Vital Rides the All-New YT TUES on the Losinj World Cup Track 7

It didn't take long for Aaron Gwin to prove the all-new YT TUES worthy - and now you can buy it too. We've ridden it already, so dig in to learn more!

Vital Rides the All-New YT TUES on the Losinj World Cup Track

Ihad to pinch myself to make sure it was really happening. I was just about to hit the final drop on the Losinj World Cup track for the first time, and the guy who had just offered to tow me into it was none other than Aaron Gwin himself, fresh off an impressive victory on this very same course just the day before. A select group of MTB journalists had been invited by YT to stay on for a couple of days after the race to ride the all-new TUES, and to really give us the full team experience both the YT Mob and FOX’s race support crew were also part of this unique launch. Which explains why I now found myself pedaling and pumping the trail in an effort to hold Aaron Gwin’s rear wheel as we approached the drop. Gwin wasn’t really there to ride, but when I asked him about the speed needed to clear the gap he threw on a helmet and grabbed his trail bike to give me a lead in, and seconds later we were both safely on the other side. Gwin as gracefully as ever, yours truly with a distinctly heavier landing but also with the biggest smile of the day. To top it all off, Gwin then offered to take a picture of the action if I would push up again – how’s that for an offer you can’t refuse? To not make it too easy on Gwin, I set the shot up at f2.8 with autofocus spot metering (photo-nerd speak for “bring your sniper skills”), but that didn’t stop him from nailing the shot on the first try. One and done, and I walked away with a unique memento of a unique event:

Watch out squid-squad, Gwin might be coming for your jobs soon!

2018 YT TUES CF Pro Race Highlights

  • Full carbon frame
  • 200mm rear travel
  • 27.5-inch wheels
  • 5 sizes: S - XXL
  • Slightly increased reach
  • Slightly less progressive rear suspension linkage
  • Chainstay and headtube lengths adjusted to size
  • Integrated downtube, chainstay, and seatstay protectors
  • Internal, fully guided cable routing
  • Cable routing optimized for number plate compatibility
  • “Chainsuck” protection plate on mech hanger
  • Single-sided hardware access
  • Headset: ZS49/ZS56
  • BB: PF30
  • 150x12 rear axle, recessed wheel insertion guides
  • Weight: 15.2 kg (CF Pro Race, size S, without pedals)
  • Availability: Early May 2018
  • MSRP: $3999 USD (CF Pro), $5499 USD (CF Pro Race and MOB Edition)

 

When YT signed Aaron Gwin, they knew they were getting something more than just a name on a poster. Aaron insisted on being part of any new bike development process, and since he was already dominating the race tracks on the previous version of the TUES, both Aaron and the company felt that building on what they already had was the way to go. With a list of improvements to address, and of course the need to align the look with the current generation of YT bikes, they set to work about 2 years ago and the result is before us today. Meet the 2018 YT TUES Carbon:

2018 YT TUES CF Pro Race MOB Edition
2018 YT TUES CF Pro Race
2018 YT TUES CF Pro

Visually closer to the new Capra, the 2018 TUES looks a lot sleeker than its predecessor. The visual impression is confirmed on the scales, as the new bike drops about 700 grams of weight from the frame alone. Much of this weight loss took place in the rear triangle, where aluminum chainstays and the aluminum rocker link were both replaced by carbon equivalents. 

Previous YTs certainly boasted more than acceptable build quality, but with the new Capra and now the new TUES, the company has reached another level of maturity.

The design language used is a smooth departure from the distinctly edgy look of the previous generation TUES, without losing the YT identity. YT uses an in-house design team that prides itself on producing visually striking bikes that are inspired by the most recent design trends. This trickles down from the main frame parts all to the way to the smallest details. Previous YTs certainly boasted more than acceptable build quality, but with the new Capra and now the new TUES, the company has reached another level of maturity. Small things like the way the main cable clamps flow with the lines of the frame, or the downtube protector reaches around the BB point to great attention to detail and a few good years of experience under their belt.

On the technical side, YT relied heavily on the input of the YT MOB’s team of mechanics, headed by John Hall (Gwin’s master wrenchman). The stated goal was to produce a bike that is reliable, easy to work on, and free from too many proprietary solutions. The new TUES features hardware that is completely accessible from the non-drive side, and the use of full-complement bearings (some of which are also double-row bearings) as well as sealing washers developed by YT should bode well for longevity.

Continuing our deep dive into the details, we find fully guided internal cable routing, a mech hanger that includes a "chainsuck" protector plate, large chainslap protectors on both the chainstays and the seatstays and a custom 150x12mm rear axle that features a nifty little solution for avoiding overtightening of the mech hanger bolt as well as guide slots to facilitate rear wheel insertion. The chainstays were reshaped to provide for better mud clearance without gaining in external width. The cable entry ports on the top tube are angled so as to make it easier to route cables around the number plate – another nice, race-oriented detail.

In order to make the new bike slightly more compliant over fast, rough terrain, YT adjusted the leverage ratio curves.

When it came to geometry, Gwin was pretty happy with where the old bike sat, but the company also wanted to cater to those who are looking for longer and longer bikes. Much like on the recently updated Capra, YT chose to go with a flexible approach to sizing that gives riders of any height a choice of two or even three frame sizes (out of a total of five available). The head angle remains the same at 63.5 degrees, whilst reach has grown by a few mm, the BB drop increased by 2mm, and the head tube length increased by a few mm. The two largest sizes get 5mm longer chain stays, and with the use of a standard reach adjust headset (providing +/- 7mm of adjustment), the XXL can join the 500mm reach/1300mm wheelbase club.

