Image Credit: Trek World Racing

Aaron Gwin just posted the following note regarding this weeks Trek/Specialized debacle:

“I’m writing this public note to hopefully shed a little light on what’s actually going on with my move to Specialized.

Reports that I broke my contract with 23 Degrees/Trek World Racing are false. My contract expired. The one-page letter of intent I signed said there would be a “full length contract” with “precise terms” coming in the future. The 16-page contract that showed up in late November was not signed by me because it was not the deal we had made. I have moved on to a team that gave me the contract I wanted, and these are the facts.

Read the rest after the break…

The press reports are inaccurate, unfair, and one-sided. Because 23 Degrees has hired lawyers and threatened to sue me, my lawyers have told me not to say anything for now.

While riding for Trek, I lived up to my contract and gave them my 100% effort and full commitment. I intend on doing the same for Specialized.

As for now, I want to let my fans know that my offseason training has been going great. I love my new bikes and I’m more excited to race this year than I ever have been. Big thanks to the Specialized family for such an amazing opportunity and support.

I hope everyone understands that I cannot talk any further about this at this time, but I felt like I needed to clear the air a bit, without getting too much into the legal stuff.

Thanks to all the fans who have stood behind me.”


Read Trek World Racing’s comments here.


  1. Haha, at the end of the third paragraph: “my lawyers have told me not to say anything”. Then he continues for three more paragraphs! When your lawyers says don’t say anything, they mean it!

  2. It’s a reasonably common occurrence in contract negotiations. Attempt to lock the athlete in with a letter of intent, while the company drags their feet issuing the full length contract. By the time the athlete gets the (lengthy) contract and reviews it (and has legal counsel review it) it’s late in the game. The athlete, fearing that all other teams have filled their open spots, feels pressured to sign the agreement or risk losing out on racing the next season–even if the contract isn’t what was promised initially. I can’t say for sure that’s what happened in this case, as I’m not privvy to all of the details, but it wouldn’t be the first time something like this has happened.

  3. I find it terribly disheartening that Trek would air their discontent publicly regarding an athlete that served them well. The immaturity shown by Treks team management leaves a lot to be desired from an athletes or the publics perspective. This appalling lack of professionalism on Treks behalf should result in the termination of the employee(s) responsible for the scurrilous public comments.

    Contract negotiations are never one sided and often leave one party feeling they have been compromised. In Treks case, as a corporate entity, they are expected to take a higher moral ground and present some semblance of steady handed, adult professionalism to the public.

    What athlete would feel comfortable signing with a team that behaves in this manner when the team / athlete relationship is ending? They all end at some time or another…most end amicably, when adults are involved.

  4. @ Alan Hardy: extremely well said. Nicely done!

    I could not agree more. It’s truly stunning, Trek’s response. Wow…

    It’s pretty apparent now that AG made the correct move in leaving that dysfunction behind. Good for him!

  5. Whats happening to the TWR XC riders now that they canned the XC team? Did TWR end up with a reduced budget so they canned the XC team and then offered AG less in the contract than they were going to offer in his Letter of Intent?

  6. If anyone has ever had the misfortune to deal directly with DH mafioso Martin Whiteley you’d know a switch to the big S is more than likely very welcome, despite their lawsuit-happy history.

  7. @Alan Hardy and @Eric NM, Trek is NOT TWR. TWR is owned by 23degrees, and Trek is just the frame sponsor.

    I myself did the mistake of mixing them up, and was really astonished by Gwin’s decision, but to me, it sounds like in the end TWR just let him slip away … a bit like J.R. said.

  8. It happens in some jobs, they dont like you leave for your better, and they found then that you were so good at it. Then the bullsh!t begins.

  9. Specialized doing what they do best: hiring only already top athletes at all cost. If you can’t make your own stars, buy them.

    But the worst is really on Trek. Shutting down the XC program in favor of the Gravity team and them losing their top rider… that must hurt. The reaction is not a surprise.

    Trek, get on with business as usual… You got your road image to clean up (Lance), a DH team to restructure and you should begin to think about re-opening the XC program.

  10. Trek are really on a PR role at the moment!

    After making themselves look crooked by standing behind the biggest fraud in the history of sport, you’d think they might be on high alert for crap like this.

    Still, at least they’ve still got Radioshack…


  11. Once again…. Who cares? Just another douche bag holding an energy drink can and talking about how he ” totally pinned it bro”. These guys represent .05% of the sport and .001% of the market, for shit’s sake not even the free ride crowd like these guys. Let them all shatter knee caps for my viewing pleasure on Youtube. Still gonna ride my bike wether or not some dude bra in a flat brimmed Monster hat rides a particular kind of bike or not. Look forward to see him over cook a corner and disassemble himself real soon. Better invest the paltry allowance you get in walkers and assisted living facility prepaid cards because when your career is over, in about ten minutes, and you move back in with your parents even they will eventually get sick of your high maintenance, dude bra bs.

