in short the big S couldn’t pay him enough. So where would a small, German direct order brand find the money that Specialized couldn’t?

In truth we think it’s a bit of a gamble. YT has made no secret that hiring Gwin is part of its US strategy and they’re hoping he’ll shift a lot of bikes for them. Let’s hope for its sake YT has played a winning hand.

Nobody was that bothered

Gwin to YT 26in featured

As much as we love the rumor mill of the World Cup off-season, this announcement felt as flat as the pancakes we’ll be scoffing after dinner tonight. Most of us were pretty sure that Gwin would be heading to YT and after the tragic death of Kelly McGarry, it all seemed pretty insignificant anyway.

We reckon it’s for the best that all this whispers-in-the-alley nonsense is behind us and we get on with the serious business of racing mountain bikes down hills.