Gwin's Not Racing MSA, But He is Training on a 29" YT Tues

Aug 10, 2018
by Mike Kazimer  

Aaron Gwin threw down one of the most impressive runs in downhill racing history at Mont-Sainte-Anne last year, hitting his lines in the middle of a downpour as if he was back in sunny California on his way to take the win. Unfortunately, he's still recovering from a thumb injury suffered earlier in the season and won't be racing this weekend, but it does look like he has a new bike to keep him entertained.

By all appearances, that's a 29” YT Tues sitting in that parking garage, although the angle of the fork and the lack of markings on the tires make it a little trickier to be 100% certain. Still, I'm willing to bet that it is in fact a 29er – remember, Gwin still hasn't won a World Champion title, even after all these years of trying. Bigger wheels certainly aren't going to hurt his chances in Lenzerheide, and he'll have the La Bresse World Cup stop to put the new bike to the test beforehand.

Gwin's already proven this season that wheel size isn't necessarily the deciding factor when it comes to who wins a race, but it's going to be very interesting to see what type of results he's able to achieve on his new ride.


183 Comments

  • + 239
 Now all we need is Hill on a 290, and PBers everywhere will cry in the fetal position as the biking apocalypse is completed... Wink
  • + 10
 @bman33: I think the answer is to build a bike whose wheel circumference is the same length as the track. Think about it you could have a BMX style starting gate (huge) and no need to worry about running wires through a forest as you could see the bike from miles away. Think of the possibilities!
  • + 43
 Neither rider has made a secret of their thoughts about 29ers. One was very pragmatic and open to the benefits they may bring to the table. The other called them gay. Pretty much sums up the entire debate.
  • - 4
flag mkotowski1 (Aug 10, 2018 at 11:12) (Below Threshold)
 He still gonna be riding flats though! A big f u to the “standard” San hill is the man
  • - 11
flag bohns1 (Aug 10, 2018 at 11:29) (Below Threshold)
 @iqbal-achieve: Until the one calling them gay falls behind as the pros become more dialed on the wagon wheels and bikes keep getting better! It's only a matter of time.
  • + 59
 @mkotowski1: why are people so angry about flats vs clips. Does it affect your life that damn much? Not a SINGLE writer, website it pro is saying you MUST ride clips to win. None. Are you that angry about someones pedals? Every pro you see on pink bike would crush every one on Pinkbike while riding clipped in or flats...even on your home trails.

Ride what ever the F you want.. and stopped thinking anyone is saying you have to ride any one or the other.
  • + 43
 ^ Well that escalated quickly.
  • - 13
flag chriskneeland (Aug 10, 2018 at 11:48) (Below Threshold)
 Sam Hill, the last remaining true champion.
  • + 8
 @MTBrent: Agree. I find it laughable that folks get so bent out of shape over pedals. As if riding one or the other discounts someone's skill as a rider. It's a preference. Sam likes flats and crushes with them. That said, majority of pro DH racers in the top 20 are clipped in. Same with Enuro. Gauranteed Sam doesn't even think about it twice other than when someone does an interview and wants to get a rise out of the Bros.

Big Grin Big Grin
  • + 8
 @cmkneeland: So Greg Minaar, Gwin, Danny Hart, Bryceland, Rachel, etc. are not 'real' because they ride a different pedal? I ask because I truly want to understand what upsets someone so much about pedal choice
  • - 1
 @iqbal-achieve: Well he did suck up up the 27.5 con so anything is possible.
  • - 8
flag mkotowski1 (Aug 10, 2018 at 12:13) (Below Threshold)
 @bman33: it’s just years of being told over and over again that I need to try clips because they are inherently faster, San hill proves they are not
  • - 13
flag mkotowski1 (Aug 10, 2018 at 12:16) (Below Threshold)
 @bman33: I’ll race a pro on my home trails and win let’s set that up haha
  • + 18
 @mkotowski1: by who? Who told you you have to ride clips to be faster? They offer some characteristics in rough terrain many like to take advantage of. I think form a road bike perspective there maybe some wattage benefits. However, I have never seen a article stating they are faster (I don't follow road so ...)

