Living with a Yeti
Jack Richards, October 19, 2011
Last September I took delivery of a Yeti 575, as the name would suggest it’s a 5.75’’ travel trail bike. Kitted up with Fox Float forks, an RP23 rear shock, a mix of Sram X9 and X7 running gear, some DT Swiss hoops and Truvative components. Win.
My first ride on the Yeti was a lap of the epic Comfortably Numb route at Whistler, BC. Distance-wise the route is pathetic at just a measly 17 miles, but after an hour or so you realize the routes brilliance and physical demand. I was glad to be on a plush trail bike and the Yeti allowed me to sit and pedal through rocks and roots on the climbs and blast the descents. Grinning ear to ear, I loved my new steed, all shiny, just-out-the-box – everything working sweetly. A quick tinker of the shock pressure to make sure I was getting the most from the single pivot set-up and all I wanted to do was ride.
Yeti Cycles has an iconic image, their distinct turquoise colored bikes have long been considered as quality machines. A cult following of loyal fans can regularly be found singing the brands praises at both races and ‘down-the-pub’, across the globe. Buying a Yeti is like marrying into a family, and after a year, my marriage is stronger than ever.
From Whistler to Utah. The Yeti was ragged around the famous Slickrock trail, a warm-up for the following days attack on the Whole Enchilada – an epic day ride topping out at 11,200 ft altitude, including arguably some of the world’s finest trails. Having read about Moab as a kid, it was awesome to finally be experiencing the riding out there for myself. I was surprised to find myself hot on the heals of my North Shore proficient brother, classically trained on Vancouver’s finest trails, he could not shake of me and the 575!
Hopping from a hardtail to the 575, you certainly notice the additional heft. But, for a meaty trail bike capable of taking on about anything apart from silly drops, it’s pretty svelte. The ride can be altered dramatically by opening up the rear shock from the ProPedel setting. In the fully active mode, the rear of the bike is buttery smooth and progressive. With the seatpost dropped down the ride is further enhanced for all things downhill. For me however, where this bike shines is when being ridden hard, up and down hill on fast undulating trails. The key is keeping the momentum up and if you have the gas in your legs the Yeti rewards. The bike seemingly glides over uneven terrain and so long as you keep the pace up, suspension bob is minimal. It’s addictive, the faster you ride this bike, the faster you want to go. It will spit you out in a lung crushing, leg screaming heap at the end of your favorite trail, simply because you can’t resist riding the bike fast.
All those that say a trail bike takes the fun out of low-grade trails have clearly never swung a leg over a bike like the 575. Even if riding super smooth trails, this bike delivers a grin to your face like few others. On the polished trails in Bend, Oregon, which are often ridden on cycle cross bikes, the Yeti was a blast.
Faults: not many really. I found Schwable Fat Albert tires supplied with the bike to be soft and prone to pinch flats due to their papery thin sidewalls. The stem is perhaps 10 mm too long for this type of bike and the bars could be a tad wider. But these are all personal preference. I have been riding a large, which is a gate! I am 6’2’’ so it’s the right option, but for anyone less than 6’ I’d recommend having a ride on a medium first.
I really rate this bike. It has become my default weapon for big country epics and a quick thrash around my local trails alike. It’s a simple, solid bike, well thought out and well executed. After a year of riding the anodized finish is still looking like new and the bearings are still tight. Now, I think I need the 2012 version complete with dropper post!