Meet The Riders And Their Rides: Specialized’s Cole Suetos

Meet The Riders And Their Rides

Cole Suetos is only 18, but he already beat the legendary Aaron Gwin in their first matchup this year at Bootleg Canyon, Nevada, where Cole won the Mob in the Mojave, beating Gwin by 2.47 seconds. Photo by Antonio Marroquin

Cole Suetos is one of the top young downhill pros in America right now. He just turned pro in 2020, and he’s already won his first race, beating five-time World Cup overall champion Aaron Gwin in the process. A former motocross and BMX racer, as was Gwin, Cole Suetos seems to have what it takes to be one of the top talents in American downhill in the years ahead.

RIDER PROFILE

Name: Cole Suetos

Age: 18

Birthdate: June 22, 2001

Birthplace: Southern California

Height: 5-foot-9

Weight: 165 lb.

Shoe size: 10.5 US

Helmet size: Large

Waist: 32

Marital status: N/A

Current home: Temecula, California

Car: Nissan Titan

Started racing or competing: 12 years old

Turned pro: This year (2020)

Racing/riding specialty: Downhill/pump track/enduro

Favorite course or riding area (North America): Whistler or Mont-Sainte-Anne

Favorite course or riding area (Europe): Lenzerheide, Switzerland

Favorite food: California burrito

Goals: Have fun riding my bike for as long as I can

Cole has been racing at Fontana, California (shown here), since the age of 12. He raced motocross from age five to nine, then raced BMX for more than a year before taking up mountain biking at 11.

Heroes: Aaron Gwin, Sam Hill

Favorite recording artist: The Offspring

Favorite movie: The Revenant

Favorite hobbies: Riding my bike, of course, and motocross, fishing or just anything that has to do with being outdoors

Jobs held (other than racer): N/A

Most embarrassing moment: N/A

Always takes on a trip: Lucky socks (for race runs only)

What would you do if you were not a racer? I’m currently going to school to become a firefighter, so that is the plan for the future.

Cole Suetos and His Specialized Demo Downhill Bike

Cole is one of the regulars at Fontana, where he first learned to race downhill.

Frame: I am currently running the new Specialized Demo 29-inch wheel size. I love the way this bike handles, and for it being a 29, it makes the tight stuff seem like a breeze. It’s just a super-fast bike.

Shock and settings: I’m running a Fox Coil in the rear right now. The past couple of years I’ve been running the Fox Air in the rear, and I’ve loved it. But, the Coil feels pretty good this year, so I might stay with it.

Fork: I’m running the orange 2019 Fox 49 on the front for this year. I set up my suspension differently for the different types of tracks I run. If the track is fast and flowy, then I will run it stiffer than usual, and if there are more technical features on course, I tend to run it a little softer but keep the rebound a little on the faster side so I don’t stick into the holes. I love Fox suspension, and I’ve been running it for the past couple of years now and haven’t had any problems with it whatsoever.

Tires: I’m running the Kenda Hellkat DH casing front and rear on the downhill bike and have been for the last couple of years. The sizings are 29-inch front and rear and a 2.4-inch width. I run my pressure between 28 and 32 psi—just depends what tracks I’m riding. I love these tires and everyone behind them and can’t wait for the new models!

Inner tubes or tubeless system: I’m running a tubeless setup right now with Peaty’s sealant and CushCore tire inserts. Love the sealant and love the CushCore. Both have saved me from so many problems, and with CushCore I’m actually able to run lower pressures and gain more traction. Both amazing products!

Rims: For the 2020 season, I’m super hyped to be running Enve wheels. I haven’t gotten to try them out yet, but I’ve heard so many good things about them and the whole company behind it. They look amazing!

Spokes: Enve.

Front hub: Shimano Saint.

Rear hub: Shimano Saint.

Brakes: Shimano Saints with size 203mm rotors, front and rear. Love this setup, and I’ve been running it for the past couple of years. Can’t ask for anything better!

Stem: ODI Downhill stem.

Handlebars: ODI 25mm rise and 800 width bars. I love these bars, and I run them on all of my bikes at home.

Grips: I either run the ODI Aaron Gwin 2 grips or the classic ODI Ruffians. You cannot go wrong with either one of them. I’ve run these grips since I first started riding and loved them along the whole ride. Great company and guys behind all of it!

Chain: Shimano.

Shifter: Shimano Saint.

Rear derailleur: Shimano Saint.

Pedals: Shimano Saint, XD (clipless).

Cranks: Shimano Saint.

Chainring: Shimano Saint, 34T.

Chain: Shimano.

Rear cassette: Shimano 10-speed.

Saddle: Fabric.

Seatpost: Specialized.

Cables and housing: Shimano.

Headset: Full Speed Ahead (FSA).

Bottom bracket: Shimano Saint.

Chainguide: Shimano Saint modular chain device.

Lightweight bolts: Aluminum bolts.

Extras: ODI number plate for the cleanest look.

Head angle: 62.7 degrees.

Bottom bracket height: 350mm (13.78 inches).

Weight of complete bike: Probably around 36 pounds.

Estimated value of bike: N/A

MBA Q&A

MBA: Where did you grow up?

Cole: I’ve lived in Temecula, California, since I was 2 and love it here!

MBA: What kind of work do your father and mother do?

Cole: My dad has been a UPS driver for over 25 years now, and my mom is a nurse.

MBA: When did you first start riding a bicycle?

Cole: I think I first hopped on a bike when I was around 3 or so.

MBA: If you raced other bikes before competing on mountain bikes, how long did you do that, and what made you switch to mountain bikes?

Cole: I rode bikes my whole life pretty much, but I started racing motocross from age 5 to 9, then raced BMX for like a year or two, then got my first mountain bike at the age of 11 and went to the local jump spots and bike resorts and loved it.

MBA: What were your best competition results on the other bikes?

Cole: I won a bunch of local motocross races and BMX races when I was younger. Not any huge competitions, though.

MBA: When did you first start competing on mountain bikes?

Cole: I did my first mountain bike race at the Southridge USA series in Fontana, California, when I was 12 years old.

MBA: How did you do in that first event?

Cole: I ended up second in my first race there, and the winter series there had five races. And at the third race, Rich Houseman, who ran the ODI Specialized team at the time, let me borrow a bike. I ended up winning that race.

MBA: What have been your best national and international results?

Cole: My best national race has probably been at either the Windrock Pro GRT last year where I got a fourth-place finish, or the Sea Otter Classic that I’ve won the past two years in the 17–18 category. I haven’t raced a ton internationally, just a couple of World Cups, but I’ve gotten chosen for World Championships the last two years, and I ended up 25th in 2018 in Lenzerheide, Switzerland and 19th at Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada, in 2019.

MBA: What titles have you won (or come close to winning)?

Cole: I won Nevada State Championships in 2018 and 2019 and then was 2 seconds off the top spot in 17-18 Junior Men at National Championships in 2019, with a time that would’ve put me like 7th in Pro, I think.

Cole is one of the fastest riders anyone has ever seen at Bootleg Canyon, Nevada. Photo by Antonio Marroquin

MBA: Where did you go to school?

Cole: I went to school at a local charter school throughout high school so that I was able to miss school and make the assignments up while racing. I’m now going to MSJC, which is a community college near home for firefighting.

MBA: Did you earn any awards in sports or academics while in school?

Cole: I never played any other sports while in school because all my free time was dedicated to riding my bike.

MBA: What other sports do you do besides mountain biking?

Cole: I enjoy doing anything that involves being outdoors.


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