I'm 44, grew up BMX on flats, rode clips for 20 plus years, and now find myself back on flats for 90% of my riding. Super long XC trips, with lots of climbing, I clip in. Right tool, right job, OR what ever makes you feel comfortable. I could care less either way. I just find it amusing everyone gets some bent out of shape over it or thinks somehow one is better than the other. Sam kicks ass and his enduro results show it. However, he was getting pretty crap finishes in DH his last few years. Was it his motivation was gone? Likely. Would Rude, Maes and a few other miraculously smoke Sam if the went flats? Probably not. It's the rider. Sam is still in his prime, with new motivation.

Rubber side down folks. Kick ass this weekend, see you guys at Whistler next week. Maybe we can all try the old toe clips for shits and giggles and see what a real death trap is. Big Grin
  • + 8
 @mkotowski1: Many of us would sign up to watch that one. Do they get a practice run?
  • + 4
 @mkotowski1: You won't race a pro and win on any moderately rough trail if you're just riding a hard tail like you said you are...
  • + 2
 Oh yes please!!!
  • + 4
 @bman33: not BMX racing. BMX racing everyone has been using clips for a long long time
  • + 5
 @bman33: Seriously every time I go on a group ride. You wouldn't believe how many people are surprised I'm on flats and tell me "You NEED to try clipless! You'd climb so much faster! You'd clear that techy climb if you were on clips!" I could care less what other people ride, but it's nice to just say "Sam Hill, Google him" and leave it at that instead of getting into some long conversation and destroying them downhill on flats. Luckily flats are becoming more and more common again for some reason and it's less of an issue than it used to be. But seriously I've heard it for over 10 years people telling me I should be clipped in. I do run clipless pedals on my road bike, FWIW.
  • - 1
 @bman33: you make a bunch of good points, I grew up riding bmx as well and naturally have continued to ride them. To my surprise once I started mtbing many riders I would run into on the trails would advise me that my flats were a huge disadvantage. I’m like uhhh Follow me down this hill lol I see the advantage of both just feel people who ride flats typically get more “advice” on their pedal choice then clipless riders.
  • - 2
 @bman33: no practice run or else it’s hopeless lol
  • + 1
 @makripper: yep. Even I'm guilty. I started racing Clips in BMX in 1997 or 98. Haven't raced BMX in several years. Buy if I did, not sure which I would xhiiy
  • + 0
 @taquitos: heard that, they gotta give me a 10000 dollar superbike for the race or hop on a hardtail as well
  • + 3
 @bman33: its tough. After a while makes no difference. I switch back and forth all the time. This season running all clipless on all bikes but the dirt jumper. Last season was all flats but the all mountain. Just fun either way.
  • + 1
 Baaahahahaha yaaaas
  • + 1
 @makripper: Agree. I can switch back and forth between runs at the bike barks. No issue. Just haven't really been on a real BMX bike in 7 or so years. Last race I did was a local in the cruiser class, clipped in.
  • + 1
 @Dustfarter: he’s also raced an Xc race on a vitus 29er I believe and I’m sure he’s a lot more of a professional than that old insta post made it seem and I have a lot of respect for the guy but couldn’t help but draw a comparison between those two riders and the debate, it was too easy.
But we shouldn’t forget that 29” wheels doesn’t necessarily equate to Moar winning. SH beats plenty of em at every race. I think he’ll continue to do so for some time yet.
Some riders have done really well on the 29er and others...not so much, well at least not so different to their performance on 27.5”.
I think it will be very interesting to see which side Gwin falls on. It’s hard to see how he could possibly be any faster but you never know!
  • + 1
 @BaeckerX1: you road bike?
  • + 3
 I hear all the time on rides that I should be on flats, or not on a hardtail, or not on a 29er blah blah fucking blah.
  • - 2
 @bman33: holy shit, this thread got out of hand. I was actually referring to his wheelsize. He may be the last champion not to switch to bitch wheels. Although there's still hope for Loic and Danny.
  • + 3
 @cmkneeland: dany runs 29 dependant on race. why be emotional about wheel sizes?
  • + 0
 That frame looks like a dildo with wheels on it.
  • + 2
 Gwin is changing to 29" wheels and all of a sudden, all of the top 3, both men and women at MSA was on 27,5"
Sabotage?
  • + 4
 I'm changing to 24" wheels, street gulley status.
  • + 3
 FWIW, In my very limited experience, the folks who learned on clipless pedals tend to have very poor bike control overall when they get on flats, or just in general. Inability to bunny hop, shift weight appropriately, etc. Could just be that the few people I know who fall under this category are lousy riders in general, but I found it interesting. I think they both have their place in MTB. Pick what ya like and go rip. But maybe don't learn on clipless?
  • + 0
 @snowwcold55: lol right. So you have better skills than a pro BMX racer?
  • + 2
 The 290 is so much better!! I own the 290 mega factory. Setting fastest of the day on strava for most runs on strava. It's a weapon of a bike
  • + 2
 @bman33: Before there was only road and bmx. 29ers and clips are roadie trappings. Everyone falls somewhere on the spectrum between these two sides. Endorphin junkies vs adrenaline junkies. Fun vs fitness. You can have bits of both but you usually lean one way or the other.
P.S. f*ck roadies.
  • + 1
 @choppertank3e: What size wheel for a straight up bike junkie?
  • + 2
 @bman33: fwiw, I've been told that by riders and other coaches on our team, and by a random stranger I stopped to help with a flat. No big deal, I don't really care, but apparently there really are people that feel the need to stick their nose in and act like someone violated a sacred edict if they have different preferences.

