Jared Graves’s transition from Yeti to Specialized has not been perfectly smooth. After dominating the Enduro World Series in 2014 while riding for the Colorado-based bike maker, the Aussie had yet to match those results in his first campaign with the Big Red S. Instead the start of this season has been one of frustration. In the first four EWS races of 2016, Graves’ best result was an eighth place. He missed the second round due to injury and was a DNF at round No. 4.
“It was just a bunch of bad luck,” Graves told Mtbr. “I snapped two chains at the first round, then got injured, and then had two flats and broke a wheel because I tried to ride on the flat. It was all just random stuff.”
It was a different story at EWS round No. 5 in Aspen-Snowmass, Colorado. Graves was on fire all weekend, winning five of six stages on his way to a commanding win in the Rocky Mountain high country.
Underneath Graves was Specialized’s S Works FSR Stumpjumper. But more significant than the fact that it wasn’t the bike maker’s popular (and aptly named) Enduro steed was the fact that Graves was riding a 29er.
“I’ve always been a bit skeptical of the bigger wheels and was always on 27.5 with Yeti,” revealed Graves. “But now that I’ve spent some time on the 29er I really love it. As this weekend showed, there is definitely a place for them.”
Graves reasoning is that on less technical, more high speed courses (as most of the Aspen tracks were), the 29er makes perfect sense. Come next weekend’s single day EWS event in Whistler, British Columbia, he’ll switch back to 27.5. Mtbr got an up close look at the Race winning rig in Colorado. Scroll through the photo gallery below to see more.