Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Ride Review: Yeti 575 Enduro

I've come to riding a Yeti 575 after exacting a thorough 5 year long thrashing on a 1st series Santa Cruz Heckler. It was that bike that introduced me to full suspension riding and we coexisted harmoniously until a severe drive train mangling on the upper slopes of Keystone's downhill course last August. I was torn between repair or replace... and once i investigated the Yeti the Santa Cruz's fate was sealed.

First, a bit of background trivia regarding the Golden, CO based bike builder. Few may be aware of Yeti's original roots being founded in Hollywood, CA in 1985. Rather, most mtn bikers remember Yeti as the bike company from Durango who, so long ago, sponsored some of the most hallowed and revered racers in the sport's short history like John Tomac, Myles Rockwell, Jimmy Deaton, Missy Giove and Juli Furtado. Today, Yeti continues to build on the low volume and high quality ethic specializing in downhill, XC racing, and all mountain bikes.

The Yeti 575 Enduro i currently ride is spec'd out as such:
Suspension Fox 32 Talus up front and a Fox RP23 holding up the posterior
Headset Cane Creek S-2
Brakes Avid Juicy 5.0
Shifters Sram X.9 trigger
Front Der Shimano XT FD-761
Rear Der Sram X.9
Crankset Race Face Evolve XC
B. Bracket integrated w/crank
Cassette Sram PG-950 11-34
Chain Shimano HG-53
Stem Race Face Evolve XC
Handlebar Race Face Next Carbon
Grips Yeti Hard Core
Seatpost Race Face Evolve XC
Saddle WTB Rocket-V Cro-Mo rail
Hubs F-R Mavic Crossride
Rims Mavic Crossride
Tires Maxxis Minion 2.35" - ST

The bike MSRP's for 2722.00 and delivers a great value given its build and componentry. Similarly intended and optioned bikes from SC and other lower volume brands can come in for as much as 500.00 greater or more.

The Yeti 575 features 5 and 3/4 inches of travel... hence the name. The frame comes in at a reasonable welter weight of 6.2 lbs in all aluminum guise or a svelte 5.75 lbs when installed with a carbon rear swingarm. Altogether, just guessing now as i haven't yet weighed the bike, i estimate a 28 lb. finished weight.

Having its roots founded in the Cross Country Yeti ASR's design, the 575 grew its expanded travel capabilities, adjusted geometry, and bolstering gussets from the several hundred (if not thousand) rides on the rough and tumble Apex Trail located just barely west of Golden on the oft brutal front range of Colorado. It wasn't until the Yeti Team, cast and crew were all satisfied with the evolved bike's performance that the sweet sweet ride was revealed to the public in 2005.

The 575 geometry angles of 68.5 for the head tube and 71.5 for the seat tube put it square in the all mountain breed. The angles give it a well rounded character for handing nimble turns and confident fast descents while not being too slacked out for when its time to earn those downhill turns. That's right, it actually climbs despite the long travel suspension. To complement the bike's ability to clammer uphill, the Fox RP23 shock comes with a lockout feature for those who insist on a solid rear triangle. The front shock pitches in for the team as well having the ability to drop its height on demand from 140mm all the way down to 110mm bringing the front end much MUCH closer to the ground. These two features drastically change the bike's demeanor, granting the rider access to more options when it comes to keeping the momentum going during grinding ascents. I have found myself still experimenting with my preferred setups, but am thoroughly happy to have these available to me. Thus far i rarely settle all the way down to the 110mm height, and typically stick to the 120mm setting or climbs and the plentiful 140mm for the harrowing descents. The Avid Juicy 5 brakes are my first impression of disk brakes and have tossed me over the bars once so far, but overall i am endeared to their simplicity and efficiency. They do a great job of bringing the bike back to earthly speeds in short manner when employed. Also, the SRAM X.9, Raceface, and XT drivetrain combination blends well together and provides sure shifts when put to use.

The last worthy item to mention is Yeti's innovative frame design put to use on this bike (as well on the similarly built ASR). Up front, it uses a unique V-shaped sloping toptube with a CNC-machined “knuckle” in the center to provide gobs of useful standover clearance. Yeti sites the odd looking knuckle as being the strongest part of the frame. It also uses a "dogbone" for keeping rear shock movement smooth and contained in its travel. The rear swingarm features asymmetrical chainstays and small carbon inline “flex” points where the seatstays meet the rear dropouts. These carbon pieces allow for a 1.5 degree extra flex wich changes the seat stay vector as it joins the rear shock. This subtle change helps to give the "long" in the "long travel" namesake. Yeti uses cartridge bearings on the main pivot and the design allows for a great amount of lateral stiffness.

Overall, the bike is excellent at all the things that are necessary at being an all mountain bike. It descends like crazy, tracks very well, does much more than just pay lip service to the concept of climbing, and still manages to handle the drops with composure as well. I am looking forward to a whole range of rides that this bike will carry me on for some time to come.

1 comment:

Mo Dog said...

Great review. I picked up a used 575 frame a few months ago to replace my Nomad and, as much as I loved the Nomad, I do not miss it as much as I thought I would. The 575 rocks- it is more in line with my style of riding. I passed 35 years of age a while ago and no longer need to prove how cool I am to others on the trail. The 575 is an awesome handling bike with great trail manners without the "hey guys, watch this!" personality.