I'm reasonably sure that most hardcore flats vs clipless debaters would be more improved by taking their debate time and riding than by switching pedals.
  • + 2
 @fecalmaster: Same as Chris Akrig. Everything from 16-29. You can ride a 29er like a bmx it just aint as much fun. If you pump jump manual and skid. If you're more concerned with vmax, cadence, fashion and strava you are just a dirt roadie. It isn't what you ride it's how. The person having the most fun is the winner.
  • + 1
 @choppertank3e: Foshizzle, I ride everything on all sized bikes. Ironically my 24" street sweeper is a Dobermann molosse from Canada. Thing is freaking bomb proof and weighs about 23 lbs. Have hucked freeride jumps with it. It's like skis for me, if I'm in the park I bring park skis. Backcountry hucking in BC I bring the Armageddon sticks, they actually swabbed my skis at customs last year. Maybe they went out partying without me? Being diverse and riding everything is fun actually, the benefits are just a bonus.
  • + 56
 Maybe soon we can all just settle on 29" and be back to the days of everyone on the same wheel size. I have always been a small wheel fan but now I'm ready to admit defeat and welcome the my wagon wheel overlords!
  • + 2
 This!
  • + 23
 NEVER!!!!!!!!!
  • + 15
 ..........maybe.
  • + 15
 I'm just glad we got DH bikes that can fit 27.5 x 2.8's comfortably now.
  • + 45
 All we need is a UCI rule change and everyone will shift to the REAL winning combination for gravity riding: 29"er front and 27.5" back Smile
  • + 7
 @Xorrox: this deserves more love
  • - 8
flag zyoungson (Aug 10, 2018 at 12:29) (Below Threshold)
 @Xorrox: No.
  • + 5
 @Xorrox: I’ve been on that setup for awhile now and it’s the bomb
  • - 1
 You know what's real fun is we're returning to 29" as mountain bikers. Original klunkers with custom moto bars and welded in top tube bracing often had 29" wheels. Once Gary Fisher and the like looked into mass production of bikes 26" was used because that's what was available. Having 29" inch wheels made was a non option in the beginning due simply to cost.
  • + 4
 @LoganKM1982: That's the first i've heard that and it dosen't sound correct. Maybe I'm wrong but.... I would have to see where you got this info. Interesting if it's true.
  • + 3
 The only caveat to everyone on 29 is that trails and features will gradually change too, larger rocks, longer transitions on jumps, wider turns etc. so in the end it won't make much difference.
  • + 3
 @Braindrain: Been seeing the complete opposite over here since they started showing up. Trails have been opened up in the corners, and become more flowy. Personally I would love to see harder trails being built to put those wheels to use. Makes it even more fun for my 26'ers.
  • + 2
 @Xorrox: It's like the mullet of wheel sizes.
  • + 1
 FOR THE GREATER GOOD
  • + 2
 @Xorrox: Precisely! Shorter chainstays, no butt rubbing on wheel, stronger wheel at the back, the front is where the larger size makes the most difference... I't's the obvious setup. I'm pretty sure that once the industry sells us the current crop of bikes, that will be the next reason to get a new one, and if a change of rules is what it takes to give momentum to it, it will be so.
  • + 1
 ...and want to remind them that as a trusted PB commentor I am useful in rounding up slaves to toil in their underground mines
  • + 1
 The only problem with 29" is every time I try them I get a massive Bonner.
  • + 25
 Take the stripes, my dude. Good luck at the Worlds! I want the WC stripes on my 2019 YT
  • - 46
flag Joelukens00 (Aug 10, 2018 at 12:15) (Below Threshold)
 Why? It's going to be obvious that some plebeian like you didn't actually do anything related to the world championships, let alone win it. Go away
  • + 16
 @Joelukens00:

