Getting to Know - Yoann Barelli

Aug 20, 2016
by Tyler Maine  
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"When you have a dream, you need to follow it. This is what Yoann did and now he's one of the top EWS athletes in the world and living that dream. The fast frenchman is easy to get along with and let's his riding speak for itself."

Osprey BC Enduro Series Race - North Vancouver 2016

Who is Yoann Barelli?

I'm a mountain biker, I love to ride any bikes on any trails. I love to push my limits, it helps me to better understand who I am and what I am capable of achieving. In general, I'm a very happy person, I really like being a clown (I'm actually my biggest fan when it comes to that), and I never take myself too seriously.

Long story short, I just love life and the simple things, I'm easy.

Where are you from and where do you live?

I'm from Nice (France), I grew up in Peille, right beside Fabien Barel and Nico Vouilloz. My brother Nicolas Filippi (XC junior world Champion in 1999) started to ride MTB at the same time as Fabien in 1993, so I basically tried to follow them where ever they were riding, ha ha ha.

I'm now living in Whistler because of a girl (what a terrible place to live, seriously, ha ha ha!) And now, after 2 years of being here, I realize that Canada's lifestyle suits me way better than the French one did.

Who do you ride for?

Well, I ride for myself, what a silly question, ha! I ride because I love it, I ride because it's the way I've found to express myself the best. I also ride for Giant, SRAM, RockShox, Ride 100%, Schwalbe, ODI, forbike clothing, MRP, HT, and Re-fuel.

Where are you happiest?

I'm the happiest in the forest. Try to picture some big pine trees, some moss on the ground, some dark loamy dirt, a really gnarly trail with rocks and roots everywhere... that's it, don't go further, that's my happy place.

Images by Adrian Marcoux for SRAM s Riding for real with Yoann Barelli and Josh Carlson article.
Yoann in his happy place with teammate Josh Carlson. Image by Adrian Marcoux.

What’s been your favourite race/contest venue?

The Sea Otter for sure... no, I'm joking, I hate that race haha!

I would like to say that it's an EWS but it's not... It's probably one of the DH world cups that I've done in the past and Val Di Sole in 2012 was for sure one of my best memories. This track is insane, I love it... I miss that a little bit.

The man with the flattest brake lever set up ever Yoann Barelli. Immediately post race he ran off to the XC track to huck the rock garden on a CX bike.
Full out at Sea Otter
Pro Men s podium Yoann Barelli 4 . Josh Carlson 2 Jared Graves 1 Curtis Keene 3 Dillon Santos 5
Who doesn't love a podium?

Where are your favourite trails?

My favorite trails are in Squamish and Pemberton, but I also love what the Alps have to offer, long, steep, and really natural trails.

What are your strengths?

Probably the fact that I'm a really easy-going person, I don't need a lot to be stoked. It's a big help to be happy in life.

Yoann Barelli
Trying to hold the stoke in.

What are your weaknesses?

When I don't like something (which is rare but it happens), I become extremely bad at it, it's as if all of me starts to reject this thing, haha!

What’s been your worst crash over the years?

Well, it's not a crash, in particular, it's more a kind of crash... you know the one that, as soon as you hit the ground you can't breathe, and it lasts so freaking long... You have no control of anything, you just have to wait. I hate this kind, it's the worst. It happened to me recently at the Mega during practice... Ouch, not the best moment.

Yoann Barelli was quite literally flying on course today.
Hoping to get all of the feet off of the pedal moments over before the race.

What’s been your luckiest escape?

It was back in 2012 / 2013, I was working in Decathlon (a big sports store in France), I was managing the cycling part of it and racing DH and a bit of enduro at the same time.

At the end of 2012, I was almost ready to quit chasing my dream of being a professional mountain biker but something deep inside told me to keep trying. I decided to start racing enduro (at this time, for me enduro racing was only Megavalanche and Maxiavalanche) and by the end of 2012 Giant France believed in me and gave me one frame, and one bike to complete the 2013 season. At the same time, the EWS was created and I jumped right into it.

I did the whole season, paying for all my travels and parts, working my ass off to afford it... Mid season I realized that if I wanted to get some better results (which could help me sign a pro contract), I needed to stop working, to be more focused at the races and also to be fresh for each event. It was kind of a big deal for me... leaving a comfortable living style and losing my job (which is kind of sketchy in France right now because there aren't a lot of job opportunities), or taking the risk to follow my kid dream. I took the risk, I stopped working, and then I was only eating pasta for 3 months because I had no more money. But I made it, my results got better, and I did one top 10 in the EWS that year and bim bam boom, at the end of the 2013 season I signed my first ever professional contract with the Giant Factory Off-Road Team!

f*ck Yeah!

One name you probably know and another you should having fun on the transfer. While Curtis Keene is pretty well-known on both sides of the Atlantic until this season Yoann Barelli has not been someone people talked about much outside of France. That 12 plate is his EWS ranking before this race and should tell you everything you need to know about how quick he is.
Check out that number plate, Yoann in his first year on the EWS circuit and making it count.

Views: 24,287    Faves: 276    Comments: 17

Which bike from over the years, conjures up the best memories?