YT bikes are known for being very progressive, and the old TUES was no exception. In order to make the new bike slightly more compliant over fast, rough terrain, YT adjusted the leverage ratio curves. The bike was given a small increase of support in the midstroke with a small decrease in progressivity at the end of the stroke. YT also increased the anti-rise numbers right across the travel, which was done more for the benefit of Average Joe than the World Cup racing team. Higher anti-rise helps a bike sit into its travel more during heavy braking, a benefit on steep terrain (at the potential expense of overall suspension performance and traction, if a good balance is not achieved). As with the previous version of the TUES, YT stuck to running a really long shock resulting in a particularly low overall leverage ratio. This allows the shock to work with lower air pressure while increasing the velocity of the oil in the dampers, both of which are said to contribute to more consistent performance and easier tuning.

On The Trail

Testing a bike on a World Cup track is a daunting enough prospect, let alone on one of the gnarliest tracks of the year (or ever). To help us mere mortals tackle the task at hand, the YT Mob joined us for our very own course walk. Although they did their best to come up with lines that normal people can also ride, it’s fair to say that by the time we dropped in, the usual giddy anticipation of a regular press camp ride had been replaced by a slight sense of foreboding and dread. The number plates and name tags they had stuck on our test bikes did little to quiet our nerves.

The track turned out to be every bit as brutal as we thought it would be, featuring a bajillion angry boulders and lots of loose debris looking for the slightest excuse to send you off your line and into yet another seemingly random rock wall placed there to provide extra entertainment. Caution was the name of the game, and we had to pick our battles on the day, but such a rough track also meant that the bikes were sure to be put to work.

At times, we’d pick up the bike and have to remind ourselves that we were in fact riding a full-blown DH sled, and not a slightly portly enduro bike.

From the get go, the standout feature was the weight, or more precisely, the lack thereof. A DH bike in the 15kg range is a pretty spectacular machine, particularly with real DH tires on it. This translates to a bike that is easy to move around, whilst the 200mm of well-behaved travel and the DH-oriented geo did their very best to help us keep it rubber side down. At times, we’d pick up the bike and have to remind ourselves that we were in fact riding a full-blown DH sled, and not a slightly heavier enduro bike. It is also a quiet bike, with just the noise of the hub and the whooshing of the suspension hydraulics reminding you that the engine is running.

With the help of the FOX staff on hand, we had our suspension dialed in early on, with just a tug-of-war over the amount of tokens and bottom out support as the only point of contention throughout testing. The size XL this 6’0” (1m84) tester rode is delivered with 2 tokens in the Float X2 shock, which leaves the bike on the plusher side of the equation. We found it would track well and provide lots of comfort through the rough stuff, which is of course what you would want from a race bike. With our patented sack-of-cement-falling-off-the-loading-dock jumping technique, we did end up wanting a bit more endstroke support here and there, which we had to negotiate with the FOX guys. A race mechanic will gladly have you trade bottom out support on that one drop for better performance on the rest of the track, whilst us mere mortals may prefer to trade seconds for a bit more cushion on the bigger stuff. The good news here is that the new TUES can do both. Pop a couple of more tokens in the aircan, and you get those 5% back – park rats rejoice. We did push the bike to bottom out on more than one occasion, but it remained a non-violent event and it never left us feeling kicked around or out of control.

The new TUES is a well-balanced bike. The nature of the track we tested on invariably led to riding mistakes, but the bike was there to help us ride out of it most of the time. It carries good speed, and the riding position invites you to get over the front and push it. Traction was impressive at all times, especially given how little of it the ground in Losinj wants to give up. The component spec on the range-topping CF Pro Race we rode leaves little to be desired, and although we’d need more time on it to provide more insightful conclusions, this particular bike has already proven its worth. Gwin has a trophy with his name on it to say so.

Build Kits

We rode the top-of-the-line CF Pro Race MOB Edition bike, which features a build that is as tricked-out as you could want. The exact same parts can also be found on the regular CF Pro Race, whilst the CF Pro provides a step down in budget and spec. Both bikes are incredibly good value at $5499 and $3999, respectively. At this time, no news regarding an alloy version, nor do we know more about a potential big-wheeled bigger brother. Given what the rest of YT’s line-up now looks like, it’s fair to assume they are both in the works, but the company was tight-lipped about any specifics at this point in time. 

Component highlights:

  • The FOX suspension components were well up to the job, delivering a smooth and controlled ride. Both the shock and the fork offer near-endless tuning possibilities, which makes the bike versatile enough to deal with anything from racing to freeriding.
  • Carbon everywhere. From wheels to cranks and cockpit, you don’t build a 15.2 kg DH bike with alloy parts. We did wonder how the wheels would hold up on the rocky Losinj course, but it was obviously not a factor for the race team during the week, nor did we have any trouble during the two days of the press camp.
  • Gwin’s signature Onza Aquila tires convinced us during previous testing, and they proved up to the challenge in rocky Losinj as well. There were no punctures in the group during our two days of testing, but then none of us were at World Cup speeds, either...
  • The TRP Quadiem G-Spec brakes are incredibly consistent performers with lots of modulation and a great lever feel. We find them ever so slightly lacking in bite towards the latter part of the lever stroke, but this is easy enough to adjust to.

Specs (click to enlarge):

Pricing

  • 2018 TUES CF Pro Race MOB Edition: $5499 USD
  • 2018 TUES CF Pro Race: $5499 USD
  • 2018 TUES CF Pro: $3999 USD
  • Availability: End of April 2018

More information at: www.yt-industries.com.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord - Age: 45 // Years Riding MTB: 13 // Weight: 190-pounds (86kg) // Height: 6'0" (1.84m)

Johan loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 190-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.

Photos by YT Industries/Daniel Roos and Johan Hjord

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