Yeti Big Top 29er Review
Lots of folks have been anxiously awaiting Yeti's first 29er. While they may have been later to the game than other brands, first indications are it's more than worth the wait. Here's my 3 part video review (2 mins each segment) and I'll add more written review below.
Thanks to Mad Duck Cyclery and Yeti Cycles for allowing me to test out the Big Top in the real world.
Pricing: Frame only $1100
Frameset including Fox fork and headset $1800
Complete bike $2700
- Signature carbon fiber loop stays w/ alloy dropouts
- Pure Tubes alloy front triangle
- Interchangeable "chips" allow multiple dropout configurations, comes standard with 135 QR "chips"
- Tapered headtube
- ISCG 05 tabs
- Fox F29 FIT RLC 100 w/ 15mm dropouts and tapered headtube
- SRAM X9 10 speed rear derailleur
- SRAM X7 direct mount front derailleur, double
- SRAM X7 10 speed shifters
- SRAM S1400 double crankset 26/39t
- Avid Elixir 5 hydraulic disc brakes w/ 160mm rotors
- SRAM PG1050 12-36 10 speed cassette
- SRAM 10 speed chain
- Cane Creek S-3 tapered headset
- SRAM AKA stem
- Hussefelt seatpost
- Stylo rider bar
- WTB Rocket saddle
- DT Swiss 350 hubs
- DT Swiss 470 rims
- Schwalbe Racing Ralph 29x2.25" tire
5'-9" - 6'-0"
32" 6'-0" - 6'-3"
33" 6'-3" - 6'-6"
Headtube angle 70 deg
Seattube angle 72 deg
Chain stay 17.1"
Specs above are for the complete bike on the drawing board. Test bike was set up with Shimano 2x9 and XT brakes.
Short story is it's a great frame/fork combo. I'm not the most skilled rider out there so I've leaned towards bikes that were forgiving and allowed me to roll through my mistakes. My first impression was that the front end felt light and twitchy which usually isn't good for me. After a few carving turns I realized that the light front end was actually allowing me to correct the turn when I was off a bit. I could even correct in the middle of the apex with no issues.
My current 29er is steel frame and carbon fork and I'm really comfortable on it. I expected aluminum/carbon to be lighter but overall weight was probably comparable since my steel bike is on aluminum wheels and the demo bike wasn't set up to be weight weenie. I could definitely feel the lighter frame under my butt on the trail though. The carbon rear triangle definitely does it's job on the rear end to smooth out the bumps and chatter and obviously a Fox fork is going to work up front. I ran the pressures a bit high on the fork and it actually seemed ideal since I'm used to the carbon fork.
It's hard to explain how good this bike really felt and why...basically, it felt completely responsive when shifting my weight and giving it some body english. The Big Cedar trail has lots of weaving/go fast sections that just beg for you to dive in at full speed. Some of the turns come up quick and tighter than expected so you want to be able to adapt and this bike really let's you do that. The bike really felt like an extension of me that I was guiding through the trail instead of a sled that I was riding.
It climbs like a hard tail 29er but that's no surpise. There's plenty of clearance so you can run just about any tire that's out there. It will definitely let you stand on it and hammer, but what it really likes is to carve things downhill and fast. I don't know if Yeti has the magic downhill formula or what, but it was the perfect blend of point and shoot and slalom whenever it had the chance. Ear to ear grins like I haven't had on a bike since blasting down from Wheeler's Peak.
The downside: I'm a cheap bastard so I'll be the first to say I don't like the price. I'm really curious to try out the Salsa Mamasita to see how it compares. My wife has a Salsa Selma setup 1x9 so I may throw a setback post on it to try. It would be nice to just be able to throw my existing bits on the basic frame and go from there but the tapered head tube, frame mount front der and bigger axle sizes pretty much necessitate going with the complete bike.
So I went ahead and ordered my Big Top complete (size Large) when I dropped off the demo bike. Hope to have it end of July or early August. I really shouldn't have demo'd this thing.