The Reign without any doubt, it's the bike that brought me to where I am today, and it is still the bike that I am riding almost every day. It's a fun, easy bike that rides down the trails like a DH bike. I love my Reign.

Images by Adrian Marcoux for SRAM s Riding for real with Yoann Barelli and Josh Carlson article.

What bikes are you riding right now?

I ride all Giant bikes; STP, TCX (only in the bike park), Anthem, Reign and Glory.

Views: 157,298    Faves: 806    Comments: 47

Who’s your favourite rider?

Eddie Master since his run at Fort Williams this year! I'm serious, really, he was just going for it, and even if it didn't pay off, even if it didn't go has planned, he gave it all and he put all his heart into those first 4 corners.

I'm also kind of fascinated by how Richie Rude dominates the EWS right now... I think it's awesome, haha!

Who or what inspires you?

In every sport there is always one guy at some point, that's gonna be way faster or way better than everyone else, it happens all the time. Sebastien Loeb in Rally car racing, Usain Bolt in Sprinting, Killian Jornet in trail running, Nico Vouilloz and Anne Caro Chausson in DH, Michael Phelps, in swimming, Richie Rude in enduro, Brandon Semenuk in Slope style and many many others in lots of different sports. All these people have or had something more that others don't or didn't have. That's what inspires me, that's what pushes me to become a better rider every day, they are the ones who make every sport grow faster. And then one day, the names change, it's some other person that takes over the relay. I like it.

What do you enjoy doing away from bikes?

I love hiking and adventuring, BC is such a rad place for that, it's unlimited. I really enjoy hanging out with animals, it doesn't take much to make them happy, I think we are a bit similar haha.

Images by Adrian Marcoux for SRAM s Riding for real with Yoann Barelli and Josh Carlson article.

What are you listening to right now?

I kind of listen to everything, really.

What’s your favourite movie/ TV show?

Planet Earth.

What’s your favourite non-bike website?

The Weather Network or snow-forecast in the Winter.

What’s your favourite motto or saying?

Full gazzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!

Yoann Barelli and Cecile Ravenel quench their thirst after a very long day.
You only get to drink the champagne if you hold the throttle wide open.

What grinds your gears?

Paperwork, selfish people, and Remy Metailler haha.

What makes you happy?

What makes me really happy, is to see and feel that people around me are happy. I like to see smiles on faces, it makes me happy.

If you weren’t a pro mountain biker, what would you be doing?

Well, it's been a while since I realized that I'm really easy in front of a camera, I like to act and being a goof, so I think I would love to be an actor. I'm not saying that I would be a great actor, but I would try at least. Who knows, I'm 30 years old, it's not too late ha ha.

Views: 22,337    Faves: 173    Comments: 17

If you were in charge of the sport, what changes would you make?

I would try to bring more media into it, have the World Cup DH and Slope Style events live on regular TV channels. The whole sport would get more visibility and would touch way more people. Extra sponsors would get involved and then more athletes would be able to make a living out of it.

I would also make everyone ride the 28,2-inch wheels, I did a bunch of testing and man, it is so much faster, I improved all my times by 0,127%

Yoann Barelli kept it consistent and inside the top 10 again this weekend.

When you hang up your racing/ riding shoes, how do you want to be remembered?

I want to be remembered as a guy that always did what he wanted, a funny guy, and a shredder!

What does the future hold for Yoann Barelli?

Who knows and who cares, I will always live my life to the fullest and follow its flow.

Images by Adrian Marcoux for SRAM s Riding for real with Yoann Barelli and Josh Carlson article.

Follow Yoann on Pinkbike at and on Instagram.

MENTIONS: @yoannbarelli / @giantbicycles / @ride100percent / @SramMedia / @schwalbe / @Odigrips / @amarcouxphotos / @meagerdude / @davetrump / @mattwragg / @srobarts


  • 203 1
 That's our man!! #proudsponsor
  • 66 0
 @ride100percent keep sending money his way. He's the exact type of ambassador you want for your brand. This guy is living, breathing positivity and vibes. My next goggles will be 100%, as if to prove my point!
  • 85 2
 Giant was wise and lucky having this guy on board. I'm now a fan of Yoann.
  • 6 1
 Shit sorry man. Somehow I neg'd by accident ....
  • 2 1
 Same here mate!
  • 54 1
 Those 28.2 inch wheels sound like the perfect happy medium
  • 32 0
 I raced the EWS round 1 in Corral, Chile. Of course at one point Yoann passed me on the climb on his beloved Reign (I have a 2012 Reign 0) and I couldn't help to yell at him: "hey Yoann look this is your bike's great grandmother!!" and truly to his personality, he looked at my bike and cracked the best laugh I heard that day.