First, let me remind you that It's a tradition for manufacturers to display the stripes on their bikes when one of them wins the Worlds.

Second, edited - I didn't realize you're just a kid til I looked at your profile. I don't f with kids >
  • + 3
 @endlessblockades: you would def take that scrub, I’m trying to see this happen but he scared
  • + 2
 @endlessblockades: Crap, my fat finger hit the downvote... sorry Big Grin
  • - 2
 @endlessblockades: its not tradition. It's a sales pitch
  • + 9
 @makripper:

Works for me.
  • - 4
flag makripper (Aug 10, 2018 at 17:09) (Below Threshold)
 @endlessblockades: allegedly. I bought a 2011 demo 8 and tore the rainbow stripe stickers off within 5 seconds of buying it.
  • + 16
 He should put a 29" on the back and a 26 on the front. Then get a Moto fork on there.
  • + 6
 Marzocchi super monsters ? I vote 24” both ends
  • + 4
 Ahhh the ol' 6-9er
  • + 2
 Yooooo hahahaha that's the new trend 69ers 4life!
  • + 12
 Gwin on 29 wheels is pretty scary, probably will also be seeing a public tues 29er late 2019.
  • + 1
 Gwin rides a 29 trail bike I can’t imagine how scary he will be on a DH 29er
  • + 8
 I saw that this morning on my Insta feed. Bro's will be loosing that much more of their minds today....
I am on a 27.5 trail and DH and fine. But I am not on the 'hate all 29" bikes' bandwagon either
  • + 1
 I just see it as something additional to be excited about when I get a new bike. My DH bike was my first 27.5 and I'm still loving it, knowing I want 29" wheels next go 'round.
  • + 1
 @LoganKM1982: You are one of the few sir. Rubber side down!
  • + 7
 Why not trying a 30.5 size? I first time have a sizable ride on 29er, with being 197 tall. If 180 people take 29er, tall guys might need 30.5er?!
  • + 5
 Why stop there? There's already 36" wheel bikes out there.
  • + 1
 You have a point there. a 29" is to you what a 26" is to a 1,80m guy. But then again riders of that height have always ridden 26s just fine.
  • + 9
 who cares about pedals or wheel sizes, it's all about ebikes now ☺
  • + 8
 He should instagram a pic with a penny farthing in the back of his truck, just to keep the internet lively.
  • + 7
 A full suspension penny farthing would be hilarious and amazing
  • + 7
 Possibly an extra small frame with 26inch wheels. Makes them look bigger.
Any trick to make it look bigger, right?
  • + 3
 Shave it down
  • + 7
 Neko has been hurting for a 29” Tues too. I guess Christmas is coming early.
  • + 6
 Ah man, but I love my 27,5" bikes.. Do I really have to go 29" in the future?..
  • + 5
 I’m pretty sure AG rides 29er trail bikes. That may help/speedup the transition to the 29er dhbike
  • + 6
 that's not good news for everybody else...
  • + 28
 Too bad he wont have fun biking anymore.... *sarcasm horn*
  • + 2
 I think it's rad that Gwin and Hill have dominated their sports on 27.5 when many others are riding 29er which is supposedly faster. Especially seeing Hill dominate on flat pedals. It's like Aaron Gwin was too good so in order for people to try and beat him they built 29 DH bikes and then Gwin still takes to them. This may be the end of that. Oh well, not really mad or sad just liked that thought process
  • + 1
 Who cares if he’s riding a 29er or 27.5. Honestly all the talk about about what wheel size the guys are riding is super annoying. I could care less what wheel size gear guys are riding. There are so many other variables to talk about when it comes to a victory. How about the human factor? We like to talk like tech is what wins these races but really it is who can hold their shit together on the blistering edge to achieve victory. The precarious edge you are riding on to achieve a race winning run has little to do with wheel size and everything to do with confidence skill and a little luck. Peace
  • + 21
 Truly remarkable insight. We should start awarding the riders instead of the bikes.... /s
  • + 17
 I don't get people who want to watch bike racing an not talk about bikes. This is an equipment-intensive sport, and that's why a lot of us like it. If you only care about the athlete, maybe watch Track? Soccer? Swimming? You got options.