  12. @Zach – Judging by your comments you have never seen AG race or a post race interview or any interview for that matter of his because you couldn’t be further from the truth. The guys racing at the top level do not represent what you describe. They are athletes and business men/women. As for “the free ride crowd” not even liking these guys comment. The majority of those guys ride together all them time as they share many of the same sponsors and some even cross over into both area’s of the sport. In regards to you looking forward to someone shattering a knee cap or dismantling themselves in a crash, that is a douche bag comment. Pro DH riders and freeriders have short career spans for the most part and have to make the money while they can and what sets them up best in the future. I would guess that’s why he made the switch. You never know when your next wreck could be your last of your career. Sounds like you are on pins and needles waiting to see that.

  13. Yeah, I guess Trek might be another victim to Whiteley’s asshatery, they only provide the bikes and financial support, but it MW who makes every decision, i don’t think Trek’s executives have anything to do with the AG video release. I wonder if shimano, fox, royal racing, etc are going to do after all the bad rep TWR is receiving .

  14. RJ, you are exactly right.

    I have always liked Gwin but I became a fan after watching his interview discussing the failure of his brakes in the world championships. The stars were aligned and his momentum into that race was huge towards taking the crown. He didn’t blame anybody and moved on like a true professional.

    I think he made a move to get what he can while he can. I would do the same.

  15. I do love trek products, and I’ve met some of the guys from treks racing department (the group that manufactures the pros bikes) and the products that come out of there are some of the best bikes and parts you can find (albeit many of the other folks are tools). But their marketing and PR have nothing on specialized, and unfortunately for trek, it will matter sooner than I think they realize

  16. I’m waiting for the response from Trek Bicycle Corporation that they are ending their relationship with TWR. I think the marketing dept. in Waterloo has got to have a plan in the works to distance themselves from TWR. I would, immediately. No one needs/wants this type of drama connected with their name.

  17. In 2012 I purchased two Trek mountain bikes, including a Session. Gwin and his performances had absolutely zero to do with my decisions. Speaking from my position as the closest thing to a stakeholding customer here, I’m 100% behind Zach’s comments.

  18. while i tend to agree with zach’s statistics on dh market share, it is no different numbers and probably alot less on the freeride side. my friends and i ride and don’t race dh but wishing/hoping for people to get hurt…? balls, natural talent, and a business mind..which one are you bitter about…

  19. Seems to me there’s a lot of projecting and speculation going on when nobody knows anything about what really happened and why it happened.

  20. “The 16-page contract that showed up in late November was not signed by me because it was not the deal we had made. ” Then wouldn’t you get in touch with TWR and let them know that you did not agree with the contract instead of keeping them in the dark until you signed with someone else in January? Doesn’t seem to be very profesional in my opinion.

    Then again TWR’s behavior of making this whole thing public isn’t very profesional either. Both are in the wrong.

    It all depends on how the season ends up, but I dont’ really see how Spesh can claim to have the best DH frame even if AG win its all.

    If AG wins the cup – Spesh = Trek, doesn’t matter bc the difference is AG.
    If AG doesn’t win – Trek > Spesh. The bike matters.

    You can argue it’s not an ideal situation for Spesh (in a marketing sense). It’s going to be a very interesting season!

  21. @ Zach
    Not cool man(I mean bro)…not cool. I wouldn’t wish harm on anyone let alone AG. Aaron Gwinn is a class act(from what I can tell in his interviews). Sorry not everyone dresses or rides like you; and yes, it’s hard to live in a world with other people. Thanks for stating the obvious….we will still ride our bikes no matter who rides what and for who.

    Keep dancing at the haters ball and drinking the hateraide and let me know how it works out for you….

  22. Gwin was getting tires and equipment from Specialized three months ago. This wasn’t a surprise, or sneak attack. I wonder if Monkey is going to stay on TWR payroll or if he is heading with Gwin. Cav goes to OPQS. Gwin is wearing a Big Red S. Let’s be honest. All of the major bike manufacturers build such a similar bike that the only real difference is the pilot. Hill going to CRC/NP is seen as a personal move. He is a bigger fish in a smaller pond now, helping DEVELOP his new ride. As far as the NP being better? That would be a stretch. Where you can interpret his exit as Specialized tell him to “STFU and ride the damn thing” It’s a media storm that all the haters will forget if Gwin gets to the bottom of the hill before Sam, or Danny.

What do you think?