Yeti 575: Lightweight but bombproof
October 3, 2006
I really shouldn’t have spent all that money. But when I ride this bike, the money is the furthest thing from my mind.Which, I suppose, makes it money well-spent.
I had been riding my last mountain bike for 11 years. It was one of the first Santa Cruz full-suspension bikes, and it served me well – so well that I really hadn’t thought about buying a new bike. I rode that Santa Cruz in the mountains, plateaus and deserts of Colorado, Utah and Idaho, and I figured it just couldn’t get much better.But, of course, mountain bikes and all other types of recreational gear are improving every year. When I finally decided to demo a Yeti 575 for a three-hour excursion up Hunter Creek, it truly blew my mind.First of all, the bike was light – less than 30 pounds. But it felt anything but flimsy. The disc brakes were rock-solid, the shifting was true. It gripped the ground like a tractor, especially on the climbs. It spun easily over rocks, logs and ledges that would have stopped me short on my old bike. It cruised downhill through minefields of loose stones and made them feel as smooth as a bobsled course.
I had no idea what 5 3/4 inches of rear travel (that’s what the 575 stands for) could mean, but I’m a believer now. I literally pick the nastiest, rockiest lines possible, and all I’ve got to do is keep pedaling. The bike does the rest.It’s tempting to say I’m a better rider, but really I’m just the same rider on a really well-designed and well-equipped cross-country bike.The other thing about the Yeti that I noticed immediately was the clearance. My pedals and front cogs are higher off the ground on this bike, so I can hop fallen trees and crank through rocky pinch-points that would have given me hell before.
The guys at Ute City Cycles talked up the Yeti quite a bit, and my demo experience led me to believe what they said. But what really clinched it for me was running into them on the trail out in Fruita. As I came to the top of a hill, one of them spotted my Yeti and said, “Nice bike, man.”I said, “Yeah, it is – you sold it to me.”Whereupon I noticed that they were all riding the very same bike, and we commenced a chorus of praise for the 575.Depending on the components you choose, a Yeti 575 can range from $2,500 to $4,500. With a slightly modified Enduro kit, I paid close to $3,000 with tax. For me, it’s rare to drop that kind of cash and feel this good about it.