2013 Enduro World Series runner-up Jared Graves leads the Yeti all-enduro charge in 2014. Photo courtesy of Yeti Cycles.
“All enduro, all the time” is the new rally cry from Golden, Colo.-based Team Yeti, who have announced that enduro will be the sole focus of its racing efforts for the 2014 season. It’s perhaps fitting that the team who’s signature turquoise team color is so close to what we like to call “Enduro Blue”–a shade of blue/green that’s made its way onto all manner of enduro-specific product–should go all-in on this particular discipline.
“We’re excited about enduro racing and have athletes that are uniquely suited to the discipline,” said Yeti President and Co-owner Chris Conroy. “Focusing on enduro racing will allow us to concentrate our marketing and product resources exactly where enthusiasm is growing from our sponsors, supporters, and customers.”
A downhill pedigree is paramount for EWS competitors, and Yeti riders Jared Graves (pictured) and former junior DH world champ Richie Rude have it in spades. Photo courtesy of Yeti Cycles.
The iconic bike maker has a long history of finding and betting on the right talent– John Tomac, Aaron Gwin, Julie Furtado, Missy Giove, Myles Rockwell, Colin Bailey, Justin Leov, Kurt Voreis, Nathan Rennie, Tara Llanes, Marla Streb, Jill Kitner and Joe Lawill are the first baker’s dozen of massively talented Yeti riders that come to mind. It’s clear with this move that the brand is hoping it’s equally adept at picking bellwether disciplines, though Conroy left the door open for future adjustments to the mix.
“Racing has been the cornerstone of our product development for over 25 years,” he added. “World Cup DH racing isn’t done for Yeti Cycles, but our focus in the near-term is on enduro.”
Going forward, the Yeti squad features 2013 Enduro World Series runner-up Jared Graves and former junior world downhill champ Richie Rude who will focus on the ’14 EWS campaign. Domestically, US Team Riders Mike West and Chris Heath, along with Yeti Racing Ambassadors Joey Schusler, Sarah Rawley, Nate Hills, and Alex Petidemange will focus on premier US series’ like the Big Mountain Enduro Series and the Oregon Enduro Series, as well as select EWS events.
Jared Graves proves he’s skilled AND artsy…why else would he be in black-and-white? Photo courtesy of Yeti Cycles.
A team spokesman said riders will likely contest most races aboard the same Yeti SB66c Graves fared so well on last year, but didn’t rule out using its bigger-wheeled brethren, the 27.5-inch SB75 and SB95 29er. Yeti traditionally develops product in-season, so tweaked versions of the existing bikes, or the possibility entirely new models will have our eyes on the team pits all season long.