For those who say it doesn't matter, I have a lot of bikes. Which one I'm riding has a huge impact on how fast I can ride on what kind of terrain, and I see no reason to think it's different for pros.
  • - 10
flag mkotowski1 (Aug 10, 2018 at 10:58) (Below Threshold)
 @tttyyler: I’m poor and ride a hardtail and can’t afford more than one bike yet I am faster than many with bikes 3 times the cost soooo maybe I’m a little salty but this is downhill racing at a level you have never ridden at. I bet these riders don’t think much about wheel size at all
  • + 6
 @mkotowski1: i bet if you had the money to tweak your bike and try new things you'd feel differently about these articles. Big thumbs up to getting out and shredding on whatcha got though, thats by far more important than geeking out on parts.... both is the pinnacle lol.
  • + 0
 @tttyyler: and don’t be an ass and tell me to watch soccer, ride till I die baby
  • + 2
 @mkotowski1: @ttyyler: We prefer watching biking over soccer, namely because when bikers fall down, it's because something actually happened. Wink Big Grin
  • + 2
 @eswebster: haha I hear you man, I hope to be able to drop dollars on higher end stuff one day but damn is it tough to listen to people go on and on at the trailhead about their new super carbon chain stays that are super compliant yet stiff ????
  • + 4
 @tttyyler: The sooner your recognize that your hard core sport is a fashion industry, well, the sooner you'll understand that the marketing, hype and prices are are inflated. These guys can ride any bike fast, regardless.
  • + 1
 @Loamhuck: that’s what I’m saying man I thought mtb was hardcore gritty and unique but the more I ride the more I see how the marketing has taken over the fun aspect of the fact you are in the woods tearing shit up
  • + 1
 Waiting on Instagram to see what kind of underwear he rides in.
  • + 5
 NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO !!!!!!!! ( In Darth Vaders Voice)
  • + 1
 @kingpin2607 : micheal scott's voice NOOOOOOO!!!!! NOOOOOOO! GOD NO PLEASE NOOOOO!!!!
  • + 6
 26" for life!
  • + 4
 I hope he pulls a Danny Hart. Races the big wheels only to find out they're too cumbersome and goes back to 27.5.
  • + 3
 Did he find the wheels too cumbersome or the bike?
  • + 5
 @Rubberelli: as I remember he kept buzzing his ass
  • + 5
 @Rubberelli: its the same bike as his 27.5 so I'm guessing the wheels. danny is a short dude.
  • + 5
 Dont forget Hart's a midget
  • + 0
 @nismo325: It sounds like the issue was that his bike wasn't designed for 29 wheels then.
  • + 3
 I too did the same. I went from 29er back to 27.5 and I am at 6'2". Its was an expensive lesson. I struggled in tight sections. It felt too tall in turns no matter what I did (lower stem, bars, etc). I like to flick my bike and tires always seem to be in the way. Now going straight and getting some good pedal stokes in I had no issues.
  • + 2
 @Rider656:
Same. 29ers good for short wheelbase bikes like hardtails and trail bikes. I’ve had a few long travel 29ers and now gone back to 27.5 for the long travel - just a lot more fun to ride...
  • + 1
