Are Pro MTB Race Bikes THAT Different from Stock? We Asked a Team Manager

Trek Factory Racing team manager and technical director Ryan Gaul talks about testing prototypes, modifying bikes to fit conditions, and how pro athletes set up their bikes for World Cup racing.
Provided photo.

Ryan Gaul is the Trek Factory Racing DH team manager and technical director. He’s been at Trek for about 10 years and is based in Madison, WI.

  • How close to stock do DH and enduro riders run their bikes?
  • Which aspects of a bike are modified to suit track conditions, and what stays the same for every race?
  • Do World Cup racers take many risks when it comes to equipment, or are they pretty conservative?
  • Is it common to run test parts, or prototypes in races?
  • Is it difficult to convince athletes to try new components on their bikes?
  • What type of race information is useful for product designers at the brand? How do you collect and communicate that information?
  • How many spare parts/bikes do you bring to a World Cup race for each athlete?
  • Are most athletes pretty involved in working on their own bikes?
  • What’s the most stressful part of a World Cup weekend for you?

Keep up with the Trek Factory Racing team at

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