Hi Markus, thank you very much for your time. Whose idea exactly it was to create YT Industries? Did you know Stefan Willared earlier or did you guys meet while working on your first project?
Basically, it was my idea but Willi (Stefan Willared) already joined me at the second year of business in 2009. I knew him way earlier from mountain biking and gym sessions.
How did you come up with the idea for YT and the direct sales model? Don’t you think this was kinda risky maneuver at that point?
In 2007 I met two young guys on cheap rubbish supermarket bikes at a local Dirtjump track. They were pretty talented but didn’t have the money to afford a proper DJ bikes. So I had the idea of developing contest ready high-end bikes at affordable price point. The direct sales model allowed me to exclude middlemen and pass on the margin saved directly to the end customer. Of course, this step was pretty risky, especially since I had no experience in the bike industry and had to give up a well-paid job.
E-bikes- yay or nay? As we know they’re highly popular in Germany, will we see an e-bike from YT? If so, then when?
Let’s say yay, but I can’t say more actually. 😉
You are an active rider. What were your thoughts after first ride on new Capra?
Of course, everything what I say now could be cheesy or interpreted as marketing blabla because it’s my own brand. But man, the Capra is insane! If you just can afford one bike, the new Capra is the one to go. It’s like a proper DH bike crossed with a light and nimble trail bike. For me it’s the one and only. After the first ride I just had the biggest smile on my face I’ve ever had.
How long does it take to create a bike from first sketches to sending it to the buyer? On which stage of that process do you put most emphasis and why?
In total it takes around two years of development to bring a new frame to life. Most important are the first steps where we define the geometry, the kinematic and the design. This takes around 6 months. From there it is mainly hard work and many hours at the computer and in the prototype workshop.
How many people does YT employ at this moment? How do you maintain good vibe at work? Do you get to ride together after hard day at the office?
Now we have about 100 people divided into three locations in Germany, the USA and Taiwan, but nearly 80 of them work in our HQ in Forchheim. Although increasing the size of the company makes it more difficult to do something together, we try to spend every free minute on the bike and enjoy the good times in life.
After successes of 29” wheels in enduro racing do you plan to create 29” downhill rig?
We are already testing 29ers with Aaron and the YT MOB but actually we have no plans to bring it to market short termed.
Is 26″ dead already? Many pro riders prefer smaller wheels, do you see them coming back in the future or are they gonna stay industries niche?
In my opinion, they are dead. 27.5” is the new standard and I cannot imagine that the industry will go back to 26”. The advantages in terms of handiness are too small and do not outweigh the benefits of a 27.5” wheel.
How do you see the future of YT Industries? Will it be as bold as the beginnings?
Let’s see what the future holds but of course we will continue to work at full speed on the development of new bikes and our brand. Because, besides all the business, it’s still a hell of fun!
Why did Aaron Gwin cover his bike with tape last weekend? Was that a bottle mount he was trying to hide?
No, it was just too cold for SoCal conditions at this weekend and he did not want his bike freezing 😊
Thanks a lot for the interview ♥️