 Hart buzzed his ass on the 275 Moondraker
  • + 4
 Every other wc rider in the top 10 got a bit more nervous seeing this
  • + 0
 I really think it's going to come down to the person and the course. I don't see much advantage on some courses going 27.5 to 29 but on courses.... say like the ones we usually see for worlds... 29er can be a big advantage as there are large pedalally and high speed sections and less of the tech sections. Considering due to the injury this years overall is out of reach... something tells me that this is what Gwin is thinking about. He's gonna get healthy. Get comfortable. Focus on worlds. And I don't hate him for it... Minnaar gonna win this stop anyways.
  • + 2
 Ima start doubling all those braking bumps beat in by the wagon wheels. Will start a 26" revival. Maybe not. Alas, I too am a midget.
  • + 3
 If that's a Fox 40 fork,you have your answer
  • + 1
 Who would of thought that innovation might be good. That being said, I'm going to square wheels because I hear they track better.
  • + 1
 Murdered out Drool Can’t wait to see how Gwin does in these last few races!!!!
  • + 1
 Whatt! Gwin is not racing MSA?? Now Im gonna burn and bury all 29ers on my local trails
  • + 2
 i like big bikes and i can not lie!
  • + 1
 Yup, the 27.5" train is over. Time for 29" everywhere
  • + 1
 Wow..I’m going back to baskets
  • + 1
 Go huge or go home... A Gwin 2018
  • - 3
 Bring back those old but fun 26 weels!
I think uci should make a rule about everyone using only one wheel size.
Or maybe we could be like motocross (26 / 27.5 / 29) ( 125 / 250 / 450)
Clearly taller people have an advantage using 29.
Smaller people can't benefit from 29ers as a taller person can.
That's not fair...
If Gwin fits fine on a 29er i think it's an end game.
  • + 1
 Ahh, more rules and regs. Just what we need. Does the UCI let road racers run disc brakes yet or at they still 'out' on that investigation?
  • + 1
 All of a sudden that bike looks good
  • + 1
 i finally caved and bought my first 27.5 DH bike...WTF!?!??!?!?!
  • - 2
 They’re going to get everybody buying 29”. Then they’ll invent a new innovative wheel size... 26” nimble, light, flickable, and fun. It’ll be the new trend.
  • + 1
 Maxxis Rubber?
  • + 1
 Fake news.
  • + 0
 Hope Gwin can handle that beast.
  • + 0
 e-bike. hihihihihi
  • - 1
 Another nail in the coffin for 650b. The end is nigh my friends.
  • - 3
 more like the nail in the coffin for 26ers
  • + 4
 @RollinFoSho: Those were dead long ago!
  • + 4
 Not likely, 27” will be around for a long time
  • + 2
 26” will likely stick around around too.

Who knows, maybe a 30” wheel will come out? Ha!
  • + 2
 Because a possibly 29er was photo'd in a parking garage... That coffin of yours must be awfully easy to nail.
  • - 1
 @RollinFoSho: when was the last time you saw a new 26 wheeled bike? 2012?
  • + 3
 @thenotoriousmic: No, just at the dirt jumps
  • + 2
 @dfiler: I honestly think once Gwin is dialed in and gets a win on 29 that'll be it! Time will tell.
  • + 2
 @thenotoriousmic: Hillbilly Huck Fest last week
  • + 1
 @bohns1: what about djs
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