Cheers from Chile buddy !!!!
  • 25 0
 I just love this guy, always got a smile after checking out his instagram acc. such a talented guy, he even can play a guitar with his dick xD
  • 26 5
 I feel Yoann with Remy Metailler. He's like Bernard Kerr or 50:01 crew. Impressive for 1 second, then way too impressive, so much that it becomes annoying. This reaction of: Wooow... son of a b....!!! Sending insane sht with more ease than me jumping off a curb... yes yes I know he practices a lot and it ain't easy, he just makes it look easy... and I just hate people like him... Big Grin
  • 20 0
 Well yeah, but then again, Yoann shreds A-line on a CX bike with more ease than me jumping off a curb, so I hate them both equally.
  • 13 0
 If he wants to do more media, get him a mic so him and Tippie can run around together.
  • 5 0
 That is the best idea I've heard in a long time
  • 10 0
 i wish i was as happy as yoann is.....
  • 13 0
 Move to Canada seems to be the common consensus.
  • 4 0
 I always fancy reading These articles, i always wonder what pros did to get to be where they are now, or those who are in the making of becoming a pro. Just because I am seeking the same goal. Its easy for me to empathize with these people, they do what they want, do what they love, something I have learned to do watching them when I grew up.... I love you guys, "yah'll awesome!"
  • 3 0
 I really would like to know how much they are earning. I can't imagine it's much. The prizes at the EWS are ridiculous... Some of them make a decent living, like Aaron Gwin...and I suppose the Red Bull sponsored riders, but for most it's good as long as it lasts.. And one other thing: when they quit racing....what then?! Good luck finding a job at your forties. Meanwhile the bike industry is making a ton of money. Absolutely everything is over priced, starting from bikes, parts, clothing.
  • 4 1
 The "bike industry" is not making a ton of money. There are a few individuals who have worked their asses off and built some great companies (Santa Cruz, Enve, etc). Other than that it is a lifestyle industry that does not require a lot of education to be involved with. As such there are a more people that are qualified and want to do the jobs and that drives down wages.
  • 1 0
 @salespunk: For starters, you've kinda missed the point. Are you trying to tell me that Specialized, Giant are not making a ton of money? Come on. I was also writing about the costs of the parts. The ice tech shimano braking pads are more expensive and by quite a margin then a pair of braking pads for my car.
  • 3 0
 @mrbrownstone: yes I am telling you they are not making a lot of money relative to other industries. Margins in the cycling industry are very thin in general. Specialized may be an outlier here, but I doubt they approach that level of profitability.

Also comparing brake pads off a random Toyota or Ford is not even close to comparable to Shimano Ice Tech. Now if you want to compare the brake pads off of a Porsche GT3 we can talk about it ($400 per axle BTW). This is the issue in general. We are riding amazingly high tech pieces of machinery and everyone wants to compare the prices to random things and talk about how much cheaper they should be. If it is too expensive and there is a comparable product available for less go buy it. Unfortunately there isn't so we either have to pay the price or ride something that doesn't work as well.
  • 3 0
 My favourite bike movie a href="">Riding for real/a>
Riding for real in the great forest!!
  • 2 0
 Some athlete like Bryan Lopes live a long sponsorship for his achievement. Some athlete like Kovarik live a long sponsorship for his riding style. On the other hand athlete like Gracia and Barelli can live a long sponsorship for their attitude on and off the bike. The younger generation should decide how they wanna sell themself as an athlete. Pick one example or make your own path. Hope you have a long career Yoan, cheers.
  • 3 0
 This guy is just so fn awesome. Puts out entertaining vids, doesn't take himself too seriously, and shreds shit. I wish him a long career!
  • 2 0
 One of my fav riders. Knows who he is and his attitude is infectious, not to mention he's a phenomenal rider. Keep it gazzzed Yo!!!
  • 4 1
 what a loose goose !!!! love this guy !! funny as feeeeek right on bro !!
  • 3 3
 Yoann!!!!! f*ck Yea ~ He's about as Anerican as frenchies get!! Free Spirit or what..!?! Bahah all BS aside~ You Rock my brotha!! I'm buying a Reign after I use up my Goldilocks Trance SX mini Reign ;+p
  • 9 1
 Not American, Canadian. The guy's attitude is all chill, yet he hammers hard.
  • 3 1
 @rrolly: Dude... only ment his free spirit, care free f*ck yea mentality... nothing to do with Nationality.. just my bias opinion from what little window life has opened my eyes to~ Cheer's for your Correction tho! ;p
  • 3 0
 Best article i ve ever ridden!
  • 3 0
 I want 28.2 inch wheel NOW!
  • 1 0
 Such a happy, chill, cool, inspiring guy.
Compare this with the recent NASCAR driver interview. #nocontest #carpediem
  • 1 0
 There is something with French riders...First Cedric now Yoann....All the best, Yoann.
  • 1 0
 Superman with a water bottle onboard! Love it!
  • 1 0
 Great guy, awesome mentaltiy!
  • 1 0
 Everyone around him are a blessed bunch.
  • 1 0
 the way he answered the "who inspires you" question was amazing.
  • 1 0
 Why is it so hard to move to Canada Frown
  • 1 0
 The epitome of a mountain biker. Love the energy!
  • 2 0
 Les tristes ont perdu.
  • 1 0
 Is it common to do supermans with clipless pedals? Damn, what a bad ass!
  • 1 0
 Yo, je te paye une biere quand tu veux!

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