Yeti is anti-29er. That was what we all thought. They made fun of them, derided them, apparently called them ‘clown bikes’. Must be a bunch of DH huckers at heart, right? What are they doing making a 29er hardtail now? Jumping on the bandwagon? Capitalizing on market trends? Admitting defeat? Actually, they appear to be just doing what they have always done, made bikes they want to ride. When a group of Yeti employees started riding 29er’s (secretly at first) the brass stood up and took notice. If their employees believed, they would follow their lead.
The result is the Big Top hardtail 29er. We told you they called 29er’s clown bikes, right? Obviously much more than a DH company, with serious history of the hardtail 26” variety (a puke green Yeti hardtail was the
XC bike to have in So Cal in the early 90’s) and a variety of trail bikes designed for going uphill as much as down - ARC, ASR-C, etc… Yeti is more than capable of building a screaming fast 29er, and switchback just got a Big Top, size large, with the mid-range Race build in for long term test.
The Big Top uses an aluminum front triangle with an oversized head tube for extra stiffness to handle all the 29er leverage up front. Yeti uses a zero-stack headset to keep the bar height low despite the tall wheel. Big tube shapes and Yeti custom butted alloy keep the rest of the front triangle stiff. To give this hard tail some trail manners Yeti played with different options at the rear of the bike and their solution was carbon, for the vertical give and lateral stick you need on the trail. The bike comes standard with vertical dropouts, but single speed dropouts are available and can easily be swapped out.
The Race build features Shimano XT, DT Swiss 350 hubs with XR400 rims, Fox Float 29 100mm fork with the new CTD settings, Easton Haven Bars (our test bike shipped with Race Face carbon), Thomson X4 stem and Elite Seat post, Maxxis Ikon tires, and WTB saddle. This build will run you only $3,300. A huge amount of bike for the money, and assuming it holds its own with carbon and Ti 29ers on the trail, should make it a huge seller as well. The frame alone is a ridiculous $1,100. That’s less than mass produced, pop out, open-mold, no name, soulless carbon runs. $1,100 for handmade Colorado alloy and carbon from one of mountain biking’s most storied names. As you can guess, we are more than excited to get this bike on the trail. Stay tuned to switchbackmb.com and the pages of switchback magazine for a full review very soon.
Yeti Big TopBIGTOP 29'R ENDURO $2,800
BIGTOP 29'R RACE $3,300
BIGTOP 29'R PRO $4,700
FRAMESET w/ HEADSET/FORK $1,800
FRAME ONLY $1,100 More: www.yeticycles.com